Calvary Road Baptist Church


Second Corinthians 4.13

Turn in your Bible to John 16.7, where we will read what the Lord Jesus Christ said to His apostles, probably as they were walking to the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion:[1]

7      Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8      And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9      Of sin, because they believe not on me;

10     Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

11     Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

12     I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

13     Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

14     He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Two things are quite obvious from this passage recording the Saviorís words: First, the Holy Spiritís ministry (identified here at the Comforter) is such that He focuses primary attention upon the Lord Jesus Christ and not Himself. That is very clear from verse 13. It is also clear that the Holy Spirit of God plays an extremely important role in the salvation of a sinner, and it is the salvation of a sinner and the Holy Spiritís role in the sinnerís salvation that I want to speak to you about this morning.

May I remind you that the Bible emphatically insists that there is only one God?[2] Let me also remind you that though there is one true and living God, He exists in the form of three co-equal and divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, with each Person of the Trinity possessing the personality attributes of intellect, sensibility, and will. Intellect has to do with knowing. Sensibility has to do with moral issues of right and wrong. Will has to do with making decisions and matters of sovereignty. It has come to my attention from discussions I have held with unsaved people that there is great neglect and misunderstanding surrounding the person and involvement the Holy Spirit plays in the work of evangelism, the persuasion that someone is sinful in the sight of God, that he is accountable to God for his sinfulness and will suffer Godís wrath because of his sinfulness, but that Jesus Christ died on Calvaryís cross to provide for the salvation of those who turn from their sins and trust Jesus Christ to the saving of their eternal and undying souls.

That there is reality beyond what can be perceived by the five senses is admitted by every religious faith system in the world, with the exception of the materialists, the atheists, whose only trust is in chemistry. However, only the Bible serves as an authoritative source of reliable truth about spiritual reality, with other religions dependent upon conclusions drawn from incidental events that are observed from time to time. Therefore, I resort to the only unassailable resource for truth concerning spiritual matters, the infallible Word of God. As well, I insist this is necessary. After all, we cannot rely upon the opinions of men about such things, as I illustrate: Some men believe taking what does not belong to you is right, while others believe taking what does not belong to you is wrong. Some men believe having sex with someone other than your spouse is right, while others believe having sex with someone who is not your spouse is wrong. Some men believe that extinguishing the life of an unborn child is right, while others believe extinguishing the life of an unborn child is wrong.

May I quickly add that it does not matter at all what the majority opinion happens to be with respect to such matters, because issues of right and wrong are not decided by majority vote? Majority vote eventually decides whether conduct is legal or illegal. Majority vote eventually decides whether conduct is accepted by the greater population or not accepted. However, only God decides what is right and what is wrong, and He reveals such things to us in His Word, the Bible. Therefore, considering matters of right and wrong, reflecting on those aspects of human behavior that spill over into the spiritual realm where manís five senses are inoperative and incompetent, consider an overview of the role of the Holy Spirit of God in sinful menís sins being forgiven, what Christians frequently refer to as salvation.

Three main concepts to grasp:


Please reflect on these four rather straightforward verities:

First, human beings are moral creatures. Just as God possesses intellect, sensibility and will, so man, created in Godís image and after His likeness, also possesses intellect, sensibility and will. Sensibility is that characteristic of personhood that senses right and wrong, moral and immoral, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Accompanying is what we refer to as conscience, by which we commonly judge ourselves. What is unusual about this is that there is no other observable species possessing such a thing as sensibility as human beings have. And why should any species be moral in this respect, if evolution be true? Ants are a successful species, yet they are not sensible. Cockroaches are extremely successful, yet they are not sensible. One of the most difficult problems evolutionists face in advancing their view, besides their inability to explain where the complex DNA information that makes life possible came from (since it is inherently a violation of the Third Law of Thermodynamics), is the morality of human beings. Where did morality come from? Why did morality evolve? How do you explain that those among us without any apparent morality are considered by most of us to be sociopathic? Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Charles Manson, and such as they.

