As promised in our introduction to Sanctification, this workout time will be given over to becoming better acquainted with the Holy Spirit, our Trainer and Coach for this entire series of exercises. The way in which we will do this is by asking and answering the following questions…
His Person—Who is He?
His Position—What does He do?
His Power—How does He do it? and,
His Presence—How does He relate this to each one of us?
His Person: Who is He?
Although some may have mistakenly thought of the Holy Spirit as nothing more than an emanation of God’s power, or some impersonal spiritual force from God, in reality, He is a Person—the equal, yet distinctive third Person of the Godhead, or Trinity. This Trinity is actually a community made up of God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit—three separate and unique Persons who are united in purpose, with each one working together to bring about the achievement of that purpose. As a member of this Godhead, the Holy Spirit is every bit as divine as God the Father and God the Son; meaning that He shares in the very same divine attributes which they possess. Like them, He is:
- Omniscient—that is, He is all-knowing (1 Cor. 2: 10-11);
- Omnipresent—that is, He is everywhere present, all at the same time (Ps. 139: 7-10; John 14: 26; John 16: 12-13);
- Omnipotent—that is, He is all-powerful (Luke 1:35);
- Eternal—that is, He is, always has been, and will forever be (Heb. 9:14); and,
- Holy—that is, He is pure and totally separate from sin (Rom. 1:4).
Even though He is singular in His Person, the Holy Spirit is known by a number of different names, with at least twenty-five of them found throughout the Old and New Testaments; with these names giving us some much needed insight into His Person, and into His ministry. The names by which He is known are:
- The Spirit—which is translated as “breath” or “wind.” As breath, He is the “breathing out” of God that imparts news life (Gen. 2:7, Ps. 104:30), and that gives divine inspiration to the Word of God (Heb. 4:12); and, as wind, He is invisible and sovereign; and beyond human understanding or control (John 3:6-8).
- The Spirit of God (1 Cor. 3:16), the Spirit of Jehovah (Is. 11:2 1 Cor. 12:11), the Spirit of the Lord Jehovah (Is. 61:1-3), and the Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor. 3:6)—in His relationship to God the Father;
- The Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19), the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:6,9), and the Spirit of His Son (Gal.4:6)—in His relationship to God the Son;
- The Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), the Holy Spirit of Promise (Eph. 1:13), the Spirit of Holiness (Rom. 1:4), the Spirit of Judgment (Is. 4:4), the Spirit of Burning (Is. 4:3-4); and the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13);
- The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding (Is. 11:2, 2 Tm. 1:7), the Spirit of Counsel and Might (Acts 1:8, 8:29 16:6-7), the Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord (Is. 11:2), and the Spirit of Life (Rom. 8:2);
- The Holy Spirit of Joy (1 Thes. 1:6), the Spirit of Grace (Heb. 10:29), the Spirit of Supplication Zech. 12:10), and the Spirit of Glory (1 Pet. 4:14);
- The Eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14)—all in regards to Himself; and,
- The Comforter (John 14:26). As the Comforter, He is also known as the “Paraclete” (Gk. Paraklētos), or as the “one who is called alongside” of the believer for assistance.
His Position: What does He do?
Because He is a Person, the Holy Spirit does the things that any other personal being does: He thinks (Rom. 8:27), He feels (Rom. 15:30), He wills (1 Cor. 12:11)—and He acts, with some of His actions being described for us in:
- 1 Corinthians 2:10—-where the Holy Spirit searches the thoughts and the deep things of God;
- Acts 8:29 and Acts 13:2—-where the Holy Spirit speaks;
- Acts 15:28—-where the Holy Spirit makes decisions;
- Romans 8:26-27—-where the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us before God;
- John 15:26 and John 16:14—-where the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus;
- John 14:26 and 1 Corinthians 2:13—-where the Holy Spirit teaches us;
- Romans 8:16—-where the Holy Spirit reassures believers of their salvation;
- 1 Corinthians 12:11—-where the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to believers;
- Ephesians 4:30—-where the Holy Spirit grieves over sin; and,
- Acts 16: 6-7—-where the Holy Spirit overrules human actions.
