The Holy Spirit of God
In the first two chapters we examined what the Bible says about God, the Father and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We learned that “there is but one God, the Father” (1 Corinthians 8:6). who is “the only true God” (John 17:3). We also learned that God has a real Son, who is God’s “firstborn,” “holy child,” and “the only begotten Son of God” (Colossians 1:15; Acts 4:30; John 3:18).
Yet, this is not the end of the story. Jesus promised to send “another Comforter” (John 14:16). In His final discourse to His disciples, the night before His death, Jesus told them about a gift that would be given to help them after His departure.
Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;…” (John 14:15, 16). The purpose of the gift of the Comforter is that He may abide with the disciples forever. This was excellent news to the disciples, for they were sad to hear of Christ’s soon departure. Jesus continued His discourse, stating that He would send “the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17).
Jesus said that the world could not receive the Spirit of truth, because it did not see him nor know him. The world does not see that this gift is available to them, nor does it know the Person who is the Comforter.
Immediately following this explanation Jesus said something startling. He told His disciples, “but ye know him.” How could the disciples know the promised “Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit” (v. 26),* [Footnote: * Every time in the Bible where you find the term, “Holy Ghost,” it should have been translated “Holy Spirit.” Sometimes the translators of the Bible chose to translate πνευμα αγιον (pneuma hagion) into “Holy Ghost,” and other times they translated the same phrase as “Holy Spirit” (Luke 11:13). Holy Spirit is the most accurate translation, and I will use it throughout this chapter, including in the Bible verses I quote.] if Jesus had not yet prayed for the gift, and it evidently had not yet been given? John stated, “the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39).
Jesus explained, “ye know him; for [or because] he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17). Who was dwelling with the disciples? Jesus Christ! Jesus explained that soon this Person who was dwelling with them would be in them. It certainly would be better for the Comforter to dwell in the disciples rather than dwelling outside of them. That is exactly what Jesus said a short time later. In the same discourse, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth; It is expedient [profitable] for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7).
Jesus said that His disciples would be better off if He left them, went to His Father, and sent the Comforter to dwell in them. He also pointed out that the coming of the Comforter depended upon His departure, and glorification. As long as Christ was living on the earth as a man, it was not possible for this promised Comforter to come to live in the disciples.
Jesus did not end His conversation in verse 17. In the next verse He said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). This sheds a great deal of light on the subject. It explains why the Comforter could not come until after Christ went away and was glorified, for Christ said that He, Himself, would come back to His disciples to comfort them.
Let’s continue reading Christ’s discourse to see how He reinforced this point. He said, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:19, 20). A few moments earlier Jesus had said to His disciples that the Comforter “shall be in you.” Now, Jesus says that when the Comforter comes, “Ye shall know that I am in you.” Jesus assured His disciples that He would not send someone else to comfort them, but that He would come Himself to be their Comforter. Isn’t that beautiful! The disciples had become close friends of Christ; so close that John felt comfortable leaning on His bosom. It was a comfort to them when Christ was near. Now Jesus tells them some wonderful news. He tells them that after He goes to His Father, He would come back to them as the Comforter, and they would know that it was He who was dwelling in them—they would recognize that the same Person who was dwelling with them was now in them, by His Spirit.
Next, Jesus said something that caused one of His disciples to inquire of Him how this could take place. Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:21-23).
Many people believe that in John 14, Jesus was trying to teach His disciples that God is a trinity, that the Holy Spirit is a third member of the God family. Yet, when Jesus was asked to explain Himself He did not say, anything similar to “God is a trinity of persons.” Instead, Jesus made it abundantly clear that after He left the world, He would come back to make His abode in the hearts of His disciples. Not only would He return, but His Father would come with Him, so that both of Them would live in the hearts of His children, not physically, but by God’s Spirit. In this way, the disciples could have intimate communion and fellowship with both the Father and His Son. John emphasized this when he wrote, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).
At the beginning of Christ’s discourse at the last supper He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1, 2). If the coming of the Comforter was more than both the Father and the Son, He would have told us. If God was made up of three persons, He would have told us. If the only true God was more than only the Father, Jesus would have told us. Instead, at the end of this discourse He said that His Father is “the only true God” (John 17:3). If Jesus wanted us to believe that God is a trinity, He did a very poor job of explaining it. He had many opportunities to explain that God is a trinity, yet He never did. Not only did He fail to tell us God is a trinity, He made statements over and over again that are not in harmony with the doctrine of the trinity. If He wanted us to believe that God is a trinity, He made many statements that would serve only to confuse rather than to clarify. But “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Jesus wants us to believe that “there is one God; and there is none other but he,” “God the Father,” who is “the only true God” (Mark 12:32; John 6:27; 17:3).
