God’s Holy Spirit

Our recent course of study in doctrine in my Journey 24/7 group has brought us to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

READ John 14:16-17
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Here’s something to think about.

Agree or Disagree: By its definition as a “spirit,” the Holy Spirit has the spiritual attributes (characteristics) of God but not the personal ones.

We had an interesting discussion around that question the other night. It led me to think about some defining terms regarding the Holy Spirit of God. First, there are many terms describing the Holy Spirit. First and foremost is the term Holy Ghost.

One young man was puzzled by the term ghost used in reference to God. His concept of ghost was either evil or cartoonish (Casper).

And yet when you look at the definitions of the words, one can understand the use of Ghost when referring to the Spirit of God the Father and God the Son (more on that in a bit).

We listed on a board as many of the terms we could think of that refer in Scripture to the Holy Spirit: Comforter, Helper, the Third Person of the Trinity; Teacher, Giver of Gifts. The list went on…

When I looked up the two terms (holy and spirit), independently, I found the following definitions:

Hagios, in the Greek means “most holy thing.” The idea behind holy or holiness is a quality of perfection (a sinlessness and inability to sin that is possessed by God alone). That’s simple enough. But the word spirit was a bit more complicated.

Pnuema, in the Greek means a movement of air (literally “a gentle blast”), wind, or breath of nostrils or mouth. So based on this simple combination of the two words the Holy Spirit is the most holy breath of (in this case) God! That fits when you consider that the Holy Spirit is responsible for guiding (especially the apostles and prophets) into all truth.

READ 2 Peter 1:21
For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

But there’s more to the definition. Spirit can also mean the vital principal by which the human body is animated. Obviously, this is a human application that doesn’t necessarily apply to God. But when a human soul has left the body, it is referred to as a spirit. This explains the idea of “ghost” when referring to the Holy Spirit. When Christ died on the cross, it is said He gave up the Spirit. His Spirit (that which animated His physical body), left His material, human body. In the language of the King James Version, based on the original Greek texts, Holy Ghost worked to describe this concept of God and Christ’s Spirit.

Then continuing with the many levels of the definition, there’s the concept of a spirit higher than man but lower than God. This gives us an idea about angels.

The definition begins to get specific for our terms as it deals with the divine nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God. Here’s where we get to a definition that deals with God’s power and activity distinguished from His essence and manifest by His influence upon we who make up His body (the church). This is God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, the giver of all spiritual gifts and fruit, and the source of any power, affection, emotion we employ as believers.

There’s plenty more to consider about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but that’s for another day. For now, let me leave you with the following challenge:

Have you ever been aware of the Holy Spirit working in your life?

As an evangelical fundamentalist, I do not apply a Charismatic application to that question. However, many in my camp have gone as far as almost eliminating the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our lives for fear of being labeled “Charismatic.” Speaking in tongues or being slain in the Spirit are not the only manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power in the lives of a believer. When was the last time you were aware that the Holy Spirit of God was guiding and directing you into truth through your study in God’s Word? The Spirit is responsible for give believers the power to do the work of His ministry. We as believers need to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and give God abundant praise. God’s Holy Spirit independently equips His church, perfecting and maturing all His saints. In performing His ministry He neither glorifies Himself nor the gifts He bestows, but glorifies Christ by putting into action His work of redeeming the lost and building up their faith.



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