Wednesday: The Work of the Holy Spirit

We have already mentioned the important role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the incarnated Christ and in the inspiration of Scripture. Let us focus now on what Jesus taught about the Spirit’s work for our salvation.

Image © Krieg Barrie from

Image © Krieg Barrie from

What indispensable work does the Holy Spirit do in order to prepare us to accept the Savior? See John 16:8.

Who takes their medicine unless they acknowledge that they are sick? By the same token, we cannot be saved unless we recognize that we are sinners. Softly but steadily the Holy Spirit convinces us that we have sinned, are guilty, and are under the righteous judgment of God.

Then the Spirit guides us to Christ, testifying about Him (John 15:26), the only One who can save us. Since Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), by taking us to Jesus the Spirit is also taking us into all truth (John 16:13). It could not be any other way; after all, the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth (John 14:17).

Once we are convicted of sin (which implies repentance from our sins) and are directed to Jesus and His truth, we are ready for the Holy Spirit to do His greatest work.

Why is it so crucial to be born of the Spirit ? See John 3:5-8.

Those who have tried to reform their lives by themselves know how futile their efforts are. It is impossible for us, without divine intervention, to transform our deteriorated sinful lives into a new being. The regeneration of a sinner requires the kind of creative power that only the divine Holy Spirit can provide. We are saved through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5, NKJV). What the Spirit does is not a modification or improvement of the old life but a transformation of nature, the creation of a new life. The results of such a miracle are clearly visible and constitute an irrefutable argument in favor of the gospel.

The operation of the Holy Spirit is not necessary only at the beginning of our Christian life; we need Him constantly. To foster our spiritual growth, He teaches us and reminds us of all the things that Jesus taught (John 14:26). If we allow Him, He abides with us forever as our Helper, Comforter, and Counselor (John 14:16).

Bad character habits are hard to change, are they not? And even when we stop, unless constantly vigilant, we can be overcome by them again, as well. What should our inherent weaknesses and propensities to sin tell us about our constant need to be surrendered to the Holy Spirit?



Wednesday: The Work of the Holy Spirit — 21 Comments

  1. All too often our discussions about the Holy Spirit are about the theory. We are mesmerized by the mystery of the Godhead and try to stereotype one another's viewpoints about the Holy Spirit and its relationship to the rest of the Godhead. I remember a discussion like this many years ago on the SSNET email discussion list where someone asked me to describe clearly my view of the nature of God. Being naive at the time, I did so, and immediately that person responded with the observation that I was a ... ( stating the particular stereotype that they thought I belonged to).

    The problem is this: We are trying to massage a definition of the Holy Spirit out of a very small number of texts in the Bible. That is not a lot to go on for a very big topic. It is not as though we can measure God. All our descriptions are woefully inadequate. In the circumstances it is probably best to accept one another's descriptions as different to our own, but workable. (That does not mean that we have to accept every way-out theory on the Holy Spirit) There are folk with whom I disagree with the theory but who I listen to because it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives.

    The key to appreciating the Holy Spirit is not being able to give an erudite description of the Holy Spirit and its place in relationship to the Godhead, but an understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in out lives. And I am not talking about speaking in tongues, flames of fire, or the ability to hold your hands up while singing Gospel songs. The Holy Spirit is the quiet influence in our lives for good - like the force of a magnet, unseen but powerful.

    A useful analogy is the theory of electricity. Most of us would not have a clue about describing the nature of electricity. Some may remember their high school physics enough to be able to quote Ohms law; one or two of us may be familiar with alternating current to describe phase angle and what it means. If you are a physicist you may understand the significance of Fermi-dirac energy levels and be able to use the maths that describes the theory of electronic movement through conducting materials. But all of us can use electricity. We know that we switch it on, lights shine, heaters warm, radios work, and computers compute. Ultimately that is what electricity is about - it works for us!

    Read the verses in the Bible about the Holy Spirit again; there are not a lot of them. A quick search through the Study Guide this week will reveal most of them. Ask yourself the question: Are these verses really defining the Holy Spirit, or describing what the Holy Spirit does for us.

