doctrinal & practical writings

Holy Spirit: Introductory Bible Lesson

by William W. Orr

The third Person of the blessed Trinity is the Holy Spirit of God. Care should be exercised to remember that He is just as truly a Person in the Godhead as God the Father, or as Christ the Son.

This is more dearly understood as we see that the Holy Spirit is responsible for ministries that only a person can do. He is said to reprove the world of sin (John 16:8); to teach (John 14:26); to make intercession for us (Rom. 8:26); to appoint for service (Acts 13:2); to direct in service (Acts 16:6-7).

The perfect deity of the Holy Spirit is revealed in that He is called God (Acts 5:3-4); He has the attributes of God (Gen. 1:2; I Cor. 2:9-11; Heb. 9:14), and He performs works that only God can do (Job 33:4; Ps. 104:30; Matt.28).

The reality of His personality, and the importance of His ministry is lovingly emphasized by the Lord Jesus Christ as He looked forward to the accomplishment of His death on Calvary, and to the coming work of the Holy Spirit to manifest this good news to the world (John 14:16-17; 16:7-14).

Before the worlds were made, the Holy Spirit existed as a member of the Trinity with God the Father and God the Son. In the ages before the coming into the world of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit was present in the world, and ministered in and through the people of God according to the divine will (Gen. 41:38; Num. 27:18; Ps. 139:7).

With the first advent of Christ the Spirit first wrought the generating power by which Jesus was formed in the womb of the Virgin (Luke 1:35). It is believed that Christ, having laid aside His power for this period of time, accomplished all His miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34). Again it is revealed that it was by the Spirit that Christ offered Himself to God (Heb. 9:14).

A most beautiful picture of the entire Trinity is observed in the baptism of Christ where the Father spoke from heaven, the Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and the Son was baptized (Matt. 3:16-17).

The ministry of the Spirit of God to the age in which we live is exceedingly important. He is God's plan for success in the Christian life. It is just as impossible for a believer today to live a life pleasing to God without the Spirit as it is for an unbeliever to be saved without Christ.

The day of Pentecost, which was fifty days following the death of Christ, was chosen by God for the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world. At that time the Spirit accomplished three remarkable things: He took up residence in the world in the hearts of believers, He baptized or fused or united all believers into one body with Christ as the Head, He energized all believers by His filling in order that they should witness to the multitude (Acts 2:1-47).

From that day till the present, the Holy Spirit has effectually ministered both to the world and to the believers. His ministry may be seen under seven parts. First, to the world the Spirit both convicts (John 16:7-11) and restrains (II Thess. 2:6-8). No one can come to Christ except the Spirit woo and win him. Likewise, the Spirit is the great Restrainer of evil in the world.

To the new believer the Spirit has a fourfold ministry. He regenerates or causes him to be born again into God's family (John 3:3-8); He indwells the temple of the believer's heart (I Cor. 6:19); He baptizes or welds the newly claimed believer into the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13), and He seals him for protection—He, Himself being the Seal (Eph. 4:30).

The seventh and last great ministry of the Spirit is that He fills the believer. This is an enduement for service. While the other ministries to the believer occur only once and that at the instant of conversion, the filling may occur as many times as there is need and willingness on the believer's part (Eph. 5:18-20).

Warning is given that the believer is not to grieve the Spirit (Eph. 4:30); nor quench the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19) but rather he is to walk in complete dependence upon Him (Gal. 5:16).


Copied for www.WholesomeWords.org from Believer's First Bible Course by William W. Orr. Wheaton, Ill.: Scripture Press, 1956.


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