By Mitch Marczewski
God the Spirit is not an “it” but a “He.” He is fully a person, not a person in the human sense but a holy person of the triune God. The triune nature of the Godhead gives us this understanding. The trinity is one God in three persons. God the Father is one person with specific roles and functions, Christ is a specific person with specific roles, and the Spirit is a specific person with specific roles. They are yet one person existing in perfect love and community.
1. The Spirit is God
The Holy Spirit is a full member of the Godhead. He shares all the attributes of God. He convicts us of sin, and is full of righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11). He is peace and joy (Romans 14:17), and is all truth (1 John 5:6). Isaiah 11:2 tells us of His wisdom, understanding, knowledge and strength. We find freedom through the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17), comfort in the Spirit (Acts 9:31), and unity in the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3). The Spirit acts of His own will (1 Corinthians 12:11). He is the giver of life (Job 33:4). He is eternal, omnipresent and possesses foreknowledge (Hebrews 9:14, Psalm 139:7, Acts 1:16) and He’s omniscient and sovereign (1 Corinthians 2:10-11; Acts 13:2).
2. The Spirit Has Functions
Although the Spirit has the attributes of God, He does perform specific functions. He does many, many things in the Christian life. The Spirit is said to have come to men (John 15:26; 1 Chronicles 12:18; Acts 19:6) and that we should pray for Him to come to us (Luke 11:14). We see that He falls on people (Acts 10:44) and is poured out upon us as believers (Proverbs 1:23; Ezekiel 39:29; Acts 2:17). His falling and
pouring out brings rest to our souls (Isaiah 11:2; 1 Peter 4:14). He is also well pleased with His resting work in us (Zephaniah 3:17) and abides where he rests (John 14:16). These functions are important in our lives because He enables us to do what we cannot do.
3. The Spirit Convicts
One of the most fundamental things that the Holy Spirit does is convict us of sin. He reveals our sinfulness to our hearts and renews our minds. He shows us what our real problem is. Jerry Bridges tells us, “The Bible says that my real problem is not psychological (low self-esteem or unmet needs), social (bad relationships and influences), historical (my past), or physiological (my body). They are significant
influences, but my real problem is spiritual (my straying heart and my need for Christ).” The Holy Spirit brings us to this realization. He convicts us of sin and leads us to repentance. Bridges goes on to say “an essential element in growing in grace is a willingness to look at what fuels the ungodly responses in your life. … Look at what you’ve allowed to become more attractive to you than the Lord… Exchange your sinful responses for godly ones. It is all by grace, but that does not mean we are passive.” The Spirit gives us the power to look inward and understand the idols of our hearts. He illuminates our sin and points us to the glorious grace that Christ gives us. Repentance is very important. Christian growth is warfare. It’s worth
asking the tough questions and doing the hard work of discovering what leads us away from this glorious God. Repentance is not true repentance unless it is specific and intelligent. Bridges says that we don’t sin in the abstract; we sin in concrete, specific ways. Honesty is very important but we need the Spirit to empower our honesty. Below, in the discussion questions, I’ve included some questions to examine our hearts and allow the Spirit to work. Being aware of our sin and repenting of is a blessing from God. Those who are not believers and are not empowered by the Spirit don’t have the blessing of knowing the depths of our sins and need for repentance. Only the Spirit can make that change in our hearts. We experience change through this honest repentance. Shame is not welcome in this process because we are identified with Christ, not with our sin. We have been forgiven so that we can boldly approach Christ honestly. This may be a difficult process and awkward at times, but it is a process that must be embraced and adopted so that we may become more like Jesus.