“I believe in the Holy Spirit.”
Who – or What – is the Holy Spirit?
Well, for starters, the Holy Spirit is not a what (as the Jehovah Witness cult teaches, claiming that the Holy Spirit is nothing but “God’s active force” in the world.)
The Holy Spirit is a Who. So when someone comes up and asks you, “So when the Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of you, who is living inside of you?” you say in reply, “That’s right.” Then when they ask, “Who fills you?” you say, “From head to toe.” To which they’ll probably then ask, “So what’s the guy’s name living inside of you?” to which you’ll answer, “No, What’s the guy’s name teaching Sunday School.” To which he’ll then say, “I’m not asking you who’s teaching Sunday School.” To which you reply, “No, Who lives inside of you.” He’ll then say, “I don’t know”. And you can answer, “Oh, he types the bulletins. You’re all confused.”
Considering all the data that Scripture provides, the Holy Spirit is none other than God himself. Unlike an “active force”, the Holy Spirit can give commands (Acts 13:2), and feels love (Romans 15:30), and expresses volition (1 Cor.12:11), and can be lied to (Acts 5:3) and can be grieved (Eph.4:30). Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as a divine person that the Father would send in his name (John 14:16-17).
Christians came up with the idea of the “Trinity” not because the word is used in the Bible, but because the concept is plastered around everywhere (not to mention the numerous “Trinitarian” references that can be found: Matthew 28:19, 2 Cor.13:14, Heb.9:14).
Christians came up with the idea of the “Trinity” not because the word is used in the Bible, but because the concept is plastered around everywhere
What the reality of the Holy Spirit means is that God is closer to us that we could possibly imagine. Jesus in coming to earth that first Christmas was Immanuel – God with us. And what a comforting thought, to think that God himself has walked this earth. But Christianity offers a God even closer than this. Not only a God with us, but a God in us.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you,” Jesus promised. “If anyone loves me…my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:18,23). Followers of Christ are literally “temples of the Holy Spirit”.
The challenge – and privilege – before many believers is to learn how to recognize this, to learn how to be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18), and to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal.5:25). Don’t take the Holy Spirit for granted. And certainly don’t think of him as just a “doctrine” or a “what”.
I pray you will learn to know Who is with you, and then grow in that amazing relationship.