What does the Holy Spirit do in a believer’s life?

There are at least 17 things he does!

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (1 Jn 5:7) and when you get saved, there are many things that he accomplishes and desires to accomplish in your life.  Of course, today, there are many Christians and professing Christians who talk a lot about the Holy Spirit but who have very little understanding of what he does in the life of a Christian.  Thus, they miss most of these things that the Holy Spirit does.

The Holy Spirit, in the life of the believer:

1.   Baptizes – 1 Cor 12:13.  When a person trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, the Holy Spirit immediately baptizes him into the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is not water baptism.  It is a spiritual baptism (1 Cor 12:13) that puts you into Christ (Rom 6:3-5) so that you are spiritually circumcised from your flesh (Col2:10-12) and made a member of Christ’s body (Eph 5:30-32).  There is no such thing as being baptized “in” the Holy Ghost as a subsequent event to salvation.

  1. Fills – Eph 5:18.  Subsequent to salvation, the Holy Spirit fills you.  He must do this continuously for you to be able to do the things God wants you to do.  That’s why we are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit.”  Notice how the Christians in Acts 4:31 were filled with the Holy Spirit as evidenced by their bold preaching.  Hindrances to the Holy Spirit’s filling are things in our lives that grieve him (Eph 4:30) and quench him (1 Thes 519).
  2. Adopts – Rom 8:15.  When you get saved, you are taken out of the devil’s family and adopted into the family of God (1 Jn 3:10).  The Holy Spirit is the one who adopts you.
  3. Washes, Sanctifies and Justifies – 1 Cor 6:11.  Before you got saved, you were filthy (Is 64:6), ungodly (Rom 5:6), and condemned (Jn 3:18-19).  When you received Jesus, the Holy Spirit washed you (Tit 3:5), sanctified you (2 Thes 2:13 – which means he made you holy and set you apart to be used by the Lord), and justified you (Rom 5:9 – which means that God tried you and found you not guilty).
  4. Seals – Eph 4:30.  This function of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that once we have been saved, he will “keep” us saved (Jn 5:24; 6:37).
  5. Reveals – 1 Cor 2:10-14.  Through the Holy Spirit we learn the Bible.  Even when a preacher is preaching or a teacher is teaching, the Holy Spirit must reveal the truth of God’s words to you or you will not understand what the words are saying.
  6. Intercedes – Rom 8:26.  He actually helps you pray when you don’t know what to pray for.  Notice that he prays with “groanings which cannot be uttered.”  So, there is no “private prayer language” when the Holy Spirit is involved.
  7. Leads – Rom 8:14.  According to Ps 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”  The way that the Lord orders our steps is through the leadership of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We must follow his gentle and yet firm leadership (Jas 3:17-18).
  8. Bears fruit – Gal 5:22-23.  Men who are living according to the works of the flesh cannot imitate the fruit of the Spirit in any way.  The best they can hope to produce is hypocrisy.  Men who have the fruit of the Spirit do not need the law, for there is nothing in the law that is against them.
  9. Mortifies – Rom 8:13.  When you get saved, your flesh is crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20; Rom 6:6-7).  Therefore, in order for spiritual growth to take place, you must yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in mortifying the deeds of the flesh.  There are things in your life that God wants “killed out” and you and the Holy Spirit are the ones who work together to do the killing (Col 3:5-7).
  10. Bears Witness – Rom 8:16.  Sometimes Christians ask, “How do I know that I am saved?”  Well, in addition to believing simply what the Bible says, the Holy Spirit bears witness to your salvation.  Sometimes, other Christians who know you see the witness of the Spirit in you better than you do.
  11. Gives – 1 Cor 12:11.  The Holy Spirit gives you spiritual gifts so that you can function as a member of the Lord’s body.  People hung up on tongues are hung up on a sign gift (1 Cor 14:22) that was used to convince Jews to believe in Jesus (1 Cor 1:22).  Consequently, many of them tend to be useless in the body of Christ today because they are not using the other gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit.  They are too busy trying to use a gift that the Holy Spirit did not give “them.”
  12. Liberates – 2 Cor 3:17.  We have been given liberty from the law, so that what we do for the Lord we do because we love him.  People who do not recognize the liberty we have in Christ tend to struggle with trying to be acceptable to God by the things that they do.  They lead frustrated Christian lives, at best.
  13. Changes – 2 Cor 3:18.  When you came to Christ, you were conformed to the world and to Adam’s image and likeness (Rom 12:2, Gen 5:3).  The Holy Spirit goes to work on you when you get saved to change you into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.  This change is ultimately fulfilled when you receive your glorified body at the rapture (Phil 3:21).
  14. Strengthens – Eph 3:16.  When you first get saved, you are like a newborn child (1 Pet 2:2).  But you must grow and strengthen.  The Holy Spirit does that for you if you yield to him.  Your strength comes from a diet of the words of God (Matt 4:4; 1 Cor 3:1-2), from enduring hardness (2 Tim 4:3), from relying upon the power of the Lord’s might (Eph 6:10-18), from exercising godliness (1 Tim 4:8), etc.
  15. Supplies – Phil 1:19.  Just as the body supplies the things we need for our physical necessities (i.e. the heart circulates the blood, the lungs supply the oxygen, etc), the Holy Spirit supplies the things we need for our spiritual necessities.
  16. Empowers – Rom 15:13.  “Empower” seems to be one of the words that reflect the spirit of this age.  Empowering women, for instance, is a constant theme among Christians and in the world.  The power of God is made available to us through the Holy Spirit, not through some “resource” offered by a special speaker or some ministry group.  The more Christians have been “empowered” by resources and ministries the more worldly they have become and the less effective they are becoming for God.

Hope this helps,

Pastor Bevans Welder