John expressed the lovely truth of God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, living in us in several other verses. He wrote, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9). In 1 John 2:22, 23 he wrote, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but). he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” It is truly a blessing to have personal fellowship with both the Father and His Son, and I am very thankful that God has made this available to us.
The Promised Comforter
As Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, He commanded His disciples “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me” (Acts 1:4). Jesus pointed His disciples forward to the day when the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon them with great power. He continued, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The disciples waited in the upper room at Jerusalem for the Spirit to be poured out, as promised. Then it came, and they preached the gospel of Jesus Christ with power to the many Jews who were assembled at Jerusalem. Concerning the outpouring of the Spirit, Peter said, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:32, 33).
The gift that was poured out at Pentecost is still available to us today, and we can have it if we recognize and accept it. Yet, the gift of the Holy Spirit was not always available in the same way. In fact, the Bible tells us that God has provided something better for us, than He did for all those who lived before Christ came to this earth. We read about this in Hebrews chapter 11. After giving an account of the mighty faith of the patriarchs and prophets in the Old Testament, the chapter ends by saying, “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39, 40). That is wonderful! God has provided something better for us, than He provided for all those mighty men and women of faith in Hebrews. They all died without receiving the promise of the Comforter that Jesus spoke about in John 14 and in Acts 1.
Please do not get me wrong, the Holy Spirit was working upon the hearts of people long before the day of Pentecost, helping them to overcome sin. The Patriarch David wrote, “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me” (Psalms 51:11). This shows that the Holy Spirit was at work before Christ came to earth. Not only that, but to be more specific, the Bible says that the Spirit of Christ worked in Old Testament times. Peter wrote about the prophets, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10, 11). The Spirit of Christ was living in the prophets, long before the day of Pentecost, but, according to Scripture, there was something special about the coming of the Comforter at Pentecost; something different and better than had ever been poured out before. Let us read about this better gift.
In Hebrews 2:18 we find the key that explains what was better about the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It says: “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [help] them that are tempted.” Here is the answer! This is something better that is available to us, today, that could not have been available to the prophets of old. Even though the Spirit of Christ lived in the prophets, Christ had not yet been tempted, and therefore He could not help them in the same way that He can help us now. The word “succour” in this verse was translated from the Greek word βοηθησαι, which means, “to aid, to relieve, to help,” and, as Thayer’s Greek Lexicon puts it, it also means, “to run to the cry of those in danger.” I like that definition! The verse is telling us that because Christ has suffered being tempted, He is able to come to us swiftly to help us, when we cry unto Him for help with our temptations. The Bible says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalms 50:15). When we are being tempted, we are in serious trouble, and if we call upon the Lord for help, He will come to our aid immediately, and give us the victory we so desperately need. Christ is able to do this for us in a way that He could not do it for the prophets of old, because today, He has already experienced what it is like to be tempted. This is why Jesus called the Comforter, “another Comforter.” The Greek word αλλον, which was translated “another” in this verse was used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, in 1 Samuel 10:6. Here, it says of Saul, “And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man” (1 Samuel 10:6). Saul became another man, because of the experience he went through. Jesus became another Comforter because now He has experienced what it is like to be tempted.
Think about something for a minute. Suppose your teenage son died in a plane crash, and the next week, your spouse died in a car accident. Now suppose that I come up to you and say, “I know exactly what you are going through,” even though I had never been through that experience. Would I be able to comfort you with these words? Certainly not! If I have never experienced what you are going through, it is very hard for me to understand what you are feeling, or how to help you through it. Even if I was sent by someone who had experienced the type of hardships you are going through, my comfort to you could not be the same as if the one who had experienced your turmoil would comfort you himself.
Many Christians believe that Jesus came to this earth as a man and experienced what it is like to have trials and temptations, and then returned to heaven to send someone else to comfort us. If that were true, why didn’t He just send him in the first place? Someone who has experienced our griefs is more qualified to comfort us than a different person who is just sent in his behalf.
