Theology: The Holy Spirit – THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

THE SPIRIT HAS THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PERSONALITY

 

He has life: Romans 8:2, “…the Spirit of life….” 2 Corinthians 3:3, “…Spirit of the living God….” Dare I suggest we need Him in our worship services. We are often very dead. He isn’t some doctrine we study. He is real, He is alive, He is active. This should add to the friendship aspect of our relationship to Him. He is living and alive, and can react to all that we share with Him.

 

He has intelligence, knowledge & thought: 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11 mentions that He can know. Romans 8:27, “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit….” He has a mind. He can think and know, thus He can be interactive in leading and guiding us. He is not just a power within us, He is a person — someone that we can communicate with — someone that has perfect compassion that understands our hurt and many other things.

 

He has purpose: Isaiah 11:2 is a prophecy that the Spirit will be upon the Messiah to minister. 1 Corinthians 12:11 tells that He gives the gifts as He wills indicating that there is specific purpose in His work. Not only can He purpose to do things, but He purposes that we do things. We are not placed upon this earth to take up space and resources; we are here to bring glory to God and to serve Him. Part of the Spirit’s purpose is to aid us in these accomplishments.

 

It is a neat concept to consider that God has given us a purpose and job to do, then He has given us all that we need to do that job. He has done it all. He saved us so that we can respond to Him, He gave us the purpose and He gave us the Spirit to help us do the work.

 

He has activity: He was active in creation (Genesis 1:2). He was active in getting the church off the ground (Acts 2:1-4). He is active within the church through individual believers. Each believer is indwelt by the Spirit,

 

 

thus He is able to lead not only the individual, but also the church through their collective leading.

 

He is active in the lost segment of mankind as well. The Scripture is clear that He is in the business of convicting the lost, but more importantly he is active in drawing the lost to the Lord. Without His drawing and activity on our part, we would still be lost.

 

He has freedom: “Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 We are told that He gives the gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). He acts as He wills, and has freedom to do so. We might add one qualifier to that statement. He acts freely within the prescribed plan that was set by the Trinity in eternity past. He, nor any member of the Trinity, will ever act independent of the decree and consent of the other members of the Trinity.

 

He not only IS free, but he creates freedom. Within our Christian life, we have a great freedom. We often find ourselves worried about what we can’t do, but seldom think of all that we can do. We have great freedoms within our Christian life. We are also free to limit those freedoms for the sake of our fellow believers or our testimony.

 

He has self-consciousness: (WILL/ VOLITION) 1 Corinthians 12:11 “as He will”. He knows Himself — is conscious that He has life and that He exists. This is an eternal consciousness as God the Father has, as God the Son has. Since He is truly God, He naturally will have the eternal consciousness of God.

 

He knows what He is all about. He does not need us to tell Him what to do, nor how to do for us. He knows the Father’s will for our lives; we need not tell Him what to do.

 

He has emotions: Ephesians 4:30 mentions that we can grieve Him. This would require emotions.

 

Is there any sense in which His emotions become our emotions after salvation? Either His emotions become linked with ours, or we are made more sensitive to things that He is concerned with. Example: Today when driving, if I hit a bird, I have a sick feeling in my stomach, as well as a sorrow. Before I was saved, I was trying to hit birds. Some change. In my

 

 

pre-salvation days — I went hunting and fishing all the time. In the post salvation days — I really am taken with those creatures of God that I have removed life from. Indeed, I cleaned some fish My son caught in 1990 and one wasn’t dead yet. I had to kill it. Not a good feeling.

 

I have seen many hard people that come to know the Lord who become easily moved by spiritual or sad things. I don’t know that our emotions are linked with those of the Spirit, yet we seem to become more sensitive to those things that He knows and loves.

 

He has love: 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.”

 

As God, He is Love, according to the Word. Since God loves the lost, it would be logical to assume that the Spirit would encourage us to pray for the lost.

 

How do we see His love? Do we really understand how much He loves us? He seeks us before salvation. He convicts us before salvation. He transforms us, baptizes us, and does many other things at salvation. He convicts, guides, empowers and indwells us after salvation. His indwelling allows for His fruit to come forth through us to make us better people.

 

He has goodness: Nehemiah 9:20,

 

“Thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.”

