Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:5)
Every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul said, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9). The Spirit came to you the first time when you believed in the blood-bought promises of God. And the Spirit keeps on coming, and keeps on working, by this same means.
So Paul asks, rhetorically in Galatians 3:5, “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” Answer: “By hearing with faith.”
Therefore, the Spirit came the first time, and the Spirit keeps on being supplied, through the channel of faith. Whatever he accomplishes in and through us is by faith.
If you are like me, you may have strong longings from time to time for the mighty working of the Holy Spirit in your life. Perhaps you cry out to God for the outpouring of the Spirit in your life or in your family or church or city. Such cries are right and good. Jesus said, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).
But what I have found most often in my own life is the failure to open myself to the full measure of the Spirit’s work by believing the specific promises of God. I don’t mean merely the promise that the Spirit will come when we ask. I mean all the other precious promises that are not directly about the Spirit but, perhaps, about God’s provision for my future — for example, “My God will supply every need of yours” (Philippians 4:19). God’s Spirit is supplied in an ongoing and powerful way precisely through specific acts of faith in specific promises for specific situations. Do I trust him right now to do what he has promised to do?
This is what is missing in the experience of so many Christians as they seek the power of the Spirit in their lives. The Spirit is supplied to us “by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5) — not just faith in one or two promises about the Spirit himself, but about all the soul-satisfying presence of God in our future to do for us, and be for us, whatever we need.