Before Jesus returned to heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31). Jesus’ promised Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1; see also Joel 2:28-32). So, Jesus' physical presence left this human world (Acts 1:9), but the promised Holy Spirit came. The Holy Spirit comforted, protected, and guided Jesus’ followers (now called Christians) to continue His ministry of spreading the Gospel (or Good News) – the message of God’s love for the world (John 3:16; John 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-4). Through our faith and obedience in Jesus, Jesus asks and God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to live and dwell within our hearts (John 14:15-18).
So, where is Jesus today? Today, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God the Father (Mark 14:62; Mark 16:19-20). While at God’s right hand, Jesus acts as our Advocate, Activist, and Supporter with God the Father (see Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1). Moreover, Jesus is our Great High Priest as He has offered Himself on the Cross at Calvary as the perfect and final sacrifice for the sins of the entire world forever (Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 10:21). Thus, Jesus is in heaven at the right hand of God the Father looking after our welfare and pleads for us continually with God the Father. Jesus’ continuous presence in heaven with God the Father assures us that our sins have been paid for and forgiven past, present, and future (see Romans 8:33-34; Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:15-16; Hebrews 9:24). This wonderful assurance frees us from guilt and from fear of failure.
While at God the Father’s right hand, Jesus communicates through the Holy Spirit to everyone that trusts and believes in Him as their Lord and Savior. As believers in Jesus, we become God the Father’s children and grafted (reconciled) into the family of God with Israel (John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Even more, God the Father sends us the Holy Spirit to help, encourage and strength all who wholehearted believe and trust in Him and make a commitment to turn from sin and wickedness (John 15:16, 26). Thus, the ascended Jesus is with us each and every day through the Holy Spirit with any struggles here on earth. According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus’ permeates the entire universe with His presence and power through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:10). The help of the Holy Spirit is just one simple prayer (call) away (Luke 11:13).
The Holy Spirit is God and the Third Person of the Trinity or Godhead (God the Father, God the Son – Jesus Christ, and God the Spirit) (see Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Holy Spirit empowered and guided God’s people in the world. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit inspired the prophets to encourage the people to turn from wickedness and to wholeheartedly worship (serve) the true and living God (see e.g. Numbers 11:29; Numbers 24:2; 1 Samuel 10:6, 10; 2 Samuel 23:2; 1 Kings 22:24; Nehemiah 9:30; Hosea 9:7-9; Joel 2:28-29; Micah 3:8; Zechariah 7:12). As mentioned earlier, God sends the Holy Spirit to live or dwell in everyone and anyone who genuinely turn from sin and wholehearted accept the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16-21; John 14:15-17, 26; see also John 15:26; John 16:7-15).
The Holy Spirit is “holy” (e.g., true, pure, and ethical) (Psalm 51:11; Isaiah 63:10) just as God is holy, pure, and true (Exodus 15:11; John 15:26; Revelation 6:10). The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God Himself throughout the earth and entire universe (Psalm 139:7; Isaiah 63:10). God’s Holy Spirit abides or lives within believers of Jesus as they walk in wholehearted obedience and closeness to God and God’s ways and flee sin (John 14:15-17; John 15:1-17; John 16:8). As we continually trust in and walk with Jesus, we have the righteousness (holiness) of God (Romans 1:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:21). To have the Holy Spirit is to have Jesus living within (Romans 8:9-12). God is Spirit (John 4:24).
Our holy God expects us to imitate (mimic) Him by following His moral standards (1 Peter 1:14-16). Jesus died for our sins to make us holy (1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26). As believers of Jesus, we are called to be a living and holy sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). Holiness occurs by walking closely to God and fleeing sin and wickedness (Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7; 1 Peter 1:14-25, particularly 1 Peter 1:15 quoting Leviticus 19:2; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Holiness is the truth of the Word of God that makes us holy (John 1:1-2; John 14:26; John 17:17).
Life Application Study Bible. Carol Streams, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2005.
Zondervan NIV Study Bible. New York: Zondervan, 2008.
Douglas, J.D. and Tenney, Merrill. NIV Compact Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1989.
Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 2001.