By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
In our last article in this series, we noticed that the Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person. He is not an “it,” or or impersonal force, as some people maintain.
In this article, we will notice that the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is Deity (I.e., God), but that He is a separate Person from God the Father and God the Son.
Let’s start by noticing that Jesus Christ clearly lists the Holy Spirit as Divine, a net yet separate from God the Father and from Himself. The Apostle John recounts the words of the Savior:
John 14:16-17-And I will pray the Father, and He will give you ANOTHER Helper, that He may abide with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Please notice that word “another.” It is from a very interesting word in the Greek New Testament, allos, and has a very important connotation. W.E. Vine explains it eloquently:
“allos (243), and heteros (2087) have a difference in meaning, which despite a tendency to be lost, is to be observed in numerous passages. Allos expresses a NUMERICAL DIFFERENCE and denotes “ANOTHER OF THE SAME SORT”; heteros expresses a qualitative difference and denotes “another of a different sort.” Christ promised to send “another Comforter” ( allos , “another like Himself,” not heteros ), John 14:16 . Paul says “I see a different (KJV, “another”) law,” heteros , a law different from that of the spirit of life (not allos , “a law of the same sort”), Rom. 7:23 . After Joseph’s death “another king arose,” heteros , one of quite a different character, Acts 7:18 . Paul speaks of “a different gospel ( heteros ), which is not another” ( allos , another like the one he preached), Gal. 1:6–7 . See heteros (not allos ) in Matt. 11:3 , and Acts 27:1 ; in Luke 23:32 heteroi is used of the two malefactors crucified with Christ. The two words are only apparently interchanged in 1 Cor. 1:16 and 6:1 ; 12:8–10 ; 14:17 and 19 , e.g., the difference being present, though not so readily discernible. They are not interchangeable in 1 Cor. 15:39–41 ; here heteros is used to distinguish the heavenly glory from the earthly, for these differ in genus, and allos to distinguish the flesh of men, birds, and fishes, which in each case is flesh differing not in genus but in species. Allos is used again to distinguish between the glories of the heavenly bodies, for these also differ not in kind but in degree only.” (W.E. Vine with F.F. Bruce, W.E. Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures: A Commentary Drawn From The Original Languages-Matthew To Acts-Every Verse Explained, 42525-42538 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added, M.T.); Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Publishers).
By using this word, Jesus was therefore telling us two important facts about the Holy Spirit.
First, the Holy Spirit is of the same Nature as God. The Spirt is not a little god, nor is He some kind of demi-god as some religious groups teach and emphasize. Instead, He is fully God. This is demonstrated in many other ways throughout the Bible. For example, when the Apostle Peter confronted the wicked Ananias and Sapphira in the fifth chapter of the Book of Acts, we see this interesting interchange of words:
Acts 5:3-4-But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Please notice that in this passage, trying to lie to the Holy Spirit is the same as trying to lie to God. In other words, the Holy Spirit is God. Peter is laying claim to the same fact that Jesus did when He referred to the Holy Spirit as “another” (allos) Helper (John 14:16-17). We muse see that the Holy Spirit is God.
Second, while the word allos shows us that the Spirit is God, it also shows us that the Spirit is a separate Person from God the Father and God the Son. The testimony of Scripture has always been that God is three Persons in one Godhead. For example, the Prophet Isaiah tells us:
Isaiah 48:16-Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit Have sent Me.”
The one who is speaking (e.g., the One Whom has been sent) is identified as the First and the Last (Isaiah 48:12), and the one Who made the Heavens and the Earth (Isaiah 48:13), both clear references to Jesus Christ (cf. Revelation 1:8; Colossians 1:16-17; John 1:1-5). Please notice that then there is a reference to the fact that it was the Lord God (the Father) and His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) Who sent Jesus. Here, hidden in the Old Testament for all to see, is a clear reference to the Holy Trinity; and from this we see a clear indicator that the Spirit is God, yet separate from God the Father and God the Son.
We see other clear indicators of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all through the Bible. For example, at the baptism of Jesus, we have the Father speaking from Heaven and the Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove (Matthew 3:13-17). In His discourse with the Apostle, Jesus makes continual references to the Himself and the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 14:19-31; 15:26-27; 16:5-7; 13-15). In His Great Commission, Jesus commanded that disciples be baptized in the name of (I.e., by the authority of-Acts 4:7) the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28;19). We read the Apostle Paul praying to the Godhead for the Corinthians, that “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit” be with them (2 Corinthians 13:14). Several times in the Book of Revelation, we see reference to all three Persons of the Godhead. For example:
Revelation 1:4-5-John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from HIM WHO IS AND WHO WAS AND WHO IS TO COME, and from the SEVEN SPIRITS (the Holy Spirit, cf. Isaiah 11:1-2, M.T.) who are before His throne, 5 and from JESUS CHRIST, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
Revelation 2:7-He who has an ear, let him hear what THE SPIRIT says to the churches. To him who overcomes I (JESUS) will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise OF GOD.”
Revelation 5:6-7-And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a LAMB as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the SEVEN SPIRITS of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of HIM WHO SAT ON THE THRONE.
Truly, the Bible teaches us in many different ways-in both literal and symbolic language-that the Holy Spirit is God, yet is a separate Person from God the Father and God the Son.
This Holy Spirit is in full relationship with God the Father and with God the Son, and they invite you and I to join into that fellowship. Friend, that is what the entire Gospel message is about! Even though we can never earn forgiveness for our sins by our good works of merit (Ephesians 2:8-9), the Godhead has made it possible for you and I to be saved. Through the atoning death of Jesus Christ at Calvary, His burial, and Resurrection on the third day, we can find forgiveness (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). The Lord invites all disciples who hear His Word (John 6:44-45) to believe in Jesus Christ (John 8:24), repent of their sins (Luke 13:3), confess Him before men (Acts 8:37), and be baptized into Him to receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
Will you not accept His gracious invitation today? If you have entered into fellowship with Him through baptism (Romans 6:3-4), and have wandered away from Him through sin (1 John 1:8), why not today repent and confess your sins to Him to be forgiven and restored (1 John 1:9-2:2)?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.