What Does the Holy Spirit Do?
The true God breaks into our deception-filled world to reveal himself to us in the person of his Son. 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 the truth. Thus the light of God’s revelation in Jesus would fall on blind eyes and never benefit us if God’s plan of salvation stopped there.
Yet God didn’t stop there. God knew that if we were ever to enter into a saving relationship with him, 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 the sending of the 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 the lives of God’s people. He glorifies Christ by revealing him to his children (Jn 16;14). He does not speak of himself (Jn 16:13) but rather causes people to behold the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ, thereby transforming them into this glory (2 Cor 3:17-18).
Whereas Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers, the Holy Spirit opens our minds and causes us to see the truth—the truth of who God is and the truth of who we are. The Holy Spirit manifests the truth of our fallen condition and thereby produces conviction and repentance in our lives. 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 become children of God. The Holy Spirit also infuses people with the love of Christ so that we may live in the truth.
In doing all of this, 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 from Seeing is Believing, pages 56-57.
Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr