One of the most distinct doctrinal tenants of historic Christianity is the Trinity—the belief that one God exists eternally and simultaneously as three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three persons in the Godhead share equally and completely the one divine nature, and are therefore the same God, coequal in power, nature, and glory.
A theologian friend of mine once described the Holy Spirit as “the shy member of the Trinity.” His point was that the Holy Spirit often deflects attention from himself and instead points people to the Father and/or the Son. Here is a specific scriptural example of the Godhead unity and equality where the Spirit specifically bears witness to Christ:
But when the Helper [Holy Spirit] comes, whom I [Son] will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he [Holy Spirit] will bear witness about me [Son] (John 15:26).
Though the Holy Spirit humbly defers to the other members of the Triune Godhead, the Spirit is not shy about his work in salvation. In fact, the Holy Spirit is the central person of the Trinity at work in applying the completed redemptive work of Jesus Christ in the lives of Christian believers. While all three persons of the Godhead are equally divine, this Thanksgiving I’m specifically grateful for the 10 following ways the Spirit works in our salvation.
1. The Spirit convicts us of our sin.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7–8).
2. The Spirit regenerates us.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4–5).
3. The Spirit enables us to say—with true conviction—“Jesus is Lord.”
“Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).
4. The Spirit reveals Christ to us.
“These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10–11).
5. The Spirit enables us to worship authentically.
“For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).
6. The Spirit imparts God’s love to us.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
7. The Spirit dwells in us.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
8. The Spirit helps us to pray.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26–27).
9. The Spirit incorporates us into the church.
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
10. The Spirit makes us realize God is our Father.
“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6).
In this time of thanksgiving let us reflect in gratitude to the Triune God. And may these verses prompt you to acknowledge and give thanks for the awesome work of the Holy Spirit in our salvation.