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  • Writer's pictureLynn Holzinger

The Works of the Holy Spirit

(Photo by Jakub Skafiriak on Unsplash)

And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the

spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of

knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:2

In the last post we talked about who the Holy Spirit is, His names and some of the ways He is active in Scripture. Today we will talk about the works of the Holy Spirit. You may be surprised at how active He is in your life.


HE ASSURES. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to assure the believer of their salvation. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God because they received the Spirit when they were adopted into God's family. "For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children" (Rom 8:16). And in 2 Corinthians 1:22, Paul tells us that God has identified us as His own by giving us the Holy Spirit as the "first installment that guarantees everything He has promised us."

HE BAPTIZES. John the Baptist first preached a Spirit baptism in Matthew 3:11 when he tells the crowd that was gathered, "I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Later, Jesus tells His disciples the same thing before He ascends to heaven; that in a few days they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). The baptism of the Spirit is what joins you to the body of Christ. It occurs only once for each believer at the time of salvation. At Pentecost, the evidence of baptism was tongues and marked the beginning of the church (see Acts 11:15-16). The word baptized, which normally means "dipped or immersed," here has the idea of "uniting with" (cf 1 Cor 10:1-2) [1]

HE CONVICTS. First, the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). He also brings conviction to the believer when they have sinned or are about to make a wrong move. This is not to be confused with condemnation which is not the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:1 tells us "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." On the other hand, the unbeliever will be condemned for their sins if they don't accept what Jesus did on the cross. In my experience, when you first become aware of the Holy Spirit's conviction, don't ignore it! He is convicting you for a reason, and He has your good in mind. Ignoring it will only lead to misery.

HE EMPOWERS. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives you power to live the Christian life and do the things God asks you to do. In the Old Testament, God gave the assignment of rebuilding the Temple to Zerubbabel. The Lord told him he would be successful. He said, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts" (Zech 4:6). Zerubbabel would only be able to complete the task as he was empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is true for believers today. It's impossible to live the supernatural life apart from the Spirit of God enabling you.

HE FILLS. Believers are to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). Unlike baptism which only happens once, you can be filled by the Spirit again and again. What does it look like and how does it happen? In Acts 2:4, it looked like praising God and telling of the wonderful deeds He had done in languages unknown to them (tongues). It happened because it had been promised. We also know the believers were all together in one place (2:1) and earlier (1:14), we see they all "with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer." In Ephesians 5:18-20, we are told not to get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit (v.18). To get drunk with wine, you must drink enough or it until you are drunk. Being filled with the Holy Spirit can be compared to drinking the Spirit (1 Cor 12:13). The Spirit is compared to rivers of living water (John 7:38-39). So we can say drinking the Spirit is drinking rivers of living water. After we're told to be filled with the Spirit, Paul tells us what it looks like: singing, making music, and joyful praise (v.19), giving thanks to God for everything and submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ (v.20).

HE GIFTS. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to each believer as He determines (1 Cor 12:11). Gifts are given for the common good (1 Cor 12:7), to equip God's people to do His work, and for the building up of the body of Christ until unity and maturity is reached (Eph 4:12-13). When everyone is using their gifts and working together, it is like a fully functioning body. Some will be hands or feet, while others will be mouths, eyes, or ears. And still, others will be vital organs. Every part matters and God puts each part of the body where He wants it (1 Cor. 12:18). The gifts are listed in three places: 1 Corinthians 12:7-10; 12:28; and Ephesians 4:11. There is disagreement in the body as to whether some gifts ceased after the apostles died and with the canon of Scripture.

HE GUIDES. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth (John 16:13). "To guide" means "to show or lead the way." Those who are led by the Spirit of God are His children (Rom 8:14), but you can be a child of God and not follow His guidance. Because the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, you have to choose to walk by the Spirit. Paul says, "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh" (Gal 5:16). In other words, let the Spirit guide you. Those who belong to Christ have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to the cross and are living by the Spirit (Gal 5:24-25). Letting the Spirit show you the way means you will not try to figure things out by yourself or do it on your own. Instead, you will be consciously living your life in step with the Holy Spirit.

