Who is the Holy Spirit?

God exists in three persons, but we often only hear about two: Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. He is God living in us!

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity?

The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus. He also lives in every believer from the moment of salvation. He provides Christians with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. As Christians, we seek to live under the Holy Spirit's control daily.

The Holy Spirit provides Christians with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right.

Five Misconceptions About the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit seems to be the most controversial person of the Trinity. Even Christians cannot agree on who He is or what He does. Is the Holy Spirit the least of the three in the Trinity, or is He the power we’re lacking in our lives? There are many misconceptions about who the Holy Spirit is, but the following are some of the most common misunderstandings Christians have about the Holy Spirit.

  1. The Holy Spirit is not karma or a force; He's a person.
  2. The Holy Spirit is not reserved for super Christians; He's a gift to all Christians.
  3. The Holy Spirit does not come and go like goosebumps; He is with us always.
  4. The Holy Spirit only does spectacular things. The Holy Spirit does many spectacular things, but He also guides and equips us for everyday interactions. Sometimes, His leading could be as simple as telling us to sit in a specific seat or to say hi to a specific person.
  5. The Holy Spirit is extra or optional. (i.e. "If I know Jesus, I've got all I need.") We can't do all that Jesus calls us to without the Holy Spirit.

What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

In short, a lot.

For starters, the Holy Spirit empowers us to share the Gospel. One of the promises Jesus gives us in Scripture is that we don't have to fear sharing our faith. Even when we're not sure what to say, we can trust the Holy Spirit will bring to mind what we need when we need it.

As we spend time reading the Bible and hearing from God, we learn who He is, how much He loves us, what He wants for us, and how He designed the world to be. We don't need to be Bible scholars to be able to give a reason for our hope, but we do need to trust God and be attentive to His Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us, convicts us, teaches us, and equips us to do God's work and spread the Gospel. We don't have to fear sharing the good news of what Jesus has done in our lives because Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom to navigate difficult conversations and the ability to clearly communicate our faith.

The Holy Spirit also empowers us to love. Without the Holy Spirit, we are incapable of loving others the way God loves us. We are born selfish, full of sin. Where God's spirit created a good and perfect world, humans unleashed chaos (starting with the fall in Genesis 3 and continuing for generations after).

When Jesus appeared to His closest followers, He breathed into them the Holy Spirit, empowering them too to spread God's goodness throughout the world. Soon after that, God's spirit comes over all of His followers. Today, when we ask Jesus into our lives, we receive the Holy Spirit and through us, God's spirit continues to hover over a dark and chaotic world, slowly healing it and working toward the day when it is restored to its former glory.

What Are Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

God is a good Father who loves to give gifts to His kids. Every Christian has spiritual gifts, also called gifts of the Spirit, that are designed to help you build the church and point others to Jesus. 

In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, the apostle Paul lists several gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

  • The gift of wisdom is the ability to understand and communicate biblical truth in a way as to skillfully apply it to life situations with all discernment. This is one of the best descriptions I've read: "The word of wisdom is that anointing of the Holy Spirit which is exercised when issues arise and when there are important decisions that must be made. It is that imparting of the word of wisdom that just is so right that it brings divided factions together. People say, 'Oh yes, that is good'" (Chuck Smith, www.blueletterbible.org).
  • The gift of knowledge is generally defined as a knowledge of things you would not know through a natural acquisition or study. It's similar to the gift of wisdom in that both understand truth with an insight that only comes by revelation from God. Those with the gift of knowledge understand the deep things of God and the mysteries of the Bible. 
  • God gives all Christians saving faith. The spiritual gift of faith is given to some, who exhibit extraordinary amounts of faith and who, by their faith, are a joy and an encouragement to others. This is what allows Christians throughout history to demonstrate extraordinary confidence in God’s promises, power, and presence so they can take heroic stands for the future of God’s work in the church. The men and women of Hebrews 11 would be good examples of people with the gift of faith. Their extraordinary faith enabled them to do extraordinary, superhuman things. 
  • The gift of healing is a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit that brings healing from disease and/or infirmity. This often looks like healing the sick through prayer (laying on of hands or anointing with oil) or by speaking a word. 
  • The gift of miracles, or miraculous powers, is different from the gift of healing. Those who have the gift of miracles have the ability, by the Spirit, to do miraculous things of a different, more powerful kind. This could include things like raising the dead, restoring the blind to sight, giving speech to the dumb, hearing to the deaf, and the use of limbs to the lame. Some examples from the Bible might include the casting out of demons (Acts 16), the striking of Elymas blind (Acts 13), and the raising of Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9). 
  • Many people misunderstand the gift of prophecy as the ability to predict the future, but that's only a piece of it. The gift of prophecy is a Spirit-prompted, Spirit-sustained proclamation. It might include future events and/or a special insight into Scripture.
  • Finally, the Holy Spirit gives also some the ability to speak languages by inspiration, and to others the ability to interpret another language readily and properly. The gift of tongues allows someone to hear God’s message in his or her own language, but it is useless to everyone else unless it is interpreted/translated.

What Does It Mean to Quench or Grieve the Holy Spirit?

We might not be experiencing the Holy Spirit's presence because our actions are pushing Him away. The Holy Spirit is a person, not a force or a distant being. He directs and guides us, and our response to Him affects our relationship with Him.

  • When we ignore or hide the Holy Spirit's work in our lives, we quench His presence in our lives. (Think of it like putting out or dousing a fire.) We quench the Holy Spirit when we do not allow the Spirit to reveal Himself the way that He wants to (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

  • Grief is a different emotion. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we act sinfully, whether it is in thought only or in both thought and deed. (Imagine a parent who is living estranged from their child. ) Both quenching and grieving the Spirit come from us choosing fear or selfishness over faith and love.
  • Both damage our intimacy with God and slow the work the Holy Spirit sets out to do in us.

Is the Holy Spirit Necessary?

The Holy Spirit is more than supernatural power. He brings life and healing where once there was nothing. He enables us to love the same way God loves. And when we love as God loves, the Spirit of God still hovers over a dark and chaotic world through us, slowly healing and restoring the perfect state in which God originally intended.

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