Here is the fourth installment of my “Here I Stand” series. First we looked at the Scriptures, then God, His attributes and triune nature, and the last post was on the Person of Jesus Christ. This post I would like to share my position on the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service, (Article IV. 1950 EFCA Statement of Faith).
I believe that God the Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. We are commanded to baptize not only in the name of the Father and the Son, but also in the name of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19). Jesus also cautions His followers not to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 12:22-32). The Holy Spirit was also involved in creation, (Genesis 1:2).
We also see in Acts 5:3-4 we see in Peter’s words that to lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God:
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God,”(Acts 5:3-4, ESV, emphasis mine).
The Holy Spirit possesses the same attributes and nature that God the Father and God the Son possess, for instance:
- The Holy Spirit is eternal, (Genesis 1:2).
- The Holy Spirit is omniscient, (Isaiah 40:13-14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
- He is omnipresent, (Psalm 139:7-8).
- He is omnipotent, (Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30).
- The Holy Spirit is life, (Romans 8:2).
- The Spirit is truth, (1 John 5:6).
- He has a will, (1 Corinthians 12:11).
- Gives new spiritual life when they become Christians which is something only God can do, (John 3:5-7).
Through the Spirit’s work came the inspired, written Word of God, (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21), and through the Holy Spirit’s power, the living Word of God – Logos, Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary, (Luke 1:35). As prophesied in the Old Testament, (Joel 2:28-29), and promised by Jesus before His ascension, the Holy Spirit baptized the believers gathered at Pentecost and the Church was then established, (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-2).
Regarding the work of the Holy Spirit…
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you,” (John 16:13-14, ESV).
Jesus says that the Holy Spirit guides His followers to all truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, (John 14:17). The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son. If anything diminishes Jesus Christ’s glory, Scriptures says, is the spirit of the antichrist, (1 John 4:2-3).
The Holy Spirit is active in the work of salvation by convicting the unsaved person regarding their spiritual condition, (John 16:8-11; Acts 7:51) and regenerates sinners, (John 3:8; Titus 3:5). The Spirit resides in those who have been regenerated (born again), (John 3:5; Acts 10:44; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13). He also seals (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30) and fills believers, (Ephesians 5:18).
The Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christians by teaching and illuminating truth, (John 14:26; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 14-15), guides, (Romans 8:14), and intercession, (Romans 8:26-27). The Holy Spirit comforts the believer, (John 14:16), assures the believer, (Romans 8:16), sanctifies, (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2) and brings forth spiritual fruit in the life of a believer, (Galatians 5:22-23). Believers are also empowered (Acts 1:8) and enabled for ministry through the giving of spiritual gifts, (1 Corinthians 12:11) for the edification of the Church.
Of all the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament, (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; Ephesians 4:11) five are considered to be “sign gifts”. All are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, they are: miracles, healing, prophecy, tongues and the interpretation of tongues. I do not exercise said gifts, but I believe that they are still in use today.
Much of what we have seen regarding the usage of “sign gifts” in the United States today I believe is neither biblical or orderly, (1 Corinthians 14). I believe in their continued use* because I have not studied convincing biblical proof concerning their cessation and I believe our God is big enough to accomplish what He wants through whomever He wants in what ever means He desires for the glorification of Himself.
- There is an interpretation and it must not contradict scripture. Scripture is the final authority, period.
- It is done in an orderly fashion.
- It isn’t desired or considered a higher gift. God gives us gifts as He pleases, and far too often some are more concerned about spiritual gifts than they are spiritual fruit. I think that is backwards.
- It isn’t viewed as evidence of salvation or being “filled with the spirit.”