Friday, September 1, 2017

Personhood of the Holy Spirit

Topic: Personhood of the Holy Spirit
1. Importance of the Doctrine of Holy Spirit
2. Difficulties in understanding the Holy Spirit
3. Nature of the Holy Spirit
3.1 The deity of the Holy Spirit
3.2 The personality of Holy Spirit
4. Implications of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

In this Research Paper I have made an attempt to emphasize on the Personhood of the Holy Spirit and I am going to talk about the person of the Holy Spirit i.e. Holy Spirit is a person. He is a Spirit as well as a person.
1. Importance of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit
There are several reasons why the study of the Holy Spirit is of special significance for us. Holy Spirit is the point at which the Trinity becomes personal to the believer. Holy Spirit is active within the lives of believers; he is resident within us. He is the particular person of the trinity through whom the entire Triune Godhead currently works in us.
Second reason why the study of the Holy Spirit is important is that we live in the period in which the Holy Spirit’s work is more prominent than that of the other members of the trinity. The father’s work was the most conspicuous within the Old Testament period, as was the Son’s within the period covered by the Gospels and up to the ascension. Holy Spirit has occupied the centre of the stage from the time of Pentecost on i.e. the period covered by the Book of Acts and the epistles, and the ensuring periods of Church History.
The third reason for the importance of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit is that current culture stresses the experimental, and it is primarily through the Holy Spirit’s work that we feel God’s presence within and the Christian life is given a special tangibility.
2. Difficulties in understanding the Holy Spirit
We have less explicit revelation in the Bible regarding the Holy Spirit than about either father or the son. This is due in part to the fact that a large share of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to declare and glorify the son. Virtually the only extended treatment is Jesus’ discourse in John 14-16.
A further problem is the lack of concrete imagery. God the father is understood fairly well because the figure of a father is familiar to practically everyone. The son is not hard to conceptualize. For he actually appeared in human form and was observed and reported on.
3. Nature of the Holy Spirit
3.1 Deity of the Holy Spirit
The deity of the Holy Spirit is inextricably bound up with the doctrine of the trinity. A denial of one is a denial of the other. Controversially, belief in the Trinity necessities a belief in the deity of the Holy Spirit.
a. Divine titles of the Sprit
The title Spirit of God evidences his relationship to the father and the son and also affirms his deity. 1 Cor 2;11 clearly shows that as man and his spirit make one and the same being, so God and his spirit are only one. In most instances when the term spirit of God is used, it is a reference to the Holy Spirit rather than the father; similarly, when the term Spirit of Christ is used it is usually a reference to the Holy Spirit. In Rom 8:9 and Rom 8:13-14 it is further seen that “Spirit” and “Spirit of God” are synonyms and a reference to the third person of the Trinity.
b. Divine Attributes of the Spirit
Omniscience: The Spirit of man knows the things pertaining to humanity; the Holy Spirit knows about God. The Holy Spirit searches the depths of God (I Cor 2:10).
Omnipotence: The omnipotence of the Holy Spirit is seen in creation. In Gen 1:2 the Holy Spirit is seem hovering over creation as a hen over its young; the Holy Spirit gave life to creation.
Omnipresence: David says in Psm 139 that he cannot flee from the presence of the Holy Spirit. The omnipresence is also seen in John 14:17 where Christ taught the disciples that the Spirit would indwell them all, an affirmation of the Spirit’s omnipresence.
Eternity: The Holy Spirit is called the Eternal Spirit in this passage. Through the Eternal Spirit Christ offered Himself without blemish to God? Just as the Holy Spirit had a part in the birth Christ (Luke 1:35), in the same way He also had a part in the death of Christ.
