The Role of the Spirit

"The Holy Spirit enables us to live in a way that we could never manage on our own. He enables us to live redemptively, in strength, in wisdom, and to be able to respond to the time at hand. All without knowing everything that’s going to happen tomorrow." - Tim Chaddick

As a part of the eternal Trinity, the Holy Spirit has been involved in the world from before it even began. The Old Testament is rife with stories and examples of the Holy Spirit at work. The Spirit was present at creation (Genesis 1:2). He was seen as striving with the sin of mankind (Genesis 6). He’s seen as the source of life (Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30), our teacher and guide (Nehemiah 9:20; 9:30), and the manifestation of God’s presence (Haggai 2:4-5). He empowered the prophets (Deut. 34:9; Isaiah 48:16-17; Ezekiel 2:1-3), and was said to empower the future Messiah (Isaiah 61). Disobedience to God in the Old Testament was to disobey His Spirit (Psalm 106.33; Zechariah 7:11- 12). Throughout the Old Testament, we see God’s initiative in giving the Spirit to men. He gave without merit and also He manifested Himself in different ways depending on the person. The Holy Spirit is intensely personal and unique in His interactions with men and women. Albeit, the Spirit’s work was different in the Old Testament than in the New, there are underlying themes and core goals that the Spirit accomplished in both Testaments. We are going to look at four ways the Spirit works in both the New and Old Testament.

1. Salvation to every tribe (John 3:16; 16:8-11)

The Holy Spirit is the agent by which our hearts are renewed and given salvation. John is clear that the Spirit is the one who regenerates hearts and opens our eyes to understand our inability to reconcile with God. He is the one who convicts of sin and draws us to repentance and faith. This salvation, however, is not reserved for a single tribe or nation. It wasn’t solely a salvation for Israel. It’s a salvation that knows no race or ethnicity. Paul was eloquent in his letter to the Ephesians about the beauty of the mystery of Christ, where there is no dividing wall between the Jews and Gentiles. In Galatians, he reinforces that the Holy Spirit brings salvation to men and women, slaves and free, and Jew and Greek. One of the Holy Spirit’s primary roles is to convict and bring to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is the agent by which our hearts are renewed and given salvation.

2. Life (John 6:63; 7:37-39)

The Spirit is the One who brings life. Ezekiel saw this first hand when He spoke to the valley of dry bones. In much the same way, the Holy Spirit brings life to the dry bones of our dead hearts. We once were dead in sin and alone in darkness, yet the Holy Spirit brought new life, and in His lovingkindness raised us up with Christ and made us righteous. Often times we think that we have life in our sin. It makes us feel good or gives us temporary satisfaction. Our flesh tends to be drawn to the things of this world rather than the things of God. The Spirit is the one who overcomes our fleshly longings and gives us life instead of death. The paradox of life in Christ is that He calls us first to die so that we may live. Romans 6 makes it clear that we must die to our selves so that the Spirit can bring us back to life.

The paradox of life in Christ is that He calls us first to die so that we may live.

3. Teaching and Guiding (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:3; 16:15)

The Holy Spirit is our teacher and our guide. Once we are brought back to life, the Spirit is with us to bring to completion what Christ started. The Spirit uniquely teaches and guides us. He walks with us through life. He renews our minds and hearts as we live our lives. He illuminates the Bible to us. He gives us the desire to pray and to read and to learn. He nudges us in our daily lives to glorify God rather than ourselves. He teaches us in convicting us of our sin. He leads us to repentance and to wholeness. The Holy Spirit makes us more and more like Jesus day-by-day, hour-by-hour and minute- by-minute. Our pursuit of Christlikeness is empowered by the Holy Spirit. We must learn to be sensitive to His teaching and guiding instead of relying on our own strength and wisdom.

Our knowledge of God and what He has done for us should not simply be an intellectual exercise. Knowing Jesus causes us to worship Him deeply.

4. Worship (John 4:23-24)

The Spirit leads us to worship Christ always. All the Spirit’s work, no matter whether He is leading, guiding, saving or giving life, it is all for the sole purpose of glorifying the Godhead and creating worship in our hearts and souls. Worship is simply a response to God’s goodness and glory in our hearts and lives. Good theology always leads us to worship. Our knowledge of God and what He has done for us should not simply be an intellectual exercise. Knowing Jesus causes us to worship Him deeply. The Holy Spirit is present and guiding this process. He calms our hearts to engage in praising Jesus. He convicts of sin and creates worship in our repentance. As we sing and raise our hands, we are simply responding physically to what is happening inside of our hearts. The Spirit is working and moving and creating worship in our heart, which causes us to worship Him with our lives. All that we do should be to the glory of God. The good news is that the Holy Spirit empowers us and gives us the ability to do so.