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Q86 : Does the Holy Spirit work only through Believers?

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Q86 : Does the Holy Spirit work only through Believers?

Hey Andy,

I listen to you often on the Gathering Storm CDsa with Dr. Mal Couch and greatly enjoy them.

I have a question I'd like to throw out to you and get your thoughts on....In this dispensation I believe the primary mode of operation for the Holy Spirit (as it relates to bringing the unbeliever to salvation) is through believers, being that the Holy Spirit abides in the believer in this dispensation. But would you say that the Holy Spirit does not work in the lives of unbelievers (bringing them to the convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment - John 16:8-11) apart from believers? Do you know of references in Scripture where the Holy Spirit was preparing the heart of an unbeliever prior to hearing the gospel by a believer?

I believe the Holy Spirit works in both ways, but it had recently been brought to my attention that there is no proof ( from incidences in Scripture)for the Holy Spirit working apart from the believer (in this church age). I have read Ryrie's book on the Holy Spirit, L.S. Chafer's systematic theology on the subject, and R.A. Torrey's work on the Holy Spirit and they all seem to disagree in some respect as to what the Holy Spirit does outside of working through the believer. I am now wondering maybe I have believed the Holy Spirit works in bringing the lost to Himself through the believer and through other ways simply because I have been told that and actually He primarily only works through the believer alone.

If He (the Holy Spirit) only works through the believer can we say an unbeliever can not read the Bible and understand the gospel contained in it by himself? But is there Biblical precedence for saying the Holy Spirit in the church age does convict and work outside of the believer in bringing the lost to salvation?


A86 : by Andy Woods

I am glad you are enjoying the Gathering Storm disks. I think the Spirit works though believers and independent of believers.

For example, God was at work preparing the heart of Cornelius even before he had contact with Peter's evangelistic message (Acts 10-11). I have heard many stories of people who are on the verge of suicide yet came to Christ simply by reading a Gideon's Bible in a hotel room. I think Hal Lindsey came to Christ in this way.

Hope this helps.

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