Understanding the person and work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary for the life of a professing Christian. It is essential to understand this subject to have a balanced Christian life, know God accurately, and serve Him honourably. It is crucial to understand the Holy Spirit because it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives that reveals to us God and probably is the least understood person of the Trinity. To get a sounder understanding, let us look at:
- The person of the Holy Spirit
- Why it is important to understand the Holy Spirit as a person, and
- The ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Firstly, the person of the Holy Spirit.
Do you fully understand who the Holy Spirit is? Do you view the Holy Spirit as some force or energy alone? Do you associate the Holy Spirit only to manifestations? We need to recognise that the Holy Spirit is not some kind of impersonal force or power; rather, the Holy Spirit is a person sharing His essence fully with Father and the Son. The Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity and is eternal God, worthy of our worship and service. Just as we ascribe all honour, glory, and majesty to God the Father and God the Son, we must likewise worship God the Holy Spirit. They are one divine being, having one essence and existing in three persons. Each possesses all of the divine attributes and is fully God. Amen! Matthew 28:19 teaches us to baptise in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Let us look at some scriptures that reveal the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
- In Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit speaks to us
- In Acts 5:1-11, the Holy Spirit can be lied to
- In Genesis 1:2, the Holy Spirit is involved in creation
- In Isaiah 63:10, the Holy Spirit can be sinned against
- In Ephesians 4:30, the Holy Spirit can be grieved
- In Romans 8:14, the Holy Spirit guides us
- In Acts 15:28, He helps us make decisions
- In John 14:26, He teaches us and reminds us
- In Romans 8:26-27, He helps and intercedes for us
- In Romans 8:16, He bears witness with our spirit
- In John 16:14, He glorifies Christ.
You see, these are all characteristics of a person and not just a mere force or power. Not only that, but the Bible teaches us the Holy Spirit is omniscient (1 Corinthians 1:10-11), is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), is eternal (Hebrews 9:14). He commands with authority (Acts 8:29, 13:2, 16;7). There is more than enough evidence throughout scripture that the Holy Spirit is a person, a personal being in perfect unity with the Father and the Son and not just a mere force or influence in someone’s life. Only a “person” can speak authoritatively, guide, teach, help, talk to us, empower us, etc.
Secondly, why is it important to understand the Holy Spirit as a person?
It is essential to understand the Holy Spirit as a person because it hugely impacts our relationship with Him. Now that we know that the Holy Spirit is a person, it means that He is worthy of worship, glory, praise, honour because He is God alongside God the Father and God the Son. He is not simply a force or some impersonal power. The result of not seeing the Spirit as a person results in some Christians thinking there are certain levels of the Spirit that we can have based on manifestations or gifts. For example, some believe that if you do not speak in tongues, you don’t have the evidence of the Spirit.
As a result, many try to use the Holy Spirit to gain something from Him as a force or outwardly signs and manifestations rather than seeking how the Holy Spirit can change and transform them. This can create different classes of Christians, with some having more of this “special” force through manifestations while leaving others wondering why they only have a little of the Spirit/force. Many such Christians are told to continue seeking these signs to show they have more of the Spirit. Friends, since the Holy Spirit is a person, you either have Him or you don’t. The real question is, how much of “you” does the Holy Spirit have?
In Luke 8:9-24, we read about Simon the Sorcerer, who witnessed the Holy Spirit coming upon the believers. Because of this, he offered the disciples money so that he could have the same ability to lay hands on people to receive the Spirit and make money out of it. Peter, hearing this, strongly condemned Simon because of his greed, and he required repentance so that God may forgive him for such a thought in his heart (Acts 8:22). Simon pleaded with Peter to pray to the Lord on his behalf for forgiveness. Likewise, knowingly or unknowingly, many professing Christians can fall into the same trap. Many want to have some manifestation of the Spirit to show others something special that they have, feel good about themselves, or show they have a higher level of spirituality. These reasons are ultimately due to pride, or greed, or something else if its ultimate purpose is not to glorify God. Instead, we are to commit ourselves to the hands of the Holy Spirit so that He may have His way in our lives for the ultimate purpose of bringing glory and honour and praise to God. Amen!
When you know the Spirit as a person, then we truly understand that God dwells within us. What this means is that our God is not a faraway God or an impersonal God; instead, He is a God who dwells within us, is close to us, helping us, and changing us, and we become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We have close communion with Him, giving ourselves to Him in complete service of God and in a rich relationship with Him. Amen!
Thirdly, the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Now let us look at the ministry of the Holy Spirit. First and foremost, the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin. John 16:8 says, “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:” Not only to convict of sin but to also guide the believer into all truth (John 16:13).
The Spirit helps us rely on God’s wisdom, rather than depending on our wisdom which will only bring destruction. As He guides us in all truth, he takes all that is of Jesus and declares it to us, resulting in a believer glorifying God, giving us the desire to worship God through the work of the Spirit in us, enabling us to love God. The Spirit helps us produce the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Not only that, but He gives us special gifts to equip us for the service of God, to encourage one another, make disciples, glorify God, and build one another in Christ (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:3-8, 1 Peter 4:10-11); to fulfil the good works that God prepared beforehand, we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). Amen!
Ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit in our life is a progressive work, guiding us along the paths of righteousness. The Holy Spirit as a person is also ministering to us personally. We can enjoy fellowship with Him, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit is centred on truth. He is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17, 15:26), and finally, the work of the Spirit is entirely centred on Christ and aimed at glorifying Christ (John 16:14-25). He does so by sealing all those belonging to God (Ephesians 1:13-14), guaranteeing that he will give us the inheritance promised, being purchased by Christ to be His own people to the praise and glory of God.
In conclusion, the Holy Spirit is a person who is a member of the Triune Godhead revealing Christ to us. He brings all those “called” to salvation in Christ by revealing our sinfulness and need for a saviour. He does so by drawing us toward Christ and uniting us to Christ. Jesus Christ is the saviour of the world through His perfect life, sacrificial death, victorious resurrection, and is the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Spirit teaches us the truth, guides us in truth, sanctifies us, keeps us, produces righteous fruit in us, gifts us and equips us for His work, and keeps us until the very end until we are eternally united in Christ and take possession of all that Christ has prepared for us. I pray that you may enter into deeper fellowship with the Spirit and give yourself entirely to Him that He may fulfil the work of God in your life all for the Glory of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Amen!