God the Holy Spirit
The response from the last Praiseletter, Be Filled With the Spirit, has been most encouraging and has confirmed the notion that we should dig deeper and continue discussing biblical truth regarding the precious Holy Spirit.
I began writing a song some years ago that I am recently revisiting. It’s chorus reads as follows:
Take me farther and deeper in You
Show me all that You want me to do
Lord, please teach me to worship in spirit and truth
Take me farther and deeper in You
In view of the point where we stand in history and in the journey of our own Christian experience, we should all share this desire to go farther and deeper in the things of God. I believe a recognition of, a dependence on and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit will be essential to fulfilling this “farther and deeper” quest.
Even as I share that, some may feel a concern that may be expressed as follows: “But what about the Word; shouldn’t that be our guide in all things?”
The answer to that question is a resounding Yes! I love what A.W. Tozer says in regard to these considerations: “We will never understand the Holy Spirit so long as we terminate our thought upon Him. The scriptures always lead us on beyond every subjective experience to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (A.W. Tozer)
That is an extremely rich statement. Read it again! The person of, the ministry of and the proper functioning of the Holy Spirit will be to us, confused, if we define Him based on subjective personal experience. We must know and understand the Holy Spirit as He is revealed in the scriptures.
However, we know that one of the chief functions of the Holy Spirit is to teach or illuminate the scriptures to us; “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:3)
And what is all truth? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)
Certainly there are a great many truths, but the essential, dominant one is that of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Do you see the synchronicity and cooperative genius, if you will, as to the plans and purposes of God regarding the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the Word, as that which gives insight and understanding in all these areas?
No one comes to the Father except through Jesus and one cannot know who Jesus is apart from the truth of the gospel as revealed in the Word and illuminated by the Holy Spirit.
Thus Tozer goes on to say: “The Word without the Spirit is dry and dead, but the Spirit without the Word is incomplete.”
As I write these words in this letter, I realize that these and the words that will now follow are merely introductory preparations for our considerations of the Holy Spirit.
God the Holy Spirit. Let’s begin there. Is God the Holy Spirit and is the Holy Spirit God?
For some, that will seem a most elementary and easily answerable question. However, we must for our purposes of study herein acknowledge that there have been many historically and still to this day who denounce the very idea of a triune Godhead.
Now, before you “throw in the towel” (or throw away this letter) in fear that I’m going to embark on some mystical and complicated endeavor to explain the Trinity, let me assure you I am not.
I am going to assume that we are all “on the same page” when it comes to the triune character and nature of the Godhead.
Let’s agree with Tozer when he writes: “There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together: and co-equal. So that in all things: the Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.”
Now that’s a quite colorful and poetic way to put it, but I think, quite accurate and helpful.
I have at times throughout the years, tried to have discourse with those of a “oneness” or non-trinitarian point of view, but have found it frustrating if not exhausting! I’ve often said, “You can’t reason with the unreasonable.”
When in the very beginning God said, “Let Us make man in Our image…” (Genesis 1:26) it clearly speaks in the plural.
When Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord say, “Who will go for Us…” (Isaiah 6:8) it speaks of multiple persons.
Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father do. He prayed to the Father and taught His disciples to do likewise. He said He would send another, referring to the Holy Spirit, who was to come.
Scripture clearly indicates and articulates God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
As Luther so beautifully wrote and we so often sing, “God in three persons, Blessed Trinity!”
So, for our purposes herein and hereafter, let us agree that the Holy Spirit is God and the statement, “God the Holy Spirit” is biblically sound.
What are the personal implications of that for us? The words privilege and responsibility come to mind.
As we have already previously established, every true born again Christian has received and been indwelt by the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:9)
If the Holy Spirit is fully God, which He is, then “fully God” has come to dwell within us in a way that was in Old Testament times, not known.
Neither was it known or experienced as abiding within, in New Testament times until the risen Christ breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 21:22)
Now some of you may be thinking, “Wasn’t it on the day of Pentecost that the Spirit was given?”
Hold that thought…
More on that in the next Praiseletter. (Very Exciting!)
Let us right now consider that God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, has taken up residence within us.
Truly this is one of the most significant spiritual realities in all of biblical history! No longer in a tabernacle or a temple built by human hands, but God has come to dwell within the temple of our body that He Himself has fashioned after His own image. What a privilege!
But oh, what a responsibility!
We are to define and display the reality of a risen Christ within our bodies and our behavior by the presence and power of that same Holy Spirit.
This is why we must better understand who He is and how He wants to dwell within us, guide us and use us for His eternal purposes.
Fully God has come to dwell
Within my heart once bound for Hell
Grace bestowed and mercy shown
Have made for me a Heavenly home
His Holy Word I love to hear it
Breathed by God the Holy Spirit