The Holy Spirit

104the holy spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead and goes forever from the Father through the Son. He is the comforter promised by Jesus Christ that God sent to all believers. The Holy Spirit lives in us, unites us with the Father and the Son, and transforms us through repentance and sanctification and through constant renewal aligns us with the image of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the source of inspiration and prophecy in the Bible and the source of unity and community in the Church. He gives spiritual gifts for the work of the gospel and is the Christian's constant guide to all truth. (John 14,16:15,26; 2,4.17; Acts 19.38-28,19; Matthew 14,17; John 26-1; 1,2 Peter 3,5; Titus 2; 1,21 Peter 1; 12,13. Corinthians 2:13,13; 1 Corinthians 12,1:11; 20,28 Corinthians 16,13; Acts; John)

The Holy Spirit is God

The Holy Spirit, that is God at work - creating, speaking, transforming, living in us, acting in us. Although the Holy Ghost can do this work without our knowledge, it is helpful to know more.

The Holy Spirit has the attributes of God, is identified with God and does works that only God does. Like God, the Spirit is holy - so holy that insulting the Holy Spirit is as serious a sin as trampling on the Son of God (Hebrews 10,29). The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is one of the unforgivable sins (Matthew 12,31). This indicates that the spirit is holy in nature, that is, it is not only in the possession of a bestowed holiness, as was the case with the temple.

Like God, the Holy Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9,14). Like God, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent (Psalm 139,7: 10). Like God, the Holy Spirit is omniscient (1 Corinthians 2,10: 11-14,26; John). The Holy Spirit creates (Job 33,4; Psalm 104,30) and makes miracles possible (Matthew 12,28:15; Romans 18, 19) by doing the work of God in his service. In several Bible passages, father, son and the Holy Spirit are described as equally divine. In a passage on "the gifts of the Spirit", Paul places "the" one Spirit, the "one" Lord and the "one" God side by side (1 Cor. 12,4-6). He closes a letter with a three-part prayer formula (2 Corinthians 13,13). And Peter opens a letter with another three-part formula (1 Peter 1,2). This is not evidence of unity, but it does support it.

The unity is expressed even more strongly in the baptismal formula: «[Baptize it] in the name [singular] of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit» (Matthew 28,19). The three have a single name, an indication of an entity, a being.

When the Holy Spirit does something, God does it. When the Holy Spirit speaks, God speaks. When Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, he lied to God (Acts 5,3: 4). As Peter says, Ananias lied not only to God's representative, but to God himself. You cannot "lie" to an impersonal force.

At one point Paul says that Christians are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Ko 6,19), in another place, that we are God's temple (1 Corinthians 3,16). A temple is used to worship a divine being, not an impersonal force. When Paul writes about the "Temple of the Holy Spirit", he says indirectly: The Holy Spirit is God.

Also in Acts 13,2 the Holy Spirit is equated with God: "But when they served and fasted to the Lord, the Holy Spirit said: Separate me from Barnabas and Saul for the work for which I have called them." Here the Holy Spirit speaks as God. Similarly, he says that the Israelites "tried and tested" him and that "I swore in my anger: they should not come to my rest" (Hebrews 3,7: 11).

Still - the Holy Spirit is not just an alternative name for God. The Holy Spirit is something different from the father and son, as can be seen in e.g. B. showed at Jesus' baptism (Matthew 3,16: 17). The three are different, but one.

The Holy Spirit does the work of God in our lives. We are "God's children," that is, born of God (John 1,12), which is synonymous with "born of the spirit" (John 3,5: 6). The Holy Spirit is the medium through which God dwells in us (Ephesians 2,22:1; 3,24 John 4,13;). The Holy Spirit dwells in us (Romans 8,11:1; 3,16 Corinthians) - and because the spirit dwells in us, we can say that God dwells in us.

The spirit is personal

The Bible attributes personal qualities to the Holy Spirit.

  • The spirit lives (Romans 8,11:1; 3,16 Corinthians)
  • The mind speaks (Acts 8,29; 10,19; 11,12; 21,11; 1 Timothy 4,1; Hebrews 3,7 etc.).
  • The spirit sometimes uses the personal pronoun “I” (Acts 10,20:13,2;).
  • The mind can be addressed, tried, saddened, reviled, blasphemed (Acts 5: 3, 9; Ephesians 4,30;
    Hebrews 10,29:12,31; Matthew).
  • The spirit leads, represents, calls, begins (Romans 8,14:26, 13,2; Acts 20,28,,).

Romans 8,27 speaks of a "sense of the spirit". He thinks and judges - he can "make a decision" (Acts 15,28). The mind "knows", the mind "allocates" (1 Corinthians 2,11:12,11;). This is not an impersonal power.

