God the Holy Spirit
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”- Genesis 1:1–2
Over the past few weeks, we have spent time in John 14, a text that records much of Jesus’ teaching on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We hope that these studies have been helpful given the sustained but often sub-biblical attention that the Holy Spirit has received in our day. There is much more, however, that can be said in light of the witness to the Spirit throughout all of Scripture. For that reason, we will now pause our study of John’s gospel for a few days to look at the person and work of the Holy Spirit more closely. Dr. R.C. Sproul will guide us as we base our devotionals on his teaching series The Holy Spirit.Clearly, the Holy Spirit is not incidental to God’s work of creation and redemption. After all, as today’s passage indicates, He appears immediately in the opening verses of Scripture (Gen. 1:1–2). Moreover, references to the “Spirit of the Lord,” the “Holy Spirit,” and so on are found throughout both the Old and New Testaments.When we consider the Holy Spirit, we are really considering God. Genesis 1:1–2 shows Him active in the creation of the world, an act only God can perform. Acts 5:3–4 identifies the Spirit with God by saying that Ananias lied to God and to the Holy Spirit. Similarly, Hebrews 10:15–17 identifies the Holy Spirit with Yahweh, the Lord of Israel and the one true God. The author of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31:31–34, telling us that the Holy Spirit spoke those words, but Jeremiah indicates that Yahweh spoke them. The implication is clear: the Holy Spirit is Yahweh and so is to be worshiped.Of course, the Bible identifies not only the Holy Spirit as Yahweh but also the Father and the Son. John 1:1–18, for example, says that in the beginning the Word—the Son of God—was God and was with God. Verse 18, in particular, identifies the Father as God. God the Son, who is at the Father’s side, makes God the Father known. Due to the references to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as God, the church has come to confess the doctrine of the Trinity, which says that God is one in essence and three in person. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are identical in terms of the divine being; all are equally God and possess the same divine attributes. Yet there are personal distinctions among Them that do not divide the essence of God but allow us to distinguish Them one from another. The practical import of this for us is clear. When we are talking about the Holy Spirit, we are talking about One who is to be worshiped, honored, and served with all our might.
It is easy for us to think of the Spirit as an impersonal force and somehow less than God. In fact, many cults affirm just that. However, the Bible teaches us clearly that the Spirit is God and we are to think of Him as fully equal to the Father and the Son in power, authority, wisdom, and every other divine attribute. If we want to truly know who God is, we must be clear on the full deity of the Holy Spirit.
Passages for Further Study
2 Corinthians 3:17–18; 13:14