"With the Father and Son, He is worshiped and glorified." I hope I have done Him justice.
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The Holy Spirit Is God, or Is Called "God", or Is Co-equal with God
The first passage I would like to discuss comes from "The Great Commission" at the end of Matthew's Gospel:
Mt 28:19 (cf. 2 Cor 13:14) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,That three Persons would share a single name -- and two of them are most certainly divine -- strongly implies coequality among Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The passage from 2 Cor is much like it.
2 Cor 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Next, from John's Gospel:
Jn 14:17, 23 (cf. 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19) even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for HE DWELLS WITH YOU, and will be in you. [...] 23 Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and MAKE OUR HOME WITH HIM.Notice here that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will, all three, come to dwell within the man of faith. The other passages simply reaffirm the fact that the Spirit comes to dwell within a person, just as the Father and the Son does. Notice also that what was in the first passage referred to as "GOD'S temple" is in the other passage "the temple of THE HOLY SPIRIT". Moving on now to the Book of Acts:
1 Cor 3:16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit DWELLS IN YOU?
1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, which you have from God? You are not your own;
Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, "Anani'as, why has Satan filled your heart to lie TO THE HOLY SPIRIT and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but TO GOD."Here Peter is clearly saying that, in lying to the Holy Spirit, Ananias has lied to God. "The Holy Spirit" and "God" are synonymous here. Steven has this to say:
Acts 7:51 (cf. Exo 16:8; Psa 78:17) "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist THE HOLY SPIRIT. As your fathers did, so do you.We see from the OT, that it was the LORD, the Most High, whom the fathers of the Jews murmured and rebelled against, yet Steven said it was the Holy Spirit whom they resisted. Further on in Acts we find still more evidence that the Holy Spirit is God:
Exo 16:8 And Moses said, "When the LORD gives you in the evening flesh to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the LORD has heard your murmurings which you murmur against him--what are we? Your murmurings are not against us but against THE LORD."
Psa 78:17 Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against THE MOST HIGH in the desert.
Acts 28:25-26 (cf. Isa 6:3,8-10) So, as they disagreed among themselves, they departed, after Paul had made one statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26 Go to this people, and say, You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive.In Isaiah, it is the LORD of hosts who tells Isaiah to say to the people that they will hear but not understand and see but not perceive. However, in Acts we see that it was THE SPIRIT who said this to Isaiah.
Isa 6:3,8-10 And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." [...] 8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." 9 And he said, "Go, and say to this people: 'Hear and hear, but do not understand; see and see, but do not perceive.' 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."
Paul's letters to the Corinthians are both very instructive:
1 Cor 6:11 (cf. Ezek 37:28) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.Put these two passages together and we are sanctified by the LORD, AND by Christ, AND by the Holy Spirit. How can the Holy Spirit sanctify as the Father and the Son does and yet not be God? He is not merely sent by the Father as his instrument, the Spirit is actually DOING the sanctifying here. See also Rom 15:16 and 1 Pet 1:2. Later in 1 Cor. we read:
Ezek 37:28 Then the nations will know that I the LORD sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in the midst of them for evermore."
1 Cor 12:4-6 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.The parallelism of this passage tells us that the "Spirit" is "Lord" and "God." As for the second letter:
2 Cor 3:6,17-18b who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. [...] 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. [...] 18b for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."The Lord IS the Spirit" That is a clear affirmation of His divinity.
The Letter to the Hebrews provides another interesting passage:
Heb 3:7-9 (cf. Exo 17:7) Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, when you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.In Hebrews, it was the Holy Spirit who was put to the test, yet in Exodus we see that it was THE LORD who was put to the test. Combine this with Jesus' words in the desert where He accuses the serpent of testing Himself and, voila, you have the Trinity! Three Persons equally put to the test. Later on in Hebrews, we read:
Exo 17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Mer'ibah, because of the faultfinding of the children of Israel, and because they put the LORD to the proof by saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"
Heb 10:15-17 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," 17 then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more."In Jeremiah, THE LORD said he would write the new covenant on their hearts and remeber their sin no more. But, in Hebrews, it is the Holy Spirit who said this.
