Editorial: The Holy in the Holy Spirit

Within the past few decades, any discussion about the Holy Spirit can quickly turn into a debate about the permanence of particular spiritual gifts or the validity of so-called spiritual experiences. Disputes about genuine manifestations of the Spirit tend to dominate conversation while so much truth is being overlooked. There stands a need within our generation for a clear description of pneumatology, the biblical doctrine of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

While a 32-page issue of a magazine is hardly sufficient to cover such a vast study, it is our hope and prayer that these articles will help us better understand the One who was instrumental in giving us the sacred Scriptures, the One intimately active in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus, and the One who presently indwells every believer in the Church.

Speaking of the Church, this present Church Age is often called the Age of the Holy Spirit. His arrival was promised by the Lord Jesus and was chronicled by Luke in Acts chapter 2, the “birthday” of the Church. One cannot help but notice that there are many more references to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament as compared to the Old Testament.[1] Given this fact, coupled with the reality that the Holy Spirit permanently indwells us, it should be our aim to know as much about Him as possible. And how we get to know Him needs to be based upon what Scripture says, not claims about personal experiences.

In this special issue, our contributors have helpfully tackled questions such as: 1) What is the difference between the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and the exhortation to “be filled with the Spirit”? 2) What is baptism in the Holy Spirit? 3) What is the Holy Spirit’s role in conversion? 4) How do we interpret the various receptions of the Holy Spirit in the book of the Acts? 5) What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how are they both distributed and exercised? 6) What function will the Holy Spirit serve in future events? These and many other questions will find valuable answers in the pages to follow.

But the one thing we must not overlook is that the Holy Spirit is obviously holy. And as we let Him have His way in our lives, we will be holy too. Behavior and speech that are holy may not grab the headlines in the realm of the sensational, nor are they ever likely to be the subject of fascinating debate. But of all the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our day, the one that matters most is holiness revealed in God’s people. God demands nothing less from us – “You shall be holy, because I am holy” (1Pe 1:16 NET). Not only does a holy life please the Lord, but He still uses holiness in the lives of His people to draw lost souls to His Son.

[1] Over 250 NT passages include a clear reference to the Holy Spirit.