The root of the flesh is a lie about who God is and who we are. Satan brings us into bondage of the flesh by convincing us that God is not the loving God he says that he is. In doing this, Satan convinces us that we cannot find fullness of life by being wholly dependent upon God. This is the lie of Satan.
The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of truth (Jn 14:17; 15:26; 16:13), and the truth in Greek (alethia) literally means “not covered.” The Spirit of truth confronts the deception of the flesh by uncovering the truth about God and the truth about us. He brings the true God and our true identity out of hiding by lifting the deception that covers our eyes and hearts. He does this by pointing us to the person in whom the true God and true humanity were fully manifested to us: Jesus Christ.
The true God breaks into our deception-filled world through the Incarnation. In and of itself, however, this doesn’t lift the deception of the flesh from our hearts and eyes. We are yet dead in sin, blind and lovers of “darkness rather than light” (Jn 3:19). As long as the god of this age blinds us (2 Cor 4:4), we inevitably and habitually suppress truth. Thus, the light of God’s revelation in Jesus would fall on blind eyes and never benefit us if God’s plan stopped there.
But God didn’t stop there. God knew that if we were ever to see who God is and who we are rightly, he not only would have to be revealed to us, he would have to be revealed in us. So God didn’t stop with sending his Son to dwell among us; he also sent his Spirit to reside within us. God not only speaks to us and lives the truth for us in his Son, he also opens our eyes and ears to see and hear this truth by sending his Spirit.
The main work of the Holy Spirit, then, is not to supplement what the Son did but to apply what the Son did to our lives. He guides believers into all truth (Jn 16:13) by pointing us to the one who is the truth (Jn 14:6).
Whereas Satan blinds the minds, the Holy Spirit opens our minds and causes us to see the truth. The Holy Spirit manifests the truth of our fallen condition and thereby produces conviction and repentance in our lives (Jn 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit opens the hearts and minds of people so we are able to receive the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and in him we become children of God. The Holy Spirit also infuses people with the love of Christ so that we may live in truth.
The Spirit of truth is simply pointing people to the one who is truth, Jesus Christ. He is confronting and reversing the deceptive assumptions of the flesh in our lives. He is unveiling the true God for us, revealed in Jesus Christ, so that he might reveal our true identity as people who are loved by God.
—Adapted Seeing Is Believing, pages 54-57