“…I will send [H]im unto you…And when [H]e is come…” (Parts from John 16: 7,8)
One could ask probably anyone what a Christ-ian believes about God the Father and God the Son. They would most likely tell the questioner that Christ-ians believe God the Father created the world and God the Son died for sinners. Most people, unbelievers included would know that much about the Christ-ian faith. However, if one were to ask people about the Holy Spirit there would not be so many accurate answers.
The Holy Spirit is known as the “Third Person of the Holy Trinity.” It seems some view Him therefore to be a third rate deity. He is less than the First and Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Some cults view Him as a force of God (J. Witnesses, not Star Wars fans). These cults deny Him as a Person and He denies them as children of God.
The Holy Spirit has personality traits recorded in Scripture. He is said to: speak, intercede, lead, guide, remind, teach, give gifts…as He wills, take life, be grieved, and to depart.These are all acts performed by a person. The Holy Spirit of God, The Holy Spirit of Christ is a Person co-equal to the Father and the Son.
With the Holy Spirit’s Personage being established what role does He take in the life of the believer? What are the responsibilities of His Divine office? What is His intended purpose once He takes up habitation in the believer? or simply put what does the Holy Spirit do?
The Holy Spirit has one intended purpose, one responsibility, one role in the life of the believer. The Spirit indwells the Christ-ian in order to make him holy. In other words, the Spirit is there to bring you and I in line with that which pleases God. He is present in the believer to bring said believer to his predestined end…Christ-likeness, thereby glorifying Christ.
While the Spirit has His one focus, the Glorification of Christ by bringing Christ’s brethren to holiness, it is manifested in many, many ways.
When the Spirit inhabits a believer He will make changes inside that are noticeable on the outside. As one missionary put it, “When Someone as big as God comes into someone as small as me there’s gonna be a change.”
This process of change can be or rather will be painful. God is likened unto a man pruning a plant. The pruner will cut away that which is not fruitful or is diseased or is simply growing in the wrong direction. So it is with God. The Spirit will begin to prune away that which is not fruitful, diseased, or that which is leading the wrong way. It will hurt.
However, God will replace that which was taken with something that is far better.
One of the changes the indwelling Spirit will make is one’s world view. Another is what one loves. Other changes include the believer finding joy and satisfaction in new things. The believer will have a new found peace and the bad things he used to enjoy he enjoys no more. The believer will examine his life and dispatch that which is not good for him. All of this is evidence of the Spirit’s Presence.
In terms of his changed world view, political ideologies may shift, his views on evolution and creation may change. That which was acceptable before is no longer acceptable. He may notice that what he had in common with friends is not present anymore. We said it will hurt. Even family relations may grow cold as Christ says He comes to bring division.
Some may think we are making the faith look harsh and uninviting. We are simply explaining what the Holy Spirit will do when He takes up Residency in the believer.
We are reminded of Lucy and her siblings asking Mr. and Mrs. Beaver if Aslan was safe. Mr. and Mrs. Beaver laughed and repeated the children’s question as if it were a very, very silly question. Aslan?…safe? Mr. Beaver repeated, of course not, Mr. Beaver replied, but he is good. (paraphrased from C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”)
Is the Holy Spirit’s process of conforming one to holiness pleasant and fun? Of course not, but it is good.
Application: I ask you, reader… in the words of St. Paul to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.
- Do not trust a prayer said long ago.
- Do not trust another who confirms your good standing before God.
- Do not even trust your knowledge of God or His Word.
- Do not trust your feelings, either or any experiences you may have had.
Do not look to a prayer, an opinion, your knowledge, or an experience to make your calling and election sure.
- Look to see if the Spirit is bearing fruit in your life.
- Look at that which you love.
- Look for a Christ-likeness in your spiritual mirror, the Word.
- Look at your response or reaction to hardships.
- Look at your prayer life. This is a great revealer to one’s standing before God.
- Look to the value and affection you place upon God’s Word. Another revealer.
- Look at the people who like to be with you and the people that do not want to be with you. This speaks a lot to the type of person you are.
- One’s faith and/or Christianity is easily measured with one question, What think ye of Jesus Christ? What the Lord Jesus was 2000 years ago to His beloved disciples is what the Holy Spirit is to you and i today.