 

It follows that His goodness would proceed to us, as well as through us to others. As you study the Spirit and the fact that His characteristics come through us to others, should bring us to consider whether we are really allowing Him to do what He wants through us. Are we really like the Spirit when we are with other people?

 

He has will: He gives the gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). If He gives gifts as He wills, and He does, It follows that the gift that each of us has is the exact gift that He wants us to have. Thus we might realize that if

 

 

He has made us a teacher, that we should not be upset that we aren’t a giver or pastor-teacher. We should be satisfied with what He has willed for us.

 

By implication the fruit of the Spirit, (Galatians 5:22,23) indicate His will. His life produces the fruit through the believer. There must be a will to do so, for the purpose that He wills.

 

THE SPIRIT HAS RECOGNITION AS A PERSON BY CHRIST

 

Christ Called The Spirit The Comforter, Or Helper: John 14:16 The terms comforter and helper depict a person that can assist. Christ would have chosen other terms had the Spirit been a force or power that was to come. He is a person that can comfort and help in time of trouble, not just a force or power to move us along through life.

 

Christ Used Personal Pronouns In Reference To The Spirit: John 16 mentions several: Him (7), He (8), He, himself (13), He (15). Indeed, the Spirit is referred to with personal pronouns by the authors of Scripture. It should be pointed out that the pronouns are masculine rather than neuter according to Pache. (Pache, Rene; “The Person And Work Of The Holy Spirit”; Chicago: Moody Press, 1954, p 13)

 

It would be illogical to deny the personality of the Spirit, when others use personal pronouns to speak of Him.

 

THE SPIRIT HAS ASSOCIATIONS WITH THE FATHER AND SON

 

He is mentioned in the baptismal formula: Matthew 18:19 The Father and the Son have personality — so must He.

 

He is mentioned in the benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14:

 

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”

 

It seems foolish to deny personality for the Spirit and yet allow it for the Father and the Son.

 

 

THE SPIRIT HAS THE ACTIONS OF A PERSON

 

He Speaks: He clearly communicates with believers. If there is communication, then many other things are indicated. Will, ability, intelligence, etc. 2 Samuel 23:2, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me….” Acts 8:29, “Then the Spirit said….” Revelation 2:7, “…the Spirit saith….”

 

He Prays: Paul tells us that when we don’t know how to pray that the Spirit is making “intercession” on our behalf (Romans 8:26). This indicates that He knows our minds, and has the ability to communicate with The Father. Neither of these are abilities a power or force might have.

 

He Guides: One of the ministries that He has with the Christian is guidance, be it guidance in study of the Word, or guidance in finding the Lord’s will.

 

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 814

 

He calls and commissions: This requires many of the attributes which we have already seen. Only a being with personality can accomplish these things in another beings life. He calls and commissions men and women to ministries around the world. Acts 13:2, Acts 20:28.

 

He Commands: He commanded Phillip to go to the Eunuch Acts 8:29. This requires planning and authority. Phillip was submitting to the plan of the Spirit for his life.

 

He Dwells In Believers: Only a being with personality can dwell with another being. John 14:17 mentions, in relationship to the Spirit, “…and shall be in you.”

 

He Teaches: The teacher with no personality is the teacher that is not a teacher. Personality is required of any teacher. The Holy Spirit has the ability to teach which indicates many of the things that we have

mentioned. Will, intelligence, and ability to communicate — are all qualities of personality. John 14:26

 

I will just list some other aspects of this point with a reference for your further study:

 

 

He Reproves: John 16:8

 

He Sends: Acts 13:4

 

He Forbids Some Actions: Acts 16:6,7 He Empowers: Acts 1:8, 2 Peter 1:21 He Testifies: John 15:26,27

THE SPIRIT CAN BE TREATED AS A PERSON

 

The Spirit can be vexed: Isaiah 63:10,

 

“But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.”

 

Vexed means to annoy or disturb. In relation to this item, we need to understand that we have a responsibility to Him — to treat Him as a person.

 

The Spirit can be grieved: You cannot grieve a force or power, but it is possible to grieve a person. Grieving the Spirit should be the last thing that the believer would want to do, yet it so often occurs. Ephesians 4:30

 

The Spirit can be lied to: Ananias and Sapphira tried to lie to the Spirit,

but failed. To know a lie requires intelligence. On the other hand no normal person would attempt to lie to a power or force. Acts 5:3

 

The Spirit can be resisted: In Stephen’s sermon he encouraged the listener to be open to the Spirit.

