The Divinity of the Holy Spirit

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Lesson

Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as having the attributes and performing the actions of a person. He is also shown to have the attributes of God, and is declared to be God. Both the Old and New Testaments cite examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering people.

Transcription

Course: Systematic Theology II

Lecture: The Divinity of the Holy Spirit


I. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

The bulk of our time will be spent on the work of the Spirit but I want to cover some things to look at in regard to the person of the Spirit as well.

There clearly has been a revival of interest in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the 20th century. J. I. Packer in his little book Keep in Step with the Spirit notes that from the early church up to the 20th century there was one and only one full scale treatment of the doctrine of the Spirit written and that one was by John Owen in 1679. It is not that the Spirit wasn’t talked about, but generally the Spirit was talked about in one of two contexts is you look at this historically. 1) The whole question of the relationship of the Spirit to the Father and the Son. It was very esoteric, very abstract, very difficult metaphysical question whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father or whether He proceeds from the Father and the Son which divided the East and West Churches, the filioque controversy. That has received enormous amounts of time and attention and effort which to my judgment is largely, but not entirely, speculative and ultimately unprofitable. That became such a focus of attention early in the going that the church spent a lot of time talking about that. 2) Constructively when the church has spoken about the Spirit it has been more in connection with salvation. You hardly talk about the Spirit per se but the Spirit get brought quite a bit especially in the Reformed Tradition but it had to do with the whole process, the Ordo Salutis, how regeneration takes place, how effectual calling occurs, how faith is induced in a person and this sort of thing and the Spirit is invoked under the category of application of salvation. What you see little of until the 20th century is a more of a whole scale sense of doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

Having said that, even when you come to the twentieth century with so much having written on the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how long the list would be of works written on the Holy Spirit in the 20th century; hundreds and hundreds probably thousands of volumes have been written on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the 20th century. Even here though look at what happened. On the one hand we owe to Pentecostalism the attention which has been given to the Spirit which does seem to have been absent in previous eras in church history. But what happens in Pentecostalism in my judgment is unfortunate in two ways. 1) its doctrine of the gifts of the Spirit, in my judgment and I share in common with quite a few people, it is not just min, but in my judgment the gifts of the Spirit in Pentecostalism was an incorrect understanding of what at Pentecost and what the New Testament teaches and yet that became so prominent in Pentecostal writings, the whole notion of the baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues as evidence of the coming of the Spirit etc. So in my judgment even though a tremendous amount is written on the Spirit, a lot of that emphasizes in Pentecostalism is flat out wrong and is not helpful because it is wrong. Here is the other thing, even if they were right, even if that doctrine of the gifts of the Spirit is correct there is still a problem. 2) When you look at the major purpose for the coming of the Spirit as prophesied in the Old Testament and as fulfilled in the New Testament is not to provide supernatural gifts that are spectacular and remarkable. Why do you think the Holy Spirit is called the Holy Spirit? Because He has come to make us holy. What has not received the attention that ought to given is a study of biblical theology on the Spirit to show what the Spirit did in the Old Testament, what He was prophesied to do, what happen at Pentecost, what the New Testament expectation is of Christian people who are now temples of the Holy Spirit. This is an area that is still in need of serious consideration and study by the church. So even with a full century, here we are now in the 21st century, when we have had a whole century of discussions of the Holy Spirit and in my judgment we still have a long ways to go in terms of focusing the church and its understanding and emphasis in ways that truly biblical; both in correcting problems and saying things that haven’t been said that need to be said about this.

Student Question: Do you have any idea why the church has struggled so much with it?

I think that there is sort of this progressive doctrine of illumination as well as progressive revelation. All of us agree to progressive revelation, God reveled something to Adam but not everything, something more to Noah but not everything, then something more to Abraham but not everything. There is clearly a doctrine of progressive revelation as you go through history. It looks to me by just looking a church history that there must be a kind of corporate progressive illumination that is true as well. Why is it that we get to the 16th century and then get clarified in ways that was never quite a clear and precise the doctrine of justification by faith. The 20th century is in many ways the age of the Spirit in terms of theological reflection and for whatever reason God has seen to it that certain things are brought up and handled and dealt with at certain times which probably means that there are certain things we are blind of still as we think others were of things that are now clear to us. Probably the other reason is that by definition the Holy Spirit doesn’t want to take center stage. This is good biblical theology; it is not the will of the Spirit to assert Himself. John 16.

