As discussed in Part 1, God is a unity, but not a simple unity. He is a complex being. The Holy Spirit is not a separate God, but a member of a unified trinity who has a unique personality and intellect while still being unified with God.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit lived with the people of God and indwelling only a chosen few. In the New Testament, after Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit lives in all believers. He is the seal of our redemption.
The Holy Spirit accomplished the work of creating the incarnation. In Luke 1:35, the angel told Mary that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and so her child would be the Son of God. In Matthew 1:20, the angel told Joseph that Mary’s child was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ entire life was intimately related to the Holy Spirit. Matthew 12:28 says that He was empowered by the Holy Spirit to cast out demons. After His time of fasting in the wilderness, Luke 4:15 says that Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. In Luke 4:17-22, Jesus reads from Isaiah to demonstrate that He had been anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach good news. In Acts 10:37-38, Peter is preaching in the home of Cornelius and reminds them of Jesus’ ministry, and how He was anointed by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is also intimately related to our salvation. Jesus teaches Nicodemus in John 3 that each person must be born of water and spirit to see the kingdom of God, and it is Spirit that gives birth to spirit. The Holy Spirit accomplishes our salvation, working in us to produce our new birth. Paul teaches in Titus 3:4-6 that we are saved by the washing and renewal of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit cleanses us and washes us. He is poured out on us by Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit Himself is a gift to believers. Jesus taught this in John 7:37-39 as he spoke of rivers of living water for those that come to him. In Acts 11:15-17, Peter tells the church in Jerusalem of what occurred at the home of Cornelius. He tells of being reminded of Jesus teaching that they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit and testified that the Holy Spirit had come onto the Gentiles just as it had on the Apostles at Pentecost. Because of their salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells all believers. Paul also teaches in Romans 5:5 that the Holy Spirit has been given to us.
The Holy Spirit gives gifts to the church, not just individuals. Ephesians 4:11-12 reveals that God gave the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to help equip the body of Christ. Billy Graham is an example of a man who is a gift to the church. He is a gifted evangelist whose life and work has been given to the church.
The Holy Spirit gives the gift of miracles and healing. 1 Corinthians 12:28 says that gifts of miracles and healing have been given to the church. They are not universal gifts that can be done at will, but special gifts. Paul is relieved that a man is able to recover from a sickness in Philippians 2:27, and Paul is giving advice on taking wine to help Timothy feel better in 1 Timothy 5:23. Why would Paul say these things instead of just healing these people at will? Because even the Apostle Paul could not heal a person at will. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, Paul shares with us his pleading with God that a physical impairment would be taken away, but God did not heal it. It was not healed because God’s power was made perfect in Paul’s weakness. There is a time and place for miracles and healing, but they are not universal gifts. Nor is it a necessary part of God’s will that you will be healed. Sometimes we must demonstrate that God’s grace is sufficient, and allow His power to be expressed through our weakness.
The Holy Spirit gives the gift of tongues, or languages. 1 Corinthians 12:10 lists “various kinds of tongues” and “interpretation of tongues” as gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given for the common good. Where do we see the evidence of this gift in scripture? In the prophets of the Old Testament? Did David, Isaiah, or Ezekiel have this gift? No. Did Jesus display this gift? There is not a single recorded instance of Jesus speaking in tongues. So this gift cannot be misunderstood as the proof that the Holy Spirit indwells a person. But we do see this gift in Acts during and after Pentecost.
The first instance of this gift in scripture is Acts 2. In this passage, tongues were not unknown utterances, but were languages being spoken by the Apostles that were understood by all who were present. Those in the crowd heard the gospel in their own language and they marveled at the Galileans who were able to speak those languages. A similar event is repeated in the house of Cornelius, in Acts 10:44-47, where Peter says that the Holy Spirit had come on the Gentiles just as it had come on the Apostles at Pentecost. When Peter relays this event to the church in Jerusalem in Acts 11:15 he says again that the Holy Spirit had come on the Gentiles just as it had come at Pentecost. Peter is saying that these are not unknown noises, but known, human languages, just as it was with the Apostles. If the discussion Paul has in 1 Corinthians 14 refers to anything other than human languages, it would be the only recorded instance in scripture and would not become normative for all churches.
The Holy Spirit gives individual gifts. Ephesians 4:11 and Romans 12:6-8 both speak of individuals being given special gifts that are not shared among all believers. Some are evangelists, some are teachers, others give with generosity, others perform acts of mercy. These verses don’t release us from responsibility to try and emulate these traits, but some are clearly more gifted in these areas than others.
All believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit once for all at conversion. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that all are baptized by one Spirit into one body. All are baptized by the Spirit, even though not all have the same special gifts. Being filled by the Spirit means being controlled by the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18-21 describes a continuous behavior, not a singular event.
This is part 2 of the fifth topic in a twelve part series on Basic Theology. Each part is broken into two half-hour sections. These recordings are part of a series called Theologoumenon. They were recorded by Dr. Bush in 1979 so that people in the churches, not just in seminary classrooms, could have easy access to lessons in basic theology.
1. The Word of God (part 1 – part 2)
2. God the Creator (part 1 – part 2)
3. God the Redeemer (part 1 – part 2)
4. Redemption (part 1 – part 2)
5. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts (part 1 – part 2)
6. The Trinity (part 1 – part 2)
7. The Doctrine of Sin Part 1 (part 1 – part 2)
8. The Doctrine of Sin Part 2 (part 1 – part 2)
9. Salvation (part 1 – part 2)
10. Doctrine of the Church (part 1 – part 2)
11. Last Things (part 1 – part 2)
12. How to Recognize Heresy (part 1 – part 2)