The Bible says that Jesus Christ, “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus Christ experienced what we are going through when we are tempted and, because of this, He is able to help us when we are tempted in a greater way than He could before He came to earth. It is He who said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Praise the Lord that our Comforter knows what we are going through in our struggles with temptation. We are given a precious promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13. It says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The way of escape that God has ordained for us is to call upon the Lord for help. Whenever we are tempted, if we call upon Him, He will help us. And God has promised that He has made this way of escape for every temptation. That old saying, “the devil made me do it,” is absolutely false. The devil cannot make you do anything. He can use strong enticements, but he can never force you to sin. There is always a way of escape, and our Comforter is eager to give us the victory.
Jesus said that when the Comforter is come, “he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). This is exactly what the Bible says Jesus would do when He comes back to us as our Comforter. The Bible says, “Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). And in the book of Acts we read, “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:26). After God raised His Son from the dead, He sent His Spirit into our hearts, to bless us in turning us away from our sins. Jesus Christ is the best Person qualified to do this job, because He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Praise the Lord that we have a Comforter who knows what we are going through in our struggles with temptation, and can help us through it better than anyone else.
This is the gift that God is eager to give to all those who ask (Luke 11:13). This is the gift that “the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him” (John 14:17). The world does not recognize that this gift exists; they do not know who their Comforter is, and therefore, they cannot receive Him. Friends, God does not want you to be like the rest of the world, He wants you to know who your Comforter is, so you can receive the full benefits of this blessed gift. Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our Comforter. In fact, John told us exactly that in 1 John 2:1. Notice what he wrote here: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [παρακλητος: Comforter] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” The other four times παρακλητος was used in the Bible it was translated, Comforter. In Greek there is no distinction between the advocate in this verse and the Comforter in John’s other writings, and here John plainly tells us that the Comforter is Jesus Christ.
The Bible says of Jesus, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus is our intercessor, our mediator. The Bible says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). How many mediators do we have between us and God? One! Yet, the Bible says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit makes intercession for us as our Advocate and Comforter. This Spirit that makes intercession for us is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. In this verse the Spirit is referred to with the pronoun “itself.” In English this seems strange because we would not refer to a person as “it” or “itself,” yet the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit this way several times.
Paul wrote, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). Peter wrote, “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). Here the Spirit of Christ is called “it.” John the Baptist did the same thing when he said, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him” (John 1:32).
The reality is that it is no more improper to refer to the Spirit of Christ as “it” as it is to refer to “the mind of Christ” as “it.” In fact, in Greek, the word πνευμα, which was translated “Spirit,” is a neuter noun, and as the grammatical rules demand, all pronouns referring to the Spirit are neuter, even though several times most English Bibles render these pronouns as “he” or “him.”
The Greek word for Comforter is masculine, and therefore all pronouns referring directly to the Comforter are masculine. However, this does not indicate that the Holy Spirit is a literal male individual separate from the Father and His Son. For example, an angel said, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe [βρεφος neuter] wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger [φατνη feminine].” (Luke 2:12) Here is an example of how the gender of Greek nouns cannot be relied upon to determine the personality of nouns. The Greek word that was translated babe is a neuter noun even though the babe is a male person. In the same sentence the Greek word that was translated manger is a feminine noun even though a manger is an inanimate object. If there had been any Greek pronouns in this verse referring to either the babe or the manger, the pronouns would most likely have been the same gender as the nouns they represent.
I say “most likely” because there are some cases when these grammar rules were broken by Bible writers to demonstrate the personality of the person represented by a Greek pronoun.
Bible writers adhered to the rules of Greek grammar regarding pronouns most of the time. For example, John wrote, “For the Lamb [αρνιον neuter] which [το neuter] is in the midst of the throne shall feed them,…” (Revelation 7:17). Here John strictly adhered to the rules of Greek grammar and used a neuter pronoun for “the Lamb” even though it had already been established that the Lamb is the Son of God. But later, John wrote, “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb [αρνιον neuter] stood on the mount Sion, and with him [αυτου masculine] an hundred forty and four thousand, having his [αυτου masculine] Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1). Here John broke the rules of Greek grammar and referred to the Lamb using masculine pronouns even though the word “Lamb” is neuter in Greek.
John was not the only Bible writer to break the rules of Greek grammar to demonstrate the literal personality of the one represented by a pronoun. Mark wrote, “And he took the damsel [παιδιου neuter] by the hand, and said unto her [αυτη feminine], Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise” (Mark 5:41). For more examples like these, read Matthew 2:13, 14, 20, 21; Luke 1:59, 80; 2:21.
