What or Who is It?
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.
Although the Holy Spirit is one of the most widely discussed subjects of the Scriptures, yet there is no other subject which can compare with it as to the many angels and opinions into which it diverges, when considered by the many sects of Christendom. Some teach that the Holy Spirit is one of the living creatures like unto Michael, Gabriel, or one of the other angels. Others teach that the Holy Spirit is but one form of God, it being one of the trinity of the Godhead. Still others teach that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Bible, the Word of God. Yet others declare that the Spirit is that mind, will, power, or influence which emanates from God, hence the Spirit of God, being the Holy Spirit because God is holy.
It is not our aim to discuss this subject from any particular angle, but rather from the Scriptural standpoint, realizing that the Holy Scriptures, which are given through men who were moved upon by the Holy Spirit, according to II Peter 1:20-21, are able to make us wise unto salvation. Any or all opinions which do not agree with the Word of God must be wrong. “If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in the,” (Isaiah 8:20), hence, we must teach according to the law and the testimony. No other way can be right.
We find from a study of this subject by the aid of a good concordance that the Holy Spirit is spoken of under many titles, the following being a few of the many: “Holy Spirit,” “Holy Ghost,” “Spirit of God,” “Spirit of Christ,” “Spirit of Holiness,” “Spirit of Truth,” “Spirit of the Father,” “Spirit of Prophecy,” “Spirit of Liberty,” “Spirit of Meekness,” “Spirit of Understanding,” “Spirit of a Sound Mind,” “Spirit of Wisdom,” “Spirit of Counsel,” “Spirit of Adoption,” “Spirit of Glory,” and “Spirit of Grace.”
If we give these various terms, by which the Holy Spirit of God is designated, the study they warrant, we can not harmonize our conclusion with the erroneous doctrine of the Holy Spirit being an angel, or a third person in the Godhead, being equal with Jehovah God and with Jesus Christ. If we study the above given titles of the Holy Spirit, we will more clearly understand the nature, power, and purpose of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of God.
Just as we have considered some of the many terms by which the Spirit of God is known, so shall we also give those by which the spirit of the adversary of God is known, that is, the spirit of the devil. These are but a few of the appellations by which the evil spirit is known, in contrast to the Holy Spirit of God: “The Spirit of Antichrist,” “Spirit of Fear,” “Spirit of Bondage,” “Spirit of Slumber,” “Spirit of Error,” “Spirit of Divination.” These are the spirits that we are warned to stay away from, for they work in opposition to the Holy Spirit of God and often counterfeit the genuine, and many are deceived thereby, if they do not try them by the Word of God. See I John 4:1.
The word “Spirit”, which we now have under consideration, is derived from the Hebrew word “ruwach,” and the Greek word “pneuma,” which have been translated by the terms, “ghost,” “life,” “spirit,” “mind,” “air,” “wind,” etc. Strong gives the definition of the words to be primarily “air,” and, by analysis, to mean “the vital principle.” Hence, from the study of the primary words, we conclude that to fulfill the duties and work of the Spirit of God, as we have given previously, the Spirit of God is that “vital principle” which emanates from God, that is, God’s mind, power, will, influence, or Spirit.
Although the Holy Spirit is spoken of under the masculine pronoun “He” in a few texts, yet we cannot conclude from this that it is an angelic creature, for we must remember that the Greek text does not so render it. The Spirit of God should naturally be known under the masculine gender because it emanates from God, thus is referred to by the pronoun, “He” as is God Himself. This is clarified by the example of the word “Wisdom,” in Luke 7:35, which is referred to by the pronoun “She.” We all understand that “Wisdom” is not a personage, yet it carries the pronoun “She” in this instance. In like manner, the “Holy Spirit” is referred to by the pronoun “He.”
