Tasks of the Holy Spirit

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” – John 14:25-26 (NKJV)



When we consider the tasks of the Holy Spirit, we usually emphasize comforting, guiding, empowering, gift-bringing, cleansing, and sanctifying – all of which are certainly part of and essential to His work. But in John 16, Jesus defines the specific tasks that the Holy Spirit will do.

  1. The first task of the Holy Spirit is teaching. ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth’ (16:13). One of His major tasks is to guide Christians into all truth by reminding us of the things Christ has said.

This guidance is personal and developmental in each of our lives. The Holy Spirit is vitally involved in our growth process; He teaches us the truth so we can live out this truth. He addresses all areas of our lives, not just one, and makes all truth – personal, practical, psychology, spiritual-integrated truth. Thus, His work in our lives leads to wholeness, a vitally important characteristic if we are going to live out the Christian life in this evil world.

  1. A second function of the Holy Spirit is convicting. ‘When He [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement’ (16:8). Jesus goes on to explain in more detail.

The Holy Spirit will convict of guilt ‘in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me [Jesus Christ]’ (16:19). The Holy Spirit is the goad, the spiritual conscience, bringing sin to conscious awareness.

When the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, He keeps before us the fact that we are sinners. Anyone who downplays the nature of human sin, whether in a secular or spiritual context, is perverting the gospel, because we cannot be redeemed without an awakened consciousness of sin. The Holy Spirit keeps before us the fact that we are sinners except by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. He won’t let us forget that it is God’s grace, not our works, that makes the difference in our lives.

The Holy Spirit will also convict of guilt ‘‘in regard to righteousness, because I [Jesus] am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer’’ (16:10). This is the positive side of His task, constantly convicting us that righteousness is always reflected in the person of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, then keeps before us the model of Christ’s life. Thus, when we come to a career decision, a problem, or an ethical decision, the Holy Spirit brings to mind what Jesus would do as a model for how we should act in given situations.

In addition, the Holy Spirit convicts of guilt ‘in regard to judgement, because the prince of the world now stands condemned’ (16:11). The Holy Spirit keeps before us the fact that the world and all its works are under God’s judgement. This does not excuse us from doing God’s work in the world; we work to redeem, but we must not take ourselves too seriously, because the salvation of the world is not exclusively in our hands.  We work, but always under the control of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Finally, the Holy Spirit ‘will tell you what is yet to come’ (16:13). Besides being the Teacher and the Convictor, the Holy Spirit is also the Futurist, showing us the big picture. The greatest sin of this current self-centered and narcissistic generation is the short-range, me-centered view of life. Whatever feels good now, whatever seems best for me now is the standard for action.

Christians are to be natural optimists, because the Holy Spirit keeps before us the fact that God is in control; His will is good in the long term. When the Lord spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon, He said, ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

The Holy Spirit, then, has three specific tasks:

  1. A Teaching task,
  2. A Convicting task
  3. A task of showing the big picture and long-term will of God.

He convicts us of sin, shows us Christ’s righteousness, and reminds us that this world has been judged. He is our hope-maker.

Source: Culled from the book “Practical Christianity”

 Our blest Redeemer ere He breathed – MHB 283

1 Our blest Redeemer ere He breathed

His tender last farewell,

A guide, a comforter, bequeathed

With us to dwell.

2 He came in semblance of a dove,
With sheltering wings outspread,
The holy balm of peace and love
On earth to shed.

3 He came in tongues of living flame
To teach, convince, subdue,
All powerful as the wind He came
As viewless too.

4 He comes sweet influence to impart,
A gracious, willing guest,
While He can find one humble heart
Wherein to rest.

5 And His that gentle voice we hear,

Soft as the breath of even,

That checks each fault, that calms each fear,

And speaks of Heav’n.

6 And every virtue we possess,

And every conquest won,

And every thought of holiness,

Are His alone.

Harriet Auber (1773-1862)


Remain Blessed!

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