There was biblical precedent for John to have broken the rules of Greek grammar when referring to the Holy Spirit to give it personality by using masculine pronouns in reference to it. But he never did this! Some trinitarians have argued that John actually did break the rules of grammar by using masculine pronouns to refer to the Holy Spirit. But, in these cases John was actually referring to the masculine noun, Comforter, rather than to the neuter noun, Spirit, and was not breaking any rules of grammar. These supposed broken rules of grammar are in John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, 8, 13, 14, but all of these masculine pronouns refer back to the masculine noun Comforter rather than to the neuter noun Spirit. In reality John did not break the rules of Greek grammar to refer to the Holy Spirit with masculine pronouns. In all places where John was actually using pronouns to refer to the Spirit, he used neuter pronouns.
John wrote, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [παρακλητον masculine], that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit [πνευμα neuter] of truth; whom [ο neuter] the world cannot receive, because it seeth him [αυτο neuter] not, neither knoweth him [αυτο neuter]: but ye know him [αυτο neuter]; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16, 17). For more examples of where neuter pronouns were used for the Spirit read John 7:39; Acts 5:32; Romans 8:16, 26; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 6:19; & 1 John 3:24. I have read every verse where a pronoun is used for the Holy Spirit, and I have not found a single case where masculine pronouns were used for the Spirit. It would appear that none of the Bible writers understood the Holy Spirit to be an actual separate person from the Father and Son.
Christ in You
When you have the Spirit of Christ, you have Christ Himself. Paul wrote, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17). In this way you can be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Without this experience, Jesus said, “ye have no life in you.” “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12).
Paul exclaimed, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). This is our only hope of salvation. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). We must all be able to say, with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
When Christ was here, He cried out to God, addressing Him as, “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36). This term expresses a close, personal relationship with His Father. This same relationship is given to us. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). When we receive this Spirit, we also cry, “Abba, Father.” Paul explained, “Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). It is Christ in you crying “Abba, Father.” By giving us the Spirit of His Son, God is giving us that close, personal relationship with Himself that His Son has with Him. That is beautiful!
The best gift that God ever gave is the gift of His only begotten Son, whom He gave to die for our sins that we might live forever (John 3:16). Not only did He give His Son to die for us, He gave Him to live within us as our Comforter. Praise God for such a wonderful gift! I pray that you will utilize this gift to the full potential of Christ in you, and that you will be ready to meet Jesus in peace when He returns for His people.
What is a Spirit
We have learned that God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts to comfort us, but what is a spirit? Some people think that a spirit is a ghost, some bodiless phantom that floats around. Is this what God sends to the world to comfort us? Certainly not! According to The American Heritage Dictionary, ghost means: “The spirit of a dead person, especially one believed to appear in bodily likeness to living persons or to haunt former habitats.” The Holy Spirit is not a ghost as described above. Let us read the Bible and see what it has to say about a spirit.
In the book of Job it says, “There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32:8). Daniel explained, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body” (Daniel 7:15). A spirit is the part of a person that can be grieved. In Mark’s gospel we read, “And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8). A spirit is the part of a person that can perceive or understand things. The king of Babylon had a dream, and he told his wise men, “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream” (Daniel 2:3). A spirit is the part of a person that can be troubled. These Bible texts confirm the definition of “spirit” found in The American Heritage Dictionary, which says, “The part of a human being associated with the mind, will, and feelings.”
The Bible mentions several different types of spirit. We read in the Bible about “foul spirit,” “evil spirit,” “unclean spirit,” “dumb spirit,” “excellent spirit,” “humble spirit,” “wounded spirit,” “broken spirit,” “haughty spirit,” “faithful spirit,” “good spirit,” etc. All these spirits are distinguishable by the adjective that describes them. We know that God the Father has a spirit (Matthew 10:20), and can that spirit be anything else, or anything less, than Holy? The word “Holy” is an adjective in every case, whether in English or in Greek. “Holy Spirit” is not a name, but a description of the Spirit of God.
Notice how Paul compared the spirit of man with the Spirit of God: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). Here the spirit of man is likened to the Spirit of God. Just as man has a spirit, so God has a Spirit, and His Spirit, just as man’s spirit, is the part of Him “associated with the mind, will, and feelings.” The Holy Spirit is “the holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). Just as the spirit of man, God’s Spirit can be grieved or vexed. God’s Spirit belongs to God, just as my spirit belongs to me. This is to be expected, since we were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26).