Holiness: One important aspect of deity is that God is holy, entirely set apart and separated from sin and sinners. The most common name for the Spirit is Holy Spirit, indicating the third person of the Trinity also possesses this transcendent attribute of deity.
Love: The Holy Spirit is love and produces love in the child of God. If He did not possess love as a primary attribute He could not produce love in the believer (Gal 5:22).
Truth: The Holy Spirit is termed the “Spirit of truth” in John 14:17 and 15:26. Just as Christ was the truth (John 14:6) so the Spirit is the truth and leads people into the truth through the Scriptures.
c. Divine Works of the Spirit
Creation (Gen. 1:2). Several Scripture passages affirm that the Holy Spirit was involved in the work of creation. Genesis 1:2 indicates that the Spirit brooded over creation, bringing it to life. In Psalm 104:24–26 the psalmist describes the creation, and in v. 30 he indicates how God created: “Thou dost send forth Thy Spirit, they are created.” Job 26:13 expands the creation of God to the heavens; the Holy Spirit created not only the earth but also the heavens.
Generating Christ (Matt. 1:20). The overshadowing of Mary by the Holy Spirit assured a sinless humanity of Christ. Christ in His deity is eternal, but the Holy Spirit begat the sinless human nature of Christ. He brought the humanity of Christ into being. It is too often assumed that Mary the mother of Christ contributed His humanity and that the Holy Spirit contributed His deity; but a moment’s reflection would disclose that the deity of Christ was His own from all eternity and therefore was not originated at the time of His birth. He became incarnate when His eternal Person took on the human form.The Spirit caused the humanity of Christ to originate and that is His act of generation.
Inspiration of Scripture (2 Peter 1:21). There is an analogy between the Holy Spirit’s generating Christ’s humanity and the Spirit’s superintending the writers of Scripture; just as the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, guaranteeing the sinlessness of Christ’s humanity, so the Holy Spirit superintended the human writers to guarantee an inerrant Scripture. By analogy, a denial of one necessitates a denial of the other. The writers of Scripture were carried along by the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing the inspiration of the books of Scripture. The Spirit’s work in inspiration is analogous to the Father’s work (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16).
Regeneration (Titus 3:5). To regenerate means to give life. The Holy Spirit causes the new birth; He is its author. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is the spiritual counterpart of human reproduction in the physical realm. Human generation produces human life; spiritual regeneration produces spiritual life. The Holy Spirit produces the new birth, but He does it through the instrumentality of the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). The same truth is taught in John 3:6 where Jesus indicates the Holy Spirit produces the new birth in that He regenerates the person.
Intercession (Rom. 8:26). Christ is an intercessor for believers, but so is the Holy Spirit.
Sanctification (2 Thess. 2:13). There are three aspects of sanctification, the first being positional: “the setting apart which occurs when by the Holy Spirit the one who believes is joined unto Christ and thus comes to be in Christ.”19 (Cf. 1 Cor. 1:30; Heb. 10:14–15; 1 Pet. 1:2.)
Helping saints (John 14:16). In this text Jesus promised the disciples “another Helper.” Helper is the Greek word parakleton which comes from two words, “alongside” and “called,” hence, “one called alongside to help.” In 1 John 2:1 the Lord Jesus is called the sinning saint’s Paraclete (“Advocate” in most versions). The Holy Spirit is “another of the same kind” as Christ, a Helper who is called alongside to help the believer. The Holy Spirit’s work as the believer’s Paraclete (Helper) demands His deity since His work is the same as Christ’s in His role as Paraclete.
It becomes apparent that the works of the Holy Spirit indicate His deity—His oneness within the Godhead, together with the Father and the Son

