Christian Churches of God
What is the Holy Spirit?
(Edition 2.0 20021102-20061227)
The Holy Spirit is the power of God and not a separate being or person. It is the means by which we can know the One True God and his Son Jesus Christ. So it is also the means by which we become sons of God from the resurrection of the dead.
What is the Holy Spirit?
To understand what the Holy Spirit is we must know the One True God (Eloah) and His Son Jesus Christ. From the Bible we will see how the Father and the Son are related or connected through the Holy Spirit. We will see that God gives His Spirit to humans also.
The Spirit is not a person or a separate being. Some say God is made up of three parts. These parts are said to be Father, Son and Holy Spirit and are called the Trinity. This teaching is wrong and completely untrue. Scripture reveals that God is ONE and not three (Deut. 6:4; Eph. 4:6). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14). God gives us His Spirit so that we can know Him and grow to be more like Him (2Pet. 1:3-4).
The Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds. It is nothing to be afraid of, as God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love (2Tim. 1:7).
The Holy Spirit is called the helper (Jn. 15:26). It helps us to understand the Bible and the things of God. It teaches us the truth (Jn. 14:16-17,26; 16:13; 1Jn. 4:6; 5:6). It knows all things (1Cor. 2:10-11). The Holy Spirit is the means by which we become sons of God (Gal. 4:6-7; Rom. 8:14). Christ helps us, teaches us and comforts us through the Holy Spirit. This is actually the power of God living in us and in Christ. It comes from God and then to us through Christ. It is like a force that draws us to God through Christ (Heb. 7:25). It is invisible.
The Spirit will speak for us when we are in trouble. It will put thoughts in our mind and words in our mouth. The Spirit is able to speak through us (Mat. 10:19-20).
God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Lk. 11:9-13), however, we must be willing to obey Him in order to receive it. The Spirit lives in those who keep the Commandments of God (1Jn. 3:24; Acts 5:32).
When we repent of our sins and are baptised we receive the Holy Spirit in us (Mat. 28:19; Acts 2:38). To show us that this is happening, one of God’s ministers lays hands on the head of the person being baptised. The hands of the minister do not give us the Spirit. He is a man and has no power of his own to do this. It just means he is asking God to give that person the Spirit. From baptism we begin a new journey by living the way Christ did.
As Christians we must live the way Christ and the apostles lived. We know they kept the Sabbath and the Feasts (Acts 2:1, 20:6, 27:9; Col. 2:16) as is given in the Old Testament. It is not enough to just know what God says in the Bible; we must do all that God commands. When we have God’s Spirit and live the way He commands, we begin to show the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We can read about these in Galatians 5:22-23. Love is the main fruit (1Cor. 13:13), but it all starts with truth (Jn. 17:17).
We do not receive the Spirit by doing good works. But we still have to do good works and obey God’s Laws even with the Holy Spirit present in us (Jas. 2:14-18). In fact, with the Holy Spirit in us we will want to do good works and obey God. If we are too young to be baptised, the Holy Spirit will still look after us until we are adults, if we have believing parents. But we must obey our parents in the Lord (Eph. 6:1-2).
Christ said that he was in God and God in him (Jn. 17:21-23). This can only happen with God’s Holy Spirit. So when we have the Holy Spirit God is in us and Christ is in us (1Jn. 4:13). That’s how God intends to be all in all, one day (Eph. 4:6; 1Cor. 15:28). But by then we will all be spirit beings and no longer flesh and blood humans.
The Holy Spirit is the link that unites us all. Remember, the Holy Spirit is not something we can feel or touch with our hands. We know if it is present or not, from what goes on in our minds and how we behave (Gal. 5:16-18).
Having the Spirit means we can talk to God in prayer. When we pray we should pray to the Father, but always asking for things in the name of His Son Jesus Christ (Mat. 6:6, 9-13; Lk. 11:12). We can now go and speak to God the Father directly through the Holy Spirit. We must worship God in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:24)
If we don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit helps us by praying for us. It is done with such feeling there are no words to describe it (Rom. 8:26). God always knows what is in our hearts and minds, so He knows what the Spirit is saying for us. It will only ask for things that are in harmony with God’s will (Rom. 8:27).
Christ reflects what the Father is like. He acts and speaks for God because he has God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in him (Jn. 3:34). But he is not the same being as the One True God. He is a separate being and he was created by the Father and sent here to be a man for a short time (Jn. 5:23). Both the Father and the Son exist as separate beings, but they are said to be one because they share the same nature through the Holy Spirit. Christ said: if you have seen me you have seen the Father (Jn. 14:9).
The Holy Spirit joins us all together to form the Temple of God (1Cor. 3:16; 6:19). God calls us into the Kingdom of God to work. It is not because we are special or good. The Spirit gives all of us some special gift or talent, so we can work together just like one body. A body is made up of many parts. Each of the body parts, such as arms, legs, eyes and ears, work together with all the other parts. Nothing works independently. So we need to help each other in the work of the Church with love and power from the Holy Spirit.
We cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless we are born again. This happens when we are baptised and receive the Holy Spirit. Then we are born of spirit and our old way of life is said to be dead (Jn. 3:3-6). Those in the flesh cannot please God. So if we have the Holy Spirit in us, we belong to Christ and he lives in us and God lives in us the same way (Rom. 8:8-10).
