“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
To begin this study we will consider the characteristics of the person of the Holy Spirit which will reveal that He is the real and living third Person of the Godhead.
As a person He can speak, act, and express Himself . He has a will of His own, He strives and guides . As a person His opinion can be offended ; He can be insulted . He is intelligent, has a mind and searches the unfathomable things of God, and knows the mind of God .
The scriptures refer to Him as Holy – the Holy Spirit – and two of His divine attributes are that He is “Spirit” and is “Holy”. He is eternal and sovereign and both The Father and The Son exhibit these qualities, and so we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and Paul’s benediction to the Corinthian Church also links the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit . Thus He is co-equal with the Father and the Son.
He is omnipotent, associated with God in the creation , Christ’s miracles were performed by the Holy Spirit, and He is active in our salvation . He is omniscient and omnipresent and it is impossible to escape from Him . He reproves mankind of sin which expresses His righteousness; graciousnessand His love . The Holy Spirit never changes, He is self-consistent, although some scripture passages might suggest that there are several spirits, there is only one Holy Spirit .
In conclusion, the Holy Spirit is clearly called God .
His mission or task is seen in many different ways, even as we see some activities that are attributed to the Father, while others are to the Son, the Holy Spirit also has His assignments. While some are overlapping, which emphasizes the unity of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit never acts contrary to the Father or the Son.
Activities mentioned in regards to the Holy Spirit are: in creation; He is active in the creation of mankind, animals, the heavens and the earth . He is active in inspiration and illuminationin relation to the scriptures .
He was active in the incarnation of Christ and is called the “Spirit of Christ” and there are seven activities in relation to Christ that are worthy of consideration.
1. Jesus was conceived by Mary through the Holy Spirit
2. Christ was anointed after His baptism indicating He was the true Messiah in His approval by God
3. Christ was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by Satan <Matt.4:1; Mk.1:12; Lk.4:1>; but understand that God did not tempt Christ and there was no possibility that Christ could sin!
4. For three years of service on earth the Holy Spirit was active in all of Christ’s ministry which was performed by the power of the Holy Spirit
5. Although Christ had authority to die and rise again, it was through the Holy Spirit that He offered Himselfas our sacrifice to God
6. Christ was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit
7. The Holy Spirit encourages the Bride (Church) to long for the return of Christ
The Holy Spirit is active in conviction of mankind in regards to sin although He is limited in this activity because mankind resists and insults Him ; but He restrains mankind from opposition and rebellion against God until such time that He is removed from the earth in relation to the Church, this however, cannot be a literal removal because of His omnipresence . He is active in regeneration in relation to mankind who repents of sin . He is active in the sanctification of the believer in Christ .
Often there is confusion between the “filling” and the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit. The baptism is in reference to the believer’s unconditional blessing at the instant of conversion; the filling is conditional upon the believer in daily confession of all known sin and complete conformity to the Father , Son and Holy Spirit
Another important fact in regards to the Holy Spirit is in regards to His activity in Old Testament times and the difference in the New Testament era. In the Old Testament He came upon certain individuals temporarily for specific tasks, even working in and through ungodly individuals, and the fact that He departed from individuals because they turned away from God . In the New Testament our Lord indicated that the Holy Spirit indwells us and will never leave us .