    • I like the analogy of the electricity. We are never going to be able to tell nature of God to its fullness. John, Ezekiel and the rest have given us a vivid description of what human words can describe about the magnitude of God but is that all there is about God. The Holy Spirit is our source of power and through Him that we see, feed, transmit, permeate, grow and live.

    • I like the analogy with electricity, but we must remember that we don't "use" the Holy Spirit like we use electricity. He uses us--but only when we are consenting to His way. We must give up our will to the control of God. Fortunately He will not take away our choice as to which Spirit motivates us (spirit of selfishness or the Holy Spirit of Love). Unfortunately we don't choose His Spirit as motivator sometimes. We need to make this choice all the time--watching and praying all the time lest we fall because the spirit of selfishness is natural to us and many of our habits are based on selfishness. Either way our will is under the control of some spirit so if we just choose the Spirit of God to motivate us I think we will be the happiest and the most free.

  2. Bad habits form bad character. Bad habits are produced by repeated bad thoughts and feelings which are motivated by the spirit of selfishness (Satan's motivation). Godly habits can be formed by good thoughts and feelings which are motivated by Love (motivation of the Holy Spirit). Let's let the mind of Christ be in us by letting His Holy Spirit motivate our thoughts and feelings in every issue we meet. (Watch and pray) This will produce the character of God in us and prepare us to live without a mediator before Christ returns.

    • We must invite the Holy Spirit to change us. Sometimes we forget to ask His help and try to change ourselves. When we ask Him He is faithful to transform us as we are willing to obey His gentle leading.

  3. Why do we Adventist do not speaking in tongue? and which spirit that makes other sunday churches to do so. Is that the same spirit or diferent spirit?

    • Whatever was meant by "speaking in tongues in the New Testament, Paul puts it into perspective with:

      "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

      And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

      If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor 12:27 - 13:3)

      If we love with the kind of love that Christ wants us to share, then that changes our perspective on all the other things. We sometimes concentrate on so-called physical manifestations of the Spirit and forget the deep and meaningful changes that should take in our lives when we listen to the still small voice.

    • You may speak in tongues if the Spirit gives you that gift. So if it's yours, go ahead. And if you are a Seventh-day Adventist, you would also be a tongues-speaking SDA.

  4. The Holy Spirit plays a great role in our lives as christians. We are empowered to live a christian life. An analogy for oil has been used for the Holy Spirit. Without the oil the lamp will not burn to give its light and in the same way without the Holy Spirit we will not be effective with the light of Jesus Christ. This goes back to our commission to take the advent message to all the world which becomes more effective with the Holy Spirit working in us to bear good fruits.

  5. We ourselves cannot control our bad habits or character. We certainly need the help of the Holy Spirit, divine intervention, every minute of the day. We need to ask for that strength that we need. We must also do our part by removing ourselves from situations, or people that would initiate, provoke or disturb our efforts to overcome that particular habit. The ultimate goal is to conquer sin, to conquer that bad habit through John 14:16. It's a battle out there folks. We must allow the Holy Spirit in. The struggle is real.

  6. Thank you William for the web site i also don't understand why Adventist do not speak in tongues and yet the Spirit is one

  7. Holy Spirit faithful guide ever near the Christian's side,
    Gently lead us by the hand, pilgrims in a desert land,
    Weary souls fore'er rejoice, while they hear that sweetest voice,
    Whispering softly, Wanderer, come, follow Me, I'll guide thee home.

    Hover O'er me Holy Spirit, Bathe my trembling heart and brow,
    Fill me with thy hallowed presence,
    Come, O come and fill me now. (SDA hymn #260)

    O for that flame of living fire, which shone so bright in saints of old, Which bade their souls to heaven aspire calm in distress, in danger bold. (SDA hymnal #264)

    Praise the Lord and the Holy Spirit that they are with us to lead, guide and encourage us on our upward journey to the heavenly Canaan.

  8. It seems to me that the purpose of the a Holy Spirit is to empower us to do the work of God.
    Many times in the past I've prayed for the Holy Spirit in abstract so to speak.
    But if we are not actively doing the work of God (as shown by Jesus in the gospels) then the Holy Spirit will be of no use to us.
    I think a lot of people expect that the job of the Holy Spirit is to make us more pious.

