It is my opinion that evangelicalism needs a rediscovery of the Holy Spirit. It is my inclination that many people in the body of Christ outside of Charismatic and Pentecostal circles are afraid of the Holy Spirit. He appears to them to be more of an “it” than the third person of the Trinity. Just as God the Father and God the Son have major roles in our salvation, so does the Holy Spirit. What’s the big deal about the Holy Spirit? What does He do for me? Note several ways that the Holy Spirit works in the life of a believer.
The Holy Spirit brought us to Christ in conversion.
No Holy Spirit, no conversion. The Bible is clear that no man seeks after God (Romans 3:11-12) therefore no one desires to know Christ as Savior. Paul trusted in the power of the Holy Spirit during his preaching to convict people of sin and bring them to Christ (1 Corinthians 2:4). He told the church at Thessalonica, “ For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
He instructed Titus to remember that we were not saved “ by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5). Without the Holy Spirit, you would not know Jesus Christ as your Savior. God in His providence drew you to Himself and convicted you of your sin through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. When is the last time that you thanked God that He drew you to Himself with chords of love by the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit unites us to Christ as a part of our conversion.
I am ashamed to admit that I was a Pastor serving my first church when I really understood the doctrine of our union to Christ. The major passage that explains this truth is Romans 6:1-14. When we are saved, we become Spiritually united to Christ because of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul instructed the Romans, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Romans 6:11-12). Do you know that you can say “no” to sin? I fear that many Christians do not understand that because of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives that they can be victorious over sin. Too many Christians live as victims to their sin instead of in obedience over sin.
Romans 8:9-11 makes clear that Christ lives in us through His Spirit. Romans 8:14-16 says we recognize our adoption through His Spirit. Our adoption is part of being united to Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that baptizes us into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.) Because God’s Spirit dwells in me I am supernaturally equipped to live a life of obedience that brings glory to God. The Holy Spirit is God’s agent to equip me.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to grow in Christ-likeness.
After salvation comes sanctification. Whereas salvation is an instantaneous event (Romans 5:1), sanctification is a process. In salvation I am saved immediately from the penalty of sin, but in sanctification I am being saved from the power of sin. The Holy Spirit first sets us apart for holiness in salvation (1 Peter 1:2: elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.)
Do you appreciate that God has set you apart for His own special purpose? Do you understand that it is the Holy Spirit who has set you apart? The essence of holiness is being set apart for God. Sanctification means I am growing in personal holiness, or growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Part of growing in Christ-likeness is producing fruit of righteousness (Philippians 1:11), or righteous actions. This is impossible apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Paul calls it the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” It is impossible for me to produce these characteristics in my life without the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. He can produce all of these things in my life.
The Holy Spirit gives you a Spiritual gift to be used in service to God.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11). The Holy Spirit gives believers a Spiritual gift at His own discretion. When we were baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit at our conversion He made us a part of the body (1 Corinthians 12:13-14: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.)
Spiritual gifts create diversity within the body of Christ, however it is through this diversity that unity is achieved (1 Corinthians 12:19-20: And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.)
There are three main lists of Spiritual gifts in the Bible (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30 , Ephesians 4:11). The most important factor is that all three lists are different. Apparently, Paul did not think it important that each church have all the gifts he listed. I am increasingly aware that there are Christians who do not know what Spiritual gifts are, nor do they know what their gift is. Do you know what Spiritual gift that the Holy Spirit has bestowed on you? If so, are you using your gift in service to Jesus?
How can I best be “in tune” with the Holy Spirit in my life? Paul gives the answer to this question in Ephesians 5:18: And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. The verb “but be filled” is a command. God commands that all Christians live (walk) in the power of the Spirit. The verb is also plural which means it is for all believers, not just the “super Spiritual.”
The verb is also the present tense which indicates an on-going filling of the Spirit. We are baptized by the Spirit once, but there are on-going repetitive fillings of the Spirit. Seek God’s filling of the Holy Spirit through a life of prayer and complete obedience. The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30) and quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19) in your life.
Be familiar with the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. The Son has sent the Spirit to be your guide, comforter and encourager. You should welcome the work of the Spirit in your life. He really is a “big deal!”