Suppose I told you, “I know that we have met before, but have you ever met my spirit? I would like to introduce you to my spirit, he is sitting over there on that chair.” What would you think? You would immediately recognize that I have a twisted concept of what my spirit is. It is not some other person, separate and distinct from me. My spirit is really me, it is who I am. If I say, “My mother is very pleasant to be around, she has an excellent spirit,” you would not suppose that I am talking about two persons. I would only be talking about one person, my mother, who has a pleasant personality and character.
I would like you to notice something about how the term “Holy Spirit” is used in the Bible. Luke records a conversation that Jesus had with His disciples. Jesus said, “When they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say” (Luke 12:11, 12). Matthew records this same conversation, but notice the different words he uses to describe the Holy Spirit: “When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matthew 10:19, 20).
Here we see that the Holy Spirit is called, “the Spirit of your Father.” This is very appropriate, because later Jesus said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26). Here Jesus explained that “the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit” (John 14:26), proceeds from the Father. In other words, the Father is the source of the Holy Spirit, because it is His Spirit. Please do not get confused here. We saw earlier that Jesus Christ is our Comforter. Notice, in the verse we just read, Jesus said that He would send the Comforter, which comes from the Father. This is just what Peter said on the day of Pentecost, when he explained that Jesus, “being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). The Comforter comes from the Father, through the Son, to us. Paul explained it this way, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:5, 6).
So we see that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, which He sends to us through Jesus Christ, and when we receive the Spirit, we are receiving both the Spirit of the Father, and the Spirit of His Son. Two Persons come to live in us, and we have fellowship with both the Father and His Son. The Comforter can rightly be called either the Spirit of the Father or the Spirit of Christ, or both. We find Paul interchanging these terms in the following scripture: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:9-11).
Two Divine Persons
Some people get confused regarding the Holy Spirit, as if it was a third individual, separate and distinct from God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. I would like you to notice some facts from the Bible.
There are 27 books in the New Testament. Fifteen of them begin with a greeting similar to this: “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:3). Out of all of these greetings, not one of them mentions the Holy Spirit as a separate individual.* [Footnote: * Revelation 1:4 mentions “the seven Spirits which are before [the Father’s] throne,” but this does not refer to a separate individual called, “the Spirit.” If so it would refer to seven individuals. In Revelation 3:1 Jesus is said to have “the seven Spirits of God,” showing that the seven Spirits belong to God. Seven is a perfect number, indicating completeness. The seven Spirits of God could represent the complete manifestation of God’s Spirit or possibly the entire angelic host. (For more information, contact us to request the book entitled, Answering Objections.)]
Paul began his letter to the Thessalonians, “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:1-3). Paul taught that God is the Father and Jesus is our Lord. Paul wrote to these Gentiles, “…how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10). It is clear that in Paul’s mind, the “true God” is God, the Father only, just as Jesus said (John 17:3). Paul also believed in the Holy Spirit, but notice what he said about it, “He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:8). The Holy Spirit is the property of someone, it is God, the Father’s, own Spirit, which is holy.
When Jesus’ authority and truthfulness were challenged by the Jews, Jesus mentioned two individuals who bear witness of Him: Himself, and His Father. He said, “If I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (John 8:16-18). If Jesus knew of a third divine person who could bear witness in His behalf, He would most likely have mentioned him here (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12), but He did not.
Jesus repeatedly spoke of Himself and His Father, referring to His Father as God as well as using the pronouns “Him,” “He,” or “His,” indicating that God is a singular Person other than Himself. Jesus said to His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). Jesus spoke of Himself as someone in addition to God. To Jesus, God is His Father, and He is God’s Son. Never did Jesus refer to Himself and His Father collectively as “Him” or “He.” Instead He always said “us,” “we,” or “our,” and in each of these cases He never included a third individual called “the Holy Spirit.”
When Jesus was asked to explain His discourse on the Comforter, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). The “we” and “our” in this verse refer exclusively to both the Father and His Son. He made no reference to a third individual living in His disciples. Jesus said, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:10, 11). There is no indication of a third divine individual in this picture.
When Jesus spoke of the Jews who hated Him, He said, “He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father” (John 15:23, 24). Jesus spoke repeatedly about Himself and His Father, with no mention of another individual.
Jesus continued, “And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me” (John 16:3). In one of the most pointed explanations of who God is, Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Life eternal depends upon knowing only the Father and His Son. There is no need to know a third individual.
In Jesus’ closing prayer to His Father, He said, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11). Again, the “we” in this verse refers exclusively to both the Father and His Son.