His Power: How Does He Do It?
Although no one has ever been able to adequately explain the Trinity or how it works, one thing that seems to be apparent about it is that:
- God the Father is the One who wills and plans;
- God the Son is the One who does the Father’s will and carries out His plans; and,
- God the Holy Spirit is the One who provides the power (Gk. Dunamis, or dynamic power) needed to apply the work done by the Son.
In other words, the role of the Holy Spirit is to see that the will of the Father and the work of the Son are carried out to completion.
Although we cannot actually see the Spirit’s power as He is working, we can see the evidences of that power, not only throughout the Scriptures but throughout our world, as well. Even as He, in Genesis 1:2, was busy hovering over the darkness and chaos preceding the first coming of life—waiting in anticipation for the Word of God to be spoken so that He could perform or empower that Word into reality—He is constantly, yet invisibly, at work, bringing light and life to those who are living in darkness. From the creation of the world until now, the power of the Holy Spirit has been at work: striving with and convicting men of their sins; performing miracles; inspiring the prophets and the preachers; protecting God’s people; maintaining life as we know it on this planet; and most importantly, magnifying Jesus, and shining the light of God upon the Truth.
Speaking of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit was also clearly seen in every aspect of His life, including His incarnation; His anointing for ministry at His baptism; His ministry to His disciples and to the crowds which followed Him; His transfiguration; His sacrificial death on the cross; His resurrection; and, the empowerment of Jesus’ disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
His Presence: How does He apply the will of God and the work of Christ to us?
Since it was the will of God that:
- No one should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 2:9);
- We believe on the One (Jesus) whom He has sent (John 6:29);
- We be sanctified, or made like Jesus, and be set apart for the His holy purposes (1 Thes. 4:3);
It became the work of the Son to:
- Provide the redemption and forgiveness of sins needed to save us from perishing (Eph. 1:5-7);
- Be sent to earth, to live a sinless and righteous life before men, to die an agonizing death on the cross in order to make atonement for the sins of all men, and to overcome death through His own resurrection; and,
- Go back to the Father, so that the Holy Spirit could be sent to apply the work that He had accomplished.
As for the way in which the Holy Spirit goes about applying both the will of God and the work of the Son in our lives, He does this through the on-going work of His Eternal, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Holy Presence, as He:
- Convinces of us of our sins, the righteousness of Christ, and the judgment waiting for us in the future (John 16:8-11)—so that we can be brought to repentance;
- Regenerates, or brings back to life, our long dead spirits, thus reconnecting our spirits with God’s (Titus 3:4-7);
- Comes to live within us—writing the laws of God upon our hearts, and teaching us to live lives that are pleasing to God—reproducing the very character of Christ in us as a result (James 4:5, Heb. 10:16, Gal. 6:22-23);
- Baptizes us and places us into the Body of Christ, giving us gifts of service, and then empowering us to use those gifts to carry on the work of the Son (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 1 Pet. 4:10); and,
- Guarantees our inheritance by His seal, until we can take possession of it ourselves when we get to Glory, (Eph. 1:13).
As you can see, the Holy Spirit is a very busy and a very important Person in our lives; for, in the plan of God, it is His work to birth us as the spiritual children of God, and then, to help us mature into sons and daughters of God who can carry on the work of Christ in this world, and prepare for His coming Kingdom in the next. In light of what we learned in our introductory exercise in Sanctification, the initial work of the Spirit in this regard will include…
- Opening up the lines of communication with God, and teaching us to talk to Him through Prayer;
- Transforming our carnal minds into Christ-like ones, and teaching us how to hear from God, through the Study of His Word; and,
- Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit, or the character of Christ, in our lives through a combination of Prayer, Bible Study, Worship, and Testing of what we have learned…
…beginning the process whereby our Spirits, Souls, and Bodies are restored to their proper places and functions, with the Spirit controlling our thoughts, feelings, and actions—and our flesh responding with submission and obedience to the Will of God.
The Gaither Vocal Band and “Search Me, Lord”…