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit - in the Greek language of the New Testament - paracletos - that is, comforter, lawyer, support. "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforter that he will be with you forever: the spirit of truth ..." (John 14,16: 17). Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the first comforter of the disciples, teaches, testifies, opens eyes, guides and reveals truth (John 14,26:15,26; 16,8:13; 14 &). These are personal roles.

John uses the masculine form paracletos; it was not necessary to put the word into neuter. In John 16,14, masculine personal pronouns are also used in Greek ("He") used in connection with the actually neuter word "spirit". It would have been easy to make neuter advocates ("It") to change, but Johannes does not. The mind may be male ("he is. Of course, the grammar here is relatively immaterial; what matters is that the Holy Spirit has personal qualities. He is not a neutral power, but the intelligent and divine helper who lives in us.

The spirit in the Old Testament

The Bible does not have its own chapter or book entitled "The Holy Spirit". We learn a little bit about the spirit here, a little bit, wherever Scripture speaks about its work. There is comparatively little to be found in the Old Testament.

The spirit has participated in the creation of life and is involved in its preservation (Genesis 1: 1,2; Job 33,4: 34,14;,). The spirit of God filled Bezazel with “all the skill” to build the tabernacle (Genesis 2: 31,3-5). He fulfilled Moses and came over the seventy elders (Genesis 4:11,25). He filled Joshua with wisdom and gave Samson and other leaders the strength or ability to fight (Deut 5; Richter [space]] 34,9; 6,34).

God's spirit was given to Saul and later taken away (1 Samuel 10,6:16,14;). The Spirit gave David plans for the temple (1Chr 28,12). The spirit inspired prophets to speak (Numbers 4: 24,2; 2 Samuel 23,2: 1; 12,19Chr 2:15,1; 20,14Chr 11,5: 7,12; 2:1,21; Ezekiel; Zechariah; Peter).

Also in the New Testament, the Spirit empowered people to speak, such as Elisabeth, Zacharias, and Simeon (Luke 1,41. 67; 2,25-32). John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit even from birth (Luke 1,15). His most important deed was the announcement of the coming of Jesus, who should no longer baptize people only with water, but "with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Luke 3,16).

The spirit and Jesus

The Holy Spirit has always played an important role in Jesus' life. It brought about Jesus' conception (Matthew 1,20) came down on him when he was baptized (Matthew 3,16), Jesus led into the desert (Luke 4,1) and anointed him to preach the gospel (Luke 4,18). Through "the Spirit of God" Jesus cast out evil spirits (Matthew 12,28). Through the Spirit, he presented himself as a sin offering (Hebrews 9,14), and by the same spirit he was raised from the dead (Romans 8,11).

Jesus taught that in times of persecution, the disciples would speak the Spirit (Matthew 10,19: 20). He taught them to baptize new disciples "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28,19). God promised that he would give the Holy Spirit to all who ask him (Lk
11,13).

Jesus' most important teachings on the Holy Spirit can be found in the Gospel of John. First of all, man must be "born of water and spirit" (John 3,5). He needs a spiritual rebirth, and it cannot come from himself: it is a gift from God. Spirit is invisible, but the Holy Spirit makes a clear difference in our lives (V.8).

Jesus continues to teach: "Whoever thirsts, come to me and drink! Whoever believes in me, as Scripture says, from whose body rivers of living water will flow » (John 7: 37-38). John immediately follows this with the interpretation: "But he said this about the spirit that should be received by those who believed in him ..." (V.39). The Holy Spirit quenches an inner thirst. He gives us the relationship with God to which we are created. By coming to Jesus we receive the Spirit and the Spirit can fill our lives.

Until that time, as John tells us, the spirit had not yet been generally poured out: the spirit "was not yet there; because Jesus was not yet glorified » (V.39). The spirit had already fulfilled individual men and women before Jesus, but now it should soon come in a new, more powerful way - at Pentecost. The spirit is now no longer poured out only in individual cases, but collectively. Whoever is called "by God" and baptized receives him (Acts 2,38: 39).

Jesus promised that his disciples would be given the spirit of truth and that this spirit would live in them (John 14,16: 18). This is equivalent to Jesus coming to his disciples (V. 18), because it is the spirit of Jesus as well as the spirit of the Father - sent by Jesus as well as by the Father (John 15,26). The Spirit makes Jesus accessible to everyone and continues his work.

According to Jesus' Word, the Spirit should "teach everything" and "remember everything I told you" (John 14,26). The Spirit taught them things that they could not understand before Jesus' resurrection (John 16,12: 13).

The spirit bears witness to Jesus (John 15,26: 16,14). He does not propagate himself, but leads people to Jesus Christ and the Father. He does not speak "from himself", but only as the father wants (John 16,13). And because the Spirit can live in millions of people, it is an advantage for us that Jesus ascended to heaven and sent us the Spirit (John 16:7).

