Life + Culture

We Believe in the Holy Spirit

We Believe in the Holy Spirit

We believe in the Holy Spirit. That reality is more than meets the eye. That God is alive and at work in our world, and in our lives. That an unseen Person prompts, protects, and provides for those who are Christ’s. That an almighty, invisible Spirit powerfully brings the eternal purposes of God and his Son to bear in our realm, one day soon for all to see.

We believe not only in Father and Son, but Father, Son, and Spirit. We baptize in the singular name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). One God in three persons. Three persons in one God — the Father who plans our eternal joy, the Son who purchased it, and the Spirit who preserves it.

For thousands of years, the people of God awaited the full revelation of his nature and work, and with it the full personhood of the Spirit. He is not part of God; he is God. With the coming and ascending of the Son, we now see how God’s eternal Spirit has been at work in our world from the very beginning, hovering over the face of the waters, ready to bring order out of the chaos (Genesis 1:1–2), acting for centuries on behalf of God’s chosen people, speaking to them through Moses and the law (Hebrews 9:8), David and the Psalms (Matthew 22:43; Mark 12:36; Acts 1:16; 4:25; Hebrews 3:7), Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the prophets (Acts 28:25; Hebrews 10:15–16; 2 Peter 1:21), and continuing to do so today through holy Scripture.

By the Holy Spirit, Jesus, the God-man, was conceived in a virgin’s womb (Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35). By the Spirit, he lived and spoke and healed and endured (Luke 3:22; 4:1, 14, 17–21; 10:21; Acts 10:38). By the Spirit, he gave himself for us at the cross (Hebrews 9:14), was raised from the dead and vindicated (Romans 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:16), and having ascended to his Father’s right hand, he now has immersed his people in his Spirit (Acts 1:5; 11:16), pouring out the Spirit on the church (Acts 2:33; 10:45) — the elusive person of the Godhead whose mission is to glorify the Son (John 16:14). By this Spirit sent from heaven, spokesmen preach the good news (1 Peter 1:12), and he himself descends in power with the speaking of God’s word (Acts 10:44; 11:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:5).

And wonder of all wonders, the same Spirit who empowered Jesus’s earthly life and sacrificial death now has been given to us today. He not only works on us, and through us, but he dwells in us (Romans 8:9, 11; 2 Timothy 1:14). He has been given to us (Luke 11:13; John 7:38–39; Acts 5:32; 15:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:8). We have received him (John 20:22; Acts 2:38; 8:15, 17, 19; 10:47; 19:2; Romans 5:5; 8:15; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:5; 1 John 3:24). How remarkable that we may be said to even have the Spirit (Romans 8:9, 23; 1 Corinthians 6:19). The very power of God himself has come to make himself at home in some real degree, to increasing effect, in us. We are his temple, both individually and collectively (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19).

He is no mere force. He is not a thing but a Person. He can be lied to (Acts 5:3), resisted (Acts 7:51), grieved (Isaiah 63:10–11; Ephesians 4:30), blasphemed (Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10). He comforts us (Acts 9:31), guides and directs (Acts 13:2, 4; 15:28; 16:6; 20:23; 21:11), transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17–18), and empowers the everyday Christian life (Romans 14:17; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Jude 20). He appoints leaders in the church (Acts 20:28), confirms God’s word with miraculous gifts (Hebrews 2:4), sanctifies our imperfect efforts (Romans 15:16), knits us together as a fellowship (2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 6:4), and fills us with praise (Acts 2:4) and with boldness for ministry (Acts 1:8; 4:8, 31; 6:5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52). He communicates the Father’s love to us (Romans 5:5; Ephesians 3:14–19) and infuses the Christian life with joy (Acts 13:52; Romans 14:17; 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). In him we are sealed, kept, and secured by God till the end (Ephesians 1:13–14).

We believe that when we’re alone with God’s word, we’re not alone. That when we pray, someone intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26–27). That a divine Person in us empowers us for personal sacrifice for the needs of others. That when they drag us before rulers and authorities on account of Christ, he will give us, in that moment, something to say (Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12). That we can have courage in conflict and joy in affliction (1 Thessalonians 1:6; Titus 3:5). That if we, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our Father give us the greatest gift of all — himself in the person of his Spirit (Luke 11:13)?

We believe that the Christian life is not natural. That there is more to reality than meets the eye — oh, so much more. That what counts most, and is most ultimate, is unseen. That the Spirit is alive and well today, and that he makes all the difference.

We believe in the Holy Spirit.

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