Q: If God’s Spirit is in us, (a) why do we still have sickness and ailments, (b) why don’t we hear God speak to us more clearly, and (c) why do we still sin?
A: You’ve asked several good questions. I will try my best to answer them as thoroughly as I can.
- The Holy Spirit does indeed dwell within every believer and Jesus did indeed take the wrath and punishment for ours sins. However, we shouldn’t confuse temporal consequences and ailments with eternal punishment. Just because Christ took away the eternal consequences of our infirmities (in the sense of our sickness of sin) doesn’t mean that all earthly consequences were taken away. Scripture says in Hebrews 9:27 that it is appointed for man to die once and then face judgment. That is true for believers as well. We are still mortal in our flesh as we have not yet been physically resurrected and therefore are still appointed to die and stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for our lives. Our sins are forgiven but we are still living in fallen bodies until the end of this age.
- In terms of hearing God more clearly there are several reasons this can be the case. The primary reason we may not hear God very clearly is because we have unconfessed sin in our lives. If we want to have uninterrupted fellowship with the Father we must be confessing our sins and keeping short accounts. When we sin we grieve the Holy Spirit which can certainly account for our inability to feel His promptings and leadings. In regards to answered prayer, sometimes no answer is an answer. We can’t assume that God’s every answer to our every prayer is yes. Sometimes what is best in His eternal plan may result in a no to the prayer request we have placed before Him.
- Christ did indeed pray to the Father that we would be one. And the Church is one. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet fellow believers from across the world you know that it is a strange and mysterious, yet precious thing to meet them and feel as if you’ve known them for years. That is because we are all baptized into one Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). So, we are one in the sense that the entire body of Christ is knit together by the indwelling of the same Spirit of God.
- The presence of God’s Spirit in us does not automatically remove from us the threat of temptation and sin. In fact Jesus, who was God Himself, was tempted in every way that we are tempted (Matthew 4, Luke 4, Hebrews 4:15). So, if Satan could tempt God Himself, how can we expect to not experience temptation when we just have His Spirit within us? The Christian life is a journey toward perfection. Perfection is not achieved in this life (Philippians 3:12) and we are still tempted to sin. However we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide and direct us as well as plead to God on our behalf when we do sin. Paul himself struggled with sin (Romans 7). It is a battle we will fight until we are called to our heavenly rest and are fully glorified as is our Savior Jesus Christ.
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