Study 1 HE IS A DIVINE PERSON
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portions: John 14:16-26; 16:7-15)
This study is the first of a series aimed to bring a deepening of the life of God in many lives and churches. Perhaps one of the greatest needs today is for God’s children really to know the Holy Spirit and to understand His ministry. Many know the Father (John 14:7), and the Lord Jesus (John 14:9), who do not really know the Holy Spirit (John 14:17).
There are three important reasons why we should study this doctrine:-
- It is a much neglected truth. The Second Coming of our Lord and the Person and work of the Holy Spirit are truths which have been sadly neglected, yet they both have a very important place in the Word of God - in the teaching of our Lord, in the Book of Acts and in the Letters. There is a danger in over-emphasising these truths, as well as in under-emphasising them.
- There is much confusion and hazy thinking about this subject. Perhaps that is why it has been so neglected. It is a difficult subject - it is difficult to understand that the Holy Spirit is a person. We have no such difficulty in the case of the Lord Jesus because He lived in a human body; whereas the Holy Spirit is a person without a body.
- A right understanding of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit can only result in positive blessing. For example: (1) He magnifies the Person and work of the Lord Jesus (John 16:14); (2) He makes the Word of God more precious to us (Psalm 119:18,97); (3) He makes prayer intelligible and effective (Romans 8:26-27); (4) He revolutionises Christian service (Acts 1:8); (5) He rectifies error (John 16:13); (6) He promotes holiness of life (Romans 8:1-4); (7) He lifts church life on to a new high level (Acts 9:31) – to mention only a few results of an understanding of His Person and work.
In this first study we will ask and answer two questions:
- Is the Holy Spirit a PERSON?
- Is He a DIVINE Person?
The Word of God makes it abundantly clear that the Holy Spirit is a person. He is mentioned hundreds of times, and every reference to Him in the Bible implies or asserts His personality.
The same may be said of His deity, for the Word of God abundantly proves that the Holy Spirit is not only a person but a divine Person.
1. Three things lead us to believe that the Holy Spirit is a PERSON.
- The same words implying personality are used of Him in scripture that are used of other persons. Notice, in the following references, the personal pronouns referring to the Father, the Lord Jesus, the Disciples and the Holy Spirit:- John 14:16,17,26 - and John 16:7,8,13,14,15. These verses clearly indicate that the Holy Spirit is a real person.
- It is possible to act towards the Holy Spirit in ways which would be impossible if He were not truly a person. For example, we read that the Holy Spirit was grieved (Isaiah 63:10; Ephesians 4:30); we are warned of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31); we are told that He may be lied to (Acts 5:4). Men cannot grieve, blaspheme, lie to a mere influence. These actions on the part of man indicate that the Holy Spirit is a person.
- The Holy Spirit is said to perform actions which are possible only to a person. Look up Genesis 6:3; John 14:26; 16:13; Acts 8:29; 13:2; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Hebrews 3:7; Revelation 2:7. In these scriptures we are told that the Holy Spirit strives, teaches, testifies, guides, speaks, searches - and all these actions indicate that He is a person.
For further study, look up the titles and names of the Holy Spirit, and notice that these prove His personality. The fact also of His deity proves that He is a person. If we can prove that He is God then He must be a person! Therefore, is this person a divine Person? The scriptures make it quite clear that He is.
2. There are three considerations that lead us to believe that the Holy Spirit is a DIVINE Person.
- (1) He is called ‘God’ in the New Testament. In Acts 5:3-4 it is made clear that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God. In Acts 28:25-26, the voice of God heard by Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8-9) is said to be the voice of the Holy Spirit. (Notice also ‘Us’ – the Trinity - in Isaiah 6:8-9).
- (2) The attributes of Deity are ascribed to the Holy Spirit:-
- Omnipotence (Psalm 104:30; Micah 2:7; 1 Peter 3:18).
- Omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10).
- Omniscience (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
- Holiness (Ephesians 1:13 – the Holy Spirit)
- Grace and love (Galatians 5:22; Hebrews 10:29).
- Truth and faithfulness (John 16:13; 1 John 5:6).
- Eternity (Hebrews 9:14).
These are the characteristics of deity, and are therefore proof that the Holy Spirit is God.
- (3) Works are ascribed to the Holy Spirit that are only possible to Deity. For example: Job 33:4 (compare Genesis 1:26, and notice the ‘Us’ – the Trinity - again); John 3:5; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:11. Notice also the names of the Trinity joined together in the Baptismal Formula (Matthew 28:18-20), and the Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14).
What is the practical result of recognising the Holy Spirit as a Divine Person?
- If we think of Him as only an influence, we shall want more of ‘It’, and the result will be PRIDE.
- If we think of Him as a Person, we shall want Him to have more of us, and the result will be HUMILITY.
He is a Divine Person, and therefore worthy of our worship, our love, our service and our ALL!