The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead, or the Trinity. He is the One who guides us into a closer walk with Christ.
The Holy Spirit is fully God, more than an influence or a force. He has the personhood and mind of God, and performs a special duty to help us connect with God the Father. The Spirit also guides us in our lives.
He was sent by Christ as the personal presence of God for those dwelling on earth. When received, the Spirit will transform your life to reflect Jesus Christ.
Let’s take a closer look at:
- The Holy Spirit’s identity and role in the Trinity
- The Holy Spirit’s influence in the writing of the Bible
- The Holy Spirit’s role in Jesus’ earthly ministry
- How the Holy Spirit works with us
Belief 5: The Holy Spirit
God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He is as much a person as are the Father and the Son. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:1, 2; 2 Sam. 23:2; Ps. 51:11; Isa. 61:1; Luke 1:35; 4:18; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 5:3; 10:38; Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; 2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Peter 1:21.)
The Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity
When you look to scripture, it’s clear that the Holy Spirit is a part of the triune God. The term God is inclusive of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we see this in the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20.
Jesus implores His disciples to go and preach the Gospel to all the world, baptising them in the name of God. Yet, Jesus says it this way: “Go therefore… baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19, NKJV).
Furthermore you see the Spirit acting as God as He takes part in the creation. For, “the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2, NASB). And “By His Spirit He adorned the heavens” (Job 26:13, NKJV).
This all alludes to the fact that the Holy Spirit is a personal presence; it reminds us that God is a personal God. When Jesus ascended to heaven after His time on earth He left us “Another comforter” (John 14:16, KJV).
This in itself is a testament to the personality of the Holy Spirit; for the word Comforter, in the original greek, simply means “Helper.” The word “another” denotes one who will come to take the place of Christ (the first comforter) on earth.
The Holy Spirit’s role in forming the scriptures
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (NKJV). The scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, were guided by the Holy Spirit.
This means nothing written in the Bible was written without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For we are told that, “Men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (1 Peter 1:20,21, NASB).
Moreover, we’re given the report that when David wrote the psalms, He was “in the Spirit” (Mark 12:36).
It was the Holy Spirit who led in the writing of the scriptures. And it is the Spirit who leads in the interpretation of the scriptures (John 16:13, 1 Corinthians 2:14).
The Holy Spirit sustained Jesus in His earthly ministry
In the book of John, you will find some interesting words come from the lips of Christ, “I can of my own self do nothing…” (John 5:30, NKJV). Remember, Jesus is the mighty God (Isa 9:6). He had a prime role in creation (John 1:3), He is the all-powerful – so these words can sound at least a little surprising.
If by Himself He could do nothing, then where did He receive His power? The Bible gives us insight on this point; it was in the power of the Spirit that Jesus ministered on earth (Luke 4:14). You can see this point noted all throughout the gospels.
For instance, When Jesus first started His ministry, the Spirit anointed Him as Messiah (Luke 3:22, Acts 10:38).
As Christ went about in His work, He would heal, bind up, cast out demons, and bring sight to the blind. He was able to do all these things because the “Spirit of the Lord” was upon Him (Luke 4:18; Matthew 12:28). This is how Christ found strength, it was through the Spirit.
By not relying on Himself for strength, Christ prepared the way for humanity. As the Spirit guided Christ, He is now given for our guidance (John 16:13). As He gave Christ strength, we can receive the same (Zechariah 4:6). Here we find a valuable point to remember, Christ was our example (1 Peter 2:21, 1 John 2:6).
How does the Holy Spirit work with us?
1. The Holy Spirit given to Christ’s followers.
In the book of Acts, you can witness the disciples filled with the Spirit. They spoke in different languages and preached powerful sermons. They testified to the love of God! This was the fulfilment of Christ’s great promise, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper” (John 14:16, NASB).
The presence of the Holy Spirit was quintessential. It was better for Christ’s followers than if Jesus Himself were to continue with them (John 16:7). So, what makes the Holy Spirit’s presence so important?
2. The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin and righteousness (John 16:8).
As you draw closer to God, you will see your sinfulness in the light of Christ’s righteous life.
Christ revealed to humanity an example of a pure and holy life (1 Peter 2:22). The Spirit’s work is for you to behold His life, His goodness, and see your hopeless state. This is for the purpose that you may be led to repentance (Romans 2:4). It is the conviction of sin, and Christ‘s righteousness, that leads you to salvation. And it is through the salvation experience that you will begin to grow through the Spirit.
