The Holy Spirit is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the Bible. Many people have this thought that the Holy Spirit is a force or a ghost type of mystical presence. However, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity and often refers to Him as He. So like the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is a person and has personality, a will and emotions.
The Holy Spirit can be especially confusing for the new believer. When speaking to a new Christian it is not uncommon for them to ask, “Why do I need the Holy Spirit when I already believe in Jesus?” We can answer this question by looking at the Bible and seeing a number of important roles that Holy Spirit plays in the life of the Christian. In this article I want to look at five of the major ones that are helpful for the new Christian to learn.
1. We need the Holy Spirit because Jesus promised to send another one like Him
In John chapters 15 and 16 we see that Jesus told the disciples that after He returned to the Father He would send another Counsellor (John 15:26, John 16:5-7). When Jesus said that He would send ‘another counsellor’, the word ‘another’ here means ‘another of the same kind’. Jesus was saying that all that He had been to them the Spirit would continue to be once he had returned to the Father. I believe it is important for us as Christians to understand this role of the Holy Spirit. While we trust Jesus for our salvation, it is the Holy Spirit who is our ever present help, comfort and counsellor today in the same way Jesus was to the disciples two thousand years ago.
2. We need the Holy Spirit because He teaches us and illuminates Scripture
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit teaches us and reveals the truth of Scripture (John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 2:10-14). This teaching and revealing work of the Holy Spirit is often described as Illumination. Illumination does not concern the impartation of new knowledge, but a clarification of the text as it stands revealed and inspired by God. I believe that it is especially important for the new Christian to understand this teaching and illumination role of the Holy Spirit because the Bible makes it clear to understand the “deep things of God” we need the wisdom, teaching and illumination of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).
3. We need the Holy Spirit because He assures us we belong to God
The Bible tells us that as soon as we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). A seal is a symbol of a finished transaction, of ownership and of security. Because we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, we can be assured of our salvation. In Romans 8:16 we see that the Holy Spirit also testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children and Ephesians 4:30 assures us that we are sealed until the day of redemption. Understanding that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and assured of our salvation is very important for the new Christian, as they are often prone to doubts and uncertainty about the decision they have made.
4. We need the Holy Spirit because He makes us more Christ-like
The Bible tells us that as Christians we are being transformed into likeness of Christ by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). When a person becomes born again, he is sanctified or set apart for God. This happens only once, but sanctification is also a daily process for the rest of one’s life. To achieve this work the Holy Spirit indwells the believer (Romans 8:11) and works in their life to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). I believe as Christians it important to realise that as we submit every area of our lives to the indwelling Holy Spirit, we allow Him to work in us to progressively reflect the character of Christ. This is what God intended for humankind when He originally created us.
5. We need the Holy Spirit because He equips us for service
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit equips us for service with gifts and empowers us to be Christ’s witnesses (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit equips us to serve God by imparting His gifts, directing our ministry and anointing us with His power. For the new Christian it is vital to understand that while we have been called to serve God and be Christ’s witnesses, we have not been called to do this alone. We have been equipped by the Holy Spirit with gifts to undertake God’s work and we are empowered with the Holy Spirit’s power to be Christ’s witnesses.
In this article I have listed five things that answer the question, “Why do I need the Holy Spirit when I already believe in Jesus?” These include we need the Holy Spirit because Jesus promised He would come, that we need Him to illuminate and help us to understand Scripture, to make us more Christ-like through the sanctification process and that the Holy Spirit equips us for service. I also looked at how that Holy Spirit assures us we belong to God because He is God’s seal of ownership on us.