The Person and the work of the Holy Spirit [Part 1]   2 comments

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

In the 20th and 21st century there has been much debate and confusion about the work and the person of the Holy Spirit. When I was younger, I struggled to discern the truth out of the pool of information I got from church leaders, books and internet who all used the bible to support their arguments.

One school of thought prefers to play it safe by quenching the Spirit to avoid dealing with fake miracles or satanic  manifestations. However, this attitude will render the church members weak, idle for the Lord’s work and without vision.

Paul warned to the Thessalonians:

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” 1 Thes. 5:19

On the other side, another school of thought fears the church to be “dead” or not led by the Spirit. In their endeavor, they have opened doors to practices that were not from the Spirit.

As Paul said to the Corinthians:

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” 1 Cor. 14:33

If prophecies, tongues, healings or preachings do not occur in order, we can discern that these are not from the Spirit. Its source is either satanic or carnal.

Lack of discernment is what led the 2 school of thoughts to be on extreme sides and completely miss the work of the Spirit.

It was Jesus who revealed the Holy Spirit broadly and sent Him. It is therefore essential to understand who Jesus said the Holy Spirit was and what would be the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

What Jesus said about the Holy Spirit

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:16

The words used by Jesus to describe the Holy Spirit, indicate that the Holy Spirit is a person and not an influence. He is an actual life or an existence that has the faculties to reason and defend as an Advocate. Jesus used He/Him instead of “it” to describe the One who will lead into all truth. Power or energy does not have this ability to have the knowledge of what is true or lead into all Truth. The Holy Spirit is therefore not a power, though He has power (Acts 1:8).It is therefore abusive to call for the Holy Spirit only to get power. It is better to be powerless and have God by our side than having power and God far from us.

Jesus also gave an important command before He ascended to heaven: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Mat. 28:19

This baptism was done in the name of 3 persons which indicates that the Father, the Son and the Spirit were concerned and involved in the burial of the old nature. The Holy Spirit is mentioned at the same level because He is God. The Holy Spirit has the attribute of deity for the reason that He is “holy” by nature. Only God is holy. Secondly, God is eternal and so is the Holy Spirit who always existed(Gen.1:1)  and will exist forever(Heb. 9:14). He is omnipotent(Acts 8:39), omniscient(1 Cor. 2:10) and omnipresent(1 Cor. 6:19).

Jesus also talked about the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me…” John 16:8-15
Convict the world of its sin
Christians are just messengers who call people to repentance but they are unable to make a sinner be convicted of his sins and willingly seek for repentance. It is the Holy Spirit’s mission to convince the world of its sin and to believe in Jesus.
Notice well that the sin mentioned here is very particular. It does not have to do with sins in general(adultery, thefts, lies…) but to the sin of unbelief in the work of the Son of God(Heb. 3:19, 4:6, Acts 28:23-28). Only one question will be sufficient to identify the righteous and the wicked. God will say : I sent Jesus to forgive your sins, did you believe in Him?
Jesus’ expiation of sins was for the whole world (2 Cor. 5:19, Rom. 5:8-10, John 1:29, 1 John 2:22, Rom. 3:21-26) and this gave everyone the opportunity to be saved. God wants all men to be saved. However, tragically not everyone wants to be saved. Not everyone wants to believe that Jesus died for their sins and that righteousness is imputed to them by faith in Him.

So we understand here that stirring the need to believe in Jesus is one of the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is why we saw many miracles in the book of Acts done by the Holy Spirit during evangelism. Jesus revealed the Father to the world and the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to the world. If you have faith that the Spirit has this mission and you humbly want God to speak to people through you, pray and ask the Spirit to stir the heart of your neighbor, family, friend or colleagues and you will see whether a meaningful conversation about Jesus rises or not. I’m convinced God will answer this prayer. 

Convict the world of Jesus’ righteousness

The righteousness mentioned here has to do with the resurrection of Jesus and exaltation. While the world condemned Jesus as an unrighteous man who deserved the death penalty. They accused Him to be a sinner and being demon possessed(John 8:46) but God powerfully declared Him Righteous by raising Him from the dead, exalted Him to the Highest place(Phil. 2:8-11) and made Him sit on God’s throne(Mat. 19:28, Rev. 3:21).

Convict the world of the upcoming Judgment

There’s no escape, everyone will be judged (2 Cor. 5:10) at Christ tribunal. The prince of this world and all his followers will not go unpunished. The martyrs are waiting for Jesus to avenge their blood(Rev 6:10) and the cup of God’s wrath has long be kept and will be poured on on God’s enemies(Rev 14:10, Rev. 20:11-15). Do not think that God’s eyes are closed at the defying march of the gays and lesbians. If God is not judging them now for their defiance and remains silent to insults made unto His Holy name, His wrath is being reserved unmixed for Judgment day. Jesus and His followers were judged guilty on earth, tortured and murdered. In heaven, it will be Jesus who will judge the wicked, satan and his followers. God’s patience is not a weakness but a grace given to allow people to repent(Romans 2:4). The Spirit will remind the world that God’s judgment is real and the urgency to repent.

The message of the Gospel itself consists of 3 parts:

  1. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23)
  2. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to take away the sin of the whole world (1 John 2:22), has raised from the dead(Acts 13:35, Acts 2:24-31) and is exalted to the right hand of God.
  3. There will be no condemnation for those who believe in the work of Jesus(2 Cor. 5:17). Those who do not believe are already condemned (John 3:19) and will perish in hell.

It is vital that the Gospel we preach clearly declares to the world that they  that they stand in condemnation unless they believe in Jesus. This was the message preached by Jesus, by the apostles in Acts and what the Holy Spirit continues to inspire men to preach.

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Posted June 11, 2016 by Cedric in Theology

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2 responses to “The Person and the work of the Holy Spirit [Part 1]

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  1. i wonder what you do with eusebius quoting matthew “go and baptise in my name”; an external, early source without what appears to be a later redaction?

    • From an Unitarian view it is interpreted differently. However, when we read scripture globally we see that:
      Jesus said He will send an Advocate or a counsellor who will remind what He taught. This person must be distinguishable from Jesus.

      In my second part, I’ll elaborate more on these.

      Cedric

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