 

“Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do ye.” Acts 7:51

 

Notice that the result of resisting the Spirit is being stiff-necked. This should be a warning against resisting the Spirit, even the first time. There is a real danger of becoming hardened when we begin to put off the moving of the Lord.

 

The Spirit can be called upon: Ezekiel 37:9 is the beginning of the vision of the dry bones arising and being assembled. The Spirit is called to breath life into the dead. If called upon, there is an expected possibility of response.

 

 

The response is that action of personality that we ought to look forward to when we pray.

 

The Spirit is to be obeyed: It is inconceivable to think that we would obey anything less than a person. Acts 10:19-21 tells us that Peter was told to go meet some men and he followed the instructions. Acts 16:6ff Paul is guided and commanded by the Spirit.

 

Others items of interest: The Spirit can be quenched, 1 Thessalonians 5:19; The Spirit can be blasphemed, Matthew 12:31; The Spirit can be revered, Psalm 51:11; The Spirit can be tempted, Acts 5:9

 

THE SPIRIT HAS NAMES INDICATING PERSONALITY

 

As you look at the names of the Spirit it will become obvious that there is personality indicated. We will not go into these names, but I might mention that Pache on pages 12-13 has a listing of these for your study.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

1. He is a person and is indwelling us, thus He should be our Personal Friend. If He is less, then you need to be with Him more.

 

2. He is very active and most of His activity is for our benefit. Are we ever thankful for what He does? Do we ever thank the Lord for the Spirit’s ministry to us?

 

3. The Mystery Of God’s Spirit

 

“It is said that while Dr. J. H. Jowett was ministering in England he once decided to preach on the text ‘The wind bloweth where it listeth.’ Upon studying the text he realized that he knew nothing about the wind. He decided to consult a sailor about the actions of the wind. When he went to the harbor he approached a sailor and asked the question, ‘Can you tell me something about the wind?’ The sailor looked as if he thought the man demented and said, ‘No.’ He pressed the question and said, ‘But you have been sailing the seas all of your life, you must know something about the wind.’ ‘I repeat, sir, that I do not know anything about the wind. All I know is that when I feel the wind blowing I raise my sails and I am wafted on to my port.’ Dr. Jowett hurried back to his study — he

 

 

had his sermon.” F. Crossley Morgan (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis; “TREASURY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH”;

New York: Association Press, 1949, p 366)

 

May we become immediately active when we feel the spirit blowing our way.

 

4. Personal opinion: We long to know God.

We long to know Christ.

 

Do we long to know the Spirit?

 

We desire a deeper walk with God the Father. We desire a closer walk with God the Son.

Do we desire a more holy walk with God the Holy Spirit?

 

God is God. If we want to know Him better why do we always aim our desire toward 2/3’s of Him? I’m not talking about fuzzy feelings, tingling tongues and hipped healings. I’m just talking about getting to know God

— all 3/3’s of Him.

 

As we learn of the Holy Spirit, I believe it will bring us to a more holy walk and a more holy work.

 

Belief In The Holy Ghost

 

“Years ago George Bernard Shaw wrote his whimsical way: ‘I am no more a Christian than Pilate was, or you, gentle reader; and yet, like Pilate, I greatly prefer Jesus to Annas or Caiaphas; and I am ready to admit that, after contemplating the world and human nature for nearly sixty years, I see no way out of the world’s misery but the way which would have been found by Christ’s will, if he had undertaken the work of a modern practical statesman.’

 

“‘Do we obey the unveiling of God’s conscience in Christ? So we believe in the Holy Ghost — in God present and active within us, supplementing our weakness, enlightening our ignorance, molding our wills, keeping us in unity with lovers of Christ everywhere,

 

 

and equipping us with every grace and gift we need to make our world Christian if we let him? Are we merely God-seekers, or are we God-possessed, God-led, God-empowered?

 

“To believe in the Trinity is to live with Father, Son, and Spirit and to know what God is to those who trust him.” Henry Sloane

Coffin (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis; “Treasury Of The Christian Faith”; New York: Association Press, 1949, p 369- 370)[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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