The more people I talk to about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit the more I am reminded how much confusion there is regarding His work. Perhaps worse than mere general confusion, the Holy Spirit often ends up being relegated to the extremes.
Some misrepresent His work with wild antics and abuses. Still, others neglect His work with their stoicism and rationalistic mentality. Beyond misrepresentations are the debates.
We debate about spiritual gifts, Spirit-baptism, how of if He speaks, how He leads, and everything in between. But what if there were essentials that we’re overlooking in the midst of all the bad press and blaring disagreements?
I believe that if we pay more attention to the deficiencies in our essential theology than we do to our disagreements, we may find more peace, joy, and unity than we ever imagined.
Here are 3 essentials that we should all spend more time relishing in:
1. The Holy Spirit is God
First and foremost, we need to understand that the Holy Spirit is God and that he is an equal and active part of what we call the “Trinity.” While very few people who claim to be Christians would argue against God the Father or Jesus being God, there is widespread confusion amongst us regarding the divinity of The Holy Spirit.
Is he just an expression of Jesus in spirit form?
Is he a less than divine force that God uses to express his power?
Is he an angel?
The Bible answers these questions with absolute clarity.
The Holy Spirit is seen as operating actively as God in a number of passages in the Old Testament:
The Holy Spirit is God and we can see this in a number of passages in the New Testament:
It’s not hard to find the Holy Spirit operating as God in Scripture.
2. The Holy Spirit is a Person
The undeniable truth is that the Holy Spirit is a person and he is someone we should want to have relationship with as God. We only need to think about the words Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit and how the New Testament speaks about him to realize that he is a person.
Here is a quick list to help you understand this clearly:
- Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “Comforter,” “Helper,” and “Advocate” to reveal that the Holy Spirit is active as a person and part of the Trinity who was sent to us (John 14:26, 15:26).
- He has feelings (Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 10:29)
- He reveals (1 Corinthians 2:10)
- He searches (1 Corinthians 2:11)
- He indwells (1 Corinthians 2:12)
- He teaches (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13)
- He helps and prays (Romans 8:26-27)
- He speaks (Acts 13:2)
- He has a will (Acts 15:28)
- He bears witness to our spirit that we’re children of God (Romans 8:16)
All of the activities on that list are the marks of personhood. God the Holy Spirit is a person. So, since Scripture reveals that he is a person, what does that mean for you and me?
3. The Holy Spirit is Personal
If the Holy Spirit is God (and he is), and if the Holy Spirit is a person (and he is), then we can have relationship with him and interact with him. Even though he is God and needs to be feared (in a healthy way) and respected, Scripture presents him as approachable, relatable, and personal.
After all, the Bible says that believers are filled with him (1 Corinthians 6:12), so we ought to experience a close relationship with him. The Holy Spirit is not a mystically distant deity. You can pray to him, ask him for help, be honest with him about your desperate need for strength, wisdom, healing, holiness, and growth in your spiritual life.
It is good to remember that he is God and can be depended upon in our greatest hour of need. Approach him, seek him, implore him, and trust him. Like a relationship with Jesus as your Savior and like a relationship with the Father as a perfect One who loves you, approach the Spirit as you do any member of the Trinity and depend fully on him. It may take you some time to see him that way, but the more you understand him, the more your relationship with him can develop.
*How to Use This Book
Knowing the Spirit was written in order to help everyday people from all walks of life better understand the Holy Spirit. It is pastoral, practical, and accessible, and contains an application section at the end of each chapter. Readers will learn essential truths about the Holy Spirit and be encouraged to put truth into action. Regardless of theological background, unity in essentials are at the forefront of this book, while encouraging all readers to formulate their views from Scripture.