1. The promise of the Spirit
In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit spoke through special messengers who were gifted for particular tasks or for prophecy (Judges 6:34; 1 Samuel 10:10-11; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The later prophets, especially Joel (Joel 2:28-32), foretold the outpouring of God's Spirit on all people, a prophecy that was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36). The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of one in whom the Spirit of the Lord would dwell perfectly (Isaiah 11:1-5).
2. The Spirit in Jesus
The Holy Spirit was active in the Incarnation: by his power God's Son was born of a woman (Luke 1:35). The Spirit was at work in the life and ministry of Jesus (Luke 3:21-22; Luke 4:16-21) and in the mighty act of God that commenced the new creation by raising Jesus Christ from the dead.
3. The work of the Spirit in the life of the believer
The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinfulness and need of salvation (John 16:7-11), and leads us to repentance and faith. Through regeneration, he imparts new life in Christ and enables us to live in the reality of the Resurrection (Romans 8:1-11). He sanctifies us as God's people, enabling us to bear the fruit of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 5:22-25). He calls us to continual repentance. He re-awakens us to the memory of Jesus and continues to remind us that we are sinners saved by grace to live victoriously (Galatians 5:16-18).
The Spirit enlightens and empowers us in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are engaged in conflict with the principalities and powers of evil, which seek to overthrow the Kingdom of God, corrupt the Church and thwart its mission (1 John 4:1-6).
We need not be oppressed by, nor preoccupied with, the demonic or the powers of darkness (1 John 4:4; Ephesians 6:11). We can rejoice in our hope of the eventual victorious completion of the struggle against the powers of darkness ( 1 John 5:4-5).
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us and gives voice to our prayers, interrupting our unspoken needs at the throne of grace where Jesus Christ represents us before the Father (Romans 8:26-27).
As the Counselor promised by Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes alongside to help, witnessing to Christ and bringing to the minds of his followers his example, teaching and love (John 14:26). He gives understanding of our task, equipment for service and empowerment for mission.
The Holy Spirit indwells the believer. He imparts strength, peace, joy and courage to witness, enabling us to live holy lives (John 16; Ephesians 3:14-19) and is the guarantor of the life that is to come (2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14).
4. The Spirit in the Church
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit became the creator of the Church through which God initiated the reign of Christ and the mission of his people (John 17:20; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-41). In the ongoing life of the Church the Spirit initiates and seeks to guide and sustain genuine religious revival and spiritual renewal.
- He releases and directs new life in the Church (Acts 8:26-40; Acts 10:44; Acts 13:2)
- He creates fellowship (2 Corinthians 13:14)
- He inspires sacrificial love (1 Corinthians 13:1-4)
- He imparts humility (Philippians 2:1-3)
- He provides believers with spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:7-13)
The freely chosen human actions of repentance and faith, made possible by the grace of God, and the renewing, restoring and recreating power of the Holy Spirit are each necessary if God's saving action is to be a reality in the life of the believer.