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Monday: Personal Aspects of the Holy Spirit – Part 1 — 47 Comments

  1. I appreciate the fact that the Holy spirit has a personality and we can relate because he is in tune with our personal needs. We have biblical proof that he existed before and during the creation of the earth Genesis 1:26, we also have proof that he led Christ and many others during the new testament era Luke 4:1. Do we have Biblical evidence that in like manner the holy spirit will continue with the sme ministry in heaven . Will he still be a force to feel and not a physical Person to behold?

    • I am not sure that it matters all that much Cephas Phiri. The significant thing about the Holy Spirit is not the mechanics of representation, but the work that the Holy Spirit does. We are not told about the role of the Holy Spirit outside God's interaction with us on earth. In fact we are not told a real lot about eternity at all; just enough to know that it is worth it. How we will interact with the Godhead in the new earth is something to look forward to.

  2. I have a question, Many preachers have said that Jesus could not be every where at so He sent the Holy Spirit actually we have been taught that its the Holy Spirit that Make God omnipresent as in He is every where, so if the Holy Spirit is a person how can He achieve that,being with all of us at the same time, even the way he speaks to us its like a Spirit speaking not a person. Thank you

    • The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all have the same attributes: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. Jesus did not use these attributes in His favor while He was a human on Earth, therefore, He could not be everywhere because it is impossible for humans to be more place than one. So Jesus would send the Holy Spirit, because He is a person (but not corporeal like a human, as Jesus was here), so the Holy Spirit could be everywhere.

      • I think that the presence of the Holy Spirit is the same as the presence of Jesus and also the presence of the Father, in any part of the universe (Omnipresence). Jesus, himself, cannot be visibly present in every part of the universe but He and the Father are taken by the Holy Spirit to every heart which receives Him.

        It might be that the mind of Christ and the mind of the Father are the same, according to statements of Jesus. Jesus said that if we have seen Him we have seen the Father.

        It may also be that the Holy Spirit motivates the thoughts and feelings in us to produce, little by little, the mind of God in us as His children. This may be how the character of God is produced in us. We can be sealed in the character of Christ if we permit the Holy Spirit to produce the character of God in every issue in us.

        • Don, my understanding is when Jesus said if you've seen Me you've seen the Father He was talking about His character. Not that they are the same person. If they are the same person and share the same mind, how do you explain Matthew 24:36, where Jesus says not even He knows the hour of His return, but the Father knows? Chances are you may mean they have the same mind as the same attitude?

          • And to add what William Earnhardt said it wouldn't make sense when we look at Genesis 1:26-28 Where God said " Let us make man in our image" This statement makes it very clear that they (The Trinity) have different personalities.

          • Hi William. I've often wondered about this text (Matthew 24:36). Jesus also said, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."(Mark 10:18). How can this be true unless Jesus is God?

            As we learned in last week's lesson, the Triune knows and acts with a single knowledge and purpose and Jesus is equal to God (Philippians 2:6). Are you suggesting that the Three Persons of the Godhead can keep secrets from One Another?

            Does not the Holy Spirit know what God knows since they are also equal (1 Corinthians 2:10; Acts 5:3-4)?

          • I think that there were some things that Jesus, as a human, didn't know because, He didn't need to know it. We, humans don't need to know and should not know (because of our nature) when Jesus will return. We should be happy with that as Jesus was.

            Jesus was God incarnate, the only procreated Son of God. The fact that the Father lived in and through Him is evident in that He said that He did nothing of His own self, but the Father teaches Him. I think that this was true from his conception as a child of Mary. This is how He never sinned with the vile human body He was given.

            Our rebirth experience gives us the same opportunity that He had--to receive the mind that He had from the Father via the same Spirit. This is why we are taught to pray to the Father and not to the Holy Spirit or even to Jesus. The mind of the Father is the goal of all the children of the Father.

          • Don, you wrote

            Jesus was God incarnate, the only procreated Son of God. The fact that the Father lived in and through Him is evident in that He said that He did nothing of His own self, but the Father teaches Him. I think that this was true from his conception as a child of Mary. This is how He never sinned with the vile human body He was given.

            I just want to add something to clarify: I agree that Jesus was "the only procreated Son of God" since "Jesus" is the name given to the human Child who was also the incarnation of God. And since Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit, the Child was procreated through the Holy Spirit and the woman Mary.

