Who Is the Holy Spirit?

The role of the Holy Spirit is essential in the life of the Christian, yet we often neglect Him to our detriment. Once we know who the Holy Spirit is, we will better understand the power He brings into our lives.

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

  • Creation – The Spirit hovered over the waters and served as an active agent with creation (Gen. 1:2).
  • Life – The Spirit gives (Gen. 2:7) and sustains life (Gen. 6:3).
  • Understanding – Joseph’s ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dream was due to the Spirit (Gen. 41:38).
  • Equips – The Spirit gives gifts to God’s people to accomplish God’s purposes (Ex. 35:31).
  • Filling – Moses prayed for all to be filled with the Spirit and speak as prophets (Num. 11:29; cf. Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-18).
  • Encounter – The Spirit came upon individuals to accomplish His will (Num. 24:2; 27:18).
  • Deliverance – The Spirit empowers certain judges to accomplish deliverance for the people (Judg. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25).
  • Transformation – The Spirit transformed King Saul into “another man” (1 Sam. 10:6).
  • Transportation – The Spirit moved certain prophets to other locations (1 Kgs. 18:12; 2 Kgs. 2:16).
  • Forgiveness – David’s hope after sin was that God would not remove the Holy Spirit from him (Ps. 51:11).
  • Sovereignty – The Spirit is sovereign over us and requires no counsel (Isa. 40:13).
  • Regeneration – The new covenant is brought about by the LORD providing a new spirit (Ezek. 36:26).

The Holy Spirit was not inactive until the time of the New Testament.

The Holy Spirit in the New Testament

  • Incarnation – Mary’s conception of Jesus is due to the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20).
  • Awareness – Simeon knew that he would see the Messiah before his death due to the Spirit’s witness (Luke 1:25-26).
  • Manifestation – The Spirit comes upon Jesus at His baptism in the form of a dove looking for a place to rest (Matt. 3:15).
  • Direction – The Spirit prompted Jesus to enter the wilderness (Mark 1:12; Lk. 4:1-2).
  • Sufficiency – The Holy Spirit is given without measure (John 3:34).
  • Power – Jesus credited the power of the Holy Spirit for casting out demons (Matt. 12:28).
  • Blasphemy – Jesus warned against blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31).
  • Empowerment – Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit possessed the power they needed to accomplish His mission (Acts 1:8).
  • Residence – The Holy Spirit filled the disciples on Pentecost (Acts 2:4).
  • Prerequisite – Deacons and overseers needed to be full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3; 20:28).
  • Indwelling – The Spirit indwells all true believers (Rom. 8:10).
  • Instruction – Paul credited the Spirit with providing the powerful teaching Christians needed (1 Cor. 2:4-5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). *Paul refers to the Spirit 145 times.

The Holy Spirit was not second-string during the time of the New Testament.

The Paraclete

John 16:5-15

What Jesus Taught About the Spirit

  • The Paraclete means that the Holy Spirit is our “Helper.”
  • Having God inside us is a greater advantage than having God beside us.
  • The Holy Spirit will never contradict the Holy Bible.
  • If we depend on the Spirit to provide new truth, that implies that the old truth is insufficient.
  • The Spirit guides us in applying biblical truth to a particular situation.

How to Know If the Spirit Is Leading

  • If you think the Spirit is leading you and yet the path contradicts the Scriptures, you are hearing the voice of the demonic.
  • If your spirituality causes distractions for others, you better check your motives and practices.
  • Flippantly blaming the Spirit for your decisions is the sin of taking God’s name in vain.
  • You can often discern the leading of the Spirit by His saying “no” to what your flesh desires.
  • We aim to fill our churches with people, but Jesus desires to fill the people with His Spirit.
  • You don’t lead the Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit leads you.
  • If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).
  • The Bible tells us what to do; the Spirit guides us when and how to do it.