Marvelous Functions of the Holy Spirit
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The Bible explains that the Holy Spirit is central to everything God is and does. The Holy Spirit is not a person but is the very essence of God’s perfect nature, character, power, influence and authority. For example, God’s Spirit was instrumental in the creation of the entire universe—including the earth and all life on it (Job 26:13; Job 33:4; Genesis 1:2; Psalm 104:30). Quoting Isaiah 61, during His earthly ministry Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18, emphasis added throughout).
Also, when the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples on the first New Testament Pentecost in A.D. 31, they were filled with spiritual drive and fortitude. By employing the power, courage and wisdom of God’s Spirit they became intrepid witnesses of Jesus Christ and fearlessly spread the good news of His future government on earth (Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15; Acts 4:31). As we prepare to observe the Holy Day of Pentecost, let’s examine three of the many vital functions of the Holy Spirit. By doing so we can better appreciate God’s divine gift while supporting His Church as it resolutely disseminates the true message of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God throughout the earth today (1 Corinthians 1:23; Matthew 24:14).
1) The Holy Spirit as God’s begettal power
Similar to how a human father imparts part of his nature to his offspring through the reproduction process, God begets His own spiritual attributes to those He calls when they repent, are baptized and receive His Spirit by the laying on of hands by God’s true ministers (Acts 2:38; Hebrews 6:2). The apostle Peter explained that these actions result in His people becoming “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
All of this was made possible because Jesus Christ lived a flawless life, faced and endured His sacrificial death and was resurrected to spirit life. Consequently, God’s faithful people become a new creation and heirs of God in His divine family (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 4:7) As Peter also wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
So, through spiritual begettal you and I can not only become inheritors of everlasting life but we can develop the very mind of God (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5). Plus, the Holy Spirit infuses converted Christians with God’s incomparable divine love (Romans 5:5).
Besides this, the begettal of the Holy Spirit shows that we belong to God. “And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, [which] he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people” (Ephesians 1:13-14, New Living Translation). These wonderful passages should leave us in sublime awe as to what God has promised to those who love and obey Him.
2) God imparts spiritual powers and capabilities by His Spirit
Through His Holy Spirit, God imparts divine gifts to His blessed people so that they can accomplish His work in the world and grow in godly righteousness (Acts 2:7-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). For example, in the Old Testament we read how God provided His Spirit to certain individuals—including kings, judges and prophets—so that they could accomplish special missions. The prophet Micah wrote, “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin” (Micah 3:8). Also, God gave King David the Holy Spirit to implement His divine purposes for ancient Israel as their God-inspired human leader. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13).
Furthermore, through His Spirit, God grants splendid divine gifts to individual members of His Church. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). Through the Holy Spirit, God bequeaths to us the capability and strength we individually need, just as He did for Jesus during His earthy ministry (Isaiah 11:2). As God’s people, we must actively employ the divine abilities He has given us to support the Church and personally grow to spiritual maturity (Ephesians 2:19-22; 2 Peter 3:18).
3) God teaches, leads and guides through the Holy Spirit
It is by the Holy Spirit that called, repentant individuals are able to grasp “the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-11). By contrast, “the person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14, New International Version). Again, human beings absolutely need God and His Spirit in their lives to even begin comprehending spiritual things.
It is through His Spirit that God enables those He calls to fully comprehend what He is doing and what He wants them to accomplish (John 14:26). The apostle Paul wrote, “We don’t speak about these things using teachings that are based on intellectual arguments like people do. Instead, we use the Spirit’s teachings. We explain spiritual things to those who have the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:13, God’s Word Translation). Moreover, the Holy Spirit helps us draw ever closer to God so we can “be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Besides teaching spiritual truth through His Spirit, God diligently leads and guides His people. For example, Acts 13:2-3 describes how Paul and Barnabas were meeting in Jerusalem with brethren and teachers of God’s Church. The result was that the Holy Spirit led them to send Paul and Barnabas to the gentiles to teach them about Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. The vibrant force of God’s Spirit guided the disciples and apostles in their efforts to accomplish the work of preaching the Gospel with tremendous conviction, commitment and courage. In another instance the apostle Paul explained how God, through His Spirit, inspired him to preach the gospel, “not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4, NIV).
Finally, as we prepare to observe the Holy Day of Pentecost, let’s be deeply grateful to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for the wonderful gifts and benefits of the Holy Spirit. It is through its many marvelous roles and functions that extraordinary blessings are conferred upon His deeply loved people so that they can steadfastly support the Church and personally grow in profound spiritual understanding.