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

Don Stewart :: What Are the Various Ways in Which the Holy Spirit Works in the Life of the Believer?

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What Are the Various Ways in Which the Holy Spirit Works in the Life of the Believer?

The Holy Spirit and Us – Question 2

The Scripture has a number of things to say about how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of those who believe in Jesus Christ. They include the following.

The Holy Spirit Gives Spiritual Life to Those Who Believe in Jesus

The Holy Spirit regenerates, or gives spiritual life, to those who trust Christ as Savior. Jesus said that a person must be born of the Spirit to enter God’s kingdom.

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

Spiritual life is found in Jesus alone.

Paul wrote to Titus about this work. He put it this way.

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5 ESV).

This regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit. It makes a person a child of God.

The Holy Spirit Makes Believers in Jesus Part of the Family of God

Those who have believed in Jesus Christ have been made right with God. They become part of Gods’ family through the work of God the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11 NIV).

We are now part of God’s family when we believe in Jesus. Indeed, we are His children part of His spiritual body.

The Holy Spirit Testifies That We Are Believers

The Holy Spirit bears witness, or testifies, to each believer that he or she is truly a child of God. Paul wrote to the Romans.

For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures— for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:16, 17 NLT).

Notice that we are not only God’s children we are also co-heirs with Jesus Christ. Everything that is His is also ours. The Holy Spirit confirms these truths to believers.

The Holy Spirit Sets the Believer Apart for Christian Service

Once a person becomes regenerated and receives new life in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit sets the believer apart from Christian service. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about this important work of the Spirit.

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV).

The believer is set apart so that he or she can now obey God.

Peter also wrote about this particular ministry of the Spirit. He put it this way.

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 1:2 NLT).

The believer is set apart, or purified for the work of the ministry.

The Holy Spirit Sets Believers Free from Sin and Death

As the believer lives their Christian life, the Holy Spirit sets them free from the law of sin and death. Paul wrote about this wonderful truth to the Romans.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death (Romans 8:2 NRSV).

Jesus Christ has set us free!

Paul also said that we too must separate ourselves from sin. This happens when we live by the leading of the Holy Spirit. He explained it in this manner.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God (Romans 8:14 NRSV).

As children of God we are led by the Spirit of God. Indeed, He is our Father and we are His sons and daughters.

The Apostle Paul emphasized the freedom that is in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. He explained it this way in his second letter to the Corinthians.

Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT)

Jesus sets us free from the bondage which sin brings.

The Holy Spirit Pours Out God’s Love in Our Hearts

The Apostle Paul said that the Holy Spirit pours out the love of God in the hearts of believers. He explained it this way.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5 ESV).

The love of God is actually poured out into our hearts through the Spirit of God.

Paul wrote to the Colossians how the Holy Spirit helps us love one another.

He [Epaphras] is the one who told us about the great love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you (Colossians 1:8 NLT).

Paul encouraged the Romans to pray for him. This was based on the love that the Holy Spirit had given them for the Apostle.

I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf (Romans 15:30 ESV).

God’s love is in our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Joy Is Produced by the Holy Spirit

When the Holy Spirit is working in the lives of believers then joy is produced. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians.

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:6 NRSV).

Even in persecution the Word of God was received with joy.

In the Book of Acts we read about how the disciples were filled with joy as well as with the Spirit of God. It says.

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52 ESV).

Those who believe in Jesus are filled with joy because of the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Produces Goodness, Peace and Joy

The Apostle Paul said that the work of the Holy Spirit in the kingdom of God produces a number of qualities. They include the following.

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17 NLT).

The kingdom of God which we presently experience consists of the qualities of goodness, peace as well as joy in the Holy Spirit..

The Holy Spirit Gives Power to the Believer

The Holy Spirit also gives power to the believer to live a Christian life. Paul wrote the following to the Ephesians.

That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being (Ephesians 3:16 ESV)

We live the Christian life through His power, not our own.

Paul emphasized this same truth to Timothy. He wrote.

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7 NRSV)

The Holy Spirit is the One who provides power for believers. It leads us to a life of love and self-discipline.

The Holy Spirit Unifies the Believers

One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to unify believers in Christ. Paul wrote about this unity produced by the Spirit in his letter to the Ephesians. He said.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called–one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:3-5 NIV).

