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Monday, April 12, 2010

Who is the Holy Spirit and what's his job?

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is not a force as in Star Wars fame. We are first introduced to the Holy Spirit in the second verse of Genesis chapter one where we are told that the Spirit of God was “hovering over the waters”. The Holy Spirit was involved in creation. Another early reference to the Holy Spirit is found in Exodus where God tells Moses he has chosen Belzalel , filled him with the Spirit and gave him skill, ability, and knowledge of all kinds of crafts. Here we immediately discover that God’s Spirit is involved in enabling men to perform God’s purposes. The Holy Spirit also gave Moses his ability to lead the Israelites and then did the same for the seventy elders who assisted Moses with his duties. At the moment the Spirit came upon the elders, they began to prophesy (but only did so on one occasion). The Holy Spirit testified to God’s sovereign power. Each time the Holy Spirit is mentioned from this point on throughout the Old Testament, it is always said that the Holy Spirit “came upon” various individuals giving them power to perform specific purposes. The Holy Spirit does not appear to have dwelled within these individuals and only remained for a time until God’s purposes were fulfilled.

This is no longer the case. The Holy Spirit now resides within those who have placed their trust in Christ and his redeeming work on the cross.

Who is the Holy Spirit? He is the “Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power….” (Isa. 11:2). He is the “Spirit of truth” (John chapters 14-16). He is the “Spirit of grace.” (Heb. 10:29). He is the Spirit of glory (1 Peter 4:14). He is our comforter. He is our counselor. He is the giver of spiritual gifts. He produces spiritual fruit in our lives. He is our enabler. He opens our eyes and ears to God’s truth. He convicts us of sin. He empowers us to live our life in Christ and, in fact, brings us new life whereby we become “new creations.” (1 Cor. 5:17). More will be discussed later concerning the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.

Jesus’ disciples had been with him for three years during his earthly ministry. They heard the actual words of life spoken by this “Son of Man”. Their rabbi performed astonishing miracles before their very eyes, affirming his identity. Ancient prophecies were fulfilled through this man of God. Despite all of this, they had yet to fully grasp the full implications of the truth revealed to them by God. In Jesus’ final discourse to his disciples in the upper room he told them, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” John 15:26. Jesus then went on to explain that when he goes away, the Counselor will come. The Spirit had not yet been poured out into their hearts. Jesus then explained that the Holy Spirit will, “… convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:8. This is the first task of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. God grants repentance to us through the conviction by the Holy Spirit. (ref. 2 Tim. 2:25).

Without the Holy Spirit revealing our sin to us, we would never come to a place of receiving the righteousness of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who brings us to Christ. He is the essence of our new life in Christ and gives us rebirth. He is the One who “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13a) and, in fact, is our teacher. (referencing 1 John 2:27). The Holy Spirit anoints us with spiritual gifts and enables us to fulfill our purpose in God’s Kingdom. He is the power to accomplish the work for which Christ has appointed us. He is the One who keeps us attached to our Savior and enables us to overcome sin and live in righteousness. He is the one who produces “fruit” in our lives. He can also be grieved when we ignore his sway.

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