The truth about the Holy Spirit is that He is the third person in the Godhead. He is co-equal with God the Father, and God the Son. The ascended Christ did not only send the Holy Spirit but also manifests Himself through the Spirit.
His existence and activities remain an illusion to a good number of people and yet to others it is still a mystery. These mistaken identities of the person of the Holy Spirit and activities have caused havoc in Christendom. Some false teachers and preachers go about teaching and preaching heresy, denying His deity in trinity also saying that He is only a force. To this end, we have taken care to unveil the truth about the Holy Spirit.
It is quite appalling, that in this 21st century, that some people are still have misplaced priority about the person of the Holy Spirit and his activities or performance in the life of a believer. Some are ignorant of His existence like in the book of Acts 19:1-2 at Ephesus where Paul asked certain disciples if they have received the Holy Spirit since they believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there is any Holy Ghost.
In this write up an attempt is made to educate and re-direct those who have diverse and erroneous views about the Holy Spirit, from the biblical viewpoint. Recommendations are also made on what the scriptures say about the Holy Spirit.
According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 8th edition “truth” is the facts about something, rather than the things that have been invented or guessed.
The truth according to Michael kinsman, Signs of the Holy Spirit February 1991 p.49. Truth in the New Testament is no abstract word. The Greek word for it means not hidden or close, not covered up. That which is made open made visible, uncovered, disclosed- that which becomes transparent.
- The secular dictionary explained truth as the quality or state of being truth, sincerity, geniuses, and honesty.
- Dr. M.C Tunney, in his pictorial Bible dictionary, says that the word “truth” althea in the N-T. And a variety of words, chiefly “emeth” in the O.T. always connotes two things.
- The interrelated consistency of statements and their correspondence with the facts of reality.
- The facts themselves “the former” He says maybe called propositional truth and the latter anthological truth”
- Wilbur O Donovan says that “truth” which is a statement of what is real or what is false or what is right as compelled with what is wrong is a statement about ultimate realities of life which will affect a person’s destiny. Many people think that if something is spoken by a teacher in a school or written in a book it must be the truth. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, sometimes the teacher himself has been taught what is wrong and so he teaches others what is wrong. Sometimes books print things that are not true because the writer did not know the truth; Sometimes people purposely try to deceive others.
The concept of truth is assumed to be derived from the character of God and is the exact opposite of the concept of lying. The Bible says God can’t lie (Heb 6:18, Titus 1:2; 13, 2 Tim 2:13)
- According to D.A. Carson and others. “Truth” never leads to bondage.
- According to our text, truth if known grants freedom from mistakes and false notions
- According to professor Iwe, truth, natural or supernatural, liberates the life of man from the baneful consequences of ignorance. He further says “man life must be a rational one but to be rational, it must feed on truth and objectivity.
During Paul’s missionary journey to Ephesus, He ask a group of church members who were disciples of John the Baptist about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, they replied we have not so much heard whether there be any Holy spirit Act 19:1-2, Paul was shocked and surprise.
The reply by the Ephesians disciples which is also prevalent today in this 21st century illustrates the ridiculous and shameful treatment some give the Holy Spirit, His existence has been ignored, by some of these people and his work and ministry are not well understood.
He is the third person in the Godhead, God the Father God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Regardless of the third position in trinity, He is CO-equal with God the Father and God the son. It is wise; therefore, that equal reverence, respect, and honor should be accorded to Him. It is not fitting that anybody should treat Him as an inferior person He should be known and treated equally as the other two members of God’s head. He is not just a person, He is a divine being, and he is God.
- The scripture names him God. “why” has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, thou hast not lied unto men but unto God” Acts 5:3-4.
- He has the characteristics that God alone has.
- He has eternal nature (Heb9:14)
- He is OMNIPRESENT (PS139:7) He is capable of being everywhere at the same time.
- He is OMNISCIENT (1COR.2:10-11. He knows all things
- He is OMNIPOTENT (Luke, 1:35. He had the power to do anything.
