There is One Spirit
By Sunday Ayandare
It is sad to say that there is much superstition and ignorance about the subject of the Holy Spirit. This stems from the tendency on the part of many people to associate some kind of mysticism with the Spirit. The rendering of the King James Version (KJV) referring to the “Holy Ghost” is partly responsible for this. Who understand a “Ghost” and what are the workings of a “Ghost” is problematic for people to understand.
Moreover, many people rely on their personal feelings or the testimony of other people in their ideas about the Holy Spirit and His workings and thereby remain ignorant as to what the Bible actually teaches about Him. Several years ago, this writer met a religious leader in a discussion about the Holy Spirit. At a point, he yelled on top of his voice: “I don’t care what the Bible says. I know the Holy Spirit is in me and is operating on my heart because I can feel Him:” But the Bible says long ago: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool, but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26).
Another reason for the general lack of understanding about the Holy Spirit is the rendering “Spirit.” The KJV contains not less than 264 references to the “Spirit.” Many make the mistake that whenever “spirit” or “Spirit” is used, reference is to the Holy Spirit. However, it is the context that will show whether the Spirit that is under consideration refers to the human spirit or the Holy Spirit.
While there are several aspects that we could beam our searchlight upon in our study of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of space, we shall limit ourselves to just four areas. We are going to focus on the Bible as our only source of information and then identify the names by which the Holy Spirit is called in the Old and the New Testaments. Moreover, we are going to discuss the Godhood or Deity of the Holy Spirit and His personality together with His work in the conversion of sinners.
The Bible Is Our Only Reliable Source of Information
On the subject of the Holy Spirit as in all other subjects pertaining to our salvation, let it be settled in our minds that the Bible is our authoritative and reliable source of information. Proverbs 30:5-6 says: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Even, after we have studied everything the Bible teaches on the subject of the Holy Spirit, we must still acknowledge our limitations. In Deuteronomy 29:29, we learn: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” In other words, we must expect some things about the Holy Spirit to remain a mystery. This should not be surprising because the same thing is true with reference to God and Jesus Christ. We cannot claim we fully know and fully understand everything about Them. We must walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7) and faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17).
Who Or What Is the Holy Spirit?
To the modernists, “the Holy Spirit is but a symbol or figure of speech for good influence” (Divine Science, the Development of Eternal Life, Truth and Love, Science and Health, p.588). To the Jehovah’s Witnesses, “the Holy Spirit is the invisible power of God, operating upon and or matter as God may will (Deliverance, p. 192). In other words, to the modernists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Holy Spirit is NOT a person but an inanimate influence or power or force. Hence, the neuter gender “it” is used in their writings to refer to the Holy Spirit. However, the Pentecostals and Trinitarians believe that the Holy Spirit is a Being or Person revealed in three different forms as the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
Contrary to these false theories, the Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person, having the characteristics of personality. He speaks (1 Timothy 4:1; Acts 8:29). He teaches and witnesses (John 14:26; 15:26). Moreover, He has the capability of guiding (John 16:12-14). He has the ability to know and search the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10) and can also forbid (Acts 16:6-7). He has affection (Romans 15:30). He can be lied to (Acts 5:3) and be resisted (Acts 7:51). He can be grieved and vexed (Ephesians 4:30; Isaiah 63:10). All of these are characteristics of a being, an individual with personality and do not belong to mere influence and force.
Besides, the evidence from the Scriptures seems to be overwhelming that the Holy Spirit is not just a form of the Father and Jesus Christ but a distinctive Personality. For instance, at the baptism of Jesus Christ, He (Jesus) was standing before John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ and God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16). Here, we see three distinctive Personalities. Again in John 14:16, Jesus Christ says, “And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, … even the Spirit of truth.” Jesus Christ is the One to pray, the object of that prayer is God and the prayer if for the Holy Spirit to comfort the disciples. Three Persons! The declaration is made by Jesus Christ: “My Father is greater than I” (John. 14:28). Definitely, one cannot be his own father and son at the same time. Some may argue, “All things are possible with God.” No, sir! Things ridiculous and absurd like this are not possible with God!
