The grace of God is as high as the heavens and as deep as the oceans. No one knew that better than John Newton, a man saved by the radical grace of God. A former slave owner, Newton became one of the leading voices and preachers of his day. Even today his works are still read and is song Amazing Grace is one of the most well-known hymns around. As I sing Amazing Grace I cannot help but think of how high, how deep, and how wide the grace of God is.
God’s grace saves us from our sins and sets us free. It transfers us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, God’s grace enables us to put to death our sin by putting off the flesh and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. The grace of God is not license to live however we want, but rather freedom to enjoy this freely bestowed gift.
GRACE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
Moreover, grace is often thought as just something that gives us new life, but it is so much more. Grace is a foundation upon which we have been given new life and new power through the Holy Spirit. Not only do many Christians have an underdeveloped understanding of grace, they also neglect the connection between grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES JESUS KNOWN.
If the Holy Spirit is included at all in one’s theological equation, it is typically along the lines of topics such as adoption, justification and regeneration. These are important; however, focusing only on those aspects will likely cause the believer to miss out on the full ministry of the Holy Spirit. In this article I want to focus on the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian noting the various ways the Holy Spirit works in salvation by empowering believers to know and make known the person and work of Jesus Christ. By walking through this vital doctrine, we will discover what it means to be transformed by the Spirit in order to become more like Jesus.
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is a divine person possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Cor. 2:10-13), emotions (Eph. 4:30), will (1 Cor. 12:11), eternality (Heb. 9:14), omnipresence (Ps. 139:7-10), omniscience (Is. 40:13, 14), omnipotence (Rom. 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes, He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19;Acts 5:3, 4; 28:25, 26; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 10:15-17).
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the Father’s divine will in relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation (Gen. 1:2), the incarnation (Matt. 1:18), the written revelation (2 Pet. 1:20, 21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-7). A unique work of the Holy Spirit in this period of redemptive history began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16, 17; 15:26) to expand and complete the building of the body of Christ. His activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 2:22).
The Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers believers for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Rom. 8:9-11; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13).
He is the divine teacher who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation, the Bible (2 Pet. 1:19-21). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Rom. 8:9-11; Eph. 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).
The Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. He glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, instead glorifying Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13, 14; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; 2 Cor. 3:18).
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit works in and through our lives so that the ocean of the grace of God might spread like a mighty tsunami throughout the globe to the praise of God.
Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit’s ministry is often confused and abused in the Church today. We must recognize that His primary function is to point us towards Jesus by convicting us of our sin, empowering God’s people to make much of Jesus.
While God does so much work in our lives in such a great variety of ways, the Holy Spirit has been poured out into our lives for the explicit purpose of testifying to the wonder of the grace of God. More than anything, what we need is to saturate our lives as God’s people in the grace of God by resting in His grace, taking time to enjoy His work and not complain about how He is using other people. Rest and abide in Jesus and watch as God continues to grow in you a deep abiding hunger for the glory of God and uses you to spread a white-hot passion to the praise of the Triune God— Father, Son and Holy Spirit.