God the Holy Spirit

4 meditations are presented on God the Holy Spirit

Day 1

God the Holy Spirit

Christian tradition starts speaking of the Spirit by saying that the Holy Spirit is God, based on the Bible.

The Spirit has the attributes of God:
-eternal, having neither beginning nor end (Hebrews 9: 14),
-omni-potent, having all power (Luke 1:35);
-omni-present, being everywhere at the same time (Psalm 139:7);
-omni-scient, understanding all matters (1 Corinthians 2: 10,11).

Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit is a person and is God:
-the fact that the Spirit's work in the Old Testament is closely identified with the Word of YHWH spoken by the prophets (this was affirmed by the early church in 2 Peter 1: 21);
-the close ties between Jesus' mission and the work of the Spirit;
the close ties between the mission of the apostles and the work of the Spirit; esp. see 1 Peter 1: 12;
-The episode with Hananiah (Ananias) in Acts 5, where first, Peter says that Hananiah lied to the Holy Spirit, then later says that he lied not to men but to God;
-The trinitarian baptismal formula found in Scripture (Matt 29: 19): "in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". It dates to the church's earliest days;

The Holy Spirit does the same kind of thing in Acts, and ever since. The Holy Spirit : speaks (Acts 13:2), intercedes (Romans 8:26), testifies (John 15:26), guides (John 16:13), commands (Acts 16: 6,7), appoints (Acts 20:28)), leads (Romans 8:14), reproves and convicts of sin (John 16:8), seals God's promise in believers' hearts Ephesians1: 13,14), and shapes the individual's and community's life to Christ's (Romans 8:1-17)

In Scripture, the Holy Spirit has intellect, emotions, and will, and can be grieved.

The Spirit can act in whatever manner the Spirit wants to act. The Spirit generally acts through the church, but doesn't have to; the Wind blows where it will. The Spirit also doesn't have to always be seriously focused on those purposes; the Spirit's got a playful side.

As God, the Spirit is cause, and that cause has effect.

(This information on the Holy Spirit was gathered from http://www.spirithome.com/spirpers.html#whois.)

"the Spirit has his own existence and personal function in the inner life of God and the economy of salvation: his task is to bring about the unity of the human race in the Body of Christ, but he also imparts to this unity a personal, and hence diversified, character."
------ John Meyendorff, The Orthodox Church, p.197

Day 2

God The Holy Spirit In The Old Testament (Pt 2)

The Spirit shows up in the Old Testament (OT), especially in the prophets' books.
1. The OT does not use nepesh (soul of earthly beings) to describe God. It uses ruach.
2. The OT does not present ruach as the mediator between God and humans. The Spirit is God at work, not a go-between. The word ruach is a movement of air (wind, breath)
3. There are 'general' references to the Spirit of God, such as in Gen 44:38 on the lips of a non-believer. When that happens, the term may have been used to mean 'divine spirit', a recognition that a god (whomever the god is) is at work, that some sort of power or authority beyond the usual is rather obviously causing things to happen.
4. The Messiah is said by Isaiah to be specially endowed with the Spirit : Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 61:1.
5. The Spirit is seen as God's presence in the hearts of each believer : Psalm 51:11; Psalm 139:7.
6. In Ezekiel (37:9) and Isaiah (34:16; 48:16; 63:10), there is a hint of personality, unlike in the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures.
In the main OT Jewish way of looking at it, the Spirit was a life force or energy of God, the operational side of what a Christian would term "the Father", rather than a Person in the Trinitarian sense. A psalmist speaks of God's 'Spirit' acting in a personal way (Psalm 143:10), but the use of 'spirit' there is probably another way to say 'God' (Hebrew poetry uses many ways to say the same or similar things). Isaiah and Ezekiel give hints toward envisioning the person-ness of the Spirit, but it is not until the writings between the testaments that this vision takes on a clearer shape, and not until Christ that it is given its full dimension.

(Information on the Holy Spirit was gathered from http://www.spirithome.com/spirpers.html#whois.)

"Spell this out in capital letters: THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON. He is not enthusiasm. He is not courage. He is not energy. He is not the personification of all good qualities, like Jack Frost is the personification of cold weather. Actually, the Holy Spirit is not the personification of anything...... He has individuality. He is one being and not another. He has will and intelligence. He has hearing. He has knowledge and sympathy and ability to love and see and think. He can hear, speak, desire, grieve and rejoice. He is a Person."
------ A W Tozer, The Counselor

Day 3

The Promise of the Holy Spirit (Pt 3)

The followers of Christ have been described (James 1:18) as being the first fruit of the new order, the Kingdom. The first fruits were a wave offering related to the Jewish day of Pentecost. The Gift of the Holy Spirit was first given to the church at the Christian Pentecost, but had been seen before that: it is said of Christ that "he had the spirit without measure."

In Luke 24:49, in John 14:15-17, and again in Acts 1:4-5, the risen Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. It took Him no more than a few days, on Pentecost (Acts 2), for Him to keep His promises. A theology of the Spirit was the furthest thing from their minds; they had their hands full coping with the Spirit's activity in their lives, and having every believer experience that presence. There has been no repeat of Pentecost -- there is nothing quite like the first time -- but from that moment on the Spirit would be giving people mini-Pentecosts, filling them and showing them what to do with it. In Acts (2:38-39; 10:44; 19:5-6), the Spirit comes with that beginning of faith within the person, and with the action of being baptized. Indeed, that's what Peter promised in Acts 2:38: Repent, be baptized, receive the Spirit.

1. CORNELIUS' HOUSEHOLD. Acts 10:1 - 11:18. Urged on by a dream sent from God, Peter went to Cornelius to tell his own witness story about the good news of Christ, and offered forgiveness of sins (Ac 10:38-43; Ac 11:4-18). Cornelius and his household and close friends believed (Ac 11:17-18). Peter and the Jews that were with him could easily recognize the newborn faith in Cornelius' circle, but they also noticed something else: these Gentiles were speaking in tongues and praising God all over the place. The home was jumping. This was strange to Peter and the others; they hadn't seen non-Jews this way. Cornelius and his household had received the Spirit, but had not yet been baptized into the church. So, Peter rushed in to have them baptized, making them a full-fledged part of the Church.
2. THE SAMARITANS. Acts 8:4-25. Philip preached the gospel to them in the power of the Spirit, they believed, they were baptized, yet the Spirit didn't fall upon them. They received the Spirit later, from Peter and John, when John recognized the problem.
3. THE EPHESIANS. Acts 19. Paul came upon some former followers of John the Baptist. They had received no Christian teaching or baptism. So Paul availed himself of the opportunity. He baptized them, then he laid hands on them and commissioned them with the Spirit.
Notice that the Spirit has a different timetable than the apostles or anyone else. That's because God rules, and can choose to be in the house and in effect at any time.

(This information on the Holy Spirit was gathered from http://www.spirithome.com/spirpers.html#whois.)

Day 4

Why should the children of a king
Go mourning all their days?
Great Comforter, descend and bring
Some tokens of your grace.

Do you not dwell in all your saints,
And seal the heirs of heaven?
When will you banish my complaints,
And show my sins forgiven?

Assure my conscience of her part
In the Redeemer's blood;
And bear your witness with my heart,
That I am born of God.

You are the earnest of his love,
The pledge of joys to come;
And your soft wings, celestial Dove,
Will safe convey me home.

------ Isaac Watts