Understanding God's Spirit

Dear Brethren,

Those Christians who consistently make diligent Bible study a part of their lives have learned that the Scriptures are the living Word of God.  The more we practice God's way, the more His character is revealed to us as we delve into the Scriptures. When individuals emulate the Bible's teachings in their lives they become more and more like God the Father and Jesus Christ.  In this "Countdown to the Return of Jesus Christ," we continue to expound upon the revealed foundational Truth of God.  As clear as these Bible verses are to us, those in the world cannot accept or understand them.  Let's make our calling and foundation sure.


What is God's Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit of God is the Life, Power, Love and Mind of God the Father and Jesus Christ. "Holy Spirit" in Greek is 'Hagion Pneuma' - holy breath. It is by His Spirit that God accomplishes His Divine Will. "He divided the sea with His Power, and by His Spirit He has brightened the heavens." (Job 26:12-13) The phrases, Spirit of God" and Spirit of the Lord," appear fifty-two times in the Old Testament alone.

It was by His Spirit that God created the heavens, the universe, and all creatures, both physical and spiritual. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1–2) "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11).

It is through His Spirit that Christ maintains the universe. "God the Father has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power." (Hebrews 1:2–3)

God the Father and Jesus Christ share the same identical Spirit – the exact same Spirit that God gives to us.  "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."  (Ephesians 4:4–6)  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19).

Upon our repentance, acceptance of Jesus as our personal Savior, and baptism, God gives us an earnest token of His Life and Spirit, the gift of the characteristics of His mind - hope, mercy, righteousness, wisdom, forgiveness, love, gentleness, and power - to name but a few. All of these attributes must increase in a Christian throughout his life (2 Peter 3:18). "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

God gives this gift at the laying-on-of-hands. (Acts 2:38, 8:17) (Hebrews 6:2) This promise of God's Spirit in a new Child of God is the assurance or earnest [pledge] of eternal God-Life through Jesus Christ.  (Romans 8:11, 14, Ephesians 1:13–14). God's Spirit opens the mind of converts to the peace of God and the higher things of God, and empowers them to walk in submission and obedience to God's Way (1 Corinthians 2:11–16, Romans 8:5–6).

God's Holy Spirit fills the entire universe. "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 23:24) "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee." (1 Kings 8:27) "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there." (Psalms 139:7-8)

God's Spirit is given to all who repent of their sins and are baptized. "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."  (Acts 2:38–39)

Through the power of God's Spirit all believers will eventually be resurrected and changed from mortal to immortal beings. "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you."  (Romans 8:11) "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." (1 Corinthians 15:20)

"God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."  (John 4:24) God is still creating us in His image – we do not yet possess His eternal spiritual Life. But, we will be fully Spirit, in the resurrection.

You will notice that we did not say, "Who is the Holy Spirit?" The Holy Spirit is not a "third person" of a trinity God. The heretical belief, that three persons constitute the Godhead, is the defining doctrine of mainstream Christianity. The Trinity doctrine is not Scriptural, and it is completely and totally false. The scriptures are clear that God the Father created all things by Jesus Christ – not a third party.  "…God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."   (Ephesians 3:9)

The people of this world are deceived. God's Holy Spirit is not a bird, ghost, fire, or any of the other commonly misunderstood concepts about God's Spirit. The Bible tells us that man does not naturally comprehend God or His ways. We know of the physical world through our five senses – touch, sight, hearing, etc., but how do we learn about the spiritual realm?

"As it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God." (1 Corinthians 2:9–10) "And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness." (Luke 4:1) By His Spirit, God imparts to us His mind, life, power and love. Spirit is not of this physical, temporal realm in which man exists.

The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us (Romans 5:5). The Spirit of God is how God accomplishes His work – His Will - what He is achieving. For example, when it came time for Jesus to set aside and empty Himself of His Heavenly Glory (Philippians 2:6–7) and come to this earth as a new baby boy – God performed a tremendous miracle in this way: The Spirit of God acted upon Mary – and she became pregnant. God is the Father of Jesus – we all understand that! Mary became pregnant by the Divine Power, Action, and Spirit of God the Father.

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child by Holy Spirit." [God's Holy Spirit] (Matthew 1:18)

The Holy Spirit is the Power of God. God created mankind for the purpose of becoming Children of God, even in this lifetime. "As many as received Jesus, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God."  (John 1:12) God created Children of God for the purpose of becoming Eternal Sons of God – in the Family of God – for all eternity.

