The Holy Spirit


In the previous articles, we have examined the Church of the Nazarene's statements concerning the Trinity and Jesus Christ. The third Article of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene speaks about the Person and role of the Holy Spirit. It states,
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Triune Godhead, that He is ever present and efficiently active in and with the Church of Christ, convicting the world of sin, regenerating those who repent and believe, sanctifying believers, and guiding us into all truth as it is in Jesus.
As with previous articles, let's take this one piece at a time.

Third Person of the Triune Godhead

We have examined this in previous articles, recognizing that the Holy Spirit is co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and with Jesus Christ. By calling the Holy Spirit the Third Person of the Godhead, there is no intent to imply that He is in any way less than the Father or the Son. Again, all three Persons of the Godhead are co-equal and co-eternal. The Holy Spirit is simply the third in number (as we enumerate the Persons of the Godhead), not the third in power, glory, or importance.

Present and Active

This Article of Faith speaks of the Holy Spirit's presence and work within the Church of Jesus Christ. First, it speaks of the Holy Spirit as being ever present with the Church. We believe that the Holy Spirit guides and goes with the Church of Christ as she accomplishes her God-given calling. There is no real church without the Holy Spirit.

Second, the article speaks of the Holy Spirit as active in the life of the church. Again, there is no real church without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in the Church of Christ to sanctify believers and to draw them to Christ. He works in the lives of individuals and guides them into all truth (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit is constantly at work in our lives, often in ways that we do not, at the time, recognize.
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Convicting the World of Sin

Teaching about the coming Holy Spirit, Jesus told His disciples,
"And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8).
Here, Jesus makes it plain that one role of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin. He convicts individuals when they are wrong, and leads them along the right path.

Regeneration

The Greek word for "regeneration" is found only twice in the New Testament, and literally means "new birth."[1] While this specific word is only found twice in the New Testament, equivalent words are found throughout the New Testament. Regeneration refers to the state where we are stripped of our old selves, and we put on the new self. That is, our life and ways before Christ are done, and the new life that comes by God's grace through faith in Christ is embraced. While a discussion of prevenient grace and salvation through faith in Christ would be beneficial to the discussion of regeneration, this would be too off-topic for this post. Suffice to say for now that no man can regenerate himself. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. This is what is affirmed by this article of faith.

It should be noted that the Church of the Nazarene affirms that the Holy Spirit regenerates those who repent and believe. Christ does not invite people to accept Him without repentance. A Gospel that does not preach repentance is not the Gospel that Jesus Himself preached (see Mark 1:14-15).

Sanctifying Believers

The process of sanctification describes the Holy Spirit's work in making us more like Christ. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to work in our minds, hearts, and lives to make us more like Christ. To be more precise, sanctification is a synergistic work--the Holy Spirit works in our lives, but He does not do all of the work alone. By God's grace we are able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in becoming more like Christ.

Guiding into All Truth

This describes the Holy Spirit's role as Teacher. Specifically, the Holy Spirit teaches us how to live lives that honor Christ. His teaching will always point us toward Christ, and never away from Christ. Anything that points away from Christ is not from the Holy Spirit.

It is important to note here that this does not mean that the Holy Spirit teaches us everything there is to know about everything. It is incorrect to say that a person who has received the Holy Spirit will never be wrong about any fact regarding, say, cosmology or quantum physics. The point is not that the Holy Spirit teaches us everything about every subject. Rather, the point is that the Holy Spirit teaches us how to live the Christian life.


Recommended Resource: Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

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[1] See https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/regeneration/ for more information.

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