Speaking soon before his crucifixion, the Lord Jesus Christ declared, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Sprit of truth.” A short while later he indicates that his departure is for the benefit of believers otherwise the Counselor would not come (cf. John 16:7). The grandeur of those statements is often missed, but from them a believer gains faith, endurance, and hope of life.
Were it not for the Holy Spirit, much of what is considered the Christian life would not be possible. Thomas Watson outlines the following seven areas of influence that the Holy Spirit exerts on the believer’s life:
- God’s Spirit Has a Teaching Virtue: He is the Spirit of Truth that imparts truth. The Holy Spirit guides us in acquisition of knowledge and wisdom.
- God’s Spirit Has a Sanctifying Virtue: The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and convinces the believer to turn away from it and towards God.
- God’s Spirit Has a Vivifying Virtue: John 6:63 indicates that it is the Spirit that gives life, because without him there is no distinction of truth that leads to eternal life.
- God’s Spirit Has a Jurisdiction Virtue: It is by the Holy Spirit that God rules and governs all things.
- God’s Spirit Has a Mollifying Virtue: Each of us has a testimony of God transforming our heart from something that once existed as stone into something much more malleable and soft.
- God’s Spirit Has a Corroborating Virtue: The Spirit infuses strength into believers so that they may confront and resist the temptations of Satan through this world.
- God’s Spirit has a Comforting Virtue: Finally, the Spirit is our great Counselor providing
Such a list of virtues that comes from the Holy Spirit is notable. To take any single virtue away is to leave the believer helpless and hopeless because it provides no means for salvation, justification, and sanctification.
Have you considered the significant difference that a spiritless life is? Consider the daily interactions you have with the Spirit and the difference that makes in your continuous walk amongst a world of people who are not oriented towards God. Without the Spirit we are unable to resist temptation, unable to pray, unable to be fruitful, and the list grows.
When we think about Watson’s insights into the virtues of having the Holy Spirit, our Christian curiosity and wonder should cause us to ponder the significance of His work. Consider for example, how your relationships would be different. First, a relationship with God outside of the Holy Spirit is untenable and unaccessible. We could not talk to Him through prayer, nor could he talk to us through the revelation of His Word. Second, is the the impact on our relationships with others. Were it not for the Spirit’s work through our sanctification, our relationships would be characterized more by a self-focus than an others-focus. As a result, the relationships lack consistent manifestation of characteristics such as kindness, joy, service, and gentleness (just to name a few). Thus the Holy Spirit is vital to the believer’s life.
It is unfortunate that when it comes to pneumatology there tends to be two extremes: to over-emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit and two under-emphasize his role. However, we must recognize that a godly person has the Spirit of God residing within him or her. Therefore, may we be mindful of such a grace in our life and reflect accordingly so that God made be glorified.
Perhaps now would be a good time to take a moment and simply journal those areas of today in which you would be ineffective would it not be for the Holy Spirit’s work.
Each week Tim Challies has been reading through a portion of The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson and then writing a response article based upon those readings. I have been following along, sharing my own thoughts as well. You can read Tim Challies’ thoughts at challies.com. This week concludes sections 10-12and you can read my previous posts by clicking the following links:
Photo “My God, So Pure and Undefiled” courtesy of user Coram Deo and Flickr.