He Is A Divine Person
The Bible does not merely teach that the Holy Spirit is a Person. It goes ahead to show clearly that He is a Divine Person. Another word for divinity is Godhead and this is found in three passages of the New Testament (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9). The term “Godhead” denotes the sum total of the attributes and characteristics common to deity. Just as manhood denotes the sum total of human characteristics, Godhood or Godhead refers to the three Persons possessing the attributes of divinity. The Three Persons are God, the Father; Jesus Christ, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Three are joined together in the command to baptize (Matthew 28:19). Moreover, the Three are together in the administration of spiritual gifts. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Besides, the Three are mentioned together in the benediction. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Just as the Father is called God (1 Corinthians 8:5-6) and Jesus Christ is also called God (John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 1:8), just so is the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). In other words, there is one God or Godhead or Divine family (Deuteronomy 6:4), and this consists of Three Persons and each of whom is called God. This derives from the fact that the Three possess the attributes of Deity. Eternity is one of the attributes of Deity. Of the Father, it is said, “Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.” (Psalms 93:2). The same thing is said of Jesus Christ, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8). What about the Holy Spirit? He also is called the “eternal Spirit” (Hebrews 9:14). Another attribute of divinity is omniscience or the ability to know all things. Of the Father, it is said that “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). On the part of Jesus Christ, we read, “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). This trait of omniscience which is true of the Father and Jesus Christ, is equally true of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
Omnipotence or the ability to do all things is another attribute of Deity and this is ascribed to God (Revelation 19:6; Luke 1:37) as well as to Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18). The same attribute is also ascribed to the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14; Acts 1:8). Another characteristic of Deity is omnipresence, that is, ability to be everywhere at the same time. Jeremiah 23:24 reads: “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth?” Just as the omnipresence of God is established here in this passage, so it is of Jesus Christ, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The same attribute is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. “Where can I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalms 139:7).
Creative power is another attribute of Deity and this is ascribed to the Three Persons. Of the Father, the Scriptures affirm that “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding” (Jeremiah 51:15). Of Jesus Christ we read, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16). At creation, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). Little wonder God said later, “Let Us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
The Work of the Holy Spirit In The Conversion of Sinners
By conversion, we mean the total change of a sinner from his sins to God. God is the first Cause or the Author of conversion (Psalms 51:13). Jesus Christ is the mediatorial and interceding cause of conversion (Hebrews 7:25; 1 Timothy 2:5). The word of God is the prescribing cause or instrument of conversion. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: “(Psalms 19:7). What is the work of Holy Spirit here? It is He who revealed the word through the apostles and prophets (John 14:16; Ephesians 2:20; 3:1-5). And the blood of Christ is the procuring cause of conversion (Hebrews 11:4; 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18-19). The point of emphasis here is that the Holy Spirit is the “revealer” of the word which is the instrument of conversion. That is why everything that is said of the Holy Spirit in conversion is also said of the word in conversion. Note these points:
- Jesus Christ says when the Holy Spirit comes; He will convince the world of sin (John 16:8). And Apollos convinced the Jews … by the Scriptures (the word) that Jesus was Christ (Acts 18:28).
- Sanctification is ascribed to the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16); but we are sanctified by the word (John 17:17).
- We are washed by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11) while we are cleansed with the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:26).
- We are born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5), while we are born of the word of God (1 Peter 1:23).
What greater work can we expect the Holy Spirit to do? God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit worked together in the physical or material creation (Genesis 1:1-2, 26). The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit work together in the spiritual creation (Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14). The word of God, the instrument of conversion was first in the mind of God, then in the mouth of Jesus to the apostles and then by the Holy Spirit given through the apostles to us (Deuteronomy 18:18; John 17:8; 14:26; Ephesians 3:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). In short, the Holy Spirit is God’s medium through which He has revealed His word to us.
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