The very words “Holy Spirit”, Luke 11:13, teach us three things: He is SPIRIT, and He is HOLY. Since a spirit is INVISIBLE, we have at once three of the attributes of God.
It is plain, however, that the Holy Spirit has the characteristics of God just as the Son has.
He is ETERNAL, Hebrews 9:14. Every creature has a beginning. Only God is eternal.
He is OVER EVERYTHING, linked in an equal way with God the Father and God the Son, Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14. It would be very wrong to link up a creature with God in an equal way.
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit work perfectly together.
The Holy Spirit comes from the Father and is sent by the Son, John 15:26; 16:7. Yet if a person speaks against Christ, he shall be forgiven, but if he speaks against the Holy Spirit he shall not be forgiven, Matthew 12:32. These verses might by themselves seem to show that the Holy Spirit is more or less important than God the Son. But taking all Scriptures together, we see that the Holy Spirit is equal to God.
He is ALL POWERFUL. The Spirit also had a part in the work of creation. Christ did miracles by the Spirit of God, John 3:34, Matthew 12:28.
1. We will now think of the Person and work of God the Holy Spirit.
Concerning his person think about these verses:
- A person can speak, act, and tell what is in his mind. The Holy Spirit said, “I have sent” . . . “I have called”, Acts 10:20; 13:2.
- A person has a will of his own. So has the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:11. He guides the sons of God, Romans 8:14.
- A person has feelings. The Holy Spirit may be troubled and made sorrowful, Isaiah 63:10, Ephesians 4:30.
- A person has a mind. The Holy Spirit also has a mind, Romans 8:27. He searches the deep things of God. He knows the mind of God, 1 Corinthians 2:10,11.
If he was a power or a force, a power or a force could not have a will, a mind, feelings, nor speak of itself as “I”. The Holy Spirit is a Person. We should never talk of Him as “it”.
2. Now we want to think of the work of God’s Spirit.
There is one God, but He works in different ways. The Spirit never acts differently from the Father or the Son.
The Bible teaches seven things that are especially the work of the Holy Spirit.
1. Creation: His Work in Relation to the Earth
While the Son created all things, the Holy Spirit also had a part in the creation of man, Job 33:4, and animals, Psalm 104:30. He took part in renewing the earth, Genesis 1:2.
2. Inspiration: His Work in Relation to the Bible
The Bible tells about Christ, but it was inspired by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:21.
3. His Work in Relation to Christ
We can see the close relation of the Son of God and the Spirit of God when we read about the life of the Lord Jesus Christ here on earth.
- THE BIRTH OF CHRIST. The Holy Spirit came on the virgin Mary, Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:35.
- THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST. The Spirit anointed Christ after the baptism by coming on Him and abiding on Him. This act fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. It proved to John and other men that Jesus Christ was the true Messiah. It showed that God accepted Him, Matthew 3:16,17, Mark 1:10,11, Luke 3:22.
- THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. After the baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit into wild country to be tested by Satan, Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:12, Luke 4:1.
- THE SERVICE OF CHRIST. After Satan’s temptations, the Lord Jesus Christ started three very busy years. He healed the sick and preached the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, Luke 4:14,18.
- THE DEATH OF CHRIST. The Lord Jesus had power to lay down His life for the sheep, and to take it again. This command He received from His Father, John 10:18. Yet we also read it was through the Eternal Spirit that Christ offered Himself without spot to God, Hebrews 9:14.
- THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. In Acts 3:15, etc., it is said God raised up Christ from the dead. In 1 Peter 3:18 He was made alive by the Spirit.
- THE RETURN OF CHRIST. The Spirit causes the bride (the church) to have a great desire for Christ’s return, Revelation 22:17.
4. His Work in Relation to the World
It is the Spirit’s work to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, John 16:8-11. It is only as the Spirit works that we can hope to see men come to know that they are sinners.
- God has given to men the right of free choice. He will never go back on this, nor force man to do what is right against his will. So the Spirit of God is held back in part by man’s evil heart. This may lead a man to the unforgivable sin, speaking evil against the Holy Spirit, Matthew 12:32. Men can (but should not) work against the Holy Spirit, Acts 7.51. They may even make “the Spirit of grace” angry, Hebrews 10:29.
- On the other hand, the Spirit holds back the senseless rebellion of man. He will continue to hold back until He is taken away from this world, 2 Thessalonians 2:7.
5. The New Birth:
His Work in Relation to Those Who Repent
By a wonderful act of the Spirit, everyone who repents, receives Christ and believes on His name, is given the life of God, John 3.5,6. You are at that moment born again. Once you have received this life you can never lose it again.
6. Sanctification: His Work in Relation to the Believer
When you are born again you are sanctified, or set apart, for God. But you also need to be sanctified or made holy every day for the rest of your life. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, 1 Peter 1:2, the same way it is of Christ, Ephesians 5:26.
The Spirit remains in each believer forever, 1 John 2:27; causes us to bear fruit, Galatians 5:22. He baptized us into the body of Christ,
1 Corinthians 12:13; desires to fill each one of us, Ephesians 5:18; and marks us as the property of God, Ephesians 1:13.
Sad to say, it is possible for a true child of God to work against the Spirit. We can (but should not) make the Spirit sad, Ephesians 4:30, or put out the flame of the Spirit, 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
The churches should hear His voice, Revelation 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22.
7. His Work in Relation to the Church
The Spirit dwells in each one making them one in Christ Jesus, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.