Here’s a truth that could have deadly consequences if you don’t get it right!
The Holy Spirit is God!
(This is part of a series on the Holy Spirit which you can find here.
Maybe the above statement doesn’t seem too dangerous to you, after all how deadly could abstract theological ideas be? I’ll let you read to find out!
But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold some property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back some of the money for himself and brought the remainder and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Peter asked, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you should lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back some of the money you got for the land? As long as it remained unsold, wasn’t it your own? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? So how could you have thought of doing what you did? You didn’t lie only to men, but also to God!” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized everyone who heard about it.
Does this text seem extreme to you? It does to me! But maybe that’s because we’ve gotten used to treating the Holy Spirit as something or someone other than God.
The story about Ananias and Sapphira clearly shows that the Holy Spirit is God and that God deals seriously with sins like dishonesty.
The Holy Spirit is God
How do we know that he is God and not just some universal force, guiding principle or another name for God the Father?
- Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is considered blasphemy against God. (Check out the above text)
- He is called the Eternal Spirit- Only God is eternal. This is especially seen in the name “YHWY” -Hebrews 9:14
- He is called the Spirit of Holiness- like “Holy Spirit” Holiness implies moral purity, righteousness and seperation from the rest of creation. -Romans 1:4
- He is called Spirit of Truth- This refers to the absolute truthfulness that exists only in God. -John 14:17
- He is all knowing -I Corinthians 2:10
- He was involved in creation -Genesis 1:2
- He is all present -Psalm 139:7
The Holy Spirit is also a Person
In addition to these attributes there are also personal qualities that indicate that the Holy Spirit has personality and should not be treated like an impersonal force. Charles Ryrie puts it this way;
Denial that the Spirit is a Person often takes the form of substituting the concept that He is a personification of, say, power-much like claiming that Satan is a personification of evil. This denial of His personality has occurred throughout church history, first by the Monarchians, the Arians, the Socinians and today by the Unitarians, liberals, and some neoorthodox theologians.
What are some qualities that indicate that the Holy Spirit is a person?
- He teaches -1 Corinthians 2:13
- He can be grieved -Ephesians 4:30
- He can be insulted -Hebrews 10:19
- He can be lied to -Acts 5:3
- He is to be obeyed -Acts 10:19-21
What’s the Big Deal?
These simple truths about the Holy Spirit have serious ramifications in the life of every believer. Just talk to Ananias or Sapphira and I’m sure they’ll agree with me! The thing is that God does not always judge the sins of people in our church the way he did the sins of Ananias and his wife, although sometimes we wish he did and other times we’re glad he didn’t!
The fact that we don’t often see the Holy Spirit judging sin immediately should allow us to take those sins any less seriously!
The Holy Spirit is active in every believer’s life but he is not always heeded. Turning our backs on the conviction of the Holy Spirit or on his leading in our lives is the same as turning our backs on God!
The Holy Spirit is God, the all powerful, all knowing, Creator and we must give him that position in our lives. As we deepen our understanding of who he is our respect for him in our daily lives will motivate us to live pure and holy lives for his glory.
Other Resources: See chapter 2 in Walvoord’s The Holy Spirit.