OceanSide church of Christ
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THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Person of the Spirit
Victor M. Eskew
A. “We should know who the Holy Spirit is, his nature, his essence, his ministry, his relation to God, to Christ, and to man; in fact we should study everything that the Bible reveals concerning the Holy Spirit. As far as it is possible for us, we should clear away all superstitions and traditions and let the Holy Spirit stand out as definitely and prominently in our minds as he does on the pages of inspiration” (The Holy Spirit: His Personality, Nature and Works, H. Leo Boles, p. 27).
B. The best place to start in a study of the Holy Spirit is with this question: “Who is the Holy Spirit?”
1. Is the Holy Spirit merely a divine force?
2. Is the Holy Spirit simply an influence?
3. Is the Holy Spirit the mind, temper, or disposition of God?
4. Is the Holy Spirit the Word of God?
5. Is the Holy Spirit an “it”?
6. Is the Holy Spirit a being, a person, yea, a divine person?
I. VARIOUS VIEWS ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
A. Jehovah’s Witnesses: “They further say that ALL things thereafter were created BY the Father (Who, alone, is Jehovah) through Jesus Christ who, following Jehovah’s will and spoken commands, used Jehovah’s special active force (the impersonal invisible force called the Holy Spirit) to bring all other things (angels included) into existence. This Holy Spirit can be used to create, to motivate, to observe, communicate, etc. Although far from a perfect analogy, we might compare the many things electricity and radiant energy can do” (www.defendingjehovahswitnesses.com, “The Holy Spirit – Not a Person or god, But an Impersonal For from God, Monday, September 17, 2012).
1. “Thus, we conclude (regarding OT pneumatology) that God’s Spirit is not a person, though it is very personal – is it the very self-expression of Yahweh, the one God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 6:4). (www.21stcr.org, “An Unitarian View of the Holy Spirit, Sean Finnegan, p. 2).
2. “The Holy Spirit is God in action (as we have seen from the OT and Synoptic Gospels) as well as the abiding helper (presented in John’s last supper discourse) distributed under the auspices of the Father by the ascended Messiah in order to benefit the Church – his body – by connecting him to every believer” (Ibid. p. 3).
1. “God’s Holy Spirit is ‘just God himself in the inner most essence of his being” (www.onenesspentecostal.com, “Understanding the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Jason Dulle).
2. “The Scriptural use of the appellation ‘Holy Spirit’ is not to indicate a distinct person in the Godhead, but speaks of God as He is, God is Spirit (John 4:24), and God is Holy (Josh. 24:19), so it is no surprise that the Spirit is referred to as belonging to YHWH in the OT, or as being the Holy Spirit in the NT. God’s very nature is a holy spirit (www.onenesspentecostal.com, “Doe Romans 8:26 Teach a Second Person in the Godhead, Jason Dulle).
II. THE TRINITY
A. “The doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons or hypostasis: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit; ‘one God in three persons.’ The three persons are distinct, yet are one ‘substance, essence or nature.’ A nature is what one is, while a person is who one is” (www.wikipedia.com, “Trinity”).
B. The “Shield of the Trinity
C. The doctrine of the Trinity presents the Holy Spirit as a person, being, an individual, a personality.
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON
A. The Scripture uses masculine personal pronouns to refer to the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:7, 13).
Howbeit when he the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that she he speak: and he will show you things to come.
B. The Holy Spirit has feelings.
1. He can love (Rom. 15:30).
2. He can grieve (Eph. 4:30).
C. What the Holy Spirit possesses.
1. A mind (Rom. 8:27)
And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is in the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
2. A will (I Cor. 12:11)
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
D. What the Spirit does.
1. Strives with man (Gen. 6:3)
2. Teaches (Luke 12:12; John 14:26)
3. Bears witness of Christ (John 15:26)
4. Guides, speaks, and hears (John 16:13-14)
5. Commands (Acts 8:29; 13:2)
6. Directed missionary efforts (Acts 16:7)
7. Speaks (Acts 21:11; I Tim. 4:1)
8. Makes intercession (Rom. 8:26)
9. Searches the deep things of God (I cor. 2:9-10)
10. Justifies and sanctifies (I Cor. 6:11)
11. Distributes spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12:11)
E. What can be done to the Holy Spirit.
1. Blasphemed (Matt. 12:32)
2. Lied to (Acts 5:3)
3. Tempted (Acts 5:9)
4. Resisted (Acts 7:51)
5. Quenched (I Thess. 5:19)
6. Despised (Heb. 10:29)
F. Three Quotes
1. “A ‘person’ is life, thought, volition, action, individuality, character, and influence” (Boles, 29).
2. “Throughout the Scriptures from their beginning (Gen. 1:1) to their ending (Rev. 22:21) we see God, the Word, and the Holy Spirit as divine beings living, speaking, acting, influencing, blessing, reconciling, transforming, loving, and glorifying; the Holy Spirit is thus seen as not ‘a thing’ or ‘it,’ but a glorious person, the Holy Spirit” (Boles, 30).
3. “If He were only a mere influence or force, the way Scripture describes Him would be contradictory and unintelligible” (All about the Holy Spirit, Herbert Lockyer, p. 27).
A. “As we usually associate personality with a body, it is somewhat difficult to compre-hend the Spirit’s personality, seeing He does not have a material form composed of hands, feet, eyes, and mouth. What we are apt to forget is that these parts of the human form are not characteristics of personality, although they are channels of such; they simply belong to the body.
“True personality, then, is not the outward body, but the tenant within….”
B. “We offer no apology, then, for devoting a separate article to the consideration of the personality of the Holy Spirit, for unless we have a right conception of His glorious being, it is impossible that we should entertain right thoughts about Him, and therefore impossible for us to render to Him the homage, love, confidence, and submission, which are His due” (The Holy Spirit, Arthur W. Pink, p. 10).