John 16:13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.

So one of clearest and greatest manifestations of a Spirit filled person or a Spirit filled church is not the Spirit, but Christ; Christ is honored, Christ is esteemed, Christ is cherished and obeyed. This happens by the Spirit. I think that this is part of it too. The Spirit as He works in the is not going to put Himself forward but there is also a sense in which the New Testament in particular makes clear that there is a role for the Spirit what has not been understood well in the church.

When we get to the work of the Spirit I am going to follow a biblical theology approach where we look at the role or work of the Spirit in the Old and New Testaments. I think that that is really crucial. One of the big mistakes, in my judgment that many reformed people make (and count myself among their number in many ways I hold to reformed understandings; God and Salvation, and identify with much of Reformed Theology not all of it by any means but a good bit) is that they read back. They have this Covenant of Grace that spans both Testaments; the church is the new Israel. Israel was the Old Testament church. So they have this sort of reflex toward continuity. What that does, in this case, is reading back into the Old Testament New Testament teaching about the Spirit. I think that this is a huge mistake

II. The Person of the Spirit

A. The Personhood of the Holy Spirit

This is a more difficult question than was a Christ a person. He lived among us, walked, ate, wept, and all of things. No one ever question the personhood. The questions were more in line with what kind of person was He and the natures and all that? It was complicated but of the Spirit this is not as easy of issue. The Spirit is invisible, by definition Spirit not being physically present. The words for the Spirit throughout the New and Old Testament pneuma (πνεῦμα) and ruach (רוח) do not necessarily communicate persons. In both cases the terms can be translated wind, breath. So why take The Spirit of Adonay (רוּחַ אֲדֹנָי ) as a personal entity. Why not take expressions like the “hand of the LORD” the “eye of the LORD” is on those who fear Him; the “strong right arm of the LORD” and the “Spirit of the LORD” in the very same way as some manifestation of the presence of God in some respect; watchfulness eye of the LORD, power of the LORD the strong right arm of the LORD. The manifestation of the LORD in some respect. Why not take it as the “breath of the LORD”? What He is wanting to bring; the life that He wants to bring. Why take it as Spirit. That is what is behind this question. Some book on the Holy Spirit use the pronoun “it” instead of He to refer to the Spirit. Some feminists use the pronoun “She” instead of He to refer to the Spirit.

What reasons are there for thinking in fact that the Spirit is a person?

1. The Spirit has attributes of a person.

a. The Spirit has a mind

1 Corinthians 2:10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

You can’t know the thoughts of God if you don’t have a mind. It also implies the deity of the Spirit because he is speaking in comprehensive sense, only God knows God’s thoughts.

b. The Spirit has emotions.

Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

The Spirit cannot be understood as an impersonal force; “the force be with you”. The electricity that powers the lights is very powerful (I have done a few stupid things in my life that have given me great respect for electricity) and it is impersonal. Just try to grieve electricity. You don’t grieve impersonal power but you grieve persons.

c. The Spirit has a will

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

He chooses who gets what gifts and by what measure. Remember that so that you avoid comparisons with one another that are so deadly to your and their free expression of the gifting that each of us have. The main point here is that He chooses.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

These are attributes of the Spirit, these are qualities of the Spirit. When you walk by the Spirit His love manifests through you, His peace manifests through you.

d. The Spirit is called Holy

The Spirit is called Holy 94 times in the New Testament. Holiness attaches to His character.

2. The Spirit performs actions of a person

a. He teaches

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

b. He bears witness

John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,

c. He leads or guides

Romans 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

d. He intercedes for us

Romans 8:26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

e. He sends out missionaries

Acts 13:4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

This is a sample list not comprehensive. These are indicators that He actually does things that persons do

3. He is treated as a person

Everyone of the things on my list is a bad way to treat a person by none the less they are all examples of the Holy Spirit is treated; how you would but should not treat a person but none the less it has to be a person.

a. He can be lied to

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?

