(a) His work is often represented by symbols:-
1. Fire, Lk 3:16; Acts 2:3; 1 Thess 5:19. Warms, energises, purifies, illuminates, consumes, spreads.
2. Wind, Jn 3:8; Acts 2:2. Empowers, refreshes, independent, invisible.
3. Oil, Lk 4:18. Consecrates, comforts, heals.
4. Water, Jn 7:38. Cleansing, reviving, satisfying, fertilising, freeness, abundance.
(b) In the New Testament generally the Holy Spirit is active in:-
1. the definitive revelation of Christ to and through the New Testament writers.
2. the illumination of human hearts to receive and respond to this Revelation.
3. the new birth, whereby we are enabled to trust Christ, and to become members of his body.
4. the witnessing to the fact that we are Christ’s forever.
5. the sanctifying transformation of us into Jesuslikeness of character.
6. the fitting and equipping of the saints for service.
(J.I. Packer, Keep in Step With the Spirit)
(c) In relation to Jesus, the Holy Spirit is involved in:-
1. Conception, Mt 1:18,20; Lk 1:35
2. Public ministry, Mt 4:1; Mar 1:12; Lk 3:22; 4:1; Jn 1:32; 3:34; Acts 10:38
3. Life and work, Lk 4:1,14
4. Atoning death, Heb 9:14
5. Resurrection, Acts 2:24; Rom 1:4; 8:11; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 3:18
6. Apostolic ministry, Acts 1:4; 2:4
7. Scripture, 1 Cor 2:13; 2 Pet 1:21
8. Christian age, 2 Cor 3:8
(d) In relation to Holy Scripture:-
1. All the books of the Bible owe their origin to him, Mt 22:43f; Heb 3:7; Acts 28:25.
2. The writers were ‘borne along’ by the Spirit’s influence, 2 Pet 1:21.
3. The Holy Spirit alone gives conviction of the truth of the Bible’s message, 1 Thess 1:5; causing it to be recognised as the word of God, 1 Thess 2:13; causing its promises to be confirmed experientially, 1 Thess 1:6ff; Psa 34:4,6,8; and causing its truth to change the individual’s life for the good, 1 Thess 1:9f; 2:14; Psa 119:9,11.
(e) In relation to the Christian life:-
- Witnessing to Jesus Christ, Jn 16:7-15 Rom 8:15-17 Gal 4:6.
- Enlightening us, Eph 1:17f.
- Regenerating us, Jn 3:5-8.
- Sanctifying us, Rom 8:14 Gal 5:16-18.
- Transforming us, 2 Cor 3:18 Gal 5:22f.
- Assuring us, Rom 8:16 Gal 4:6 1 Jn 3:24 4:14.
- Equiping us for ministry, 1 Cor 12:4-11.
‘Whatever individual Christians have, are, and enjoy, in contradistinction to the worldly and unconverted, they owe to the agency of God the Holy Ghost.’ (Ryle, Old Paths, 268)
1. he gives us new birth when we believe in Jesus
2. he brings to maturity in us Christlike graces such as love, faith and hope
3. he gives us a role within the body of Christ and equips us for ministry.
4. he enables us to understand and believe the Scriptures, which testify to Christ
5. he prays for us when we do not know how to pray, just as Jesus prayed for his disciples
6. he will give life to our mortal bodies at the last day, just as Jesus was raised victoriously from his grave.
(f) The distinguishing marks of his work:-
- The Spirit of God in his work in men raises ‘their esteem of that Jesus who was born of the Virgin, and was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem’, confirming ‘their minds in the truth of what the gospel declares to us of his being the Son of God, and the Saviour of men.’
- The Spirit of God ‘operates against the interests of Satan’s kingdom, which lies in encouraging and establishing sin, and cherishing men’s worldly lusts.’
- The Spirit causes ‘in men a greater regard to the Holy Scriptures, and establishes them more in their truth and divinity…The devil never would attempt to beget in persons a regard to that divine word…The devil has ever shown a mortal spite and hatred towards that holy book the Bible.’
- The Holy Spirit always works as the Spirit of truth, ‘he represents things as they truly are.’
- The Spirit produces in men ‘a spirit of love to God and man.’ He brings them to ‘high and exalting thoughts’ of God. He ‘works in them an admiring, delightful sense of the excellency of Jesus Christ’, and he constrains them to love others and earnestly to seek their salvation.
Edwards, Works, II, 266ff, as summarised by Murray, The necessary ingredients of a Biblical revival II, 26.