E. The relationship of the Holy Spirit to the saints:
The early disciples walked in the “comfort of the Holy Spirit” (At 9:31). This would manifest the nature of the Spirit, as well as what the Spirit does for the saints. The Spirit is of a nature that is comforting to man. This closeness is defined in the New Testament as “indwelling.” He works on behalf of Christians in prayer (Rm 8:26,27). He was close to the apostles as a “helper” in inspiration (Jn 14:26; 16:13). Such closeness emphasizes the individuality of the Spirit.
We are now in the time of the Holy Spirit wherein it is the work of the Spirit to be in and with the saints of God until the end of time. Therefore, Christians have a unique relationship with the Holy Spirit that was not experienced before the establishment of the church in the beginning.
F. The intellectual characteristics of the Holy Spirit:
When we speak of the intellect of the Spirit, we must mean that His intellect does not condescend to what we know. The Spirit as God knows all things. The Holy Spirit “knows the things of God” (1 Co 2:11). He has a mind (Rm 8:27). He has freedom of choice in that He divided the miraculous gifts among the early disciples according to His will (1 Co 12:11). He has the power of searching (1 Co 2:10), loving (Rm 15:30), and witnessing (Jn 15:26). All these characteristics manifest the intellectual nature of the Spirit and how He functions on behalf of the saints. Therefore, the Spirit is not a “ghost” that is whispering from one place to another.
G. The function of the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit has a specific work. His specific work identifies Him as a distinct manifestation of the Godhead who works on behalf of the Godhead. In the beginning, it was the specific work of the Spirit to bring order to the created world (Gn 1:2; Jb 26:13; Ps 104:30). It was the specific work of the Spirit to inspire men to speak and write Scripture (1 Co 2:10-13; Ep 3:3-5; 2 Tm 3:16,17; 2 Pt 1:20,21). The Spirit also worked through Jesus during His ministry on earth (Mt 4:1; 12:28; Lk 4:14,18; Jn 3:34). It was the specific work of the Spirit to guide the Christ-sent apostles into all truth (Jn 14:26; 16:13). It was the work of the Spirit to work miraculously through the gifts that were given to the early saints for the purpose of building up the body of Christ (At 8:18; 1 Co 12-14; Hb 2:4).
The preceding works identify the individual function of the Spirit in relation to the Godhead. In all His work, it is the purpose of the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus. Jesus said of Him, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (Jn 16:14). It was never the purpose of the Holy Spirit to bring glory to Himself. Therefore, anyone who would glorify the Holy Spirit over Jesus is misguided.
The preceding brief points of explanation of the identity of the Holy Spirit certainly fall short of what we would like to know about the Spirit and His function in our own lives. We struggle with the definitions of our dictionary in order to understand something that is beyond our earthly definitions. Nevertheless, the Bible reveals enough about the Spirit’s identity and work to distinguish Him from the spooks and ghosts that are often conjured up in the minds of men and read into the Bible.
Because of their background, some people feel comfortable to say that God is working among us today. Others, however, feel comfortable in saying that it is the Spirit working among us today. Both statements are saying the same thing. Regardless of how it is said, it is God the Spirit, and thus, the Spirit as God is working among us. It is God the Spirit who is working all things together for the good of the Christian (Rm 8:28). It is God the Spirit who guards us from being tempted above what we are able to endure (1 Co 10:13). When Jesus worked on earth, it was God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit working together through the manifestation of Jesus of Nazareth. When Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit into this world for us. He is now working for the benefit of all believers.
[Next in series: May 7]