Everyday Theology: The Person of the Holy Spirit

A friend of mine recently found out she’s going to have a baby. As we sat talking about nursery colors and baby strollers, I smiled as she told me all about her newest pet peeve. She explained how she kinda gets a little incensed when people ask her, “When’s it due?” For this mama, her baby is no it…her baby is a person even though the gender of the little person it not yet known.

As we study the members of the Trinity, God the Father and God the Son are easily recognized as being gender-specific. But what about the Holy Spirit? How do we know the Holy Spirit is not an “it”? Well, friend, I’m glad you asked!

Shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus gives his followers some detailed instructions about the coming Holy Spirit. He says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26 NIV). Just two chapters later, Jesus says, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7 NIV). Notice that Jesus did not say I will send it to you. Jesus personifies the Holy Spirit by using the personal pronoun, him.

Scriptures further demonstrate the Person of the Holy Spirit. We can see that he has a will, he has ability to reason, and he has emotions and behavior. Regarding spiritual gifts, we see that believers do not choose spiritual gifts; rather, gifts are given to each individual by the sovereign will of the Holy Spirit. “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:11 NIV). As we pray, the Holy Spirit knows the will of God. “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:27). The Holy Spirit has emotions. For example, he can be lied to, “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit…?” (Acts 5:3); he can be insulted, “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrew 10:29); and he can be grieved, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30 NIV). Finally, the Holy Spirit can act or behave, “…because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who give life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

When we better understand the Person of the Holy Spirit, we can to relate to him more intimately. We realize we are never alone—even when no other human being is around. The Spirit of God is always present in the life of anyone who believes Jesus is God and who has accepted his gift of salvation.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV).

Wanna know more?

Check out this article by Charles Swindoll: The Spirit who is not a Ghost

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