How the Holy Spirit Helps Us

I had a conversation with someone last Sunday about the differences between Islam and Christianity. Of course, there are a number of key differences, but perhaps the most fundamental one is their differing views of God. Islam posits one God, creator of everything, eternal, all-powerful and all-knowing. Christianity also believes there is one eternally existent God, but that this one God exists in a loving relationship of three distinct Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

To use the (profound) words of the Athanasian Creed, “…we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity, neither blending their persons nor dividing their essence. For the person of the Father is a distinct person, the person of the Son is another, and that of the Holy Spirit still another. But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.”

The reason I bring it up is because this Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. It’s the day in the church calendar where we give thanks for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the people of God. You can read all about it in Acts 2 or listen to a sermon on it here.

The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Triune God, has variously been referred to as ‘The Forgotten God’ (Francis Chan) or the ‘shy member of the Trinity’ (Frederick Dale Bruner). The point of these epithets is not to denigrate the Holy Spirit but to highlight the reality that the Holy Spirit often deflects attention away from Himself and onto the Father and/or the Son. This shouldn’t be surprising to us. After all, Jesus said in John 15:26, “When the Advocate (Holy Spirit) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he (Holy Spirit) will testify about me (Jesus).”

But we shouldn’t mistake the deference or other-centredness of the Holy Spirit as a lack of involvement or importance. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit is actively at work in our day to apply the salvation accomplished by Christ and planned by the Father in eternity past to our hearts and lives. To help us recognise and revere the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, I’d like to share 10 ways the Holy Spirit works in our salvation.

The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment…” (John 16:7-8)

The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual life (regenerates us)

“Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:5)

The Holy Spirit dwells in us

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)

The Holy Spirit leads us into the truth

“For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12)

The Holy Spirit imparts God’s love to us

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

The Holy Spirit helps us to change

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The Holy Spirit helps us to pray

“We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)

The Holy Spirit fuels our worship

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord…” (Ephesians 5:18-19)

The Spirit unites us in the church

“For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)

The Spirit gives us a sense of belonging in God’s family

“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Galatians 4:6)

With you on the journey,