Try to lie to electricity. If you lie to some entity, that is only comprehensible if the one to whom you lie is a moral agent; who comprehend a true statement and a false statement. Can you lie to a rock? Can you lie to stone? Can you lie to the wind? No, you can’t. You can lie to the God who hears you lying to the wind but not to the wind.

b. He can be resisted

Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.

c. He can be insulted

Hebrews 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

d. He can be blasphemed

Matthew 12:31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

4. The masculine pronoun is at times used of pneuma (πνεῦμα)

Pneuma (πνεῦμα) is neuter in Greek, the word for Spirit. And yet there are occasions when the masculine demonstrative pronoun (that one) is used of the Spirit instead of using a neuter. For example in John 15:26 and John 16:13-14

John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Not everything called holy is personal. It is very clear that the Holy Spirit is connected with the character holiness.

1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:8 So he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

There is a link in that text that the Holy Spirit has come to produce character, holiness, in us. That is the sense I which it is used not like instruments in the temple, not like the Sabbath day but like in clearly character ways.

B. The Deity of the Holy Spirit

There are five categories of support. They don’t match exactly the five that I had for the deity of Christ, so don’t confuse them. There are some similar categories but they are not the exact same five.

1. The Holy Spirit is declared to God

This is an important category. At the Council of Constantinople in 381 these texts were brought out by the Cappadocian fathers in order to support the deity of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:3-4

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? Acts 5:4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Here he equates lying to God and lying to the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16

1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Here is God who says I alone am God there is no other. Here is this clear equation of God who indwells the temple in the Old Testament, the God of Israel, the Shekinah glory of God. Here he is making that by analogy us, now we are temple of God. In what sense is God in us? His Spirit is here. So the Spirit of God is God.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18

2 Corinthians 3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

What helps with this in terms of deity is that the reference that Paul makes in 2 Corinthians 3:16 comes from Exodus 34:34 where Moses faced Whom? Who did Moses turn to on Mount Sinai? God. The image he is using is that of Moses and God and now applying that to a believer, when a person turns to the Lord the veil is taken away. Moses in the presence of the Lord took the veil off and when he came to the people he put the veil on so that they couldn’t see the glory fading. He is using that as an analogy of when we come to the Lord and the Lord is the Spirit. So clearly he is linking the Spirit with God.

Exodus 34:34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,

Acts 7:51

Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.

Steven accuses his hearers of resisting the Holy Spirit just as their fathers did. Whom did their fathers resist? God, they resisted the God if Israel over and over and over. Here he says that they resisted God.

In the Old Testament, the passage that is quoted in the New Testament, in the Old Testament is simply said “the Lord said” but in the New Testament quotation it indicates that the Spirit of the Lord said through David, or through the prophet or whatever. It clearly God who lead this to written is in fact the Spirit of God.

Acts 28:25-27 and Isaiah 6:8-10

Acts 28:25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, Acts 28:26 saying, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; Acts 28:27 For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes; Otherwise they might see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.” ’

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:9 He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ Isaiah 6:10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”

Hebrews 3:7-11 and Psalm 95:7-11

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, Hebrews 3:8 Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, Hebrews 3:9 Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. Hebrews 3:10 “Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they did not know My ways’; Hebrews 3:11 As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”

Psalm 95:7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, Psalm 95:8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness, Psalm 95:9 “When your fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My work. Psalm 95:10 “For forty years I loathed that generation, And said they are a people who err in their heart, And they do not know My ways. Psalm 95:11 “Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”

Hebrews 10:15-17 and Jeremiah 31:31-34

Hebrews 10:15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, Hebrews 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, And on their mind I will write them,” He then says, Hebrews 10:17 “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

This is also a support for inspiration. Men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. That is exactly what this is indicating.

Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, Jeremiah 31:32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

2. Attributes of God alone predicated of the Holy Spirit

We can’t say love or holiness even though the Holy Spirit is called holy 94 times in the New Testament, but we are called to he holy; so they have to attributes true of God alone.

a. Eternity

Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

b. Omniscience

1 Corinthians 2:10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

c. Omnipotence

Luke 1:35

Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

This accounts for the incarnation, the miracle of the miraculous conception of the God/man in Mary’s womb. How will this happen? The Spirit will come upon you and perform this act.

