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Theology 101 (Lesson 6)
Who is the Holy Spirit? | John 14:16-17
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.”
The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity, along with God the Father and God the Son.
It is noteworthy that the Bible uses personal pronouns such as "He" and "Him" to refer to the Holy Spirit, indicating that the Spirit is not an impersonal force (not an “it”) but rather a person we can know.
For example, the Holy Spirit is portrayed as participating in personal relationships, such as the eternal relationship within the Godhead (Matthew 28:19) and the relational indwelling of believers (2 Corinthians 13:14).
One of the most fundamental roles of the Holy Spirit is the work of regeneration, which is the miracle of spiritual resurrection/new birth.
In John 3:3-7, Jesus tells Nicodemus that "no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."
This new birth is not a physical birth, but a spiritual one that is brought about by the Holy Spirit where a formerly spiritual dead sinner is given spiritual life.
Once spiritually deaf and blind, now they have ears to hear and respond to the invitation to exercise faith by receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord.
In Titus 3:5, Paul speaks to the regenerative power of the Spirit, saying that God "saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit."
In addition to regeneration, the Holy Spirit endows believers with spiritual gifts for ministry.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes about the various gifts of the Spirit given by the Spirit for believers to exercise for the common good of the church (1 Corinthians 12:7) as the body edifies its members and reaches out with grace to its neighbors.
While there is disagreement over how the gifts should be defined and how they function, a sample of gifts described in the New Testament includes:
Serving (Romans 12:7)
Teaching (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28)
Exhortation (Romans 12:8)
Prophecy (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:1-5, 29-32)
Giving (Romans 12:8)
Leadership (Romans 12:8)
Mercy (Romans 12:8)
Wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8)
Knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8)
Faith (1 Corinthians 12:9)
Healing (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28)
Discerning of spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10)
Tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:2-28)
Interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:26-28)
Apostleship (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11)
Helps (1 Corinthians 12:28)
Administration (1 Corinthians 12:28)
Evangelism (Ephesians 4:11)
Pastoring/Shepherding (Ephesians 4:11)
Although gifts vary among believers, each gift is valuable and necessary for the advance of God's mission on earth.
The Holy Spirit also guides believers with wisdom in their daily lives.
In John 16:13, Jesus tells his disciples that "when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth."
As Jesus says in John 17, God’s word is truth. Therefore, we may expect the Spirit to guide us in accordance with the revealed will of God in the Scriptures, never in a way contrary to them.
As our guide, the Spirit enables us to discern truth from lies and follow God's wisdom.
He also convicts us of sin, prompting us to repent anew and believe the gospel afresh, restoring our experience of grace to the fact of grace.
Part of this process is reminding us of who we are as the forgiven, accepted, treasured children of God who’ve been adopted in love by the Father in Christ.
To this end, Paul writes in Romans 8:15-16, "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."
Finally, the Holy Spirit produces spiritual fruit in the lives of God’s children.
In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul writes that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
These qualities are not something we can manufacture on our own. Rather, they are the result of the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts.
As we abide in Jesus, we're filled with the Spirit, who produces within us new desires for love and holiness as well as granting new abilities to make those desires truly fruitful as we are conformed more and more to the likeness of Christ in how we love others as he loved us by giving his life for us on a cross to reconcile us to God.
Who are the three persons of the Trinity? Why do you think the Holy Spirit is often considered the least understood member?
What personal pronouns does the Bible use to refer to the Holy Spirit? What does this tell us about the nature of the Holy Spirit?
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the process of regeneration?
How does the Holy Spirit empower believers with spiritual gifts? Can you name at least five different gifts described in the New Testament?
How does the Spirit guide believers today?
What is so important about abiding in Jesus with regard to producing the fruit of the Spirit?
We thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, Strength, and Guide. We are grateful for the many ways he works in our lives, from regeneration to the giving of spiritual gifts and producing spiritual fruit. We ask that you help us to be more sensitive to the leading of the Spirit in our daily lives, as he leads us in the truth according to your word, for our good and your glory.
Thank you for adopting us into your family through the work of Jesus Christ, and for the assurance of your love and presence through the Holy Spirit.
Help us to always remember our identity as your children, and to live in the freedom and grace that comes from being part of your family.
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.