Acts 13:2 – Answering Objections

answering objectionsActs 13:2

“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

Some have argued that since the Holy Spirit can speak to people, it proves it is a third separate individual. Yet, since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, answering objectionsthen certainly He can speak to His people by His own Spirit. Bible texts that demonstrate the personality of the Holy Spirit do not prove the Holy Spirit to be a separate individual, but rather demonstrate that it is more than just a force; it is the actual personal Spirit of God.

I have seen many trinitarian presentations where much time and energy are expended to prove the personality of the Holy Spirit by showing instances where it is grieved, where it can speak, forbid, etc. The presenters triumphantly proclaim that because of this, the Holy Spirit must be a distinct and separate person from the Father and Son. Yet, what about Daniel 7:15, which says, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.” Daniel’s spirit was grieved. Does that mean that someone separate and distinct from Daniel was grieved? Certainly not! When Daniel’s spirit was grieved, Daniel was grieved. There is no reason to conclude that when God’s Spirit is grieved, speaks, forbids, is lied to, etc., that His Spirit must be someone other than Himself.

God has the unique ability to project His Spirit to be in all places at the same time. David wrote, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me” (Psalms 139:7-10). In this way He can live in me and in a man in China at the same time. Because of this unique ability God’s Spirit is sometimes spoken of in a way that could be misinterpreted to mean that His Spirit is separate from Himself. Just because God’s Spirit is omnipresent does not mean that it is a separate individual.

Paul said, “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers” (Acts 28:25). Peter wrote, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21). The apostles understood that the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit, which spoke to and through the prophets. Yet, they did not understand the Spirit to be a separate individual. Notice what 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 we find that Peter used the terms “Holy Ghost” and “the Spirit of Christ” interchangeably.

Paul wrote in a similar manner when he wrote, “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). Paul interchanged the terms “Spirit of God,” “Spirit of Christ,” “Christ,” “Spirit of him,” and “his Spirit.” Paul understood that when Christ is in you, the Spirit of His Father is in you, just as Jesus said to His Father, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one” (John 17:23).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father in Christ living in us. This is why the terms can be interchanged. The ability of the Spirit to speak, guide and direct His church does not indicate that the Spirit is a separate individual, but rather it demonstrates the mode in which God Himself directs the affairs of His church by His Holy Spirit.