Who is the Holy Spirit?

Do you hear or know much about the Holy Spirit? Many people in church often feel that they know very little about the Holy Spirit. People rarely talk about the Holy Spirit. He is often forgotten and neglected.

I want you to do a little test and see how much you know about the Holy Spirit. Below are four statements about the Holy Spirit and I want you to pick which one you think is correct.

  • It is a powerful being and force that helps us live as Christians.

  • The Holy Spirit brings glory to Jesus by continuing the work Jesus did.

  • The Holy Spirit is Jesus in a Spirit form.

  • He is God, desires glory and teaches us new things about God.

By the end of this article, you should be able to figure out which statement is correct.

The aim of the Holy Spirit

Before we look at who the Holy Spirit is, we need to realise that His goal is to bring glory to the Son (John 16:14). Just like floodlights are to draw attention to the thing they are lighting up, like a field or building, and not themselves. The Holy Spirits aim is to draw attention to Jesus, not to Himself. This is important to keep in mind as we consider who the Holy Spirit is.

1. The Holy Spirit is fully God

1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” As Christians, we are God's temple, because God’s Spirit lives in us. God dwells in His people, because His Spirit lives in them. Also in Acts, we read of Ananias and Sapphira who lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). But later it says they have “not lied to men, but to God” (Acts 5:4). When they lie to the Holy Spirit, they are lying to God, because the Holy Spirit is God.

2. The Holy Spirit is the third member of the trinity

1 Peter 1:2 speaks of people “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ.” Also, 2 Corinthians 13:14 says, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirt be with you all.” The three members of the trinity are all put alongside each other and they are God. There are three persons in the one true God.

3. The Holy Spirit is a person

By this, I mean that He is a personal being, not an impersonal force or thing. He has personalities (Romans 15), can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), can be lied to (Acts 5:3), can be resisted and quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19), has a mind (Romans 8:27), makes decisions (1 Corinthians 12:11) and speaks (Revelation 2:7, 14:3).

4. The Holy Spirit is sent from Jesus and the Father

John,14:26 says, “The Counsellor,, who the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The Counsellor, who is the Holy Spirit, is sent from the Father. But in John 16:7b, Jesus also says, “Unless I go away, the counsellor/Holy Spirit will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” John in 20:22, Jesus says, “And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.” So, the Spirit is sent from Jesus and the Father.

5. The Holy Spirit is another helper like Jesus

John 14:16-17a says “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” In this verse, the word 'another' means one of the same kind (John 14:16). Who is it? Well, verse 17 says this counsellor is the Spirit of truth and verse 26 calls Him the Holy Spirit.

And as the Holy Spirit comes it is in many ways like Christ is actually coming to the disciples (see 14:16-21, 26). The Spirit makes up for the absence of Jesus and continues His presence and His work. In a sense Jesus is coming in the Spirit, for the Spirit will be a helper like Him and carry on the works and words of Jesus.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, we sometimes see the Holy Spirit referred to as the Spirit of Jesus. (Acts 16:6-7, Philippians 1:19, Romans 8:9-10, 1 Peter 1:11, Gal 4:6). Most clearly in Acts 16:6-7 we read “Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they cam to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” Sometimes the Spirit is referred to being the Spirit of Jesus, probably because the Spirit is proclaiming the words of Jesus. The Spirits work and words are so connected to those of Jesus.

But, by this, we do not mean that Jesus is the Holy Spirit. They are two separate persons.

Seek for the Spirit light up Jesus

This is who the Holy Spirit is. And He aims to bring glory to the Son. He seeks to point people to Jesus and light of up His worth and works in their life. Seek for the Spirit to light up Jesus in your life. Pray that the Spirit would shine the floodlight of God's Word into your life, so that you see and savour Jesus.

Call out for the Spirit to convict you of your guilt, help you cry out for mercy and to give you saving faith in Jesus. As Spurgeon says, “Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing. We are as ships without the wind, branches without sap, and like coals without fire, we are useless.” Realise that your only hope to be saved and serve God is by depending on the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to your sin, to shine the wonder of Jesus into you life in a way that brings faith, and to give you a new heart that seeks to serve God. Seek for the Spirit to do what only He can do!

Article by Will AitkenNovember 19, 2021