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The Holy Spirit is Divine


In John 14:16-18, Jesus tells us five things we need to know about the Holy Spirit that will help to put the music of the ages into our lives. First, this passage suggests that the Holy Spirit is divine.

Notice the close association in John between the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Spirit. The Son says he will ask the Father and that the Father will give us another Counselor or Helper to be with us forever: the Spirit of truth. This verse in John 14 encapsulates the ancient doctrine later taught by the Council of Nicaea that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Son asks the Father and the Father gives the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, Jesus tells us in this passage that the Holy Spirit is another counselor. The Greek word for "another" which is used here suggests that the Holy Spirit is another counselor just as Jesus is a counselor. In 1 John 2:1 we read, "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." 1 John specifically calls Jesus a "paraclete," one who speaks to the Father in our defense, one who comes alongside. "Paraclete" is the word Jesus uses to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:16. Therefore, we can say that if Jesus is divine, and Jesus is a paraclete, and the Holy Spirit is another paraclete just like Jesus, then the Holy Spirit is divine as well.

Jesus clearly presents himself as divine in John 14. Notice that Jesus asks the Father. He does not beg the Father. Jesus asks, on terms of equality, for the Father to give the Holy Spirit to his people. When Jesus speaks about his praying to the Father, he uses the Greek verb "erotao" which means "to ask". When Jesus speaks about our praying to the Father, he uses the word "aiteo" which means "to entreat or beg".

Of course, there are numerous other passages throughout Scripture that attest to the divinity of the Holy Spirit. But why is this important? I think it is important because if we do not recognize the divinity of the Holy Spirit then we may be led to rely on our own strength to initiate and keep our relationship with God going. However, if we recognize the Holy Spirit as divine, and that God has given us the gift of his Spirit through faith in Jesus, then we will rely on God's power. Just as we trust Jesus to save us, so we will learn to rely on the Spirit daily to sanctify us.

There was a man who had worked for a lumber company for many years. Over the course of his employment, the man actually stole lumber from his boss, a few logs here or there. Finally, he felt so guilty about this that he went to the local priest to confess his sin. When he got into the confessional with the priest, he hemmed and hawed, and just could not bring himself to make a confession of his sin of theft. Finally, the priest said to him, "You need to make a retreat." And the man replied, "Father, if you have the plans, I have the lumber!"

Is that not often the way we relate to God? Do we not often, in effect, say to the Lord, "If you have a plan for my life, I will supply the power to carry it out"? I think the Lord's gentle response to such an attitude is this: "No. It is going to be my plan and my lumber. Only by my power can you live the life I am calling you to live."

There is a verse in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." However, that verse can also be translated, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit is Lord, there is freedom."

The Holy Spirit is divine; he is Lord of all. He wants to exercise Lordship in our lives, but we have to assent to that. We must let the Spirit have his way. It is a daily choice we need to make.

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