Jer 31:33-34 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Finally, there is this from Peter:
2 Pet 1:21 because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.How can a movement, an inspiration by the Holy Spirit be considered from God if the Holy Spirit is not God? Some may say, "Well, the Holy Spirit is the force, or power, or inspiration from the Father to men." But this does not give the Holy Spirit enough credit. The Spirit is more than an invisible power, He is a Person, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
The Personhood of the Spirit
The Personhood of the Spirit is seen in Scripture in the various passages where the Spirit exhibits the faculties and characteristics of personhood. A person, to be sure, is a living being with an intellect and a will. We could also say that a person has emotions (which we apply, anthropomorphically, to God). Let's see then where the Holy Spirit exhibits the qualities of personhood:
He has an intellect:
- He teaches: Jn 14:26; 1 Cor 2:13
- He comprehends the deepest thoughts of God: 1 Cor 2:10-11
- He is the source of wisdom, understanding, and truth: Jn 16:13; 1 Cor 12:8 (cf. Isa 11:2)
- He persuades, convinces the world: Jn 16:8-11
- He speaks: Acts 1:16; 1 Pet 1:11-12; 2 Pet 1:21
He has a will:
- He apportions His gifts as He wills: 1 Cor 12:11
- He has a power all His own: Rom 15:13
- He appoints and commissions ministers: Acts 13:2; 20:28
- He directs where and where not to preach: Acts 8:29; 10:19-20; 16:6-7
- He comforts us: Acts 9:31
- He intercedes for us: Rom 8:26
- He bears witness to and glorifies Christ: Jn 15:26; 16:14
- He makes judgments: Acts 15:25,28
- He loves: Rom 15:30
He has emotions:
I also think that, the fact that Scripture speaks of "him", of the qualities that "he" has (instead of "it"), shows that the Holy Spirit is more than a thing, a force or power that comes from God. Instead, the Holy Spirit is a living Person, HE does things, things are said of HIM. See, for example, the following passages:
Jn 14:17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees HIM nor knows HIM; you know HIM, for HE dwells with you, and will be in you.The fact that "the Spirit HIMSELF" is said to do things shows that the Spirit is operating out of his own identity and personhood, instead of the Father simply using the Spirit as I would use a pencil. The Spirit is not a mere instrument of the Father, He is HIMSELF the cause of His actions.
Jn 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, HE will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Jn 15:26 But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, HE will bear witness to me;
Jn 16:7-8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send HIM to you. 8 And when HE comes, HE will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
Jn 16:13-14 When the Spirit of truth comes, HE will guide you into all the truth; for HE will not speak on HIS own authority, but whatever HE hears HE will speak, and HE will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 HE will glorify me, for HE will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Rom 8:16 it is the Spirit HIMSELF bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit HIMSELF intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.
1 Cor 12:11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as HE wills.
The Holy Spirit Has the Attributes of God
The final proof of the divinity of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity is seen in the uniquely divine attributes that the Spirit possesses:
- He is holy: Go here (there are 93 references in the RSV to the "Holy" Spirit)
- He is omnipresent ("present everywhere"): Psa 139:7-13
- He is omnipotent ("all powerful"): Lk 1:35; Rom 15:19
- He is omniscient ("all knowing"): 1 Cor 2:10
- He is eternal: Heb 9:14
- He creates all things: Gen 1:2-3, 26-27; Job 33:4; Psa 33:6; 104:30
- He gives life: Gen 2:7; Ezek 37:10
- He brings about the new birth: Jn 3:5-6
- He sanctifies: Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 6:11; 1 Pet 1:2
The Holy Spirit does things that only God can do for the simple fact that HE IS GOD. This is very important. The last thing we want to do is blaspheme the Spirit, which is an "eternal sin" that "will not be forgiven" (cf. Mt 12:31-32; Mk 3:29).
Pray with me:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.