As Jesus instructs His disciples prior to His death on the cross, He teaches them concerning the Holy Spirit. Anytime you begin a study on the Holy Spirit, it is important to clarify what the Holy Spirit is not. The Holy Spirit is not a feeling. The Holy Spirit is not an ‘it.’ It is not some magical power. I had a lady tell me one time that my Holy Spirit spoke to her Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not some special power or thing. It is not your Holy Spirit, rather it is, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is the third person of the trinity. He is part of the Godhead. He is God. He is just as much God as the Father is and He is just as much God as Jesus is. As the third person of the trinity, He has certain functions. However, at the same time, He is coequal with God the Father and God the Son.
The Holy Spirit indwells all those who believe on Jesus for their salvation. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what we refer to as the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This takes place the very instant that one by faith receives Christ as Savior. Some say that the Holy Spirit comes into a believer some time later on in their life. They call this a ‘second blessing’ that is signified by speaking in tongues. Others say the Holy Spirit indwells a person even before they become a believer. The Calvinist would say that the Holy Spirit comes into a person in such a way that they must come to faith in Christ, thus, what they call, irresistible grace. My friend, both of these ideas are false. The Bible is very clear that Holy Spirit indwells the moment one believes, not a moment sooner and not a moment later.
With the indwelling of the Spirit, He is our seal of salvation. Read Ephesians 1:13-14. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our salvation. He seals us. Once you are saved and the Holy Spirit indwells you, nothing or no one can ever take you out of the hands of God.
Jesus’ teaching on the Holy Spirit recorded in the Gospel of John gives us some insight into the function of the Holy Spirit. We know who the Holy Spirit is, but what does he do?
The Holy Spirit brings comfort (14:6-18 ; 14:26 ; 16:7). Jesus tells His disciples that He must go away. However, He would not leave them alone. The Holy Spirit will be there for them. It is a comforting thing to know that we are not alone. As believers in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living in us. He is always there. He never leaves us. You and I do not have to face this world alone. We do not have to set out to do what God has called us to do as ambassadors of Jesus Christ on our own. The Holy Spirit is right there to help us along the way. He is our comforter.
The Holy Spirit teaches us (14:26). The Holy Spirit is our teacher. He is the communicator of truth. Our belief system is not to be based upon man-made theologies and philosophies. Our belief system is not an academic thing. Our belief system is not something that can be fully understood by mere men. Our belief system is spiritual. It is beyond us. It is the Holy Spirit that reveals those things to us that we cannot understand. The Holy Spirit teaches us according to the written Word of God. He will never teach us anything that contradicts with what God’s Word says. He brings to our remembrance the things that we have read and studied in the Word of God. Therefore, in order to learn from the Holy Spirit, we must do our part to read and study God’s Word. The Holy Spirit’s teachings are consistent. In other words, He will not teach you something that contradicts something that He teaches me. If there is a point of disagreement, then one of us is wrong. Therefore, we must rely upon the Holy Spirit to help us to understand the Word. Understanding the Spirit’s teaching comes from continual prayer and Bible study along with holy living.
The Holy Spirit is the peace giver (14:27). The Holy Spirit brings peace and assurance to believers. We live in a world that is full of turmoil and strife. Everyday we hear of bad news and tragic events. We have all experienced times of tragedy and difficulty. However, in the midst of it all, there is a peace that overwhelms believers. It is a peace that is only experienced by those who truly know Jesus. This peace comes at the very moment of need. He gives us just what we need when we need it. This comes more readily to those who live in submission to the Holy Spirit. As we submit to the leading of the Spirit daily, the greater peace we will have when tragedy hits and difficulties come.
The Holy Spirit is the truth bearer (16:13). The Holy Spirit guides us to the truth. He will never take us down a road of falsehood. If we get caught up in false doctrine and are deceived, it is done so by our own choosing. The Holy Spirit guides us in the truth. The Holy Spirit will lead us to places where we can learn more of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit has a way of bringing people across our path that will help us to grow in our faith. He will always lead us down the path of truth.
The Holy Spirit is the convictor (16:8-11). When we do wrong and sin, the Holy Spirit will convict us. He shows us the error of our ways and lead us to repent. This is part of God’s discipline on the life of the believer. However, in addition to convicting believers of sin, the Holy Spirit is at work in this world to convict the world of sin and to show them their need for a Savior. This is the only thing the Holy Spirit does for the unbeliever. The Bible is clear that no one can be saved unless the Spirit of God draws them. The Holy Spirit is working to draw all people to Jesus. He does this by various means, but, primarily, this is done through the witness of the church.
Thank God that Jesus did not leave us alone. He has given us the Holy Spirit to comfort, teach, give peace, bear truth, and to convict us.