The Holy Spirit is a person; described as “He” in the new testament, although acting often as a gentle nursemaid. We are told by Jesus that the Holy Spirit can now, after the atonement and propitiation, live within us.
This indwelling Spirit is sent to us at conversion. It is part of our adoption and salvation. The indwelling Spirit means that God is within us. This allows us a capacity to commune with God. See also The Biblical Basis for the Indwelling Spirit.
We are told that under the new covenant “all shall know me, from the least to the greatest”, and that we will be “given hearts of flesh to replace hearts of stone”. We can know God, love God, desire God, understand God, conquer sin, worship God, and obey God because He lives within us.
The Holy Spirit within us is variously described as a teacher, comforter, advocate, guide, intercessor, counselor, unction, anointing, memory assistant, wisdom of God, mind of God, lamp and light, a searcher who knows our thoughts and searches our motives, a convictor, a judge, Holy and righteous, God Himself. God Himself, living within us as a friend.
This new testament inward relationship with God is contrasted with the old testament temple religion. A temple religion was needed prior to the messiah because the holiness of God, under the law, required a distance between humans and God.
Now clearly, this new testament inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit is “the gift of God” to us in Christ. It is part of the package. The Holy Spirit is automatically given to us as a gift, independent of our worth, action, intentions, responses or receptivity. This is the imputed gift of God.
There is confusion in Christianity about the Holy Spirit that stems in large measure from confounding 4 aspects of the Holy Spirit’s work in believers: 1. The Indwelling Spirit, 2. The Baptism by the Holy Spirit (that is, being baptized into Christ at the time of conversion), 3. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit (an event subsequent to conversion and being baptized by the Holy Spirit) and 4, being filled with the Spirit. For more information on the Indwelling Spirit see The Biblical Basis for the Indwelling Spirit. For more information on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit see The Pentecostal/Charismatic Teachings on the Holy Spirit.
It is often said that since God is given to us as a gift to live within us, independent of our good works, then our relationship to Him within us must be independent of our works. This is not true. Even though the indwelling Spirit is a gift, our relationship is partly up to us. Through study, worship, fellowship, communion, prayer and obedience we come to know this Spirit within us. For example Jesus says (John 14): “He that has my commandments and keeps them loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my father and myself and we will manifest ourselves to him by coming to him (her) and living inside him”. This theme is echoed in many places where is talks of “seeking will produce finding”, “drawing near”, and “waiting”. Blessed are the pure of heart because they shall see God.
One of the main goals and benefits of contemplation is seeing God. Silence and solitude and monastic spiritual disciplines done in response to an indwelling Spirit produces an immeasurably valuable relationship with God. He who looses his life will find it. He will find it within.