Is the Holy Spirit active today? Emphatically, yes. The harder question is, “How?” There is a lot of talk in the religious world about how the Holy Spirit worked in the first century and how His work differs today. This article does not attempt to answer every question about everything the Bible has to say concerning the Holy Spirit, but rather to take notice of a peculiar parallel and make sense of its purpose.
In Luke 11:9-13, Jesus gives an example of our Heavenly Father’s goodness toward us, saying:
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
The Father will give the Holy Spirit? What does that mean? What will He do for me? Will I be able to perform miracles like the apostles? Perhaps it means I will receive a feeling that tells me the right choices in difficult situations? Consider this: What if Jesus didn’t mean any of those things, and instead simply means that God will bless our lives if we ask Him to?
In Matthew 7:7-12, Jesus makes almost exactly the same statements, but changes His conclusion. Take a look:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
If we let these two passages interpret each other, every truly good thing we receive is given by God through the Holy Spirit; often in a very providential, seemingly natural way. Is it fair to say that every good thing comes down from the Father of lights (James 1:17)? Of course it is. Maybe instead of all the abstract concepts we come up with today, Jesus is just trying to teach us that God is willing and able to bless our lives with every good thing we need, and especially the tools we need to serve Him.