How does the Holy Spirit help us?
The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.
Proof Text: Ephesians 6:17–18
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
God the Spirit, have your way in us. Shine your light on the secret sins of our hearts. Equip us for tasks that are too large for us. Make us glad in what delights you. Intercede for us and open our eyes to rightly understand the Word of truth. Amen.
I’ve always been struck by Jesus’s words: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” They are a humbling and refreshing reminder that our need, from first to last, isn’t partial, but total. By giving us the Holy Spirit, Christ has given us all we need and more, from first to last. The Holy Spirit gives us life. He fills our life and points us to the One who is life. He gives us life in that our starting point is not simply that we’re spiritually needy, but that we are dead in sin. Our spiritual life begins when the Holy Spirit regenerates us, giving us new life. When he turns our heart of stone into a heart of flesh, he makes the truth of God’s Word real to us, and we freely embrace Christ as he’s offered to us in the gospel. This reminds us that being a Christian isn’t about being a better person but about being a new person, by God’s grace alone, through faith alone.
Not only does he give us life, but he also fills our life. When we become Christians, God the Father adopts us as his children and gives to us his Spirit of adoption. He comes to live in us and fill us, and in doing so he guides us as a counselor would—supporting, convicting us of our sin, strengthening us in Christ, encouraging us in the way we should live, helping us to pray, and even praying for us when we’re too weak to do so ourselves. In all this, he grows us in Christlikeness, enabling us to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. And he gives us specific gifts to use to contribute to the building up of the body of Christ, and to love, serve, and obey God.
So he gives us life. He fills our life. And finally, he points us to the One who is life. Jesus said, “[The Spirit] will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He doesn’t draw attention to himself but glorifies Jesus and gives us the grace to do the same, making him who is life our life and love. So the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, has given us his Spirit to supply all we need from first to last. He gives us life, fills our life, and points us to the One who is life.
Historical Commentary by
Who is John Owen?
The Holy Spirit dwelling in us gives guidance and direction. Fundamentally, habitually, he enlightens our minds, give us eyes, understandings, shines into us, translates us from darkness into marvelous light, whereby we are able to see our way, to know our paths, and to discern the things of God. . . . He gives a new light and understanding, whereby, in general, we are enabled to “discern, comprehend, and receive spiritual things.” . . . Strength comes as well as light, by the pouring out of the Spirit on us; strength for the receiving and practice of all his gracious discoveries to us. . . . From this indwelling of the Spirit we have supportment. Our hearts are very ready to sink and fail under our trials; indeed, a little thing will cause us so to do: flesh, and heart, and all that is within us, are soon ready to fail. . . . The Spirit helpeth, bears up that infirmity which is ready to make us go double.