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Who is the Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit as a person of the Trinity

The earliest reference to the Spirit of God is in Genesis 1:2 where we are told that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters at creation. This tells us that the Holy Spirit was involved in creation – co-existent with God from the very beginning. The Bible makes it plain that God is Father, Son and Spirit (for example see Galatians 4:6 God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father”). We know that God does not change (James 1:17). So God has always existed in three persons since before the beginning of world history.

Anointing of the Holy Spirit

Although individuals in the Old Testament were sometimes “anointed” with the Spirit by God for specific roles, (Prophet – Deuteronomy 34:9, Priest – 2 Chronicles 24:20, King – 1 Samuel 16:13 etc.) the giving of the Holy Spirit to all of God’s people was reserved until Jesus had returned to the Father. See Acts 2:1-21 and Joel 2:28-32. Jesus himself gave the command to his disciples to baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit in Matthew 28:19. And in Acts 2:38-40 we learn that the Holy Spirit is given at conversion: “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (NIV) Other passages also affirm that we receive the Holy Spirit at the time we become a Christian (see 1 Corinthians 6:19 or Ephesians 1:13) and 2 Timothy 1:14 explains that the Holy Spirit actually lives in us! The Bible tells us that if we ask, He will be given to us. ‘What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent ... if you then, who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask’ (Luke 11:9-13).

Teaching Role of the Spirit

Jesus explains (in John 14:25) that the Holy Spirit will help us by reminding us “of everything I have said to you”. In other words the Holy Spirit teaches us the Words of Jesus! This is a fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah 30:21 and Jeremiah 24:7. The Holy Spirit is also the divine author of the Scriptures, as He worked through the human authors to bring God's Word to us (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Relationship with the Spirit

The best way to remain in a close relationship with the Holy Spirit is to have a desire to please God and a willingness to obey His words. We pray for God to speak to us, read the Bible and then decide to change our attitudes and behaviour accordingly. As we obey we will know the Holy Spirit affirming that “This is the way; walk in it”. (Isaiah 30:21b). After all we are told to keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Obviously there are consequences if we fail to keep in step with the Spirit. We learn in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 that by treating God’s word with contempt we can put out the Spirit’s fire. And in Ephesians 4:30 that we can cause the Holy Spirit to grieve by speaking hurtful words, untruths and harbouring and/or acting in anger.

Fruit of the Spirit (Sanctification)

As we progress in our walk with the Lord the Holy Spirit changes our character to become more like that of the Lord Jesus. See Galatians 5:22-23 where we read that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 explains that the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is to open our minds to God’s word and help us to believe its truth.

Gifts of the Spirit

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about there being a variety of spiritual gifts which God gives. All are given for the ‘common good’ – for the benefit of the body of Christ (the church). We should all be praying for God to give us the gifts which are needed to bless our fellow believers more. This does not mean that we will all be given the same gift but all have at least one!

Obviously there is much more that could be said about the Holy Spirit for further study we recommend the following article: http://www.gotquestions.org/names-Holy-Spirit.html which has more on the various names / roles of the Holy Spirit in our day to day walk with Him. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.