Who is the Holy Spirit? And what role does he play in the Christian life? In John 15, Jesus tells his disciples about the persecution they will encounter by following him. “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20) As he went on about what life would be like after he eventually left to be with the Father, they naturally grew sorrowful (John 16:6). They didn’t know the wonder that God had planned next. Jesus comforts them in John 16:7, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” This “Helper” is the Holy Spirit.
Alistair Begg wrote, "Five Truths About the Holy Spirit," on Ligonier.org. He explains the meaning of the word “Helper,” which is translated from the Greek word, parakletos. “It has a legal dimension; it refers to one who would be an advocate,” Begg said. “In its wider context, it speaks of comfort, of protection, of counsel, and of guidance.”
In her Crosswalk.com article, "Who the Holy Spirit Really Is (and Why It Matters to You)," Rachel Dawson wrote three things from Begg’s article that we should remember about the identity and importance of the Holy Spirit:
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Who is the Holy Spirit?
1. “The Holy Spirit is a unique person and not simply a power or an influence.”
I remember thinking as a child that the Holy Spirit was more like a ghost than a real, concrete being, but that kind of thinking can damage how we relate to the Spirit and interact with him. “We have to understand that the Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, is personal,” Begg said. “As a person, He may be grieved (Eph. 4:30), He may be quenched in terms of the exercise of His will (1 Thess. 5:19), and He may be resisted (Acts 7:51).”
2. “The Holy Spirit is one both with the Father and the Son.”
This is the most powerful and baffling thing about the Trinity -- each third is unique, but all three are united. “In theological terms,” Begg explains,” we say that He is both co-equal and co-eternal. ...So the activity of the Spirit is never given to us in Scripture in isolation from the person and work of Christ or in isolation from the eternal will of the Father.”
3. “The Spirit is the author of the Scriptures.” We read in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “all Scripture is God-breathed” and in 2 Peter 1:21 that “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” These verses illustrate the divine work of the Holy Spirit through men to record what we know now as the Bible-- “this is a book that exists as a result of the out-breathing of the Holy Spirit,” Begg says.
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What is the Role of the Holy Spirit?
Dr. Roger Barrier discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers in his Crosswalk.com article, “What is the Holy Spirit?”
• The Holy Spirit Convicts and Regenerates Our Spirit
“Our first encounter with the Holy Spirit is when He convicts us of our sin, shows us that none of us can live up to the righteousness of Jesus, and reveals to us the judgment that is coming to those who die without a Savior (John 16:8-11).
As we repent, confess our sins and receive the gift of Salvation the Holy Spirit regenerates our dead inner human spirit, which now becomes sensitive to the spiritual things of God (John 3:1-16; and Acts 2:38). This is referred to in the Bible as the New Birth.”
• We Receive the Whole Spirit, Not a Piece
“At the same moment the Holy Spirit baptizes or immerses us into the family of God--the world-wide followers of Christ past, present, and future. This is known as the "baptism of the Holy Spirit.” It occurs once and for all at our conversion and is not repeated. When we received the Holy Spirit, we received all the Holy Spirit we will ever receive. He does not come in pieces and parts. He is either in us or not (Acts 1:4-5; and 1 Corinthians 12:13).”
• The Holy Spirit is Our Comforter
“He brings peace in the midst of storms. He is our encourager and comforter when we are hurting and discouraged. Sometimes the only place we can go is to the Spirit of Jesus--the Holy Spirit who give us peace and comfort. (John 14:16-17; and 16:7). (Ephesians 2:14; and Philippians 4:7).”
• He Empowers Believers to Live for Christ in Righteousness
“He pours in the power for victorious living. When I'm in the hospital awaiting a surgery, instead of fear and fretting, I find peace and contentment through the Holy Spirit who pours into me the grace and power that I need (Romans 8:26; and Philippians 4:10-13). He also empowers and inspires us for evangelism.
• The Holy Spirit Helps Us Read the Bible and Pray
“He teams with us in studying and in understanding the truths of the Bible. After all, who better to teach and interpret the Bible for us than the one who wrote the Book (John 14:25; and 16:12-15)? Every passage in Scripture has only one, true interpretation. The Holy Spirit guides us to figure out what the Bible writer had in mind when he wrote what he wrote.
And not only does the Holy Spirit guide our prayers, He steps in to intercede for us when we can't put our feelings into words (Romans 8:26). Sometimes when our pain is so deep that we can only groan, He turns our groans into prayers.”
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A Prayer to the Holy Spirit
You are God. I praise you because you are holy, and I thank you for dwelling in my heart. Thank you for working in my life. You guided me into salvation, renewed my dead spirit, and you opened my eyes to the Truth. Thank you.
Help me to see you more clearly – to recognize your movement in my life. Make me more sensitive to you so I can follow you more closely. Still, I know that I am selfish and rebellious. I need you to help me be obedient when I recognize your leading. I need you.
I ask you for your help and comfort today. You know my pain and anxieties very well. Thank you for praying over me. Help me to rest in your comfort today.
Help me to walk in you, the Spirit of God. Grow good fruit in my life. You are the one who produces these in me: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I cannot live out these things on my own; I need you.
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Bible Verses about the Holy Spirit
Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
Acts 2:1-4, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Galatians 5:22, 23, 25; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
- Revelation 2:7, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
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