Earlier in this prayer, Jesus petitioned, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). It may seem strange that the Father could give His own self to His Son, but this is exactly what He did. This is what God does when He gives His Spirit; He gives Himself.
John wrote, “For he whom God hath sent [Jesus] speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:34). God gave to His Son, His own Spirit (self) without measure.
Later in Christ’s prayer, He says, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:21, 22). Notice the connection here. Jesus had just explained that the glory He received from His Father was His Father’s “own self.” Then He said that He gives this glory to us. Jesus gives us His Father’s own self, His presence, His Spirit. God’s Spirit is His “own self.”
When Paul charged Timothy to observe the things that he had been taught, he called heaven to witness this solemn charge. He wrote, “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality” (1 Timothy 5:21). If Paul knew of a third divine individual, surely he would have mentioned him here, but he did not. If there was a third divine person, Paul would have injured him by not mentioning him, and to add insult to injury, he even mentioned the angels instead of him. Obviously Paul did not believe that a third divine person existed.
When Jesus spoke of His return He said, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). Jesus said He would return in His own glory, the glory of His Father, and the glory of the angels. The glory of all of heaven will be present at Christ’s return, and Jesus excluded the glory of the Holy Spirit as if He was not aware of its existence as a separate individual.
Please think about something for a moment. There are many places in the Bible where the Son speaks to the Father. There are also many places where the Father speaks to His Son. But, there is never any record that the Father spoke to a third person called, “the Holy Spirit.” Neither is there any record of the Son speaking to the Holy Spirit. Nor is there any record of the Holy Spirit speaking to either the Father or the Son. It is very strange for a supposed third member of the God family to be left out of all conversations, including those regarding our salvation. The Bible says that “the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zechariah 6:13). There are only two Beings who counseled together for our salvation. No third being was allowed to enter that council.
We know that God loves us very much, because He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). We know that Jesus Christ loves us very much, because He came down to earth to die for us. But, if the Holy Spirit is a third individual, we have no way of knowing that he loves us, because he neither gave his son, nor gave himself. In fact, he gave nothing for us, so his love is unrecognizable. Nor are there any verses in the Bible that speak of the love that the Holy Spirit has for us. When Jesus spoke of God’s love, He always directed people to the love of the Father. Jesus told His disciples, “For the Father himself loveth you” (John 16:27). Yet, Jesus never explained that the Holy Spirit loves us, as if the Holy Spirit was a third distinct individual from the Father and the Son.
We are commanded to worship God, the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:22, 23). The Bible says, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Hebrews 1:6). We are commanded to worship, both the Father and the Son, but we are never commanded to worship the Holy Spirit. There are many examples in the Bible of people worshipping the Father and the Son, but there is no example of anyone ever worshipping or praying to the Holy Spirit. In the book of Revelation, John wrote, “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb [Jesus Christ] for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:13). This is the consistent example of worship in heaven. It is given only to God, the Father and His Son. In the new earth, John saw “no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22). It is clear that the worshippers in heaven do not worship a trinity, but rather only the Father and His Son.
The gift of God’s Spirit is one of the most precious gifts God has ever given to us. To receive the benefits of this gift as God intended, we must recognize it for what it is. The gift of God’s Spirit is the impartation of His life in us, the means by which He and His Son can personally live in our hearts. The great blessing of the Pentecost experience is the reception of God’s Spirit coming to us with the added benefit of the Spirit of God’s victorious Son coming into our hearts to help us in our struggle against sin and temptation. Satan would like you to think that Jesus Christ is not in us, but that He sent someone else to take His place. Friends, that is an invention of Satan, specifically designed to take away your hope of glory. Paul wrote, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Don’t let anyone take away this hope, this precious gift of Christ in you. If a gift is not recognized, it will not be utilized. Take full advantage of the ministry of Christ in your behalf; let Him come into your heart, and do a work that only He can do. Ask Christ into your heart, and He will come in, and bring His Father with Him. Jesus says to you now, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Let Him come in, and you will be glad you did. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I asked Him into my heart. Even though I was a very wicked sinner, involved in many wicked things, when I opened the door of my heart to Him, He gladly came in.
Friends, no matter how wicked you are, Jesus has promised that He will accept you if you come to Him. He said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Come to Him now, accept Him as your Saviour, and accept the gift of His Spirit into your life to give you the victory in your struggle with temptations. You will never, never be sorry you made this decision.