3.2 The Personality of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a person, and not a mere influence or operation. When Christ promised his coming as another Comforter, the language clearly refers to him as a person: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you.”The Comforter whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you.
1. His identity confirms his Personality:
Personality may be defined as possessing intellect, emotions and will; then by demonstrating that the Holy Spirit has intellect, emotions, and will it will be shown that he is a person and has personality. The Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as “it” or a “thing” or simply an influence.
2. His attributes confirm his Personality:
Intellect: The Holy Spirit has intellect in as much as “the Spirit searches all things”, (1 Cor 2:10). The word “search” means to examine or investigate a matter. The Holy Spirit examines the depths of God and reveals them to believers.
Knowledge: No human being has an awareness or knowledge of the thoughts of God, but the Holy Spirit understands the mind of God (1 Cor 2:11).
Mind: Even as the Holy Spirit Knows the Father, so the Father knows the mind of the Spirit (Rom 8:27). The word mind means “way of thinking, mind (set); aim’ aspiration, striving and clearly indicates that the Holy Spirit has intellect.
Emotions: Emotions or sensibility means to have feelings, to have awareness and an ability to respond to something.
Will: The Holy Spirit has a will, indicating He has the power of sovereign choice and decision. The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts just as He wills.6 The phrase “He wills” (Gk. bouletai) refers to “decisions of the will after previous deliberation.”7 The idea of sovereign choice is evident in this statement. By way of analogy, the same word “will” is used to describe the will of God the Father (James 1:18). Just as the Father has a will, so the Holy Spirit has a will. In Acts 16:6 the Holy Spirit exercised His will in forbidding Paul to preach in Asia and redirecting Paul to ministry in Europe. These Scripture passages clearly teach that the Holy Spirit has intellect, emotion, and will as part of a genuine personality.
3. His Works Confirms his Personality
The Holy Spirit performs works that are similar to the works of the Father and the Son. These works confirm the personality of the Holy Spirit.
a. The Spirit teaches. Before Jesus departed from the disciples He encouraged them by telling them He would send them “another Helper” (John 14:16). “Another” stresses that the Holy Spirit will be a Helper of the same kind as Christ.8 Just as Jesus had taught the disciples (Matt. 5:2; John 8:2), so the Holy Spirit would teach them (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit would perform and carry on the same kind of teaching ministry as Christ did. The Holy Spirit would cause them to remember the things Christ had taught them earlier; the Spirit would confirm Christ’s teaching.
b. The Spirit testifies. Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit “will bear witness of me” (John 15:26). The word “bear witness” means to testify concerning someone. The Holy Spirit would testify concerning the teaching of Christ that He had come forth from the Father and had spoken the truth of God. The same word is used of the disciples’ testifying concerning Christ in John 15:27. As the disciples would bear witness concerning Christ so also would the Holy Spirit bear witness of Christ.
c. The Spirit guides. Jesus declared that when the Holy Spirit would come He would guide them into all the truth (John 16:13). The picture is that of a guide or escort leading a traveller into territory unfamiliar to the traveller, but familiar to the guide.
d. The Spirit convicts. John 16:8 declares the future ministry of the Spirit would be to “convict the world.” “Convict” (Gk. elegcho) means to “convince someone of something; point something out to someone.”9 The Holy Spirit acts as a divine prosecutor in convicting the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement.
e. The Spirit regenerates. The one who experiences the new birth has been born of the Holy Spirit; He has been regenerated by the Spirit. Just as the Son of God gives life to believers (John 5:21), so the Holy Spirit regenerates people (cf. Ezek. 36:25–27; Titus 3:5).
f. The Spirit intercedes. In the time of a believer’s weakness, the Holy Spirit takes the believer’s groaning and intercedes on his behalf (Rom. 8:26). The Father understands the intercession of the Spirit and answers the prayer and works all things together for good in the believer’s life because the Spirit has interceded for the child of God (Rom. 8:28). The same word regarding intercession is used of Christ in His intercessory work (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). Just as Christ intercedes on behalf of believers, so the Spirit also intercedes for them. One is again reminded: an inanimate entity could not intercede for others; a person intercedes.
g. The Spirit commands. In Acts 13:2 the Holy Spirit commanded that Paul and Barnabas be set apart for missionary work; Acts 13:4 add that the two men were sent out by the Holy Spirit. In Acts 16:6 the Holy Spirit prohibited Paul and Silas from preaching in Asia; in Acts 8:29 the Holy Spirit directed Philip to speak to the Ethiopian eunuch.
4. Implications of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit:
The doctrine of the trinity depends upon the reality of the “third Person” called the “Holy Spirit” to complete a supposed multi-personal Godhead. Without such a separate person who is “co-eternal” and “co-equal” with the father and the son, the “Triune” God disintegrates.
1. God is said to have a throne (1 kings 22:19), inhabit heaven as his dwelling place. So how can he be said to have a throne and a dwelling place and yet be uncontainable? Ps. 139:7 indicates that God’s Spirit and his presence can be equivalent terms. God is therefore omnipresent by his spirit, which is not a separate person.
2. Exodus 23:20-22 mentions the Angel of God’s presence that would go before Israel in the wilderness. “Person” God has permitted angels to speak as if they were God himself, and even to use us personal name’ YAHWEH. What is sometimes attributed to Jesus or to the “Holy Spirit” in the Old Testament is better explained by this principle of God manifesting himself by means of an angelic messenger who speaks for him in the first person and manifests his glory. 
From this research I came to know about the person of the Holy Spirit, that he is a person. He is a person as well as Spirit. He has the power to do everything. He lives inside of us and guides us in every way. Holy Spirit is the most important person in the Trinity.
From this paper I would like to conclude that Holy Spirit is a Person as well as Spirit. He is the sustainer of our life and also a guider who guides us in every way we go. Holy Spirit is a very important aspect of our life as he lives inside of us and works and gives us hope and knowledge and shows us the right path in which we have to walk. He is the source of conviction for sin, righteousness and judgement. After we receive salvation the spirit regenerates us to a new level and gives hope when we are in hopeless situation. He leads us when we lose our way and also the spirit testifies on our behalf.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Leicester: Inter – Varsity Press, 1994.
Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology. Michigan: Grand Rapids, 1949.
Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Chicago: Moody Press, 1989.

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