Next, the morality of human beings requires a spiritual dimension of existence. The only belief system in existence in the human race that denies the existence of a spiritual dimension of existence are those who insist they are materialists, who claim they are atheists. Yet, Google search atheist web sites and you will invariably find arguments for morality by written by atheists. However, arguments for morality by materialists really are hollow arguments, since morality ultimately mandates that choices be made that are contrary to oneís own perceived self-interest, which atheists deny. Setting aside the opinions of atheists as being disingenuous, since they deny the existence of God while actually believing the existence of God, the spiritual dimension of human existence is universally accepted by everyone else.[3] It is the spiritual aspect of mankindís existence, therefore, that provides the only explanation of the existence of morality. Morality requires a spiritual aspect of existence and a spiritual aspect of existence requires morality.

Yet morality requires the existence of right and wrong. Setting aside what is right and what is wrong, for the moment, there is no legitimate argument that right and wrong do not exist. Consider right and wrong in purely mathematical terms. At the root of it all, computers operate by means of what is called a binary code, zeros and ones. You could just as easily describe computer operation as a vast array of switches that are off and on, with a zero being the off position and the one being the on position of the switch. However, binary code, zeros and ones, off and on, is also the mathematical equivalent of right and wrong, of yes and no. Thus, there is in the material world such a thing as right and wrong, which reflects the imprint of spiritual reality on material reality. Is it not incredible how irrational human beings are who deny the existence of absolute right and absolute wrong, while concealing from their own consciousness that without right and wrong computers, smart phones, and complex time pieces could not function? Please do not display your ignorance by denying there is such a thing as right and wrong.

However, right and wrong demands the existence of a personal and a moral Creator. Rocks are not moral entities. Atoms and molecules are not moral entities. Trees and silverfish are not moral entities. Millipedes and roses are not moral entities. However, human beings are moral entities, living out our lives on the basis of what is moral and what is ethical. Do we not have company rules? Do schools not have rules for their students? Do not local, regional, state, and national governments have laws that govern the populations they exercise authority over? All of this, of course, is a derivative of morality and a reflection of what is believed to be morally acceptable, morally unacceptable, and so forth. However, the existence of laws and rules admits to the recognition that there is a difference between conduct and conviction. In other words, people oftentimes conduct themselves differently than their convictions of right and wrong. Even worse, different people are disagreed about what is right and what is wrong. Some people think stealing is wrong, while Gypsies are convinced stealing is not only acceptable conduct, but that it is imperative. Who decides about such things? Ultimately, God decides. For there to be morality, for there to be right and wrong, and to decide what is right and what is wrong, there must first be a moral being Who created such an existence that reflects His nature. That, of course, would be God. That every man displays variance with the morality that respects Godís nature shows that men are sinful, as God has declared in His Word.[4]


Had God no interest in the salvation of sinful men He could easily have simply left everyone to our own devices. However, there is abundance of evidence that God has not left men to our own devices. I make mention of five things:

First, provision for sinful menís salvation is evidenced by the Word of God. Read the Bible through from Genesis to Revelation and it is very clear that God has gone to astonishing lengths to provide for the salvation of sinful men from the consequences of our sins. No such provisions for sinful menís salvation is evidenced in the writings of any other belief system.

Second, provision for sinful menís salvation is evidenced by the Incarnation of the Son of God. The Bible teaches that the eternal Son of the living God left heavenís glory to be born of a virgin named Mary.[5] Why would the Son of God leave heavenís glory to take upon Himself human form but to provide for sinful menís salvation? Had He not intended to save sinful men, He would not have come by means of the virgin birth.

Third, provision for sinful menís salvation is evidenced by the Crucifixion of Christ. Predicted in the Old Testament, fulfilled with His crucifixion, explained in the New Testament, a sinful man cannot remedy his own sin problem. Only a sinless Substitute can do that. It was for that purpose Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of sinners and suffered the just penalty for the sins of others, providing the basis for Godís forgiveness.[6] If God had not provided for sinful menís salvation, Jesus Christ would not have suffered as an innocent man for the sins of others a most cruel punishment and death.[7] After all, He did not have to come, as I already pointed out. Additionally, He did not have to let soldiers take Him. Remember what He said when they came? ďThinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?Ē[8] As well, consider His conversation with Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, in John 19.10-11:

10     Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

11     Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Fourth, provision for sinful menís salvation is evidenced by the Resurrection of Christ. The historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is irrefutable, accepted as established even by reputable scholars who are not Christians themselves.[9] What needs to be addressed at this point is what is established by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? That God raised up His Son Jesus Christ from the dead proves that He was pleased with Christís offering of Himself for sinful menís sins, and that He accepted Christís payment on behalf of those who could not pay for their own sins.[10]

