Statement of Faith IV: The Holy Spirit
Perhaps the most misunderstood member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is not some blind force. The Holy Spirit represents God’s active principal in the world, his guiding hand that works wonders. Not recognizing the work of the Spirit is blasphemy against the Spirit–the Unforgivable Sin.
Three elements must be recognized about the Holy Spirit. The first is his personality. The second, his deity. And the third, his work in each believer.
Personality (Jn 16:7-15)
The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to convict the world of its sin. The Spirit also reveals truth to the people of God. Since Christ is gone to the Father, and the world can see him no more, the Spirit takes Christ’s place here on earth.
Deity (Acts 5:3-4)
Acts 5:3-4 equates the Holy Spirit with God. Since God is one (Deut 6:4), the Holy Spirit must be a separate person of the Trinity. He is distinct from the Father and the Son, and has his own ministry on earth, but is one in essence with Father and Son.
Work in Each Believer
The Holy Spirit has three specific ways he works in each believer. The first is indwelling the person, enabling the new creation to do good works pleasing to God. The second, related to the first, is filling. The third is to empower the believer for Christian life and service.
Baptism and Indwelling (1 Cor 12:13; Rom 8:9)
Baptism represents a death to the things of the world. When we come out of the baptismal pool, we are now awakened to a new life, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, filled with his power, to live a holy life worthy of God.
Filling (Eph 5:18)
The Holy Spirit then fills the believer, and makes him or her able to live the Christian life.
Empower for Christian Life and Service (Eph 3:16; Acts 1:8; Gal 5:22-23)
After indwelling and filling the believer, the Spirit then empowers the believer to live the Christian life. Note that the person’s residual nature is still fallen, and therefore he is not able to live the perfect Christian life. But the Spirit enables him to walk in a like-manner to Christ, and therefore the believer is now free of condemnation from sin.
It boggles the mind how many people remain in their sin even after being baptized with the Spirit. This I believe is the failure of the modern church to convict people of their sin, not a failure of the Holy Spirit.