Over the years, I’ve had Christians ask me if Baptists believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I always answer with a resounding “YES!” Not only do we believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but we recognize that no Christian can function properly without the guidance of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit’s ministries in our lives are manifold (and I wrote more about them in my book Living beyond Your Capacity.) But here are three areas in which He works in the life of every child of God:
The Holy Spirit Exalts Christ
The main work of the Holy Spirit is to point people to Christ. And once we trust Jesus as our Saviour, He then leads us to glorify Christ.
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.—John 16:13–14
A Spirit-filled Christian is occupied with pointing others to Christ. Churches that are characterized by Spirit-filled leadership are not merely centered around the personalities of their leaders, but they are rooted in Christ and motivated by the inner workings of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit Comforts Hearts
Often times, sin, sickness, and trials bring devastating moments into the lives of believers. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is vital in these moments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.—John 14:16–17
The Holy Spirit is our resident Comforter. Whatever the cause of our sorrow, He is present to sooth our hearts through His presence and the promises of God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit Produces Righteousness
Many Baptists (as well as other groups) have mistakenly believed that a list of standards or guidelines will produce holiness. But Scripture teaches that only walking in the Spirit guards us from the sins of the flesh.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.—Galatians 5:16
I understand the importance of structure and unity in institutions. We have both a Christian school and a Bible college, and we have a handbook for both. But in local church ministry, forced uniformity inevitably leads to rebellion. We must battle the idea of shaming or guilting people into compliance and instead focus on seeing hearts “established with grace” (Hebrews 13:9).
Philippians 1:27 instructs us to have a lifestyle that is becoming to the Gospel of Christ, it specifically commands “stand fast in one spirit.” Unity does not come from forced uniformity; unity comes from the Holy Spirit and His work of producing righteousness in our lives.
There are many more ministries of the Holy Spirit, but it is vital that we experience these three on a daily basis. Take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and to reveal any area in which you are not walking in the Spirit.