Summary: Many believers come to a point of frustration in their service for the Lord simply because they fail to realise the need to be filled with the Spirit if they are to work and act in God’s power. Just as we cannot save ourselves apart from the work of the H
Who is Inside?
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, of the three aspects of the Godhead, The Spirit is probably the least understood – even within many Pentecostal Churches. The Spirit is involved in the in the conversion of a person and their birth into the family of God. The work of the Spirit is also vital in our ongoing growth and development as Christians. We need to be more aware of His work in our lives. We also need to develop a deeper relationship with Him so that we can fully experience power, hope and joy.
Our view of the Holy Spirit may be coloured by our use of the term spirit in casual conversation, for example, “A spirit of expectation swept the crowd as it awaited the arrival of a celebrity” or “the spirit of the times.” We will start with the most important thing to grasp about the Holy Spirit – He is as much of a person as God the Father or God the Son. He is not an impersonal “it”, nor an influence, phantom or apparition.
Why is it important that we understand that the Holy Spirit is a person not an it? Some of the biblical metaphors used to describe the spirit are often misinterpreted as describing an impersonal being. Both the Hebrew ruach (רוּחַ rûaħ) and Greek Pneuma (πνεῦμα) are words which are translated as “spirit” mean “breath” or “wind” or “spirit” in the sense of the vitality of living creatures (Genesis 6:17). The context of some passages has led translators to use the phrase “the Spirit Himself” (Romans 8:16,26). Jesus himself never referred to the Holy Spirit as “it”: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And 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.” John 14:15-17.
Misunderstanding may also arise from the fact that the work of the Holy Spirit is not as visible as that of the Father and the Son. When Jesus spoke about the gift of the Spirit He said: “He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come” John 16:13
Can you think of any symbols used in the Bible to describe the Holy Spirit? God is present everywhere in our world through the work of the Holy Spirit. The symbols used in the Bible to describe the influence of the Spirit include oil, fire and water – while these are impersonal the Bible also refers to the Father and the Son in figurative ways – as light, bread of life, living water etc.
Personality = Mind, feelings & will
Why is it significant that the Holy Spirit has a personality?
The personality of the Holy Spirit is an important term. God was not made in the image of man, man was made in the image of God. The word personality is a descriptive term for the nature of God and the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has a mind, feelings and a will. The Spirit can think, has emotions and the ability to act.
Jesus gave some of the clearest teaching about the Spirit. He referred to the Spirit as the Paraclete (παράκλητον) translated as Comforter (KJV) or Counsellor(NIV) Advocate (NLT) Helper (ISV). “The Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” John 14:26.
The term Paraclete conveys the idea of one who acts to help us; counselling and comforting would not be possible if the Spirit was an impersonal influence.
Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit and that this would be of benefit to the disciples: “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7. Again an impersonal force could not improve on the personal presence of the Lord Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is equal in His personal nature to the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit living within a Christian is described as “God’s Spirit lives in you” 1 Corinthians 3:16.
The story of Ananias further illustrates this equality. Ananias was struck dead because he “lied to the Holy Spirit” Acts 5:3.
The Spirit may be grieved (Ephesians 4:30) and sinned against by unforgivable blasphemy (Mark 3:29). Sin against God is equally sin against the Son and the Holy Spirit. He is equal in personal nature to the Father and the Son. The Trinity, although not easy to understand, is “three in one.”