The Identity of the Holy Spirit
To understand properly who the Holy Spirit is, it is necessary to believe in the Holy Trinity This is a foundation truth of the faith which was “once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). The first name by which God has revealed Himself is Elohim (Gen 1:1). This is a plural name of God. Throughout Scripture, God is revealed as One God, “The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deut 6:4). The Lord Jesus said, “I and my Father are One” (John 10:30). Yet God is revealed in His Triune Essence, three perfect Persons, co-equal, coeternal and co-substantial: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When the Lord Jesus taught the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come on the day of Pentecost, He said that the Spirit was “another (of the same substance as Himself) Comforter… Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive… I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:16-18). So the Holy Spirit is another like the Lord Himself and in the Spirit’s coming, Christ would come to them.
The Holy Spirit is first mentioned in the second verse of the Bible where He moves upon the unformed material of cre ation. Each Person of the Trinity is credited with creating all things. The Lord God is the Creator in Genesis 2:4, “in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” We learn from Ephesians 3:9 that “God created all things by Jesus Christ.” Colossians 1:16 says, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him” (Col 1:16). Other Scriptures support Genesis 1:2, that the Holy Spirit also worked in creation. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being His counselor hath taught Him?” (Isa 40:12-13). “By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens;… Lo, these are parts of His ways” (Job 26:13-14).
The Personality of the Spirit
It is incorrect to translate John 4:24 as, “God is a Spirit” because this verse is telling of His essence. It is correct to translate it as, “God is Spirit.” This is truth that transcends human thought, but the very essence of God is that He “is Spirit” (John 4:24). We should distinguish essence from personality.
Contrary to the teachings of many false religions, the Holy Spirit is not merely an influence or an impersonal power. He has all the attributes of a Divine Person. His personality can be proven by the following facts: He hears and speaks (Heb 10:15), He teaches (John 16:13, 14), He forbids (Acts 16:6), He intercedes (Rom 8:27), He has will and mind (Rom 8:14,15), He can be grieved and has holy feelings (Eph 4:30) and He can be obeyed. It is even possible to lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-4). This passage gives the solemn warning that lying to the Spirit is lying to God (vs.3, 4) and, because He is God, He can be blasphemed (Mark 3:29).
The Attributes of the Spirit
a) The Omnipotence of the Holy Spirit was displayed in the power by which the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead. He was “…quickened by the Spirit” (1 Pet 3:18).
He is also all-powerful in our regeneration, “Through the Spirit … being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God” (I Pet 1:22-23). “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6).
b) The Omnipresence of the Holy Spirit is taught in such statements as Psalm 139: 7-10, “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there… If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.”
c) His Omniscience is the subject of 1 Corinthians 2:10-11. “For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
d) He is the eternal Spirit and is perfectly holy, untouched by sin or defilement. It is the attribute of His holiness that is evident when He convicts of sin. “When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). It was by the eternal Holy Spirit that Christ offered Himself at Calvary, “Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God…” (Heb 9:14). All three Persons of the Holy Trinity are in this verse. Since only God is eternal, the Holy Spirit is God.
It is in His holiness that He is the true Searcher of hearts. Jeremiah wrote that only God can search hearts (1 7:9). “He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit” (Rom 8:27).
It is His holiness that must be seen in an assembly, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor 3:16-17). His very Presence produces and demands holiness.
e) He is the Revealer of truth. The Lord Jesus said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me” (John 15:26). Again He said, “When He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Some have interpreted the next verse, “He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come,” as meaning that the Holy Spirit would not speak about Himself. If this were correct, we would know nothing about Him from Scripture. He has spoken about Himself, but His great revelation is to speak of Christ.
His Personality and Attributes are Revealed in His Titles
A. The Spirit of Truth (John 14:17).
B. The Spirit of Holiness (Rom 1: 14).
C. The Spirit of Life (Rom 8:2).
D. The Spirit of Adoption (Rom 8:15).
E. The Spirit of Promise (Eph 1: 1 3).
F. The Spirit of Grace (Heb 10:29).
G. The Spirit of Glory (I Pet 4:14).