The Holy Spirit: His Personhood and Deity
Defending the Trinity of God
Class Session 4

By Pastor Ron Jones, www.titusinstitute.com

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Introduction:

We have been studying what God says about himself in the Scriptures. We began with the Trinity, the truth that God is not like human beings. God is one being and essence and yet within His nature there are three persons, Father, Son and Spirit. We have also seen that in order to redeem man from sin, the Father, Son, and Spirit chose to take different roles in the plan of redemption.

There are many people, especially those in the Christian cults, who deny the Trinity and in particular the true nature of Jesus as both God and man. They also deny the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit. They teach that the Holy Spirit is a force or emanation from God.

If we are to stand firm against these false teachings, we need to understand exactly what God says in the Bible about his triune nature and being and what he says about each person of the Trinity.

We have already looked at the person and role of the Father and the person and role of the Son. In this lesson we want to look at the person of the Holy Spirit and his role in redemption. This will complete our picture of the Triune God and the complementary roles each person has taken to bring us to salvation.

We will study two points:

I. The personality and deity of the Holy Spirit
II. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption

I. The personality and deity of the Holy Spirit

A. The Holy Spirit is a person in exactly the same way as the Father and the Son, in the Trinity.

As a person, the Holy Spirit has an intellect, a will and emotions (just as the Father and Son do) and acts in a way only a person can act.

1. The Holy Spirit has a mind and thinks.

Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit has a mind.
Rom.8:27
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would teach his disciples. Teaching requires a mind and the ability to think.

Jn. 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you

Paul also wrote that the Holy Spirit teaches.

1 Cor.2:13
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

2. The Holy Spirit has a will and makes decisions.

Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit decides what spiritual gift each believer will receive at salvation and thus what part each believer plays in the body of Christ.

1 Cor.12:11
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

The Holy Spirit chose Paul and Barnabus for the work of ministering to the body of Christ. Choosing is an act of the will.

Acts 13:2
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

3. The Holy Spirit has emotions and feels.

Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit grieves over sin in the life of the believer.

Eph.4:30
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Isaiah also wrote about the Holy Spirit grieving over the sins of the Israelites.

Isa.63:10
Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.

4. The Holy Spirit speaks and communicates to others.

The Holy Spirit spoke to the leaders of the church at Antioch.

Acts 13:2
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

B. The Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Triune God, coequal with the Father and the Son.

1. The Holy Spirit is called God

Acts 5:3-4
Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

2. The Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son

The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, thus showing the unity of the Spirit with the Father and the Son.

Rom.8:9
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

3. The Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son appear together as equals.

Mat.28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

II. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption

The Holy Spirit was sent by the Son of God from the Father to complete the plan of redemption on earth when the Son returned to heaven by bringing the plan of redemption to bear on the lives of human beings.

As we saw last time, both the Father and Son took different roles in the plan of redemption and so did the Holy Spirit.

The Father took the role of initiator and director. He would initiate the plan of redemption and direct the Son in accomplishing it. The Son took the role of submission to the Father as the redeemer/messiah.

The Scriptures refer to Jesus in His redemptive/messianic role as the one person who submitted himself as both God and man to the Father's will which encompassed revealing the Father and dying on the cross to pay the penalty for sin. Jesus Christ, the Son of God was our Redeemer, Prophet, Priest and King.

The Holy Spirit also has a major role in the plan of redemption.

He was the one who was sent to bring God’s plan of redemption to bear on the lives of human beings both to save them and to lead them daily to live righteously before God. He does this both for individual believers and for the church at large.

The Son sends the Spirit from the Father and works through the Spirit to accomplish His plan in the lives of human beings. This is what Jesus himself taught.

Jn.14:16-17a
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Jn.16:7
“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

His ministry is to testify to and glorify Jesus Christ.

Jn. 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you

Jn.15:26
"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”

Jn.16:14-15
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.

Jesus Christ works through the Holy Spirit to accomplish the plan of redemption in the lives of believers individually and in the body of believers corporately.

For the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus which we saw in Rom.8:9.

Rom.8:9
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

A. The Holy Spirit's ministry in the lives of believers individually

1. The Holy Spirit regenerates the person who accepts Christ by faith.

Regeneration refers to the act of giving eternal life by means of the Holy Spirit to the one who trusts in Jesus Christ. Christ gives us life by the Holy Spirit acting upon us. A person who is spiritually dead becomes spiritually alive by the Holy Spirit when he or she trusts in Christ.

Jesus describes this regeneration of the believer by the Holy Spirit by the phrases “born again” “born of water and the Spirit,” and “born of the Spirit.”

Jn.3:3-5
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

Water in the phrase “born of water and the Spirit” does not refer to water baptism but refers to the cleansing from sin that takes place at the moment of salvation when the Holy Spirit gives someone eternal life. That is most likely how Nicodemus would have understood it as he was familiar with the important OT passage in Ezekiel 36:25-27. In that passage water symbolizes the cleansing God would give believing Israel when he gave them his Spirit.

Ezek.36:25-27
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

Jn.3:8
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

John refers to it by the phrase “born of God.”

Jn.1:12-13
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

2. The Holy Spirit comes to permanently live within a believer at the moment of salvation.

Rom.8:9
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Rom.8:11
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

1 Cor.6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

3. The Holy Spirit actively leads the believer into living a righteous life.

Rom.8:12-14
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

"Led" in the context means “not living according to the flesh, the sinful nature, putting to the death the deeds of the body.” Paul says that Christians are those regularly turn away from the deeds of the flesh and are led by the Spirit into righteous living. Christians still sin, but they ask for forgiveness and lead godly lives as the regular pattern of their lives.

How does the Holy Spirit lead the believer into righteous living?

The Holy Spirit prompts the believer through the Scriptures to obey God.
The Holy Spirit convicts the believer through the Scriptures when he sins.
The Holy Spirit encourages and strengthens the believer through the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit is at work in our lives all the time. We are not alone.

Conclusion:

The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is a person co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son who was sent to bring God’s plan of redemption to bear on the lives of human beings both to save them and to lead them daily to live righteously before God.