The inner work of the Holy Spirit in the soul of a believer
The witness of the Holy Spirit affects the inner part of man’s make-up in both sinner and saint alike. It deals with how the Spirit of God reaches the human soul in Salvation. The Holy Spirit can affect the human soul when man hears the truth of the word of God. As the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit inwardly work together the unholy will and desire of man is affected. The Spirit’s witness through the Gospel message affects the mind and will of sinful man enough that he can be led to repentance. The Spirit’s conviction pricks the heart by stirring the conscience and revealing to man a need to turn away from a life of sin.
• Acts 2:37-38…now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent
Repentance is work of the Holy Spirit in the human soul that helps man to change his mind. The Spirit places a new desire in the heart to quit wrongdoing and helps one to recognize a consciousness to Christ. The Holy Spirit testifies Christ to the heart of man.
• John 15:26…But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me
As the Spirit testifies to the heart, man can see himself as he really is. Sin is exposed as the power of the Holy Spirit affects the will of man enough that a change of mind can be made. Mans choice to change is made as the goodness of God leads him to repentance.
• Rom 2:4…not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance
The Spirit’s witness makes Christ known to the human soul. This work of the Holy Spirit affects mans choices and decision making process. When a sinful man sees himself in the presence of Christ brokenness from the guilt of sin occurs. By the Spirits conviction man becomes sorrowful for sinful acts and wrongdoing. Sorrow then turns to consent of the human will in repentance, belief, and acceptance of Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
• 2 Cor 7:10…For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation
Unlike conviction and repentance which affect the will of man, believing and receiving deals with consent of the human will. Consent of human will is given through mans faith toward Christ. It is worked out through a life of obedience to God. Contempt of human will is reflected toward Christ through doubt, rejection, or unbelief. It is worked out through a life of disobedience to God. The Holy Spirit’s invitation through preaching the Gospel can disturb the conscience enough to sway the will of man. Through acceptance of Christ man makes a willful choice to get away from what he is. His choice to willfully exercise faith allows the power of God to produce a life of subjection and obedience to Christ. Note the fact that faith and the Holy Spirit enter into man through hearing… the word of God.
• Gal 3:2…Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
• Rom 10:17…So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The Holy Spirit cuts through the hardness of man’s negative side and bears witness with the spirit of man. The witness of the Holy Spirit unites with the spirit of man through regeneration of the new birth. The mind, will, and desires of a believer are not only affected …by the power of the Holy Spirit but are now… changed. Repentance and remission of sins allows this believer to be pardoned from all past sins. Justification is a pardon granted from God for all the past sins of a man who now trusts in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. For this reason the Gospel is preached.
• Luke 24:47…And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations
• Acts 13:38-39…through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things
When man believes and gives his heart to Christ he receives the down payment of a new life in the Spirit. He is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
• Eph 1:13…after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise
Sealing is an initial work of the Spirit that places a believer into Christ and into Christ’s spiritual body. When man is sealed into Christ by the Spirit, life is viewed through a different set of eyes. Man becomes aware of the Holy Spirits presence. He knows his sins are forgiven by trusting the death of Christ alone. He is conscious to righteousness rather than wrongdoing. He is given a holy heart with holy desires and reverence to God. He joyfully abides in the Spirit with a realization of holiness without guilt or condemnation from sin. He knows Christ and knows that his changed moral make up is sealed with the Holy Spirit. He’s Gods property and ownership. The seal of the Spirit of truth enables man to be guided morally into all truth.
• John 16:13-14…Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Christ is made known as the Spirit testifies to the heart. The Holy Spirit gives man a new desire to “quit” and “stop” practicing sin. This new desire from above changes the way a believer thinks and desires. The change is a new nature and a new life with new interests and new associations. These Spirit given characteristics which change the moral make-up of man are the product of being born from above. A man born from above knows Christ for the forgiveness of sins and knows why the heart and life has been changed. By faith man gives consent of his will to God. A believer because of willful consent is a faithful man and subject to the authority of Christ. Faith is a channel for the power of the Holy Spirit’s witness in the heart of a believer. Therefore a believer is made a witness by the Spirit of God. He will testify to the truth about Christ. Why? The power of the Holy Spirit’s witness makes men witnesses for Christ.