All believers are unified on the central teachings of the Christian faith. However, there can still be unity among believers when there are differences of opinion on the areas that are non-essential. Unity does not mean every Christian believes exactly the same thing on all of the issues. Indeed, there are some matters where there is legitimate room for differing opinions. However, all of us are still united in Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Guides Believers into All Truth

The Holy Spirit guides believers into all truth. Jesus made a special promise about this to His disciples on the night that He was betrayed. We read His words.

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 (John 16:13 ESV).

He guides those who trust Jesus in “all truth.” This is important to realize. As Jesus claimed to be “the truth,” the Spirit of God, which represents Him, will lead us into all truth.

The Holy Spirit Gives the Believer Wisdom

Wisdom consists of knowing how to properly use the knowledge that we have. The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit giving wisdom to the believer. We read the following words of Paul to the Corinthian church.

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us (1 Corinthians 2:12 TNIV).

The believer in Jesus Christ is given wisdom through the work of God the Holy Spirit. It is certainly not the same as the “wisdom of the world.”

The Holy Spirit Reveals Deep Spiritual Truths

The Holy Spirit reveals the deep things of God to believers in Christ. Paul also wrote about this to the Corinthians.

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit, and his Spirit searches out everything and shows us even God’s deep secrets (1 Corinthians 2:9–10 NLT).

The deep things of God are spiritual truths. They are only known because the Holy Spirit reveals them. These truths are unknown to those who do not know Jesus Christ. Paul continued.

No one can know what anyone else is really thinking except that person alone, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can’t understand us at all. How could they? (1 Corinthians 2:11-15 NLT).

God has granted us this knowledge through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, through the working of the Holy Spirit, believers now have the mind of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote the following to Timothy.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 NRSV).

This is a wonderful promise; we have the mind of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit Guides in Prayer

We do not know how to pray or what to pray for. Thus, the Holy Spirit guides believers in prayer. Paul wrote to the Romans about this ministry of the Spirit.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26 ESV).

He helps us in our weaknesses.

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he encouraged them to pray in the Holy Spirit. We read the following words.

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18 NRSV).

This has the idea of praying by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we want Him to the One teaching us what to pray for.

Jude also encouraged believers to pray in the Holy Spirit. He said.

But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20 ESV).

The Holy Spirit gives us guidance when we pray so that we can pray according to the will of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit Encourages Believers to Give Thanks

Scripture says the Holy Spirit encourages believers to give thanks to the Lord. Paul wrote the following to the Ephesians.

Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20 God’s Word).

Thankfulness comes as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Holy Spirit Inspires True Worship

The Holy Spirit inspires true worship of the Lord in the heart of the believer. Paul wrote the following words.

For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3 NKJV).

True worship is led by God the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Comforts the Believer

In the Book of Acts, we read about how the Holy Spirit comforted the believers. Scripture says.

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied (Acts 9:31 ESV).

We can receive comfort from the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Produces Spiritual Fruit in Their Lives

The Holy Spirit produces spiritual fruit in the lives of believers in Christ. They include the following graces.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law (Galatians 5:22,23 NLT).

These things are a result of the work of the Holy Spirit – we cannot bring them about in our lives by our own effort. Indeed, He must bring them about.

The Holy Spirit Gives Power to Relate God’s Truth to Others

The Holy Spirit gives power to relate the truth of God to others. Jesus gave this promise to His disciples right before He ascended into heaven. He said.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8 NIV)

The Apostle Paul emphasized to the Corinthians that his power came from the Holy Spirit – not his own clever words. He wrote the following testimony of his own inadequacies.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (1 Corinthians 2:1-4 ESV).

It was the Spirit of God which gave power to Paul. To the church at Thessalonica Paul emphasized that the word of the Holy Spirit are powerful words – they give assurance to the believer.

For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know that the way we lived among you was further proof of the truth of our message (1 Thessalonians 1:5 NLT).

Assurance is given to believers by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit May Forbid Believers to Do Something

It is possible that the Holy Spirit will stop the believer from doing something that they are planning. It says in the Book of Acts the Holy Spirit stopped the preaching of the gospel in Asia. We read the following.

They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them (Acts 16:6, 7 NRSV).

