|Sons of Zadok
"Who or what is the Holy Spirit?"
The Holy Spirit is a real person who came to reside within Jesus Christ's true followers after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven (Acts 2). Jesus told His apostles...
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:16-18)
The Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. He is a person equal in every way with God the Father and God the Son. He is considered to be the third member of the Godhead. Jesus said to His apostles...
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:18-20)
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And all the divine attributes ascribed to the Father and the Son are equally ascribed to the Holy Spirit. When a person becomes born again by believing and receiving Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13; John 3:3-21), God resides in that person through the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 3:16). The Holy Spirit has intellect (1Cor. 2:11), emotion (Rom. 15:30), and will (1Cor. 12:11).
A primary role of the Holy Spirit is that He bears "witness" of Jesus Christ (John 15:26, 16:14). He tells people's hearts about the truth of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit also acts as a Christian's teacher (1Cor. 2:9-14). He reveals God's will and God's truth to a Christian. Jesus told His disciples...
"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 the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (John 16:13)
The Holy Spirit was given to live inside those who believe in Jesus, in order to produce God's character in the life of a believer. In a way that we cannot do on our own, the Holy Spirit will build into our lives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Rather than trying to be loving, patient, kind, God asks us to rely on Him to produce these qualities in our lives. Thus Christians are told to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25) and be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). And the Holy Spirit empowers Christians to perform ministerial duties that promote spiritual growth among Christians (Rom. 12; 1Cor. 12; Eph. 4).
The Holy Spirit also performs a function for non-Christians as well. He convicts people's hearts of God's truth concerning how sinful we are -- needing God's forgiveness; how righteous Jesus is -- He died in our place, for our sins; and God's eventual judgment of the world and those who do not know Him (John 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit tugs on our hearts and minds, asking us to repent and turn to God for forgiveness and a new life.
The Holy Spirit is a Person
- The Holy Spirit is mentioned on equal level with God - Matt. 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
- The Holy Spirit is referred to as a person by scripture - Rom. 8:11, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you."
- The Holy Spirit grieves - Isaiah 63:10, "But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them." And, Eph. 4:30, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."
- The Holy Spirit loves - Rom. 15:30, "Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."
- The Holy Spirit has a mind - Rom. 8:27, "and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."
- The Holy Spirit speaks - Acts 8:29, "And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot." And, Acts 13:2, "And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. He is fully God. He is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, has a will, and can speak. He is alive. He is a person. He is not particularly visible in the Bible because His ministry is to bear witness of Jesus (John 15:26).
Some cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses say that the Holy Spirit is nothing more than a force (Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 406-407). This is false. If the Holy Spirit were merely a force, then He could not speak (Acts 13:2); He could not be grieved (Eph. 4:30); and He would not have a will (1 Cor. 12:11).
The truth is that the Holy Spirit is a person the same as the Father and the Son are within the Trinity.
The Works of the Holy Spirit