Zechariah 4:6

Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.

d. Omnipresence

Psalm 139:7-10

Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalm 139:8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. Psalm 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Psalm 139:10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

3. The Holy Spirit has prerogatives of deity

a. The Spirit directed Philip where to witness of Jesus 

This is God’s prerogative to do that.

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.”

b. The Spirit sending out missionaries

Acts 13:4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

c. Forbidding Paul to go to certain places 

Paul wanted to go across to Asia Minor and the Spirit said no

Acts 16:6-7

Acts 16:6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; Acts 16:7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them;

d. The Spirit distributes gifts as He wills

That not only indicates He is person with a will it also indicates that He has the prerogatives of God.

I Corinthians 12:4-11

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 1 Corinthians 12:6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 1 Corinthians 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

e. He is deserving of worship

Matthew 12:31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

You can’t blaspheme me and I can’t blaspheme you because we are not deity. If you blaspheme successfully you blasphemed something that is deity. You can’t blaspheme an idol but the Spirit can be blasphemed. That means that He is worthy of worship and in fact is treated the wrong way.

4. Works of God alone done by the Holy Spirit

a. Creation

Yes God created the heavens and the earth, yes Christ created all things, but yes the Spirit is involved. It is a Trinitarian act just as redemption is a Trinitarian act.

Genesis 1:2

Genesis 1:2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

The Spirit is present in bringing order to chaos of Genesis 1:2

Psalm 33:6

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.

Psalm 104:30

Psalm 104:30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the ground.

b. Regeneration

Only God can give life and give new life.

John 3:5-6

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Titus 3:5

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

c. Sanctification

Sanctification happens by the Spirit. It is not by the Spirit alone, Christ is the sanctifier, the father sanctifies. It is a Trinitarian act but there are passages that indicate that the Spirit is involved in sanctification.

1 Peter 1:2

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

2 Corinthians 3:18

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Our transformation into the likeness of Christ is done by the Spirit.

d. Conviction of sin

This is different than pointing out sin to somebody. This is their heart convicted of that sin

John 16:8

John 16:8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;

e. Raising the dead

Romans 8:11

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

5. Triadic passages

I don’t call them Trinitarian because I don’t think there is any text in the Bible that lays out what the Trinity articulates. Namely God is one in essence and three in persons. There is no text that says that but what there are, are texts that indicate Father, Son and Holy Spirit together constitute the one God. Therefore Holy Spirit is put at the same level as Father and Son and therefore is understood as God.

a.The two most important texts.

Matt 28:19

Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

“name” is singular. Singular name of the one God whose name is Father, Son and Spirit. This is a very important text indicating the unity of one God of the three persons. Although it doesn’t use the Trinitarian language it is Triadic

2 Corinthians 13:14

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

This is a benediction at the end of 2 Corinthians in which Paul basically says may God be with you; a blessing of God on the people as he closes the book. The way he puts it is “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” He puts is in Trinitarian ways indicating the Spirit as God with Father and Son in bringing this blessing to people.

b. Other texts

Ephesians 2:18

Ephesians 2:18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

Ephesians 4:4-6

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

1 Peter 1:2

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Matthew 3:13-17

Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. Matthew 3:14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” Matthew 3:15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. Matthew 3:16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, Matthew 3:17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Isaiah 48:16

Isaiah 48:16 “Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

This passage is fascinating because it is in the Old Testament. The Lord God has sent me and His Spirit. It appears in the context that he is referring to deity.

Responses to student questions

The doctrine of the Trinity is by everyone’s admission a synthetic theoretical construct that attempts to account for a lot of biblical data. But what there is not in the Bible, or we wouldn’t have four centuries debating it trying to come with it, a clear Trinitarian statement God is one in essence and three in persons. That is what I mean by Trinitarian, No where in the Bible where the doctrine is explained or even articulated that way. Hence Jehovah’s Witnesses claiming that you have this unbiblical doctrine. The church now for 16 centuries has affirmed that when you take all of the data together that this doctrine is demanded. These are Triadic which means that you see the three together but it doesn’t explain the relations and all of that the doctrine of the Trinity does.