            At the same time, the Divine Son of God was one with the Father from eternity, having no beginning nor end and being co-equal to Him. Christ referred to His pre-existence when He said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." (John 8:58)

            If we try to explain the incarnation to our satisfaction, we are sure to make mistakes. Since divinity is beyond our comprehension, all we can do is to accept what God has revealed.

            Jesus had the power to live without sinning because of His close connection to the Father through the Holy Spirit - the very same way we can overcome sin in our lives.

          • Venance, how many images of Himself did They (God) propose to make? 1, 2, or 3. They made 1 image and likeness of Themselves. This creation was like the Creator physically, spiritually, and mentally.

            Physically, Adam was in the image of God. Spiritually, Adam was motivated by the Breath of God (Holy Spirit). Mentally, Adam was in the likeness of God in thoughts and feelings because he had the Spirit of God as His primary motivation.

            Is it likely that Adam saw and conversed with God as someone who was much like himself?

            Then Adam was given a view of the animals and He called each one something. This was its name.

            After this Adam was made to sleep. A rib was taken from his side and Eve was formed from the living rib of Adam. She was made of the same "stuff" as Adam. The Breath of Life was already in the living tissue of Adam, so Eve received the same Spirit of Motivation for thoughts and feelings Adam had which came from within God, Himself, as the Breath of Life (Holy Spirit).

            This is what we are offered--he Breath of Life with the Holy Spirit to motivate us with the thoughts and feelings of God the Father. This will give us the character and mind of God if we should invite Him into every issue of our life and walk in Him continually.

        • Inge, it is apparent that the Jesus, the procreated Son of Mary was fully human. However, by the work of the Holy Spirit He was the incarnation of God in His fullness expressing the Godhead in human flesh. See Colossians 2:9.

          We are invited into this same relationship with God, via the same Holy Spirit, as adopted children of God. We are invited to sit on the same throne with Jesus for a thousand years. That's too much to imagine in our present state. Whatever that means it is only by the Love, Mercy, Grace, and Greatness of the Mind of God and the Spirit of God that this could happen to us. We have a choice in this matter, however. The final word is ours it seems. God has already chosen us.

    • Ssevvume, the Holy Spirit being everyplace is the mystery of God, us humans can't understand those things, so, we believe in faith. God is always faithful and true in what He says.

      • Sieg, yes Jesus is God and He was testing the ruler to see if that was his conviction. I just take the Bible at its word that even though Jesus is equal with God that since they have different minds that is one thing Jesus did not know.

    • Karina gave a good explanation: Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit in His stead because He (Jesus) could not be in more than one place at a time because He was limited to a human body.

      Christ is still limited to a human body and thus can not be with everyone at once. Thus He sent the Holy Spirit as His representative, and the relationship between Christ and the Holy Spirit is so close that the Spirit's presence is also the Presence of Chrit.

  3. There are things we will never understand in this existence about God, Holy Spirit, Father or Son. None of the mysteries withheld do we need for salvation.

    The attributes of the Holy Spirit inspire confidence and trust. I'm more open and honest about my thoughts, experience and feelings because He is a personal Being. He hears, interprets and delivers personal messages from me directly to God in deep and expressive ways that reflect the intensity of my soul needs and desires.

  4. Ssevvume Solomon, Jesus in his human nature could not be omnipresent, but in his divine role as a member of the Godhead he is Omnipotent Omniscient and Omnipresent. The work Jesus commenced on earth in his human form is ongoing and necessary " Gospel to all the world." Spreading salvation is only possible through the working of the Holy Spirit. He can only carry out this mandate in his divine form.

  5. As I understand this is God's Holy spirit sent to us to guide us in all manner of truth, he speaks not of himself but what is said to him and this glorifies God and Jesus. We can not lie to the Spirit because he knows the hearts of all people. The spirit convicts of sin, at least I know immediately when I have done wrong. When we ignore this small voice that is in all of us we commit the unpardonable sin, when we cast aside the voice of the Holy Spirit.

    • James, when we think that we have committed the unpardonable sin, you may want to rethink that opinion. Other SDA sites that have addressed this possibility put it this way: if there is a question in your mind regarding a sin against the Holy Spirit, that shows that you care. If you are determined to have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit and you make every effort and are determined to achieve this goal, that may be the unpardonable sin. God and the Holy Spirit still wants every soul on earth to be saved. He is not wiling that ANY should parish. Food for thought.

