From the Word
“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 the Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11
I’m sometimes asked what the Holy Spirit does. It’s almost easier to list what the Spirit doesn’t do. There is no aspect of our lives untouched by the Holy Spirit. The Catechism lists His work as “Sanctification,” which means “to make holy.” The Spirit makes us holy by creating faith in us, making us God’s own children and heirs of His grace on earth and His glory in heaven. Being made holy, all of life is affected.
The Spirit dwells in us by faith, and is at work in us to produce the fruit of faith. The Spirit was given to the church in John 20, specifically to give, and exercise the authority to forgive and retain sins. The Spirit was given to the church in Acts 2 to bring the Gospel to the world. Thus the Spirit is the means by which the church lives out her mission to nurture the life of God’s people, and to bring people to faith. We are the vessels of the Spirit to do these vital works.
The Spirit works in us to bless our families. The Spirit leads godly men to “love their wives as Christ loved the church” and godly women to receive that love and respond with love and respect for her husband. The Spirit guides fathers and mothers in their loving service to their children. The Spirit teaches godly people in authority to love and serve as Jesus did. The Spirit teaches those under authority respect with good stewardship and hard work. The Spirit leads us to loving, sacrificial service to others in need. All that we are called to do, we are led to do by the Spirit of God.
The Spirit works through the Word and Sacraments to strengthen our faith. The Spirit helps us in our prayers, communicating our groaning to God as heartfelt prayer. The Spirit will give us the words to say as we witness and the Spirit will work through that witness to make new. Whatever God’s people do, the Spirit does in them. We live in the confidence of God’s presence and power in us.