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Holy Spirit:  What does the apostle Paul tell us about Him?

Gary Googe Apr 02

You’ll notice I said HimHe, the Holy Spirit, is not an It or some mystical force.  That’s because the Holy Spirit is a Person.  God is one in essence but three in personality.  This is why we speak of God as a trinity.  There’s God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  This means any one of these is just as much God as the other two.  They all serve a purpose in our lives.  As I heard it said many years ago, God the Father is the planner, God the Son is the executor of the plan, and God the Holy Spirit is the revealer of the plan.  That might be thought to be an oversimplification of the matter, but it is correct, generally speaking.

You may wonder why I’m only covering what the apostle Paul has to say about Him.  That’s because there were certain things God did in the past that He does not do today.  There’s a lot of confusion and false teaching going on about this today.  I think its most important that we get familiar with what His work really is in our lives today.  Therefore, I will speak only of those things the apostle Paul mentions in his thirteen writings, for we are told in Scripture that it is he who is OUR apostle.  We have no apostles today, only teachers.  Some are good and some are not.

Romans 11:13

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [Emphasis added]

But even in Paul’s writings there are some things that were for the period in which this present Dispensation of Grace was coming into being but are not operative today.  Because this fact is often denied, it is the source of a lot of confusion and division in the church of today.  For instance, there was a time when the Holy Spirit enabled people to miraculously speak in foreign languages [or tongues] they’d never been trained to speak.  He also enabled people to miraculously heal people.  Contrary to what some claim, He doesn’t do either of these today.  You’ll find entire articles I’ve written about each of these subjects on this website— Tongues:  Do people “speak in tongues” today? and Healing:  Can we expect God to heal today? I hope at some point you’ll read them both.  They have proved to be quite enlightening to a lot of people.

Before we look at the apostle Paul’s statements about the Holy Spirit, I want to restate and emphasize the fact that the Holy Spirit IS as much God as Jesus and the Father.  A good place to look for proof of that in Scripture is an incident that is recorded in the first part of the books of Acts.  It is there that we find that the believers at that time had pooled all their money and had a common treasury.

Acts 2:44-47

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. [Emphasis added]

This and other related passages have always posed a serious and insurmountable problem for all those who believe the church of today began on the Day of Pentecost of Acts 2.  First, we find that they added to the church, indicating that the church of that time already existed prior to the Day of Pentecost.  You can’t add to something that doesn’t exist.  Secondly, we see that God’s people are selling all their possessions and pooling all their money in a common treasury.  Is that a part of God’s will for us today? No, it is not! Then later we see what happened to a man and his wife who violated this second principle.

Acts 5:1-5

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. [Emphasis added]

Here the terms “Holy Ghost” and “God” are used interchangeably which clearly shows us they are both God.

So, what is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in our lives today?  Here’s a list of things we find that our apostle, the apostle Paul, gives us.  I’m not listing them in any particular order.  All of these are stated in conjunction with Paul’s teaching.  None are in violation of it.  In other words, the Spirit of God never does things or directs people today in ways that conflict with the teachings given in Paul’s writings.

He indwells us.

1 Corinthians 3:16

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? [Emphasis added]  

2 Timothy 1:14

14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. [Emphasis added]

He works to lead us.

Romans 8:14

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [Emphasis added]

He can be grieved [saddened] by us because of our disobedience to God’s Word.

Ephesians 4:30

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [Emphasis added]

He can be blasphemed [slandered] by us even as heaven-bound believers.

2 Timothy 3:1-2

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [Emphasis added]

He speaks to us through the teachings of the Scriptures.

1 Timothy 4:1

1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [Emphasis added]

He teaches us as we study the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 2:12-14

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [Emphasis added]

He reveals to us many wonderful things He wants us to know.

Ephesians 3:5

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [Emphasis added]

1 Corinthians 2:10-11

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [Emphasis added]

I don’t think I can say it enough that God the Holy Spirit never does any of these things independently of the written Word because we are told that all Scripture is God-breathed. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God [THEOPNEUSTOS = God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect [TELEIOS = brought to maturity, made fully grown], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]

In the day when nearly all these Scriptures were written, God had not yet completed His revelation.  But today, that’s not the case.  Now everything God wants us to know in principle has been given to us through the writings of Scripture

Many years ago I noticed the similarity of Ephesians 5:18 and Colossians 3:16. That was a great day in my life.  Let’s look at those verses.  If you read down through, noticing the context of these two passages, you’ll see that they’re similar.  But let’s just look at these two verses for now.

Ephesians 5:18

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled [PLEROO = fully influenced] with the Spirit; [Emphasis added]

I think we all know what it means to be driving under the influence of the spirits of alcohol.  However, this passage is talking about living under the influence of the Spirit of God.  Now let’s look at the other passage that has a similar context.

Colossians 3:16

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. [Emphasis added]

These passages are telling us that to be filled with the Spirit is to be richly influenced by the Word of Christ.  Therefore, if you want Him to lead you, direct you, speak to you, reveal to you, or teach you, and more you must make the study of His words of revelation in Scripture a priority.  The same may be related to these other things I’ll now list that He does for us.

He assures us that we are children of God.

Romans 8:16

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [Emphasis added]

He intercedes for us in our prayers to God our Father.

Romans 8:26

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [Emphasis added]

Conclusion—

We all need to know that the Holy Spirit is a real Person in our lives.  He lives within us to help us with many things.  But if we’re to get the benefits of blessing from that, we’re to make the learning of God’s Word from Scripture the main priority in our life day to day.  Otherwise, we fall prey to living our lives in the same manner as unbelievers.  The world of people around us will see us for who we really are—ignorant Christians.  This ignorance of the Word of God can not only bring us much harm but cause us to miss out on many things we could have enjoyed as believers living out our lives here in service to the God who loves and cares for us like no one else.  I hope you’ll give thanks to Him for all this that He’s provided for you and work to live a life that expresses only thanksgiving as you seek to faithfully serve Him.

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