When Paul went to Ephesus and asked the disciples if they were receiving the Holy Spirit, when they believed they replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19). : 1-2). If such a question were to be asked of us today, the answer would most likely be, “Ah, we even dispense and distribute the Holy Ghost. In fact, the Holy Spirit is at the end of our hands.
The Holy Spirit has become too familiar, to the point of being misunderstood and even abused. Much without biblical guarantee is said and taught about it and many people embrace it and swallow it on the hook, line and sinker. Few take the time to study and learn directly from the Bible what it says or teaches about the Holy Spirit.
Some see the Holy Spirit as a mystical force, and others as the impersonal power that God places at the disposal of Christ’s followers.
But the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is not a force of God, but God Himself. Paul wrote: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2Cor. 3: 6, 17-18). He went further by speaking of the “glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”. In Acts 5: 3-4, 9, Peter used the Holy Spirit and God interchangeably. In addition, attributes (omniscient- 1Cor. 2: 10-11; omnipresent- Psalm 139: 7-10; omnipotent- Luke 1:35, 37; eternity – Heb. 9:14) and works (creation – Gen 1 : 2 cf. Job 33: 4; work miracles – Matthew 12:28, Rom. 15:19; redemption of man – Heb. 9:14; regeneration of man – John 3: 5; Titus 3: 4-6) attributed to the Holy Spirit in the Bible are Divine.
The Holy Spirit is also “a person”. His “personality” is portrayed by His:
• Activities – Speeches (1Tim.4: 1; Acts 8:29; 10: 19-20; 13: 1-4; teach (John 14:26); guide (John 16: 12-13); bear witness (John 15: 26-27); intercession (Rom 8:26); prohibit (Acts 6-7); allow (Acts 16:10).
• Mental and emotional characteristics – Spirit (Rom 8:27); will (1Cor 12: 1); knowledge (1Cor 2:11); affection (Rom 15:30).
• Relational qualities – Love (Rom 15:30). He can also be hurt by being grieved (Eph. 4:30); blasphemed (Matthew 12: 31-32); insulted (Hebrews 10:29); lied (Acts 5: 3); resisted (Acts 7:51).
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and also the delegate of the first two persons. He is sent both by the Father (John 14: 16-17, 26; 16: 17, 26; Gal. 4: 6) and by the Son (John 15: 26; 16: 7). He is both the Spirit of God the Father (Rom. 3: 9, 14; I Cor. 2: 10-11, 14) and the Spirit of Christ (Acts 16: 7; Rom. 8: 9; Gal. 4: 6). He continues the work and the particular presence of the Father and of the Son with the people of God.
Thus, the Holy Spirit is God Himself fully manifested and present, not only among us, but also within us. He is not an impersonal force that should be manipulated (like force / magical power) or used for selfish ends. Rather, he is the 3rd Person of the Holy Trinity, God to be worshiped and who can be counted on for his help.
The Ven. Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba is the Rector of the Ibru International Ecumenical Center in Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.