Stepping out the front door and into the yard, I zipped my light jacket all the way to my neck. The wind whipped at my hair and whistled through the trees. I made my way across the lawn, maneuvering around fallen branches and whirling leaves. There was no denying I was in the midst of something strong and powerful—the evidence was all around me—yet the wind itself was invisible.
Jesus uses a similar description help Nicodemus understand the mystery of being “born of the Spirit” in John chapter 3. Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8). I can imagine the look on the face of Nicodemus as he tried to wrap his head around what Jesus was trying to say. Just like Nicodemus, I too, have struggled to grasp the beautiful mystery of the Holy Spirit; yet there is no denying His presence. The evidence is all around me.
I’d love to share with you a little of what I’ve learned in my study of the Holy Spirit. I’m not shooting for a theological treatise here. No big words or mind-bending definitions. So I promise, if you’ll stick with me, together, we will gain a basic understanding of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, we’ll reap a huge blessing of renewed worship and continued wonder.
The Deity of the Holy Spirit
The Bible reveals the Holy Spirit as the third Person the Triune God. As far as the Triune God (the Trinity) goes, well, we’ll have to dive deeper into that one in another post :). But here’s a quick pass at it. Who gets to be God? God-status is reserved for Anyone who has eternally existed, who is able to be present everywhere all the time, who knows everything about everything, and who has exclusive and sovereign power. Now you and I both know folks who think they belong here, but in reality, it’s a pretty exclusive club! It is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
As the third Person of the Trinity, Hebrews 9:14 describes the Holy Spirit as eternal. “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (NIV). David sings of the wonder of the Spirit’s ever-present existence in Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (NIV). John records Jesus teaching the disciples about the all-knowing nature of the Holy Spirit, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13 NIV). And finally, Luke records the incredible work of the all-powerful Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary the mother of Jesus, “The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledthe Son of God” (Luke 1:35 NIV).
Secondly, the writers of the New Testament routinely refer to the Holy Spirit as God. For example, in that unfortunate real estate incident Peter asks Ananias, “How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit…?” (Acts 5:3) and in the very next verse he says, “You have not lied just to human beings but to God” (v. 4). It stands to reason that if lying to Holy Spirit is lying to God, it would necessarily follow that the Holy Spirit must be God. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul writes a letter to the church, reminding them that their bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” and that they are obligated to “glorify God in your body” (v. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). In both instances, the Holy Spirit and God are used interchangeably.
So there ya go. A very basic understanding of the Holy Spirit as God. Next up, we’ll take a quick look at the characteristics of the Holy Spirit as a Person of the Trinity.
Wanna know more?
Check out An Exploration of Christian Theology. It’s an easy read—no advance degree required!
Billy Graham does some Q &A on the Holy Spirit