TYNDALE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND ITS RELEVANCE FOR CHRISTIAN LIFE AND MINISTRY
Shadrack Nii Teiko Tagoe
ST 500: Survey of Doctrine
November 26, 2018
In this paper I will be considering the work of the Holy Spirit and its relevance for Christian life and Ministry. In order to achieve this, the paper will be looking first at the Work of the Holy Spirit in both Testaments. A clear distinction will be made with regards to the work of the Holy Spirit in both Testaments. This will set the tone for a thorough discussion on His works and its importance to the Christian life and Ministry.
The work of the Holy Spirit is very essential and cannot be underestimated, especially because His activities run through all facets of scripture and more importantly because His work is constituted in the administration of God. In this section of the discussion, emphasis will be placed on the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, the work of the Holy Spirit is found in the genesis of all activities and creation. We see the Holy spirit hovering on the surface of the deep and putting things in order (Gen. 1:2). Walvoord explains the work of the Holy Spirit beautifully in the Old Testament this way. He states that the activity of the Holy Spirit relates to its order (Gen 1:2); and its design (Job 26:13); its life (Job 33:4; Gen. 1:26) and the glory of creation (Psalm 33:4; Psalm 19:1). The following points below explain some of His role in the Old Testament. One, His role with regards to revelation and inspiration. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, divine revelation was given to the prophets and noblemen in the Old Testament. Two, His work allowed for scripture writers who were inspired to pen down the divine word of God to man (2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 1:10-11; 2 Sam. 23:2; Isa. 59:21). Another function of the Holy Spirit in the Old Covenant is the divine enablement, abilities, skills, wisdom and understanding and strength impacted to men for the work of ministry (Ex. 31:62-5; Jud. 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14).
Also,there are a number of instances where we see the Holy Spirit evident in the New Testament period, and the specific work it achieved in the early church. The beginning of His work is evident in His relationship with the birth of Christ. The following elaborated points following focus on that. He served the purpose of the sole inspirer and Revealer (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; Acts 1:16, Acts 2:16-21). He convicted and taught men (John 14:26; 16:8-11, 1 John 2:20-27; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16). After the person is convicted of sin and accepts Christ, regeneration takes place bring a newness and experience of life. This is also the work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; John 3:3-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Other operations are baptizing/outpouring purpose (Matthew 3:11; 16, Acts 1:5; 2:38-39), indwelling purpose (Ephesians 5:18-20, Romans 8:9), sanctifying and transforming purpose (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:13), ordaining/Selecting/Anointing (Acts 13:4, 1 Corinthians 12:11, 1 John 2:20; 27), empowerment, strength and Endurance (Acts 1:5-8, Ephesians 3:17-21, Colossians 1:11; 12) and, finally, resurrection: Romans 1:4, 8:11, 1 Peter 3:18).
Distinction in the Work of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testament
In looking carefully at the scriptures indicating the operations of the Holy Spirit in both testaments, there are a number of distinctions that become clear. One, in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was given selectively and temporarily to indwell certain individuals for special ministries. Ryrie, suggests there is no great distinction between “indwelling” and “coming upon,” “except that the idea of coming upon seems to imply temporary and transitory character of the Holy Spirit’s relationship to Old Testament saints.” Other theologians like Walvoord, however, hold that the “indwelling” and “coming upon of the spirit” are different. Also, the coming upon of the Spirit was not universal, nor was it permanent. David’s words in Psalm 51:11 make sense in light of 1 Samuel 10:5-13, where the Spirit came mightily upon Saul, enabling him to serve as King of Israel. We know from 1 Samuel 16:14 and 18:10 that the Holy Spirit departed from Saul, and was replaced by an “evil spirit” sent by God. God was taking away Saul’s kingdom, and so too the Spirit that empowered him as king. The Spirit then came upon David (1 Samuel 16:13). We can see, then, why David would be concerned about the Spirit leaving him, as the Spirit departed from Saul. God did not take the kingdom and His Spirit from David.
Christ explained the difference in the ministry of the Holy Spirit in John 14:17 when He told the disciples, “but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” The change in prepositions (“with” and “in”) and tense (present versus future) suggests a difference in the ministry of the Spirit in Old Testament times (Pentecost had not yet occurred and the church had not yet begun when the Lord spoke these words) and New Testament times when the Spirit came to indwell all believers permanently. If you note, in John 14:16, Christ said, in relation to the Spirit, “that He may be with you forever.” Then in Ephesians 4:30, Paul exhorts believers, “grieve not the Holy Spirit, with whom you were sealed for until the day of redemption.” The Holy Spirit is not the one doing the sealing, but He is the seal. God the Father is the one who seals us with the Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21-22) and Paul teaches us this is “unto the day of redemption.” The New Testament assures us that all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), by whom we have been baptized (1 Cor. 12:13).
