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Reflecting on Truth #37

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New City Catechism Question 37

Q: How does the Holy Spirit help us?

A: The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:17–18)

Why does this matter?

We are prone to boasting in ourselves, whether in our skills and abilities, or our intelligence and achievements. We have a natural tendency to think more highly of ourselves as we ought. We need constant reminders that Jesus said that “apart from [him] [we] can do nothing.” We need Christ from beginning to end, not a partial need, but rather a total and complete need for him. This is the reason that Christ sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us new life, makes us a new person, and as our catechism answer summarizes for us, He “convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.”

One pastor sums up the work of the Holy Spirit in us as follows: “He gives us life, fills our life, and points us to the One who is life.” We were dead in our trespasses and sins in which we once walked, but the Spirit of God raised us up in Christ, fills our lives with all that we need to live in godliness and holiness before God, and points us to the One who is life. The Spirit takes what belongs to Christ and declares it to us. The Spirit causes us to see our own heinous sin and grants us the gift of repentance. We can now come before the throne of grace with boldness and confidence because we have the Spirit of adoption who testifies with our spirit that we are now children of God.

How does the Holy Spirit help us? He helps us from the beginning to the end of our salvation. He takes the salvation accomplished in the work of Christ on the cross and applies it to our hearts and lives.

What does this mean for us?

This means that we can have assurance of salvation, assurance that we belong to Christ, assurance that the Spirit will preserve us to the end and will grant us all that we need to live in a manner pleasing to our Lord.

When we fall into sin, the Spirit will convict us and grant us repentance.
When we stumble in trials and despair, the Spirit will comfort us and grant us peace.
When we lack understanding and wisdom, the Spirit will provide us with what we need.
When we are weak, the Spirit will strengthen our souls.
When we have doubts, the Spirit testifies with our spirit that we belong to God.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. We will become more like Christ because His Spirit is at work in us to conform us to His image. The Spirit “gives us life, fills our life, and points us to the One who is life.”

Let us walk in the Spirit and be filled with the Spirit to build up the body of Christ and become more like Christ.