The Presence of the Holy Spirit

A review of scripture indicates that the Spirit of God has been present in every dimension of the story. Remember, there is one God who eternally exists in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But who is the Holy Spirit? Unlike the Father and the Son, which correspond to human roles, the Holy Spirit may seem less tangible or more difficult to understand. But a quick survey of scripture indicates that the Holy Spirit has been working in every part of redemptive history. This blog entry would be many pages long if we identified all the places that point to the Spirit; rather, we’ve just identified a few.

1. The Spirit of God in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament we see the Spirit involved in creation, empowering key leaders, and speaking through the Prophets:
In Genesis 1.2, the Spirit hovers over the waters in creation. In Genesis 41.38 Joseph’s dream interpreting ability is attributed to the Spirit. In Exodus 31.1-5 , Bezalel empowered to design the tabernacle. In Judges, the Spirit of God comes upon various judges, enabling them to lead (Othniel - 3:10; Gideon - 6:34; Samson - 13:25; etc.). In Psalms, David acknowledges the Spirit’s role in remorse and repentance when he says ‘Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me’ in Psalm 51:11 Peter looks back on the Old Testament and notes that ‘no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’ (2 Peter 1:21). An example of this is when, by the Spirit, Ezekiel prophesies about the promise of the Spirit for God’s people (Ezekiel 36:27, 37:14).

2. The Holy Spirit in the Gospels

The Holy Spirit is found active and involved all through the gospels. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Spirit (Matthew 1.18, Luke 1.35,); anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4.18, Acts 10.38); ministered in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4.14); raised by the Spirit (Romans 8.11). Additionally, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to believers (John 14.15, 17, 26; 15.26) and identified the Holy Spirit as the one who regenerates (John 3.3-8) and who gives life (John 6.36).

3. The Holy Spirit in the Early Church

As we read through the book of Acts we consistently encounter the Holy Spirit: Jesus promises the Spirit (Acts 1.5, 1.8); the disciples are filled with the Spirit (Acts 2.4); Peter promises the Spirit for those who believe (Acts 2.38); believers are filled with the Spirit as they pray (Acts 4.31); the Holy Spirit ‘falls on’ those who hear the gospel (Acts 10.44); the Holy Spirit speaks and sets apart for apostolic mission (Acts 13.2); the Holy Spirit directs in mission (Acts 16.6, 7).

4. The Holy Spirit in the Christian Life

The Holy Spirit is so central in the apostle’s description of the life of Christians in the New Testament epistles, it would be impossible to understand the Christian life apart from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit mediates God’s love (Romans 5.5); the Holy Spirit is the ‘zone’ or ‘domain’ of the Christian life (Romans 8); the Holy Spirit dwells in believers, who are ‘temples of the Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 3.16; 6.19; Eph. 2.19-22); the Holy Spirit gives gifts for ministry (Romans 12.3-8; 1 Corinthians 12); the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of godliness as we walk in him (Galatians 5.16-26); the Holy Spirit seals us for eternal destiny (Ephesians 1.13), builds us together (Ephesians 2.22), and gives us access to the Father (Ephesians 2.18).

We could go one, but here's the point: the Holy Spirit is present and active throughout the Bible, cover to cover. When we think about the biography of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit has been everywhere. In closing, here’s a simple question: what’s the biography of the Spirit in your life?