3. The Spirit leads the Christian into truth (John 16:13).
When the Spirit leads into truth, He leads into a correct understanding of the scriptures (John 17:17). Moreover, central to the scriptures is a correct knowledge of Christ (John 5:39). This is a fundamental part of the work of the Holy Spirit.
4. The Spirit leads you into the peace that is yours through repentance and forgiveness.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1, NKJV).
Those who are in Christ are walking according to the Spirit and are without condemnation. This is peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). You can claim the promise that, “…All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons” and daughters “of God.” (Romans 8:14, NASB). What great news for us! Our life can be filled with joy and peace, abounding in hope, all through the Spirit (Romans 15:13)!
5. The Spirit interprets our prayers (Romans 8:26).
When we seek God earnestly, oftentimes we may not know exactly what to pray for. The beautiful work of the Holy Spirit is to intercede on behalf of God’s children. By this God makes “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His Purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NKJV)
6. The Spirit writes God’s law in our hearts (Heb 8:10).
When the Holy Spirit comes upon the follower of Christ, His presence is not only over them, but within them (1 Corinthians 3:16). It is His work, while dwelling in us, to write the law of God on our hearts (Jer 31:33; 2 Corinthians 3:3). This is synonymous in scripture with filling our hearts with the love of God (Romans 5:5).
7. The Spirit gives strength to testify of Christ (John 15:26).
When the Spirit dwells in you, His main desire is for your life to reflect the life of Christ. The Bible puts it this way, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:16,17).
The Spirit strengthens us so Christ can dwell in our hearts by faith. His life, His character, His love—more and more each day—placed in His people.
What a powerful promise. Christ in the heart; for whatever is in our heart will be revealed in our life (Proverbs 4:22). This is the result of Holy Spirit Baptism.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit
To be baptised by the Holy Spirit means to receive power in the Christian life to witness for Christ (Acts 1:8).
John the baptist was preaching and preparing the way for the messiah (Jesus) when he said these words, “… I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11).
These words pointed forward to the day of pentecost. It was on this day (Acts 2) that Christ “baptised” His followers with the Holy Spirit. Later on, the boldness of the apostles was upsetting the rulers. As a result, those of the temple “realised that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13, NKJV). At this point in time, Jesus was in heaven – no longer physically dwelling with His disciples.
It was through the Holy Spirit that they were able to hold communion with Him. What the priests saw in these apostles was the life of Christ in His followers. It is the same Spirit which sustained Christ, and raised Him from the dead, which is to give his followers life (Romans 8:11).
God desires to baptise you with the Holy Spirit. The word baptised in the original greek text is baptizo – it means to be fully immersed. Not just a little bit, but completely. On the day of Pentecost we see that the disciples were “filled” with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). Not just half-filled, but completely filled.
To be baptised, or filled, with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19), we must first allow God to empty us of the things contrary to His word. Just as you cannot fill a milk carton with water until it is emptied of its contents. Similarly, we cannot be filled with the Spirit until we allow God to do His work through the Spirit. This is called the “sanctification of the Spirit” (1 Peter 1:2). Christ is simply waiting for entrance so He may begin this process (Revelation 3:20).
Day by day, you and I are to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, so as we interact with those around us, they may see we too have been with Jesus.
Receiving the Holy Spirit
God desires for you to receive the Holy Spirit. He is actually eager to give it! For many, it can be hard to know whether or not they have the Holy Spirit. Scripture gives us the confidence in God’s promise to give it to those who simply ask and seek for it.
Let’s direct our focus to few more simple outlines for receiving the Holy Spirit:
- Luke 11:13 – God is more than ready to give us the Spirit.
- Luke 11:8,13 – We must desire the Spirit: ask, seek, knock.
- Acts 5:32 – The Spirit is given to those who decide they want to live in obedience to God.
- Zechariah 4:6 – You are to rely on the Spirit daily for empowerment as a Christian.
We are also told that although we can’t see the Spirit, just like the wind, we can see it’s effects (John 3:8).
Those who are daily seeking for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). They will testify to the work of the Holy Spirit. The way they treat others in their thoughts, words, and actions will uplift Christ.
The Holy Spirit is important to Adventists, as He is the greatest need for their spiritual life. It is through the Spirit that they are able to experience a closer walk with Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, the Christian can find freedom, healing and hope for today.