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The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

Updated on January 21, 2014

God, the Holy Spirit

God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is equally as active as God the Father and God the Son.There is much to know about Him. This study will only skim the surface.

First, let us see that the Holy Spirit is involved in regeneration. The account of Nicodemus in John 3:1-7 shows us that. Starting at verse 4, we read “Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Christ is saying here that the Holy Spirit is the One that regenerates. He brings about a spiritual renovation in a person’s life. Titus 3:5 tells us, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is the third person of the Trinity that is primarily responsible for the new birth.

You Must Be Born Again

The phrase “born again” actually means to be born anew. It comes from a Greek word that means “from the first”, or “from the beginning. It can accurately be translated, “the beginning born in you”. Of course, the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is described in Revelation as the beginning. When one is born again, it is the Beginning, Jesus Christ being born in him.

This brings about a different nature. This is not a change in the old nature, but the beginning of a new nature. It is the coming of Christ’s nature in us. Because the new nature is eternal, eternal life now exists in us as the eternal Christ comes to live in us in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Before leaving John 3, I would like to mention quickly that the “water” referred to in verse five does not refer to baptism. Remember, that the Scripture is its own best commentary. Verse six tells us exactly what Christ meant by referring to “water”. He is talking about a physical birth here. When a baby is born, water is shed from within, and that which is “flesh” IS flesh. That which is Spirit IS spirit.

Jesus says in John 14:15-18, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you”.

n this church age, the Holy Spirit takes up his dwelling in each born againbeliever. Notice no less than five times the Holy Spirit is referred to as “He” or “Him”. Unlike the cults that would consider the Holy Spirit to be just a force like wind or water power, the Bible sets the record straight. The Holy Spirit is a person, a “He”. Actually, He is the third person of the Trinity. He has all the attributes of God, the Father, and God, the Son. He has all the power that they have. He is co-eternal and coequal with them. Compare Acts 5:3 and 4. “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? …thou has not lied unto to men, but unto God. Here, God the Father is equated with the God the Holy Ghost.

I Corinthians 12:4-6 also mentions the Godhead at work. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it the same God which worketh in all”. It is the Holy Spirit that gives the gifts. It is Christ that determines how that gift will be used. It is God, the Father that will give the results.

Suppose that someone has the gift of exhortation. It is the Holy Spirit that gives that gift. Let us suppose that this individual uses the gift of exhortation in counseling. It was Christ that determined the counseling position. Let us suppose that the one being counseled gets the help he needs. It was God, the Father that gave the results.

The Holy Spirit is the bestower of power. The disciples, in Acts 1:5 were told to “…wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” What is this promise? Luke 24:49 says, “And behold, I send the promise of the Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, ubtin ye be endued with power from on high.” The disciples were specifically waiting in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to descend. When He came He would bring His power. Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 that all power was given unto Him. The Holy Spirit is equal to the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is our guide. Notice in Luke 4:1, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” Paul wrote to the Galatians in chapter 5:16-26 that we are to walk in the Spirit (verse 16), be led of the Spirit (verse 18), and to live in the Spirit (verse 25).

If we are walking in the Spirit, you can be sure that the Holy Spirit is leading. As we make a habit of walking in the Spirit and being led by the Spirit, it will become a lifestyle and we will be living in the Spirit. When we are being led by the Spirit, we will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit listed in verses 22 and 23.

Other Activities of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit can be grieved by our misactions. Ephesians 5:30 tells us, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” When we do what God does not want us to do, we grieve the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, in His Word, tells us not to harm our bodies, as they are the temples of the Holy Ghost. Actually, Romans 8:9 shows that the Godhead lives within us. If we transgress that commandment and harm our bodies through the use of cigarettes or alcohol, the Spirit is grieved. In other words, grieving the Holy Spirit takes place when we choose to do what He says not to do - sins of comission

We can also quench the Holy Spirit. I Thessalonians 5:19 clearly forbids this. “Quench not the Spirit.” We quench the Spirit when we refuse to do what He wants us to do. The Holy Spirit may whisper to us in that still, small voice, “Go witness to that man.” We may decide he looks too mean, or he would not be interested. We may come with a million other excuses, but we quenched the Spirit by refusing to follow His leading. Quenching involves us not doing what we should do - sins of omission.