Finally, provision for sinful menís salvation is evidenced by the spread of Christianity. In less than one hundred years the gospel spread from the Indus River Valley in the East to the British Isles in the West. That spread of the gospel was not accomplished by violence on the part of Christians, with no Christian engaged in conquest or force of any kind to spread the truth. How does that happen in the face of violent opposition and persecution? The spread of Islam and the spread of communism were accomplished by violence, as history shows. The spread of other belief systems was accomplished over centuries by means of a kind of gradualism, as history shows. The spread of Christianity, on the other hand, takes place when an individual is miraculously transformed by the power of God and is then useful to God to reach others with the gospel. No real Christian is born a Christian. No real Christian is a Christian simply because his mother or father were Christians. A simple confession such as with Islam is insufficient to make a real Christian. Ordering oneís life as with Hinduism or Buddhism, or a dozen other faiths, is insufficient to make a real Christian. Real Christianity spreads only when sinful individuals experience salvation. And such salvation never takes place against oneís will, or by means of coercion or intimidation. Yet such salvations do occur, and have occurred for 2,000 years. How so? Consider,


Here is where we come to what this sermon is all about, the involvement of the Holy Spirit in sinful men being saved from their sins. Five declarations to conclude:

First, Adam in his sinless state possessed the Spirit of God. We know the Bible records the creation of Adam in Godís image and after Godís likeness.[11] We know that Adam was sinless and enjoyed intimate communion with God.[12] I am also persuaded that at the time of Godís creation of Adam, at which time He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and Adam became a living soul, he thereafter possessed the Holy Spirit.[13]

Second, Adamís fall resulted in the loss of the Holy Spirit. We know from Genesis 2.16-17 that God warned Adam about eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that the day he ate that fruit he would surely die. We also know it was spiritual death referred to, since Adamís physical death followed centuries after he sinned.[14] I am persuaded that the death Adam experienced immediately upon eating the forbidden fruit was his spiritual death, and that his spiritual death was the direct and immediate result of his loss of the Holy Spirit, Who withdrew from Adam as a consequence of him sinning against God.[15]

Third, the Holy Spirit works to recover lost souls. From the time Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, the Holy Spirit has worked to recover lost souls. He works by means of His providence to enlighten menís minds to the implications of nature.[16] He also works by means of revelation, inspiring and preserving the Word of God, and directly touching the lives of individual men. What is indisputable is that He does work to recover the lost souls of men. Genesis 6.3 is offered in evidence of this: ďAnd the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh . . . .Ē Are you someone who has serious doubts that the Holy Spirit actually does this? Then perhaps you are one who has resisted the Holy Spirit, grieved the Holy Spirit, or quenched the Spirit of God.[17] That is not a position anyone wants to be in who would like to escape the never-ending wrath of God.

Fourth, the Holy Spirit gives faith to sinful men. Turn to Second Corinthians 4.13, which is my text for this morningís message, though we consider it very late in the sermon. Only the first phrase, please, where Paul writes, ďWe having the same spirit of faith.Ē The Spirit of God is described as ďthe spirit of faith.Ē[18] How important is faith? Without faith it is impossible to please God.[19] Without faith it is impossible to be saved from your sins.[20] Without faith it is impossible to apprehend things unseen. Yet faith, which comes by hearing the Word of God, is actually shown in this verse to be given to men by the Holy Spirit. Thus, while the preaching of the Word of God is the means by which faith is given to someone, the One who actually uses the Word of God to actually impart that faith is the Holy Spirit.

Fifth, the Holy Spirit gives saving faith to sinful men. We know from the first passage I read at the beginning of this message that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. In His efforts to recover lost souls, He first seeks to persuade sinful men that they need to be recovered, so those same men will then consider the Savior the Spirit of God seeks to exalt and glorify, the Lord Jesus Christ. Using the Word of God to persuade men that they are dead in trespasses and sins, in desperate need of saving, the Holy Spirit also holds up before sinful men the glorious Savior, crucified and raised from the dead, enthroned in heaven and powerful to save. The Spirit of God then gives sinful men the faith by which they look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. The Spirit of God gives faith to sinners by means of the Word of God to trust Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.