As the Holy Spirit is given to us as God’s presence working in our lives. He would come as person with His character who works in way that seeks to conform us to those characteristics. Or think of it this way, He comes as the Spirit of Christ, Jesus says when I go I will send another comforter and He will bear witness of me. So He comes as the Spirit of Christ and seeks to reproduce His character in us; it is intimately personal. That is why when we sin we grieve the Holy Spirit. It is every bit as personal as lying to your wife. What if you just flat out lied and she found out about it. Flagrant, I thought you said you spent that money for this and now I find out that you bought this; think of how she would be grieved. This is how we ought to think of sin in relation to the Holy Spirit, grieving the Holy Spirit.

The engagement ring we get is a person. The Spirit is given to us the guarantee, the pledge that all that God has for us that He will accomplish through that Spirit in transforming us to the likeness of His Son. All that He has promised will be fulfilled in its entirety. Promise assured. How do we know it? He gave us the Spirit that is my guarantee and seal. Seal is used too. Sealed so that nothing can keep this from happening. You are mine. The best contemporary analogy that I know of, of sealing with the Holy Spirit is (of course I grew up in eastern Washington where there is lots of cattle ranching) if you go past a cattle ranch you see all of these cattle with the same brand on their hind ends. That brand indicates ownership. That brand belongs to that rancher and he owns those cattle. That is what God has done to us by the Spirit, we are sealed with the Spirit for the day of redemption.

III. The Work of the Holy Spirit

I really do think that it is a mistake in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit to dive right into New Testament passages. If you are going to study the Spirit, that is where most of the information is. So dive into the New Testament, glean all this information about the Spirit and assume that as it is now it has always been. I do think that this mistake can be rectified by looking at the progress of revelation, by looking at redemptive history and see how the Holy Spirit worked, what it was like, what was promised, what happens as it unfolds and to do it this way gives you a framework for appreciating a statement like: “Do you not know that you are temples of the Holy Spirit who is in you, who you have from God and you are not your own. It gives you a framework for appreciating that, understanding the richness and the depth of that and how incredible it is that He would use the image of temple of the Holy Spirit of you and me. But we too accustomed these notions. Number one grace is not amazing but number two we just think that it has always been. The fact is it has not, so we need to see this.

A. The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

1. Old Testament references to the Holy Spirit

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word ruach (רוח) is used 388 times. This word can mean wind, breath, when it refers to spirit it can refer to the human spirit. So you have to go through all of these and see how many of them refer to the Spirit of God. Of those 388 roughly 100 refer to the Spirit of God. Only a couple of those refer to the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 51:11

Where David prays do not take you Holy Spirit from me.

Psalm 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Isaiah 63:10-11

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. Isaiah 63:11 Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,

If you take 100 instances of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament, about 60 refer to actual work of the Spirit in the Old Testament. That is something in which the Spirit of God that is actively, actually involved in an Old Testament person or persons as opposed to about 40 of those references which relate to a future work of the Spirit. In the latter days I will pour out my Spirit says the Lord.

Joel 2:28 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.

Roughly 40 of the 100 are not about the actual work of the Spirit in the Old Testament. There are about 60 references in the Old Testament to the Spirit actually at work. Compare that to the New Testament where pneuma (πνεῦμα) is the word for Spirit and pneuma (πνεῦμα) is used 378 time total. Again the same thing pneuma (πνεῦμα) breath, wind, spirit; human spirit, divine Spirit. Its actually very close to the same amount of times as ruach (רוח) but what is more significant is when ask about usages of the Spirit of God and here it is 261 out of 378 are of the Spirit of God. This is an interesting thing, in a document that is one fourth the length, New Testament/Old Testament you have over four times as many references to the Holy Spirit in a document one fourth the length over four times the number of references to the Spirit. Of this 261, 94 of that batch in particular the Holy Spirit is referred to and in the Old Testament there are a couple of references to the Holy Spirit. Just from this statistical study alone you realize two things. One, there clearly an increased emphasis on and activity of Spirit when Christ comes and following. A number of these have to do with Christ’s own ministry. So quantitatively there is a huge increase in emphasis on and activity of the Holy Spirit as it is recorded in Scripture. Secondly, with emphasis on Holy Spirit, it is very clear that this new age of the Spirit is connected overtly with Holiness. How could we miss this point?

Student question about who to pray to.

