part of the what is truth? series

Holy SpiritMuch is said about activity of the Holy Spirit today. In fact, in some Christian religious groups the primary emphasis of their message is the Holy Spirit – it is the “lure” and attraction for converts in their faith.

Indeed, the combination ofpowerandmysterycan be intoxicating. On the one hand, who can resist the promise of power in a world where we can often feel beaten down physically and emotionally. And on the other, the mysterious nature of a spirit that moves without conscious awareness gives people nearly limitless interpretations of how, when and where they may be affected by it.

There’s no doubt there is great power accredited to the Holy Spirit in Scripture. We can see that with the instances of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. We can also see the power with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that were imparted to and by the apostles. In fact, in Scripture we can see many different ways in which the Holy Spirit interacts with man in powerful ways throughout the Old and New Testaments.

But for this question, what does scripture explicitly tell us about what the Holy Spirit does for the Christian today?

how Scripture answers "What does the Holy Spirit do for the Christian today?"

The Holy Spirit is dwelling in the born again Christian4,6,7 and was given as a down payment and seal4,5,8 for their salvation4,8 and inheritance5 in heaven. Throughout a Christian’s walk, they are being renewed6 and helped in their prayers to God1 by the Holy Spirit which should be source of comfort and rejoicing7.

How specifically does the Holy Spirit do these things? We are not told, only that He does these things. We are also not told how or what it means when He is grieved due to our sin8, only that He is.

Finally, the Holy Spirit is testifying and bearing witness to the Christian through the Word of God2 — it is through God’s word that He speaks to us.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following Scripture Blocks

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.

The Holy Spirit helps a Christian’s weakness by interceding in their prayers with “inexpressible groanings.”

Paul is emphasizing the Christian’s relationship to the Holy Spirit throughout the entire chapter. Contrasting with the flesh, some of the points made about this relationship include:

  • the law of the life-giving Spirit set us free,
  • we are to walk according to the Spirit,
  • outlook should be shaped by the Spirit — an outlook that is life and peace and submitting to the law of God,
  • made alive by the Spirit living in us,
  • those led by the Spirit are sons of God.
How does it inform?

The Holy Spirit intercedes in our prayers to express needs we are unable to express ourselves. We also find many facts about the Holy Spirit, not necessarily answering the question of what He is doing today, but important facts nonetheless.

Does it apply? Yes


For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” then he says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.”

The offering of Jesus perfected (completed) once and for all making holy [those that believe]. This new covenant is written on their hearts and their sins are remembered no more.

A letter emphasizing Jewish Christians to hold fast in their faith remembering all of the better things through Jesus Christ.  The writer here is linking the sacrifice of Christ to the words spoken by Jeremiah the prophet (

Jeremiah 31:33-34

How does it inform?

The Holy Spirit “witnesses” (or testifies) truths for us through Scripture. The citations are from Jeremiah 31 but effectively they are the Holy Spirit witnessing to us.

Does it apply? Yes


(14:26) 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. (16:12-13) I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.

The “Advocate” or Holy Spirit will come after Jesus is gone to teach them and guide them into all truth.

This entire section of Scripture (John 13-17) is Jesus in the upper room with the twelve apostles. He is speaking to them directly and giving them instruction about his coming death and what will follow.

How does it inform?

These passages do not speak to what the Holy Spirit is doing for the Christian today but rather what He did for the apostles specifically.

!! study note: context is extra important here !!

Does it apply? No

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

God established a fellowship of the saints through Jesus and sealed it by the Holy Spirit, who was given in our hearts as a down payment.

Actually Paul’s third letter (13:1) to the church at Corinth, writing to them defending his apostleship and also rejoicing in their handling of the some of the issues/sin he dealt with in 1 Corinthians (his second letter).

How does it inform?

The Holy Spirit has sealed the Christian and is in the Christian’s heart as a down payment.

Does it apply? Yes


And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)—when you believed in Christ—you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.

For those saved (after hearing the gospel and believing), they are marked and sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the believer’s down payment to the eventual inheritance and full redemption.

Opening Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus and ending a long list of spiritual blessings that they have in Christ.

How does it inform?

The Holy Spirit is a seal and down payment to the Christian’s reward.

Does it apply? Yes


But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

God appeared in the form of Jesus and saved us, not based on our merit but by His mercy, by the “washing of regeneration” and by renewal of the Holy Spirit, poured out fully through Christ.

Paul’s letter of encouragement to a young preacher, Titus.

How does it inform?

The Holy Spirit renews or refreshes the baptized Christian. Presumably, an ongoing process after they are washed and reborn.

Does it apply? Yes


More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Christian’s should rejoice in suffering since it fosters endurance, and subsequently character and finally hope. Ultimately, rejoicing is due to God’s love for us represented by the deposit of the Holy Spirit in our heart.

Paul is drawing conclusions based on the fact that Christians are justified (made right) by their faith in Jesus.

How does it inform?

The Holy Spirit’s dwelling in the Christian’s heart should be a source of comfort and rejoicing regardless of physical circumstances.

Does it apply? Yes


And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

The Holy Spirit, who has sealed us for the day of redemption, can be grieved (distressed, sorrowful).

Paul is in the midst of instructing against various things like corrupt speach, bitterness, anger, slander, etc.  Instead, he is encouraging to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving (vs 32).

How does it inform?

While the Holy Spirit has been given as a seal for the Christian, He is grieved and sorrowful when that Christian engages in sinful acts.

Does it apply? Yes

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If you know of some other verses or you have something to add to the verses already listed for this question please leave a comment below! We welcome the public discussion and will incorporate your input into the Framework above. We have nothing to hide and invite your help in considering all that God’s word has to say.

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