Last time, I noted that the Holy Spirit is the least understood and the most misunderstood member of the Godhead. I provided scriptural evidence that the Holy Spirit is God. Today, I want us to understand that the Holy Spirit is a person.
The fact that there are many impersonal metaphors (wind, fire, oil, water, dove) used to represent the Holy Spirit in scripture has led some to believe that the Holy Spirit is anything other than a person. As soon as we realize that the Holy Spirit is a person – an entity who has a personality, as does the Father and the Son – our posture toward the Holy Spirit should completely change. Only a being with a personality can understand our problems and give us help. When we say that any entity is a person, some falsely understand this to mean that this entity must have a fleshly form. But Jesus did not have a fleshly form like ours after He had been resurrected. As the apostle Paul said, “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Cor. 5:16), for Jesus now has a spiritual body (see 1 Cor. 15:44). Does this mean that Jesus lost His personality? Of course not. No believer would disagree with the statement that the Father is a living person – yet no one has ever seen God, for God is a Spirit (see John 4:24). An entity is a person regardless of its corporeality, if it has the attributes of a person. Since the Holy Spirit has all the attributes of a person, even though He is not visible, He is a person. Let’s look at the biblical proofs of this.
1.The Bible continually uses personal pronouns to refer to the Holy Spirit.
“Even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).
“If I do not go away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you….And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:7-8) (emphases are all mine)
2. Many acts that only a person can perform or emotions that a person can feel are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Here is a brief list of these personal actions.
- The Holy Spirit speaks: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:7).
- The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities” (Rom. 8:26).
- The Holy Spirit prays for us: “The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:26).
- The Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
- The Holy Spirit testifies of the Lord: “But when the Comforter is come…he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).
- The Holy Spirit guides us: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
- The Holy Spirit commands people in the service of Jesus Christ: “Now when they…..were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia…..they assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not” (Acts 16:6-7).
- The Holy Spirit calls people to the work of God and appoints them to office: “The Holy Ghost, said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2).
- The Holy Spirit comforts believers: “Then had the churches rest……and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied” (Acts 9:31).
- The Holy Spirit leads us: “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” (Luke 4:1).
- The Holy Spirit has emotions and feelings: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30); “…….maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered.” (Rom. 8:26); “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom 5:5).
- The Holy Spirit enables us: “And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).
- The Holy Spirit has a will, and He works according to His will and plan: “But all things worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Cor. 12:11). See also Acts 16:6-7.
This list gives only some highlights. Whole chapters of the Bible were written about the activities of the Holy Spirit. For emphasis, I reiterate here that to be a person, an entity must have certain attributes: the knowledge of things and facts; feelings such as joy, anger, pleasure and sorrow; and the will to decide one’s attitudes toward these feelings. The Holy Spirit has all of these attributes.
These acts ascribed to the Holy Spirit are also critical roles that the Holy Spirit plays in our lives as believers and gives us insight regarding why we cannot and should not seek to walk this Christian journey without Him.
The Bible removes all doubt from our minds that the Holy Spirit is a real person who has knowledge, feeling and will. He abides and works with and within us. Knowing this, we should seek to be fully empowered by His supernatural power through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.