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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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God at work in us

Holy Spirit

When we confess in the Apostles' Creed: "I believe in the Holy Spirit," we're saying something truly remarkable. We're claiming that the God who created the farthest galaxies and the most intricate molecules, who gives us life and breath and all we have, who gave his only begotten Son to die and be raised for us, this God has spoken to each one of us and made us God's own. God's own Spirit makes faith come to life in us.

Might such a claim be presumptuous? Consider Paul's words in Romans 8:15-17: "You have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, 'Abba! Father!' it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God ... and joint heirs with Christ — if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him."

We can pray "Our Father," Paul says, because we were adopted by God through Jesus because the Spirit works in our lives. This is declared to us at baptism, when we are "sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever."

That's just the beginning. Throughout our lives the Spirit shows us that in Jesus we are forgiven and have new life. We hear it in the word and receive it in the bread and wine. We experience it through the people the Spirit sends into our lives.

Even amid doubts and suffering, the Spirit is at work, turning hardships into the "school of the Spirit" to do something new, creating the "fruit of the Spirit" in us (Galatians 5:22). Hard times don't mean abandonment by God. Rather, the Spirit is with us, even helping us pray "with sighs too deep for words" (Romans 8:26).


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