Through the power of the Holy Spirit, believers are saved, filled, sealed, and sanctified. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s thoughts, teaches, and guides believers into all truth, including knowledge of what is to come. The Holy Spirit also helps Christians in their weakness and intercedes for them.
10 Roles of the Holy Spirit
The following are ten ways the Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers.
1. Helper Who Teaches and Reminds
In John 14:26, Jesus told his disciples, “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26, ESV).
The Greek word “Parakletos” in this passage is translated as “Helper” in the ESV, “Advocate” in the NIV, and “Counselor” in the KJV. The meaning of this word relates to “legal counsel.”
The Holy Spirit provides wise counsel to Christ’s followers. Jesus knew he would be going away and that his followers would need the Holy Spirit as a helper and an advocate to remind them of his teachings.
2. Convicts the World of Sin
In addition to providing wise counsel, attorneys also provide evidence used to convict criminals. In a similar fashion, the Holy Spirit will prove the sin, righteousness, and judgment of the world.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-8, ESV).
3. Dwells in Believers and Fills Us
The Holy Spirit is God’s presence in the lives of believers.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, ESV)
4. Source of Revelation, Wisdom, and Power
“These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except for their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
God gives His followers the Holy Spirit so we may know Him better. Since the Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit, it knows the thoughts of God and reveals those thoughts to believers. The Holy Spirit opens believers’ eyes to the hope of salvation and their inheritance in Christ.
Jesus knew that his disciples would need the power to carry out their mission to be witnesses to the entire world.
Jesus told his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Christians have access to power, revelation, and wisdom from the Holy Spirit, just as the Apostle Paul wrote to believers in Ephesus,
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:17-20).
5. Guides to All Truth and Knowledge of What Is to Come
The Holy Spirit tells what is yet to come. The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Truth” in John 16:13 because he guides believers into all truth. Jesus told his disciples the Holy Spirit would make known what he hears and would only speak what the Father speaks.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you” (John 16:13-15).
6. Gives Spiritual Gifts to Believers
Attributes of the Holy Spirit, such as wisdom, knowledge, and power, are manifested in the lives of believers for the good of others. More gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
7. Seal in the Lives of Believers
In ancient times, a seal was a “legal signature” attesting ownership and validating what was sealed.
The Holy Spirit is our mark of adoption as God’s children. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his followers so that they could be confident in their salvation.
Just as you might make a deposit or a down payment on a new car to make sure the salesperson doesn’t sell it to anyone else, the Holy Spirit is a deposit in our lives confirming the validity of Christ’s message and that we belong to Christ.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13).
8. Helps in Our Weakness and Intercedes for Us
We all have times when we feel weak and don’t know what to do. The Holy Spirit helps us align with God’s will by interceding for us during those times.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
9. Makes Believers New and Grants Us Eternal Life
Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers to renew, sanctify, and make us holy. Just as the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead, the Holy Spirit will give eternal life to believers in Christ.
“But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:10-11).
10. Sanctifies and Enables Good Fruit in Our Lives
The work of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life is an ongoing process of becoming holy through sanctification. Through the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit, believers will not indulge the sinful acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-21) but will bear the good fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).
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Bible Verses about the Holy Spirit
- Acts 4:31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
- Romans 8:14-16 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father…’”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “…God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”
- Titus 3:4-6 “…He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
BibleStudyTools.com, Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Holy Spirit. BibleStudyTools.com, Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Seal. BibleStudyTools.com, Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Holy Ghost. BibleStudyTools.com, New Testament Greek Lexicon: Parakletos. BibleStudyTools.com, Torrey’s Topical Textbook: The Power of the Holy Spirit. CharismaMag.com, “33 Things the Holy Spirit Does.” Marcus Yoars, 2013.
This article was inspired by author and speaker Michelle Hoverson.
Penny Noyes, M.Ed., is the author of Embracing Change - Learning to Trust God from the Women of the Bible and two books about Hezekiah. You can follow Penny on her blog and on Instagram @pennynoyes.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Joshua Sortino