For over a week my family and I have been considering the work of the Holy Spirit in our family Bible reading time, guided by Wayne Grudem’s discussion of it in Chapter 30, “The Work of the Holy Spirit,” of his Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1994). In my last post I considered how the Holy Spirit empowers and purifies, and in this post I’ll consider how He reveals and unifies. However before doing so I’ll note, as I did in my last post, that Grudem’s chapter on the work of the Holy Spirit is as good a survey of that topic as I’ve read anywhere and recommend it to anyone wanting to know what the Holy Spirit does.
The Holy Spirit Reveals
The Holy Spirit revealed God’s words to the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles:
– “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16; verse 15 identifies the “Scripture” spoken of in verse 16 as being the Hebrew Bible or our Old Testament).
– “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13; Jesus was speaking to the Twelve).
The Holy Spirit often made Himself known in ways that indicated His presence, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament:
– “The LORD … took some of the Spirit that was on him [Moses] and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied” (Numbers 11:25).
– “They [the 120 in the upper room] were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4; see also verses 2-3).
The Bible gives many examples of the Holy Spirit’s giving direct guidance to people, sometimes even transporting them from one place to another:
– “While Peter was pondering on the vision [of the sheet bearing animals], the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them” (Acts 10:19-20).
– “And when they [Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch whom he’d baptized] came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more … But Philip found himself at Azotus” (Acts 8:39-40).
The Bible also talks about a daily being led by or walking according to the Holy Spirit:
– “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
– “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
The Holy Spirit gives us assurance that we are God’s children and that He abides in us and we in Him:
– “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
– “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:13).
The Holy Spirit also reveals things to His people and enables them to understand things:
– “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26; Jesus was speaking to the Twelve; see also John 16:13 quoted above).
– “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).
The Holy Spirit Unifies
The early Spirit-filled church displayed an amazing unity (Acts 2:44-47), and Paul indicates that the Holy Spirit can enable us to enjoy the same unity:
– “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
– “If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in one accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1).
Grudem closes his discussion of the work of the Holy Spirit by demonstrating that the Holy Spirit gives stronger or weaker evidence of the presence and blessing of God to us according to our response to Him and encouraging us to, in the words of Paul, “set the mind on the Spirit” and be “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:6, 14). The result will be “life and peace” and as “sons of God” becoming “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:6, 14-17).