The Holy Spirit
Introduction: The Godhead (theotetos, state of being God, Col. 2: 9) consists of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13: 14). The term God (theos, divine) is applied to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Rom. 1: 7; Heb. 1: 8; Acts 5: 3, 4). The Godhead was active in the physical and spiritual creation (Gen. 1: 1 ff; Jn. 3: 16, 14: 26, more later). There is confusion regarding the Father and Son. There is also no small amount of misunderstanding relative to the Holy Spirit, his being and work.
I. The Holy Spirit is a being
A. The Spirit reveals, speaks, and bears witness (Jn. 16: 13-15; I Tim. 4: 1; Jn. 15: 26). Moreover, the Holy Spirit is presented in scripture as giving commandments and being capable of being resisting (Acts 13: 2; 7: 51).
B. The Holy Spirit, properly speaking, is not an it or a thing (inanimate object). The scriptures do refer to the Spirit as "it," though (neuter gender). The expression in Romans 8: 26, "The Spirit itself" is correct, grammatically speaking. Spirit (pneuma) is neuter gender in the original Greek. Therefore, all pronouns referring to "Spirit" are normally neuter gender as well. However, it is of great importance that Jesus referred to the Spirit as "he." Jesus said, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth " (Jn. 16: 13). The pronoun "he" (ekeinos) is a strong masculine pronoun. It is apparent that Jesus is stressing the fact that the Holy Spirit is not an it (inanimate thing such as mindless energy or an electrical charge), but an intelligent being.
II. The Holy Spirit has specific work assigned to him
A. In the physical creation, the Father did the providing, Jesus (the Word), did the actual creating, and the Holy Spirit implemented or provided order (Gen. 1, 2; Col. 1: 16).
B. We find the same basic truth in the spiritual creation. The Father provided his Son, Jesus brought it into existence, and the Spirit implemented or provided the order (Jn. 3: 16; Matt. 16: 18, 19; Jn. 14: 26, 16: 13, Lk. 24: 49, Acts 1: 5-8).
C. It was the work of the Spirit to remind the apostles of Jesus' teaching and to guide them into all truth (Jn. 14: 26; 16: 13). A. The Holy Spirit inerrantly provided the very words the apostles spoke in revealing the truth (I Cor. 2: 13). Hence, the truth that liberates from the bondage of sin is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 8: 31, 32, cp. 2 Pet. 1: 20, 21).
III. The Holy Spirit miraculously empowered many during the infant state of the church
A. The apostles were immersed in the Spirit, his power (Acts 1: 5, 8). The miraculous power enabled them to perform great miracles, even the raising of the dead (Acts 2: 43, 20: 7-12).
a. The infant church did not have the New Testament scripture to guide and establish them, therefore, supernatural ability was required (Eph. 4: 7-16). They miraculously tested teachers, we employ the word to determine if men are true teachers or false teachers (I Jn. 2: 19,20, 4: 1, see "discerning of spirits," I Cor. 12: 10; 2 Jn. 9-11).
B. The Spirit offered stability to the infant church by providing nine different spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12: 8-10). These nine gifts enabled the recipients to teach, discern, and confirm the spoken word by signs (cf. Mk. 16: 17-20).
a. These gifts were of limited duration. Just as the physical creation was miraculously begun and then continued by natural laws and forces put in place by God, so it is spiritually. Paul wrote of prophesy, tongues, and knowledge (miraculous knowledge) and said they would "fail," "cease," and "vanish away" (I Cor. 13: 8).
b. Paul is not referring to the return of Christ because that would mean we would have an "in part" (inferior) system until Christ returns (see 2 Pet. 1: 3, 2 Tim. 3: 16, 17). Paul is writing about the coming (at that time) of the perfect thing (to teleion), not the perfect one. If Paul had meant Christ, he could have said "but when the Christ is come" (oh christos). James referred to the "perfect (teleion, dm) law of liberty" (Jas. 1: 25). Complete revelation provides what we need (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17, Jas. 1: 25).
IV. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit
A. The scriptures teach the Father, Son, and the Holy Sprit indwell the Christian (I Jn. 4: 16; Eph. 3: 17; I Cor. 6: 19, 20, Eph. 5: 18).
a. It was said that God dwelt in the tabernacle (Ex. 25: 8). Notwithstanding, God, the divine being, dwelt in heaven (I Kgs. 8: 10-13, 30, 34, 36). Beloved, the presence of God was in the tabernacle, but he himself (his "person") was in heaven. Notice how Jesus dwells in the Christian: "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith " (Eph. 3: 17). Faith is a product of the word of God (Rom. 10: 17).
V. Different accomplishments and actions are assigned to both the word and the Holy Spirit
A. The word of God begets, sanctifies, and convicts (I Pet. 1: 23; Tit. 1: 9; Jn. 17: 17). The same accomplishment is attributed to the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3: 5; I Cor. 6: 11; Jn. 16: 8). I submit, therefore, that the Spirit (the being) uses the agency of the word (the instrument) to beget, sanctify, and convict.
B. Paul taught the Christian is to be "filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5: 18). In the twin verse, Paul taught "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly " (Col. 3: 16). Hence, the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian through the agency and influence of the word of God, exerting control in this fashion (Jas. 1: 18-25, See addendum).
a. Through the control of the word, the Spirit produces certain fruit such as, "love," "joy," "peace," "longsuffering," etc. (Gal. 5: 22 ff, cp. I Cor. 13: 1-8; Matt. 5: 11, 12; Phili. 4: 6, 7; Eph. 4: 1, 2). As we submit to the word and grow thereby, we are producing these fruits in our life. The word (the Spirit's influence) molds and guides the Christian (I Jn. 3: 9, Lk. 8: 11). This is the meaning of walking "after" and "in" the Spirit (Rom. 8: 4, 9).
Conclusion: "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 15: 13, regarding "power" (dunamis), see Rom. 1: 16).
Addendum: "Dwell" (menon) expresses a relationship. John wrote of God dwelling in the Christian, but in the same verse he wrote of the Christian dwelling in God (I Jn. 4: 16). If God bodily and supernaturally indwells the Christian, the Christian bodily and supernaturally indwells God!