The Holy Spirit Performs Divine Works

The title above is a fancy way of saying that the Holy Spirit does things that only God can do. Since that’s a broad subject that would take a whole lot of books to explore, we will concentrate very briefly on only three works: creation, the inspiration of Scripture, and giving life.

The Holy Spirit was active in creation

Billy Graham explains, “When God ‘formed man of dust from the ground’ (Gen. 2:7), the Holy Spirit was involved. We learn this indirectly in Job 33:4, ‘The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.’ A play on words here shows how intimately God’s Spirit and our breath are related: both ‘Spirit’ and ‘breath’ are from the same Hebrew word.”[1]

Psalm 104:30 also speaks of the Holy Spirit’s role in creation when it says: “When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.”

And, of course, we see the Spirit in Genesis 1:2: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Charles Ryrie says of this verse:

“Of course as a member of the Trinity he participated in the act of original creation in 1:1. But specifically in verse 2 the Spirit ‘was moving over the surface of the waters.’ The Hebrew word for ‘was moving’ is used elsewhere in the Old Testament only in Deuteronomy 32:11, where it is translated ‘hovers,’ and in Jeremiah 23:9, where it is translated ‘tremble’ or ‘shake.’ Apparently the Spirit hovered over and cared for the original but as yet unfashioned earth.”[2]

The Holy Spirit worked in human authors to declare God’s message 

The Holy Spirit worked in prophets to inspire their message. For example:

“Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied” (Luke 1:67);

“For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21);

“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts and I will write them on their minds’” (Hebrews 10:15-16).

Then, of course, we have the Holy Spirit intimately involved in the inspiration of our Scripture. Billy Graham explains:

“In the New Testament Paul declares that all Scripture comes from God. In fact, he says: ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness’ (2 Tim. 3:16). He used a Greek word for inspired that literally means ‘God-breathed.’ Somewhat as God breathed life into man and made him a living soul, so also He breathed life and wisdom into the written Word of God. This makes the Bible the world’s most important book, especially to everyone who believes in Christ. The Bible is the constant fountain for faith, conduct, and inspiration from which we drink daily.”[3]

The apostle Paul tells us, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). These are treasures we would not know were it not for the Spirit revealing them to us. 

The Holy Spirit gives life

We will look at this from two angles. First, as Job declares, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). Edward Bickersteth says, “Consider,… that he is the Almighty creator of that world in which we live; that he gives us every breath we draw, and that he suspends that breath when we die.”[4] Or, as Francis Chan puts it, “The Holy Spirit brought creation to life and continues to sustain it.”[5]

R.A. Torrey ably describes the second way in which the Holy Spirit gives life. He explains:

“Now let me call your attention to another wonderful, gracious, and glorious work of the Holy Spirit. In John 3:3-5 this is written, ‘Jesus answered and said unto him [that is, unto Nicodemus], Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again,… he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ Here we are told that men and women are born of the Spirit, or born anew through the Holy Spirit’s power.”[6]

This is regeneration, the “new birth,” and has to do with our spiritual life, or rather, our spiritual death. There is nothing we can do personally to reverse this spiritual death. None of our good deeds, none of our good intentions, none of our self-generated righteousness will have any affect at all on our dead souls. Rather, Paul explains:

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast

This is the life, given to us by the Holy Spirit, that will carry us into eternity with God.

  1. Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit (Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition), p. 15. 
  2. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Holy Spirit (Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition), p. 37. 
  3. Graham, The Holy Spirit, p. 35. 
  4. Edward Bickersteth, The Trinity (Irving Risch: Kindle Edition), p. 104. 
  5. Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (Kindle Edition), p. 65. 
  6. R.A. Torrey, The Holy Spirit (Bridge-Logos Publishers: Kindle Edition). 

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