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What does the Holy Spirit do?

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The Holy Spirit is one of the three parts of God, along with the Father and the Son (Jesus Christ). The Holy Spirit is a person, interacts with us personally, and belongs to both the Father (Genesis 1:2; Exodus 31:3) and the Son (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit interacts with us in His own way—distinct from the Father and the Son: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Corinthians 13:14). Together, these three parts make up one God. Each of us has a mind and a soul and emotions and a physical form. Similarly, God is able to be one person with three distinct (and whole) parts. They are all Himself, and yet they are all distinctly separate, and function together as one.

One of the main roles of the Holy Spirit is as a helper and comforter to believers. He helps us and teaches us (John 14:26), and assists us in prayer (Romans 8:26–27; Jude 1:20). He comforts us and gives us joy in the midst of affliction. He has fellowship with us (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14) and fills us so that we become more like Christ (Ephesians 5:18). The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we are weak. When we don't know how to pray, the Spirit prays for us, "with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26–27) according to God's knowledge and will. He gives us hope, joy, and peace (Romans 15:13).

Another role of the Holy Spirit involves salvation. God saves us by His mercy, and does it "by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). The Holy Spirit "seals" us (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). This means that God gives us fellowship with the Spirit as a way of promising that we belong to Him. Another indication that we belong to God is the Spirit's work in us, as He fills us (Ephesians 5:18), gives us gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4–11), and bears good fruit—His own fruit—through us (Galatians 5:19–26). He also leads us into righteousness, walking by our side (Galatians 5:16–18). He is intimately involved in our salvation and growth as believers. We are actually "born of the Spirit" and Jesus said that when something is born of Spirit, it is also spirit (John 3:5–8). So, we get our spiritual life from the Holy Spirit; we are His children in a very real sense!

The Holy Spirit also speaks to us before we become His children. Unbelievers hear from the Holy Spirit as He convicts them of sin (John 16:8). We are God's ambassadors, pleading with people that they might be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). But the Holy Spirit does the regenerative work, leading and prompting people with conviction and testifying about the truth of Christ (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit is also present in the world, battling lawlessness and holding back evil (2 Thessalonians 2:6–10).

Lastly, God reveals Himself to us through the Spirit, particularly to give us wisdom. There are many things that we find difficult to understand and accept—troubles in our own lives, the state of the world around us, questions that seem to have no good answer—and the Holy Spirit helps connect us to the mind of Christ. He interprets spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. This is how believers find peace in the midst of the world's chaos, and in the midst of our own doubts and questions. Because ". . . we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit . . ." (1 Corinthians 2:10–13).

Related Truth:

Who is the Holy Spirit?

What is the role of the Holy Spirit? How is the Holy Spirit active in our lives today?

When do we receive the Holy Spirit?

What role did the Holy Spirit have in the Old Testament?

What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

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