- He is associated with the Father and the son on equal status “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt,28:19)
- What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. The consciousness of the Holy Spirit pervades the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Many Old Testament writers refer to the spirit and only three of the New Testament books do not allude to him (and these are very short Philemon and 2 and 3 johns).
- He is essentially active in God’s plan of redemption. He convinces the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (john 16:8) true children of God are born of the spirit (john 3:5-6)
Many people seem to feel that the Holy Spirit is merely an impersonal power or influence. They treat the Holy Spirit as though he were electricity or some other form of power which they can switch on and off at will. This concept is far from the truth the Holy Spirit is a person who possesses great authority and power, but He is much more than the power which he possesses. He is eminently worthy of the respect and honor that we reserve for almighty God.
- He is identified with the personal pronoun Him, “that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). “He dwelled with you and shall be in you” (John 14:17). He shall testify of me “(John 15:26) Howbeit when He, the spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth for He shall not speak of Himself but what so ever He shall hear, that shall He speak and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me” (John 16:13, 14).
- He has the basic characteristic of personality.
- Intellect: He has a mind and the ability to think and reason
- Will: He can make a choice and decide
- Sensitivity: He can feel things.
- Personality expression: ordinary force or influence as some people tag him would not be capable of feeling those things which the Holy Spirit is said to feel. For instance, we are told not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30) note a force or power cannot be grieved. You cannot grieve or vex electricity. Neither can you lie to it or tempt it; an impersonal power is incapable of such feelings. But a person can be grieved and vexed and lied to and be tempted.
Some expressions of personality are attributed to the Holy Spirit.
- He can speak (ACTS, 13:2)
- He can think (ROM,8:26)
- He can pray (ROM,8:26)
- He can teach (JOHN,14:26)
- He can feel (EPH,4:30)
- He can comfort (ACTS,9:3)
- He can work miracle (ACTS 16:6)
- He can use his will (1COR 12:11)
- He is not impersonal; these things are expressions of personality, which an impersonal power does not have.
The nature of the Spirit
Perhaps some have denied personality to the Spirit because He is not described as having body or shape. But personality and corporeality (possessing a body) must be distinguished. Personality is that which possesses intelligence, feeling, and will, it does not necessarily require a body, moreover, lack of definite form is no argument against reality. The wind is real though without form (John 3:8).
It is not difficult to form a conception of GOD the father or of the Lord Jesus Christ, but some have confessed to an inability to form a clear conception of the Holy Spirit. The reason is two-fold, first throughout the scriptures the spirit operation is invisible, secret, and internal second; the Holy Spirit never speaks of himself or represents himself, He always comes in the name of and as representing another. He is hidden behind the lord Jesus Christ and in the depths of our inner man; He never calls attention to himself but the will of GOD and saving work of Christ. “He shall not speak of himself (John 16:13).
The question is, is the Holy Spirit a personality separate and distinct from God? If yes, the spirit proceeds from GOD that is sent from GOD, he is GOD’S gift to man yet the spirit is not independent of GOD. He always represents the one GOD acting in the spheres of thought, will, and activity. How the spirit can be one with GOD and yet districts from GOD is part of the mystery of the trinity.
- Spirit of Christ in (Rom 8:9) there is no essential distinction between the spirit of GOD, the spirit of Christ, and the Holy Spirit. For there is only one GOD and one son, but the spirit has many names descriptive of his various ministries.
- The comforter: this is the title he beers in (John 14:17). The historical background of these chapters reveals the significance of the gift after the disciples had taken their last meal with the master their hearts were sad at the thought of his departure, and they were oppressed with a sense of weakness and helplessness. Their question was like who will help us when he is gone? Who will teach and guide us? Who will stand by us as we preach and pray? How shall we be able to face this hostile world? All these unspoken fears were what Jesus quieted with the promise, “I will pray for the father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he abide with you forever” (John 14:16).
