Study 11 THE GIFT OF HIS SPIRIT
THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portions: John 14:16-17; 15:26-27; 16:7-15
The Holy Spirit is a Person. We can know Him, just as we can know God the Father and God the Son – compare John 14:7,9 and 17, and notice the word ‘know’ in each reference. To be convinced of the personality of the Holy Spirit read John 14:16-17; 16:7-9, and underline the personal pronouns which are used in reference to Him. He is said to do things which are only possible for a person to do, and things may be done to the Holy Spirit which can only be done to a person. For example, He convicts (John 16:8); He teaches (John 14:26 and 1 John 2:27); He speaks (Acts 8:29 and Galatians 4:6); He leads (Acts 10:19; Acts 13:2; Acts 16:6-7; Acts 20:23; Romans 8:14 and Galatians 5:18); He appoints to service (Acts 13:2 and Acts 20:28); He regenerates and fills (John 3:6 and Ephesians 5:18); He may be grieved (Ephesians 4:30); He may be resisted (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
But the Holy Spirit is not only a Person; He is a Divine Person. In the scriptures He is called God (Acts 5:3-4); He possesses the attributes of deity (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 and Hebrews 9:14); and He performs the works of God (Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30; Luke 12:11-12; Acts 1:5; Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and 2 Peter 1:21). So the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, the third Person of the Trinity. Notice that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all mentioned in Matthew 3:15-17; John 14:16; John 15:26 and John 16:15.
Towards the close of His ministry our Lord said – look up John 16:7-11. This refers to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the unbeliever. But, He also said – look up John 14:16-17. This refers to the Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Something new was to happen. The Holy Spirit was to come and indwell every believer and to abide for ever! In the old Dispensation He had come upon men for the accomplishment of special tasks, but now He was to take up residence within the life of every believer. Before He ascended, the Saviour said – look up Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4; and on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came and indwelt every believer, as we learn from Acts 2:4.
Now, what was the purpose of His coming into the hearts of God’s children to abide forever? Why did the Lord Jesus promise the gift of the Holy Spirit? Why was that promise fulfilled at Pentecost? Why is it fulfilled at the very moment anyone becomes a Christian? Among the many answers that could be given to these questions, consider the following:
1. The Holy Spirit communicates the Divine Life to the Believer
A Christian is one who is alive from the dead – look up Ephesians 2:1; one who has not merely turned over a ‘new leaf’ or made a ‘decision’, but he has been born again (John 3:3); and he has been made a partaker of the divine nature and of the life of Christ Himself (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:4 and 1 John 5:10-12). There is only one Christian life in the world, and every believer is a partaker of that life – His life! But Christ is in Heaven, so how can I partake of His life? By the Holy Spirit who dwells within me – look up Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 6:19.
2. The Holy Spirit unites the Believer to Christ and makes him a member of His Body
Study 1 Corinthians 12:13 very carefully, for it refers to every Christian. When we are born again, not only do we receive a new life, but as believers we are vitally joined to the Lord and to one another. All this is accomplished by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Before conversion we were “in Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:22); but on believing, by the baptism of the Spirit, we were placed eternally in the new Creation, “in Christ” – look up 2 Corinthians 5:17. As a branch is grafted into the vine, so every believer has been grafted into Christ, united to Him, made a member of His Body – by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
3. The Holy Spirit seals the Believer with the assurance of salvation
This truth is emphasised in Romans 8:14-16 and Ephesians 1:13-14.
4. The Holy Spirit reproduces the character of Christ in the Believer
Every real Christian longs to be like the Lord Jesus. But how can this transformation be accomplished? Not by effort, trying or struggling. Not by imitation, but by impartation, by letting the Holy Spirit produce the fruit of the Spirit within and through the life (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of the Spirit is produced in us as and when we abide in Christ (John 15:4-5); and this means letting His Word abide in us (1 John 3:24). The Holy Spirit has been given to make us like the Lord Jesus – look up 2 Corinthians 3:18.
5. The Holy Spirit accomplishes the work of the Risen Lord through the Believer
Real Christian service is not our working for Christ; it is Christ working through us. For three wonderful years the Lord Jesus worked through a perfect human body, and all He did was in the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1; Acts 1:1-2; Acts 10:38 and Hebrews 9:14); then, after He had died, risen and ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell and work through thousands (and since then, millions) of human bodies. An effective Christian servant is one who lets the Lord work with him (Mark 16:20); and through him (John 7:37-39). Now look up John 14:12, and compare Acts 1:1.
6. The Holy Spirit reveals the things of Christ to the Believer
He guides us into the truth (John 16:13); and He reveals the things of Christ to us (John 16:14). He opens the scriptures to us (Psalm 119:18). Now read 1 Corinthians 2:9-14.
7. The Holy Spirit makes the presence of Christ real in the experience of the Believer
Read John 16:7. It is by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the Saviour’s promise in Matthew 28:20 is realised in the experience of God’s people.