October 22, 2020
UNDERSTANDING THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
WHY DID THE HOLY SPIRIT COME?
If you were to ask a group of Christians, “What does it mean to be saved?” Most would answer something like this: “Jesus died for the forgiveness of my sins, so there is a place for me in heaven when I die.” While this answer is not wrong, it is incomplete. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).” Let me ask you this, “What kind of person needs life?” Isn’t it obvious, it is someone who is dead!
Last week in my previous post we learned that the problem of mankind is not just that we are sinners in need of forgiveness – it is that we are dead and in need of life. We are born into this world dead spiritually, separated from the life of God. We learned that man is dead spiritually and in need of life, and that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead so that we can have life. But now the question arises, “How is this life imparted to us?” John 6:63 tells us that “The Spirit gives life” and in John 3:5 we learn that to enter the kingdom of God we must be born again of the Spirit of God. It is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that God imparts eternal life to us. Just as the Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead, it is the Spirit of God that gives you and me life (Romans 8:11). “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” Now, with all of this in mind let us take a closer look at the ministry of the Holy Spirit to see how He enables Christ to give His life to us.
WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?
A key verse identifying the Holy Spirit is found in Acts 5:3-4. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” What can we conclude that Peter is saying concerning the Holy Spirit? Simply, that the Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, co-equal with God the Father and God the Son.
How do you see the Trinity declared in 2 Corinthians 13:14? “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Well, here we have one of the lovely benedictions of the New Testament, and the only one that embraces all three members of the Trinity.
Another example in life of a trinity is seen in something as basic as water – H2O. We know that H2O can be liquid, a solid, or a vapour depending upon whether it is water, ice, or steam. Yet they all are H2O. The same is true of an egg. It consists of a yoke, a white, and a shell. All three of these components are considered the egg. These illustrations are limited, but they help show how one essence can exist in three separate forms.
I read somewhere that some wise scholar once said, “Anyone who denies the Trinity will lose his soul, and anyone who tries to understand the Trinity will lose his mind!” Isn’t that the truth! The Bible clearly declares that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet, Isaiah 43:10-11 declares there is only one God and that “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no Savior beside Me.”
Our finite minds cannot understand all that is involved in the mysteries of God. In light of the evidence, however, we have only two options: either the Bible is contradicting itself or the Father and the Holy Spirit are each and uniquely God. We must conclude, therefore, that the sum total of the three equals the one (1x1x1=1, not 1+1+1=3).
WHY DID THE HOLY SPIRIT COME?
“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement: because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgement, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 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. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you (John 16:7-14).”
From these verses we can conclude that the counselor is the Holy Spirit. We also can conclude that the three things that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of is guilt, righteousness, and judgement. Now, very importantly, what did Christ say was the world’s sin in verse nine? What is the one thing that will keep you out of heaven? “Unbelief in Him.” That’s it! That is the only thing that will keep you out of heaven. More verification is found in John 8:12-32 (please read it).
Now what did Christ say concerning righteousness in these verses? Christ was right and the world was wrong. The Savior claimed to be righteous, but the religious leaders and others accused Jesus of being under Satan’s power – that He was possessed by a demon (read Matthew 12:22-32 and Luke 11:14-36). Regarding righteousness in Philippians 3:8-9, where is righteousness found? Faith in Christ Jesus. “….. not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” God imputes His righteousness to us through faith because of Christ’s obedience. When God sees our faith in Christ, He sees union with Christ and when He sees union with Christ, He sees the righteousness of Christ as our righteousness. That’s what faith does. It is a glorious truth that will change your life if you see it and savor it for what it is.
According to this verse in John 16:11 what has happened to Satan, the ruler of this world? He is condemned. We also see that in John 16:13 that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth. And what job does the Spirit of truth have in our lives? He guides us into all truth. In John 16:15 it tells us that the function of the Holy Spirit is to unveil to believers the glorious perfections, ministries, offices, grace, and the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ – all the attributes of the Father also belong to the Son as well. The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit has guided the Church since the Spirits coming.
In John 1:4 we find that in Christ was life, and that life was the light of men. “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” Now, how is new life given according to John 3:3-6? In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless He is born again.” “ How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked, “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” As we can read from the above verses about this new life that is given to us believers, we see that it is spiritual rebirth and not physical rebirth as Nicodemus thought. Just as the first birth is necessary for physical life, so a second birth is necessary for divine life. In other words, Christ’s kingdom can only be entered by those whose lives have been changed. Since His reign will be a righteous one, His subjects must be righteous also. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers. It is on the bases of Christ righteousness that God accepts us humans. This acceptance is also referred to as justification (just as if I have never sinned).
Who gives us the life that is found in Christ Jesus according to John 6:63? It’s very obvious, it’s the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.” Now is it possible to belong to Christ without having the Holy Spirit within you? Absolutely not. We read this in Romans 8:9, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of God, he does not belong to Christ.” There you have it. When a person is born again, he is no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit. He lives in a different sphere. Just as fish lives in water and man lives in the air, so a believer lives in the Spirit. He not only lives in the Spirit, but the Spirit lives in him, in fact, if he is not indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
In closing, I just want to tell you that the Holy Spirit today plays a major role in the application of salvation to the individual. It is the Spirit who brings conviction to the unbeliever and causes him to see the truth of the gospel in a clear light. Those who respond to this conviction and placed their faith in Jesus Christ receive eternal life and a new nature. The Holy Spirit unites the believer with Christ and places him in the body of Christ, the Church. He also unites the believer with Christ in His death, enabling him to live victoriously over sin. The Holy Spirit controls the believer who yields to God and submits himself to God’s Word. When these conditions are met, the believer lives in the power of the Spirit and produces the fruit of the Spirit.
Also, importantly, we should know that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer permanently. While the child of God may sin and grieve the Spirit, the Spirit will never leave the true believer. Absence of the Holy Spirit is the mark of the unsaved. The Holy Spirit seals the believer. This ministry guarantees the security of the believer “until the day of redemption.”
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is one of the most important doctrines in the Christian faith. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is God’s method of enabling the living Christ to live His life in and through us. It is through the Holy Spirit that God imparts His very life to those who believe in His Son.
F/B – Signs Of Our Times
Understanding The Signs Of Our Times.com
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
Lian Muan Kim –
Koinonia Baptist Seminary, Yangon