Who Is the Holy Spirit, and Why Did God Send Him?

Third Person of Trinity Sent With Divine Purpose to Christians

Bill Bright

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is God. He is not an “it.” He is not a divine influence. He is not a fleecy white cloud. He is not a ghost or a concept. He is a person possessing a will, intellect and emotions. He is God — with all the attributes of deity. He is the third person of the Trinity — co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. There is only one God, but He manifests Himself in three persons, whom we call the Trinity.

I cannot fully explain the Trinity. No one can. Dr. Wilbur Smith, one of my seminary professors, once shared in class, “The man who denies the Trinity will lose his soul. The man who tries to understand the Trinity will lose his mind.” We, who are finite, cannot comprehend God, who is infinite.

We try to illustrate the concept of the Trinity, but the attempt is wholly inadequate. For example, I could say that a man has a body, a mind and a spirit — which one is the man? Or I could describe H20 as a liquid, a solid or a vapor, depending on whether it was water, ice or steam. Which one is H20? Or a man is a husband, a father and a son — yet he is one man. No illustration is adequate. At best, they can only suggest what God is like.

As much as you and I would like to know all about the Trinity, some of our questions must wait until we are with our Lord in eternity. Then we will understand completely. In the meantime, consider what Paul says in Romans 11:33-36 (Living Bible):

Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are His wisdom and knowledge and riches! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His methods! For who among us can know the mind of the Lord? Who knows enough to be His counselor and guide?

And who could ever offer to the Lord enough to induce Him to act? For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power, and everything is for His glory. To Him be glory evermore.

Why Did God Send the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ and to lead believers into all truth. On the eve of His crucifixion, while still in the upper room, the Lord Jesus said to the disciples, “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26, New International Version 1984).

The Holy Spirit came to enable you to know Christ through a new birth and to give you the power to live and share the abundant life which Jesus promised to all who trust and obey Him.

The Holy Spirit inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. As you read the Bible, He reveals its truth to you. I read passages of Scripture that I have read many times before, and suddenly, at the moment I need a particular truth, a certain passage comes alive to me. Why? Because the Holy Spirit makes the Word of God relevant and meaningful when I need it. It is a living Book inspired by the Spirit, and only Christians who are filled with the Spirit can understand the true meaning of God’s Word.

I pray and — except for the prayer of confession — I cannot expect God to answer my prayer unless I am walking in the Spirit. I witness, and no one responds unless I am controlled and empowered by the Spirit.

I cannot live a holy life apart from the help of the Holy Spirit for, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV 1984).

A minister friend said to me, “I don’t like all of this talk about the Holy Spirit. I want to talk about Jesus Christ.” I reminded him that that was the reason the Holy Spirit came — to exalt and glorify Christ.

It is impossible to even know Christ apart from the regenerating ministry of the Spirit. It was Jesus of Nazareth Himself who said, “Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5, TLB). It is impossible for you to become a Christian, to understand the Bible and other spiritual truths, to pray, to live a holy life, to witness or do anything for the Lord Jesus apart from the person of the Holy Spirit of God.

© 1999 Bill Bright, © 2009 Bright Media Foundation and Campus Crusade for Christ International. All rights reserved. Adapted from Bill Bright, “How You Can Be Filled With The Holy Spirit,” Transferable Concept 3 (Peachtree City, GA; Cru).

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