Question: The Holy Spirit is __________.
- a. an influence emanating from God
- b. a wonderful power
- c. an illumination that God imparts to us
- d. a divine person
Which of the following two statements is correct?
- The Holy Spirit is simply some mysterious and wonderful power that we, in our weakness and ignorance, are somehow to get hold of and use.
- The Holy Spirit is a real person, infinitely holy, infinitely wise, infinitely mighty, infinitely tender, who is to get hold of and utilize us.
Which of the following best describes your desire concerning the Holy Spirit?
- How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?
- How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?
The answers to these questions will become obvious as we come to know the person of the Holy Spirit through this series: God the Holy Spirit!
Before we can correctly understand the work of the Holy Spirit, we must, first of all, know the Spirit Himself. If the Holy Spirit is a divine person and we do not know Him as such, then we are robbing a divine being of the worship, faith, love, and surrender He is due. If you desire to know how to get more filled with the Holy Spirit - like filling a car’s tank with gas - then you are thinking of Him regarding a power, illumination, or influence. However, if you think of Him in the Biblical way, as a divine person, then you will desire to know how the Holy Spirit can have more of you. (Correct answers: d, second bullet in both of the other two questions).*
The three distinctive characteristics of personality are knowledge, emotions, and will. Any entity that thinks, feels and wills is a person. We will examine the Bible to show that the Holy Spirit has these characteristics of a person:
The Holy Spirit is not simply an influence that illuminates our minds to comprehend the truth but a being who Himself knows the truth. (1 Corinthians 2:10,11. Nehemiah 9:20)
The Holy Spirit is not a power that we get hold of and use according to our desires. Rather, the Holy Spirit is a person of sovereign majesty who utilizes us according to His will. (1 Corinthians 12:11. Romans 8:27). However, He never usurps our will but rather waits for us to yield our will to His. In fact, He does not want to control us like robots but rather wants us to develop self-control (Galatians 5:22,23)
The Holy Spirit is not a blind, impersonal influence or power that comes into our lives to illuminate, sanctify, and empower us. He is a holy person who comes to dwell in our spirits when we are born again and desires to fill our spiritual hearts (Ephesians 3:16-19. Romans 5:5). One who clearly sees every act we perform, every word we speak, every thought we entertain, even the most fleeting imagination that is allowed to pass through our minds. If there is anything in act or word or deed that is impure, unholy, unkind, selfish, mean, petty, or untrue, this infinitely Holy One is deeply grieved by it. (Ephesians 4:30) Furthermore, the Holy Spirit LOVES us! (Romans 15:30)
Furthermore, the Holy Bible lists the following acts of the Holy Spirit that only a person can perform:
Searches the deep things of God
The Holy Spirit is not simply an illumination that enables us to grasp the deep things of God. He is rather a person who Himself searches the deep things of the Godhead and then reveals to us the precious discoveries that He has made. (1 Corinthians 2:9,10)
Speaks the Truth of God
The Holy Spirit is not merely an impersonal enlightenment that comes to our mind. He is a person who speaks and out of the depths of His own wisdom communicates to His listening servant the truth of God. (Revelation 2:7)
Cries out in our hearts
The Holy Spirit is not simply a divine influence producing in our hearts the assurance of our sonship. He is a person who cries out in our hearts and bears witness together with our spirit that we are sons of God. (Galatians 4:6. Romans 8:16)
Prays in and through us
The Holy Spirit is not merely an influence that moves us to pray or teaches us to pray. He is a person who Himself prays in and through us. Jesus is in Heaven praying for us (Hebrews 7:25. 1 John 2:1) and the Holy Spirit is on Earth praying through us. God the Holy Spirit and God the Lord Jesus Christ are praying for us to God our Father - how can we lose? (Romans 8:26)
Gives His Testimony of Jesus Christ
The Holy Spirit is not simply an illumination that enables the believer to testify about Jesus Christ. He is a person who Himself testifies about Jesus Christ to the Christian. The Christian, in turn, takes what the Holy Spirit has said about Jesus and shares it with the world. Consequently, sinners are converted by the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus to us that we relay to them – this is the Biblical method of soul winning! (John 15:26,27)
Teacher of Christians
The Holy Spirit is not merely an illumination that enables us to grasp the truth. He is a person that who comes to teach us day by day the truth of God. (John 14:26. John 16:13)
Leader and Guide of Christians
The Holy Spirit is not simply an influence that causes us to see the way that God would have us go or merely a power that gives us strength to go that way. He is a person that takes us by the heart and gently leads us in the paths that God would have us walk. (Romans 8:14)
Supreme Authority in the Church on Earth