For reasons, known only to God, He sometimes stops believers from doing something they have planned to do. No matter what our plans may be, the Lord has better plans.

The Holy Spirit Helps Believers with Spiritual Opposition

When spiritual opposition arises, the Holy Spirit is there to help believers. The Bible records that the Holy Spirit gave power and authority to Paul to deal with a sorcerer. We read about this in an episode in the Book of Acts. It reads as follows.

Elymas, whose name means astrologer, opposed them and tried to distort the meaning of the faith so that the governor wouldn’t believe. But Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He stared at Elymas and said, “You are full of dirty tricks and schemes, you son of the devil! You hate everything that has God’s approval. Quit trying to distort the truth about the way the Lord wants people to live. The Lord is against you now. For a while you will be blind, unable to see the light of day.” Suddenly, Elymas couldn’t see a thing. He tried to find people to lead him (Acts 13:8-11 God’s Word).

On this occasion, Paul, who was filled with the Spirit of God, pronounced judgment on the sorcerer.

Jesus said the power of the Holy Spirit was the means by which He cast out demons. We read His words

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you (Matthew 12:28 NRSV).

The kingdom of God has indeed arrived! The Holy Spirit has made that evident.

Paul told the Ephesians what they should do when spiritual opposition came; put on the armor of God.

Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17 NRSV).

The Holy Spirit helps us when we are fighting spiritual battles.

The Holy Spirit Makes Alive Our Mortal Body

The Holy Spirit makes alive the mortal bodies of believers. Paul wrote the following words to the Romans.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11 ESV).

He will raise us up from the dead. This is another ministry of the Spirit of God. Consequently, we find the Holy Spirit of God doing a number of great works in the life of a believer.

Summary – Question 2
What Are the Various Ways in Which the Holy Spirit Works in the Life of the Believer?

When a person becomes a believer in Jesus Christ, a Christian, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit does a number of things in the life of that believer. They include the following

First, the Holy Spirit gives spiritual life, or regenerates the believer. At that moment of conversion, He begins to dwell with that person. The good news is that He never leaves us.

The Holy Spirit not only makes that person part of God’s family He also confirms that we belong to the Lord. In fact, the Spirit of God testifies to our hearts that we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ. What belongs to Him also belongs to us.

The Spirit then begins to set the believer apart in their Christian life. This is also known as sanctification. In doing so, the Spirit of God sets us free from sin and death. This is a process which takes place the entire time of our Christian experience.

The Holy Spirit also pours out the love of God in our hearts. He produces that wonderful feeling of joy. In fact, Paul characterized the kingdom of God as righteousness, peace, and joy.

The Spirit of God also gives the believer power to serve the Lord. He unifies believers in the church – the body of Christ. This does not mean that we agree on everything – only that we all agree on the essentials.

Jesus promised that the Spirit of God would guide believers into all truth. In fact, He is called the “Spirit of Truth.” This means that we can trust His leadership in our lives. The Spirit of God will indeed show what is best for us. He also gives us wisdom, when necessary. Indeed, He takes the knowledge we have and teaches us how to rightly apply it.

The Spirit of God guides believers in their prayer life. This is an important ministry of His because we do not know how to pray as we should. God’s Spirit helps us in this.

He also encourages us to have a thankful heart. Indeed, we are told to give thanks for all things in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit prompts us to do this..

True worship is something that only the Holy Spirit can bring about. In fact, we are told that we are to worship the Lord “in spirit” and “in truth.”

It is also the job of the Holy Spirit to comfort the believer when they are hurting. He brings that needed comfort to us.

One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to give believers the ability to understand God’s truth. He illuminates the teachings of Scripture so that we can understand them and then apply them to our lives.

At times, the Holy Spirit may stop the Christian from doing something they had planned. This is one of the many ways in which He protects us.

When spiritual opposition comes, it is the Holy Spirit that helps the believer. He protects those who belong to Jesus Christ.

Finally, we are told that the Spirit of God will make alive our mortal bodies. He, along with the other members of the Holy Trinity, will raise us from the dead.

In sum, we find that the Spirit of God does a number of wonderful things in the lives of those who know Christ as their Savior. It is helpful when we understand what these things are and how they apply to our lives.

What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit toward Human Beings? ← Prior Section
What Does It Mean to Be "Born of the Spirit?" Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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