Monday, May 11, 2015

Basics: Who is the Holy Spirit?

In different parts of the New Testament, the Holy Spirit
is referred to as moving like a dove (Matthew 3:16) and
appearing at the same time as fire (Acts 2:3-4).
Keep in mind that it never says the Spirit appeared
in the form of a dove or as a flame of fire.
Let’s talk about the Holy Spirit. Who is He? You might think the answer is simple. You might be wrong.

The Holy Spirit is not an “it”; He’s a person, just like Jesus. He’s immaterial, just like God the Father. He’s not a ghost or a force, but rather a relational being who is one in essence with the Father and the Son.

It’s likely that you’ve heard blasphemous things about Him. You may have heard that the Holy Spirit is the light of Christ that is inside of all men. Maybe you’ve heard that He is completely separate from the Father and the Son, like an agent hired to do Heavenly Father’s work. Perhaps you’ve been led to believe that the Spirit is impersonal and only gets involved when we beckon His service.

Let’s scratch all that out of your mind.
God refers to Himself as being triune. That doesn’t mean He’s schizophrenic to the third degree. It doesn’t mean that there are three parts that make up God. It especially doesn’t mean there are three gods. He means that He’s simultaneously singular (Deuteronomy 6:4James 2:19), plural (Genesis 1:26Matthew 3:16-17), and equal within Himself (Isaiah 9:6Psalm 139:7John 1:1-22 Corinthians 13:14).

In Acts 5, the Holy Spirit is said to be God. Ananias and Sapphira, a married couple who planned to lie to the apostles about some money they were donating, challenged God’s Spirit. They had sold a chunk of land for some cash and then brought some of that money to the apostles. Though that sounds good, they didn’t tell the apostles that it was just some of the money – they acted like they brought all of the money. “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” Peter asked Ananias (v. 3). “You have not lied to men but to God,” (v. 4)

In John 16, Jesus said to His disciples, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But If I go, I will send Him to you.” Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit. Christ goes on to say that the Spirit will convict the world of sin (v. 8) and, ultimately, it’s the Spirit’s job to glorify Him (v. 14).

When a person believes in the gospel, it’s the work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-7). He then seals the believer so that his salvation is secure until Jesus returns (Ephesians 1:13-14); God refers to this as a down payment (2 Corinthians 1:22). This work of the Spirit at the moment of belief is also known as baptism of the Spirit (Acts 1:5) – it’s the moment God invades the heart of man and completely changes him (Acts 11:15-18) and He indwells him (1 Corinthians 6:19). At the very second of belief, the Holy Spirit gives those who trust in Jesus special gifts as a part of His ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

Once saved and sealed by the Spirit’s power, believers can ask God to be filled with Him so that they may be useful to Him for proper worship and sacrificial service (Ephesians 5:17-21). And as followers of Christ look to hear from God in His word, the Spirit illumines Scripture for them to understand (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). He even prays for believers when they can’t find the words (Romans 8:26) and gives God’s people love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in place of sinful habits (Galatians 5:18-26).

The Holy Spirit is your Helper, Advocate, Comforter, Counselor, Encourager, and Friend. He will convict you, guide you, intercede for you, and grow you.

He is God.

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