The Work of the Holy Spirit

By Nathanael McIlveen

I was five years old when I first professed faith in Jesus. It happened after my mum told me the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Something I distinctly remember about that moment was thinking: “I don’t want to be a lost sheep”. Perhaps, you remember your thought process in coming to Christ. However, you may be unaware that there was also something going on in your heart. This spiritual work accomplished by the Holy Spirit in the heart is called “regeneration”.

Every person enters this world with a heart that is sinful to its core. Paul tells us that “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11) but rather all are dead in their sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1). Again, Paul writes that God “saved us … by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Regeneration means that the Spirit transforms the heart so that the person is now alive to God. Our human nature does not naturally seek God; it is the Holy Spirit who draws us to Him.

The excellent news is that after regeneration, the Holy Spirit remains within every Christian. The Spirit isn’t like a plumber who comes to fix a leaky pipe and then leaves, never to be seen again. No, regeneration is just the beginning of the Spirit’s work within you. The Spirit is too active in your life to describe it all here. So, let me briefly share with you three works of the Holy Spirit.

Firstly, the Holy Spirit enables you to understand spiritual truths. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God … and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” Reading the Bible isn’t an academic exercise. If you want to know what God is saying in his word, you need the Spirit’s help.

Secondly, the Holy Spirit is continually transforming you to be more like Jesus. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Even after conversion, sin remains in your life. To return to my earlier analogy, a plumber might return if a new leak appears. The Spirit never left in the first place because there is so much sin in us to eradicate.

Thirdly, the Holy Spirit equips you to serve Jesus. 1 Corinthians 12 records some of the different spiritual gifts that believers have been given to serve. Verse 11 states: “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” How encouraging to know that each of us has been equipped and God has given us all a role to play.

Monday: John 3:1-8

  • What does it mean to be born again? (v 5) Why is it necessary? (v 3, 5)
  • What can we learn about the work of the Holy Spirit? (v 6, 8)

Tuesday: John 16:7-15

  • What are some of the things that the Holy Spirit does for us? Why are these things to our advantage?

Wednesday: 1 Corinthians 2:9-16

  • What differences can you see between the natural person and the spiritual person?
  • Why is the Spirit needed to understand spiritual truths? (v 10, 11, 16)

Thursday: Galatians 5:16-24

  • What is your role and the Spirit’s role in your personal holiness? (v 16, 24)
  • How might the fruit of the Spirit look in your life?

Friday: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

  • What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? (v 5, 7)
  • Why do you possess the spiritual gifts that you have? (v 4, 6, 11)

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