THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Crucified, dead and buried;
He descended into hell; The third day He rose from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11
The greatest life pursuit of the Christian is to know God. To know God, we must have the Holy Spirit. To have the Holy Spirit we must know Jesus Christ. Here you have the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, uniquely three in one. It is one of the great mysteries of the faith, pondered by great minds for thousands of years. No one has been able to fully explain this Holy Oneness. I am no great theological scholar – I simply take the Trinity on faith.
First let’s establish that the Holy Spirit is a person – not an “it,” and He is equal in power, sovereignty, divinity and all other attributes of God the Father and God the Son. We tend to think of the Holy Spirit as a New Testament entity, but the Bible tells us that the He was an active participant in the Creation. Genesis 1:2 says “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (emphasis added). The Holy Spirit was the power that generated all creation into being.
The Holy Spirit is seen in the Old Testament imparting power, strength and wisdom to men and women used by God to accomplish His sovereign purposes. However in that time, the Spirit’s activity within man was only for the task, leaving man when God’s work was fulfilled. Today, since Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12), the Holy Spirit dwells within men and women who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, not coming and going as before, but literally “taking up residence” in the heart of the believer. Perhaps that should serve to remind us that the work of God is on-going, and we should always be about the Father’s business.
What effect does the Holy Spirit have on the believer? Let’s see what Scripture tells us.
- The Holy Spirit enables us to know the truth about God. Jesus said in John’s gospel, “The world cannot accept Him [the Spirit of Truth], because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17) Jesus said we cannot accept Truth without His Holy Spirit. 1 John 5:6 says, “It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.” The Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to the truth and enables us to receive and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the only way to salvation and eternal life with the Father.
- The Holy Spirit enables us to do the good works of God. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7) The Holy Spirit gives gifts to believers, then equips us to use those gifts for the good of the Church and for the Glory of God. The good works we do for God are initiated by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, and brought to completion by the Spirit. God gives us the awesome privilege of being His physical hands, feet, arms and lips in this world, but it is the Spirit who does the work.
- The Holy Spirit is the evidence that we belong to Christ. Romans 8:9 says: “You, however are controlled not by the sinful nature, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” The Apostle John declared, “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.” (1 John 4:2, 15). The Spirit enables, even urges us, to testify to the truth of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The Holy Spirit also produces fruit in our lives that is further evidence that we belong to Christ. Galatians 5: 22-23 describes those fruits as: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These fruits reflect the character of God and are only possible when we are surrendered to Christ and filled with His Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, as Jesus said in John’s gospel: “These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26) “When He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all true.” (John 16:13) This is a fulfillment of God’s incredible promise in Ezekiel 36:26-27: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees.”
There is so much more that we can say about the Holy Spirit:
- He prays for us when we cannot pray for ourselves: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express,” (Romans 8:26)
- He brings conviction of sin: “He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment,” (John 16:8)
- The Spirit reveals the thoughts and plans of the Father: “He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come He will bring glory to me by taking form what is mine and making it known to you,” (John 16:13-14). “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God…no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God…we have received the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand…” (1 Corinthians 2:10, 11, 12).
As you see, the Holy Spirit is vital for the Christian. He equips, empowers and enables us to do all that God desires to accomplish through us. Though we cannot fully comprehend the concept of the Trinity, we are blessed to be loved by the Father, saved through the Son, and filled with the Spirit.
Holy God, You are so much bigger than I can comprehend. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may be a vessel fit and ready to do Your will. Amen