Within every human is the belief mechanism. Everyone uses this God given ability to either believe in Him or to disbelieve. There is no neutral ground and no void where nothing spiritual happens. Humans are spiritual beings who either accept or reject divine truth.
The apostle Paul had a particularly clear understanding of this inner mechanism with relation to God and His truth. Paul wrote celebrating what God had done in the lives of the Thessalonian Christians; “because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Notice that it was God who orchestrated all that was required for unbelieving people to transition to be believers. The Lord patiently continues this work in people’s lives today. In spite of human resistance, and despite the many times people ignore Him, God persists calling people to Himself. God’s mercy works through intervening grace which perseveres to bring about trusting faith in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul explained this to be “the sanctifying work of the Spirit.” In other words, without realizing how, the non-believer is influenced by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God begins the process of redirecting and setting apart their beliefs toward Jesus Christ. This initial softening of attitudes and refocusing of belief is not salvation in itself, but the Holy Spirit’s preparation work which will equip the person for that moment when they put genuine faith in Christ.
The Invisible Worker
God’s Spirit is invisibly yet powerfully at work to bring the sinner to repentance and belief in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Thankfully, this life transformation is not left to chance or personal feelings. Rather, God the Holy Spirit implants and grows “belief in the truth.” But what’s this truth that Paul is referring to? Jesus prayed in John 17:17; “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth”. At the most basic level, God’s written Word is His authoritative and absolute truth on all spiritual and moral matters. There, and there alone, we find the gospel truth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus own testimony was that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Until you know Jesus for who He says He is, and until Jesus owns you, you do not live in the truth of God.
The Bible clearly states “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Paul later expanded in Ephesians 1:13; “In him (Jesus) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him (Jesus), were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” So, the Holy Spirit is proactive at every point of belief. God’s Spirit then seals the newly born-again child of God so that rebirth cannot be reversed, undone or tampered with.
The Holy Spirit’s goal is to move people to “belief in the truth, ” starting with the “gospel” (2Th 2:14). Your faith relationship with God begins when you turn to His Son Jesus Christ and believe that He died your death, for your sin, on the cross of Calvary (Luke 5:32; Romans 3:21-25).
I encourage you to celebrate the Holy Spirit’s work of belief in both your life and the lives of others. He is not whimsically or vaguely nudging without conviction for no purpose. No, God’s Spirit works deliberately to generate intelligent agreement with, and surrender to God’s truth, through God’s Son, which we read about in God’s Word, the Bible.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.baybiblefellowship.co.nz