“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” (Romans 8:26), shows us that the Holy Spirit is active in our prayer life. Romans 8:28 tells us “...that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Our hearts are deceitful and wrong attitudes, wrong emotions may cause us to pray improperly. The Holy Spirit will interpret our prayers in a right way. The term “helpeth our infirmities” means to “cooperate with our weakness”. In our frailty, the Holy Spirit takes over to assure that God’s best will be accomplished.

The Holy Spirit is by our side as we witness. It is the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit that brings the new birth about as we looked at earlier, but it is the same Holy Spirit that should be guiding and directing us as we give out His Word. II Timothy 2:16 mentions all Scripture is given by inspiration. God literally breathed His Word to man. II Peter 1:20, 21 shares the same idea as holy men spoke as they were led by the Holy Spirit.

As we take the Word of God (written by the Holy Spirit) and seek to have Him lead us as we speak it, He will. The Holy Spirit in us will speak His word to others as we allow Him the freedom to do so. When someone rejects the Gospel message, please know that it is not you they reject, but the God of the message that you bring.

When someone accepts the Gospel message, please know that you had nothing to do with it. It was the Holy Spirit as He moved through you as you gave His Word that affected the sinner. Salvation is totally the work of God. Trust God, the Holy Spirit to do His work, and people will come to Christ.

So we see that the Holy Spirit is completely involved in the life of the believer. The believer ought to be completely involved in the life of the Holy Spirit.


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    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I do. I'm not for seminaries much either. Most have gone the way of satan. So I've had to separate by beliefs from seminary teaching. God, the Holy Spirit must teach me His truth, not a school. That being said, I have a personal relationship with the God of the universe. I answer only to Him - not to a church - not to a man - not to a seminary. I appreciate your concern, but my beliefs are not seminary taught, but Holy Spirit brought.

    • flpalermo profile image

      flpalermo 3 years ago

      Also, another Hubber revealed that you have a Doctorate of Divinity?

    • flpalermo profile image

      flpalermo 3 years ago

      That';s O.K. Let it be according to YOUR faith. By the way, in Seminaries is where you learn the teachings of men.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thank you for your opinion, Sir. Just a couple of comments. What in the world does seminary have to do with this hub? It wasn't mentioned at all. You know so little about me to be assuming so much. Also, did you bother to read the hub at all? I base my teaching on what the Bible says, not on what it doesn't say. I clearly showed from Scripture what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit. That's where I stand.

      Thank you for your comment, but with all due respect I disagree with your conclusion.

    • flpalermo profile image

      flpalermo 3 years ago

      If the Holy Spirit is a “person”- the third member of the Trinity as you have learned at the Seminary school, where is “the throne” of the Holy Spirit in the New Jerusalem, as depicted in the book of Revelation?

      Revelation 21:10 “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”

      After describing the dimensions of the city to John in the vision, Jesus reveals: Revelation 21:24 “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.” Who can go into the city? –

      They which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)

      But notice this: Revelation 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And notice verse 3 – and there shall be no more a curse, because the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be there.

      WHERE IS THE THRONE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT? There is NO throne for the Holy Spirit!! Just God and the Lamb! That’s because the Holy Spirit is not a person, but the power of God.

      Again, the traditional Seminary schools teach doctrines of men, deceiving and being deceived. The word of God is the truth. Why can’t they see it? The doctrine of the Trinity is NOT of God. Jesus said in His prayer to the Father – “that they may know you THE ONLY TRUE GOD.” Not the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit. Not a trinity Godhead.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi newenglandsun,

      The importance of the Holy Spirit relates to the incarnation and life of Christ in many ways. Just a couple examples - He was conceived bodily by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18); He is blessed by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16); He is led by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1).

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Well like the importance of denouncing the Modalist teaching was because it made a bad image of who the Father and the Son were. The importance of denouncing Arianism, Nestorianism, and Monophystism is that in the incarnation, deity is joined with humanity. Deity is joined with humanity to defend the plan of salvation to make us partakers in the divinity (1 Pet. 1:4) a doctrine called theosis.

