Teleios recently examined the important role of the Holy Spirit in Christians’ lives in visitors to the Instagram account, InstaPray. We had 475 participants, 68% were adolescents (<18) as well as millennials (18-34), 78% evangelicals and 71% female. Wow, we received some amazing answers!
The Holy Spirit is a very important yet controversial and often emotional topic. Opinions vary widely about the role of the Spirit, from traditional orthodox to charismatic beliefs. However, in all groups there is often a general lack of knowledge of what scripture teaches. Let’s cover some pertinent topics over the Spirit examining what scripture says and perhaps we can all better shape our own thinking based on the truth of God.
I generally breakdown scriptures handling of the Spirit for the New Testament Church into three basic realms:
- The Spirit’s work in salvation
- The Spirit’s role in our Christian walk
- The Christian’s duties to the Spirit
Let’s examine what our participants said regarding the Spirit and salvation (please see table).
What the Bible says: Indeed, the Spirit in salvation in scripture is key. He performs the following vital functions.
- Convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8) – This role is vital because left to our own resources, as fallen man both physically and mentally, we would not come to faith and salvation by our own reckoning (Romans 3:10-12). Therefore, the Spirit is central to help unbelievers recognize their faults, coming judgment and God’s demand for righteousness.
- Baptizes (Romans 6:2-3,9; Ephesians 2:4-7; Colossians 2:12-13) – In the epistles the word ‘baptism’ signifies spiritual baptism which occurs at our salvation by the Spirit. The actual meaning of the word baptism (βαπτιζω, baptizoo) is ‘to identify with’. Therefore, the Spirit baptizes us by identifying us with Christ’s death and resurrection.The incredible fact of spiritual baptism (which water baptism may symbolize) gives us surety for our great salvation as a new creature that cannot be slain and re-created our old dead self.
- The Spirit accomplishes this by putting to death our old person and resurrecting us to a new living person. ‘Regeneration’ and ‘born again’ are other concepts in Scripture signifying this important event (Titus 3:5; John 3:3). These wonderful verses demonstrate to us the profound importance of the resurrection because there is no eternal life without the resurrection and regeneration (1 Corinthians 15:13-19).
- Seals to Redemption (2 Corinthians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14) – This great promise indicates that each of us has the Holy Spirit from our time of belief in salvation until the day we die and go to be with God. Indeed, one of the definitions of a Christian is that we have the Holy Spirit for we if do not have it we are not yet a Believer (Romans 8: 9).
- Places us into the church (1 Corinthians 12:13) – The spirit graciously has placed us at salvation into the universal church of Christ for which he is the head (1 Corinthians 12:13).
As you can see, the Spirit is integral in bringing us to Salvation, completing salvation and bringing us to our eternal life. What a fantastic blessing that we have such a gift from God as the Holy Spirit.