Sunday, March 17, 2013

Part 4: The Holy Spirit - His Person (i)

Actually, this series is from Understanding Bible Truth booklets by Robert Hicks and Richard Bewes (1981), but I have expanded some texts for modern readers (to make it easier to read) and added Scripture quotes (I’m using ESV Bible) into these writings to clarify its points more clearly. My purpose of making this series available in the internet is single: So that you can be clear the essential facts about the Bible’s teaching in a readily understandable form.

First, Who is “the Person” of the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He comes from the Father and the Son, and is equal with them. We (especially east-Malaysian Christians) know much about Him, maybe mostly through ‘charismatic preaching’ and ‘spiritual-ecstasy experiences’ – but are we truly know Him as the Scripture reveals to us? The truth is, we know very little about the Holy Spirit…

Just a symbol for the HS
Truths concerning the Holy Spirit are absolutely the most important for Christians to know. Without the person and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Christians has no assurance of salvation, cannot pray with confidence, cannot live a holy life or be an effective fruitful witness for Christ. D.L. Moody once said, “You might as well try to hear without ears, or breathe without lungs, as try to live a Christian life without the Spirit of God in your heart”.

Come let us examine briefly 4 points about the Person of the Holy Spirit based on the Scripture:

He is the Third Person of the Trinity
The Holy Spirit is presented in the Bible as a person fully worthy of worship. Not only is He included in the Christian formula of baptism and the apostolic blessing, but His works are described as the works of God. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

He was associated with the work of creation (Genesis 1:2); He gives the Christian new life; He is the source of all knowledge, the guide and helper of the Church in all ages (John 15:26); and He makes salvation a real experience to individuals. Also, the apostle Peter equated lying to the Holy Spirit with lying to God (Acts 5:3-4).
When Christ had left the world, the Spirit was given His most specific work. The book of Acts (which is the account of the early Church) portrays the Spirit as directing and controlling the new Christian movement.

He Knows as a Person (Mind)
The Holy Spirit is more than a force; He is a person, with a character of His own. The Bible teaches that it is through the Holy Spirit that God knows us completely and He knows God completely. “No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). It is the mind of the Spirit that helps to shape the life of a Christian.

Jesus declared that the Holy Spirit would remind the apostles of His works and teaching. The Lord says, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Spirit speaks, intercedes and assures Christians that they belong to Christ.

He Feels as a Person (Emotion)
Because the Holy Spirit is a person, it is no surprise to discover that He can feel emotion, as we understand the term, for man has been made in God’s image.
As a result, it is possible to make the Holy Spirit sad. Apostle Paul writes, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). He can also be insulted (Hebrews 10:29) – and therefore we must be careful, in what we say and do, not to insult the Spirit who lives in us. The Bible challenges us to bring glory to God by the quality of our loves and characters. In this way we will please the Holy Spirit.

He Acts as a Person (Will)
The same Spirit who was involved in creation, who equipped God’s leaders in the past and inspired the prophets, is the Spirit who came in power upon the early Church, and acted in it and through it. Throughout the Bible we can see His active personality.

For example, the New Testament shows us that He convicts people of their sins (as happened on the day of Pentecost). Apostle John writes, “And when [the Helper] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). He leads and instructs Christ’s followers (As in the case of Phillip the evangelist at Acts 8:29). At other points in the New Testament He forbids certain courses of action and appoints leaders for the church. In such ways we see that the Spirit is a person who acts decisively in the executing God’s plans.

My Conclusion about the Person of the Holy Spirit
Before His ascension, Jesus said about the coming of the Spirit in this way: “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26). This promise was fulfilled during the day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts. This assurance that Jesus is with us always “to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20) even though He is not with us physically is faithful and trustworthy when He send to us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to us personally – with God’s people everywhere. Christ comes to us through the Holy Spirit, in having the Holy Spirit – we have Christ! Awesome? Yes!

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