When it comes to the Trinity, and we speak of the Father and the Son, we have categories to help us understand and grasp these persons of the Godhead. I have a father, I am a father, and I have sons, I am a son. But, when it comes to the Spirit we seem to be left scratching our heads a bit. The goal in these next few posts is to unpack a little bit of the Spirit in the Trinity.
So who is the Holy Spirit?
He is the 3rd person of the Trinity! Understanding that He is a person in the Godhead affects how we view the Spirit.
- He is NOT an impersonal force of some sort
- He is not a thing.
- He IS a person and thus
- He is personal!
- Scripture always refers to the Spirit as a “He” or “Him” and never a “it”.
He IS a person of the Trinity – He IS God.
Does Scripture teach this? YES!
One quick example is found in Acts 5:1-4. In this text Ananias and his wife Sapphira sell a piece of property and seek to bring the proceeds and give the money to the apostles. The problem was that they were lying by saying their donation was more than what it was. Peter rebukes them by saying: “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” He then concludes his rebuke by saying: “you have not lied to man but to GOD.”
So, to lie to the Holy Spirit IS TO lie to God – Because the Holy Spirit IS God
Much more can be said here. For instance, Scripture speaks of the Spirit eternally which of course is an attribute of God Himself. For now, I will leave it at that. The Holy Spirit IS God!
In an effort to answer the 1st question (Who is the Spirit?) it might help us to ask a 2nd question:
What does the Holy Spirit do?
While He does many things (sanctifies, convicts, transforms) we might summarize all that He does by saying that the Spirit applies (or empowers) the work of Christ in our lives.
Christ’s work is an effective work, an empowered work, in our lives because of the work of the Spirit.
The Spirit’s work in Salvation:
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:1-8 ESV)
Having once been dead in sin, we are now alive in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-6) We are born – again. We have been given new life. We were once spiritually dead – we are now spiritually alive.
Once dead – now alive in Christ Jesus – because of the work of the Spirit!
It is the Spirit of God who does this life giving! It is the Spirit who takes the spiritually dead and gives them new life. He gives life where there was no life.
Not unlike Lazerus being raised from the dead. Jesus spoke words of life. “Lazerus come forth” – and his once, dead body obeyed! The heart started to pump and blood began to flow again!
WOW – that is what has taken place (spiritually) in every person who places their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
- Once dead
- now alive in Christ
- this is the work of the Holy Spirit.