Cheat Sheet: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

Understanding the work and gifts of the Counselor

Note: This article has been excerpted from the training tool called Discussing Doctrine and Theology.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He comes from the Father and is sent by the Son. Symbols of the Holy Spirit include wind and breath (Genesis 1:2; John 3:8; John 20:22; Acts 2:2), water (John 4:10, 15; John 7:37–39), fire (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; Acts 2:3), oil/anointing (Exodus 29:7; Acts 10:38; 1 John 2:20, 27), a seal (Ephesians 1:13–14; Ephesians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22), and a dove (Luke 3:22).

Each of these symbols gives us a window into the personality and work of the Spirit.

The Work of the Spirit

  • Creation
    • Genesis 1:2—"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
    • Ezekiel 37:14—"I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD."
  • Conviction and calling
    • "The Holy Spirit works in the conversion process as the agent who fosters conviction of sin. In addition to convicting people of sin, the Spirit is at work in conversion as the agent of God's call directed towards sinful humans" (Grenz, Theology for the Community of God).
    • John 16:8—"When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment."
    • John 15:26—"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me."
  • Adoption
    • Adoption is the act whereby the Spirit makes us members of God's family.
    • John 1:12—"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."
    • Romans 8:14–17—"Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

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