Who is the Holy Spirit?
by Cooper Abrams
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Mysticism teaches that knowledge of God comes from transient meditation. A person looks into themselves to find truth. However, Romans 3:10-18 plainly states that man is not righteous and has no ability in himself to know God. (2 Cor. 1:9-140
In mysticism a person uses their mind and thoughts to know God and come closer to Him. They are seeking experimental knowledge of God by a mental exercise; through their thoughts. Note how the Bible presents meditation in the fourteen times the word is used.
"I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. (Psalms 119:15) (Precepts are the word of God.)
"My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes." (Psalms 119:48)
"Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word." (Psalms 119:148)
The object of meditation for the believer is in meditating on the word of God. It is not seeking some spiritual experience.
However, the Spirit is clearly presented as a person in John 16:13-14 and Ephesians 1:14. In these verses the personal pronouns "he" and "who" refer to the Spirit. In the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20) disciples are commanded to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which would be meaningless if the Spirit is not a person.
The unique attributes of God are also attributed to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), omniscient (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), omnipotent (Luke 1:35, Micah 2:8, Isaiah 40:28) and holy (Romans 1:4).
I. The Work of the Holy Spirit.
2. The same word is used to refer to one who defends someone else in a court of justice. It means one who is an advocate or intercessor for another. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1).
3. In the John 14:16, Jesus He would send "another" Comforter. Jesus Himself was the first Comforter, but He was telling His disciple that He would be returning to the Father. The word "another" is the word "allos" which means "another of the same kind." The word "another" is translated from the Greek word "heteros" which means "another of a different kind." By using "allos" instead of "heteros" the Lord Jesus is telling us that the Holy Spirit is the same as He is.
2. This is a direct reference to Holy Spirit's part in bring to remembrance the things the Apostles had seen and heard of Jesus when they were being directed by the Holy Spirit to write the Word of God our Bible.
3. Note that 2 Timothy 3:16-17, says "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." The word use here is "theo-pnueustos" which means "God breathed." This too is a reference to the Deity and Person of the Holy Spirit. ("Theo" = God, "Pneu"=breathed)
4. 2 Peter 1:20-21. Verse 21 says the men who wrote the Word of God were "moved by" the Holy Spirit. The word "moved" means literally to be "borne along" or impelled, by the Holy Spirit to accurately write the very Word of God. (The word is "phero" and this is the only place it is used in the Bible) These men were not acting by their wills, but under the direction of God, through the Holy Spirit.
2. Verse 22, Jesus said if he had not come and spoken to them they would have some excuse for their sin of rejecting Him. However, He said He did come and that they now had no excuse. Verse 26, explains that in their hearts the Holy Spirit testified to them and bring conviction that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is saying the Jews had no cause to reject Him, because they fully understood who He was because of the Holy Spirit's work in opening their eyes and hearts to this truth. They rejected that truth and God withdrew and allowed their hearts to be blinded.
3. Note also in the verse that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are referred as working together.
B. The word translated "convict" is "elencho" can mean "to bring to light or expose", "to convince or convict" or "to correct or punish."
2. It should also be noted that "world" in this context, refers to the unbelieving and lost world. Therefore the Spirit will expose the unbelieving world's sinfulness to them.
3. The Spirit brings to light the righteousness of Christ and His redeeming word on the cross. The Holy Spirit shows the unbelieving world that it is under God's judgment because it has sided with the prince of this world who is already under God's judgment
4. The basis of the gospel is that man is sinful and Christ is righteous. The lost world stands condemned because it has not believed Christ but followed the prince of this world. For a person to come to Christ they must experience this conviction of the Spirit. (John 3:16-19)
B. 1 Corinthian 12:13 explains: "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."
2. Nowhere in scripture is Spiritual baptism directly related to power or service. Rather it describes our new relationship with Christ, which involves partaking all of Christ's life, righteousness and glory. This ministry of the Spirit is part of God's great salvation work and occurs at the point of conversion.
3. The grammar of the form of "baptize" used and the context indicates that this is also not repetitive experience for Christians.
B. This was the first time the Spirit came upon people and remained with them. In the Old Testament the Spirit only came upon people for a specific purpose but left them again when that purpose was fulfilled. After the specific work of the Holy Spirit was accomplished the Holy Spirit was no longer with them in the sense of empowering them for the work the Lord wanted them to do.
2. In the New Testament, Jesus promised His disciples that when He ascended into heaven He would send the Spirit (John 7:39, John 16:7) to be with them and in them forever (John 14:16-17).
3. In John 20:22, Jesus breaths on His disciples and says to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." The question must be asked what actually happened when Jesus did this? It would appear that the Holy Spirit came upon them in the same way He did in the Old Testament
b. The indwelling is permanent and happens at the time of salvation.
v c. Indwelling is conditional on one's obedience to the Lord and involves purity in how one lives his life. (More will be said about this later).
In John 14:23 Jesus states, with respect to Himself and the Spirit, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Does this mean the Spirit of God dwells in our physical bodies? How is this possible?
3. The Bible says in 2 Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
4. Jesus told Nicodemus, In John 3:3, "that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
In John 3:5-8, Jesus said that a man must be born of water, which is physical birth, and of the spirit which is spiritual birth.(v6) Jesus in verse 8, uses the illustration of seeing the effect of the wind explained that the spirit could not be seen but one could see the effects of his presence. God says a believer becomes a new creature. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
(2) to be an intercessor,
(3) to be a seal of ownership, marking us as God's children,
(4) to be a sure hope for the Christian, guaranteeing what is to come.
