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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit and Us

Don Stewart :: What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit toward Human Beings?

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What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit toward Human Beings?

The Holy Spirit and Us – Question 1

The Holy Spirit works with all human beings – both the saved and the lost. The Bible says He has the following ministry toward humankind.

1. There Is General Conviction of Sin toward All Unbelievers

First, there is the general conviction of sin toward everyone. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus said the following to His disciples about the future work of the Spirit.

And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, 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 (John 16:8-11 ESV).

The Holy Spirit works in the lives of unbelievers by convicting them of their sin and showing them their need for a Savior. This is the only work that He does in the life of the unbeliever.

Until a person knows Jesus Christ as their Savior the Holy Spirit does not lead or guide them. The guidance of the Holy Spirit is only something that Christians experience.

2. The Holy Spirit Regenerates Those Who Respond to the Gospel

Those who respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit become regenerate or “born again.” Jesus spoke of the necessity of this to the religious leader Nicodemus.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again” (John 3:3 TNIV).

The new birth is a work of the Spirit of God – it is not a human work. Jesus also said to Nicodemus.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5 TNIV).

Thus, it is a spiritual rebirth which is necessary for a person to have to enter the kingdom of heaven.

3. He Indwells Those Who Believe in Jesus

When a person trusts Jesus Christ as Savior, that person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the Ephesians.

The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God (Ephesians 1:14 NLT).

The Holy Spirit is given as a deposit, or guarantee, that God will save that person from their sins. The Holy Spirit remains with the believer throughout their entire life.

4. He Sets Apart Believers for the Service of Christ

The Holy Spirit then “sets apart” or “makes holy” believers for Christian service. Simon Peter began his first letter by emphasizing the following truth.

This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the lands of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father chose you long ago, and the Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Jesus Christ and are cleansed by his blood. May you have more and more of God’s special favor and wonderful peace (1 Peter 1:1-2 NLT).

The remainder of the time the believer is on the earth the Holy Spirit sets them apart to do the work of the ministry.

5. The Holy Spirit Is God’s Active Presence

We can sum up by saying that the work of the Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in our world. He works with both believers and unbelievers. He convicts believers of their need for a Savior and guides the believers in their relationship with Jesus Christ. He is indeed busy as work.

Summary – Question 1
What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit toward Human Beings?

With respect to human experience the Holy Spirit of God operates in the following ways.

First, He convicts all unbelievers of their sin by informing them of their need of a Savior. This is the only work He performs in the lives of unbelievers. Indeed, He does not lead them or guide them. His ministry is to reveal to them their need for Jesus Christ.

The Spirit of God then regenerates those who respond in faith to His work or conviction of sin. The Bible calls this being “born again” or regenerated. It is a spiritual rebirth. Jesus said that nobody would be able to enter the kingdom of heaven without being born again.

The Holy Spirit indwells those who are regenerated. He enters the lives of believers and remains here during their entire life. He is the guarantee that the person will eventually be in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Believers are also set apart, or sanctified, by the Holy Spirit after they trust Christ. This is a lifelong process. We are being made more Christlike day by day through the work of the Spirit of God.

Simply stated, the Holy Spirit is God’s active presence in the world. He is busy at work doing what needs to be done to advance the kingdom of God.

How the Holy Spirit Works with Each Human Being (Introduction) ← Prior Section
What Are the Various Ways in Which the Holy Spirit Works in the Life of the Believer? Next Section →
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