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His Mission for Believers. The
majority of texts concerning the Holy Spirit pertain to His relationship with God's people. His sanctifying influence leads to obedience (1 Peter
1:2), but no one continues to experience His abiding presence without meeting certain conditions. Peter said God has given the Spirit to those who
continuously obey Him (Acts 5:32).1 Thus, believers are warned about resisting, grieving, and quenching the Spirit (Acts 7:51; Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess.
What does the Spirit do for believers?
1. He assists believers. When introducing the Holy Spirit, Christ called Him "'another Parakletos'" (John 14:16). This Greek word has been
translated as "Helper" (NKJV), "Comforter" (KJV), "Counselor" (RSV), and can mean also "Intercessor," "Mediator," or "Advocate."
The only other Parakletos mentioned in Scripture is Christ Himself. He is our Advocate or Intercessor before the Father. "My little children, these
things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).
As Intercessor, Mediator, and Helper, Christ presents us to God and reveals God to us. Similarly, the Spirit guides us to Christ and manifests
Christ's grace to us. This explains why the Spirit is called the "Spirit of grace" (Heb. 10:29).
One of His greatest contributions is the application of Christ's redeeming grace to people (see 1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 9:14; James 4:5, 6).
2. He brings the truth of Christ. Christ called the Holy Spirit the "'Spirit of truth'" (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). His functions include bringing
"'to your remembrance all things that I said to you'" (John 14:26) and guiding "'you into all truth'" (John 16:13). His message testifies to
Jesus Christ (John 15:26). "'He will not speak on His own authority, '" Christ said, "'but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you
things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you'" (John 16:13, 14).
3. He brings the presence of Christ. Not only does He bring the message about Christ, He brings the very presence of Christ. Jesus said, "'It is to
your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Spirit, John 14:16, 17] will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send
Him to you'" (John 16:7).
Cumbered with humanity, the Man Jesus was not omnipresent, which was why it was expedient that He depart. Through the Spirit He could be everywhere
all the time. Jesus said, "'I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of
truth.'" He gave the assurance that the Spirit was to dwell "'with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you'"
(John 14:17, 18). "The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof."2
At the incarnation the Holy Spirit brought the presence of Christ to a person—Mary. At Pentecost, the Spirit brought the victorious Christ to the
world. Christ's promises—"'I will never leave you nor forsake you'" (Heb. 13:5) and "'I am with you always, even to the end of the age'"
(Matt. 28:20)—are realized through the Spirit. For this reason the New Testament gives the Spirit a title never used of Him in the Old
Testament—"the Spirit of Jesus" (Phil. 1:19).
Just as it is through the Spirit that both the Father and the Son make believers Their home (John 14:23), so the only way believers can abide in
Christ is through the Spirit.
4. He guides the operation of the church. Since the Holy Spirit brings the very presence of Christ, He is the true Vicar of Christ on earth. As the
abiding center of authority in matters of faith and doctrine the ways in which He leads the church accord fully with the Bible. "The distinctive
feature of Protestantism—without which there would be no Protestantism—is that the Holy Spirit is the true vicar or successor of Christ on earth.
To depend on organization, or leaders, or wisdom of men, is to put the human in place of the divine."3
The Holy Spirit was intimately involved in administrating the apostolic church. In selecting missionaries the church obtained His guidance through
prayer and fasting (Acts 13:1-4). The individuals selected were known for their openness to the Spirit's leading. The book of Acts
describes them as "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 13:9, cf. 52). Their activities were under His control (Acts 16:6, 7). Paul reminded church
elders that they had been put into their position by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28).
The Holy Spirit played an important role in resolving serious difficulties that threatened the unity of the church. Indeed, Scripture introduces the
decisions of the first church council with the words "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us. . ." (Acts 15:28).
5. He equips