Those who believe the Bible accept the triune nature of God sometimes called the Godhead or the Trinity. The three persons described as possessing the divine essence in scripture are God the Father (Jn. 1:1), Jesus Christ the Son of God (Col. 2:9), and the Holy Spirit (Heb. 9:14). However, the Holy Spirit often seems to be treated differently than the first two. There are two extremes often adopted that should be avoided when it comes to the Holy Spirit. One is that Christianity is all about the Holy Spirit and very little about Jesus and God the Father. Those who are guilty of this make it as if the Holy Spirit is off on His own working and doing things that may be inconsistent with what we know of the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit came, not to speak of Himself, but to testify of Jesus Christ, guide the apostles into all truth, and make things clear and readily available for those who would be His witnesses (Jn. 14:17, 16:13-14). The second error concerning the Holy Spirit that must be avoided is the failure to mention Him at all. He is God after all (cf. Acts 5:3-4). Sometimes, in our efforts to be conservative and avoid the error of those who blame every religious act on the Holy Spirit, we can be guilty of neglecting Him and His work altogether.
There are some things that the Holy Spirit did at one time and He no longer does like give miraculous abilities (cf. 1 Cor. 13:8-10). Further, there are things the Holy Spirit has never done like make individuals do things against their will (1 Cor. 14:32) or say things contrary to the will of God (Eph. 3:3-5). In this article, I want to focus on four things that the Holy Spirit is doing today.
Dwelling in Christians
I know this can be controversial, but it doesn’t have to be. I know faithful Christians who believe that the Holy Spirit dwells in God’s people only through the word. I believe that the Holy Spirit dwells literally within every Christian in a non-miraculous fashion. On the day of Pentecost when the gospel was preached, sinners were told to be baptized to have their sins forgiven and the indwelling of the Spirit would follow (Acts 2:38). The promise of the indwelling Spirit was promised not only to this first audience on Pentecost but to all those who the Lord would call (Acts 2:39; 2 Thess. 2:14). Peter affirmed that God gives the Holy Spirit to all who obey God (Acts 5:32). God has sent the Spirit into our hearts as his children so that we can cry, Abba, Father (Gal. 4:6). Today, the Holy Spirit of God dwells in Christians. This should be comforting and convicting.
Helping us Pray & Interceding for us
Christians are told to pray incessantly (1 Thess. 5:17). However, if you’re like me, there are times when your heart is full but your mouth is empty. There are times when the Christian’s heart is so heavy with cares and concerns that, though he or she knows they must go to God, the way in which to approach Him with these things can be difficult to grasp. Aren’t you glad that God does not require us to have the oratory skills of Winston Churchill to approach Him in prayer? In anticipation of the times when we would not know what to say or how to verbally frame our petition, God set up a great arrangement. When we do not know what to say, the Holy Spirit helps us—literally helps our weakness (Rom. 8:26).
The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us and is a perfect candidate to do so, for He knows what is in our hearts as well as how to properly communicate with our Father since He is Himself God (Rom. 8:27). If more Christians realized they were not bowing in prayer alone, I think this would revolutionize their prayer lives, or at least encourage them to pray more. We pray to our heavenly Father, in the name of His Son who died for us, with the help of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:13-14; 1 Jn. 5:14). No one has it any better.
Sanctifying and Sealing Us
Christians are to live holy lives and be set apart from the world (1 Pet. 1:15-16), yet we must never overlook the fact that this is done through the Spirit (1 Pet. 1:2). When we adhere to the scriptures that are inspired by the Holy Spirit, we are being set aside for God’s special use. Through the Spirit’s work in bringing us the revelation of God, we can be God’s special people as we comply with what He has revealed. The Holy Spirit is also mentioned as the seal, or down payment, on the Christian’s salvation. How do you know that at the end of time God won’t change his mind about saving you? Perhaps because we know that God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2).
Another reason we can be sure is the fact that God has put a down payment on us as proof that he will deliver eternal life at the appropriate time (2 Cor. 1:20-22). The Holy Spirit is a guarantee that God will not default on His promise to redeem us (2 Cor. 5:5). Christians have no outward mark beside their godly life by which to show others that they have been sealed, but rest assured that God sees and knows that we are His and will keep His promise and His Holy Spirit as a seal is the proof (2 Tim. 2:19).
Convicting the World
Jesus promised that when the Spirit came He would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come (Jn. 16:7-11). The Holy Spirit does this today through His word. When people hear the word of God, they are cut to the heart concerning their sins (Acts 2:36-37). Righteousness is shown as people learn how to be made right with God through the revealed gospel message (Rom. 1:16-17). Judgment to come is promised in almost every book of the New Testament (Acts 17:30-31; Heb. 9:27). The Holy Spirit still convicts people of these three truths as His words once revealed are repeated today.
I am not prepared to get on a Holy Spirit hobby horse, but neither do I think we should neglect Him because others have misunderstood His nature, work, and purpose. The Holy Spirit is as much involved in the redemption process as God the Father and God the Son and should not be neglected. There are things blamed on Him that he has never done, and there are things He has always done and continues to do for which He rarely receives recognition. Christians are to be filled with the Spirit as we digest and obey His teachings (Eph. 5:18). Those who deny the presence of the Holy Spirit do not belong to God (Rom. 8:9). Let’s study what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, after all, it is through His work that we have the Bible. Appreciate what He still does today.