  6. After reading this study it furthermore reassures me that he Holy Spirit is not just an active force of God. I have been told by various believers that the Holy Spirit is not a personal being. This study proves, with biblical references, that the Holy Spirit is very personal. The one sin that cannot be forgiven is denying the Holy Spirit. If it was an impersonal being then how could denying it be the one sin that is unforgivable?

  7. I have a question regarding the text found in Romans 8:16. It says there: "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit"

    If we argue that God's "Spirit" is a person, should we not conclude the our "spirit" is also a person that can exist separate from us?

    And bear in mind that in the original manuscripts the word "ruach" meant spirit, wind, or breath and even presence, and the word was not capitalized.

    Could it be that God's Spirit is the invisible presence of God, who is omnipresent? Didn't Jesus say that God is Spirit? Why the need to assign to God's Spirit a separate identity to that of God?

    • Nic, your suggestion based on Rom 8:16 sounds a bit like the problem those of us, for whom English is not our first language, have with the word "love" and many other words in the English language. I would love to know if every instance of "love" has the same meaning. How about this sentence: "Because I love my husband, I love to share with him the chocolate that I love"? I do love the technology that allows me to look up Bible texts quickly. 😉 (Someone else can undoubtedly come up with better illustrations. 😉

      I believe that Christ's promise in John 7:17 means that anyone who *wants* to do the will of Christ will also be enabled to understand Christ's teaching (doctrine). Thus I encourage you to look beyond this verse to examine the verses given in yesterday's lesson regarding the personality of the Holy Spirit: John 16:13-14; John 15:26-27; John 14:17, John 14:26; Acts 15:28, 1 Tim. 4:1). I trust you will see that these texts demonstrate the personality of the Holy Spirit.

      I'm sure none of us want to be like the Pharisees who never were able to understand the Truth, even though they knew the words of Scripture but lacked the necessary willingness to actually submit themselves to God. As you know, skeptics find all sorts of apparent contradictions in the Bible. As Christians who believe in the inspired nature of Scripture, we try to understand how all the passages of Scripture make up a unified whole, rather than pitting Scripture against Scripture.

      You can find more help at https://ssnet.org/about-us/fundamental-beliefs-seventh-day-adventists/holy-spirit-fundamental-belief/ If you're the visual and aural type of learner, I particularly recommend the video by David Ascherick.

      But since you asked a direct question re Rom 8:16, I'll give you my understanding in paraphrase format: "The God the Holy Spirit (a person) Himself bears witness with our spirit (understanding)." (Just like with so many words in the English language, the meaning of words in ancient languages is also determined by context.)

  8. It is so wonderful to know that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal God; but He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. He understands our feelings of joys and sadness, our anxieties and expectations of gladness. Each day may our lives be drawn closer to Him.

  9. I do not know if God is a person but I believe that if he is a person then he is a super person. And since God is the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit is a super person. However, I keep asking myself, do I really have to have a clear distinction? Then I would ask myself,'what exactly is triggering my questioning mind?'. Is it a root for my doubt of who really God is. Not to sound ignorant, but whether the Holy Spirit is a person or not is really not part of the duty God has given us,so spending so much time may not only be unprudent but also may cast doubts in our hearts and minds. Therefore, I will continue to believe that the Holy Spirit is God and I will find out if He is person when I finally meet my father on high!

    • We sometimes attach the term person to a human form and that just confuses most of us. I agree that our limited understanding should not limit our faith. Our faith is not dependent on our clear understanding of the Eternal. In fact the greatest men of faith are those who stood on promises that made no sense.

  10. The last question is a good one. If the Holy Spirit was not a live, a carrying, loving person, he would be but an object to just use or take advantage of. But it is not so. He is the one that loves us, take care of us, encourages us and protects us. How can we ever be feeling insecure having such a one caring for us? He is real, "thank you God."

  11. We should not grieve or hurt the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit were not a real person he would not love or be hurt by us, or bother to give gifts or guide us.

    • Cheryl what you said about,if the Holy Spirit was a real person is a point. When God created man in their image, He is not saying that man is just like God in every Spiritual detail. He said in His image and likeness. Adam was that likeness. Every living cell but much more.

