Source of Conviction
"And when the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment." It is the Holy Spirit's work to not only show the sinner their sin, but to convince them of its evil and destructiveness. But the Spirit leaves no one hanging in darkness. He also shows them the righteous path leading to Christ. The manner in which He does these things can be amazingly simple or dauntingly elaborate. The stories each of us has of how God brought us to His Son are our greatest tales of God's compassion.
In the Christian life, the Holy Spirit continues to convict us, though it may feel uncomfor-table at times. John wrote that this conviction is a necessary step in spiritual refinement. "By this we shall come to know that we are of the Truth, and can reassure our hearts in His presence: whenever our hearts in tormenting self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and nothing is hidden from Him." May God have mercy on those who have wandered so far away from Him, they no longer hear the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit.
Intercessor in Prayer
In Romans 8:26 and 27, the Spirit best helps the believer who prays with a spirit of passion, yet humbleness and surrender. The Holy Spirit's involvement in prayer can be as basic as guiding the believer in how and when to pray. Some say the above verses imply that the person who is praying receives the ability to speak in a holy language through the Spirit directly to God. But the true meaning of these verses is that we simply cannot fathom the will of God, therefore we cannot pray for its specifics, though we believe it shall come to pass. Paul compares this idea with verses 23 through 25, in which we cannot fathom what our resurrection will be like, but we have faith in it anyway.
The Holy Spirit acts as intercessor, because His purpose is to bring everything in a believer's life into harmony with the will of God. Furthermore, the Spirit perfects our prayers so they may be presentable to the Father. Paul condoned praying in a mature, conscious, orderly and artful way while in the Spirit. Does this mean it is not possible or appropriate to speak in tongues to God while in personal prayer? The Bible does not specifically mention one praying to God in tongues in private prayer. But Paul did mention this gift used in the assembly as a form of prayer only if it were followed with interpretation.
Helper In Worship
Like prayer, true worship can only be made possible through the Holy Spirit. It is He who initiates and accommodates the flow of worship to the Father and allows perfect communication of what is in our hearts and minds to our Creator despite our limited human expression. There is no point in worshiping God if it is not done in surrender to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit continually bears witness to Christ's exalted divine nature. Because the Spirit is Truth, and He proceeds from God, He cannot lie. We can be certain that every single thought, intention and action of Christ was and is supported with the authority of His heavenly Father. He assures us we are children of God. "The Spirit Himself testifies together with our own spirit, assuring us that we are children of God." (Romans 8:16)
Comrade Against Temptation
All of the following blessings are made possible by the indwelling of the Spirit Who is our connection to all of God's graces. Along with the burden of the original sin, we are given some beautiful promises. James wrote, “Be subject to God. Stand firm against the devil and he will flee from you." Paul wrote, “No temptation has happened to you that is beyond a human’s ability to resist or bear. But God is compassionate and faithful to His Word, and you can trust that when trials and temptations come, He will provide an escape that you may be strong enough to bear it patiently." Of course, the way out of the grips of temptation is faith and prayer for God's strength and protection. "We can find much consolation in knowing we have an advocate in Heaven that pleads our requests before our Father." This is why it was essential that Christ be made like us in every respect. "Because He was tested by all things common to man, He is able to be empathetic to the human condition and come to the aid of those who are being tempted and suffering."
Finally, the presence of Christ within those trying to live holy lives protects them from Satan's devices that would cause them to sin. Moreover, Christ's Spirit aids us in putting on the whole armor of God and prepares us for spiritual warfare.
Next month we will cover the final installation of the wonderful attributes and gifts of the Holy Spirit God has so graciously given those who believe upon Christ.