Trinity is indeed a great mystery. But no part of the Trinity is more a
mystery than the Holy Spirit. We see in outline form here the various roles and
functions of the Holy Spirit:
John 16:5-15 NASB "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none
of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' (6) "But because I have said these things to you,
sorrow has filled your heart. (7) "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that
I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I
go, I will send Him to you. (8) "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. (12) "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. (14) "He will
glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. (15) "All things that
the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will
disclose it to you.
Holy Spirit As…
is easiest, perhaps, to teach the roles of the Holy Spirit as given here.
There are three which may be concluded from the various translations of the
word here translated as “Helper.”
known as intercessor, there are two prominent forms of this:
you ever known what you wanted to pray for – but not how? Wish you
could have a translator? Often enough we understand our own motives well
enough to know that we can’t be pure enough to “put it right.” How can I
say “thy will be done” at the same time as “Lord, I need?” I don’t know
how, but the Spirit does.
it’s not what I want but how I feel. To be specific, lonely, left out,
misunderstood and wondering why I’m the only one to feel like that. The
Spirit then connects us to our Father in heaven,
who wants us to be in fellowship with him.
go both ways. We need to speak to God, but we also need to listen. The Spirit
does this for us as well. For example:
Spirit is a frequent guide to “what to do next.” The Apostle Paul was
guided this way geographically;
others have a similar story to tell.
Spirit is also the counselor to the church, being concerned with the unity
of the church.
It is good for us to dwell together in unity.
most frequent source of counsel for the Christian is the Bible, the Word
of God. It is no accident that this is described as the “sword of the
Is it any wonder, therefore, that we hear Christians say that the Word was
speaking to them?
you just need an arm around your shoulders. It is a great comfort to know that
God will not forsake you; indeed, more than that the Spirit resides in you.
If there is one time at which a Christian needs such comfort, it is at the
death of a loved one. Is not the Spirit the pledge of life to come?
astute reader will note that the Scripture is taken from the NASB, not the
NIV. The reason is found in verse 8. The NIV, almost alone, adds the phrase
“of guilt” to the text. This is a reflection of the modern view that guilt is
a feeling, not a fact. A similar reasoning will tell you why the NIV often
refers to sinners as “sinners.” Sin and guilt are just emotions in this view,
and with proper counseling will go away. The view is entirely modern; there is
no evidence that Christ, the Apostles or anyone else before the 20th
century ever believed this nonsense.)
about this concept, sin? Christ tells us that it is the work of the Spirit to
convict the world of sin – because they did not believe Christ. The argument
is simple: Christ on this earth gave convincing proof that he was supreme over
sin – and the religious leaders of his time simply refused to believe. While
He was in the world there was time for repentance; now all time is urgent.
so? Sin is a fact, not a feeling. So even if I don’t “feel” sinful, I am a
sinner. This is the first step on the road to salvation, realizing that I’m
not perfect, and I need to do something about it. So for the world, this is
the “first contact” point.
those who are already Christians, conviction of sin is just as important – for
it leads to repentance. Indeed, we are told to “walk in the Spirit.”
then tells us the world is to be convicted of righteousness “because I go to
the Father.” Huh? The explanation is simple: He lived a blameless life. He
is sinless. Therefore, righteousness does exist – we have the example in front
of our faces. So it’s not hopeless!
carries some important implications:
this presumes the existence of right and wrong. If right and wrong both
exist, then righteousness exists.
with whom does it exist, if not with God? God, Christ and the Holy Spirit
are righteous. And I’m not. There’s step 2.
of this, I am separated from God until I accept his pardon.
then brings up judgment – “because the prince of this world is judged.” How is
this? Because the prince of this world, Satan, has condemned an innocent man.
All others who died were sinners, and Satan can plead that they deserved it –
in a sense, they are his lawful prey. But not Christ. Satan is shown for what
you not see that God, who is righteousness, MUST judge the world – and its
prince? This case is so clear as to leave no doubt; God must judge. And if he
judges its prince, He must judge the world with him. This is step 3.
– by His great love he has offered us mercy, for Christ is our atonement
sacrifice. His justice is satisfied by this, and he offers us this as his
grace. This, if you will, is step 4 – accepting his grace.
you understand the unforgivable sin: If you will not follow all the steps, you
will not be saved. If you deny your sinfulness, you will not get to step 2.
If you deny God’s righteousness, you will not get to step 3. If you ignore his
warning of judgment, you will not get to step 4. And if you will not accept
his grace (step 4) then you will not be saved. That’s why the sin
against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable.
Spirit of Truth
may see the connection of the Holy Spirit to Truth in several ways.
to all truth
does the Spirit guide us into all truth?
way is in public speaking – we are told not to worry about what we will
say, the Spirit will guide us.
there are changes necessary in the church – for example, when Peter had to
be convinced that Gentiles had a place in the church as well as Jews.
of all, the Spirit sees the deep things of God – and brings them to us.
should not need to point this out, but in this day and age it seems prudent to
do so. There is only one Truth. Period. Therefore the Spirit doesn’t
proclaim the “Spirit’s truth” (as opposed to Christ’s, or the Father’s.)
Instead we find that the Spirit (verse 14) glorifies Christ, not Himself. He
does this by taking what is Christ’s (which is also what is God the Father’s)
and conveying it on Christ’s behalf (verse 15).
is sometimes confusing. May I give you a simple mnemonic for how this works?
The ancient church held that all good things came “from the Father, by
the Son, through the Spirit.” It helps to know your prepositions.
is to come
often neglected aspect of the Spirit’s ministry is that of prophecy – the
foretelling of things to come.
may surprise you to learn this, but all prophecy comes through the
good example of this is given by Paul,
where he teaches us that in the last days some will fall away. Hmmmmmm.
there is a most solemn example of this. Seven times in the Book of
we are warned “He who
has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Spirit is comfort and guide; the Spirit convicts the world of sin and judgment
– and brings the church into all truth, no matter how disturbing that might be.