Friday, May 9, 2014

The Identity of the Holy Spirit

This our first part in a series at Encounter Student Ministries concerning the Holy Spirit. Before we dig into the numerous topics concerning the Holy Spirit (baptism in the Holy Spirit, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, fruit of the Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, etc.), we need to understand what God's Word tells us about the identity of the Holy Spirit. 

So, let's start with the question: did the Holy Spirit have a beginning point? Was the Holy Spirit created? In Genesis 1:2, right after God created "the heavens and the earth," we read: "The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters." The Holy Spirit (or here called the "Spirit of God") was there at creation! The Holy Spirit is eternal, without beginning and end. 

Is the Holy Spirit similar to "the force" in Star Wars? Is it some sort of energy field, or mystical power? The answer is found in Scripture. While there may be some similarities between "the force" and the Holy Spirit, the force is a very poor analogy. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit can grieve, counsel, comfort, testify, and intercede. Can some mystical force or energy field do those things? No. But, a person can. 

The Holy Spirit is never referred to as an "it," but always a "he." In John 14:15-17 Jesus said: "If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. HE is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive HIM, because it isn’t looking for HIM and doesn’t recognize HIM. But you know HIM, because HE lives with you now and later will be in you." The Holy Spirit is a person! And no ordinary person, but as we discovered earlier, the Holy Spirit is an eternal person!

But, we still have yet to get to his true identity. Who is this eternal person? Logic of course points that the Holy Spirit is God, considering the fact that God is the only eternal entity. Scripture also teaches us the same thing, that the Holy Spirit is God. In 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, Paul is telling the Corinthians how no one knows a person's thoughts except that person (specifically that person's spirit). He goes on to say that no one knows the deep thoughts and secrets of God, except the Holy Spirit. This is because the Holy Spirit is God. To ride on our last two points, the Holy Spirit is the eternal person of God!

I would like to go back to John 15, and close with what the Holy Spirit does for us. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be our "advocate." Other translations say encourager, comforter, or counselor. The original Greek word there is "paraclete." This word meant to "come alongside of." This is what God the Holy Spirit does for believers. He comes alongside believers. This is truly amazing. The God of the universe loves us and cares for us enough to come alongside each of us. He comes alongside us and comforts us when we need comfort, encourages us when we are discouraged, strengthens us when we are tempted, and convicts us of our sin when we straying from Him.  This truly is amazing. We need to realize this, and bring everything to Him, for the Holy Spirit is the eternal person of God who comes alongside us. If we truly believe this, the way we live should be different than the world! We need to hold on to this amazing truth. Our God is with us always!

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