Must a Christian Have the Holy Spirit?

Rev Michael Anokye June 19th 2024

The Holy Spirit’s presence in a Christian’s life is not just a mere component but a transformative force that has the power to fundamentally shape and alter the Christian life and experience. The question of whether a Christian needs the Holy Spirit delves into the very essence of being a follower of Christ and the profound, life-altering power of the Holy Spirit in Christians’ lives. The New Testament, with its clear and compelling evidence, underscores the indispensability of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. It is through several crucial passages that this transformative necessity is highlighted:

Jesus’ Promise of the Holy Spirit: In a moment of profound assurance, Jesus promised His disciples they would receive the Holy Spirit. In John 14:16-17, Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” This promise not only indicates, but assures us that the Holy Spirit is essential to the Christian life.

Pentecost and the Early Church: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2) marks the Church’s birth and the disciples’ empowerment for ministry. Peter’s sermon on that day emphasises that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for all who repent and are baptised in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39)

Pauline Theology: The Apostle Paul extensively discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. In Romans 8:9, Paul states, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” This passage explicitly connects having the Holy Spirit as the unique and essential sign of being a Christian. 

The Holy Spirit’s presence in a Christian’s life is not an optional addition but a defining characteristic of a true Christian identity. Several Bible verses highlight this significance:

Regeneration and New Birth: The Holy Spirit is essential for regeneration or being born again. Jesus explains to Nicodemus that one must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5-6). This new birth by the Spirit makes a person a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit indwells believers, making our bodies the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). This indwelling presence signifies a profound and personal relationship with God, whereby the believer is continually guided, comforted, and transformed by the Spirit.

Sanctification: The process of sanctification, or becoming more like Christ, is driven by the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in Galatians 5:16-25 about living by the Spirit and producing the fruit of the Spirit, which are indicators of a life transformed and sanctified by the Spirit’s work.

Understanding the necessity of the Holy Spirit for a Christian has practical implications for daily living and spiritual growth:

Assurance of Salvation: The presence of the Holy Spirit assures believers of their salvation. Romans 8:16 states, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” This inner witness of the Spirit assures believers of their identity in Christ.

Empowerment for Service: The Holy Spirit empowers Christians for service and ministry. Spiritual gifts, given by the Holy Spirit, enable believers to serve the body of Christ and witness to the world effectively (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

Guidance and Wisdom: The Holy Spirit guides believers into all truth and provides wisdom for living. Jesus promised that the Spirit would teach us all things and remind us of everything He had said (John 14:26). This ongoing guidance is crucial for making decisions and navigating the complexities of life.

Spiritual Growth: The Holy Spirit cultivates spiritual growth by producing Christlike character in believers. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are qualities that reflect the nature of Christ and are developed through the Spirit’s work in a believer’s life.


In conclusion, the Holy Spirit is helpful to our Christian life and an essential presence of God that defines and empowers us. Every Christian must recognise and embrace the Holy Spirit’s presence for a vibrant and compelling Christian life aligned with God’s purposes and empowered by His Holy Spirit.

Questions and Answers: Must a Christian Have the Holy Spirit?

1. What does it mean for a Christian to have the Holy Spirit?

-Having the Holy Spirit means that the Spirit of God dwells within a believer, guiding, empowering, and transforming them to live according to God’s will. The Holy Spirit’s presence is marked by inner assurance, spiritual gifts, and the production of spiritual fruit that reflects Christlike character.

2. Is it possible to be a faithful Christian without the Holy Spirit?

-According to the New Testament, it is not possible to be a true Christian without the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 states, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” The Holy Spirit’s presence is essential for authentic Christian identity and spiritual life.

3. How does one receive the Holy Spirit?

-A person receives the Holy Spirit upon believing in Jesus Christ and accepting Him as Lord and Savior. Acts 2:38 indicates that the gift of the Holy Spirit accompanies repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Additionally, Ephesians 1:13-14 explains that believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit upon hearing and believing the gospel.

4. What are the signs that a person has the Holy Spirit?

-Signs that a person has the Holy Spirit include the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, as per Galatians 5:22-23), the presence of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), and an inner witness or assurance of being a child of God (Romans 8:16).

5. Why is the Holy Spirit essential for spiritual growth?

-The Holy Spirit is essential for spiritual growth because He regenerates and renews believers (Titus 3:5), guides them into all truth (John 16:13), empowers them to overcome sin and live holy lives (Romans 8:13-14), and produces Christlike character within them (Galatians 5:22-23). Without the Spirit, true transformation and growth in Christlikeness are impossible.

6. What role does the Holy Spirit play in a believer’s daily life?

-In a believer’s daily life, the Holy Spirit provides guidance, comfort, and wisdom (John 14:26), helps in prayer (Romans 8:26-27), empowers for witness and service (Acts 1:8), and works to sanctify and transform the believer into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

7. How does the Holy Spirit contribute to the unity and mission of the church?

The Holy Spirit fosters unity within the church by binding believers together in love and peace (Ephesians 4:3). The Spirit also equips believers with diverse spiritual gifts for service (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) and empowers the church to fulfil its mission of making disciples of all nations (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20).

8. Can a Christian lose the Holy Spirit?

The New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit seals believers for the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14), indicating a secure relationship with God. However, believers are admonished not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and to remain faithful, suggesting that a continued, obedient relationship with the Spirit is essential for ongoing spiritual vitality.

9. What does the Holy Spirit do during worship?

During worship, the Holy Spirit helps believers to connect with God truly, leading them in genuine worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). The Spirit inspires and energises worship, bringing about a more profound sense of God’s presence, and facilitates the expression of spiritual gifts that edify the church (1 Corinthians 14:26).

10. How should a Christian cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit?

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