Continuing to teach a Foundations course at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, here are my notes from Confessing the Faith, chapter 4, “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.”
- Is Gen 18 evidence of the Trinity? Likely not. See my “Did Abraham Speak with Jesus?” However, there is every reason to believe that Christ was present to the Old Testament saints (cf., 1 Cor 10:1-4).
- There is evidence of the Trinity in Matt 29:19; Jn 14:25-26; 2 Cor 13:14.
The Person of the Spirit
- By implication, the Spirit of the Father is the same as the Spirit of the Son (Gal 4:6; cf., Rom 8:9-11).
- The presence of God’s Spirit entails geography but is not limited to it. There is some spatial notion involved but the presence of the Spirit is primarily relational (Ps 139:7-12).
- Consequently, to be in the presence of God’s Spirit is to be in the presence of God himself; to be away from God’s Spirit is to be away from God himself (Ps 59:11; 139:7; Is 63:11).
- The Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son (Jn 15:26; 16:7; 20:22)
- The Spirit exhibits self-awareness and speaks (Acts 13:2).
- As the bearer of truth, the Spirit is present in us and known by us (Jn 14:16-17).
- The Spirit has a mind (Rom 8:27).
- The Spirit has a will distributing gifts to his chosen as he chooses (1 Cor 12:11; Heb 2:4).
- As a Person, the Spirit has emotions and may be grieved (Is 63:10; Eph 4:30) or even outraged (Heb 10:29) and lied to, which is tantamount to lying to God (Acts 5:3-4).
- The Spirit may be blasphemed against (Mt 12:28-32).
- God’s Spirit knows (is conscious/aware of) the depths of God’s thoughts (1 Cor 2:10-11).
The Work of the Spirit
- God’s Spirit inspires Scripture (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pt 1:20-21) and prophetic utterances (1 Thess 5:19).
- The Spirit teaches and reminds us of Jesus’ words (Jn 14:26).
- As the Spirit of truth, he bears witness to Christ (Jn 15:26).
- The Spirit reveals God’s redemptive plan (Eph 3:5).
- God’s Spirit convicts the world (Jn 16:8-11), guides disciples into truth, hears and speaks what he receives from Jesus, glorifies Jesus and declares Jesus (Jn 16:13-15).
- The Spirit leads us and bears witness to us that we belong to God (Rom 8:14, 16).
- God’s Spirit helps us and intercedes for believers as they pray (Rom 8:26).
- The Spirit of God regenerates, indwells, and fills believers.
- The Holy Spirit animates that which God creates (Gen 1:2; 2:7; Psalms 33:6; 104:29-30; Job 26:13; 33:4; 34:14-15).
- What of the fruit of the Spirit? (Gal 5:22-23) versus the gifts of the Spirit (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; 1 Pt 5)? Is there a relationship between the Spirit’s fruit and the Spirit’s gifts? Unless the Spirit’s gifts are deployed under the influence of the Spirit’s fruit, the gifts fall short of their effectiveness.
- May we direct our prayers to the Holy Spirit and pray to Him? It is not theologically wrong to do so, but there is no biblical precedent.
- Jesus makes some curious and rather remarkable comments in Jn 16:7-15. Consider: Jesus seems to suggest that his first advent is not the full and complete revelation of God to God’s people. The Spirit must manifest in, with, by, and through the testimony of God’s people. How important is it, then, that you and I are filled with and empowered by God’s Spirit?
- Finally, the Spirit who fills the people of God is the same Spirit who inspires the Word of God so that we can properly understand it. Put differently, the unaided, uninspired human mind alone is insufficient for grasping the truth of God’s Word lest God’s Spirit illuminate it.