We as Christians know that the Father is the Creator and that Jesus is our Savior. But unlike the Father or the Son, many of us don’t know the Holy Spirit. The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Episcopal Catechism tell us little about the Holy Spirit. That’s a shame because unlike the Father and the Son who are in heaven, it is the Holy Spirit who is with us every day on earth. He lives in us.
When the prophet, Nathan, confronted King David after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, David prayed to God for forgiveness as recounted in Psalm 51:9-12, “Hide Thy Face from my sins and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and uphold me with Thy Free Spirit.” David knew the importance of having the Holy Spirit with him daily.
Many of us have experiences where the Holy Spirit has helped us through a crisis. Here is one of my stories. Ten years after my Mom had died, my stepfather was living in Florida. He had been diagnosed with cancer but was doing well (or so I thought). I arrived in Tampa the day after Christmas for a scheduled visit. I drove to his house in my rental car and arrived at about 6 p.m. No one was home, and I did not have a key. I had been to his friend Mary’s house once two years earlier when the three of us went out for dinner. I did not know the address, the street name, or Mary’s last name. I drove around for over an hour looking for her house and prayed for help from the Holy Spirit. It was getting dark, and I stopped in front of the house I thought might be hers and knocked on the door. Mary answered and was as relieved to see me as I was to see her. Dad was staying at her house and hospice had left earlier. Dad died the next morning, and I was able to say goodbye. I know that the Holy Spirit led me to Mary’s door and kept Dad alive until I arrived. I’m sure that many of you have had experiences that defy earthly explanations. To people of faith, there is a clear explanation - the Holy Spirit is with us.
The same Spirit, who was with Jesus in the wilderness after His baptism when He overcame the devil, resides in God’s people today. The Spirit is with us to help us not only to overcome the devil but to help and comfort us. Jesus sent His own Spirit to dwell in His people. The same Spirit that dwells in Jesus dwells in believers. Christ comes to us through the Holy Spirit and will be with us and in us forever. There is a close relationship between the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit --- both are said to dwell in the believer. The Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Jesus appear to be one and the same. Perhaps this is because the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and the first two persons of the Trinity accomplish their purposes through the Spirit.
The ultimate goal of the Spirit’s work is to bring rest to God’s people (that is, to take us to Jesus in heaven).