• Acts 1:8… But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me
• 1 Tim 1:12…And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry
A good witness for Christ desires knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. His desire to study and learn the Word of God can build faith and make him a more affective witness. To rightly divide the Word of God is crucial in furthering a believer’s knowledge. The more knowledge a man has about Christ and the Bible the more effectively he can testify to the truth. Knowledge of Christ confirmed with knowledge of the Scriptures broadens any believers witness. Winning souls, preaching the Gospel and persuading men can be more affective with a broader knowledge. Records of the Bible were written and collected so faithful witnesses could learn, study, and search the Scriptures for confirmation and truth.
• John 5:39…Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
• John 6:45And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
• 2 Tim 2:15…Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth
A witness for God knows the effectual work of Christ in the heart of man. He knows the Grace of God has nothing to do with what man should or should not do to obtain Salvation. He knows the guilt of sin is taken away and power to stop is given. His faith is fortified by what the Word teaches concerning the work of Christ. His faith gets beyond Calvary and gets to the person of the Living Christ. The basis of his faith is what the Scriptures teach about Christ. His knowledge of the Scripture is confirmed in the soul by the Spirit. His faith is never based on mans opinions.
• 1 Thess 2:13…ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe
Faith can be grown through knowledge of the Word of God. Bible records confirm historical truth and validity of the prophecies concerning Christ. Both the Spirit of truth and the truth of the Word of God affect the make-up of man. The mental process is even affected. Old Testament prophecies, fulfillment of prophecies in the four Gospels, and all New Testament truths are confirmed in the witness of a believer. Confirmation to his soul comes from Bible truth and the Spirit’s witness in the heart. This kind of knowledge makes men accountable to God. Accountability makes good witnesses for Christ. A shallow knowledge of the truth can also mean shallow faith. A shallow faith is why so many fall away.
• Luke 8:13…these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away
Faith can grow (2 Thess. 1:3), be increased (2 Cor. 10:15), and be weak (Rom. 14:1), added to (2 Pet. 1:5), and built up (Jude 20). Man can willfully depart from (1 Tim.4:1), err from (1Tim. 6:21), fail (Luke 22:32), or continue in faith (Col 1:23). These all affect man inwardly and are channeled through choice or the decision making process. The outward affects of life’s circumstances can even shipwreck (1 Tim. 1:19) or overthrow the faith (2 Tim. 2:18) of some. The fact is the faith of man is continuously tried throughout his walk with God. He will encounter the opinions of men, the influences of the world, or even the works of the Devil. Only the faithful and true to Christ sift out, receive, and hold fast to that which is good without wavering.
• Heb 10:23…Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;
• Heb 3:14… if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;
Like Abraham, present day believers can also be fully persuaded. Confidence and assurance are the results for those who fight the good fight faith and endure life’s hardships. The strong in faith stagger not at the promises of God and have victory over sin. Faith is their protective shield that quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one. They hold fast and become unmovable regardless of life’s trials. They testify to the Holy Spirit’s witness not only with words, but in also in lifestyle and their actions. These are the faithful in Christ.
• 1 John 5:10…He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself
• 2 Tim 2:2…And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Bible history kept record of men who were tried and true in the faith, for our example. These men were recognized as a great cloud of witnesses who endured before us: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses etc.
• Hebrews 11
After the death of Christ and his resurrection the dispensation of the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. This blessing of the Spirits witness came upon men like Paul, Peter, James, John and others. We still at this present hour live in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit under the Grace of God. Believers today have the same witness of the Spirit as the Apostles in the early church encountered. Early church records prove that the Spirit is the same yesterday and today. The Word of God has never changed since the early church. The New Testament and the power of the Holy Spirit both apply to us today as members of the body of Christ. Men of God today are the same as men of God in the past. The Spirit’s witness has never changed.
• 1 John 5:10…He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself