Summary: 1. The Holy Spirit is a Person. 2. The Holy Spirit is personal. 3. The Holy Spirit purifies us.
I Believe in the Holy Spirit
The Apostle’s Creed is divided into three major parts. The first part expresses what we believe about God the Father, the second states what we believe about God the Son, and the third is what we believe about the Holy Spirit. It affirms our faith in God the Father, as “almighty” and the “Creator of heaven and earth.” The Creed then goes on to affirm our faith in God’s “only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the God the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.” It delivers quite a comprehensive statement about the Son of God, but when the creed comes to the third person of the Trinity we simply say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Perhaps it is indicative of how bewildered we are about just who the Holy Spirit is and what place he holds. Just who is the Holy Spirit, and what does this Holy Spirit do?
First of all, we need to understand that: The Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is not a thing, or an it. He is not merely a force, a power, or a phantom. One of the unfortunate leftovers of the King James Version of the Bible is the term “Holy Ghost.” A Ghost is a poor picture of the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is simply the Spirit of our Holy God. He is a person who is part of the Godhead — the Trinity. He expresses all the aspects of the wonderful personality and being of God. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin, helps us to repent, thrills us with the new birth and fills us with the indwelling presence of God. He guards us, encourages us, strengthens and empowers us to live for God. He protects and sustains us spiritually.
While Christ was on earth he was only able to be in one place at one time. He was limited, but he knew that when he left the world he would send his Spirit into the world to minister effectively and personally to everyone on the face of the earth. Jesus said to his disciples, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18). The Spirit of Christ comes to us in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
The second point is: The Holy Spirit is personal. Because he is a person, our relationship with him must be personal. Before we are even aware of it, the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. In fact, he is at work in your life right now. Whether you can feel it or not, or whether you can see it or not, he is there working in you. He is busy in ways you may or may not notice; creating conditions to help you understand your need of God and empower you to live for him. He is trying to draw you to the One who knows you best and loves you most: Your eternal Lover, Creator, Father and Friend. Jesus said one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit was to convict the world of sin and convince it of its need of God. He said, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-8).
The world does not understand its need of God. It does not even recognize its dependence on God. We do not know how to come to him. That realization comes only by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the One who helps us to see our sin and our need of God. We did not even understand that we needed to come to God until the Holy Spirit revealed it to our minds. After I became a Christian I could see the ways in which the Holy Spirit was working in my life in order to bring me to God. I wasn’t even aware of it until I gave myself to him and my spiritual eyes were opened. I did not know that God loved me enough to work in my life in order to bring me to him — I did not realize he was anywhere around. It came as a shock and surprise. I thought he loved good people, but I had no idea that he had that kind of love for me.