In verses 1-7 the John says that confession of the Incarnation proves possession of the Spirit, and in verse 12 that love of the brethren proves the indwelling of God. Now in verse 13, he goes on to say that possession of the Spirit proves the indwelling of God.
So that these four facts – confession of the Incarnation, possession of the Spirit, love of our fellow men, and indwelling of God – mutually involve one another.
5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. NASB
Thus both the faith and the love enjoined in the dual ‘command’ of 1 John 3:23 are products of the Spirit’s operation in a believer.
The Holy Spirit plays an important role in our spiritual lives. He is the mechanism of our communication with the Godhead. He is the divine author of the Word of God referred to as the mind of Christ, 1 Cor. 2:16 and Heb. 3:7.
The Holy Spirit guarantees the accuracy of the Bible in its original languages, 2 Sam. 23:2, 2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20-21.
The Holy Spirit is the principle teacher of the believer, John 14:26, 15:26. The Holy Spirit guides us in all truth, John 16:13-15. He restores and gives life, Gen. 1:2, and Job 33:4.
Bible doctrine comes in two forms, academic form and spiritual form. The academic form is referred to as ‘gnosis’. Anyone can read the Bible and learn its words. Unbelievers can even memorize the Bible forwards and backwards. Even Satan knows the Bible inside and out. But academic information is not spiritual information and that is what we need to feed our soul. Academic knowledge, Eph 3:19, doesn’t cut it, but full knowledge, Eph. 4:13 and 2 Pet. 1:8 is what we need, and that full knowledge is referred to as ‘epignosis’, or knowledge possessed for the purpose of gaining from its metabolized benefit.
The Holy Spirit has several titles referring to Him throughout the Bible.
Spirit of holiness, Rom. 1:4
Spirit of life, Rom. 8:12
Spirit of knowledge, Isa. 11:2
Spirit of truth, John 14:17
Spirit of God, Gen. 1:2, Matt. 3:16, 1 Cor. 6:11
Spirit of our Father, Matt. 10:20
Spirit of the Son, Rom. 8:9, Phil. 1:19, Gal. 4:6, Acts 5:9
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, 2 Cor. 3:17. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit and not the Son.
The Holy Spirit was a principle participant in the restoration of the earth, Job 26:13, Psa. 104:30.
The Holy Spirit restrains sin so as to prevent man from destroying himself in this world, 2 Thes. 2:6-7. Remember in our review of Revelation and after the rapture when all believers are removed from the world, then the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit is removed as well and the world begins to deteriorate almost immediately, but God restores some restraint by means of four angels who hold back destruction, to permit the last seven remaining years of the tribulation to complete itself.
Spiritual information is incomprehensible to the unbeliever, and the Holy Spirit acts as the missing human spirit so as to communicate the gospel to the unbeliever, thus allowing the unbeliever the opportunity for salvation, 2 Cor. 2:14. The Holy Spirit manifests the knowledge of Jesus Christ to everyone. There is no one with an excuse regarding salvation. The Holy Spirit makes the gospel message clear, John 16:7-11.
But the work of the Holy Spirit is very different between the times of the New Testament and the Old Testament with respect to believers. Then He did not indwell believers. Today He indwells every believer from the moment of our faith expression in Christ. And that indwelling is permanent.
In the Old Testament times there was a thing called indument where a given believer could be filled with the Holy Spirit and have extraordinary experiences such as strength, or just mere writing of scripture, but this generally was not a permanent experience. It was limited to certain persons:
Leaders, Gen. 41:38, Num. 11:17, Num. 27:18
Skilled artisans, Ex. 35:30-35
Judges, Judg. 3:10
Kings, 1 Sam. 10:10, 16:13
Prophets, Dan. 4:8, Zech. 4:3-6
The Spirit could be asked for and received, 2 Kings 2:9-10
The Spirit could be removed, Psa. 51:11
But in our current dispensation there are four things that the Holy Spirit does that he never did in any previous age.
The Baptism of the Spirit, which places us in union with Christ and makes every Church Age believer a member of the body of Christ, a member of the Church, a member of the Royal Family of God, 1 Cor. 2:12, 1 Pet. 2:9
The Spirit indwells each of us, and transforms our body into a temple, for the simultaneous indwelling of Christ and the Father. Rom. 8:9-11, 1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19-20, 2 Cor. 6:16, Col. 1:27-29
The sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit guarantees each believer an eternal security, Eph. 1:13, 4:30
And we are each given a spiritual gift to allow us to function as royalty here on earth, 1 Cor. 12:4-11, Eph. 4:11.
Now that you have a summary of the work and the purpose of the Holy Spirit, what does it have to do with each of us? The work of the Holy Spirit provides us the means of spiritual growth. Though we have all these wonderful gifts, they are meaningless unless we have the filling of the Holy Spirit as well and this is commanded to us to be a perpetual status in our life, Eph. 5:18. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit.
Why? Because He is the means of our learning Spiritual truth. The Holy Spirit is the means by which Gods Word gets from the written page through out human spirit and into our soul with its full spiritual content. And that is how we benefit by studying Bible doctrine. Without the filling of the Holy Spirit we are no different in our learning abilities than the unbeliever. And academic knowledge won’t get you anywhere in the spiritual life. The filling of the Spirit is not an emotional experience. You cannot feel it, not sense it. You won’t throw your head back and begin gargling, or have some kind of epileptic fit, or start mumbling strange things. That stuff is for the fools who like Hollywood tricks.
You gain the filling of the Holy Spirit by means of sin confession to God the Father through your fellowship prayer, where you merely list your sins to God and forget them. Period. That is it.
You lose your fellowship status by committing a sin. So you offer your fellowship prayer once again for this latest sin. You do not review or revisit those old sins again. I John 1:9, which we have already studied, is the summary of this procedure. And God is faithful and just to restore you and so your life can proceed forward and upward.
Now through the function of our life, we know we are saved because we have believed in Christ. We know that we are in fellowship because we confess our sins on a regular basis. We know that we function (are obedient to His mandates) in the spiritual life and are growing up spiritually because we have committed ourselves to a daily (note the word ‘daily’) study of the Word of God and apply His standards to our daily life. All of these combined together will bring us to certain success in our spiritual life.
The Father laid out the plan for our life. The Son executed the plan for our life. And the Holy Spirit guarantees and communicates that plan for our life. These together make up the unique plan of God which is unique to the Christian faith. No other religion on earth or in history have claim to this.