August 18, 2011
Father, Son, Holy Spirit: One God,
Three Divine Persons
The Deity of the Holy Spirit
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I once heard a religion professor at a major Southern Baptist university say that the Holy Spirit is “the action of men of good will.” Anyone who embraces that understanding of the Holy Spirit denies the Trinity, that is, that God exists in three eternal Persons united together as one God. I also recall that when I went away to college, I had a very unclear picture of the Holy Spirit. So we will read the Bible today to learn more about the Holy Spirit.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
Another Helper. In John 14:16, Jesus prepared the disciples for His departure from them. Voicing His concern for their spiritual well-being, He said that He would ask the Father, and the Father would give the disciples another Helper. This term “another” (“ἄλλον“) means another of the same kind. He did not say another of a different kind. Therefore, we see that the Holy Spirit shared the substance and essence of Jesus. In other words, the Holy Spirit is God. Notice too the ministry of the Holy Spirit mentioned here. He will be a Helper (“παράκλητον“). This word Helper literally means to call alongside. In this case, Jesus called to the Father to send the Helper (the Holy Spirit) to stand alongside the disciples after Jesus goes to the Father. The Holy Spirit will minister as a Helper for the disciples, and that ministry will flourish as we see in the lives of the apostles (the Bible book of the Acts of the apostles may be called the acts of the Holy Spirit).
He Will Be with You Forever. Also in John 14:16, we read about the eternality of the Holy Spirit. Although the Holy Spirit is a spirit, the text tells us that God referred to the Holy Spirit as a “He,” and not an “It.” In this passage, God used a neuter pronoun (“it”) to agree with the neuter form of Helper or Paraclete (“παράκλητον“). The neuter pronoun agrees with the neuter case of the preceding noun. If the pronoun here is neuter, why translate is as “He” (masculine)? The best answer to that question lies in comparing this passage to other passages. In John 14:26, John refers to the the Holy Spirit with masculine terms: the Paraclete (“ὁ παράκλητος”), and He will teach (“ἐκεῖνος διδάξει“) you all things. Likewise, in John 16:7-8, we see masculine terms applied to the Holy Spirit. While John also told us that “God is spirit” in John 4:24, we also see that the Holy Spirit has personality because of the masculine pronouns, and His distinct identity from Jesus Christ and the Father. While the Three remain One God, they also perform distinct ministries in the New Testament.
The Spirit of Truth. In John 14:17, we read about the Holy Spirit referred to as the Spirit of Truth. I talk with many people who live all of their lives dominated by their emotions. They make choices to feel better, to ease pain, to lessen sorrow, and so on. The Bible teaches us that we should always follow Jesus, and do what He wants, and some of that will include suffering for Him. To follow Jesus, we need to know what He wants us to do. We learn what we should do by knowing the truth. Instead of basing our lives upon emotions, we should base our lives upon the truth of God. Here, the Holy Spirit ministers to us so that we will know the truth. The Holy Spirit brings the truth of God into our minds so that we may live in the truth and walk in the truth, just as Jesus is in the truth (Psalm 86:11; John 14:6).
He Will Be in You. In John 14:17, we read about a transitional phase in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. While the Old Testament provides plenty of testimony regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Jesus signals in this verse that the Holy Spirit will move from abiding with the disciples, to being “in you.” This promise means that the Holy Spirit will indwell believers, and every believer will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation (Romans 8:9). We see that fulfillment in Acts 2, where the Holy Spirit comes to indwell the disciples at Pentecost. The abiding and indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit will help us know Him, moment by moment.
So we learn more about the deity of the Holy Spirit today.
● The Holy Spirit functions as our Helper, and is another of the exact same kind of Helper as Jesus.
● The Holy Spirit will be with us forever.
● The Holy Spirit teaches us, and ministers to us as a Spirit who indwells us.
Application for Today
As I live today, I will count upon the Holy Spirit helping me, and particularly helping me to know the truth and live in the truth. By the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, I will walk in the truth and live for Jesus today. Are you ready to the let the Holy Spirit help you walk in Him today?