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Who is the Holy Spirit?

November 07 2018
November 07 2018

Evangelical Christians across America were asked a series of questions recently through Ligonier Ministries concerning basic Christian teachings. It turns out that 56% of those surveyed believe that the Holy Spirit is not a Person, but rather some kind of mystical force or movement! In other words, when they think of God, they probably have a decent understanding of God the Father and God the Son, but the Spirit is some mysterious energy that empowers Christians.

While time would fail us to go into all the various passages that describe the person and work of the Holy Spirit, I want us to consider the personhood of the Holy Spirit as Jesus describes him and his work in John 14:25 and following.

But first of all, when you think of the traits of a person, what immediately comes to mind? Perhaps the idea of personality or characteristics; perhaps the words emotion, cognition, or interaction come to mind. We know from Scripture, that there is but one only living and true God. According to the Westminster Confession of Faith, God is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions (i.e. given over to emotionalism). He is unchanging, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, and almighty. The list goes on and on! But one of the great mysteries of the Faith is that this one God eternally exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. And while the Father is eternally unbegotten, the Son is eternally begotten of the Father, and the Spirit is eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son (WCF ch. 2, sect. 3).

Now that’s a wonderful, classical definition, but what does this mean, exactly? Jesus explained to his disciples in John 14 that as he was about to undergo his Exodus/Departure—dying a real death for our sins, rising again to life to give us the fulness of eternal life, and ascending back to heaven and to the right hand of God the Father—he would not leave them alone. God doesn’t abandon his children, like orphans. Rather, he promised to give them—and us as his followers to this day—his precious, yet powerful Holy Spirit.

“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,” said Jesus, as he comforted his close friends. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”

The Holy Spirit is marked here by a few characteristics: he is a Helper, he is a Teacher, and he is a Peace-Giver.

Oh, how we need those things in our culture today! How much better would our society be if we were men and women marked by the very help of God, the wisdom and understanding of God, and the life-giving peace of God? These are the very things that the Holy Spirit gives to Christians.

Believer in Christ, perhaps, like me, you long for the day when King Jesus will reign upon this renewed earth, freeing us entirely from the snares and temptations of sin. Do you long for justice? Do you long for peace? The Holy Spirit gives us a foretaste of perfect justice and perfect peace from God here. Now. As we meditate on the gospel of grace and the things of Christ, the Spirit is the one who leads us in our spiritual growth and sanctification. He is the one who stirs up our affections for God. He is the one who conforms us daily into the image of Christ and perfects the saints for Glory.

As we begin this new blog series on the Holy Spirit, know that God the Holy Spirit is working the peace of Christ into your heart. He is with you. He will not abandon you.

“Come, Holy Spirit, giver of life!”


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