The Spirit is at work in evangelism; he enlightens the world about their sin, their guilt, their need for justice and the safe coming of judgment (Vv. 8-10). The Holy Spirit points people to Jesus as the one who clears all guilt and is the source of justice.

The spirit and the church

John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus would baptize people "with the Holy Spirit" (Mark 1,8). This happened after His resurrection on Pentecost, when the Spirit miraculously gave the disciples new strength (Acts 2). It was also a miracle that people heard the disciples speak in foreign languages (V.6). Similar miracles happened several times as the church grew and spread (Acts 10,44: 46-19,1; 6). As a historian, Lukas reports both unusual and rather typical events. There is nothing to suggest that these miracles have happened to all new believers.

Paul says that all believers have been baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit - the Church (1 Corinthians 12,13). The Holy Spirit will be given to everyone who believes (Romans 10,13:3,14; Galatians). With or without an accompanying miracle, all believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit. You don't have to look out for a miracle as special, obvious evidence of this. The Bible does not require that every believer ask for baptism through the Holy Spirit. Rather, it calls on every believer to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5,18) - willing to follow the guidance of the Spirit. This is an ongoing obligation, not a one-off event.

Instead of looking for a miracle, let's look for God and let God decide whether a miracle happens or not. Paul often describes God's power not in terms of miracles, but in terms that express inner strength: hope, love, long-suffering and patience, willingness to serve, understanding, suffering and courage in preaching (Romans 15,13:2; 12,9 Corinthians 3,7; Ephesians 16 and 17-1,11; Colossians 28 and 29-2; 1,7 Timothy 8).

The book of Acts shows that the Spirit was the force behind the growth of the Church. The Spirit gave the disciples strength to bear witness to Jesus (Acts 1,8). He gave them great persuasiveness in their sermon (Acts 4,8 & 31; 6,10). He gave his instructions to Philip, and later he caught him (Acts 8,29 and 39).

It was the spirit that encouraged the church and used people to guide it (Acts 9,31;
20,28).
He spoke to Peter and the church in Antioch (Acts 10,19; 11,12; 13,2). He entered Agabus to predict famine and Paul to pronounce a curse (Acts 11,28:13,9; 11). He led Paul and Barnabas on their travels (Acts 13,4: 16,6; 7) and helped the Jerusalem apostles to make their decisions (Acts 15,28). He sent Paul to Jerusalem and prophesied what would happen there (Acts 20,22: 23-21,11;). The Church existed and grew only because the Spirit was at work in the believers.

The spirit and the believers today

God the Holy Spirit is deeply involved in the lives of today's believers.

  • It leads us to repentance and gives us new life (John 16,8; 3,5-6).
  • He lives in us, teaches us, guides us (1 Corinthians 2,10: 13-14,16; John 17: 26-8,14 &; Romans). He guides us through scripture, through prayer and through other Christians.
  • It is the spirit of wisdom that helps us to think through upcoming decisions with confidence, love and prudence (Ephesians 1,17:2; 1,7 Timothy).
  • The Spirit "cuts" our hearts, seals and sanctifies us and singles us out for God's purpose (Romans 2,29; Ephesians 1,14).
  • It produces love and the fruit of justice in us (Romans 5,5; Ephesians 5,9; Galatians 5,22-23).
  • He puts us in the church and helps us to recognize that we are God's children (1 Cor 12,13:8,14; Romans 16).

We should worship God "in the spirit of God" by focusing on what the spirit wants (Philippians 3,3; 2 Corinthians 3,6; Romans 7,6; 8,4-5). We strive to do what he wants (Galatians 6,8). When we are led by the Spirit, it gives us life and peace (Romans 8,6). It gives us access to the father (Ephesians 2,18). He helps us in our weakness, he "represents" us, that is, he stands up for us with the Father (Romans 8,26-27).

He also gives spiritual gifts, such as those that enable church leadership (Ephesians 4,11), to different offices (Romans 12,6: 8), and some talents for extraordinary tasks (1 Corinthians 12,4: 11). Nobody has all gifts at the same time, and no gift is given to everyone without distinction (Vv. 28-30). All gifts, whether spiritual or "natural", should be used for the common good and serve the whole Church (1 Corinthians 12,7:14,12;). Every gift is important (1 Corinthians 12,22: 26).

We still only have the "first gifts" of the Spirit, a first pledge that promises us much more in the future (Romans 8,23; 2 Corinthians 1,22; 5,5; Ephesians 1,13-14).

The Holy Spirit is God at work in our lives. Everything that God does is done by the Spirit. That is why Paul calls us: "If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit ... do not grieve the holy spirit ... do not dampen the spirit" (Galatians 5,25; Ephesians 4,30; 1Th 5,19). So we want to listen carefully to what the mind says. When he speaks, God speaks.

Michael Morrison


pdfThe Holy Spirit