Finally, the Holy Spirit gives keeping faith to redeemed men. In Adamís original sinless state the Spirit of God was forfeited by a single act of sin. Such a thing cannot happen again, because God now seals the believer with the Holy Spirit, so that a final falling away from salvation absolutely cannot occur.[21] The result is perseverance in the faith by the child of God.[22] As Hebrews 7.25 declares, ďWherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.Ē

Let no one be confused about the office and place the Lord Jesus Christ has in the salvation of a sinful soul. He is the Savior. He came to possess a human nature by means of the virgin birth. He died a substitutionary death on the cross of Calvary. He shed His precious blood. He rose from the dead. He is enthroned on high. He is the Object of our faith. We look to Him for salvation full and free. He said, ďCome unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Ē[23] Jesus saves. The Holy Spirit makes use of various means to engage in the effort to recover the lost sinner, to persuade the lost sinner of his sinfulness, to extol to the lost sinner the virtues and greatness of Jesus Christ, in an effort to persuade the sinner to turn from his sins and lay hold of Jesus Christ with faith the Spirit gives.

Do you not see, my friend, the lengths to which the Triune Godhead has gone for your salvation from sins? How great a deliverance is offered to you for doing nothing of yourself, but only believing with a faith given to you. On the other hand, what horror awaits the stubborn, the blind, the deaf, who will not be moved, who will not investigate, who will not read Godís Word, who will not yield to the gentle persuasion of Godís Holy Spirit.

I urge you on the authority of Godís Word to come to Jesus Christ. Take Him as your own personal Savior for the forgiveness of all your sins.

[1] A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels, (New York: Harper & Row, 1950), page 198.

[2] Deuteronomy 6.4; 1 Corinthians 8.4; 1 Timothy 2.5

[3] Psalm 14.1

[4] Romans 3.23

[5] Isaiah 7.14; 9.6-7; Micah 5.2; Matthew 1.18-25; Luke 1.26-37

[6] Isaiah 53; Matthew 27.33-54; Hebrews 7.19-27; 9.8-28; 10.1-18

[7] Luke 23.4, 14, John 88.38; 19.4, 6; Hebrews 4.15

[8] Matthew 26.53

[9] See N. T. Wright, The Resurrection Of The Son Of God, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), Gary Robert Habermas, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Rational Inquiry (an unpublished dissertation submitted to the Michigan State University, 1976), Gary R. Habermas, The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984), Gary R. Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003), and Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case For The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2004).

[10] Romans 4.25; 1 Corinthians 15.17; 2 Corinthians 5.21; Hebrews 9.28; 1 Peter 1.21; 3.18

[11] Genesis 1.26-28; 2.21-22

[12] Genesis 1.31

[13] George Smeaton, The Doctrine Of The Holy Spirit, (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), pages 9-17.

[14] Genesis 5.4

[15] Smeaton, pages 17-18.

[16] Psalm 19.1-6

[17] Acts 7.51; Ephesians 4.30; 1 Thessalonians 5.19

[18] John Gill, The Baptist Commentary Series Volume I, John Gillís Exposition Of The Old And New Testaments, Vol 8 (Paris, Arkansas: the Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., reprinted 2006), page 781, Charles Hodge, An Exposition Of The Second Epistle To The Corinthians, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), page 97, Matthew Poole, A Commentary On The Whole Bible, Volume 3, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), page 613.

[19] Hebrews 11.6

[20] Habakkuk 2.4; Genesis 15.6; Romans 4.1-5; Galatians 3.11; Hebrews 10.38

[21] Ephesians 1.13-14; Philippians 1.6

[22] London Baptist Confession of 1644, Article XXVI: That the same power that converts to faith in Christ, the same power carries on the1 soul still through all duties, temptations, conflicts, sufferings, and continually what ever a Christian is, he is by2 grace, and by a constant renewed3 operation from God, without which he cannot perform any duty to God, or undergo any temptations from Satan, the world, or men. 1) 1 Peter 1:5; 2 Cor. 12:9 2) 1 Cor. 15:10 3) Phil. 2:12, 13; John 15:5; Gal. 2:19-20

[23] Matthew 11.28

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