2. As well as teaching, the Spirit enables the Christian to understand the gifts of God (1 Cor. 2:12) and to know God better (Ephesians 1:17).
3. He renews and illuminates the mind so that Christians may understand the will of God ?. Romans 12:1-2).
4. The Spirit also instructs Christians in what to say in times of persecution (Luke 12:11).
Romans 8:26-27 teaches that the Spirit acts as our intercessor in regard to prayer. In circumstances when the Christian is at a loss when trying to express themselves to God, the Spirit steps in. As a member of the trinity with His dwelling place in each Christian, the Spirit is able to directly bridge the communication chasm between man and God. This enables man to express himself to God in a completely honest and open way without fear of being misunderstood or misrepresented.
G. The Indwelling Spirit as a Seal of Ownership
2. Ephesians 1:13 he again states that we have been marked in Christ with a seal - the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 4:30 he goes on to state that the seal is "for the day of redemption."
3. Romans 8:16 he says the Spirit testifies that "we are God's children." Therefore, if a person does not have the indwelling Spirit they are not a Christian.
2. The Jews had a completely futuristic eschatology in that they were waiting for the coming Messiah, but the early church recognized that the future had already been set in motion, which resulted in them having a thoroughly eschatological perspective of all of life.
3. It is in this eschatological framework that 2 Corinthians 1:21, 5:1-6.
4. Ephesians 1:13-14 and Romans 8:13-30 need to be understood. A "earnest" means a "deposit" (or "down payment") is the first installment of a total amount due, so it establishes the contractual obligation and guarantees its fulfillment. In these passages, Paul uses "deposit", "first fruits" and "seal" as metaphors to emphasize the Spirit as the present evidence of future realities or as an assurance of final glory, or both.
5. Romans 8:23, reflects this tension between our present existence and the guarantee of a certain future. What we have at present are first fruits and the first sheaf is God's pledge to us of the final harvest.
6. Believers are presently children of God who are joint heirs with Christ but are also in a present existence of weakness and suffering (v. 17). Those who are saved have already received the adoption but they still wait for our final adoption, which is the redemption of our bodies (v. 23).
7. The Spirit is also the guarantor of our resurrection. However, He is not the One who raises us.
2. Because of the indwelling Spirit, the glory of God is unveiled. The Most Holy place of the temple/tabernacle which was covered by a veil keeping people away from God's presence) and it is now possible for the Christian to be permanently in communion with God.
3. Not only does the Christian have access to God, but also access to His power (Ephesians 3:16-21). There is a strong tendency to view Christians as slugging it out in the trenches alone with little experience of the Spirit as God's empowering presence.
4. Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive power when the Spirit came (Acts 1:8). For Paul, "power" refers to the visible manifestations of the Spirit's presence (1 Corinthians 2:4-5, Galatians 3:5, Romans 15:19), but this does not always have to imply miraculous manifestations. The power of the Spirit may be displayed in the way renewed people behave toward one another.
2. The result of the Spirit's indwelling ministry is dependent upon the Spirit's infilling ministry. Only those who are indwelled will experience the Spirit as God's empowering presence. This is the subject of the following section.
1 Corinthians 7:7, "For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner and another after that."
1 Corinthians 12:4, "There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit".
Romans 12:5-8, (read) Being many, are one body in Christ, having differing gifts.
Verses 27-28, states the same truth, God gives gifts, in the context of the body of Christ. To edify (to build up the church) God's program is for His servants to work through His local church. The New Testament knows nothing of a person not being a part of a local church and being a part of the ministry of that church. The reason is clear. In a local church there is accountability, supervision, and training.
"Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church." (1 Corinthians 14:12)
"How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying." (1 Corinthians 14:26)
1 Corinthians 12:18-27.... Each believer is part of the body of Christ.
2. Using you gift is not to be done at your convenience. It should be the most important thing you do. The work involved, the trouble should be seen as a privilege God in GRACE, let you have.
3. It is to be your lives work. Jesus said seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added unto you.
2. When the Holy Spirit comes into a life that life will absolutely change. 2 Corinthians 5:17, says the believer is a new creature, meaning he has a new nature. A nature that wants to serve God enables one to understand the things of God illuminating the Word of God, and giving the child of God the power to live for God and serve Him.
3. The lost man, knows nothing of God, and is separated from God completely. He does not understand the things of God. (1 Cor. 2:14)
4. The Holy Spirit does work in the unsaved's life, but only to bring conviction and the ability to understand that God is truth and the Gospel is real. The Holy Spirit convicts the lost man so that he understands he is a sinner and needs the Lord Jesus Christ in his life. (John 16:7-11)
5. In this God is reaching out to every lost man. Showing him he is a sinner and beckoning him to believe and receive Christ as his Savior.
6. For the Christian is both a joy to know we have God's presence and power in our lives, but it also should warn us and remind us that our bodies are the temple of God.
7. God has a will for our lives and through the Word of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit if we are obedient God use us in His service and we can live the best life possible and in eternity reap the reward of faithful service.
8. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, God gives specific talents or gifts or abilities to serve. The New Testament does not given any example of anyone asking for a gift, but it is the Holy Spirit who chooses and gives the gifts according to the will of God. (1 Cor. 12:8-11, 18, 28)