Who is The Holy Spirit?
If you are at all familiar with Christianity, you have heard the name of the Holy Spirit (or “Holy Ghost”). Thankfully, the Bible tells us much about this particular member of the Trinity.
The Holy Spirit is not some impersonal force, but a person. In John 16:7, Jesus told His disciples, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Not only did Jesus refer to the Spirit as “him”, but He even gave him a title: “Counselor”, which means “consoler”, “advocate”, and “intercessor”. In other words, someone to help us in our daily life, since Jesus is not with us physically.
As a person, the Spirit has multiple responsibilities among those who follow Jesus. For one, he speaks guidance to us. In Revelation 2:7, we read, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”. Also, Acts 13:2 reports these words from the Spirit: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” These scriptures indicate that the Spirit speaks, and formulates plans where God’s church is concerned. Even more exciting, he speaks to individual believers, as well, concerning God’s plan for them. Acts chapter 16 tells us that the Spirit kept Paul and his companions from preaching in Asia and in Bithynia, at that time.
According to Romans 8:26, the Holy Spirit also intercedes with God on our behalf. That scripture says, In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. In other words, in those times when we are so stressed that the words don’t come, he prays to God for us. What a kind, loving gesture!
It is important to understand that the Holy Spirit is not some unknowable force, like that which is portrayed in the Star Wars movies. He is a person, the very spirit of God, and He plays a very important role in the process of salvation.
In John 16:8, Jesus said of the Spirit, “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment”. What does this all mean?
The word for “convict”, in this instance, means “to convince”, or “to tell a fault”. The Holy Spirit convinces individuals that they are sinners. Sin is basically doing things “my way” instead of God’s way. We are called to surrender our lives to Christ, which takes “my way” out of the spotlight.
The Spirit also convinces us that Jesus Christ is exactly who he says he is; the righteous Son of God. Jesus was often called a fake and a fraud, and was treated at different times as a magician, a demon-possessed man, and even a destroyer of the law. Ultimately, however, he was proved innocent and righteous by his resurrection and ascension to Heaven.
Through the Spirit, people are also convinced of the judgment which will one day be pronounced by God on “the prince of this world” (Satan) and those who follow him. The Holy Spirit convinces people that Jesus is all they need for forgiveness of sin, new life, and eternity in Heaven! Even now, the Holy Spirit warns people of sin, and convinces them of Jesus’ righteousness and judgment.
Finally, the Spirit shows us the way to truth. In verse 13 of John 16, Jesus said that the Spirit “will guide you into all truth.” This means the truth regarding Jesus’ teachings, His direction for your life, and truth regarding what has been, what is and what is to come. Every person who surrenders to the Lordship of Jesus has the privilege of receiving the very Spirit of God, and enjoying His guidance in their life! You can have that, as well, simply by surrendering to Jesus as your Savior, and Lord!
Mark Nickles is a husband, father of three, and a pastor in Northeastern Oklahoma.
(c) Mark A. Nickles.