The word comforter (“paraclete” in Greek) bears the following literal meaning, one called to the side of another to help him in any way, particularly in legal and criminal proceedings. It was the custom in ancient tribunals for parties to appear in court attended by one or more of their most influential friends who were called in Greek, “paracletes” and in Latin, advocators” these gave to their friend –not for fee or reward, but from love and interest –the advantages of their wise counsel. They advised them what to do, what to say, spoke to them, acted on their behalf, and made the cause of their friends in the trials, difficulties, and dangers of the situation.
Such was the relationship between the Lord Jesus and his disciple during his earthly ministry, but naturally, they were dismayed at the thought of his departure. But he comforted them with the promise of another comforter who should be their helper teacher and defender in his absence. He is called “another” comforter because he was to be invisibly to them, to what Jesus has been to them visibly.
The word another distinguished the Holy Spirit from Jesus yet puts him on the same plane. Jesus sends the Spirit, yet he (JESUS) comes spiritually to the disciples through the spirit is thus both Christ’s successor and also his presence. The Holy Spirit makes possible and real the continued presence of Christ in the church.
The sending of the comforter does not mean that Christ has been created to be the helper and advocate of his people. John tells us that he still fulfills that office. (1 John 2:1) Christ whose sphere of work is in heaven defends the disciple against the charges of the same time the spirit whose sphere of work is on earth “silences the earthly adversaries of the church through the victory of faith which overcomes the world “As Christ is paraclete in heaven so the Holy ghost is paraclete on earth.
The ascended Christ not only sends the spirit but also manifests himself through the spirit. In the flesh, He could be in only one place at a time, in his ascended life he is omnipresent by the spirit. During his earthly life, he was external to men by the spirit he can dwell in the very depths of their souls. One writer has stated this truth as follows.
If he had remained on earth in this physical life, He would have been only an example to be copied but if he went to his father and sent his spirit then he would be a life to be lived. If he had remained visibly and tangibly with us, he would have been related to us. Merely as a model is related to an artist who chisels his marble, but never as the idea and inspiration which produces the work of art. If he had remained on earth, he would have been merely the subject of prolonged observation of scientific study, and he would always have been outside of us, external to us, an external voice, an external example but thanks to his spirit, he can now live in us as the very soul of our souls. The very spirit of our spirit the truth of our minds the love of our hearts and the desire of our wills.
If the spirit’s work is to communicate the work of the son, what gain could there be in the departing of the one to make possible the coming of the other? The answer, it is not the earthly Christ that the spirit communicates, but the heavenly Christ reinvested with his eternal power, reclosed with heavenly glory. Employing an illustration suggested by DR.A.J.sordon.
That Christ’s life on earth represented the days of poverty (2Cor 8:9) and humiliation on the cross. He secured the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7) on the throne; He secured the riches of his glory. (EPH 3:16) then after his ascension to the father, He sent the spirit to covey the riches of the inheritance. By his ascension, Christ would have more to give and the church would have more to receive (John 16:12, 14:12).
The comforter teaches only the things of Christ, yet teaches more than Christ taught. Until the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension the Christian doctrine was not yet complete and therefore could not be fully communicated to the disciples of Christ. in john 16:12, 13 Jesus said “ I have brought you a little way in the knowledge of my doctrine, He shall bring you all the way”
The ascension was to bring a larger impartation of truth as well as a greater impartation of power.
- THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE
The Holy Spirit is so called because his grace and power are some of the outstanding blessings promised in the Old Testament. Ezek 36:27 Joel 2:28.
- THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH
The Holy Spirit is the interpreter of Jesus Christ. He does not bestow a new or different revelation, but rather opens the minds of men to see the deeper meaning of Christ’s life and words.
- THE SPIRIT OF GRACE
The Holy Spirit gives man grace to repeat by striving with him, He imparts the power for sanctification, endurance, and service Heb10:29, Zech 12:10.
