Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Holy Spirit's Work In The Lives Of Non-Christians And Christians

Image result for the Holy Spirit's work
John 16:8-11 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged." 

John 16:12-13 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.


The opening passage for today's post has been put into two distinct sections that highlight the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of unbelievers (John 16:8-11) and believers (John 16:12-13). As a quick note on the latter of these, although Jesus' instructions are primarily toward the apostles, by extension, the Spirit's work described by Jesus can include all Christians (see for instance 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 1 John 2:20,27). 

The Divine Person of the Holy Spirit and His workings among and in people

Today's post features the Holy Spirit's work among non-Christians and Christians. Whether people realize it or not, God in the Person of the Holy Spirit is ever working to bring the glory of God to people. The Divine Person of the Holy Spirit is the Member of the Trinity that works as the chief agent in affecting conversion in sinners and ongoing change in the lives of Christians. As a Divine Person, the Holy Spirit is truly God - thus making what He does among people a work of God and entailment of the other two Members of the Trinity (the Father and the Son). 

The Holy Spirit works as the Ambassador of the Trinity, bringing to unbelievers the power and Person of the Son for them to place their trust. Unbelievers need His works of conviction and soulish illumination to enable them to either perceive the message of general revelation that leaves them without excuse or to quicken them to the special revelation of the Gospel that leads to true saving faith. 

Christians need the Spirit's working from the inception of regeneration all the way through to the end before their leaving this world. By the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, each Christian is reminded that they are an adopted son or daughter of the Heavenly Father (see Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-6) and have Jesus as their elder brother according to the flesh (see Hebrews 2:14-17). Below is an unfolding of these general observations in further, specific applications as it regards the Holy Spirit's workings among non-Christians and Christians.

The Holy Spirit's work among non-Christians

First, sinful man must have the Spirit’s work of convincing Him that Jesus is worthy of worship. The problem is that sinful man has no desire to worship this great God. The Holy Spirit’s task in regenerating lost sinners in saving faith is to remove the heart of rebellion against God and replace it with a heart that desires God. Romans 8:5-6 tells us – “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” 

The preacher may come to you with polished words and the song leader may be angelic in their voice and musical ability. Yet, lest the preacher’s message be accompanied by the Holy Spirit’s conviction and lest the song service be charged with the Holy Spirit's anointing power, all will fall on deaf ears. The anointing refers to the Holy Spirit's ministry in delivering whatever is necessary to break away the dependence upon self and to receive empowerment as a result of dependence upon God. As mentioned, The Holy Spirit acts as the Ambassador of the Trinity. He brings the desire to worship God to unbelieving man, convicting him of sin, righteousness and judgment and making known to Him the things of God (John 16:8-12).

The Holy Spirit's work among Christians 

Then in terms of the Holy Spirit's working in the Christian life, the New Testament details the work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life from its inception as seen in the following ministries He performs:

i. New Birth/regeneration.
James 1:18 "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures."

ii. Filling of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit."

iii. Leading/prompting of the Spirit
1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." Philippians 3:15 "Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you."

iv. Union with Christ by the Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:13 "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit." (1)

v. Anointing/power/illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit
1 John 2:20 "But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know."

1 John 2:27 "As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him."

Closing thoughts:

As we close out today's post, we have toured the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of unbelievers and Christians. May all of us be ever receptive to His work in our lives. 

(1) This particular point is not water baptism, which follows and signifies the reality of this work of the Spirit already having occurred in conversion. Water baptism is a God-ordained picture that re-enacts and illuminates the new believer to the truth of what happened to them at salvation.  People don't get water baptized to get saved and spirit baptized, rather they are water baptized following their salvation. 

Water baptism logically connects the new Christian back to the reality of their prior spirit baptism, however it does not impart the salvation which it pictures or points.  In the death, burial, resurrection sequence of believer's baptism by immersion, the Christian acts out in sign form the Spirit's uniting of them to Jesus Christ which occurred in His spiritual baptism or uniting of them to Christ at prior saving faith.  

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