TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

II. God’s Holy Spirit in His People

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Chapter 17  Part II

God’s Holy Spirit in His People

God’s incomparable gift of his Holy Spirit is critical to God’s relationship with each of his people – including God’s work in and through them. In part at least, this is due to the Holy Spirit being the prime means by which God renews and helps believers.

God Gives the Holy Spirit to His People

God gives his people his Holy Spirit . . .

Gal 4:6  [Paul, to believers:] Since you are God’s children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and the Spirit cries out, “Father.”  NCV™

Rom 5:5  [Paul, to believers:] And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  NET

. . . God gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe and obey him

John 7:38-39a  [Jesus:] The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart.” 39Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who were believing in him were to receive …  ISV

Acts 5:32  [The apostles:] And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.  NET

The Holy Spirit lives in God’s people

2Tim 1:14  [Paul, to Timothy:] Protect that good thing [the truth] entrusted to you, through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  NET

Having the Holy Spirit verifies that a person is one of God’s people . . .

Rom 8:15-16  [Paul, to believers:] For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.  NET

The Holy Spirit testifies to and assures believers that they are God’s children (v. 16). Accordingly, by the Holy Spirit believers can acknowledge and address God as “Abba” or Father (v. 15).

. . . Having the Holy Spirit indicates that God lives in a person

1Jn 3:24b  Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us.  NET

Having the Spirit of God verifies that God himself lives in us.

The Holy Spirit is God’s seal, guaranteeing what is to come

Eph 1:13-14  [Paul, to believers:] You, too, have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed in him you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own possession, to his praise and glory.  ISV

God’s “own possession” refers to believers, who have been marked as such by being given God’s Holy Spirit.

 Questions for Section A

God Works in His People through the Holy Spirit

God saves his people through the Holy Spirit

2Thes 2:13  [Paul, to believers:] But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.  NET

God instructs and teaches his people through the Holy Spirit

Neh 9:20a  [Levites, to God:] You imparted your good Spirit to instruct them.  NET

1Cor 2:9-10  [Paul, to believers:] But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 10God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  NET

God works through his people by the Holy Spirit . . .

Zec 4:6b-7  [God, to Zerubbabel who was a leader of the Jews:] ‘Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord who rules over all.” 7“What are you, you great mountain? Because of Zerubbabel you will become a level plain! And he will bring forth the temple capstone with shoutings of ‘Grace! Grace!’ because of this.”  NET

God would accomplish the work he was doing through Zerubbabel by his Spirit. Mountainous problems would be overcome and Zerubbabel would “bring forth the temple capstone” (v. 7b) signifying the completion of the work (the rebuilding of the temple).

. . . God speaks through his people by the Holy Spirit

Neh 9:30a  [Levites, to God:] You were patient with them for many years. You warned them by your Spirit through your prophets.  GW

God spoke through his prophets by the Holy Spirit, often to admonish the Israelites. Note that speaking through his people by the Holy Spirit is one way in which God works through his people by the Holy Spirit (as per the previous subsection).

Jesus Christ works amongst God’s people through the Holy Spirit

2Cor 3:3  [Paul, to the Corinthian church:] And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  ESV

The Corinthians’ new spiritual lives were composed by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, in Paul’s ministry.

The Holy Spirit continues Jesus Christ’s work in his people . . .

John 14:26  [Jesus, to his disciples:] But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.  NET

Jesus said God would send the Holy Spirit in his name – “in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf” (AMP; cf. CEV, NLT). As such the Holy Spirit represents Jesus Christ’s interests and continues his work, doing such things as calling believers’ attention to Jesus Christ’s teachings.

. . . and the Holy Spirit continues Jesus Christ’s work through his people

Acts 1:8  [Jesus, to his disciples:] But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.  NET

The Holy Spirit empowers believers to witness for Jesus Christ, throughout the world.

 Questions for Section B

The Holy Spirit Renews God’s People

The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life

See also:

The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life in the present, leading to everlasting life in the next age.

John 6:63  [Jesus:] The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature is of no help! The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.  NET

Particularly in light of the verse’s first clause, the final statement may indicate that the words Jesus spoke were from (cf. NIrV, CEV) or spoken through the Holy Spirit. As such they are words that the Holy Spirit uses to produce life – when people believe them and live according to them.