HE INDWELLS. The Spirit of God lives in believers. You are God's dwelling place; His temple. God's temple is holy, so that means your body is holy (1 Cor 3:16). 2 Corinthians 6:16 asks the question, "And what union can there be between God's temple and idols? For you are the temple of the living God" You are called to separate yourself from the world and to make every effort to live pure and blameless lives (Phil 1:10; 2 Peter 3:14). This means letting the Spirit guide you, fill you, and empower you. Through Christ's death, you have been made holy and blameless in God's sight (Col 1:22); but you are also told to let God make you holy through His sanctifying work (1 Thess 5:23).

HE INTERCEDES. When you don't know how to pray, you can know that the Holy Spirit is interceding on your behalf (Rom 8:26). In your weakness, you don't always know what to say to God; you may not always know what to ask for, or you ask for the wrong thing. You don't pray as you should. When the mother of the sons of Zebedee asked Jesus to let her sons sit on the right and left of Him in His kingdom, Jesus told her she didn't know what she was asking (Matt 20:20-22). Sometimes we are like that mother. I am so grateful to know the Spirit is interceding for me because sometimes I feel like a "bumbling idiot" when I am praying. Sometimes I am the one groaning, but it's the Spirit's groans that are going before the throne. The Father knows what the Spirit is saying, and that's a good thing!

HE REGENERATES. Apart from the Spirit's regenerating work, there is no salvation. That's the idea of being born-again. You are born of the Spirit. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus, "Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3). At salvation, your spirit is immediately reborn and made new. God saved you, not because of all the good things you have done, but because of His love, His kindness, and His mercy. Part of being saved is the "washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit" (Tit 3:4-5).

HE REVEALS CHRIST. Did you know that the reason you are a Christian is that the Holy Spirit revealed Christ to you? John 15:26 tells us that He will testify about Jesus. Jesus says, "All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you" (John 16:15). This is not just for your salvation, but also for living the Christian life. The Spirit may reveal Christ through the Bible which is God's Word. You will read a Scripture, and it will come alive. It may speak to a situation you are in or give you an answer you are seeking. Or it may reveal the beauty and majesty of Jesus.

HE SANCTIFIES. To be sanctified is to be made holy. At the new birth, you were justified meaning you were made right with God, but you didn't automatically become holy. Only God is holy. The ongoing sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is making you more and more like Christ so that when you look back on your life, you will see that you have grown spiritually. Gal 5:22-23 tells us the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When you look at these fruits and look at your life, you should see improvement as time goes on. The Spirit has a way of letting you know what fruit He is working on and if you struggle with particular ones more than others, then you're in good hands!

HE SEALS. The Spirit reminds and confirms to you that you are saved (Rom 8:16). Your salvation is guaranteed. Many refer to this as the doctrine of eternal security. 2 Corinthians 1:22 tells you that Christ put the Holy Spirit in you as a seal of ownership; a pledge to you that He will deliver on His promise. God cannot break His promises nor can He lie (Num 23:19; Tit 1:2).

HE TEACHES. Jesus says, "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26). Jesus was talking to the disciples, but this is a truth for believers today as well. Paul tells the Corinthians that God was the One who revealed these things by His Spirit because the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. Paul says he speaks words given to him by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths (1 Cor 2:10,13).


Did you realize the Holy Spirit worked in so many ways in the life of the believer? At the very least, it was a good reminder of how active the Spirit is. Jesus said it is good that He went away because then He sent the Holy Spirit. Not everyone agrees on all that is taught about the Holy Spirit. These last two posts were groundwork, and now we will look a little deeper and address some of the differing thoughts about His activity.


[1] John F. Walvoord/Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary (SP Publications, Inc. 1983) p. 353

Grace bible Church, Urbana, IL: Grace Notes, The Work of the Holy Spirit (Parts 1-9)

John Piper: How To Be Filled With the Spirit

#HolySpirit #worksoftheHolySpirit

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