As we draw near to the end of Easter season, we begin to move from reflection on our Savior's resurrection to reflection on His ascension into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Admittedly, in Baptist Life, the Holy Spirit is a person whose name does not come up much. We seem to have much fear and confusion regarding the Holy Spirit, and yet He is one of the most important parts of victorious, Christian living. The Holy Spirit does many works in the life of the believer, but today I would like to examine just three of these works.
1. The Work of Conviction.
One of the major works of the Holy Spirit in a person's life is the work of conviction. Simply put, conviction is convincing a person of the reality of sin, revealing to a person that they are sinful, and presenting them with the salvation of Jesus Christ through repentance and faith. Conviction continues for a believer in that the Holy Spirit leads a person to constantly be growing in their relationship with Christ and He illuminates their path so that they may hate what is evil and love what is good. In Acts 2:37, after Peter had preached, Scripture records "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” How was it that cause this "cutting to the heart"? It was the Holy Spirit.
2. The Work of Assurance
One of the most common questions I have received in my brief time of ministry is "pastor, how can I know for sure that I am saved?" Though we don't often realize this truth, assurance is a gift and work of the Holy Spirit. He assures us of our standing with Christ and the reality of our eternal salvation. Paul taught the church at Rome that one knows they are saved not but an outward mark on the flesh but by an inward mark of the Spirit. (Rom. 2:29) If one wants to be sure of salvation, they need only look within to find the Spirit of God residing in their hearts. Never forget, the closer you stay to God's will the more yielded you will be to the Spirit, and the more yielded you are to the Spirit the greater the reality of His assurance in your life.
3. The Work of Indwelling
The hymn writer Alfred Ackley once wrote in a song "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart." The truth of that song is a wonderful thought. He lives within us. The Holy Spirit resides within our hearts. Dr. Adrian Rogers once said "In the Old Testament, God had a temple for His people. In the New Testament, God has a people for His temple." What a truth! In the Old Testament, God's presence dwelt within the temple, but in the New Testament His presence is within His people. We often hear people quote "your body is temple", but that is only true if you are saved. We are not temples because we are holy but because He has deposited His Holy Spirit within our hearts. Because He is within us, we have a comforter to lift us up, a convictor to bring our sin to attention, an exhorter to teach us the truth of God's Word, and guide to lead us in the path of righteousness.
May we, as God's people, live each day in the power of His Holy Spirit!