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Minister’s Blog – Holy Spirit

PART ONE

 

Who is the Spirit?

 

There was once a time in history when the Holy Spirit was little if ever spoken of in the church. You can see this reflected in the old creeds of the Christian Faith where for instance in the Apostles Creed God the Father is spoken of as Almighty and Creator, Jesus clearly is the main emphasis with ten lines devoted to Him and yet only one is written in regard to the Holy Spirit. The Nicene Creed goes further than simply stating belief in the Holy Spirit by saying, “we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets”. Whereas other Creeds make no mention of Him at all.

 

It would seem strange that up until the last 100 years or so, little was written concerning the Holy Spirit. To my knowledge, there was a well known book written by John Owen around 1674-8 as well as one book written by Samuel Chadwick which was first published 1932 entitled “The way to Pentecost” where in the first chapter he points to the Apostles Creed as evidence of the churches neglect of the subject in question. Nevertheless, since Samuel Chadwick’s passing there has been a considerable interest in the Holy Spirit as evidenced by the plethora of writing that litters Christian bookstores and is widely available online. Just type “The Holy Spirit” into a search engine and you will be met with book after book on the subject which if not careful can overwhelm and confuse the eager reader rather than aid them on the subject and leave them with more questions than answers.

 

Is it something or someone?

 

In posing the question who is the Holy Spirit, it needs to asked is it something or someone? Some groups such as the Jehovah’s Witness believe that the Holy Spirit is a force or power and not a person. Whereas Christians believe the Holy Spirit to be a person and not simply a force or power. But why?

 

What does the bible say?

 

We first read about the God’s Spirit in Genesis 1:2 where we are told the Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters. In Genesis 6:3 we read God saying, “… My Spirit will not always strive with man forever…”. Again, in Genesis 41:38 we read Pharaoh saying of Joseph, “… Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God”. Again, in Exodus 35:31 we are told that Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God in order to do the work for the tabernacle as God instructed. In Numbers 11:17,25-6,29 we read of God taking some of the Spirit which was on Moses and giving it to others in order to lead with Moses. Also, in Numbers 24:2 we read of the Spirit of God coming upon Balaam and then Balaam prophesying.

 

Taking these verses into consideration one could look upon the Holy Spirit as a power from God, a force and not a person. However, throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament there are reference after reference of the Spirit’s work and some are personal and others are impersonal just like in the New Testament some references speak of the Spirit as “it” and as “He”. In other words, some speak of the Holy Spirit as a person and others do not. For example, here are some passages in the New Testament that refer to the Holy Spirit as a person.

 

Matt. 12:31“…  but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.”(see also Mark 3:29.). Disagree if you wish but I do believe this is referring to a person not a force or power. Also, Luke 12:12 says, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you . . . what you ought to say.” A force does not teach somebody or tell us what to say (see also John 14:26). Moreover, we read in Acts 5:3“Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit … ?”. You do not lie to a force or power but to a person. Finally, Acts 13:2 says, “. . . the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” A force or a power does not speak and yet we are told here that the Holy Spirit spoke to them.

 

In conclusion, I wish to state on the authority of Scripture and the revelation from God in line with the Apostles and early Creeds, I believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is glorified. He spoke through the prophets of old and worked through those He came upon as in creation and still works through those who through Jesus Christ receive Him and are baptised with Him in order to do the work of God upon the earth until Christ comes again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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