      But what exactly is the importance of the Holy Spirit being a distinct person from the Father and Son? I haven't figured that part out yet.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi newenglandsun,

      Thanks for stopping by. I'm not sure I understand your question. Are we talking about the role of the Holy Spirit? Or are we talking about the importance of that role? Or something else all together?

      When Jesus returned to Heaven, He promised to send the Comforter - the Holy Spirit (John 14::16-18) to dwell within every believer for the purpose of continuing Christ's ministry on earth. He (the Holy Spirit) unites all true believers as the organism known as the Bride of Christ. Some refer to it as the "universal church".

      Like I told April, degrees don't mean much when it comes to studying the Bible. It is what it is. I'm sure we can learn from each other.

      Let me know how I can be more specific, and again, thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Hi lifegate!

      I came across you on April's hub. I've been wondering the issue of the Holy Spirit lately. There are binitarians who object to the personhood of the Holy Spirit. I am at a point where I can explain and defend why the deity of Christ and the distinct personality of the Father and the Son are person (no Arianism, no Modalism) but I'm trying to figure out why the Holy Spirit's personality is important.

      I saw that you were an D. Div. so you know more about the why than I do being only that I'm only working on my third year of my B.A. in religion.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      You're quite welcome Mark! Glad you were able to stop by.

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 4 years ago from Italy

      I believe in the Holy Spirit as I believe in God, the Creator and the Son.

      Thanks for this clarification and elaboration. I am glad you shared this wonderful thought about the faith.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I'm glad you enjoyed it and got some meaning from it, TJ. Even though it wasn't my main purpose in writing these last three hubs, I hope it gave some light to those that don't see God as Three in One. It amazes me how many people reject the clear teaching of the trinity. Glad you were able to stop by.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 4 years ago

      “the beginning born in you” ... "Jesus Christ being born in us" fantastic clarification into the concept of "born again" I really enjoyed your article, revelation, and comprehensive teaching on the Holy Spirit. I especially enjoyed your conclusion explaining the reciprocal relationship of Him being involved with us and we ought to be and stay involved with Him. An insightful read!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Ms D,

      You it said it, " Surrendering to Him means that I have less struggling to do." Even though I know that, it still seems like a struggle at times. I'll be glad for the day when the struggles are over and I'm home free. Thanks for stopping in. It's always good to hear from you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you Lifegate, for another good study . I am grateful for the Holy Spirit and all that He does in the life of the believer. Surrendering to Him means that I have less struggling to do.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Karen,

      Glad to have you stop by as always. You know, Genesis 1:2 says, "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. " That same Holy Spirit that was present in creation lives within us. The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells within our very being. It's all too much to take in. But what a wonderful promise! Oh, and thanks for the votes.

    • shofarcall profile image

      shofarcall 5 years ago

      Another great hub and I particularly liked how you ended it exhorting fellow brothers and sisters to know that when others accept the gospel message that you bring to them, that you had nothing to do with it. That it is Holy Spirit as He moves through us and that salvation is utterly the work of God. Let us surrender to the Holy Spirits leading, so that more unbelievers may be brought into the family of God. Amen. Voted up and awesome.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Jackie,

      I always think of the thief on the cross. He wasn't baptized, but yet he was promised a home in Heaven with Jesus. I like your analogy of the Holy Spirit and electricity. It's kind of like vacuuming the carpet without plugging in the vacuum. We can push it all day, but if it's not plugged nothing gets done. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I think of the Holy Spirit as the electricity that connects us to the Father and the Son, the charge that sets us on fire for the Lord. I also know He opens our hearts and minds to learn and grow as Christians. Right now where would we all be without the Holy Spirit, I just cannot imagine and surely we will need Him so much now with all satan and his followers are doing in the world.

      Thank you for a very important write and so glad you cleared up the baptism of the water. I always wondered about that and what if someone died on their deathbed and of course the Spirit tells me in my heart God would not turn them away for a lack of water but now I will never have to have that thought on my mind!


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