Clearly the pattern in the New Testament is praying to the Father in the name of the Son through the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. So we pray in the Spirit, we do not pray to the Spirit; we don’t pray to the Spirit, we don’t pray to Jesus. We teach our children terrible Trinitarian theology when we encourage them to pray “dear Jesus”; I guess it sounds sweet. Maybe it reflects on fatherhood, we don’t like father in our egalitarian age. In any case the pattern is clear, Jesus said pray this way, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed by thy name. Because the Father is over all, the Son is at the right hand of the Father and the Son sends the Spirit. So that is the order we ought to go in.

2. The Spirit’s empowerment in the Old Testament

Just the statistical analysis alone indicates that there is a huge increase in the Spirit’s work in the New Testament but what was it in the Old Testament? What was His actual empowerment. I am separating what the Old Testament teaches about what the Spirit actually does and what does the Old Testament teach about what the Spirit will one day do

Actual empowerment of the Spirit. If you look at all, roughly, 60 of the references to the Spirit’s actual work in the Old Testament you will find that the Spirit’s work is in relationship to four categories of individuals. The Holy Spirit comes upon the category of judges, prophets, civil rulers (there is not one Old Testament reference to Priests being filled with the Holy Spirit, but I am not saying that it didn’t happen) and craftsmen. There are four categories of people in all of the instances that occur in the Old Testament will fit into these four categories. There certain things that are true of all four that explain clearly what the Spirits work is in the Old Testament.

a. Judges

Judges 3:10

Judges 3:10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

This is from Judges 3:9 Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

Here you have a very clear instance that the Spirit comes upon this judge Othniel and what happens? What is the effect? He prevails in war, he wins the battle, he brings victory to Israel.

Judges 6:34 The same thing could be said of Gideon.

Judges 6:34 So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.

So he is empowered by the Spirit and he leads Israel into victory over his enemies.

Judges 11:29 The same thing could be said of Jephthah.

Judges 11:29 Now the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon.

Judges 14:6, 19 - Samson

Judges 14:6 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

Judges 14:19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house.

In all of these cases there is a common pattern in the book of Judges. They rebel against the Lord, then God raises up a judge, He puts the Spirit of the Lord upon a judge, the judge is empowered to do something mighty, something courageous and God uses that as His vehicle to bring about the result that He wants; namely preserving Israel, saving them from their enemies, etc..

b. Prophets

It is clear that God came upon a number of prophets, some for their lifetime.

2 Kings 2:15 - Elisha

2 Kings 2:15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

The implication is for his life but we don’t know that with other prophets if it was necessarily life-long.

2 Chronicles 15 - Azariah

2 Chronicles 15:1 Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, 2 Chronicles 15:2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

What happens here when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon a prophet? What is the outcome? What is the result? Boldness to speak the Word of God. What is the commonality in Judges and Prophets? Empowerment of God to accomplish something that God wants done that requires supernatural agency. Think of Gideon who is now reducing it down to 300 men, No, too many cut it down. Look at the courage of Sampson to do what requires supernatural agency. Look at these prophets who speak with boldness and courage in the face of opposition. Think of Isaiah.

Isaiah 6:10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”

Isaiah 43:8 Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes, And the deaf, even though they have ears.

But Isaiah took it up, Ezekiel took it up, Amos took it up. They take these things up because the Lord enables them to do it and their accomplishing it required supernatural agency.

c. Craftsmen

There are a couple of instances where craftsmen are filled with the Spirit and they accomplish what they are called to.

Exodus 31:2-3

Exodus 31:2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. Exodus 31:3 “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, Exodus 31:4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, Exodus 31:5 and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.

Are there any parents out there who has named their son Bezalel. I don’t know why not, he is quite an admirable person, but I have yet to meet a Bezalel.

Do you see a pattern? Why does God His Spirit to Bezalel? Because He wants something done. In this case (prophets) is was to speak the word of the Lord accurately, in this case (judges) it courage to rise us against enemies. In this case (craftsmen) it is skill as an artisan to make the Tabernacle just the way God prescribed. So it to do something that God has required them to do that requires supernatural agency to accomplish it.

Assessment

Name Description
1 Systematic Theology II - Quiz 9

Systematic Theology II - Quiz 9

Duration

1 hour 4 min

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