What Is God Like? --Part 12

What Is God Like?
Part 12

John S. Robertson

Who Is The Holy Spirit?

“Grandpa,” observed John, “we have talked about God and about Jesus, but we have not discussed the Holy Spirit. Who is the Holy Spirit?”

“A discussion of the Holy Spirit would take more than one session together,” replied grandpa, “so we will limit our talk to the question, “Who?” You will remember when we discussed “How Many Gods Are There?” we said there were God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and we used the word Trinity to describe them. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity.”

“Is the Holy Spirit really a person?” inquired John.

“Yes He is,” answered grandpa emphatically. “The Holy Spirit is not, as some suggest, merely an influence or a figurative expression of the Godhead but is, in fact, a distinct person, being co-equal with the Father and with the Son.”

“Does the Bible show that?” asked John.

“It certainly does,” affirmed grandpa. “The Bible always uses the personal pronoun “he” when speaking of the Holy Spirit and never “it” thus testifying that He is indeed a person. The human mind, because of its limitation has difficulty in understanding what is purely spiritual. Hence many ideas put forward by man concerning His Person, place and purpose in God’s design for the human race are false and not according to the Word of God. Jesus, in speaking of Him, said, ‘When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth,’ John, chapter sixteen and verse thirteen. Here, not only is the personal pronoun used but the Spirit is spoken of as a person Who guides. Moreover, He not only instructs but He comforts. In John, chapter fourteen and verse sixteen, He is called ‘another Comforter,’ and is thus given equality with Christ, Who is the First Comforter.”

“Then the Holy Spirit is truly God,” exclaimed John.

“He is indeed,” agreed grandpa. “In Scripture the Holy Spirit is linked with the Father and with the Son as a Trinity in the great commission to the disciples, ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,’ Matthew twenty-eight and nineteen. This is also the case in the benediction of Second Corinthians, thirteen and verse fourteen, where we are commended to ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost.’ The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal in power and glory.”

“If the Holy Spirit is God, then He can do anything God can do,” suggested John.

“Well,” interrupted grandpa, “in the Trinity each Person has His own particular work to do and does not attempt what is rightly the other’s. We will discuss the work of the Holy Spirit at another time. But let us be clear on this point, the Holy Spirit is a person and verily God. He is distinctly called God in Second Corinthians, chapter three and verse seventeen, where it says, ‘Now the Lord is that Spirit,’ and in the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts five, God and the Spirit are treated as the same. In verse three Ananias is accused of lying to the Holy Spirit and in verse four he is said to have lied to God. Moreover, words spoken by God in the Old Testament are credited to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. An example of this is Isaiah, chapter six and verse nine with Acts, chapter twenty-eight and verses twenty-five and twenty-six.

“Then the Holy Spirit is just like God,” volunteered John. “He is ageless and limitless; He is omnipotent and omniscient.”

“That is true,” continued grandpa. “He was present at creation, for we read in Genesis chapter one and verse two, ‘And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’ Then Job tells us in chapter twenty-six and verse thirteen, ‘By His Spirit, He hath garnished the heavens.’ Finally, let me tell of one more evidence of His power. In John, chapter three and verses three and eight, we find the Holy Spirit is responsible for the New Birth.”

“The Holy Spirit is really an important person,” said John soberly. “You would think people could not doubt He is a person and truly God.”

“You would think so,” admitted grandpa, “but Arius who, you will remember, denied the deity of Christ, also believed the Holy Spirit was a created being and not deity. Today men who are called rationalists declare that the Spirit is merely the moral consciousness of man, that it is his faculty to know right from wrong. Others regard the Spirit as an agency proceeding from God which acts within the church and the human mind as a witness of God. The Roman Catholic Church split with the Eastern Orthodox Church back in the eleventh century over the question of whether the Spirit came from the Father or from both the Father and the Son. So you see the matter of Who the Holy Spirit is has been, and still is, the subject of much controversy.”

“Well,” concluded John, “we must accept the teaching of the Bible and leave the arguments to men.”

Passages to read: (John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 5:1-9; 13:2-4; 16:6-8; 20:28; Romans 8:14-16, 26-27; 15:30; Ephesians 4:30; Isaiah 48:16; 63:10).