The prophet Isaiah described some of the attributes of God's Holy Spirit when he wrote: The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and Spirit of might, the Spirit of knowledge and the Spirit of reverence of the Eternal."  (Isaiah 11:2)

God's Spirit is the one Spirit that the Father and Jesus Christ share with each other and with us. "Spirit" is not restricted nor constrained by the physical laws of nature and the universe. "Spiritual" is much more real and enduring than the temporary physical existence we are a part of. Jesus said that "Spirit" is eternal and invisible – like the boundless wind (John 3:8). He said, "Whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die."  (John 11:26)

The term, "breath," takes on a great deal of significance in the Bible. In the Greek it is pneuma." God builds on the concept of "breath" to help us grasp the meaning of "Spirit." The term, pneuma," the breath in man, is interchangeable with and corresponds to Spirit in reference to God. It is only by the context of the verse that we are able to determine if a Scripture is speaking of breath or spirit. For example, when we read, God is pneuma," we realize that He is more than mere breath, and interpret the verse as, God is Spirit"  (John 4:24).  Notice the ease in which Paul alternated between the Spirit of God and our spirit using the exact same word – pneuma."

"The Spirit [‘pneuma'] itself bears witness with our spirit [‘pneuma'], that we are the Children of God." (Romans 8:16) Even the Scriptures themselves are God-breathed, theo-pneustos," that is, inspired by God's Spirit  (2 Timothy 3:16).

God's Spirit [God-Life] is what a Christian has been baptized into. Besides our human life that we received from our father and mother, we have been conceived with the Spiritual Life of God the Father and Jesus Christ. (Being fully born into the Kingdom of God with eternal Spiritual God-Life will come at our resurrection – if we endure until the end.  Matthew 24:13)

God's Spirit is every Divine attribute and means of God. Holy Spirit is the very essence of who and what God is. God's Spirit is the motivating action of God at work. In the same way that breath is necessary for human life, God's Spirit in us is essential for our future eternal life. When speaking of God's Spirit, it is appropriate to add hagios" [holy] – Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, hagios pneuma," represents the Life and Spirit of God. "Who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Both the Old and New Testaments speak of the "spirit of Man." In the New Testament Greek, the phrase is: pneuma anthropos." The animals have breath too, but because of the God-created spirit of Man, only man is knowing, rational, and capable of conscious reasoning to guide his intellect.

When our breath ceases – we die! The breathing of air is necessary to sustain natural life, conscious thinking, and the "spirit in man." "For what man knows the things of a man, except for the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God... But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:11, 14)

It is God's Holy Spirit that transforms a Christian into the Life and realm of God, making him a partaker of God's Divine nature"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."  (2 Peter 1:4)  Man begins to make the transition from his physical existence to growing in Spirit toward the perfection of Christ when he receives the first token, earnest and assurance of God's Spirit.

Being begotten (Fathered) by God's Spirit makes us His Children with His Spirit, just as Jesus became the Son of God. This is the earnest [pledge] and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ. He who establishes us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."  (2 Corinthians 1:21–22)

Why do we need God's Holy Spirit? Because without it, we lack the strength and ability to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His…  (Romans 8:7–9)

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the Children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together."  (Romans 8:14-17)

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body… and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  (1 Corinthians 12:13)

"…stand fast in one Spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel."   (Philippians 1:27)

"For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."  (Ephesians 2:18)

"He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit."  (1 Corinthians 6:17)

John the Baptist explained to his followers that Jesus was doing a much bigger work than he was doing because God's Spirit was total, immeasurable, and infinite… "For He [Jesus] whom God has sent speaks the words of God: for God gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him [Jesus]. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand."  (John 3:34–35) Paul said it to the Colossians this way: "For it pleased the Father that in [Jesus] should all fullness dwell."  (Colossians 1:19)

That is the same Spirit that God bestows on us, applies to us, and envelops us in.  "You shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."  (Acts 1:8)

Being Born of God is the most important manifestation of God's Holy Spirit – because it fulfills the Eternal Plan of God of bringing many sons and daughters to Glory.  (Hebrews 2:10)

God's Holy Spirit can be stirred up. (2 Timothy 1:6)

God's Holy Spirit can be given. "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." (2 Timothy 1:6)

God's Holy Spirit can be quenched. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

God's Holy Spirit can be renewed and regenerated.  (Titus 3:5–6) We can be on "empty" and ask God to give us of His Spirit - and He is always faithful to do so. "After that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, [renovation, restoration,] and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Which He shed on [thrust on, gushed on, springing forth on] us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior."  (Titus 3:4–6)

God's Holy Spirit is God's Life which He is willing to share with us – even now – and especially for all eternity.

When God calls someone, He puts His Spirit with him or her and He works with the person to bring them to the point that they can make their baptismal commitment and then Holy Spirit can enter into that person.

"Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me... I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter [God's Holy Spirit of Encouragement], that it may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; which the world cannot receive, because it sees it not, neither knows it: but ye know it; for it dwells with you, and shall be in you ...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  (John 14:1, 16–17, 27). God encourages us through His Spirit.


Sermon:  "Understanding God's Spirit"