December 9, 2010

He Is The Holy Spirit

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. ~1 Corinthians 2:9-14

The Holy Spirit. Unseen but comes in power to empower. Unseen but an enabler of truth, knowledge, wisdom and revelation. Unseen but intercedes for believers. Unseen but brings spiritual understandings. The Holy Spirit, the comforter or Paraclete/παράκλητος promised by Christ.

Until now, I have tread rather lightly dealing with the Holy Spirit. For me He has been an enigma but this is changing to a glorious partnership. I am aware as others are that He is a person of the Trinity with Jesus and the Father. This obviously makes Him Deity. But much of what He is and what He has done and is doing in my life as a Christian remains shrouded in mystery. This is a shame because the Scriptures speak volumes about this person of the Trinity. Paul speaks of the spiritual discernment that is not natural for man in the passage above. Because of our fallen condition we cannot know. We are not by our nature spiritual beings but...but...we can be made alive to Spiritual things. This is where the work of the Spirit of God comes in. It is in the Spirit's work of rebirth in use that allows us this discernment. We can intellectually acknowledge the Spirit's existence but to know Him requires a personal relationship just as we have with Jesus and the Father. in person or should I say Person. A Person of the Trinity. Often glanced over since He is not visible but the outcroppings and outgrowths of His work are visible. We see the manifestations of what the Spirit does in lives but we do not see Him.

He is like the forgotten member of the Trinity in some respects. He is mentioned a lot especially by Jesus and yet we barely grasp Him. Please note I have referred to Him as a personal pronoun(s): He, Him. The Bible does the same and I must follow suit. We also see Him refer to Himself as "me" and "I".

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." ~Acts 13:2

Jesus refers to Him as a person or "whom" and "He" that can respond to an instruction or at least is cognizant or sentient unlike the Jehovah Witnesses who see the Holy Spirit as an identity-less "force".

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me." ~John 15:26

First, the word Helper in this verse is parakletos/παράκλητος and the ος is singular/masculine. Although in the Greek the word Spirit (pneuma) is neuter and not masculine, according to grammatical rules the pronoun must agree with the noun but there is an intervening clause in this passage, "the Spirit (pneuma) of truth who goes out from the Father" in neuter is then immediately followed by the masculine form of "that" in the Greek (ekeinos/παράκλητος) or "He that will testify about me" in the literal translation of the last clause. It is obvious from this that the writer (John) meant to refer to the Spirit as a HE, not an IT or unidentifiable force.

We then get another undeniable proof one chapter later that brings this thought home for us in a way that is exactly what John intended. The word ekeinos/παράκλητος is again used to refer to the Spirit.

"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. ~John 16:13-14

The Holy Spirit is just as busy was the Father and Jesus was/is. The Holy Spirit does a lot but it often goes “under the radar” so to speak. He works to help believers perform certain tasks or in some cases performs tasks on a believer’s behalf (ex: Romans 8). Often what the Spirit does we take for granted. The things He does we can and often do associate to other persons. What does He do? He comforts believers. He guides (John 16). He encourages. He will also convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). He will and does guide us in a personal way that is most advantageous to our eternal well-being. To be able to guide someone individually and communally for the individual and communal best interest requires an intimate knowledge or both and individual and an a community, not unconscious assumptions by a lifeless “force”. This are done premeditated and according to the will of the Father. The Holy Spirit intercedes for and with us. By the Spirit and Christ we have access to the Father. When we know not what to ask or pray for the Spirit intercedes.He was involved in the creation of the Creation. He brooded over it and bringing it to life. He was the active agent in the divine conception of Jesus, He generated or begat the incarnational attribute of Jesus Christ. Please note I said begat not began. He is the inspiration of Scripture in some form. It is He who anoints Christ to ministry, drives Jesus into the wilderness and even even continually filled Jesus with the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2, 42:1) during His life. The Holy Spirit even plays a role in Jesus' death and resurrection. Romans 8:11 tells us explicitly that it is the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. It is this Spirit that also dwells within us. That my powerful assurance of our ability as believers to walk towards holiness.

He is referred to or depicted as many things in the creation but is none of them. They are symbols or emblems. When the Holy Spirit descended at Christ's baptism he descended "like" a dove. If it was a winged bird it was only a representation of the Holy Spirit. To say God is a bird is to make Him part of the creation. God the Holy Spirit is not the creation, He is wholly "other". The spirit is represented as clothing (Luke 24:49), a pledge (not the furniture polish) in 2 Cornithians 1:22. Pledge in Greek is arrabon/ἀρραβών or means a "first installment" or "down payment". The Holy Spirit is also compared to fire at Pentecost (Acts 2:3), the Spirit as oil is all over the Old Testament (Exodus 27:20, 40:9; Leviticus 8:30, 14:17) and in the New (Acts 1:8, 1 John 2:20, Romans 8:2-3) just to name a few. He is symbolized as a seal (as in wax on letters not sea mammals), water (Zech 14:16-21). His most natural representation is wind, pneuma (Greek) and ruwach (Hebrew). He indwells believers. He restrains sin (Genesis 6:3), He gives us spiritual gifts for use to build up and edify the body (I'm not gonna list them, go read your Bible).

We are to believe in the Holy Spirit and he is part of the baptismal sacrament in Matthew 28. He is the recipient of prayer. We are to have a relationship with Him. We are told not to sin against the Holy Spirit. The unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:22-30). He can be offended. Does that sound like any lifeless person-less force you know? Me neither. The Holy Spirit can be loved, adored, grieved, and sinned against…among other things. Sure sounds like a person to me.

He has many titles all of which emphasize an attribute of the Holy Spirit. Some of these titles and attributes are: Eternal Spirit-His eternity, Spirit of Glory-His glory, Spirit of Life-His vitality, Holy One/Holy Spirit-His holiness, Spirit of Wisdom/Counsel/Knowledge/Understanding-His omniscience,wisdom and counsel, Spirit of Strength-His omnipotence, Spirit of Grace-His grace and the list is endless but you get the picture.

For an overlooked or a "less visible" member of the Trinity (no pun intended) He is integral to nearly all aspects of Christianity. To consider Him just a lifeless, nameless force is and insult to the Spirit and underplays His immense importance just like that of the Father and Jesus.

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