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7 Essentials to Know about the Work of the Holy Spirit

7 Essentials to Know about the Work of the Holy Spirit

Have you ever wondered what it was like waiting and waiting for Jesus’ promised Comforter? I sometimes picture the disciples in the upper room. There could have been a few still sorrowing over having to bid their risen Savior goodbye. Others might have replayed their final moments with Jesus. They remembered their failure to stand by his side, and his grace that reinstated them as his disciple.

Did some grow despairing with the waiting, or did others feel the anticipation grow? What would this Comforter look like? How was he going to help them go into all the world preaching the gospel and making disciples?

All of a sudden, the blowing of a rushing wind came and filled the house where they were waiting. Tongues of fire rested on their heads and each spoke in other languages. What a day that must have been!

What Is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. God is the Father, Jesus is the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. Separate, yet united as one.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was active at creation as well as in individual lives, but not in the same personal way and to the same degree as he is after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. During the final Passover meal with the disciples, Jesus revealed the identity and work of the Holy Spirit.

For believers, the Holy Spirit leads us to all truth and comforts us. In the world at large, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. John 14-17

7 Things Scripture Tells Us the Holy Spirit Does

1. The Holy Spirit confirms our relationship with God.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children,Romans 8:16.

2. The Holy Spirit reveals truth.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come,John 16:13

3. The Holy Spirit helps us overcome.
So, I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature, – Galatians 5:16

4. The Holy Spirit gives us boldness to share the good news of Christ.
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

5. The Holy Spirit teaches and reminds.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you, – John 14:26

6. The Holy Spirit makes us holy.
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 God, – 1 Corinthians 6:11

7. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express, – Romans 8:26

Dove flying out of the BiblePhoto Credit: ©Getty Images/sakepaint

How the Holy Spirit Comforts

At times, hope feels scarce. Jesus told us that in this world we would have troubles, but to take heart because he has overcome the world. By this, we know that our battles have been won and that we are more than conquerors. But what happens in the meantime? We have to live through our battles.

Jesus overcoming the world doesn’t mean that life will be without injustices and disappointments. Our days need hope. The Holy Spirit is our source of hope in the times when hope is threadbare. The Holy Spirit comforts us with an overflowing of hope so that we can face our difficulties with faith.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, – Romans 15:13 

Work of the Holy Spirit to Sanctify

Sanctification is a big, fancy word that means the process of becoming holy. It is God’s ongoing supernatural work to conform us into the image of his son—holy, Christlike, and empowered to do good. At salvation, God declares us righteous and then progressively makes us righteous.

Have you ever participated in a progressive supper? With a progressive supper we’re guaranteed supper, but we progressively move through the stations. Sanctification is the growth process that results from saying “yes” to God’s salvation. God declares us holy and then makes us holy.

The Holy Spirit frees and empowers believers to be like Christ with our cooperation through faith, obedience, and submission to his divine work in our lives. (2 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Timothy 2:21)

Salvation and the Holy Spirit

Jesus’ work on the cross, personal repentance, and faith opens the door to salvation. Grace-enabled faith, Romans 10:17, is the foundation for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives for salvation. This leads to conviction of sin, which is the spiritual experience that reveals the intolerability of sin in our lives.

We’re assured of forgiveness as stated in Romans 8:16, and changed in our life through the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.

Salvation is the redemption accomplished by Jesus, accepted by us, and applied to our lives by the Holy Spirit.

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7 Things Christians Need to Remember about the Work of the Holy Spirit

1. The Holy Spirit reveals God's truth to us. When we need truth, we can trust the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us. His word stands the test of time and throughout cultures. It is living, active, and useful for teaching and training in righteousness.

2. The work of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We don’t have to carry the weight of being judge and jury to a weary world. We can present the good news that Jesus Christ seeks and saves the lost. Then we let the Holy Spirit do the convicting and drawing others to God.

3. The work of the Holy Spirit fills believers with boldness so they can preach the salvation message. Every day presents us with opportunities to shine a light on the redemptive work of God. He saves us, redeems us, and faithfully leads us through this life. The Holy Spirit emboldens us to share the good news with others.

4. The work of the Holy Spirit is to pray for us when we don’t know what to pray. There are times when prayer seems impossible. This is when we simply need to bow our heads and hearts and let the Holy Spirit intercede for us.

5. The work of the Holy Spirit implants fruit into our lives and then grows it into a harvest. “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law,” Galatians 5:22-23. This kind of fruit leads us into lives that reflect the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

6. The work of the Holy Spirit is to give spiritual gifts for the church’s edification. In the body of Christ, we each have a part to play for the common good of the body of Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest himself through the spiritual gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, and others. The Holy Spirit also enables believers to be as apostles, teachers, servers, and more. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 4:16)

7. The ultimate work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus and reveal his kingdom to the world until his return. The Holy Spirit came after Jesus so that he could continue to testify about Jesus to the world. In Acts, Peter preached about Jesus to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem and 4,000 were added to their number. (John 15:26, Acts 2:17-18)

By the work of the Holy Spirit, we get to be part of the grandest and greatest story ever told. 

A Prayer for Holy Spirit Guidance

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to comfort us in our weaknesses. You give us strength when we cannot take another step. Guide us into all truth, remind us of your ways, and give us boldness to testify about what you’re doing in our lives. You shape and mold us into a purer reflection of your Son. May you guide our steps, our thoughts, and our attitudes as we partner with you in faith, in obedience, and in submission. You are wholly trustworthy, and we praise you that you sparked the flame of faith in our lives and that you keep it going by your power. Pour out your Spirit on us so that we might testify about you to those who need your transforming power in their lives.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Closing Thoughts

I’m beyond grateful that God set up a plan and put it in motion to save us and call us his own. I’m thankful that we don’t have to spend eternity separated from God, but that he made a way for us to live in relationship with him.

Living this life without the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives would spiral us close to the edge of despair. Life holds challenges that vary in severity. But God holds us closer than we can imagine, and he is able to be with us and in us by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/metamorworks

Jessica Van Roekel author headshotJessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

This article is part of our larger resource library of theology terms and questions important to the Christian faith. From heaven and hell, to communion and baptism, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about theological terms and their meaning. 

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