4. Holy Spirit
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is one that is least understood of the Baptist Doctrines. It has been misused, abused, and least taught of our Baptist Doctrines. Yet this doctrine is the companion to the work of Jesus Christ, Messiah in Doctrine three.
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. (Also called Holy Ghost in KJV) In the O.T. His work was specific and focused. In the N.T., the Holy Spirit took on a new and special work. When Jesus ascended into heaven after His crucifixion, He assured his disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to them. This became fact on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:4) This special work of the Holy Spirit was the indwelling of the believer.
In the O.T. the work of the Holy Spirit was specific and focused. He was involved in creation. He was the Spirit presence that would come into a prophet’s or leader’s life for a specific purpose and time. The Holy Spirit did not indwell a believer, prophet, or leader in the O.T. in the same way as in the N.T. The work of the Holy Spirit was for a specific purpose and for a limited time depending upon God’s purpose. Many of the writers and prophets of the O.T. were inspired by the Holy Spirit to set forth God’s prophecies and ordinances for the Israelites to follow.
The Holy Spirit would anoint specific individuals for a purpose or work. While under this anointing, the person would have a special communion with God to speak for God and set forth instructions for the tribe of Israel. Prophecy may or may not be part of the work that they were to do. The covering of the Holy Spirit was in most cases for a limited amount of time and seldom for a lifetime. As we progress with the covering of this doctrine, we will see the difference between the old and the new.
The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit:
Acts 2:4 relates for us the event that occurred on Pentecost. This Pentecost Event changed all that was known about the Holy Spirit and His work. The Holy Spirit had now become the indwelling Spirit of Christ that was given to believers at the moment that they confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. The work of the Holy Spirit in the believer was as comforter, teacher, healer, and guide. This was an unknown factor before Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to believers on Pentecost.
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is simple. As believer’s go about their daily tasks, the Holy Spirit acted as guide. As believer’s read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit acts as teacher and instructor for the meaning that is within the scripture. When a believer is in prayer, the Holy Spirit is the instant communicator for the request or thought in the prayer to the Father and Jesus. In times of sorrow or loss, the Holy Spirit is the source of comfort from God. The Holy Spirit is also the source for the spiritual gifts given by our Heavenly Father. When a believer stumbles or errs, the Holy Spirit is the one that brings conviction of an incorrect decision or act. He is also the believer’s guardian in time of trouble.
A believer that does not understand the work of the Holy Spirit is in serious trouble. A believer must know the how and why of the Holy Spirit’s work and work with Him to be obedient to the Father and Jesus. Not to do this is to be a weak and ineffective Christian. Therefore, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit needs to be well understood and utilized in the believer’s everyday walk. Succeeding posts will give more about the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Person of the Holy Spirit and His Work (Part 1)
The Holy Spirit in the O.T. was specific and focused. He was the Spirit presence that would come into a prophet’s or leader’s life for a specific purpose and time. The prophets, by inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, would be the voice of God to the Israelite Nation. There were repeated warnings against other nations because of their attacks against God’s people. The nation of Israel was warned again and again because of their lusting after idols and false gods. Because they failed to heed Yahweh’s prophets, they suffered greatly. The Holy Spirit’s work in the O.T. was limited to specific people that God called to bring His messages to the nation of Israel.
The Holy Spirit was involved in creation (Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4). The Holy Spirit inspired the prophets and writers of the O.T. Joseph was one that knew the work of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 41:38). Ezekiel (8;3) was a prophet that knew the voice of the Lord by the work of the Holy Spirit in his visions of the Temple. Micah was another that God used as a voice of judgment to the sins of Israel (Micah 3:8).
Another work of the Holy Spirit was in anointing God’s servants Psalm 51:11-12 tells us about David’s plea for God not to take away the Holy Spirit because of his sin. Isaiah issues a warning to the enemies of Israel of what God would do for their unjust acts. Samuel anoints Saul to be king, but because of his disobedience, God rejected him and told Samuel to anoint David as king to succeed him. (1 Samuel 16:13) Daniel was another chosen vessel of the Lord that the Holy Spirit gave him wisdom, prophecy, and special insight to advise the kings he served. God would choose his servants in special and unique ways. It was the work of the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s instructions.
The Person of the Holy Spirit and His Work (Part 2)
In Jesus life and ministry, the Holy Spirit was at work in many ways. The Holy Spirit was involved with his virgin birth. (Mt. 1:18; Luke 1:35) The Holy Spirit was involved with his baptism, teachings, temptations, and miracles. Paul tells us in Romans (1:4) that the Holy Spirit was active in His resurrection. Peter also confirms this fact that He was put to death and “…quickened by the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)
The Holy Spirit was an inseparable part of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. At His baptism Matthew (3:16) records the following: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:” This verse was apparently recorded by Matthew from what John the Baptist had told him. As Jesus began his earthly ministry, the Holy Spirit was the sign given by the Father that He approved of the ministry Jesus was beginning. At this point, it seems that the Holy Spirit joined with Jesus to work through him for his teaching and miracles. It is interesting to note that at the end of Jesus earthly ministry, he made this statement as recorded by John (16:7): “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Why would Jesus say this to his disciples if He and the Holy Spirit were not working as one?
Again, we have the following words recorded by Luke in Acts: “Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:” (Acts 1:2) We see again the concept that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were one in thought and action. The Holy Spirit was an active ingredient in Jesus earthly ministry. Yet, when Jesus ascended He left his disciples with these words: “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1: 4, 5) As we know from scripture, the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and became part of the believer’s life forever.