Everybody who has received eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, has the Holy Spirit: ”Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9). ”For all who are led by...
The Holy Spirit is one Person of the triune God, besides God the Father and God the Son. He is not just an impersonal force, but a fully divine Person.
The Holy Spirit is God
One text showing that the Holy Spirit is just as much “God” as the Father and the Son, is Matthew 28:19-20: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Other texts show that the Holy Spirit has divine attributes indeed:
- He is eternal (Hebrews 9:14)
- He is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10)
- He is omniscient, meaning that He knows everything (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)
- He is almighty (Luke 1:35-37)
- He is holy (Romans 1:4)
The work of the Holy Spirit
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God, but they have different roles. They perform these roles in full cooperation with the other members. In each operation, all three members are present.
The special task of the Holy Spirit is: applying what the Father has ordained and the Son has executed. The Holy Spirit is clearly at work throughout the world’s history; in creation, in the incarnation of the Son, in Christ’s resurrection, in the new birth of humans, in the inspiration and illumination of the Bible, and in transforming believers.
The Holy Spirit and the new birth
The primary life goal of humans is to know and love God, and to honor Him with their whole life. This goal is primarily worked out by the Holy Spirit.
The decisive turning point for becoming a Christian, is metaphorically called "the new birth" or "being born again". The Holy Spirit has a central role in that process: Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:5-8).
The Spirit transforms believers
The Holy Spirit is God, and yet He dwells in believers. Read for example Romans 8:9 - "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him."
The Spirit dwells in believers and teaches them the truth of God’s Word, so that they will be focused on Jesus and be sanctified: "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure" (1 John 3:2-3). This results in the fruit of the Spirit that proves God’s work in someone’s life. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Holy Spirit and the church
After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven, the apostles should spread the Gospel. But they could only do so when they were empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And still, the Holy Spirit transforms believers into witnesses of their faith, so that the Gospel is spread worldwide.
The Holy Spirit is also at work within churches. He gathers and protects them. But He also purifies the church, so that ultimately she will be holy and blameless and above reproach before God (Colossians 1:22). In all this, the Holy Spirit is not focused on himself, but on the glory of Jesus (see John 16:13-14).