The Spirit of God
This article should appeal in an extraordinary way to the Lambs of the Flock. It was written by our young brother especially for them while he was still studying for his Senior Matriculation. In the academic field it might well be considered an excellent example of constructive thinking and writing, but in the spiritual realm, which is vastly more important, it presents bibical doctrine that all should know. — Ed.
Before we engage in this study, we should determine in our minds that the Holy Spirit is not merely an influence or quality although His presence adds divine quality to the believer and His power does exert a tremendous influence. The Holy Spirit is as much a Divine Being as is the Father and the Son.
In Hebrew 9:14, He is called “The Eternal Spirit,” and as such His Person demands reverance because of His Deity for He is eternally God. His character is often referred to in the title “The Holy Spirit”; consequently, He is to be revered because of His holy character. In John 14:26 He is called the “Comforter,” so, again, reverence is due to Him because of His work. As we discuss this subject, we must be very careful not to minimise the value of the Person and the work of God the Spirit.
There are seven characteristic titles of the Spirit of God which may be connected to seven aspects of His work; these are: The Spirit of Wisdom (Eph. 1:17), The Spirit of Truth (John 16:13), The Spirit of Life (Rom. 8:2), The Spirit of Grace (Heb. 10:29), The Spirit of Love (Col. 1:8), The Spirit of Promise (Eph. 1:13), and The Spirit of Holiness (Rom. 1:4).
The Spirit Of Wisdom
This title may be easily connected with the mighty work of the Spirit in Creation. “By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens” (Job 26:13). We read in Genesis chapter one that the Spirit moved upon the waters bringing order and beauty out of utter chaos. What a picture this is of His work in the New Creation! He moves on the vast multitudes of humanity in their darkness and spiritual chaos. It is interesting to note that the Spirit of God did His moving before God did His own work, even so is it in the heart of the individual. Before a sinner can receive the gift of God, the Holy Spirit must work upon him in order to bring him into the proper condition. Before salvation can take place, the Spirit must make very real to the unbeliever his need of a Saviour. When this is accomplished, what order He brings out of chaos, and what harmony out of discord! As God climaxed the first creation by making man in His own image, He will climax the new creation by conforming all the redeemed to the image of His Son.
The Spirit Of Truth
Let us associate this title with the work of the Spirit in the Holy Scriptures. The process of Inspiration is given to us in a passage from Peter’s second Epistle, “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (1:21). Holy men produced the Holy Scriptures because of the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit in them. Three times Peter in this, his second Epistle, exhorts us to remember our responsibility to the Word of God. In chapter 1:13 the Word of God demands obedience because it declares the will of God; in chapter 1:15 it demands reverance because of its infallibility, it is God-breathed; and in chapter 3:1 it demands our attention in the light of the dangers of the last days.
Since the Word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit, whether we read it for correction, instruction or edification, or even for merely its historical value, it is infallible. No theories of man or any archeological research will ever dispose of a single word of Holy Writ. Since the Word of God is inspired, it is both complete and lasting. God has said that not one jot or one tittle of it will pass away. Even through the dark ages when Satan was doing his best to extinguish its flame, it survived. Today it is the best selling book in the world.
The Spirit of Life
Linked with this title is the unfathomable doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ. By Luke, the beloved physician, we are told the mysterious part played by the Holy Spirit in the virgin birth of Christ. He records the words of the angel to Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over-shadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (1:35). Our Lord was thus protected from any contamination from a fallen nature. Not only was He protected in His birth, but all through His life He enjoyed the encircling guardianship of the Holy Spirit. In chapter four of his Gospel, Luke records that before our Lord was subjected to the temptation in the hands of Satan, He was full of the Holy Spirit. After the devil had been defeated, we read that Christ returned in the power of the Spirit. In every phase of His life, although exposed constantly to the sins of fallen humanity, Christ, Jehovah’s perfect Servant, was empowered by the Holy Spirit, and, therefore, was able to prove Himself to be the eternal Son of God. At His baptism the Spirit marked Him out as Divine. On that occasion the Holy Trinity was in evidence to announce that the Messiah had come.
We learn from Matt. 12:28 that the Holy Spirit empowered Him, for Christ as a perfect Man, did all His miracles by the power of the Spirit. The erring people of that day accused Him of casting out devils by the prince of the devils. Little did they realize that the force at His disposal was far superior to that of any evil principality or power.
In His life and service, the Spirit always guided our Saviour (Luke 2:27), and in His trials the same Spirit constantly comforted Him (Luke 10:21).
The Spirit Of Grace
There seems no difficulty in linking this title with the Spirit’s work in the world (John 16:8-11, Heb. 10:29). We are told that the Spirit is given first to the Church, “I will send Him unto you.” The Church in turn has a grave responsibility in conveying His power to the world. Through the believers’ witness the Spirit convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Men must feel their need of the Friend Who saves, the Friend Who comforts, and the Friend Who perfects; that Friend is Jesus.
The Spirit Of Love
We shall link this title with the work of the Spirit in the believer. He indwells every Christian as the Comforter (John 14:16-17), the Teacher (John 14:26-27), and as the Witness to the Lord Jesus (John 15:26-27). If He has His way with us, He will fill us with His own fulness, love, and power.
There are three things that would hinder the work of the Spirit in our souls: we may grieve Him (Eph. 4:30), quench Him (1 Thess. 5:19), or mistrust Him. Sin in the believer’s life can spiritually demoralize him so that he cannot enjoy the fulness of the Spirit. Besides the sins of commission that grieve the Holy Spirit, there are the sins of ommission that quench Him. A neglect of spiritual things in the daily routine of life can drastically limit the enjoyment and happiness which should accompany the indwelling of the Spirit. Too often we mistrust Him, and refuse to use the power that God has placed at our disposal. It is interesting to count the many lovely things that mark the Spirit-filled life as they are listed in Ephesians chapter five.
The Spirit Of Holiness
Our minds immediately link this title with the Church’s devotional life. Holiness ever becomes the House of God, and our worship is to be in the beauty of holiness. The believer who wishes to be engaged in this precious ministry must constantly examine himself (1 Cor. 11:28). The Spirit is Holy, therefore, just what He is; He wants us to be. As we yield to Him, He will mould our lives and enrich them with an intimate fellowship with God.
The Spirit Of Promise
The Spirit-controlled life would not be complete without the hope of Christ’s return. As the Spirit of Promise He is the Author of that “blessed hope” of the Church, the realization of which will bring us into our eternal inheritance and our eternal home. For the return of our Lord we wait, and what the Holy Spirit has promised, and that of which He has given us the earnest in our hearts, will then be our happy portion ages without end.