    As a matter of fact, I think rather than praying for "an outpouring of the Holy Spirit" on our church we need to pray for a new purpose for living.
    Who are we helping?
    Whose lives are we trying to improve?
    Are we comforting the afflicted?
    Are we wooing the hearts of men and women?
    Are we bringing healing, restoration, rescue from bondage to others?

    Jesus already promised to send the Holy Spirit to us, so He's here. I think the question is: What will He help us do?

  9. I like the point in today's lesson that speaks to the work of the Holy Spirit changing our nature. " What the Spirit does is not a modification or improvement of the old life but a transformation of nature, the creation of a new life. The results of such a miracle are clearly visible and constitute an irrefutable argument in favor of the gospel." In stating to Nicodemus that he must be born again, "of water and of the Spirit", Jesus indicated that a new nature was the intent and outcome of the new birth. In John 1:12 we are told "But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name." Verse 13 continues to explain the procedure to some degree - "13 Who owe their birth neither to [c]bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]"
    Furthermore, we see in 1 John 3: 9-10, "9 No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and [habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.
    10 By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children...." Also in 1 Peter 1:23 we are informed that "23 You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal [d]origin ([e]seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God." (Amplified Bible). Here we are educated further in the procedure: it is the word of God that brings new life to us.

    Both John and Peter emphasize the importance of a new nature in the new birth experience and we understand in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that being in Christ brings with it all things new -
    2 Corinthians 5:17 Amplified Bible "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!

    Thus we will appreciate the role of the Holy Spirit in our new birth process - John 3: 3-8. Here Jesus states emphatically that the Holy Spirit operates in this new birth process in the same way that the wind operates on a daily basis: verse 8 indicates a procedure that God has not disclosed to man, in the same way that with all our technological know-how, we still cannot determine the origin of wind and to where it dissipates. We hear it and feel it personally, we even see the aftermath of its effects upon our physical surroundings, but where did it come from and where does it go after passing through our vicinity? What is certain for all to see is the end product of its presence; so it is with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We see changes that cannot be explained except we accept that God did it all: All can see that things are different, we are changed when we give our hearts to Jesus. Thank God for the new birth operation of the Holy Spirit in us daily.

  10. It seems to me that quite often we equate the work of the Holy Spirit with outward acts and I am sure that it has something to do with that but to me the real work of the Holy Spirit is at the core of our being. It is our attitude toward one another and how we relate to other things especially proper authority that is the problem. We look at what we do and think that we are ok because we do something good but can’t see how really sinful we are in our basic thoughts. We are really much more sinful than we often think which is the Laodicean problem – we think we are ok when we really aren’t.

    Jesus pointed us to a much deeper understanding of sin in the Sermon on the Mount. He said that murder starts in the heart not in the hand and that adultery starts with an unhealthy view of the opposite sex rather than in the bed. Covetousness is when self takes over and creates a god of having what some else has. It is the foundational thoughts and feelings we have that is the thing that needs renewal. Without that we can all be very righteous on the outside yet still rotten to the core on the inside which to Christ is the definition of hypocrisy.

    Therefore I think the Holy Spirit works on those basic things from the inside out and deals first with our deep seated attitudes.

  11. WHY is it so crucial to be "born of the Spirit"? John 3: 5-5 states;

    V-5, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
    V-6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
    V-7, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
    V-8, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

    To be born in the Spirit then would be to be born into the family of God. Just as you can see after a wind has gone through and rearranged leaves etc., the same thing is with the Spirit. It has a way of rearranging lives. After a windstorm, you see the results. After a new birth in the Spirit, you see the results, as well.

    So the point that Jesus was making was that just as the wind cannot be controlled or understood by human beings but its effects can be witnessed, so also it is with the Holy

    Spirit. He cannot be controlled or understood, but the proof of His work is apparent. Where the Spirit works, there is undeniable and unmistakable evidence.

    That’s when a person's whole outlook on life changes.

  12. Each God in the Triune (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) has a distinct role to play (yet harmoniously) in preparing every willing individual for the heavenly kingdom. While Jesus is "Mediator between God and men....." 1Tim 2:5, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and guides us into all truth (John 16:8-13.

    I have not found in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is Mediator between us and Christ. Someone there can help with this one.


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