The Holy Spirit is a person that has the supreme authority in the Church, who calls men to work and appoints them to an office. However, He is not just speaking His will but rather communicating the will of Jesus, the Head of the Body of Christ who is in Heaven, to us on Earth (John 16:13). (Acts 16:6. Acts 13:2. Acts 20:28)
The Holy Spirit holds an office that only a person can hold
Jesus was preparing to leave His disciples; however, he told them that they were not being abandoned. The Holy Spirit would come to take His place on Earth while He went to be in Heaven. Furthermore, the replacement was not simply a divine influence or power but rather a divine person. One divine person was leaving (Jesus) and another divine being was coming to take His place (the Holy Spirit). (John 14:16,17)
The Holy Bible describes the treatment of the Holy Spirit that can only be done to a person:
Rebelled against and grieved
Only a person, and only a person of authority can be rebelled against. You can not grieve a mere influence or power but only a person. (Isaiah 63:10)
A power or influence cannot be insulted but only a person. (Hebrews 10:29)
A power or influence cannot be lied to but only a person. (Acts 5:3)
A power or influence cannot be blasphemed but only a person. Would a power or influence have greater ramifications for blasphemy than God the Father and God the Son? (Matthew 12:31)
This is the secret of a real Christian life, a life of liberty, joy, power, and fullness – to be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit as your ever-present friend and to surrender your life entirely to His guidance.
The association which the correctly instructed saint has with the Holy Spirit, is in the form of a moment-by-moment conscious dependence upon Him, a trust in Him for His guidance and strength, and a yielding to Him for His ministry of putting sin out of the life and keeping it out, and of radiating the beauty of the Lord Jesus through his every thought, word, and deed, this, together with a co-operation with Him which takes the form of a mutual interest and active participation in the things of God. (K. S. Wuest)**
However, the fellowship (2 Corinthians 13:13) is not found in seeking the Holy Spirit and His fullness for His sake alone or in seeking connection with Him as an end to itself. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to glorify God the Son, and in doing that, He always calls the believer’s attention to the Lord Jesus and never only to Himself (John 16:13-15).
In proportion therefore as mind and heart are fixed on Christ, we may count on the Spirit’s presence and power, but if we make the Holy Ghost Himself the object of our aspirations and worship, some false spirit may counterfeit the true and take us for prey. (Sir Robert Anderson)
This fellowship refers to that relationship between the Spirit and the saint which involves a common interest and a mutual, active participation in that interest. That is, as the result of the Spirit’s work in regeneration and in His control over the saint as the saint is definitely subjected to Him, there has been brought about in the life of the saint, a joint-participation on the part of the believer with the Holy Spirit in an interest and a mutual active participation in the things of God and the work of God in saving lost souls (Acts 1:8. Isaiah 43:12). It is a partnership, so to speak, between God and the believer. Paul speaks of this in the words, “We are laborers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). (K.S. Wuest)
Another interest held in common is the Christian life and testimony of the believer. The Holy Spirit is desirous of producing the highest type of Christian experience in the life of the believer, and the believer has the same interest and shows it by maintaining an attitude of dependence upon and trust in the Holy Spirit to produce that life in him. This fellowship is a co-operation on the part of the saint with the Holy Spirit in His work of sanctification. When Paul in his apostolic benediction prays for the communion of the Holy Ghost be with all saints, he is asking that this mutual interest and activity may continue and become more rich and effective in the lives of the saints. (K. S. Wuest)
- Do you regard the Holy Spirit as real a person as Jesus Christ?
- Do you think of Him as a loving, wise, strong person? (Isaiah 40:12-15)
- Do you think He is as worthy of your confidence, love, and surrender as Jesus Christ? (Ephesians 4:30)
- Is He the personal companion to you that Jesus described? (John 14:16,17)
- Do you know Him or just about Him? (Acts 19:2)
- Do you know the communion of the Holy Spirit? (2 Corinthians 13:13)
- Do you fellowship with the Holy Spirit? (Philippians 2:1)
- Is He your life coach and partner in life?
- Is He your intimate personal friend? (John 15:15)
Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven. (G. D. Watson)
Seek to know God the Holy Spirit intimately, yielding to Him constantly, that Christ Jesus may be revealed to and then through you. Remember that the Holy Spirit will always point to Jesus and not to Himself.
To be continued (1)...
Links to the entire series:
(1) Left click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
* Torrey, R. A., The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, New Kensington: Whitaker House, 1996, ISBN 0-88368-384-9
**Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies - From the Greek New Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1999, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49502, ISBN: 0-8028-2280-0