The Holy Spirit in the New Testament

The Bible says “that the source of life [both physical and spiritual] is the Holy Spirit. Paul said that in God we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). Even a pagan cannot breathe without the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The Spirit of Life

“Christ said, ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10) …. Christ performed all that was necessary to effect our redemption; and the Holy Spirit applies Christ’s work to us and makes it ours by imparting new life to dead souls,” which is called ‘regeneration’ or ‘being born again.’

Although “man is born physically alive, he is born spiritually dead.” Jesus told Nicodemus, a teacher of the Jews, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:5).” When Nicodemus said he didn’t understand, Jesus said “he should have known these things, for they were taught in the Old Testament…. Jesus was not introducing a new idea here. It is not as though people in the Old Testament era were saved apart from regeneration. Abraham had to be born of the Spirit, as did David and everyone else who has ever been redeemed.”

Paul wrote, “And you God made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). This means that “no one is born a Christian. One can be born into a godly family, but he is not born a Christian.” The “only way to become a Christian is through the work of the Holy Spirit who makes us spiritually alive.”

Holy Nurturer

Not only does the Holy Spirit regenerate us, imparting the faith by which we are justified, “but He also nurtures those whom He has raised from spiritual death throughout their lives – leading, influencing, and working within them to bring about the actual transformation of their character from sinners to saints.” He “shapes us into conformity with the image of Christ and nurtures us to spiritual maturity.”

Notice that it is the Spirit to whom the title ‘Holy’ is attached. In Scripture, it is clear that holiness is an attribute that belongs equally to each member of the Trinity, but it is specifically attributed to the Spirit because of His ministry, … He is the One whom God sends to make us holy.” To sanctify is to make holy.

“In stages – beginning with our regeneration and continuing throughout our lives in the process of sanctification, until it culminates in our glorification – the Holy Spirit accomplishes His work…. His ministry is multifaceted. He was there in the original creation, and He is the power of re-creation. He was there in the original giving of life, and he is there in the imparting of spiritual life.”

Holy Teacher

Not only did the Holy Spirit inspire the writing of the Bible, “He also illumines it: ‘No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God’ [1 Cor. 2:11; cf. 12:3), so the Holy Spirit helps us understand Scripture by shedding light into our dark minds. He is our supreme teacher of the truth of God. He is the One who convicts us of sin and of righteousness. He is…the helper whom Christ promised to give His church [as will be explained in the next chapter].”

[Adapted from chapter 32, Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]