Minister’s Forum: Identifying who the Holy Spirit is
June 30, 2008
I have chosen the words “Heavenly Dove” with reference to the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus at the river Jordan (John 1:32). Entire blocks and theological studies have been written on the subject of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.
Today, we are living in the age of the Spirit. The Old Testament is called the Age of the Father; the Gospel, the age of the Son; and from Pentecost until the second Advent of Christ, the Age of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul placed a strong emphasis on the subject of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 12:1 says, “Now concerning matters pertaining to the Spirit, I would not have you be ignorant.”
Let me give you a simple outline of who the Holy Spirit is, and what he is not. Following that, an outline of his relation to mankind, his relation to the believer and his relation to the nonbeliever.
The personality of the Holy Spirit is indicated by the names given to him in the Scriptures. “He is called breath, wind and power. The symbol used in speaking of the Spirit are oil, fire and water.” (John 3:5-8; see also Acts 2:1-5)
Jesus promised his disciples a helper, another word is comforter, translated paraclete. It means someone who takes the place of a person – Christ himself. The Holy Spirit is Deity. This is confirmed by the Divine names given him. The Holy Spirit possesses divine attributes. Divine works are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The name of the Holy Spirit is associated with that of the Father and of the Son.
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What the Holy Spirit is not, is an influence. The Holy Spirit is not an “it.” In the word of God, he is referred to as “He” and “Him.” Before you go any further, we need to acquaint you with I Corinthians 2:14.
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, nor can be know them because they are spiritually discerned.”
Now, alongside of that verse are John 3:3: “… most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” The words “born again” should be translated “born from above.” (John 3:8)
The Word of God clearly teaches that one cannot be a true Christian without the indwelling of the Spirit. (See l Corinthians 6:9) These are not my words, they are the words of Almighty God. The Holy Spirit’s purpose in the world regarding those who reject Christ as savior is recorded and explained in John 16: 8-11.
We trust these words will help you understand a little about the Holy Spirit, his work in you and for you in this present world.
– Thurston Ott is a minister-at-large.