The Holy Spirit



One of the most difficult concepts in Christianity is that of the Holy Trinity. This concept is so difficult, even for Christians, that some churches have abandoned the teaching all together, creating instead a "Oneness" theology. The Bible clearly teaches, however, that God is a triune entity. Perhaps the least understood Person of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. The beginning to an understanding of the Holy Spirit is the realization that the Spirit is a "He," and not an "It." He possesses distinct characteristics that differentiate Him from the other two Members of the Trinity and at the same time clearly establish His deity.

THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Spell this out in capital letters: THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON. He is not enthusiasm. He is not courage. He is not energy. He is not the personification of all good qualities, like Jack Frost is the personification of cold weather. Actually, the Holy Spirit is not the personification of anything...... He has individuality. He is one being and not another. He has will and intelligence. He has hearing. He has knowledge and sympathy and ability to love and see and think. He can hear, speak, desire, grieve and rejoice. He is a Person. (A.W. Tozer)
According to Encyclopedia.com, personality is “the patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion unique to an individual.? Using this definition, it is very easy to demonstrate the personality of the Holy Spirit.

Behavior. The Holy Spirit decides which gifts to give each individual believer. I Corinthians 12:11 says, "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."

Thought. We know by Romans 8:27 that the Holy Spirit has His own mind: "Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is?" Furthermore, the Holy Spirit uses His thoughts/intellect to teach, as shown in I Corinthians 2:13. Paul said, "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches."

Emotion. The Holy Spirit possesses emotions as well. Ephesians 4:30 warns us not to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Charles Ryrie points out that "an influence cannot be grieved." 1 Furthermore, "Since Jehovah is a Spirit, it would make no sense to talk about the spirit of God if the Spirit is Jehovah. It would be like talking about 'the wind of the wind' or 'the heat of heat.'" 2

THE SPIRIT DESCRIBED

Throughout the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is referred to using personal pronouns. Since it is possible in Greek to use neuter pronouns, it would be very confusing to use personal pronouns to refer to the Spirit if He were not a "He." Robert Longman Jr. makes the following observation:
The Spirit can be addressed as 'you' by other 'I's (such as you and me), and can respond as an 'I'. The Spirit is an 'I', able to take action and cause action. The Spirit is able to be a 'we' with other 'I's.3
THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9:14), omniscient (I Corinthians 2:11-12), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), and omnipotent (Job 33:4). These are characteristics of God not possessed by anyone or anything else. He was involved in Creation (Genesis 1:2) and in the writing of the Bible (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Spirit is divine.

ACTIVITIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit performs many actions for which we should be grateful.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

God has existed as a Trinity since eternity past. The Holy Spirit's work was not as prominent under the old covenant, but nevertheless, He did influence lives then as well. When God had something special for a human to do, the Holy Spirit gave that person power to accomplish the task. The Spirit gave Bezalel artistic ability (Exodus 31:1-5), Jephthah military expertise (Judges 11:29), David power to rule (I Samuel 16:13), and Zechariah an authoritative word of prophecy (II Chronicles 24:20).

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND YOU

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). The Holy Spirit first became available to all believers at Pentecost (Acts 2). In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon specific individuals for specific tasks, but now He indwells all believers. His ministries are especially important to us in the Church Age. The Spirit is not a force or energy, but a Person, worthy of our worship and praise. He has been sent by Jesus to give us strength and hope. Our dealings with Him "are with a divine person whose activities and expectations for [us] are clear." 4


Notes


I highly recommend The Holy Spirit, by Charles Ryrie. It should be in every Christian's library. Click here to buy it from Amazon.com.

1.Ryrie, Charles. The Holy Spirit. (Chicago:Moody Press), 1977 (p. 14).
2.The Holy Spirit
3.The Holy Spirit as a Person
4.Ryrie, Charles. The Holy Spirit. (Chicago:Moody Press), 1977 (p. 20).