This is another part of a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the High Street Press of the MBC (visit highstreet.press).
In some ways, the Holy Spirit is the neglected, if not forgotten, member of the Trinity.
The biblical doctrines of foreknowledge, election, predestination, and adoption awaken us to the everlasting love of God the Father.
Through the Incarnation, the second person of the Trinitarian Godhead becomes flesh and pitches his tent with us (John 1:14). He fully experiences what it means to be human, including facing temptation – but without sinning so that He can clothe us with the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
Christians are said to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are the adopted sons and daughters of God the Father.
But where is the Holy Spirit in all of this? As we know from the scriptures, none of the people of Godhead act alone. As such, the Holy Spirit is a co-equal and co-eternal partner in all of the work of the Trinity.
It is therefore important for us to understand how the Bible describes both the personality and the divinity of the Holy Spirit. In the next column, we focus on Spirit as a person, for without personality Spirit cannot be divine. Then in the next column we show from the Scriptures how this person possesses all of the attributes of the Godhead found in both the Father and the Son.
Take a biblical view
The major religions of the world recognize the Holy Spirit, as do the more popular forms of counterfeit Christianity, but they define the Spirit in ways that negate his person, his divinity, or both.
For example, Islam portrays the Holy Spirit as none other than the angel Gabriel, who delivered the Quran to the Prophet Mohammad.
Jehovah’s Witnesses deny both the personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit, calling him a “holy spirit” and comparing him to a powerful and impersonal force.
And Latter-day Saints distinguish between the Holy Ghost, which is personal, and the Holy Ghost, which (sometimes) is not. These views do not correspond to the scriptures.
As we explore the personality of the Holy Spirit, it is helpful to ask: Does the Holy Spirit offer proof of personality? Does he speak, does he use personal pronouns, does he have a will, and so on? The answer, of course, is a definite yes.
In many passages of Scripture, Spirit uses personal pronouns in reference to itself (for example, Acts 10: 19-20; 13: 1-2). Jesus also uses personal pronouns to refer to the coming of the Holy Spirit (for example, John 15:26; 16: 13-14).
According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit arrives, guides, discerns the truth, hears and speaks, reveals future events, testifies of and glorifies Jesus – all demonstrations of personality.
New Testament writers further confirm the personal activities of the Spirit. He counsels, prophesies, strengthens, confirms our adoption into the family of God, distributes spiritual gifts and much more.
The biblical proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit is clear; that is, the Spirit is an He, not an that. Once Spirit’s personality is established, his divinity is a logical and Bible-true next step. So what do we see the Spirit do that only God can do?
To begin with, the Holy Spirit creates (Genesis 1: 2; Ps. 104: 30). He also demonstrates omniscience and omnipresence, displaying qualities that establish him as co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son (Psalm 139: 7-8; 1 Cor. 2: 10-11) . In addition, the Spirit shares a divine name, symbolic of the divine presence, with the other members of the Trinitarian Godhead (Matthew 28:19).
Additional evidence of the divinity of the Spirit is found in several passages that attest to its divine power (eg, Luke 1:35; John 16: 8-11; Rom. 8:11; 15: 18-19).
We examine the personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit in more detail in the next two columns.
While the Spirit is in some ways the most neglected member of the Trinity, Scripture shows that he possesses all of the attributes of the Godhead – eternity, omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, to name a few. – one – while simultaneously exhibiting all the traits of the divine personality as the Creator of all and the Counselor of those who follow Jesus.
Next: The Personality of the Holy Spirit