God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the primary presence of God among us today. He Reveals God through Scripture, by making Himself known and by guiding and directing God's people. He enables and empowers believers by giving and sustaining all life, by giving power and gifts to serve God, by bringing forth fruit in believers; and by purifying, teaching and uniting believers. But the Spirit's presence and blessing is dependent upon our response to Him: He brings blessing, but the blessing may be temporarily removed or lessened. Acting with hardened disobience towards the Holy Spirit brings strong judgement, and irrationally rejecting the truth of the Holy Spirit's work in Jesus and then attributing it to Satan cannot be forgiven.
Whilst the presence of God was manifested on this earth in the glory of God in OT times, and in the Person of Jesus in NT times, the Holy Spirit is the primary presence of God among us today.
The person of the Holy Spirit has been dealt with (in the section on the trinity), so this section will deal mostly with the Spirit's work in this world.
We see generally that the Spirit has two main roles: to reveal and to sustain. That is, the Spirit reveals the nature of God and God's direction for believers on earth, and sustains believers, allowing them to be more godly. The Spirit also plays a pivotal role in salvation, working in believers to purify them, and teach them God's way.
The Biblical Teaching
The Holy Spirit is Within All True Believers (top)
The Spirit of God lives in all true believers - those that have repented and asked God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Therefore believers' bodies are temples of God, and should be treated accordingly.
- "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Holy Spirit Reveals God (top)
Through Scripture (top)
- "They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry" (Zechariah 7:12).
- "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).
By Making Himself Known (top)
- "Then John gave this testimony: 'I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him'" (John 1:32).
- "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:16).
By Guiding and Directing God's People (top)
- "The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it'" (Acts 8:29).
- "...those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" (Romans 8:14).
The Holy Spirit Enables and Empowers Believers (top)
He Gives and Sustains All Life (top)
- "When you send your Spirit, they are created" (Psalm 104:30a).
- "If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust." (Job 34:14-15)
He Gives Power and Gifts to Believers to Serve God (top)
- "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
- "To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines." (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
He Brings forth fruit in believers (top)
- "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)
He Purifies (top)
- "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).
- "He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 3:5-6).
He Teaches (top)
- "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13).
- "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us" (1 Corinthian 2:12)
He Unifies (top)
- "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3).
- "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose" (Philippians 2:1-2).
The Holy Spirit's Presence and Blessing is Dependent Upon Our Response to Him (top)
The Spirit brings blessing (top)
- We can know fellowship with the Holy Spirit: "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded" (Philippians 2:1-2).
- He gives gifts and ministries: "To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines." (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
- We have access to the Father through Him: "For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit" (Ephesians 2:18).
The Spirit's blessing may be temporarily removed or lessened (top)
This is the case when one in whom the Spirit dwells disobeys the leadings of the Spirit.
- Though the Spirit had been with Samson, after Samson's continued disobedience He left him (Judges 16:20).
- When the Israelites rebelled they grieved the Holy Spirit and He turned against them (Isaiah 63:10).
- Paul warned the Ephesian Churches 'not to grieve the Holy Spirit' (Ephesians 4:30).
Acting with hardened disobeience towards the Holy Spirit brings strong judgement (top)
- Annanias and Saphira 'lied to the Holy Spirit' and instantly fell down dead (Acts 5:1-10).
- The author of Hebrews warns of outraging the Holy Spirit: " If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:26-31)
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven (top)
- Jesus says: "every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come" (Matthew 12:31-32 cf, Mark 3:29-30 & Luke 12:10).
- The author of Hebrews says: "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Jesus' words here are spoken in the context of the Pharisees seeing the miraculous work of God in Jesus, then maliciously, willfully and irrationally attributed it to Satan. This, and the passage from Hebrews, indicates that Jesus is speaking about a sin that is not simply unbelief or rejection of Christ, but includes one who has a clear knowledge and understanding of Christ and the Spirit's power through Him, but rejects this truth, and attributes the glorious work of the Spirit to Satan. In such a case an understanding of the truth of Christ and a demonstration of the Spirit's power will not lead to forgiveness for the person has already confronted these and rejected them.