The Holy Spirit. What is His role today? What function does He carry out in the world, and in the life of the Church, and in the heart of the Christian? Jesus provides us some guidance in answering this question during His farewell discourse near the end of John.
“The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you… The Counselor, The Spirit of Truth, He will come and testify about Me. And He will convict the world about sin, because they do not believe, about righteousness, because I go to the Father, and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. Now I have much more to tell you, things that you are not ready to hear now, but the Spirit of Truth will come, and He will guide you into all truth, telling you about things to come, and will make known to you all things that are Mine.”
These are the things Jesus tells us about The Holy Spirit’s role for today. He comes to work through the Church, revealing to us those things that we were not ready to here from Jesus. One might look to the Ancient Creeds of the Church, to the Trinitarian formulas produced there, for an example of what Jesus may have been predicting. While He did provide some implicit evidence for the Trinity, He was coy about it. Why? Probably because the disciples weren’t ready to hear it yet. The shift from strict monotheism to Trinitarianism would need to be slow and gradual as The Holy Spirit worked in the hearts of the faithful and through the clergy to bring about this knowledge. Similarly, The Holy Spirit is working in the world, bringing about the conversion of hearts, through the testimony about Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicts sinners regarding unbelief, regarding righteousness, and regarding judgment, thus bringing them to the knowledge of their need for Saving. The Holy Spirit works in the Church, and out of the Church, testifying to Christ, so that we may know Him. And so knowing Him, we may love Him.
It seems important that we understand this. The work of God in this age is not accomplished by Scripture Alone, but through the operation of The Holy Spirit as He guides the Church into all truth and convicts the world about it’s need for Jesus. Without this guidance, the Church would be lost in a sea of subjectivism and personal interpretation, with thousands of separate denominations and no authority to bind us, and the world would be lost with no hope of salvation. It is the power of The Holy Spirit that guides us, who enlightens our minds and hearts, and who draws us to Jesus.