Q36: What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?
A: That he is God, coeternal with the Father and the Son, and that God grants him irrevocably to all who believe. (Crossway 2017)
John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
The person and role of the Holy Spirit can easily be a bit confusing and often misunderstood. Although we cannot fully comprehend everything about the Holy Spirit Himself, there are things that we know from Scripture to be true that help us better understand our relationship with the triune God. Upon coming to faith in Christ, one is sealed with the Holy Spirit, and by the Spirit receives power, guidance, strength, and gifts for furthering the church. The Holy Spirit is equal to God the Father and Son and is at work in the world today. The Spirit came upon people in the Old Testament, filling and empowering them for God’s work. They looked forward to a day where the Holy Spirit would dwell in all believers. Our faith isn’t just a one-time decision or moment that we experienced in the past, but a daily walk with the Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 2:38“…Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
- Ephesians 1:13“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
- Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spiriton all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”
- John 16:13-14“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
I love reading the book of Acts and seeing how the church began to expand by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the apostles. Miracles happened, many people came to faith, and the kingdom of God expanded because of their daily dependence on and obedience to the Holy Spirit. God is still at work today in our lives and still does supernatural things. Everyone has places for kingdom influence and can choose to live by the flesh or by the Spirit. All believers are also equipped with spiritual gifts from the Spirit to be used in serving the body of Christ. We can relate to humanity with boldness and confidence because of the Holy Spirit filling us. Let’s daily choose to be filled by the Holy Spirit and be open to the things He calls us to do, that the Kingdom of God may continue to expand in our community and on the earth.
- Acts 1:8“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
As amazing as it would be to have Jesus walking with us in person each day, He himself would say that it would be better for us to receive the Holy Spirit and have constant filling and access to God. First, let’s daily seek the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. This isn’t necessarily a one-time event, but a continual dependence and filling that we need every day. Second, let’s be open and obedient to letting the Holy Spirit work in and through us. It may be easy to go through the motions of religion, but a daily life filled with the Spirit is so much more freeing and fruit-bearing. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you and use you today for the glory of God.
- John 16:7“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.”
- 2 Corinthians 3:17“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
- Galatians 5:16; 22-23 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Note to readers
New City Catechism is a tool intended to spark family discussions and to inspire pursuits of greater understanding and spiritual growth. Gain greater insights by reading referenced scriptures in context and/or full chapters in your Bible. As a part of your prayers, ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding. The Bible reads, in James 1:5, “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
More Questions & Answers:
Q35: Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from? A: All the gifts we receive from Christ we receive through the Holy Spirit, including faith itself. (Crossway 2017) Scripture Reference Titus 3:4-6 “But when the...