The Spirit of God
Gen.1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” “In the beginning” points to the beginning of time and creation. The point to note here is that if God was already there in the beginning, then God precedes the beginning. If God precedes the beginning, then God is eternal. Moses is the author of Genesis and Psalm 90. Psa.90:1-2 says,
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Let us note also that the Bible begins with God. The Bible does not set out to prove there is a God. The Bible simply begins with the fact of God and that He is the Creator. It is of interest to note that the Hebrew word for God, Elohim, is plural, and the verb, “created”, is singular.
Jn.1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word.” “Word” is a name for the Lord Jesus Christ. In the beginning, that is, the beginning of time and creation, the Word (Jesus) was already there. In the beginning God was already there. In the beginning Jesus was already there. God is eternal. Jesus is eternal. “In the beginning God created.” In the beginning the Word created. Jn.1:3 says, “All things came into being through Him (the Word), and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Heb.1:1-2 says, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” God created. God created through His Son, the Word (Jesus). So, before creation took place we meet two eternal Persons : God (the Father) and God (the Son, the Word, Jesus).
In Gen.1:2 we meet a third divine Person involved in the creation of the heavens and earth. He is called “the Spirit of God”. What we have here is the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity or Triunity of God. God is one divine Being and three divine Persons : the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. My purpose in this article is to focus your attention on the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit (Matt.1:18 & 20) is also known as the Spirit of God (Exod.31:3; 1Cor.2:14); the Spirit (Num.27:18); My Spirit (Gen.6:3); the Spirit of the LORD (1Sam.10:6; Lk.4:18); Your good Spirit (Neh.9:20); His Holy Spirit (Isa.63:10-11); the Spirit of your Father (Matt.10:20); the Spirit of truth (Jn.15:26; 16:13); Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7); the Spirit of Christ (Rom.8:9; 1Pet.1:11); the Spirit of the living God (2Cor.3:3); the Holy Spirit of God (Eph.4:30); the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil.1:19). The references I have given you here are just a sampling. Let us note the following :
The Holy Spirit is God. We have already taken note of the Holy Spirit’s involvement in creation. In Acts 5:3-4 we read, “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…. You have not lied to men but to God.” In Acts 28:25 Paul said, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke…” Paul would proceed to quote from Isa.6:9-10. Isa.6 deals with Isaiah’s astounding vision of the Lord (vs.1). Vs.3 would say “LORD”, which is the Hebrew Yahweh. In vs.8 Isaiah said, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying….” The Lord speaking and the Holy Spirit speaking are one and the same. Very interestingly, in Jn.12:36-41, John tells us that the One Isaiah saw in his vision was Jesus. Compare the following : Heb.3:7 with Psa.95:7; Heb.10:15 with Jer.31:33.
The Holy Spirit was involved in the inspiration of the Scriptures. 2Tim.3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God….” 2Pet.1:21 says, “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
The Holy Spirit is a person. The word “Spirit” is a neuter noun in the Greek. Yet the masculine pronoun “He” is used to refer to the Holy Spirit. (See Jn.15:26; 16:13-14). The verses above show us the Spirit speaks. Eph.4:30 says the Spirit can be grieved. Acts 5:3-4 shows us men can lie to the Holy Spirit. Isa.63:10 says Israel rebelled against and grieved the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:19ff the Spirit spoke to Peter and he obeyed. The Spirit guides (Rom.8:14). Jn.14:26 says the Spirit is Helper (Comforter); He teaches.; He will bring to your remembrance. (See also Jn.16:8 “convicts”; vs.13 “guide”, “speak”, “disclose”; vs.14 “glorify”). These references are sufficient to prove the point.
Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is baptized in the Holy Spirit. In Matt.3:11 John the Baptist said :
“I baptize you with water”.
“He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
The word “with” is the Greek word en which has the primary meaning of “in”. Note the following:
John is the baptizer. Jesus is the baptizer.
The element John baptizes in is water, The “element” Jesus baptizes in is the Holy Spirit.
1Cor.12:13 says, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” The word “by” is the same Greek word en which means “in”. The verb “baptized” is passive. This means “Spirit” is NOT the subject of the verb. We can read what Paul wrote as follows :
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body”.
“For we were all baptized in one Spirit into one body.”
The question is : since the verb “baptized” is passive, who is the baptizer? Matt.3:11 tells us the Jesus is the baptizer. Jesus baptizes in the Spirit. The next question is this : what does the baptism in the Spirit do for you, the Christian? The baptism in the Spirit puts you “into one body”, the body of Christ, the church. Baptism in the Spirit is not a special experience in the life of the Christian that takes place sometime subsequent to conversion. Since baptism in the Spirit puts you into the body of Christ, it means that baptism in the Spirit is part and parcel of what happened to you when you were saved.
Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. 2Tim.1:14 says, “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” The verb “dwells” is present tense and emphasizes the continuous indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer. 1Jn.4:13 says, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” The verb “has given” is perfect tense. The perfect emphasizes completed action with continuing results. In other words, the Spirit has been given to us permanently. 1Cor.6:19 says, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” The word “temple” is literally “sanctuary” and was used to described the Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple. Just as the LORD dwelt in the Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple, so the Holy Spirit dwells in your body which is His “sanctuary”.
We go now to Rom.8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” You, the Christian, are not “in the flesh”. To be “in the flesh” is death (vs.6). You are “in the Spirit”. To be “in the Spirit” is “life and peace” (vs.6). If you claim to be “in the Spirit”, you are also saying that “the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Once again, the verb “dwells” is present tense. What does it mean if you are not indwelt by the Spirit? The answer is : “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (Christ).” The New English Bible (NEB) stated the answer very graphically : “if a man does not possess the Spirit of Christ, he is no Christian.” You are a Christian because you are permanently and continuously indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit began to indwell you the moment you were saved. The Holy Spirit, who is God’s seal in you (Eph.1:13-14) will indwell you until the day you die. But if you are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit you are not a Christian.
To summarize, the moment you were saved you were baptized in the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, sealed with the Spirit, and filled with the Spirit. May God give you wisdom as you read and think through this article. I will take up the subject of the filling of the Spirit in another article.