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God, the Holy Spirit

The “trinity” is a hard concept to accept. How can three be one without being three? When one hears the word “God” it seems that one thinks of “God, the Father” but the word “God” can apply to each of the persons in the godhead. As an illustration, one may think of a circle that represents “God.” In that circle are three beings: (1) Father, (2) Son, and (3) Holy Spirit. There is only one God, but that one God is made up of three separate individuals or personalities. Each person in the godhead is God. It is probably easier to accept that the Father is God, and that the Son is God than it is to believe that the Holy Spirit is God. Yet, the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit as God. C. C. Crawford helps us understand the trinity by saying, “God is a Unity of three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is one as to essence, but this oneness embraces a triple personality. The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Godhead”.[1]


There is only one clear passage which calls the Holy Spirit God. When Ananias lied about the amount of money he gave, Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3, NASB). Almost in the same breath Peter went on to say, “You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:4). When he lied to the Holy Spirit, he lied to God.


Attributes of God

There are attributes which God possesses that humans do not possess. God is: (1) Eternal, (2) Omnipresent (ability to be everywhere at the same time, (3) Omniscient (ability to know all things), and (4) Omnipotent (having all power). Each of these attributes is applied to the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew writer spoke of “the eternal Spirit” (Hebrews 9:14).


The psalmist spoke of the Spirit being everywhere when he said, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (139:7). Paul spoke of the Spirit’s omniscience when he wrote, “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” (I Corinthians 2:10-11).


Paul spoke of the Spirit’s omnipotence when he said, “My message and my preaching was not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:4-5). Notice that Paul uses the word “Spirit” and “God” interchangeably in this context. It was the Spirit – God – whose power Paul used. We see this same truth taught in Luke 1:35 when the angel explained how Mary would become pregnant with Jesus. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” Again, notice that the word “Spirit” and “God” are used interchangeably.


Three Persons of the Godhead Used Together

Because the three of them make-up the godhead, they are often mentioned together. This shows their equality. In Matthew’s great commission he taught, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). It would be inconsistent if one said to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and the name of some man. “Man” would not be equal to the other two. Therefore, the Spirit is equal to the other two who are named. It is interesting to note that the word “name” is singular even though three beings are mentioned. As was mentioned above, there is unity in the godhead. The godhead is one in essence even though it is made-up of three different persons.


Another passage which connects all three is given by Paul as he closes out the book of second Corinthians. He writes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (13:14).


Conclusion

Even though there is just one God, He is made-up of three different persons. Each can be said to be “God.” Each has a different function in offering salvation to the world.

[1]. Cited by Roy H. Lanier, Sr. in The Timeless Trinity for the Ceaseless Centuries (Denver, CO: Lanier Books, 1974), 335.

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