The Scriptures also declare that the words of Jesus are spirit and truth; hence many conclude that the Spirit is merely the words that Jesus spoke (John 6:63). Yet, in another place, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was that Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, which He would send into the world after He ascended unto the Father, referring, not to the words alone which He spoke as the Christ, but to the Spirit which gave the words, and which in past ages moved upon holy men of God and caused them to pen the Scriptures, as Peter declared (II Peter 1:21). From the appellations by which the Holy Spirit is designated, such as, “Spirit of Prophecy,” “Spirit of Understanding,” “Spirit of Wisdom,” “Spirit of Counsel,” and “Spirit of Truth,” we must conclude that the Holy Spirit is not the words, but rather the power through which the words came, as holy men were moved by its influence.
We must conclude from our examination f the Spirit, by the Word of God, that it is the divine power, or influence, which comes from the Almighty, through Jesus Christ our
Lord. It is not something new, but rather as old as the Creator Himself. In the beginning, “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). Through this wonderful power of His, the Almighty created.
He spake and it was done, as it is recorded in the first chapter of the Bible. The holy prophets were “full of the power of the Spirit of the Lord” (Micah 3:8). These holy men “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (I Pet. 2:21). Even upon the Lord Jesus, the Spirit descended and remained. It is said of Him that He was “full of the Holy Ghost,” and was “led by the Spirit,” and “walked in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:1, 14).
Even, as in olden times the Spirit of God came upon the holy men of God among the people of Israel, it was also prophesied that the Holy Spirit would also come upon all flesh, regardless of race, or nationality.
The Lord, through Joel, said, “It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh…And also upon the servants and the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit” (Joel 2:28, 29). This, Peter says, began its fulfillment at Pentecost, when men out of all nations at Jerusalem were filled with this wonderful power of God, and magnified the Lord. It was repeated again at the home of Cornelius, the Gentile, and they in turn magnified God by His Spirit (Acts 2nd and 10th chapters).
When Jesus was baptized the Spirit descended in the form of a dove and rested upon Him. At Pentecost the same Spirit came as the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and filled the entire house where the disciples were sitting. It rested upon them, not as a dove, but as divided tongues of fire.
Just as Joel had foretold that the day would come when God’s Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh, and not limited to the Jewish nation alone, so it did. Then, after the mighty manifestation of the Spirit at Pentecost, the apostle Peter declared that the gift of God was not limited to them, nor to their children, but unto all who met the condition, saying, “The promise is unto you, [those who had received it at Pentecost] and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call”. It then is for you and me, my dear friend, though we are afar off, just so the Lord has called us unto Himself. We praise God for this wonderful promise that unto all whom He shall call God will give His blessed Spirit. See Acts 2:38, 39.
We have the command given unto us as Christians, in Ephesians 5:18, to “be filled with the Spirit.” Without God’s Spirit we cannot live a holy life, for it takes the Holy Spirit to make us holy. Without the Spirit we cannot be obedient unto the law of God, the transgression of which constitutes sin, for Paul said, “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:7-11). To live without the Spirit makes us a reprobate, one outside of Christ. If we are Christ’s then we have the Spirit: If we have not the Spirit we have not Christ. No wonder that the apostle said, “Be filled with the Spirit.”
There are two spirits in the world: the Spirit of God, and the spirit of the devil. Each furnishes the motive power whereby men and women bring forth fruit, even as the sap in the fruit tree furnishes life and substance whereby the tree bears fruit. If we have the spirit of this world, the spirit of Satan, the adversary of God, then our fruits are the fruits of a carnal spirit, which are: “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21).
On the other hand, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, brings forth fruit conformable unto its nature, that is fruit unto holiness, which is: “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Holy Spirit then is that power, or influence, which emanates from the true God, the source of all good, and all power, and comes unto us through Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we are made nigh unto God by His sacrifice and are thus able to draw nigh unto God and receive His Spirit, then we can, as the apostle Paul says, know that we are children of God, for “the Spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
Our prayer unto God is that you, my dear friends, may draw unto God and receive of His Spirit whereby you may bring forth fruit unto righteousness, to the glory of God and the salvation of your soul. Amen.
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