Everything we know about the Holy Spirit, we know from Scripture – and Scripture has a lot to say about the Holy Spirit, who He is and what He does.
And what the Holy Spirit does is this: He makes us sons and daughters of God, gives us access to God in prayer, makes us more like God, unites us as God’s children, gives us gifts, and brings new children into the family! He is constantly adopting, sanctifying, uniting, gifting, and adopting.
But don’t take my word for it – take the Word! Romans 8:14-17 says, “ For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, “Abba, Father.” For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.”
That’s the fullest version of adoption there is – in which we are treated as God’s children, able to be close to Him, to inherit His kingdom, and to live in relationship with Him now and forever!
No matter how lost and hopeless we have been or how broken our relationship with the Father, when we have received Jesus, the Holy Spirit draws us in. We are loved, we are heirs, and we can share in His glory. We may face rejection and opposition for our devotion to Christ – that’s the suffering Paul references – but he goes on to say that no suffering we face in the now is worth comparing to the wonders to come! And now that we are adopted, we have access! We can communicate with God in prayer. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the barrier of our own sin is removed. Still, in Romans 8, Paul speaks about the Spirit helping us in our weakness because we don’t know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself prays for us! So we can talk to God, but that’s not all – the Spirit also lets us hear from Him. In Ephesians, Paul prays for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, and for the eyes of our hearts to be opened, so that we might know God better, for example in our reading of the Bible. So, because the Spirit gives us access and understanding, our relationship with God can and does grow, and as it does, we become more like Him. My parents have certain phrases that often crop up in their speech, that I’ve never heard anyone else use, and since I’ve left home, on occasion I find one of these phrases dropping from my own lips and I think… “Good grief, I’ve turned into my dad!” And then I realise that my dad is the only one I know who says, “good grief,” and so I can’t escape his influence! The work of the Holy Spirit makes us more like our dad, too, but not our earthly one! Galatians 5:22-23 lists outcomes of the Holy Spirit working in us: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” You don’t have to look too hard to find hundreds of past and present accounts of these fruits pouring out of those who know God, and each account is a story of our Father’s characteristics coming out in His children as His Spirit transforms us.
Of course, adoption implies family, and the work of the Spirit is key in keeping us united as one family. Paul says in Ephesians4:3 that we should keep the unity of the Spirit because we are one body – one Church, serving one God, Father of us all. Make no mistake, disagreements will occur, and it’s the Spirit in us that stops those disagreements from becoming divisions – that allows us as one Church to stand as an example of loving unity. Thank the Lord, because human weakness would try to dictate otherwise!
Now, I don’t know about you, but birthdays and Christmases have always been high points in my family life. Of course, most of that is because of the quality time with loved ones, but let’s not pretend that we don’t enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts! 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”
Some of the gifts in question can be found in the verses that follow, like faith, words of wisdom, healing and special knowledge, but there are many, and each person will receive them differently! The church is supposed to be made up of many different people – that’s how God made it! If one person tries to keep a church going, it will be impossible. But when each gift – yours, and mine, and all of them – are used for mutual help and encouragement and outreach, I don’t think there’s a more beautiful thing in the world. Lastly, just as God has adopted us through the Holy Spirit, He goes on adopting others, and we get to be a part of that! We, who know God, are filled with the Spirit and millions of people are not. We are spiritually alive and free and able to extend this freedom to others who are called by God. Revelation 22:17: “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.”
God creates the thirst for Himself, and then He satisfies it! We can come to God, and when we have drunk, we can invite others to be satisfied as we are satisfied. Thank the Lord for the work of His Spirit!