|There is quite a lot of misunderstanding, misinterpretation and false teaching concerning the Holy Spirit. Every Christian should have a clear understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. After all, every Christian has the Holy Spirit dwelling within him or her. To go through the Christian life without understanding the Holy Spirit is indeed a shame if not a sin.|
In this article I hope to make crystal clear who the Holy Spirit is, and the work He performs. There are, for sure, many things in the Bible which we don't and can't have a full understanding of until Jesus Christ returns. For example, creation is a complete mystery to us. We do not know and we have not been told by God's Word how creation was accomplished. We simply accept by faith that the account in Genesis is true as written. Eternity and the eternallity of God is another topic of which we are not given explicit details about. Again, by faith we accept the account in the Bible as true. However, we are given much information concerning the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, there is so much information in the Bible concerning the Holy Spirit that an article of this nature could not even begin to discuss it in detail.
Who is the Holy Spirit? (Notice that I did not way "What is the Holy Spirit.") Many would have us believe that the Holy Spirit is that since of goodness within each Christian, the conscience, God's influence or some other "thing" which the Christian possess because he is a Christian. Others even see the Holy Spirit as a terrifying ghost - probably because the King James Version renders it as Holy Ghost rather than Holy Spirit. However, Holy Spirit more correctly describes this person of the Trinity.
The best way I can think of to describe who the Holy Spirit is a personality of the Triune God. In other words, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is one of the three personalities of the Trinity. We can clearly see this to be the case by looking at four scriptures. "Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:27) We see here that the Holy Spirit has a mind, or in other words is capable of thinking, reasoning and acting. The conclusion is that He is a person (personality). "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons," (1 Timothy 4:1) In this passage we find an example of the Spirit speaking and giving instruction to Paul as he writes to Timothy. This is further evidence that the Holy Spirit is capable of thinking, reasoning and acting - thus a separate personality. "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30) This is further evidence that the Holy Spirit living, thinking and active and not a neutral conscience or influence on one's life.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) There should be no doubt after reading this passage from Jesus that He (Jesus) considered the Holy Spirit to be on the same level as the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit was active and played an important part in the earthly life and ministry of Christ. The Old Testament has a multitude of predictions concerning the coming Christ. Have you ever stopped to consider how the Old Testament prophets - Isaiah, David, Micah and others - knew about Christ? The New Testament tells us how they knew. "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21) "Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and search diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow." (1 Peter 1:10-11) How did the Old Testament prophets know of Christ, the Holy Spirit told them!
However, the work of the Holy Spirit in the earthly life and ministry of Christ does not stop here. He was there when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to give birth to Christ. "And having come in, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!' But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.' Then Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I do not know a man?' And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.'" (Luke 1:28-35)
About the Author
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of The Home Bible Study Institute.
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