The following elaborated points below shows the relevance of the Holy Spirit’s work for Christian life and Ministry. To begin with, the work of the Holy Spirit is essential in that it regenerates the sinner. Ryrie explains that the act of regeneration is instant and it gives a new nature which helps the new believer to serve righteousness. He further explains that regeneration does not make a perfect person, but rather puts the person into the family of God. A person receives the capacity to conform to God’s image following the consequence of regeneration. In considering, John 3:5-7 and John 6:63, we realize, the new spiritual birth can only come about by the work of the Holy Spirit. Grudem buttressing this point asserts that,”No human person has the power to impart new spiritual life to another person, nor can we who are spiritually “dead in our trespasses” (Eph. 2:5) make ourselves spiritually alive to God.”
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit guides the believer. Romans 8:14 says “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” There are many instances in the New Testament where we see the Holy Spirit guiding individuals (Acts10:19-20; Acts 16:6-7). It is worth knowing that the Holy Spirit’s guidance is in accordance with God’s word. He never goes contrary to God’s Word. This can be seen in the light of the fact that the Word teaches us what to do and what not to do. Knowing God’s will helps you to follow the Holy Spirits dictates. Also a whole ministry in this era can also be led by the Holy Spirit as it happened in the New Testament, as they follow God’s will through His Word and Spirit’s leadings. Another area of guidance by the Holy Spirit is in our prayers (Rom 8:26-27; Eph. 6:19).
Also, the Holy Spirit works by empowering gifts for ministry. The Holy Spirit gives gifts work the work of ministry. This was evident in the life of Jesus and the disciples. Grudem explains that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and that empowered Him to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit throughout His earthly ministry (Luke 4:1, 14, 36, 40-41). Also the disciples received the promise of the Holy Spirit outpouring (Acts 1:8) and on the day of Pentecost it was fulfilled and were empowered to go out to to preach the Gospel (Acts 1:8; 2:1-11). Just as it happened in Jesus’s life and ministry as well as the disciples, in the same manner in the ordinary life of the church, it is the Holy Spirit who imparts spiritual gifts to every believer (1 Cor. 12:7), and it is the Holy Spirit who gives different gifts to different people (1 Cor. 12:11). Ryrie on this subject explains spiritual gifts as ability for service, he discloses that when people understand gifts this way it helps clear a lot of misconception about the gift. Example a lot have it that the spiritual gift is an office and it’s for a selected few, forgetting that it was for the whole church to profit all (1 Cor. 12:7).
Moreover, the Holy Spirit unifies believers. In the New testament we hear of “the unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3). By this, the Holy Spirit allows for believers to have oneness in mind and heart, specifically for those He dwells within. The church as a body has many different parts and these parts are dependent one on another. Though they have different parts with different assignments, it still remains “one body” (1Cor. 12:12-31). This stands to reason that, though Paul talked about people having different gifts, it was meant to make believers dependent on each other (1 Corin. 12:21). The Work of the Holy Spirit is seen considering the fact that strife, factions, disputes (Gal. 5:20) are looked at as the works of the flesh whiles love and peace are seen as the work of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is the Holy Spirit that binds believers together “as one body” in love. One evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a church in this aspect is the beautiful atmosphere of unity and love for one another.
As part of the Christian life of progressive sanctification, the Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers by empowering them in order to be obedient to God and conform to His image in the process. This enabling of the Holy Spirit is essential since the former since nature is still present, though it is seen as dead. Paul explains that: “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13). In this context “deeds of the body” refers to sinful actions carried out in opposition to God’s law. It is the Holy Spirit who produces Christ like character qualities in the lives of believers, for “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). In summary true Christian character is not possible without the work of the Holy Spirit
Finally, the work of the Holy Spirit is relevant for Christian service, without which it will not be fruitful. The natural man in itself cannot serve God, similarly the person who has the spiritual gifts cannot function effectively unless empowered by the Holy Spirit. This stands to reason that, no service to God can be rendered unless there is the supply by the Holy Spirit (John 7:38). Walvoord asserts that, when believers are filled with the Holy Spirit, they are able to carry on with the mandate that is given to them.
In conclusion, the paper has tried to look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the New and Old Testament and as well as the distinction in the work of the Holy Spirit in both testaments. The distinction was based on the fact that in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon the upon people and it was temporary. However, in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon the believers and indwelt them—permanent residence. Also, the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in Christian life and ministry was established as: He regenerates, guides, give gifts to believers, unifies believers, sanctifies and, finally, helps in service.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED
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Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994. Accessed October 24, 2018. https://books.google.nl/books?id=he-Ax9CoYpIC&pg=PT602&dq=how+the+holy+spirit+unifies+the+church&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6oq64-p7eAhUHblAKHUGTDdQQ6AEIUTAH#v=onepage&q=how%20the%20holy%20spirit%20unifies%20the%20church&f=false.
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Ryrie, Charles C. The Holy Spirit. Chicago: Moody press, 1965.
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Walvoord, John F. “The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer.” Bibliotheca Sacra 99, no. 395 (July 1942): 297-331. Accessed October 24, 2018. https://search-ebscohost-com.access.authkb.kb.nl/login .aspx? direct = true & db = rfh & AN = ATLA0001517539 & lang = en & site = ehost-live.
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