The Doings of the Holy Spirit (Part 5)

<— Click here for Part 4 Click here for Part 6 —>
work, Holy Spirit, sealing, Spirit, 2 Corinthians 1:22, seals, salvation, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30, σφραγισαμενος, gifting, 1 Corinthians 12:4, edification, teaching, John 16:13

St Stephen, painting by Giacomo Cavedone (1577 – 1660). Saint Stephen’s name is derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning “crown”, which translated into Aramaic as Kelil. Traditionally, Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs’ palm. In Eastern Christian iconography, he is shown as a young beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon’s vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer. Rembrandt depicted his martyrdom in his work The Stoning of Saint Stephen. Relevant to this article is Acts 6:5 which describes Stephen as, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost…” Click image to enlarge.

The next few posts include a little detail regarding the current working of the Holy Spirit; what He does. This list is not exhaustive but indicative.


“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Cor 1:22)

At salvation the Holy Spirit seals believers (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; Eph 4:30) conveying the ideas of ownership, authority, responsibility and security.

The word itself (σφραγισαμενος) means, “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation (literally or figuratively); by implication, to keep secret, to attest:–(set a, set to) seal up, stop.” (Strong 1890:910)


“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:4)

Ryrie (1986:423) defines “a spiritual gift [as] a God-given ability for service.” This rather succinct definition highlights a few important characteristics of Godly giftedness: It is divinely bestowed rather than humanly acquired, it is intended for the service and good of the body and it is given freely and purposefully.


“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth….” (Jn 16:13a)

The present teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit in no way mitigates the need for gifted teachers to expound the meaning of Scripture. Rather than referring to a mechanical process it conveys the idea of Him authenticating truth taught.

<— Click here for Part 4 Click here for Part 6 —>

4 thoughts on “The Doings of the Holy Spirit (Part 5)

  1. Hi Mark

    Again found myself agreeing with what you wrote – brought back memories from waaaay back, in fact.

    The complicating (and contentious) logical conclusion which one can draw from extension of this though is that God the Holy Spirit seals, gifts and guides gay Christians too! And, remarkably, even those in gay marriages! I’ve witnessed this with my own eyes and so have many others… in fact it’s not too hard to find this happening if you look carefully and diligently ;)

    [And in more Pentecostal circles I know of gay believers who pray in tongues, minister, and manifest all sorts of “miraculous” signs and wonders etc too]

    I wonder if this fact and this teaching don’t reveal a bit of an incongruence / contradiction / cognitive dissonance within Christian circles which oppose gay marriage and withhold positions of leadership from gay people who are not celibate? Some might call this a double standard or even hypocrisy.

    I am pleased to see that the so-called emerging church has moved beyond such legalistic inconsistencies… although ever since Queen Victoria issues of sexuality seem hard to think about in rational ways – and even harder to discuss!

    Interested in your thoughts on the Holy Spirit and gay believers like Gene Robinson??

    • Did you just hijack my post? I feel intellectually violated :). You’re forcing me into a corner and sooner or later I’m going to have to write something weighty that you can rip apart.

      That said you do raise a very interesting question, what about any Christian (and let’s leave being gay alone for a just a sec) who lives in any kind of sin? What about the elder who struggles with pornography or the deacon who has his hands in the companies cookie jar or the worship leader who just can’t help inflating their fame or the pew warmer who should but doesn’t. “The complicating (and contentious) logical conclusion which one can draw from extension of this though is that God the Holy Spirit seals, gifts and guides [sinful] Christians too!”

      The answer I think, without meaning to be haughty, is found in 1 John, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

      An answer and a statement: We are all dealing with sin. In this process of progressive sanctification we’re called to put off the old and put on the new. At no stage during this process is any believer lost or beyond the precious blood that bought them.

      Asked and Answered? :) I think not?

  2. More like answered … and not answered! :)

    But I actually do like your answer … (even though I would not make it because I disagree with some of the assumptions you base it on) …

    There are some who would’ve argued that the Gene Robinsons of this world either (a) were never saved-baptised in the first place or (b) had somehow committed the “unforgivable sin” (in their own unique definition/version of the “unforgivable sin”) and as an apostate had been abandoned by God the Holy Spirit.

    You seem to go a more similar route in your thinking and theology to me …

    Of course defining “sin” is where the debate is really at… … …

    I guess where the question remains unanswered is where one rephrases it to account for your quoting 1 John : could a Gene Robinson be “walking in the light”, be “fellowshipping with one another” and be “cleansed by the blood from all sin”?

    hehehe! :)

    • As a caveat: I have a couple of issues with Gene Robinson which go beyond him being gay (yet, if I were to be honest, does not exclude that point). While his salvation is not my place to judge I can safely say that I would not attend a church or place myself in any way under his influence or control neither would I chose to be associated with him. I believe we’re fundamentally at odds theologically which manifests in diverged practical expressions of our faith.

      I’m far more interested in speaking with Lance than hypothetical-Gene. For one you bewilder me far more than Gene ever could. I perceive in him a raving liberal, beyond meaningful interaction and edification; yet you challenge me and that makes the discussion worthwhile.

      I realise that this really comes down to is the act of homosexuality sinful.

      The question personified is, “Do I, Mark Penrith, sin? Sometimes grievously?” The answer must be, “Yes I do,” shameful as that is to admit. Yet in my sin I expect God, as my loving Father, to discipline me and bring me back to the straight and narrow.

      Consider these words from Hebrews, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” That is God’s task in the restoration process. Mine is to fight; fight sin and the devil. Anything less and I’m delinquent in my responsibility.

      So the answer to the question, “could a [Christian] be “walking in the light”, be “fellowshipping with one another” and be “cleansed by the blood from all sin”? Yes, but they’d be at war all the while.

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