The Godhood of the Spirit
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you” (vv. 16–17).- John 14
The descent of the Spirit of God in Acts 2 prompts us to consider the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in a bit more detail throughout this week’s lessons. John 14:16–17 establishes that the Holy Spirit is a person, and a third person in addition to the Father and the Son. Passages like Hebrews 9:14, Psalm 139:7–10, Luke 1:35, and 1 Corinthians 2:10–13 ascribe the characteristics of God to the Holy Spirit, establishing that He is fully God. On the basis of these passages and many others, the Christian faith understands that the One God exists as three distinct persons within the godhead.
The mystery of the Holy Trinity is often expressed this way: God is one in essence and three in person. Within the Holy Trinity of God, the Bible reveals that there are characteristics that are unique to each one. The second person, the Son, is eternally begotten of the Father. In our created temporal world, begetting a child is an action that takes place in time. What is an action or a process in time, however, can be “condition” when speaking about eternity. The Father eternally begets the Son, and the Son is eternally begotten of the Father. The Son is not created, but has always been. As a fully mature Son, He is equal to the Father, and He always has been.
The Holy Spirit proceeds eternally both from the Father and the Son. In our created world, sending someone is an action, but God’s sending of the Spirit is an eternal “condition.” The Father and the Son always send the Spirit, and the Spirit is always sent. Only the Father begets; only the Son is begotten; only the Father and the Son send; and only the Spirit proceeds. Each co-equal member eternally rejoices in this fellowship and relationship.
As regards God’s actions in the world, we say that “all of God does all that God does.” Thus, all three persons of God are involved in creation, redemption, and glorification. Yet, at the same time, one person of the Godhead is preeminently involved in each of these. The Father is preeminently involved in the work of creation. The Son is preeminently involved in the works of administering the creation and securing redemption. The Spirit is preeminently involved in the works of sanctifying and glorifying the creation.
If you don’t know much about the doctrine of the Trinity, consult with your pastor. You may also want to study a book on this subject or the Athanasian Creed, which summarizes the doctrine. Read this creed several times over the next week and become familiar with the historic doctrine of the Triunity of God.
Passages for Further Study
1 Peter 1–2