    • Jesus is recorded to have told Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit cannot be seen. The wind was given as an example of the function of the Holy Spirit.

  12. I have uncertainties as to the human characteristics, that are identified as being like the HOLY Spirit, a personality that we can identify with. As we know and agree the holy Spirit is one member of the God Head. There is nothing in the nature of God that the human brain can assimilate. Only what His word, the Bible reveals. To compare human characteristics may make one feel better because their lives have no supernatural qualities or abilities. That is not to say that the holy Spirit is an ethereal form. However no matter what you do, or do not understand, we are given what God intended and that should be sufficient.

    • Paul, I completely agree with you. But then God can only speak to us in human language using human analogies.

      On the other hand, Jesus said that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father. And He also said that He would send "another" (one just like Himself) Comforter to take His place with the disciples. So He effectually said that anyone who has seen Christ has seen the Father and the Holy Spirit.

      In a Sabbath School class a couple weeks ago, we solved an impasse on the *Personhood* of the Holy Spirit this way: Several people couldn't see the Holy Spirit as a *person* because, to them, a person has a physical body. The upshot was that we agreed that the Holy Spirit is not exactly like a human person, but is a "God Person." That expression refers both to the Person aspect and the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it will help others:
      The Holy Spirit is a God Person.

      • Has anyone ever seen the mind? The answer is no. The mind is not a visible person but is the very person we are. The person of who we are uses our physical brain to function, but our character is not visibly seen. It is invisible. Does that mean my character is not a person since it is invisible? The answer is NO. The body shows evidence of the character and the mind but neither the character or the mind can be dissected and observed with the physical eye.

        • Don, I find your explanation much more confusing than helpful.

          My *mind* is not *me.* It is not a *person.* My mind and your mind are an aspect of our "person." My mind is not a person, and your mind is not a person.

          Furthermore, my *character* is not my "person" and it is not my mind either. But my character and your character are aspects of my and your "person." So my character is not a person and your character is not a person.

          As I understand from the biblical evidence, it is thus with God. The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person - a God-Person, if you will.

          I believe the closest human analogy we have are identical triplets. All three look the same, they often act the same, but they are three individuals with individual minds and personalities. Yet there have been accounts of twins (possibly even triplets) who grew up separately and met each other as adults, wearing similar clothes, often nearly identical clothes and having entered similar or identical professions. Yet they were still distinct individuals.

          So it is with the Godhead - three distinct individuals who are even more like each other in character and mind than are triplets. They are so close that the three distinct, individual persons make up one God - a triune (three united as one) God.

          • Hi, inge. I'm not sure what you mean by the three triplets idea. Do you mean that you think the Holy Spirit has a body just like Jesus and the Father and each has a separate brain, a separate mind and a separate spirit as well as body?

          • It is interesting to remember that the only thing we can take to Heaven is our mind or character. We are given a new body (thank God) and new brain. Our character seems to be who others interact with. If our mind doesn't go, we don't go. A new body makes a positive and recognizable difference. Now, we are to be developing the mind that was also in Christ Jesus so that we will be happy in Heaven and fit there.

          • Don Litchfield, I provided a triplet *analogy,* and the best I can do is to repeat my summary:

            So it is with the Godhead - three distinct individuals who are even more like each other in character and mind than are triplets. They are so close that the three distinct, individual persons make up one God - a triune (three united as one) God.

            I did not mention a "body."

            As for the "person" we are, I could not agree that our mind or character "uses" the body. I believe we are one whole person that includes our intellect, emotions, spirituality and body. Each of these aspects of who we are is closely linked to the others and cannot be separated without losing who we are. I understand that God will give the resurrected "spiritual" bodies - as I understand it, the resurrected saints will retain the individual characteristics of their bodies to make them recognizable. So the wholeness of the person is retained.

          • Inge, the body is going to be destroyed. All that we can take to Heaven is our character. We will be given a new body. Our character will decide what that body will do. Our character is the important aspect of who we are. The body does what the mind tells it to do if it is working right. The Spirit of God is the person of the Godhead that brings the thoughts and feelings to us from the Father.

            To me, it is truly awesome that God wants us to join Him to present His Character to the world through the the actions and appearance of our bodies with the mind that also was in Christ Jesus.