The Holy Spirit makes God’s people holy

1Pet 1:2a  [Peter, to believers:] God the Father decided to choose you as his people, and his Spirit has made you holy.  CEV

The Holy Spirit gives God’s people love and faith

Rom 15:30  [Paul, to believers:] My friends, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that comes from the Holy Spirit, I beg you to pray sincerely with me and for me.  CEV

Acts 11:24  Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many people were brought to the Lord.  GNT

The description of Barnabas as being full of both the Holy Spirit and faith (cf. Acts 6:5, re Stephen) arguably implies that faith comes with the Holy Spirit. It at least associates faith with having the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gives God’s people joy and peace

1Thes 1:6  [Paul, to the Thessalonians:] And you became like us and like the Lord. You suffered much, but still you accepted the teaching with the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit.  NCV™

Gal 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self–control. Against such things there is no law.  NET

Note the other “fruits” of the Spirit listed here, along with joy and peace.

The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people . . .

1Cor 2:13  [Paul:] And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.  NET

The Holy Spirit enables God’s people to know and express spiritual truths.

. . . The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people about all things

1Jn 2:27  [John, to believers:] Now as for you, the anointing that you received from him resides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, it is true and is not a lie. Just as it has taught you, you reside in him.  NET

The “anointing” from God is more than likely the Holy Spirit.

Having the Holy Spirit is linked with having wisdom and knowledge

Acts 6:3  [The apostles, to the other believers:] Therefore, brothers, appoint seven men among you who have a good reputation, who are full of the Spirit and wisdom, and we will put them in charge of this work.  ISV

1Cor 2:11-12  [Paul, to believers:] For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  ESV

Being the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit “comprehends the thoughts of God” (v. 11). Having received the Holy Spirit, believers thus gain insight into God’s thinking and ways (v. 12).

 Questions for Section C

The Holy Spirit Helps God’s People

The Holy Spirit helps each believer

Rom 8:26  [Paul, to believers:] In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.  NET

John 14:16-17a  [Jesus, to his disciples:] I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth.  NCV™

The Holy Spirit leads God’s people

Rom 8:14  Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children.  GNT

Gal 5:18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  NET

The Holy Spirit may lead a person by an inner conviction or sense of assurance, by circumstances, or even by a discernible revelation. (Giving such a revelation to a person with a prophetic spiritual gift is one way the Holy Spirit leads and directs Christian groups.)

The Holy Spirit directs them in doing God’s work

Acts 10:19-20  While Peter was still thinking seriously about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Look! Three men are looking for you. 20But get up, go down, and accompany them without hesitation, because I have sent them.”  NET

Acts 20:22  [Paul:] And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, …  NET

The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to do God’s work

Mic 3:8  [The prophet Micah:] As for me, I am truly filled with power by the Spirit of the Lord, filled with judgment and might to announce to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.  ISV

Acts 1:8  [Jesus, to his disciples:] But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.  NET

Through the Holy Spirit the disciples would receive “power (ability, efficiency, and might)” (AMP), enabling them to witness for Christ far and wide.

The Holy Spirit has a significant role in what God’s people speak

Matt 10:18-20  [Jesus, to his disciples:] You will be brought before governors and kings because of me, to testify to them and to the gentiles. 19When they hand you over, don’t worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say, because in that hour what you are to say will be given to you. 20It won’t be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  ISV

Acts 4:31  When they [the believers] had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously.  NET

The above verses basically have in view the Holy Spirit helping believers in what they say in doing God’s work.

God’s people worship and pray by the Holy Spirit

Phil 3:3  [Paul, to believers:] It is we, not they, who have received the true circumcision, for we worship God by means of his Spirit and rejoice in our life in union with Christ Jesus.  GNT

Eph 6:18  [Paul, to believers:] With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.  NET

A further aspect of the Holy Spirit’s help of God’s people is that they are to worship and pray by or in the Holy Spirit. As such, God’s people worship and pray in reliance on the Holy Spirit, under his power and guidance.

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians