John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
In this passage of scripture the work of the Holy Spirit is clearly outlined in precis form by Jesus Christ Himself. The verses state three very important aspects of the Holy Spirit's work. First as the Comforter, he is going give the power and energy needed for us to live godly lives. Next, as the Reprover, He will convince the world of both sin and righteousness and the consequent results of choosing either. Then thirdly, He will guide us into all truth, which means that everything that we need to know to get us from this world to the next will be revealed to us.
It is a very sad commentary however, that in modern Christianity the work of the Holy Spirit has been largely relegated to emotionalism and incoherent utterances, with many Christians subjecting themselves to bodily contortions and convulsions as evidence of the work of the Holy Ghost. The work of the Holy Spirit is dignified, sober and elevating in its influence and as a rule, always increases intelligence and soundness of mind to those who submit to His sacred work. Let's read:
2nd Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Romans 12:I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
God never pushes anyone down to the floor, but rather lifts them up. In all of Christ's work on this earth, there is not a single instance where He caused anyone to collapse or convulse in anyway, form, or fashion. He went about doing good, lifting up the fallen, encouraging the downtrodden, and healing the various maladies the devil had inflicted on the human family. But not once did he ever cast any person to the floor. As Christians, we need to be very careful of what we describe as the working of the Holy Spirit.
As it pertains to His work of empowering us to live righteously, there are certain issues that should be clearly understood by all. As a general rule of thumb, the Holy Ghost takes care of all internal work such as granting us will power, removing evil desires, writing the law of God in our minds, and enabling us to clearly discern the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. On the other hand, we, by the grace of God, cooperate with the externals of avoiding evil and taking intelligent, proactive steps to facilitate the work He is doing internally. This is what is meant in the following passages of scripture. Let's read:
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
2nd Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
1st Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
For instance, if a person has a problem with compulsive gambling, and they give their lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit immediately goes to work on the internals by removing the desire to get rich quickly, and also impressing upon the person's mind, the godly principle of contentment. As a result, the person now has a work to do in avoiding the Hard Rock cafe', the race track, Las Vegas, and all of the other forms of gambling and betting. Similarly, if a person has a problem with adultery or pornography, the Holy Spirit removes the inordinate sexual desires and writes the law of monogamy in the heart. The person then has the responsibility of avoiding all "south beach nudity" and all forms of pornographic literature, x-rated movies, and pictures so that God's work of grace in the heart isn't hampered or impeded. Thus as the human agent cooperates with the heavenly agencies, the work of the Holy Spirit can move forward from stage to stage without interruption.
Another aspect of His work is that of convincing of sin, righteousness, and judgement, the results of a person's course of action. One of the mistakes commonly made by many is that of waiting for a personal conviction by the Holy Ghost after having read some truth in the Bible. When truth is found in the scriptures and clearly understood, that's all the conviction a person needs to move to the next stage of obedience. It's not necessary for us to wait for lightning from heaven, or for fire to fall from the skies in order to be convinced of the truth. When God says it, we should believe it, and that should settle it for us. Let's read:
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
It behooves us then to understand and recognize from the scriptures, the genuine work of the Holy Spirit and not be tossed about by the many spurious counterfeits that exist today in Christendom. It is God's will that everyone should come to a knowledge of the truth, both intellectually and practically, so that the work of the Holy Spirit may be brought to completion in our souls, by restoring the image of God in us. We therefore end with a text and a promise, given to encourage us to submit our lives to Him today. Let's read:
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
We hope that everyone will be imbued with power from on high so that the principles of truth may be synthesized with our daily experiences. God bless!