The Holy Spirit worked with the Apostles from the minute He descended on them at Pentecost. He selected certain servants to certain ministries (Acts 13:1-3) and directed them according to His will (16:6-10). He is still working in His church, in general, through the holy sacraments, and with and in us the believers, in particular. His work within us is of such great importance that Christ our Lord advised His disciples not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father.
The Holy Spirit has been a continual giver since the beginning of the creation. But we wonder: what does He give? What does He do with us and in us? What are the results of His action within us?
He is the Source of Life:
As He is the Hypostasis (Person) of life in the Holy Trinity, so He gives life. This is clear in the process of creation: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). And after the fall, the Lord said “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3). Therefore St. Paul called Him “The Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2).
The first among the gifts of the Spirit is that He gives us “the breath of life,” and accordingly, immortality. He also fulfills the act of resurrection from the dead within us, in that He restores life. According to the words of the Lord to Ezekiel about the possibility that dead bones restore life again, “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live…then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you…” (Ezekiel 37:5, 13, 14).
This gift correlates with the concept of the resurrection on both physical and spiritual levels. St. Paul declares this as he says, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:9-11).
He is the Source of Power:
It is the promise of our Lord Jesus to His disciples “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8), “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). This is the reason that we call the Holy Spirit “The Spirit of power” as St. Paul, for example, says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2Timothy 1:7). The same descriptor was used by Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 11:2). This power appeared in the life of St. Peter, the first martyr Stephen, and the rest of the disciples who did not fear death as punishment for their testimony to Christ the Savior.
This power was revealed in the life of the apostles when their courage through words, miracles, and preaching overcame fear. The book of Acts stated, “?And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33), fulfilling the words of the Lord to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1).
This power is evident throughout the eras of church history, whether in believers facing martyrdom with great courage, in working to keep faith pure from heresies without fear of rulers or heretics, in monastic life in the wilderness, or in preaching everywhere at all times.
He is the Source of Prophecy and Teaching:
He is the Holy Spirit who spoke by the prophets and through the prophecies, as St Peter says, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2Peter 1:21). St. Paul said to the Jews, “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet…” (Acts 28:25). Christ the Lord said to His disciples, It is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11). He declares that the Holy Spirit teaches, reminds, and guides, by saying “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit preserved Christ’s teachings for us, reminds us of the commandments, and teaches us the way of salvation, and reveals to us our eternal future. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, but not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1Corinthians 2:12, 13).