John Owen begins his work on the Holy Spirit: “When God planned the great work of saving sinners, he provided two gifts. He gave his son and he gave his Spirit. In fact each Person of the Trinity was involved in this great work of salvation. The love, grace and wisdom of the Father planned it; the love, grace and humility of the Son purchased it; and the love, grace and power of the Holy Spirit enabled sinners to believe and receive it,” (The Holy Spirit, abridged by R.J.K. Law, Banner of Truth, 1998, p 1)
We continue to look at how our doctrinal statement holds our thinking, emotions and will, and our actions. SEND statement says that we believe “In God the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin, regenerates, indwells, and empowers the believer.”
1. How does this statement hold our thinking?
Our belief in the triune God requires that we never think of any of the three Persons in isolation and that as the quote from Owen above points out the three are united in our redemption. See earlier post on the Trinity.
There is not a single part of our mission of “Mobilizing God’s people, Engaging the unreached, and Establishing reproducing churches” that is not empowered by the Holy Spirit. All our strategy and skill will accomplish nothing apart from the work of the Spirit. Let us not drive a wedge between our work and the work of the Spirit. Our strategy and skill are tools he uses.
We are dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit in our life and ministry. He is the one who convicts the world (including us), regenerates, indwells, and empowers us. In our evangelism and discipleship the Holy Spirit produces the results. Our thinking needs to keep an active memory that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Paul writes to the Corinthians, ” Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you have been bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 ESV)
These truths about the Holy Spirit and his work will produce in us both humility and confidence. He indwells and empowers us so that through our proclamation of the Word, he will convict and regenerate, then indwell and empower those converts to continue the proclamation of the Gospel in word and deed. The Holy Spirit guarantees that our labor is not in vain. So we go forth in confidence that he is at work in us and in the world.
2. How does this statement hold our emotions and will?
In commenting on Romans 5:5 and Titus 3:6 Owen writes,
“… the Comforter gives a sweet and plentiful evidence and persuasion of the love of God to us, such as the soul is taken, delighted, satiated with. This is his work, and he does it effectually. To give a poor sinful soul a comfortable persuasion, affecting it throughout, in all its faculties and affections, that God in Jesus Christ loves him, delights in him, is well pleased with him, has thoughts of tenderness and kindness toward him; to give, I say, a soul an overflowing sense thereof, is an inexpressible mercy.” (Communion with the Triune God, edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor, Crossway, 2007, p 378)
When the Spirit takes his Word and pours out the love of God in Christ over us and our ministries, he truly produces joy inexpressible and full of glory. The Spirit enable us to enjoy God as we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25) and live in the Spirit (Romans 8:1-30).
3. How does this statement hold our actions?
When these truths about the Holy Spirit and his work hold our minds and hearts prayer, reading God’s Word, and bold proclamation of the Gospel will permeate our activity. The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible and we seek his illumination as we study the text. He will never speak contrary to the written word. We pray that the Spirit will convict of sin and the truth of the Gospel. We pray that the Spirit will regenerate those we evangelize. We pray that the Spirit will fill us with an awareness of his presence, filling us with joy and empowering us to fight sin and extend grace to others.
In short, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25 ESV)