The Bible gives ample evidence that the Holy Spirit of God must sovereignly apply the work of salvation to the individual, and that it is the Holy Spirit who empowers the church to preach the gospel of Christ for the gathering and building of the church. The reason that there is much evidence of this work is because it is so closely tied with the doctrine of total depravity. If man is unwilling and unable, by his own free will, to believe the gospel, then God must work faith in the hearts of His elect people by the power of His Spirit.
Outline and Proofs from the Bible
1. Salvation is Trinitarian in its scope—involving the Holy Spirit as well as the Father and the Son.
- Rom. 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
- I Cor. 2:10-14 “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 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, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
- 1 Cor. 6:11 “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
- 1 Cor. 12:3 “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”
- II Cor. 3:6 “… who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
- II Cor. 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
- II Cor. 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
- I Pet. 1:2 “…elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
2. Sinners, through regeneration, are brought into God’s kingdom and made His children. The author of this new birth is the Holy Spirit. The instrument which He uses is the preaching of the Word of God.
- John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
- John 3:3-8 “Jesus answered and said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
- Titus 3:5-7 “…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
- I Pet. 1:3, 23-25 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”
- I John 5:4 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.”
3. Through the work of the Holy Spirit man is given a new heart (nature) and made to walk according to the will of God. Man becomes a new creature in Jesus Christ.
- Deut. 30:6 “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”
- Jer. 31:33-34 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the LORD, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD, for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
- Ezek. 36:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
- Gal. 6:15 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”
- Eph. 2:10, 18, 22 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. …in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.”
- II Cor. 5:17-18 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
4. The Holy Spirit raises man from a state of spiritual death to life.
- John 5:21 “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”
- Eph. 2:1, 5 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, … even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”
- Col. 2:13 “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses…”
5. God reveals to His elect the secrets of His kingdom through the inward, personal revelation given by the Holy Spirit.
- Matt. 11:25-27 “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
- Matt. 13:10-11, 16 “And the disciples came and said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? He answered and said to them, Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.”
- Matt. 16:15-17 “He said to them, But who do you say that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
- Luke 8:10 “And He said, To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”
- Luke 10:21 “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”
- John 6:37, 44-45, 64-65 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught by God. Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
- John 10:3-6 “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.”
- John 10:16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
- John 10:26-29 “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
- I Cor. 2:11-14 “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 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, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
- Eph. 1:17-18 “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, available for purchase. It is posted with the gracious permission of the author.
If you’d like to read the blog series from the beginning, start here.