We serve a triune God: three distinct persons, yet one God. I don’t deny that it is a difficult concept for we mere mortals to understand fully, but it is the truth. It is how God has revealed Himself in Scripture. Of the three members of the God-head, I believe that the Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood in our day. In this essay, I would like to take a look at what the ministry of the Holy Spirit entails during the church age (Pentecost until the return of the Lord).
He Bears Witness of the Son
The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to bear witness of Jesus “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me (John 15:26). Albeit is not perfect, one way of thinking of the Holy Spirit’s role is of one that is ‘behind the scenes’. Not in a less than sense, as He is fully God and fully equal with the Father and the Son. He is not less important. Rather, like the verse I shared previously from John says, the Holy Spirit’s role is to point to the Son; to bear witness about Jesus. He is never drawing focus to Himself, but always pointing us toward the Lord.
He is the Deposit of Guarantee for Salvation
He is the guarantor of our salvation. When a person is born again (through the Spirit; Titus 3:5) they are indwelt with the Holy Spirit (permanently) as a deposit or surety of their future inheritance of eternal life. Ephesians 1:14 “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” For example, when you buy a house you put down earnest money (an agreed upon sum) that shows your intent to follow through with the purchase. It is just the first installment of the final promised amount. Each believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit, the initial deposit that guarantees our inheritance as fellow heirs of Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:22 confirms this: “and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”( see also Romans 8:9) The Holy Spirit is at work through indwelling and sealing in the perseverance of the saints. It is not a pay-per-sin-plan folks. Once you are saved, you do not become unsaved.*** Thus the seal. Seals retain their guaranteeing power by not being broken. Since God is the guarantor, and it is dependant upon Him, and since He is not going to break His own seal and work against Himself, our salvation is sure. Praise the Lord!
He Teaches and Leads Into All Truth
The Holy Spirit is responsible for leading us into truth, and revealing truth to us. John 14:26 tells us “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” This included the inspiration/divine authorship of the Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21) and also applies to each and every believer personally, as they read the Bible. This role is so essential and crucial to the life of the believer because without the aid of the Holy Spirit we could not understand the scriptures and therefore could not know God (Ephesians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:14). It is through the study of the scriptures that we grow in sanctification, becoming more like Christ.
He Produces Fruit, & Gives Spiritual Gifts
Galatians 5:22-23 says that “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The Holy Spirit, through His ministry of sanctification through opening the Scriptures to us, molds our characters to be more like Christ and produces fruit in us. This production of fruit is evidence of one’s salvation.
He is responsible for giving believers their spiritual gifts. “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is vast. I have hit the highlights in this essay, so to speak, but there is not time nor space enough to cover everything that He does. I will link to some more extensive articles at the bottom of this essay for your further study. Lord willing, tomorrow I will take up part 2 in our study of the Holy Spirit, contrasting what we learned today with common misconceptions of the role and manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
Soli Deo Gloria!
***in reference to saved/unsaved: this is widely misunderstood in the church, but the scriptures are clear. If someone who previously claimed the faith denies the faith, they are simply revealing they were never of the faith, per 1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
Holy Spirit by CARM
Ministry of the Holy Spirit by Grace to You
Hello Holy Spirit by Elizabeth Prata
How Can I Be Filled With the Holy Spirit? by gotquestions