- THE SPIRIT OF LIFE
Rom 8:2, Rev 11:11. “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life” reads ancient greed. The spirit is that person of the Godhead whose special function is the creation and preservation of natural and spiritual life.
- THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION
Rom 8:15 when a person is saved he is not given the name of the child of God, and adoption into the divine family. But he is also received within his soul, the consciousness that he is a partaker of the divine nature.
An adage said that “words are often but lame vehicles for the conveyance of truth. At their best, they but half reveal, half conceal the hidden depths of thought God has chosen to illustrate with symbol what otherwise because of the poverty of language we could never know. The following symbols are employed to describe the operation of the Holy Spirit.
The Dove as a symbol speaks of gentleness, peace, innocence, purity, loveliness, tenderness, patience, and mildness.
Fire as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, illustrate, spreads, purifies. Fire illustrates purging, purification, fiery boldness, and zeal produced by the anointing of the spirit Jer 20:9.
As a symbol of the Holy Spirit cleanses away the dust of sin. The power of the spirit does in the spiritual what water does in material order; water purifies, refreshes quenches thirst, and renders sterility fruitful. It purifies what is soiled and restores, cleanliness, it is an apt symbol of divine grace which not only cleanses the soul but adds to its divine beauty. As water is an indispensable element of physical life, the Holy Spirit is also the same as spiritual life John 3:5, 4:14, 7:38, 39. Ex 17:6, Ezek 36:25.
The wind as a symbol of the Holy Spirit is penetrating, life-giving, and purifying in operation, John 3:8, Act,2:2 Ezek. 37:7 -10.
The oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit lubricates, soothes, heals, and is used in beautification. It illuminates, liberates, and strengthens the soul.
The impress of a seal implies a relation to the owner of the seal and is a sure token of something belonging to him. Believers are God’s property and known to be so, by the Spirit dwelling in them. The spirit inspires the sense of security and assurance in the believers’ hearts Rom 8:16. He is an earnest or first part of our heavenly inheritance, an assurance of the glory to come. Christians have been sealed but must beware of not doing anything to break the seal Eph 4:30.
The Holy Spirit is revealed in the Old Testament in three ways.
1. As the creative or cosmic Spirit through whose power the universe and all living creatures were created.
2. As the dynamic or power-giving Spirit.
3. As the regenerative Spirit by which human nature is changed.
The history of anointing
- First of all, we must understand the scriptural background of the anointing. The anointing in the Old Testament was a physical anointing with oil God gave Moses the receipt to make up the oil with which the tabernacle of meeting, the ark of the testimony, and all the utensils in the tabernacle were to be set apart or sanctified. The priests were also set apart by anointing oil. The making of the oil is described in Exodus 30:22-30.
- Moses fulfilled these command merits in due course as we see in Leviticus (8:10-12). Tabernacle, its furniture, and Aaron were also anointed (Leviticus 8:30).
- Those anointed for service were priests who poured oil on their heads and set them apart for specific assignments (1Sam 10:1).
- Saul was anointed king of Israel
- David was anointed king of Israel (1Sam 16:13) we find that in the case of Saul because of his disobedience to God. The spirit of the Lord departed from him and instead of the Holy Spirit, a distressing spirit from God trouble Saul (1Sam, 16:14)
We should not be disturbed by the phrase “evil spirit from the lord” this statement and similar ones in scriptures simply indicate that evil spirits are subject to God’s control and operate only within divinely determined boundaries (Judges 9:23; 1Kings 22:19-23, Job 1:12, 2:6; 2 Sam 24:1with 1Chron.21:1).
The scripture says that the believer has an anointing from God and knows all things. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things (1John 2:20).
- This is an amazing statement. First, it says that we have an anointing. The essential requirement for having that anointing is to believe that you do have an anointing.
