Christians believe that God is one being that exists in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This reality is commonly referred to as the Trinity. What is also common is how often the Holy Spirit appears to be the forgotten member within the Trinity. The role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer seems to be misunderstood, as a result, Christians do not enjoy their fellowship with God as they ought. The Holy Spirit is not the lesser person of the Trinity and should not be treated as such. If we misunderstand who the Holy Spirit is, we will not experience the relationship we should have. So, who is the Holy Spirit?
God, the Holy Spirit
Before the world began, there was God. Each member of the Godhead was involved in creation. God the Father initiated and worked through the God the Son, whilst God the Spirit hovered over the face deep in anticipation of what was to occur (Genesis 1:1-2 c.f. John 1:1-3). As the biblical narrative unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear the perfect harmony that exists within the Trinity (Genesis 1:26, John 5:19, John 16:13). There is no internal conflict within the Godhead, there is no tussle for power or supremacy. Each member of the Trinity is equal in essence and being, but different in role and function. This means that God the Father is not God the Son and God the Son is not God the Holy Spirit. Their perfect unity in relationship is not in conflict to their uniqueness of person. The bible makes it clear that whilst each member is fully God, they are different persons (Mark 1:10-11, John 1:1, Acts 2:33). If this is the case, and I believe it is, the Holy Spirit must be referred to as God and nothing else.
God and you
Before Jesus died, He promised His disciples – and by extension us – the Holy Spirit. Under the old covenant the Holy Spirit was present, working amongst God’s people (Exodus 31:2-5). Under the new covenant the Holy Spirit is present, dwelling in God’s people (John 14:16-17). For those that trust in Jesus as their life, the Holy Spirit abides in you (1 Corinthians 6:19) and is your guarantee that you are an adopted child forever (Romans 8:14-15). The Holy Spirit only indwells Christians. This exclusivity is vital because the Holy Spirit identifies those who are Christ’s and those who are not. Jesus states, “the world cannot receive [the Holy Spirit], because it neither sees Him or knows him” (John 14:17). The world does not know the Holy Spirit, because it does not know Jesus. Those in Christ, indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit will be led in all truth (John 16:13). Since the Holy Spirit is God, He cannot lead you astray. There is no internal conflict within the Godhead, the Holy Spirit will not guide you in a direction that opposes the rest of the Godhead.
If you are a Christian, you are entitled to certain privileges. A problem that plagues humankind is that we are prone to forget. Christians are prone to forget the promises of God in Christ, so here’s a reminder.
1) The Holy Spirit has regenerated you. You were dead, now you are alive. The scriptures call regeneration being born again. Without being born again you can’t see the kingdom of God. In other words, the Holy Spirit makes you alive to know your need for Jesus.
2) The Holy Spirit indwells you. God has not just saved you and left you to meander your way to glory. He saved you, adopted you and now sent His spirit to live in you as confirmation that you are His! God lives in you declares this; He is eternally committed to you (John 14:16).
3) The Holy Spirit empowers you. Sin, Satan and the World are our great enemy. They seek to destroy our souls, ruin our assurance and disrupt our unity as a covenant family. The Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome our enemies by living holy and righteous lives. We don’t have to muster up the willpower to do right. The story of scripture isn’t do so you can get, it’s do because you have – you have God (Galatians 5:16, Romans 8:12-13)
4) The Holy Spirit comforts you. Life can be overwhelming at times and when you are doing everything right, things can still go wrong. As we await Jesus’ triumphant return you are not alone. The Holy Spirit is there to comfort amidst all the cares and troubles of life (2 Corinthians 1:3).
As sojourners and exiles in a foreign land we await a heavenly kingdom (Philippians 3:20), as we wait remember you are not alone. The Holy Spirit is here with you. He has regenerated you, He indwells you, He empowers you and He will comfort you and He will continue to do so until we are welcomed home.