The Direct Operation of the Holy Spirit in Conversion

    The Holy Spirit is a divine Being and part of the Godhead. As such the Spirit is true deity (Acts 5:3-4). This divine Being is instrumental in every conversion of a sinner.  No sinner is ever saved without the operation of the Holy Spirit. These facts are abundantly clear from the Scriptures.  Consider the following points about conversion.

The Work of the Holy Spirit Involves



    1. The Holy Spirit is involved in every new birth (John 3:5).

    2. The Holy Spirit is the giver of spiritual life (John 6:63).

    3. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:8).

    4. The Holy Spirit provides freedom from sin (Romans 8:2).

    5. The Holy Spirit sanctifies (II Thessalonians 2:13).

    6. The Holy Spirit justifies and cleanses (I Corinthians 6:11).


   Indeed, the Holy Spirit Spirit works in conversion from sin to salvation. However, this says nothing about how that work is accomplished.  This is perhaps the most crucial point in this study.  There is no issue relative to what or whether the Holy Spirit operates in conversion.  The only issue is how the Spirit does His work.  


Denominational Creeds teach that the work is done immediately,  without means, or instrumentality.


The Bible teaches that the Spirit operates on the heart of a sinner through agency, or means.  That agency or means is the revealed word of God.  Calvinists see the work of the Spirit on the sinner to be separate and apart from the word.

 The Work of the Spirit and the Word

   Everything that is said to be the work of the Holy Spirit converting a sinner can be said of the revealed word.  If there is an exception to that some sincere Bible student or scholar should find it.  Notice the following:


The Holy Spirit

The Word of God

The New Birth – John 3:6 Born Again – 1 Pet. 1:22-23
Made Alive, Quickened –John 6:63 Made Alive, Quickened – Psa. 119:50
Convicts – John 16:8 Convicts – Titus 1:9
Makes Free – Rom. 8:2 Makes Free – John 8:31-32
Sanctifies – 1 Cor. 6:11 Sanctifies – John 17:17
Justifies – 1 Cor. 6:11 Justifies – Rom. 5:1; 10:17
Washes & Cleans – 1 Cor. 6:11 Washes & Cleans – Eph. 5:26
Calls – Rev. 22:17 Calls – 2 Thess. 2:14


Consequences of the Direct Operation Theory

   There are serious consequences following the assumption that the Holy Spirit operates in converting sinners separate and apart from the word of God.  Notice them:


    1. There is a denial that man may be held accountable for his sins.  If a man is lost and must wait for the enabling power of the Spirit, separate and apart from the word, he could not be held accountable for his sins.  Yet we are told that all will give an account of themselves in judgment (2Cor. 5:10).


   2. It denies the need to preach the gospel to the lost.  If salvation of the sinner is totally dependent upon God's sending the Spirit, separate and apart from the word, it would be foolish to preach to the sinner.  He could not understand it nor could he obey it without this divine assistance.  But we are told to go preach the gospel to everyone (Mark 16:15).


   3. The Devil is more powerful than God.  Rational beings act by motives.  The Bible teaches that Eve was seduced by Satan (2 Cor. 11:1-3).  Both Adam and Even were misled by the motives Satan set before them.  If God cannot lay before us motives to do His will and incline us to righteousness then the Devil is more powerful than God.  But read 2 Cor. 5:10-14.


   Adam and Even heard Satan's lie and believed it.  They obeyed him and were lost.  If the sinner cannot hear God's word, believe and obey it to be saved, then error is more powerful than truth.


   A summary of this can be stated simply that the conversion of a sinner is accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the word and only through the word.  This is why the word of God is called the "sword of the Spirit" (Eph. 6:17).  On the day of Pentecost, the first gospel sermon was proclaimed by men under the direct guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit.  As the words fell on the ears of the audience, Luke describes what happened.  “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do’?” (Acts 2:37).  It was the Spirit operating on their hearts through the preached word that convicted them.  Then it was the Spirit speaking through Peter that told them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (verse 38).

   There is but one way conversion is possible -- by the Spirit -- through His inspired message. If you question anything presented in this article, please contact us.  

Questions about this article are welcome. Email: Valley Church.


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