When a person trusts in Jesus Christ, he becomes a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). His life will never be the same and an adventure begins that is unlike any African safari, South Pole expedition, or Himalayan assault. The things a true child of God encounters in the spiritual life are far beyond anything the world can provide. God has a plan that only His children can participate in and only His children can experience. That adventure is a life of faith by means of the two other growth ingredients of God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Why does the Holy Spirit work in people? The Holy Spirit works in people in order to see as God sees, live in God’s way and accomplish as God wills. Let us note seven reasons.
First, Jesus is our pattern of dependency upon the Holy Spirit. When Jesus walked on earth, He was entirely dependent on the will of the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:30 NKJ) He was dependent on the Father and He was led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Luke recorded how the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness and then led Him out of the wilderness, demonstrating His dependence on the Spirit’s empowerment in His humanity,
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit intothe wilderness. (Luke 4:1 NKJ)
After 40 days of fasting, Jesus was tempted in three different categories by the devil and Jesus recalled God’s Word as His weapon against Satan.
14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. (Luke 4:14 NKJ)
Hence, as Jesus was led into the wilderness and led out of the wilderness under the direction and empowerment of the Spirit, it means that He functioned under the power of the Holy Spirit during the temptations. Additionally, when Jesus cast His vision of ministry, He said, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor.” (Luke 4:18 NKJ) Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit identifies the believer to the body of Christ. Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free– and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:13 NKJ) A Christian can socialize with other Christians, but true spiritual identification results from the Holy Spirit’s work. The identification helps Christians to set their own personal agendas aside and focus on the body of Christ for the sake of His name.
Thirdly, the believer is called to good works. Immediately after salvation (explained in Eph. 2:8-9), the believer has been given a mission from God to produce good works, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10 NKJ) Yet, the good works cannot be what the flesh produces. Paul wrote that the good works must be intrinsically good, “…those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.” (Tit. 3:8 NKJ) The word for “good” means “good of intrinsic value,” in contrast to another Greek word for good, which means “beneficial good.” Isaiah addressed what human works are considered by God, “And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” (Is. 64:6 NKJ) God has provided a Divine source to produce good works—the Holy Spirit.
Fourthly, the believer produces good works only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is attained “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Tit. 3:5 NKJ) That is, salvation is a work of God the Holy Spirit not a work of man. When Jesus offered Himself on the cross, He did it through the Holy Spirit, to cleanse us from the notion that we can do anything on our own separate from the Holy Spirit, “…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14 NKJ) Human works are dead works, because they have no eternal significance or value. They may be nice and help many people temporally on earth, but only the works through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (living works) have any eternal value.
Fifthly, the Holy Spirit controls the humbly submitted believer to do God’s will. Without the Holy Spirit, the believer will squander his time (Eph. 5:15-17). However, when he is filled (controlled) with the Holy Spirit, there will be an immediate impact of discipleship through singing to others in discipleship within the church. Apart from the control of the Spirit, the believer continues in sin (Rom. 14:23). Faith is necessary to continue in dependency upon the Lord and the Holy Spirit.
Sixthly, the Holy Spirit is the only way to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Paul wrote,
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23 NKJ)
A person may have a certain type of personality or temperament, in which they may have joy or patience, but it is only by the Holy Spirit that a person produces the fruit of the Spirit in entirety.
Seventhly, the Holy Spirit guides the Christian into God’s Word. Without the Holy Spirit, the Word of God will be a great history book and full of good principles for living, but the Holy Spirit is necessary to fully understand God’s message. John wrote, “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.” (John 16:13 NKJ)
There are many other works of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. The above list explains why the Holy Spirit is necessary for believers in the Church Age. In the latter days, even the saints will fall away from God and reject the Spirit’s work prior to the Rapture of the Church (cf. 2 Thes. 2:2). The falling away is a picture of the church, which will grow lukewarm toward the gospel and Jesus Christ and will become comfortable, rather than fervently seeking to save those who are lost (Rev. 3:14-21). We have yet to see how all this will work out, but maybe the downward spiral of the United States is a precursor to that falling away.