The Holy Spirit
"God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ's life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth." —Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . .(2nd ed.) (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press® Publishing Association, 2005), p. 69.
Even the quickest reading of Fundamental Beliefs, number 5, should awaken us to the importance of the Holy Spirit to our faith. Indeed, we couldn't be Christians without Him and His work in our lives. Christ's accomplishments for us become efficacious only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and claim His righteousness instead of our own filthy rags or when we determine through the grace of God to put away sin and live in obedience to God's law—we are responding to the Holy Spirit and nothing else.
The Bible mentions the Holy Spirit more than three hundred times: more than one hundred times in the Old Testament and more than two hundred in the New Testament. Thus, how worthy of study the Holy Spirit is, especially now when every wind of doctrine is blowing, even in regard to the Holy Spirit Himself. Some question His personhood and/or His divinity. Others emphasize the work of the Spirit and His gifts (or what they claim are His gifts), while they pay scant attention to the obedience and sanctification that are the undeniable fruit of the Spirit's work in our lives. All this needs to be looked at in light of the Word of God.
Seventh-day Adventists should be most interested in becoming personally acquainted with the Spirit. We believe not only in Christ's death for our sins but also in His intercession for us in the heavenly sanctuary. Only the Spirit can apply the results of that intercession to our lives in anticipation of Christ's return.
Because it was the Spirit who inspired the writers of the Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:21), when the Spirit speaks today, He will speak in accordance with His own inspired messages. Anything not in conformity with the Bible, must therefore emanate from some source other than the Holy Spirit. We are told to "test the spirits" (1 John 4:1, NIV), and in the end the only sure standard for that test is the Bible itself.
Though these lessons will present a doctrinal picture of the Spirit, they also will emphasize the daily and practical aspect of His work in our lives, for the Spirit is the Divine Agent for reaching sinful humanity. His workings are as unchartable as mountain breezes; yet, the powerful reality of His work is manifested not only in our personal experiences but in the life and power of the church. Thus, we deal extensively with the vivifying power of the Spirit as we seek to present the Spirit as God's regenerating Agent. He alone can breathe upon us the life-changing breath of our Lord—a truth so fundamental to being a Christian.
May the Lord bless us as we seek not only to understand the work of the Holy Spirit but to know more about how to receive His promises in order that, as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, we "might be filled with all the fulness of God" (Eph. 3:19).
The late Arnold V. Wallenkampf, Ph.D., a Swede, worked in the church for decades as a pastor and a professor, and before retirement was an associate director of the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission. The study helps are provided in three document versions Wordperfect; Microsoft Word; RTF for our MAC friends (this is now a zip file); and HTML (Web Pages).
Last updated on June 13, 2006
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