Understanding the Holy Spirit and His Role in the Trinity

what is the holy spirit
 
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.1 John 3:19-24

What Is the Holy Spirit?

It is interesting that throughout Scripture the Holy Spirit is not given a personal name such as Yahweh or Emmanuel, but is described only in terms of His work. Perhaps that omission has led some to think of the Holy Spirit as a force, a power, or an influence—some entity less than a person.

The Holy Spirit does not have a physical body, but rather describes qualities, characteristics, and actions. Here’s what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit —

• He thinks and feels (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)
• He decides (1 Corinthians 12:11)
• He speaks (John 15:26)
• He teaches (John 14:26)
• He intercedes for us (Romans 8:26)
• He helps to make our weaknesses become empowered strengths (2 Corinthians 12:9)
• He guides (1 Corinthians 2:13)
• He can be lied to (Acts 5:3), insulted (Hebrews 10:29), grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and resisted (Acts 7:51).

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit comes to us in person to glorify Christ in every believer as He works to create God’s family on the earth—that is, the Church as God’s household. He is called the Spirit of truth (John 16:13) and our Advocate (John 14:26). When He indwells the life of the believer, He takes the truth of the words of Christ, and reveals their depth of meaning to that individual.

Jesus taught that attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil was the worst sin a person could commit (Matthew 12:32). Indeed, what hope was there for one who rejected “the Spirit [who] gives life”? (John 6:63). Jesus Himself was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit” when He reflected upon God the Father’s purposes and activities (Luke 10:21). Furthermore, He gave His disciples reason to rejoice by telling them the Holy Spirit would be their divine helper in the years to come (see John 14:26). His words revealed the Holy Spirit’s role within the Trinity: In this instance, Jesus said that the Spirit would proceed from the Father, be sent by the Son, and bear witness about the Son (John 15:26–27).

What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

The work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ and make Him real in the daily life of every believer. The Holy Spirit serves as God’s divine Administrator on earth and He desires and works to recreate the life of Christ in His people.

The apostle John said, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). The Holy Spirit is the source of that life. John also says, “And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 John 3:24).

The Holy Spirit empowers Christians as they bear witness to the gospel. Beginning in the age of the apostles, the Spirit came to live within all believers, serving as counselor, comforter, and source of spiritual gifts for the Church’s mission. The Holy Spirit directed the mission of the Church, frequently giving specific guidance about where to go and whom to address (Acts 13:4). The Spirit not only provided power for witness, but He also comforted the Church as its leaders and members experienced considerable persecution for preaching that Christ was the only way of salvation (1 Peter 4:14). Today, the Spirit remains an eternal, ever-present helper to the people of God. His presence is the guarantee of the believer’s final redemption and eternal inheritance in heaven (Ephesians 1:13–14; 2 Corinthians 5:5).

Reflect

How do you see the Holy Spirit at work in your life? What do you do to advance the Kingdom while keeping your own self-centered desires in check? It takes courage and unyielding faith to walk in the spirit. No matter what season we are in, it’s important to pray daily for guidance and wisdom.

Article drawn from study content in the NIV Storyline Bible.

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