Romans 8:26–27; Ephesians 5:17–21; 6:18comment (0)
July 12, 2012
By Kenneth B.E. Roxburgh
Related Scripture: Romans 8:26–27
Bible Studies for Life
Chair and Armstrong Professor of Religion, Samford University
Romans 8:26–27; Ephesians 5:17–21; 6:18
The New Testament makes it crystal clear that as soon as a person becomes a Christian, putting their trust in Jesus as their Savior, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Yet in the book of Acts, the same people who received the gift of the Spirit in Jerusalem are said to be “filled with the Spirit and speak the Word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
Be Filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:17–18)
This is why, when Paul writes to a church in Ephesians who had been “sealed by the Spirit” (Eph. 1:13), he encourages them to “be filled with the Spirit.”
Paul speaks about being filled with the Spirit in the context of warning his readers against being “drunk with wine.”
The contrast is helpful in trying to understand what Paul means by being “filled with the Spirit.” Instead of allowing any outside influence such as alcohol to control our lives, being filled with the Spirit is allowing God to be in control of all our attitudes and actions.
Be Filled to Serve (Eph. 5:19–21)
Being filled with the Spirit has nothing to do with ecstasy or being out of control. Indeed Paul warns against any form of foolishness or debauchery.
Being filled with the Spirit will lead God’s people to express their worship and thanksgiving in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” and by living in mutual submission to one another in the fellowship of God’s people.
In vv. 5:22–6:9, Paul makes it clear that being filled with the Holy Spirit will affect the way in which we live in relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children and even within the sphere of the workplace.
God is seeking to control all of our lives, and in this way to empower us to live a life of holiness which will have a powerful impact on those who are unbelievers.
In the Bible the Holy Spirit is seen to be one of the Persons of the Godhead who go “out of themselves for the sake of creation.”
He hovers over the waters in Genesis (Gen 1:2), bringing forms out of chaos and bringing life to each stage of God’s work as Creator.
He is still the Creator Spirit; but He is also the Spirit of redemption, working in the world, seeking to bring men and women into a relationship with the Lord Jesus.
Likewise those who are filled with the Holy Spirit will also be people who “go out of ourselves for the sake of others.”
Spirit-filled believers do not put themselves first but are always thinking of the needs of others.
Be Filled to Pray (Eph. 6:18; Rom. 8:26–27)
One final aspect of the work of the Spirit is that of prayer.
In Ephesians 6:18, following a section in which Paul has spoken about the need to put on the “armor of God” to meet the attacks of the evil one, he encourages us to “pray in the Spirit at all times and in every prayer with supplication.”
Paul sees prayer as being an integral aspect of every facet of our spiritual life.
In Romans 8 two members of the Trinity engage in prayer on our behalf in a remarkable way.
In Romans 8:34 we are told that the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God and interceding for us.
Earlier in verse 26 Paul tells us that the “Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray … but the very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”
When we feel we do not have the energy or the words to pray, God steps in and the Spirit and Lord Jesus pray for us.
However wonderful it is when a friend tells us he or she will pray for us, the Son and the Spirit join their own voices to come before the throne of God on our behalf, bringing their requests to the Father.