Holy Spirit Prepositions

By March 20, 2015Articles

A preposition is a word used in a sentence, usually before a noun or pronoun, to show its relation to another word, in that sentence. There are four prepositions in the bible that I want to expound on. These words, as you will see, connect the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the believer. These four words are, after, in, by and of. They are little words that can seem insignificant, but when you consider they connect the believer to the Spirit, they become very significant words to us. We will find all four of these words in the eighth chapter of Romans.
The first preposition we will start with is the word “after,” It is found in Romans 8:4-5. You will see this word four times. Two times it is preceding the word flesh, and two times it is preceding the word Spirit. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
So what does “after the Spirit” mean? To fall in place behind the leader, to follow the one in authority. Where the leader goes, so goes the follower. What the leader does, so does the follower. What the leader says, so says the follower. It is to recognize the Holy Spirit’s position as Lord, and our position as obedient servant. Too many Christians have this reversed. They think God is supposed to serve us and follow after us. In a military sense, the Holy Spirit is the General and we are the soldiers. We obey and follow His orders. To walk after the Spirit means to imitate the Spirit of Christ. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “he takes after his dad.” Well, it’s the same thing with our relationship with God. We are to take after Christ. We are to walk in the righteousness of Christ, walk in the holiness of Christ, have the compassion of Christ and have the love of Christ. We are to have the mind of Christ and imitate Him in all ways. We need to continually pursue God and let the Holy Spirit conform us believers into the image of Christ. Therefore, let us walk after the Spirit.
Our next preposition is the word “in.” “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9). Twenty six times in the New Testament you will find the phrase, “in the Spirit.”
What does “in the Spirit” mean? It indicates inclusion. To be a part of something, a part of the plan, being (in)volved (in)timately. Throughout the bible, God has always made known to His servants when He was about to do something. He told Abraham before He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He told Moses what He was going to do for the Nation of Israel. When we are “in the Spirit” we become a part of what He is doing. The word “in” also indicates a place or position. Just as the man who sits in the oval office is given the authority to be President of the USA, so does the man or woman who is in the Spirit have authority over hell. The word “in” also indicates a manner. The Holy Spirit is the manner we must walk in. We are to walk and talk in the same manner as Christ and to minister in the same manner as Christ did.
The third preposition is the word “by.” “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). Twelve times you will find this phrase “by the Spirit” in the New Testament.
What does “by the Spirit” mean? It means that the Holy Spirit is our source. He is our ability. It is through the help and the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do something and be what God would have us to be. The Holy Spirit goes above and beyond our natural ability and can do the impossible through us. If we are going to do the impossible, it will be by the Holy Spirit. “By the Spirit” also means to live according to God. It is by keeping the commandments of God, doing the will of God and living by God’s standards that we please Him. “By the Spirit” also implies that it is through the agency of the Spirit that we have authority. Our authority is in Christ. By whose permission do we go to the throne room of grace? It is by Christ’s permission. As a preacher, I was taught not to speak about God, but was to speak for Him. Who gave me that authority? It is only by the Spirit that I can do that. “By the Spirit” means we can speak on God’s behalf.
The final preposition is the word “of.” “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23). This phrase, “of the Spirit,” is found thirty times in the New Testament.
What does it mean to be “of the Spirit?” It means, coming from. The fruit of the Spirit that is displayed in our life, is of the workings of the Holy Spirit. Anything and everything in our life that is godly, has come from and is a result of the Holy Spirit that lives in us. “Of the Spirit,” also means possessed or ruled by. Our lives will reflect who we are ruled by. If we are ruled by the flesh, then our actions will be a representation of that flesh. If we are ruled by the Holy Spirit, then our actions will be indicative of that.
These four prepositions, “after, in, by and of” connect our life to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. These words show us just how much the Holy Spirit is involved in this life we call Christianity. As Christians, we must walk after the Spirt, be in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit and live a life that is of the Spirit. God didn’t save us, brush the dust off of us, stand us up and pat us on the back and say, “You are on your own.” He gave us the ministry of the Holy Spirit so we can give glory to God in every way. Let’s live such a life that is after, in, by and of the Spirit. Let the world see such a life. The life that is totally controlled by the Spirit of God, is a life the world has seen very little of.

Terry Fischer

About Terry Fischer

Terry Fischer has been the Pastor of The Church in Wisconsin since January of 2002. He has a heart to see the remnant church experience a greater revelation of Christ and to minister to our generation with a demonstration of Spirit and power.