So the Spirit gives us new life. We are still human, but we are constantly being changed for the better. We are conforming to the image of Christ, who is the image of God. We are being transformed through the Holy Spirit to be more perfect and holy, like God. After baptism we are not to go back to our old way of life (Eph. 4:17-24).
The Holy Spirit guides us by showing us what God wants from us. It then helps us achieve it. We will want to please God. It is like we are given a new heart and a new mind. Our bodies still look the same, but our thoughts and actions change.
The Spirit will leave us if we turn back to sinning. When we are given the Spirit, we begin to know more about the One True God and His Plan for us. But if we start to sin, we begin to lose some of the wonderful things we already knew (2Tim. 1:13-14). When we think and do things that God would not like, we know the Spirit is withdrawing from us. God said he would never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:8; 1Kgs. 6:13; Isa. 42:16; Heb. 13:5) but the Spirit can be quenched or grieved (1Thes. 5:19; Eph. 4:30).
The Spirit is the means by which we worship God (Phil. 3:3). So the Spirit is not God and we do not worship the Spirit. Nor do we worship Jesus Christ by praying to him. If we know that Jesus is the Son of God, God is in us and we are in Him through His Spirit (1Jn. 4:15).
The people of the Old Testament also knew about God’s Spirit. They had the presence of the Angel of Yahovah. They knew it was not the One True God that spoke to them directly and whom they saw. As we know, this Angel of God’s Presence who was with Moses and Israel in the Wilderness was later born as the human man Jesus (see the paper Who is Jesus? (No. CB2).
All the Prophets were visited by the Spirit of God in dreams or visions, or were spoken to by the Spirit, which was through the Angel of Yahovah. The Lord came to Abraham in a vision (Gen. 15:1); the Lord called Aaron and Miriam (Num. 12:6); the Spirit of God came upon Balaam (Num. 24:2); the Lord called to Samuel (1Sam. chapter 3); Isaiah saw a vision (Isa. 1:1); the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah (Jer. 14:14); Ezekiel saw visions of God (Ezek 1:1); Daniel received a vision (Dan. 2:19); and so it was with all the prophets of old. (See also Heb. 1:1-2; 2Pet. 20:20-21.)
The Bible also talks about another spirit in man. It is a different spirit to the Spirit of God. It is like our breath. It is a gift of life from God (Zech. 12:1). It belongs to God (Gen. 6:3; Job 11:11, 27:3; Pro. 20:27). When we die the spirit of man leaves us (Ps. 146:4). It returns to God (Eccl. 12:7). When God made Adam He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7; 1Cor. 15:45).
So this spirit in man is not a soul that lives on in Heaven after we die. The Bible says man became a living soul or a person. This soul can die (Ezek. 18:20). When the Bible talks about the soul it is really talking about the life of the body. Soul can mean creature, or man or life. Both animals and man die the same death, but man will live again. So the spirit of man is what makes us different to animals.
We cannot see the spirit of man any more than we can see our breath. But we can feel our breath if we blow on our hand. In the same way we cannot see the Spirit of God, but we feel its presence in us, because we want to obey God. The Spirit of God is like a breeze or wind (Jn. 3:8). In the same way it is like breath.
Think about how the wind fills the sails of a sailing boat. It helps to push the boat in the right direction. We could also say that when our hearts and minds are full of the Holy Spirit we too are pushed in the right direction. The Holy Spirit is the driving force that helps us to live God’s way.
When Jesus was dying on the stake he called out to his Father in heaven: “Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. When he said this he breathed his last breath and died (Lk. 23:46). So this would be the same spirit that all humans have, which returns to God at death. He was putting his life in his Father’s hands. Jesus knew that if he was going to live again after his human death, only the Father could give him new life. So through the Holy Spirit God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 3:32-33). In the same way we will be raised from the dead to live again (Rom. 8:11).
Jesus did what the Father wanted him to do (Lk. 2:49). He said that he could do nothing without the Father (Jn. 5:30). He was like the Presence of God because he spoke for God and he carried the authority of God. Through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit Christ was able to teach his disciples many things about God and about things to happen in the future. But without the Holy Spirit, Christ’s disciples and we today could not fully understand these things.
The Holy Spirit is the power of God, which Christ promised to send to us (Jn. 16:7). Before Jesus left his apostles for the last time to return to his Father (Acts 1:10-11), he told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father. He prayed to the Father to give them another Helper (Jn. 14:16-17). He was telling them that they would receive the Holy Spirit from the Father (Jn. 15:26). This was his way of saying he would still be with them because they would have God’s Spirit like he did.
So when they were gathered together for the Feast of Pentecost, a most amazing thing happened. There was the sound of a mighty wind and a tongue of fire sat upon each of them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in many different languages (Acts 2:1-4). This was just a symbol of the power that they now had. The fire did not harm them.
The Spirit would teach them about things in the future, just like Christ had done when he was with them in person (Jn. 14:26; 16:13). Through the Holy Spirit Christ would help them to be strong in the faith and to establish the Church of God. We now have to continue this work until Christ returns to put this planet back in order. Then we will all be obeying God’s Laws.