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I Lift Up My Eyes: A Study in Psalms - Book Five - A hiker on the top of a rocky mountain, with a pink and purple night sky. I Lift Up My Eyes: A Study in Psalms - Book Five - A hiker on the top of a rocky mountain, with a pink and purple night sky.

Questions and Answers | I Lift Up My Eyes

Does the Holy Spirit reside in everyone, both believers and nonbelievers?

The answer is no. Nonbelievers do not welcome or understand the Holy Spirit’s ways and teachings (1 Cor. 2:14). The Bible tells us that nonbelievers are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1–3), spiritually blind (2 Cor. 4:3–4), and are separated from God (Eph. 4:17–19). They are under sin’s ruling power (Rom. 3:9). The Bible describes nonbelievers as God’s enemies (Rom. 5:10), hostile to God (Col. 1:21), and incapable of pleasing Him (Rom. 8:5–8). They are unable to rescue themselves from their lost condition (Rom. 5:8). The Spirit of God is not resident in lost people; indeed, His absence is evidence that they need the Savior (John 14:16–17; Rom. 8:9). This is not to say that the Spirit is not concerned about lost people. He is. Through the proclamation of the good news, the Spirit speaks to the lost (1 Peter 1:12), convicts them of their sin, and opens their minds to understand and see their lost condition (Acts 2:37). Thus convicted, some unsaved people come to faith in Christ (Acts 16:14).

The good news is that when we receive Christ as our personal Lord and Savior under the convicting work of the Spirit (John 16:7–9; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2), we are sealed (Eph. 1:13–14), anointed (2 Cor. 1:21; 1 John 2:20, 27), and baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:12–13). A new believer is regenerated (John 3:1–8; Titus 3:4–6) and indwelt by the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). The indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit in a person’s heart and spirit is evidence of a person’s eternal relationship with God through faith in Christ (Eph. 1:14). The Spirit of God will never leave a believer but will reside in the believer forever. His indwelling presence is an incalculable blessing for us, both in this life and the life to come (John 14:16).

Does the Holy Spirit leave people when they renounce their faith in Jesus?

This is a complex question. That being said, my assumption would be that the person was never actually saved. The person who renounces Jesus, according to Hebrews 6:1–8, was never in relationship with God in the first place. They are called “apostates” or “antichrists” (see 1 John 2:18–20). In such a circumstance, the Spirit did not leave because the Spirit never was in the life of this person. If this person was a believer, the Holy Spirit would not leave, but the Bible tells us we can grieve (Eph. 4:30) or quench the Spirit’s power (1 Thess. 5:19) even as believers.

Matthew 6:33 tells us to "seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness." Please explain the meaning of kingdom in this context.

In the context of Matthew 6, the kingdom is God’s royal and heavenly rule which broke into our fallen world at the first coming of Messiah Jesus (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). While the kingdom will be consummated at the Lord’s Second Coming (Isa. 11:1– 10; 32:1–4; Luke 1:31–33; Rev. 20:4–6), today believers are able to experience the redemptive and saving rule of God through faith in Christ (John 3:1–8; Rom. 14:17; Col. 1:13). To seek God’s kingdom means to submit to the reign of God and serve as His agents to advance Christ’s kingdom in our immediate spheres of influence and in our world today. Instead of anxious pursuits of earthly things, we seek first God’s kingdom. The verb seek is an imperative. The Lord commands us to seek His kingdom. The verb is in the present tense, meaning it’s something we are to do now in the power of the Spirit—habitually and constantly. We are to seek the kingdom first. Seeking God and His kingdom should be the number one and supreme priority in the life of every follower of Christ.

When Christ returns to reign for 1,000 years, where will the believers be who have been with Him in heaven?

When Christ returns to begin His 1,000-year reign on earth, Revelation 19:14 says that “the armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” In verse 8, “fine linen” is defined as the righteous acts of the saints. Thus, we can understand that the armies following Christ on white horses, clothed in fine linen, are believers, those men and women who trusted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. These believers will return with Christ and reign with Him (Rev. 5:10). Also, we know that believers who were martyred during the great tribulation will be resurrected at the Lord’s return to set up His kingdom. They will reign with Christ for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:6). God’s people from every age of history will share in the eternal reign of the Lord Jesus. It is this glorious prospect that leads us the pray the last recorded prayer of the Scripture, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is Vice President and Dean of Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School. An ordained minister, Winfred has served churches across the city of Chicago, the near west suburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He is the author of How to Overcome Worry (Moody Publishers) and a contributor to the Moody Bible Commentary and Moody Handbook of Preaching. Winfred and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren.

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