Paul, the Spirit, and Us

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:26)

Apostle Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne, 17th century.

Apostle Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne, 17th century.

Ethics (aka our rules of behavior) are the moral principles that govern our lives. For Paul, it was a theological issue empowered by the Holy Spirit and related to the known character of our God.

“Ethics have everything do with God, and what God is about in Christ and the Spirit,” says Prof. Gordon Fee.

For example, the purpose (or basis) of Christian ethics is the glory of God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

The pattern for such ethics is the Son of God.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:20)

It is Christ himself, into whose likeness we are to be transformed.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29)

“Because the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ,” says Prof. Fee, in his book Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, “and since the first-mentioned fruit of the Spirit is love, the Spirit not only empowers the believer for ethical behavior, but by indwelling the believer also reproduces the pattern and the principle of that behavior.

Erica John, an American novelist and poet, once said, “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer. The ethical answers to life’s issues are within us through the Holy Spirit. Access them.

JC Watts, the politician and football player at the University of Oklahoma, tells us, “Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.” The Holy Spirit is always with us. We need only to act like it is.