WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?
As Christians, we believe in one God in three persons—the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You might feel that you know a lot about who the Father is and who Jesus is, but what about the Holy Spirit? Depending on what faith traditions you’ve been a part of, you might feel like the Holy Spirit has been overemphasized or conversely, underemphasized in your experience. As a community who wants to be filled by the Spirit, it’s beneficial for us to learn some foundational truths about him.
When we think about a spirit, we may be more likely to think about it in terms of an impersonal or universal force, but the Holy Spirit is a person. In some ways, our questioned assumed this truth because the Holy Spirit is not a “what,” but a “who.” He referred to in personal terms, like having the ability to be grieved (Ephesians 4:30) or lied to (Acts 5:3). Especially if you feel unfamiliar with the Holy Spirit, it could be helpful to consider this truth as you ask the Holy Spirit to lead you or help you grow to be more like Jesus.
The Holy Spirit himself is a gift to God’s people (Luke 11:13). He indwells in each believer and it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that believers are empowered and emboldened to fulfill the Great Commission to share the gospel (1 Cor. 3:16; Acts 1:8, 4:31). The Holy Spirit is also the “seal” or “guarantee” of our inheritance of eternal life and redemption in the future (Eph. 1:12-14; 2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5). Jesus even declared that the power of the Holy Spirit would enable future believers to do even greater works than he did during his earthly ministry (John 14:12). The Spirit also gives gifts to the church for the work of ministry and the building up of the body (1 Cor. 12:4-11).
Before his death, Jesus told his disciples that the Spirit would come to them and he referred to the Spirit as the “advocate” or the “helper” (Luke 16:7). He promised them, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come (Luke 16:13).” Today, the Spirit continues to reveal the truth of God’s word to the believer (1 Cor. 2:12). The Spirit also sanctifies believers, enabling them to turn from sin and become more like Jesus. In Galatians 5, Paul admonishes believers to “walk by the Spirit,” and then, consequently, they “will not gratify the desires of the flesh”. Living by the leading of the Holy Spirit will then produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
By learning more about the Holy Spirit and seeking to understand who he is and how he leads, the Spirit will continue to transform our lives individually. As we pursue being filled by the Spirit, God will transform our church together so that we can be a billboard for his reconciliation to the world.