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The Holy Spirit

A per­son can abide in Christ, accom­plish His: com­mand­ments and be in com­mu­nion with God the Father only by the pres­ence and pow­er of the Holy Spir­it in his life. Spir­i­tu­al life is life in and by the Holy Spir­it of God.

If you love me (says Christ), you will keep my com­mand­ments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you anoth­er Com­forter to be with you for­ev­er, even the Spir­it of Truth, whom the world can­not receive, because it nei­ther sees Him nor knows Him; you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you (Jn 14:15–17). When the Spir­it of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. …He will glo­ri­fy me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine… (Jn 16:12–15).

The Holy Spir­it pro­ceeds from the Father and is sent into the world through Christ so that human per­sons an ful­fill God’s will in their lives and be like Christ. The spir­i­tu­al fathers of the Ortho­dox Church say that he Holy Spir­it makes peo­ple to be “christs,” that is, the “anoint­ed” chil­dren of God. This also is the teach­ing of the apos­tles in the New Tes­ta­ment writings:

But you have been anoint­ed by the Holy One and you know all things… and the unc­tion [chris­ma] you have received from Him abides in you… His anoint­ing teach­es you about every­thing and is true and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in Him. […] And by this we know that We abides in us, by the Spir­it which He has giv­en us. [… ] By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because lie has giv­en us of His own Spir­it (1 Jn 2:20–27, 3:24, 4:13).

This teach­ing of Saint John is the same teach­ing as that of Saint Paul.

… God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spir­it which has been giv­en to us. […] Any one who does not have the Spir­it of Christ does Christ does not belong to Him. But if Christ is in you, although your bod­ies are dead because of sin, your spir­its are alive because of right­eous­ness. If the Spir­it of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, tie who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mor­tal bod­ies also through His Spir­it which dwells in you… for if you live accord­ing to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spir­it you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spir­it of God are sons of God (Rom 5:5, 8:1ff; cf. 1 Cor 2, 6, 12–14; Gal 5).

It is the clas­si­cal teach­ing of the Ortho­dox Church, made pop­u­lar in recent times by St Seraphim of Sarov (19th c.), that the very essence of Chris­t­ian spir­i­tu­al life, the very essence of life itself, is the “acqui­si­tion of the Holy Spir­it of God.” With­out the Holy Spir­it, there is no true life for man.

In spite of our sin­ful­ness, in spite of the dark­ness sur­round­ing our souls, the Grace of the Holy Spir­it, con­ferred by bap­tism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spir­it, still shines in our hearts with the inex­tin­guish­able light of Christ… and when the sin­ner turns to the way of repen­tance the light smooths away every trace of the sins com­mit­ted, cloth­ing the for­mer sin­ner in the gar­ments of incor­rup­tion, spun of the Grace of the Holy Spir­it. It is this acqui­si­tion of the Holy Spir­it about which I have been speak­ing. …(St Seraphim of Sarov, Con­ver­sa­tion with Motovilov).