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The Promise of the Holy Spirit

Whitney Capps

Day: 3 | Plan: Acts

Today's Reading: Acts 2:14-47

Acts 2:38-39 (NIV)"Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’"

Acts 2 is an amazing demonstration of the power of God and His promises. Nothing exactly like that Pentecost power had ever happened before or since. While this first Holy Spirit introduction was unique, the Holy Spirit’s presence and power is something promised not just to those early believers but to you and me as well. 

But have you ever wondered just how the Holy Spirit works? What does He do? What does His promised presence in a believer’s life look like? 

In this same chapter we get a glimpse of the Holy Spirit in action through Peter’s message to the confused and curious witnesses. Here we can see three functions of the Holy Spirit—understanding God’s Word, remembering what we’ve been taught and conviction of sin.

First, Peter quotes the prophetic words of Joel, that “I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:29), as the historical hope for what has just happened. The Holy Spirit is empowering Peter to see prophecy not just as a past promise but a present reality. Seeing and understanding these connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament, or understanding Scripture at all, is the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter will crystalize this truth in his second letter saying that all prophecy came from God and was carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21) This carrying along may include the preservation of God’s words and our right understanding of them.

Second, Peter explains the words and works of Jesus in a personal way to the people. Jesus had tried to explain all of this to Peter once before (Matthew 16:22), but at that time Peter wasn’t able to comprehend the cross and Jesus’ promised resurrection. Now by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter sees Jesus’ deity, death and resurrection as true and life-changing. In John 14:26, Jesus said that “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” This is what the Holy Spirit does for you and me as well. He helps us remember truth from God’s Word that perhaps we didn’t quite “get” before. With the help of the Helper we can get it!

Finally from this passage, we see Peter’s message pierce hearts and bring sorrow over sin and unbelief. It was Peter’s words but not Peter’s work that brought conviction. This is something we will see the Holy Spirit do time and time again. Jesus explained in John 16:7-11 that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin and judge hearts rightly. Peter couldn’t coerce unbelievers to faith no matter how powerful his words. Conviction and the changing of hearts is the work of the Holy Spirit. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit’s work in convicting me of sin and opening my eyes to salvation’s promise. Thank You for the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in me to remember and understand the words of Scripture. Please allow Your Holy Spirit to use my words to bring others to knowledge and faith. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

More Moments:

One other function of the Holy Spirit is to unify believers and build the Church. (Ephesians... Read More

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