- In the second part, the statement says that we know all things. This is referring to all things spiritual. With the anointing of God present with us, we receive a supernatural knowledge of spiritual things and discernment and gifting which the world cannot know. 1st John 2: 27 further confirms that we have the anointing of God but the anointing which you have received from him abide in you and you need that anyone teaches you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true is not lie and just as it has thought you, you will abide in him.
The teaching referred to here is not man’s knowledge. It is the knowledge that comes only from the Holy Spirit who teaches us. This is when the fits of the Holy Spirit are in full operation. We will not need anybody to teach us about anointing.
Believers in Christ live under the New Testament and have been to God by his grace. Although we no longer live under the law but grace, by being born-again (John 3: 3, 5)
Because we are priests and kings (1st Peter2:9; Rev.1:6) God will anoint or empower us because we are called to be kings and priests and set aside for the service for God, God’s anointing will come upon us in the same way as it did upon Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament, the anointing was a physical experience. In the New Testament Covenant, however, the oil is not physical oil. The holy oil is the holy spirit of God that comes upon the believer (Rom. 8: 15). It is the Holy Spirit, which anoints us and sets us apart for the service of God.
- The purpose of anointing is for the service of God and humanity.
- The case of Jesus Christ; the bible says; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with Him’ (Acts 10:38)
- The anointing of God come upon Jesus when he was baptized in the Holy Spirit Jesus did not commence his ministry until he was 30yearys of age. This immediately followed his baptism of water at which the Holy Spirit comes upon him like a dove. And suddenly, a voice came down from heaven saying; this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3: 17)
- Jesus was empowered to serve (Luke 4:18, 19) He went about all Galilee teaching, preaching, and healing all kinds of sickness (Matt. 4:23) casting out demons (Luke 4:41).
- For you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea of the earth (Acts 1:8).
To avert pitfalls and danger as a child of God you need to know the truth about the Holy Spirit. Hearkening to his voice will help you not to preach or teach heresy or blaspheme God. Every believer needs him; you cannot function effectively without spiritual power. This power comes through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, if you want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit you need to pray for it. As you repeat and renounce all your sins and unbelief, then ask the Lord to baptize you in thy name of Jesus.
In realizing the need of thy Holy Spirit all believers are hereby advised to know and preach it to others in other to build a sound doctrine save one soul and the soul of others.
 A.S. Horn. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, eighth edition, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), p.1602.
 Kinnaman Micheal. Sings Of the Spirit, (Canberra; Australia, 1991), pp.7-20
 David B. Guraluik. Web Star’s New World Dictionary of The American Language, Second College Edition, (USA: William Collins and World Publishing Co., 1974), p.1528.
 Merril. C. Tenny. The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), p.872.
 Norman Shildt. Christian Ethics, (Abak. Samuel Bill Theological College).
 Will Bar O’Donovan. Biblical Christianity In African Perspective, (Ilorin: Paternoster, 1996).
 D.A. Carson. New Bible Commentary Illness (Michigan: Intervarsity Press, 1994), p. 1043.
 N.S.S. Igwe. The History And Contents Of Human Right, in Stanley M. Horton, What The Bible Says About The Holy Spirit, (Springfield: Gospel Publishing, 1997), pp.167-8.
Carson, D.A. (1994), New Bible Commentary Illness. Intervarsity Press.
Guraluik, David B. (1974), Web Star’s New World Dictionary Of The American Language, Second College Edition, USA: William Collins and World Publishing Co.
Horn, A.S. (2010), Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, Eighth Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Igwe, N.S.S. The History And Contents Of Human Right in Stanley M. Horton (1997), What The Bible Says About The Holy Spirit, Springfield: Gospel publishing.
Micheal, K. (1991), Sings Of The Spirit, Canberra; Australia.
O’Donovan, Wilbur. (1996), Biblical Christianity In African Perspective. Ilorin: Paternoster.
Shildt, N. Christian Ethics, Abak.Samuel Bill Theological College.
Tenny, M. C. (1963), The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.