The Holy Spirit is fully God. He is one persona of the triune God; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, understand first that the work of the Holy Spirit is far beyond what we could ever mention or understand.
With that in mind, in this two-part study, we will touch on some of the ways the Holy Spirit works in, for, and through believers, as revealed in Scripture.
If you are in Christ, it was the Holy Spirit who worked in you to convict you of your sin and your need for Jesus (cf. John 16:8). For it is the Holy Spirit who draws all men to Jesus.
Yet, before you came to Christ, while the Holy Spirit worked in you to convict you of your need for Jesus, He didn’t yet dwell inside of you. Then, at the very instant you repented and received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit came to dwell within you. And He took up permanent residence.
The Spirit of God who led you to Jesus Christ, now lives in you to teach and equip you to walk in Christlikeness. He is your Comforter, Helper, and Advocate (John 16:7, John 14:26).
Let’s study some of the works the Holy Spirit does in lives of “born-again” believers.
1. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence assures us that we are a child of God and our salvation is sealed.
- The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:16)
- The Lord “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:22)
- When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
God doesn’t want His children to doubt whether they are eternally saved. We belong to Him and our salvation is securely sealed—by Him. God wants us to live in that confidence. “You may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
In Christ, we don’t have to worry about losing our salvation when we go through periods of failures. The truth is, while we are clothed in this flesh, we all fail and “fall into” the snare of sin at times—but it is impossible for a believer to “fall out” of salvation.
Nor does the Lord want us to doubt whether we have done, or will do, “enough” throughout our lifetime to maintain salvation. We didn’t deserve salvation to begin with. It was a gift of God, paid for through the work of Christ. Salvation is in Christ’s hands, and only made available to us by His sacrificial death at Calvary.
Jesus Christ paid it all. “It is finished.” In Christ alone, we are saved through grace by faith. Our salvation is solely in His hands and the Lord wants us know for certain that we have eternal life.
No doubts whatsoever! God has given us the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who assures us we are a child of God. And, we have the promises of the Word of God. These work in unison to assure us that we have eternal life. “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). Since God’s gifts are irrevocable, we can be sure this includes His salvation, for salvation is a gift. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, emphasis added). Too, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is an irrevocable gift. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name od Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, emphasis added). “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).
We are saved by the blood of the Son of God, and we have the Spirit of God who gives absolute assurance to us of eternal salvation and our inheritance, “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). What a comfort!
2. The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to believers that are purposed for the building and betterment of the Church.
- God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:4)
- There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. (1 Corinthians 12:4)
The Holy Spirit, whose very presence is a gift to believers, gives spiritual gifts at the moment of salvation. Every believer is given at least one spiritual gift. Some are given one kind of gift, and some other kind of gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-27). All the spiritual gifts are needed. In that, the Holy Spirit, in His infinite wisdom, designates and divides spiritual gifts among the Church for ministry.
We are God’s children and God wants all His children in active ministry. No one is left out. It is such a blessing in itself to know that God equips us for vital ministries in the Church body. The Lord doesn’t overlook a single one of us, and He doesn’t give anyone an insignificant assignment for where He calls them to. He considers each of us as intrinsic and important in the building and betterment of the Church.
How amazing and generous is our God, that He would use us to serve in such an important ministry as building and caring for His Church! How important He considers us. Wow! That’s humbling.
We need to be faithful in using our spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are of the Lord, and spiritual gifts are for the Lord. In using our gifts, we need to recognize that it is the Holy Spirit who gives us these gifts, and He is the One who works through us for exercising and empowering those gifts. At the same time, He energizes us as we engage our spiritual gifts. Now, fatigue will still come on us as we are still yet clothed in physical bodies, but it’s different because, although our bodies may feel tired, our spirit feels elevated.
So, in using our spiritual gift(s) through the power of the Holy Spirit, we often find ourselves feeling rested, rather than worn down. For the Spirit of God gives uplifting, supernatural rest.
3. The Holy Spirit matures our character in Christ, molding us into Christlikeness.
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
- You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds: and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
At the moment of salvation, we are made righteous in Christ. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).
Yet, while we are made fully righteous in Christ at the very instant of salvation, we are also told to “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22). What then does it mean to pursue righteousness, since we have already been made righteous?
We are made righteous in who we are in Christ, but we need to pursue righteousness in how we think and how we act. That is another helping work of the Holy Spirit. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh” (Galatians 5:16-17).
We can’t understand the things of God and will not walk in His ways, until the Spirit of God gives us spiritual discernment to understand those things and a desire to seek after the ways of the Lord.
Spiritual discernment is not your conscience. God has given all men a “conscience,” (an innate knowledge between moral right and wrong). But the conscience is still part of the carnal flesh so, while our conscience is purposed for good, it can be deceived and seared into erroneous beliefs or into accepting ungodly behavior. Fleshly desires and secular influences can be powerful, and those forces can infiltrate and contaminate our guiding conscience.
But spiritual discernment is given in revelation through the Spirit of God. And He leads us into truth, as revealed by God’s Word. The Holy Spirit is always in agreement with the Lord. He always glorifies Christ, and He always upholds truth. As Charles Stanley said, “The Spirit of God will never lead you where the Word of God forbids you to go.” The Holy Spirit both confirms and reveals Scripture to teach and train us in godliness and holiness.
We are not intended to remain as infants in Christ but to grow up and mature in Christlikeness, “to put off the old self.” But we can’t do that by ourselves. We were never meant to. “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The “new man” has the indwelling presence and workings of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). That mind of Christ is of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.