Question: What is the role of the Holy Spirit in a Christian's life? What happens to those who receive the Holy Spirit but later reject God's calling?
Answer: Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). One cannot enter the Family of God without receiving a calling from our Heavenly Father—followed by repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39). Christians receive the Holy Spirit from God through the laying on of hands by His true ministers (Acts 8:14-17).
After receiving the Holy Spirit, a Spirit-begotten Christian embarks on a life of training, testing, overcoming and growing spiritually (2 Peter 3:18). Christians grow spiritually by giving (Acts 20:35), and by faithfully doing God's Work and obeying His will (John 4:34). Jesus came that we might follow His example of service (Matthew 20:25-28) and abundant living (John 10:10).
With the help of the Holy Spirit, Christians must overcome their human nature and the ways of this world. It is not always easy; "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). But those who remain steadfast will receive eternal life. "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:22).
Sadly, some Christians do not endure to the end; they give up on the lifelong process of repentance and growth, and turn back to the world and the sinful lives they once led. Those who have received the Holy Spirit, yet stand firm in rebellion against the God they once served, are headed for the lake of fire. "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:26-31).
How do we make sure we are drawing closer to God, and not slipping farther away from Him? We must constantly inspect ourselves. "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified" (2 Corinthians 13:5-6).
Does a Christian, who has received the Holy Spirit, still sin? Yes! But repentant Christians, truly sorry for sins they have committed, can be forgiven when they confess their faults to God and turn from those sins. Jesus Christ makes God's forgiveness possible. "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2). We should be deeply thankful for Christ, our Savior, as there is salvation in no other, and only by His name can any be saved (Acts 4:12).
To learn more about God's plan of salvation, please write for our free booklet, Is This the Only Day of Salvation? It will help you understand God's plan—not only for you, but for the countless billions who have lived and died without ever hearing the name of Jesus Christ.