We come to the final person of the Trinity in this podcast --- the Holy Spirit.
We can’t fully explain the Trinity, for that would mean we could explain the essence of God.
The point is that when we think of the Oneness of God we should think of the Threeness of God, and when we think of the Threeness of God, we should think of the Oneness.
Give it a try this week. When we think about God, we should always consider how the Trinity is at work. It can be hard to learn to think this way but it brings great reward.
So for example, Jesus Christ must be understood through the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. He does not act alone, he acts through the Spirit.
Matt Miller brought this out in his recent sermon on Luke 3 and the baptism of Jesus.
And all of it according to the plan of God the Father. In other words, when we watch Jesus act, speak, die, and rise again we are actually watching the Trinity at work.
That is a Christian view of Jesus’ life and work. It was NOT an individual work that Jesus did on His own—which would not be a Christian view. That is unitarian, not Trinitarian.
When the Church gathers to worship and outsiders come in to see and hear, they should be confronted with the fact that God is triune. They should not walk away with a unitarian view of God.
Consider the Holy Spirit theologically before we get into the myriad of passages for today.
The agent in which Jesus is begat in the womb.
The agent to bring communication from divine to human.
The agent to strengthen Jesus to do His works, especially that of being the perfect sin-bearer.
The agent that brings God's grace upon a person through a transforming of the mind and intellect. The bible calls it a new heart.
This too is very Trinitarian. The Spirit gives us life (regeneration) as well as faith to trust in Jesus' work on his behalf, and therefore unites us to Jesus so that we can then relate for the first time to the Father as our Father.
He doesn't just give us life or a new heart and that’s it.
Rather, the work of the Spirit in uniting us to Jesus radically affects us in one way that so many Christians struggle over—prayer.
Because we are united to Christ, all our prayers are channeled through Jesus to the Father.
Your prayers do not stand on their own because you said so, but because, in a sense, they are the prayers of Jesus. So the Father is hearing them because Christ is bringing them to Him.
We wrongly think that we need that hour of prayer every day to really get the Father's attention.
This then leads to a lot of unfounded guilt because you don't find yourself praying like that. Though an hour of prayer is good, consider two key observations in relation to the Trinity.
First, your prayers are never heard by the Father because of your time spent praying them. They are received because Jesus brings them to the Father. And what makes you able to pray is the new life in the Spirit.
And second, do not perceive of yourself as more spiritual because you pray that amount. If you pray for an hour, let it be because you are filled with the confidence that the Father receives the prayers because they come through the Son in the power of the Spirit.
One final point before getting into the Spirit’s deity is that He is the agent of sanctification.
He is the one who makes you holy.
John Owen argued that only the Christian is truly tempted. Why? Because only the believer has the Spirit within them resisting the sin that is in us. And only the Christian has that true life within himself.
Deity of the Spirit:
It’s interesting to note that since the 4th century there’s been essentially no debate whether the Spirit is God. The only time it’s debated is when there’s a question as to whether he is a person or merely a force.
So what’s important to understand is that the Spirit is more than a force or energy. Rather, He’s presented in the Scriptures as God Himself.
So first, we need to see that He’s a person, and that personality is attributed to Him.
-- He can be blasphemed. And to ascribe eternal damnation to this sin only makes sense if He is God.
John 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is 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.
-- We are able to know Him.
-- We are helped and comforted by Him.
-- He lives with and in us.
John 15:26 "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me.”
-- bears witness of Christ.
—gives guidance in revelation.
"And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot." (Acts 8:29)
—Speaks to Philip.
“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." (Acts 13:2)
---- Speaks to the church.
Notice it also says, “set apart for Me,” This shows the idea that He’s God. He’s not saying to set the men apart for God, but for “Me.”
“And they passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6)
---- Here the Spirit forbids and prevents actions.
There’s mystery here. The Spirit is preventing the preaching of the gospel.
---- A passage to think about with regard to free will.
“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14)
“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26)
---- Groans in intercession, and prays on our behalf.
---- He also helps us.
1 Corinthians 2:10-13
1 Corinthians 12:11
—dispenses gifts, showing that he has a will.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30)
"How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:29)
---- Insulted (similar here to blaspheming the Spirit).
In this same passage Jesus is treated in the same way as the Spirit. And it’s without doubt that Jesus was a person.
Second, He possesses divine attributes.<