Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who is the Holy Spirit (Pt.2)

In our last blog, I asked “Who is the Holy Spirit according to false teachers”?” Today, I want to ask, “Who is the Holy Spirit according to biblical revelation?” The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is, first of all, a Spirit. He is referred to as being a Spirit in both the Hebrew and Greek. The Hebrew word for Spirit is rauch. It occurs 100 times in the OT. The Greek word is pneuma which occurs 261 times in the NT. In both languages, He is referred to as a Spirit. The Scriptures also teach that He is called “Spirit.” He is called “the Spirit” (Rom.8:1); He is called “Spirit of life” (Rom.8:2); He is called “Spirit of God” (Rom.8:9); He is called “Spirit of Christ” (Rom.8:9); He is called the “Holy Spirit” (1 Cor.12:3); He is called the “eternal Spirit” (Heb.9:14); He is called “the Spirit of glory” (1 Pet.4:14); He is called “the Spirit of holiness” (Rom.1:4; Mat.1:20; 1 Jn.2:20). Because He is a Spirit He is invisible. Jesus said in Luke 24:39 that “a spirit does not have flesh and bones.” Paul said in Romans 8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Charles Swindoll says, “He exists in an invisible realm. He is a power and force you will never see, though you are convinced of the force Himself. You will only see His working, the results of His enabling, His feeling, His guiding” (Growing Deep in the Christian Life, 181).

As we have seen the Scriptures reveal that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit. Next we see that He is a Person. Paul Enns says, “The problem in the minds of many people is that personality can exist only in human beings, as though personality can related only to finite beings but not to the infinite.” Since man is made in the image of God it is reasonable to expect similar characteristics between God and man. Hence, ‘It is possible to form some conception of divine personality by a study of the human, because man is made in the likeness of God.’ Personality may simply be defined as possessing intellect, emotions, and will” (The Moody Handbook of Theology, 245). James Montgomery Boice said, “If we think of the Holy Spirit as a mysterious power, our thoughts will be, ‘How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?’ If we think of the Holy Spirit as a person, we will ask, ‘How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?’” (Foundations of the Christian Faith, 374-5). A.W. Tozer said, “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 is a person, just the same as you are a person, and has all the qualities of a person” (Keys to the Deeper Life, 77-8).

When we examine the features of personality, we see that He possesses all the characteristics. First, He possess intellect. Acts 10:19 indicates that He “speaks.” It says, “While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you.’” John 16:13 tells us that He “hears” and “speaks.” Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 says that He also “understands.” Paul says, “But just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM." 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” When it says in verse 10 that He “searches all things,” the “word ‘search’ means to examine or investigate a matter. The Holy Spirit examines the depths of God and reveals them to believers” (Enns, 246). Jesus said in John 14:26 that He “teaches.” “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

Next we see that He possesses will. In Acts 16:6-10 Luke says, “They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; 8 and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Regarding spiritual gifts, 1 Cor.12:11 says, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”

The Scriptures teach that He also possesses emotion. Ephesians 4:30 says that He can be “grieved.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says He can be “quenched.” Even personal pronouns are used when referring to Him (masculine gender, John 14:16-17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:13-15.

Intellect, will, and emotions—these are the characteristics of personality. The Holy Spirit possesses all three. He is a Spirit and a Person. In our next blog, we will see that “He is God.”

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