THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Part 1)
“He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14 NKJV)
The primary ministry of the Holy Spirit to sinners or unbelievers is to reprove, convince or convict them of their sin of unbelief or of rejecting Christ.
The Holy Spirit does this by applying the truths of God’s Word to their minds to convince them that they are sinners without any righteousness in God’s sight and deserving God’s wrath or judgement.
The Lord Jesus Christ aptly spelled out the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the unbelievers.
7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 “of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10 “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11 “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (NKJV).
On the contrary, the Holy Spirit is not on a mission in the believers to convict them of their sins or to condemn them for their sins.
Sadly, many believers today ignorantly attribute conviction of sins and condemnation for sins in their lives to the Holy Spirit.
This is maligning the character and ministry of the Holy Spirit in and to the believers!
The Scripture amply teaches that sin has been judged and condemned once and for all in the flesh of Christ for all who put their faith in Him for salvation. Therefore, there is no condemnation to the believers in Christ Jesus.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh. (NKJV).
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (NKJV).
What then is the primary ministry or mission of the Holy Spirit in and to the believers in Christ?
First, the Holy Spirit is on a mission to reveal Christ in and to the believers.
Second, the Holy Spirit is on a mission to glorify Christ in and through the believers.
Third, the Holy Spirit is on a mission to transform the believers’ character progressively into Christ-likeness.
In the first part of this piece we shall focus on what revelation of Christ the Holy Spirit gives to the believers, why the revelation of Christ is important to the believers, and how the Holy Spirit gives the revelation of Christ to the believers.
Having spelled out the mission of the Holy Spirit to the unbelievers, the Lord Jesus Christ went further to state the mission of the Holy Spirit in and to the believers.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
15 “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (NKJV).
It is the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit to give a precise and correct knowledge of the person, power and preeminence of Christ to the believers. The Holy Spirit seeks to give us the full knowledge or understanding of the nature, character, person, words and works of Jesus Christ.
Apostle Paul testifies to this truth.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,
16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (NKJV).
What revelation of Christ does the Holy Spirit seek to reveal to the believers?
First, the Holy Spirit seeks to reveal the love of Christ to the believers:
At the New Birth, the Holy Spirit poured into the believer’s heart the love of Christ (Rom. 5:5). Afterwards, the Holy Spirit continues to reveal or declare progressively to the believer’s mind this great love of Christ.
It is the desire of the Holy Spirit to bring every believer into the full knowledge, recognition or discernment of the unconditional, unending, and unfluctuating love of Christ.
This is why Paul’s prayer for the believers at Ephesus is to know the love of Christ through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (NKJV).
Understanding the nature and magnitude of the love of Christ towards you will undoubtedly challenge, compel or constrain you to love, live and die for Christ, just as it challenged and compelled the early apostles to love, live and die for Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:
12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.
13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (NKJV).
Second, the Holy Spirit seeks to reveal the blessings of the finished work of Christ to the believers:
After the regeneration of the believer’s heart, it is the desire of the Holy Spirit to bring the believer into the full knowledge, recognition or discernment of the truths about his new spiritual identity, image, status, condition, position, authority, inheritances, privileges or blessings as a result of the finished work of Christ.
This is the main subject or focus of Paul’s prayer in his epistle to the Ephesus.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. (NKJV).
Growing in the revelation knowledge of the person and finished work of Jesus Christ through the help of the Holy Spirit will make your faith effective, embolden you to appropriate and enjoy your blessings in Christ, and strengthen you to enforce and demonstrate your authority and victory in and through Christ.
Paul testifies to this truth in his letter to Philemon.
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers,
5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints,
6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (NKJV).
Peter also testifies to this truth.
2 Peter 1:
1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (NKJV).
Third, the Holy Spirit seeks to reveal Christ as the ultimate fulfillment of all the Old Testament types, shadows, symbols, ceremonies or rites:
The Holy Spirit seeks to unveil or disclose Christ and His redemptive work which are veiled or hidden in the Old Testament types, shadows, symbols, ceremonies or rites. He also seeks to reveal or declare to Christ as the end of the law for righteousness (Rom. 10:1-5).
1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. (NKJV).
Knowing Christ as the end of the law for righteousness and as the ultimate fulfillment of all the Old Testament types, shadows and ceremonies will set you free from the yoke or bondage of the law and from the burden of vain and rigorous religious ceremonies or rites so that you can serve God in the newness of the Spirit.
Paul attests to this truth in his epistle to the Romans.
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another–to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (NKJV).
Many believers today are still religiously chasing after shadows, symbols or types of Christ when Christ (the substance) has manifested simply because they lack the revelation knowledge of the person and finished work of Christ.
Beloved, stop chasing after or holding fast to any shadow, symbol or type of Christ; rather, seek to know and hold fast to Christ, the substance.
It is wise to heed Paul’s admonition in his epistle to the Colossian Christians.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations–
21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”
22 which all concern things which perish with the using–according to the commandments and doctrines of men? (NKJV).
Find out more revelation of Christ which the Holy Spirit seeks to give to believers in Part 2 of this piece.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to give me the revelation knowledge of Christ. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to grow in the revelation knowledge of the person and work of Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.