The Work of the Holy Spirit

Every Christian has the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19), according to Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. And for what purpose has God been pleased to make a home with us? There are four significant areas of work that the Holy Spirit does within believers; he empowers, purifies, reveals, and unifies believers with one another and with God.  

The Holy Spirit Empowers

Throughout the Scriptures, we see how the Spirit empowers by giving life. He took part in creation (Psalm 104:30), and continues his life-giving work through redemption (John 3:5-8, 2 Corinthians 6:3). Apart from him, we cannot be born again into new life through Christ (John 6:63, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Titus 3:5). Moreover, by his power will we be resurrected to new life. (Romans 8:11)

We see the work of the Spirit also in how he empowers believers for service to God. There was Joshua (Numbers 27:18, Deuteronomy 34:9), and Judges like Othniel (Judges 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29), and Samson (Judges 13:25, 14:16, 15:14). All these, thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit, led and delivered the children of Israel. 

In the New Testament, the Spirit empowers believers to be witnesses of Jesus (Acts 1:8; John 16:14). He glorifies Jesus and enables us to do the same, whether by preaching the gospel (Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31, 1 Thessalonians 1:5), working miracles (Acts 6:5, 8, Romans 15:19, 1 Corinthians 2:4), overcoming spiritual opposition (Matthew 12:28), praying (Romans 8:26), or doing ministry (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11). It is foolish to suppose that we can do anything Christ-exalting without the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit Purifies

If a believer, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that you have been regenerated, washed and justified (Titus 3:5). Thanks to him, sin no longer holds dominion over you (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). He has made you a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), able to fight sin and overcome.

The Spirit sanctifies us, working in us to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) in increasing measure. He transforms us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) as we put to death the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13, Philippians 1:19).

It is the Spirit who purifies, not some ‘anointed’ man or woman of God purporting to have the ability to ‘slay in the Spirit’. Those ‘deliverance services’ often packed to the brim only imprison, not deliver. True deliverance is to live in obedience to God and in him alone to be content. 

The Holy Spirit Reveals

Every other voice man chooses to listen to, that speaks contrary to the Spirit’s wise counsel, can only land him in trouble (Isaiah 30:1). It is the Spirit of God whom the church in Acts leaned upon to learn the will of God concerning life and ministry (Acts 15:28, Acts 16:6-7). We are wise to depend upon him, even if the path he chooses for us seems perilous at first — by the Spirit was Christ led to the wilderness so Satan would tempt him (Luke 4:1; Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12)!

The Spirit does his revealing work primarily by reminding us and teaching us the things that Jesus said (John 14:26). He guides us into all truth (John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:12); hence he points us to God’s Word. We shouldn’t expect some mystic voice to address us concerning life; we simply ought to read the Bible and obey it, for God never speaks louder than this.

There we find Spirit-inspired utterance that befits our need (Luke 12:12; Mark 10:20, 13:11); and we will be readied for whatsoever things God is accomplishing, as was the case with both Simeon (who through the Spirit was told he wouldn’t die before laying eyes on the Messiah – Luke 2:26) and Paul (who learned in advance that suffering awaited him in Jerusalem – Acts 20:23, 21:4).

The Holy Spirit Unifies 

Lastly, we see that the Holy Spirit works to unify believers. In Acts 2:16-18, a prophecy from the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32) was fulfilled in the coming of the Spirit. He came upon a community of believers (the church, if you please), not upon an individual. There would no longer be a Moses and Joshua, but believers working together to advance Christ’s gospel cause. People from different backgrounds would come to possess all things in common (Acts 2:44-47). 

Whenever we end our services reciting the words of 2 Corinthians 13:14: “…the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you all,” we aspire to the same unity as we see in Acts. And we confess that such fellowship can only be the work of God’s Holy Spirit. 

Do you find yourself struggling with unity in your church, home, or some other community? Pray to the Spirit, and he will manifest his presence in extraordinary ways to bring not just unity but repentance, love, and joy (John 16:8-11, Colossians 1:8, Acts 13:52). 


1. Wayne Grudem- “Systematic Theology


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