Theology: God (GOD IS SPIRIT)

It may be difficult to truly define the idea of God being spirit. Let us look at some thoughts.

 

Pardington mentions, “There is no evidence that spirit fills any part of space, or that the Infinite Spirit is dependant on space.” (Pardington, Revelation George P. Ph.D.; “Outline Studies In Christian Doctrine”; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 84)

 

Bancroft mentions that “God is not only Spirit, but He is pure Spirit. He is not only not matter, but He has no necessary connection with matter.” (Taken from the book, Christian Theology by Emery H. Bancroft. Second revised edition Copyright 1976 by Baptist Bible College. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. p 71)

 

The Old Testament statements contain no direct statement, but always assumes the fact. Spirit in the Old Testament may be referring to the entire trinity.

 

Let us look at some references to see what we can learn.

 

John 4:24, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Does this maybe relate to the Old Testament texts that speak of rent hearts not rent clothes (Joel 2:12,13)? I’d say so — inward worship not outward. Idolatry is outward. He wants inward change, not outward change. This also relates to worship in our day. He wants worship within, not outward manifestations or antics of the body.

 

What did Christ mean when He said God is a Spirit? It describes His being and existence however it is not something that we can examine. We can experience the work of the Spirit, yet not the Spirit itself. He can be experienced only in the heart.

 

Acts 19:21 Paul desired to go to Jerusalem. He “purposed in the spirit”. There seems to be a commitment to the Spirits leading in this desire to go to Jerusalem from later information. He was experiencing something that was leading him toward Jerusalem. (Acts 21)

 

Matthew 10:20, “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaketh in you.” Christ was telling them that they would experience the Lord speaking through them.

 

Luke 1:47, “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.” This was Mary the mother of the Lord speaking. She had experienced the Lord. Something within her had touched the Lord. She had been changed because of Him. The spirit is our contact with God. We can mentally and emotionally think of and experience God, but the spirit is our actual consciousness of the creator.

 

Romans 15:30, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for Me:”

 

Love of the Spirit, striving in prayer, and praying together — all part of experiencing the Lord even though we do not see Him.

 

Romans 8:26,27 tells us that the Spirit makes intervention when we do not know how to pray. There have been times when things were coming down around me so fast that I would just sit down and tell the Lord I didn’t have any idea how to pray and that I was trusting that the Spirit would intercede for me. If I can have God praying for me I think that I can trust Him to do a really good job of praying for me.

 

Philippians 2:1 The Spirit of God can have fellowship with the believer. We can indeed experience the Lord.

 

John 4:24, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” We may worship God.

 

Spirit is the name given to that which is the metaphysical center of a being whether it is God or man. Metaphysical means something that can’t be perceived by the senses. Thus spirit is the name given to that which we cannot perceive by touch, sight, hearing or smell, which is the center of a being.

 

 

This is the God that we serve. He is a being that has no mass, has no visibility, has no content, thought He is everything there is in the way of worship. He is a complete being that we cannot examine. Maybe that is why salvation is by faith, why we should walk by faith, why we must have faith in Him.

 

Luke 24:39, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

 

Christ drew attention to the fact that He was a physical being in this text, while elsewhere He draws attention to the fact that He is God as well.

 

If no one has ever seen a spirit how do we know they exist? We can experience the effects within us. We can’t see electricity, but we see the effect and can also feel the effect.

 

John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it willeth, and thou hearest the sound of it, but canst not tell from where it cometh, and where it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

 

Since God is spirit and spirits can’t be seen then we need to deal with those times in the Scripture where men have seen God.

 

Exodus 24:10,11 mentions that some saw God. Isaiah 6:1-5 Isaiah saw the throne of the Lord. Luke 3:22 mentions the Spirit as a dove. Daniel 7:9 tells us that Daniel saw the Ancient of Days. Acts 7:56 Stephen saw Christ on the right hand of the throne.

 

God doesn’t have a form that is visible. He does take on forms at times for purposes of His own. These appearances are always the Lord Jesus and not the Father. The Holy Spirit manifests himself at times but usually in some form other than man. (The dove of the baptism or the tongues of flame at Pentecost.)

 

1 Timothy 6:16, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.”

 

Paul shows that the Father has not been seen. The Old Testament contains many occasions when the Lord Jesus appeared in the form of man, of fire, of smoke, etc. The Holy Spirit appears in other forms as well. Paul teaches that we cannot view God in His original form. He must cloak Himself in other forms for us to see and withstand His glory.

 

At the times that man has seen God it has been what we have termed Theophanies. We have also mentioned anthropormorphisms. This is when Scripture pictures God with hands, eyes, ears, arms etc.

 

God’s appearance in other than His actual form is for two reasons. His glory would be too much for us to stand. When Moses saw God he was hidden and what Moses saw, from the terms used, may have been just what was left after the glory of God passed by. He is an infinite Being trying to reveal Himself to finite beings and the Theophanies are a good way to accomplish this.

 

APPLICATION

 

1. God, the perfect and pure spirit, which is unhindered by the things that so easily draw our attention, is always and perfectly attuned to us and our needs. Might we ask the question, “Is God always attuned to our needs?” Might we ask the question, “Are His emotions always aimed our direction?” YES to both questions, Unless Sin Hinders It.

 

To answer these questions, we might consider the fact that sin hinders our fellowship with him. We must assume that His emotions, though still acting on our behalf, may not have effect, or at least full effect, if we are not walking with Him. What an encouragement to walk with Him closely.

 

2. When we want a perfect friend that fully understands, and one that will fully support us, why do we go looking among men to find one? We have one fully capable and perfectly qualified, IN RESIDENCE, if you will. Indeed, man cannot be the comfort that God can.

 

May we learn to allow God to be all that He desires to be in our life.[1]

 


[1] Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

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