As we gain knowledge of our triune God, we start to see the roles, relationships, and respected ministries of each person among the Trinity. What exactly is the ministry of the Holy Spirit? In some circles, the Holy Spirit is the focal point. Some groups have become Holy Spirit centered as opposed to Christ centered. This overemphasis upon the Holy Spirit misses the mark and turns their individual lives and ministries upside down.
First, we must recognize that the Holy Spirit is God. Specifically, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead. Although cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Trinity and refer to the Holy Spirit as the “force” or “energy” of God, we must recognize that the Holy Spirit is God – co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son. However, an unbalanced focus upon the Holy Spirit can be troublesome and unhealthy.
The Holy Spirit In Salvation
From before the foundation of the world, the Father chose a people unto Himself (Ephesians 1). In the plan of redemption, the Son took upon human flesh and came to rescue those people by dying on the cross in a substitutionary death (Matt. 1:21; 1 Peter 2:24). In many pulpits, God’s work in salvation comes to an abrupt halt here only to turn things over to the will of man. How does a sinner come to believe the gospel?
It’s by the work of the Holy Spirit. According to John 6:63 and 2 Corinthians 3:6, the Spirit of God gives life. Paul explains the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation in Titus 3:5 by saying, “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” We must remember that Jesus articulated this same truth in the conversation with Nicodemus in John 3.
The Holy Spirit as Comforter
As we live in this world filled with trials, God the Holy Spirit is here to minister to us as our Comforter or Helper. As Jesus was preparing to leave His disciples, they were afraid. In preparation, Jesus informed them that it was to their advantage for Him to leave and He would send the Holy Spirit to them (John 16:7). The word translated Helper is the Greek word παράκλητος (parakletos). This form of the word is unquestionably passive and properly means “one called to the side of another.” It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to comfort the children of God.
The Holy Spirit and Holiness
We, as the children of God, are a work in progress. We are not home yet. As we travel through this world of sin, it’s easy for us to get side tracked and tempted by the world. However, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and set us apart for the glory of God. If the child of God becomes comfortable in the city of Vanity Fair, the Holy Spirit will labor to make that individual uncomfortable. In short, surgeons enjoy performing surgery, dentists enjoy working on teeth, and the Holy Spirit enjoys leading people to holiness.
There are three aspects to this work of holiness. If a person is to become holy, it will certainly involve the truth of the Scriptures (John 17:17). It will also take the work of the person in submitting to the truth and casting off the sinful practices of the flesh in the work of mortification of the flesh (Romans 8:13). However, if you read one verse further in Romans 8, you will likewise see the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). The child of God becomes holy as he is led by the Spirit of God to live in obedience to the Word of God.
It is not the work of the Holy Spirit to make us healthy, wealthy, and happy. If you attend a church and hear an unbalanced focus upon the Holy Spirit in the worship of the people, you should beware of error. It is the desire of the Holy Spirit to point sinners to Jesus Christ and then lead us to live in obedience to the risen Savior. Jesus came to do the will of the Father. When He departed, He sent the Holy Spirit to point people to Him and this work continues in our present day (John 16:7-11).