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The mysterious third member of the trinity of God is the Holy Spirit. For some reason Christians seem to have a hard time understanding the Spirit of God. What is He like? What does He do? How do we respond to Him, and how does He operate in us?
Before we get into some of the doctrines that people like to disagree on we should take a look into who is the Holy Spirit in the first place.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
This may be the best way to understand the Holy Spirit. God said let us make man in our image. If God is three in one then it stands to reason that He would make man to be three in one. Have you ever heard the term mind, body, and soul? The Bible says it a little bit differently but still means about the same thing.
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
It is not without reason that God said we should love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind. These three things make up who we are. The fourth item in Mark 12:30 speaks more of our actions than it does how God made us. So then there are really only those three. It is the image of the trinity written within us. So what do these parts of us represent?
The Mind – This is the place in us that does our thinking. We balance options and calculate risk and reward. A judge must have a sound mind because they can not be swayed by emotions. They must give justice based on facts and the law. It is the mind that keeps us from being hurt by others that we so desperately want to trust yet should not because of their lack of repentance.
The Soul – This is also called the breath of life. In Genesis we see that after God breathed into man he became a living soul. If you look at the way the word soul is used in the Bible you will see it is used almost interchangeably with the word person. A living person is someone who is aware and conscious in some way (fully or subconscious). Our soul is what makes us living beings.
The Heart – When the Bible speaks of the heart it is often speaking about our personality. We can be evil or good. We can be humble or proud. We can be serious or light hearted. This is where our desires, hopes, and dreams come from. It makes us who we are.
So if the trinity is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each one of these things represents one of the three. Here is where things get sticky. Our God is one God. He is not many Gods making up one…He literally is one God.
The amazing thing about this is that even though He is one God He has three parts of Himself. In the same way we have three parts of ourselves but we are one person.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
The best way to understand the trinity is to look at Jesus. He was the Son of God and said the Father was in Him (John 14:10) and the Holy Ghost was also in Him (Luke 4:1). Jesus was the full trinity in a human body. He had a mind, heart, and soul.
Even though God is one His different attributes are spoken of as individual members of Himself. Nevertheless God the Father, Son, and Spirit have the same thoughts, emotions, and logic since they are all connected…they are the same person. So lets take a look at the attributes of each part of the trinity.
The Father – The one over everything. This is the one that will correct His child. He is the authority figure. The Father can be considered as the mind of God.
The Son – The one who laughed with us and wept with us. He desired to save the lost and loved us enough to die the death of the cross. Jesus can be considered the heart of God.
The Spirit – The one whose very name could be interpreted as breath in Hebrew. This Spirit is called a quickening Spirit that makes alive. He is aware, moves, and acts with purpose. The Holy Spirit can be considered the soul of God.
By the way…if you want to study the trinity deeper I suggest looking at proverbs. In the very first chapter it says the reason for the writing is to make known wisdom, instruction, and the words of understanding. Remember that the Bible was not just written to tell us how to live. It was written to let us know about who God is. Read it and think of God the Father as wisdom, the Holy Spirit as instruction, and the words of understanding as Jesus.
So now that we see how God the Father, Son, and Spirit are the same person we can begin to look at the individual aspect of the Spirit.
What is He Like?
The Spirit of God (also called the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit or Ghost) is what moves Him. It is because of our spirit that we act on our desires and plans. If we didn’t have it then we would not be alive and nothing would come of desires or plans and logic would have no meaning. It is this way with God as well.
We can think of the Spirit as the glue that holds everything together. He is the power behind the logic and words of God (John 6:63). Maybe this can help us understand some things.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
These verses show us a few things about the Holy Spirit. He is given to us at salvation according to Acts 2:38 and Titus 3:5 along with Ephesians 1:13. He also provides power to be witnesses for God. It is the Spirit of God that seals us (A protective shield of preservation).
What Does He Do?
The Holy Spirit acts in accordance with the will of God. So if God wants us to speak to a mountain to be removed and cast into the sea the Spirit will prompt us to speak it and the power of the Spirit will make it happen.
With God (The Holy Spirit) all things are possible.
We receive the Holy Ghost at the same time that we receive Jesus and the Father. Remember that they are not different people, they are one. You can not receive Jesus without also receiving His Spirit.
There are many who believe speaking in tongues is the number one and essential proof of the Holy Spirit being received. The scriptures just do not hold this to be true though.
1 Corinthians 12:30
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
If you look at this verse in context you will see that the obvious answer and point he is trying to make is that not everyone who is a Christian speaks in tongues. This verse combined with the verses mentioned earlier about how the Holy Ghost is given at salvation should prove that speaking in tongues is not the baptism with the Holy Ghost as some say.
If anyone wants to point out that baptism with the Holy Ghost is a separate work done at some point after salvation they would do well to consider the next verse I am about to list:
1 Corinthians 12:13
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
This verse speaks of all Christians from those who just got saved to those on the death bed. They all have been baptized into one body and make to drink into one Spirit. In other words ALL Christians are baptized by and in the same Holy Spirit.
In case you may be wondering, it IS the Spirit that this verse says we are all baptized with, and not water. This is evident in the claim of John the Baptist who said “I indeed baptize you with water,” but “He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” So John equated the Holy Ghost as being like the water. You would be baptized IN the Holy Ghost, not just BY Him.
So if tongues isn’t what proves we have the Spirit of Christ in us what does?
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
The fruit of the Spirit is love. When we pass from death to life and have been born again we gain the Spirit of Christ in us that loves. So the real evidence of the Holy Ghost is a life of love.
July 12, 2015 at 11:46 pm | | 2 comments
I do get a bit confused, as some Christians aren’t very nice and you wonder if the Holy Spirit is in them, why are they not acting like Jesus as it says in The Bible that we must take up our Cross and follow Him, and to Love one another. I feel a lot of people are moving away from the church because the church has become worldly and cold
I really appreciate this study. It’s well written, and put together very persuasively. Thank you for taking the time to do such a good job with it.
There are actually three verbs in the original Greek associated with the Holy Spirit’s interaction with the Church. They are translated as “with” “in” and “upon”. Since the Holy Spirit is God He is omnipresent, and is “with” everyone whether they believe or not. “In” obviously refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is consistent with His work of “guiding into all truth”, conviction of sin and unrighteousness, comfort, helps, and the like. And finally “upon” is always directly talking about “power” or external manifestations or gifts of the Spirit. Such as healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc.
It is true that every person has the Holy Spirit “with” them.
Every believer has the Holy Spirit “in” them.
Everyone baptized in the Holy Spirit (immersed) has the Holy Spirit “upon” them.
Tongues do not always follow the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but is a common occurrence, but all the gifts are possible manifestations, though none are required to authenticate a baptism.
Thanks for your time, and God bless!