Oftentimes in conservative circles, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is neglected or downplayed. This is due in part to some of the excess that is seen in charismatic circles. Too often we go to one extreme or the other. But the Holy Spirit is God, one of the persons of the Trinity, and is to be worshipped just as we worship God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son of God. What does the Bible tell us about the Holy Spirit?
Genesis 1:2 is the first mention of the Spirit – “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (ESV) All 3 persons of the Trinity were involved in the act of creation. The gospel of John tells us much about the Holy Spirit. In chapter 15 and verse 26 Jesus is talking to His disciples and tells them, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” The Holy Spirit bears witness of Christ. John 16 tells us more about what the Holy Spirit will do: “he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (verses 8-11). John 16:13-14 continues, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
In the Christian’s life, the Holy Spirit is involved in various ways:
- He dwells in us (Romans 8:9-11)
- He helps our weakness and intercedes for us (Romans 8:26)
- Upon salvation, He seals us, guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14)
- He is building us (community of believers) into a dwelling place for God (Ephesians 2:22)
- “He leads us and gives us assurance of our salvation” (from Strange Fire by John MacArthur) (Romans 8:14-16)
- He produces fruit in our lives of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)
- He sanctifies us (1 Peter 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
We will also look at the role of the Holy Spirit in salvation when we study soteriology.