          • Don. I know of no place in the Bible where it says that the bodies of the righteous will be destroyed or that "the only thing we take to heaven is our character." Please provide BIBLE references to those claims.

            We are told that we will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52) and I interpret that to mean from mortal to immortal. I believe we will recognize others in heaven, especially those who have played a part in our conversion.

            • Sieg, the dust of the earth is what most people's bodies have moldered to. A new gorified body is promised us if we are faithful.

              I believe the word "changed" means to be remade with different material (immortal material) the old (mortal) material will be left behind and follow the path of all bodies devoid of spirit.

              The mind and character will continue in the new body just like all those resurrected from the dead and taken to heaven with those who are translated.

          • Thanks for your reply Don. The bodies of the righteous who sleep in Christ will return to dust (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 3:20). The bodies of the righteous living will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52), not destroyed.

            I have no fundamental disagreement with your statement that we will take our characters to heaven but we can't just claim that without Biblical evidence when we are evangelizing. Do you know of any Scripture that says this?

            Those who know us on earth will recognize us in heaven and to do so, they won't have only our characters with which to identify us. Thus, we must take something of our earthly, recognizable being to heaven else no one could recognize us.

            Jesus was also changed to immortal Being when He returned to heaven but there He maintains a recognizable earthly body (with scars) so that forever we will remember the great price He paid for our Salvation. Perhaps likewise, in heaven we may appear similar to our earthly forms but with immortal bodies that look strikingly similar to our earthly bodies (see Philippians 3:20-21).

            We were created in God's image to start with after all. Is it not reasonable to assume that this will continue to be true in Heaven?

  13. The first 9 years of my education was at a Convent School. Although not a Catholic, as a boarder I was very much exposed to the Catholic beliefs and faith. "Almost I was persuaded to become a Catholic"! They taught us that the Trinity was best left a mystery to be understood only in Heaven. At 15 my parents (Anglicans) sent me all the way to the tip of Africa to Helderberg College to complete my education. It was there that I gave my heart to my Saviour and over the years the Holy Spirit has been very much at work in my life. I have come to understand the Trinity as a 'closed Corporation' - with God the Father the Chairman, Jesus, God's only Son and Action Man who came to earth to reveal the Father's true character and to die for His human brothers and sisters, and the Holy Spirit the Messenger, Comforter, teacher sent by God as a perpetual link between heaven and God's children. (Pls excuse my reference to Action Man because modern times have given it a negative meaning - but JESUS is the one who really gave a new meaning to ACTION MAN!) I know that there are so many mysteries that will be revealed in Heaven, but the 'mystery' of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the God-head was revealed by Jesus Himself. Satan has muddled human understanding to such an extent with demons and ghosts and evil spirits that God is totally misinterpreted except by those who have given themselves over to the voice of the Holy Spirit through study of God's Word. God is 3-in-1 and 1-in-3!

  14. In the discussion about the personality of the Holy Spirit it is worth remembering something about human relationships. Our perception of one another is based on two things: The physical appearance of the other person; and the way we interact with them. Of the two; the interaction or reationship is ultimately the most important.

    A couple of classic situations that illustrate the point:

    A man and a woman may be attracted to one another by physical appearance but ultimately, a long term relationship depends on the way the interact with one another rather than appearance. I was extremely fortunate in choosing a beautiful woman as my wife, but even I have to admit that 48 years later, the wrinkles are coming and aging is having its effect. The relationship continues however, If there was no relationship, all the beauty in the world would not have made a scrap of difference.

    Most of you folk who read this post know a lot about me from the way I write and interact with you on this Blog. Very few of you would recognise me if I came to your church because you have not got a clue what I look like. In this environment, what I look like is insignificant. But what I say, or more importantly, the way we interact together is both important and defining.

    The same with the Holy Spirit. I hear a lot of discussion about the Holy Spirit, its form, its relationship with the rest of the Godhead, and so on; but ultimately the Holy Spirit is defined by its relationship with us. When Jesus said he was sending the Holy Spirit to us, he said more about what it would do with and for us. That is the definition we need to grow and develop.

    • Very deep thoughts Maurice, except for the continued reference to the Holy Spirit as an impersonal entity through the word "it" in the last paragraph of your narrative. That sends a completely different message.


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