THE CONCEPT AND DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
One of the greatest needs in the church and in the Christian life today is the power of the Holy Spirit. Man in his natural ability is not able to serve God acceptably, and even if the Spirit has renewed God, through salvation, this in itself does not assure him spiritual power in his life. The true biblical teaching regarding the Holy Spirit is often ignored, misunderstood, and abused. Therefore, it is extremely important to study carefully the God’s word to see what it says about the Holy Spirit. “The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is called pneumatology coming from the Greek words “pneuma” meaning spirit and “logos” meaning word”. The Holy Spirit is one of the doctrines in the biblical teaching concerning the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a Divine being, His “Attributes” reveal His divine nature, He is “omnipresent” (knows all things 1Co.2:10-11) He is “omnipresent” (everywhere) (Ps.139:7-10) He is called the “eternal” spirit (Jn. 9:14) His “work” reveal His divine nature; He was involved in the “creation” of the world. (Gen.1:2) and (Job 33:4).
In contrast to historical exclusion, Scripture is permeated with truths identifying and explaining the person and work of the Holy Spirit in creation, through Messiah, and in the work among believers. Historically and exegetically, truths about this doctrine are classified within the larger framework of the Trinity. “The doctrine of the Holy Spirit clearly occupies centre stage as the Spirit applies what Christ accomplished” Genesis chapter one and Genesis chapter two have become central for my understanding of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of God swept over the face of the earth, God as Spirit bring order out of chaos, brings peace out of randomness, (Gen 1:1-2) as referring to the Holy spirit. So Genesis one is crucial for our doctrine of the spirit, it is God who infuses the universe as it is shape from disorder into its goodness and beauty. “The spirit of God is the Spirit of creation”. John Owen in his classic work on the Holy Spirit speaks of this revelation as definite proof of the creative work of the Spirit. He states: “The work moved [merachepheth], signifies a gentle motion, like that of a dove over its nest to communicate vital heat to its eggs, or to cherish its young, without him, all was a dead sea; a rude inform chaos; a confused heap covered with darkness: but by the moving of the Spirit of God upon it, he communicated a quickening prolific virtue”. In the book of Psalms, there is also another direct reference to the role of God’s Spirit in creation of life. God’s Spirit works throughout the biblical story of the people of Israel, at a particularly crucial moment in the story, the prophets told of Israel’s departure from the message of Torah, God works Truths surrounding the Trinity and the person of the Holy Spirit are directly related. There is one God or divine essence.
“The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is described first as the giver of life, than the Spirit’s unity with the Father and the Son is expressed in several different ways” The same numerical divine is common to three divine persons known as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Between these three persons of the Godhead, there exists a natural order of subsistence and operation. This operation teaches that the first person has life in Himself (Jn. 5:26) and that the second and third persons subsist and act from the first. This order of persons is from eternity. Their order of subsistence is the Godhead for many this is a difficult concept to grasp. The Bible declares that there is only one living God, yet we learn from scripture that He comprises three separate personages. One way to visualize this concept is to examine the nature of water (H20). Water is a singe compound that can exist in three states liquid, ice and viper. An egg is another picture. It is comprised of the white, the yoke and the shell, yet it is still one egg of course, by no means do these examples paint a complete picture of our God, but they are illustrative of the fact that His three persons in no way invalidate His oneness. Among Christian, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (pneumatology) does not usually actually receive a great deal of direct attention. However, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit by necessity relates closely to theological convictions concerning God and Jesus Christ (Christology).when we include theology and Christology along with pneumatology. We cannot reflect on pneumatology without reflecting on the doctrine of the Trinity. Many Christians see this doctrine, above all others, as the key theological boundary marker. As one Mennonite theologian wrote several years ago, the doctrine of the “Trinity is not simply a human idea, it corresponds to reality”.
In the Old Testament the Spirit of God is first introduced as the creator of things (Gen.12, Job 26:13, 33:4) Man, one being among all things, is also created and filled with the breath of life or a special operation of the Spirit imparting His image upon man. In the Old Testament period, a few Saints were filled temporarily without being permanently indwelt by the Spirit. Though the Spirit may have been more sparingly imparted, this never voided the same work of the Spirit in the Old Testament as the New Testament (Num 11:17, 17:18, Deut. 34:9, Neh.9:20, Isa.63:11-14). Even in the book of Judges, we find God rising up supernaturally gifted men who were endowed with a special portion of the Holy Spirit for service. The Holy Spirit is sanded in two ways. In the primitive church he was send forth in a manifest and visible forms. Thou he descended upon Christ of the Jordan in the form of a dove (Matt.3:16) and upon the apostles and other believers in the form of fire (Acts 2:3). This was the first sending forth of the Holy Spirit, it was necessary in the primitive church, which had to be established with visible signs on account of the unbelievers.
In the church age, it is impossible for anyone to be filled with the spirit who is not indwelt. Indwelling is the abiding presence of the spirit, while the filling of the spirit indicates the ministry and extent of control of the Spirit over the individual. All the ministry of the Spirit and experience related to fellowship and fruit of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit in filling of the believer partakes of the special quality of being commanded of every Christian. According to (Eph.5:18), all Christians have the responsibility of being filled with the Holy Spirit. In addition, be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit. A second aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit is the creating of new life, according to John’s theology, the Holy Spirit is the agent of our first birth. “Just as we are born from our natural mother’s womb, in our first birth, so we must be born anew by the power of the Holy Spirit”, it is obvious that only by the grace of God and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit can be a measure of attainment be achieved in keeping with the will of God for the believer. The Holy Spirit unites in a single body those who follow Jesus Christ and sends them as witnesses into the world. The Church lives through the liberating and renewing power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit call person to faith, sanctifies them through many gifts, gives them strength to witness the Gospel, and empowers them to serve in hope and love. “The Holy Spirit bestows on the community diverse and complementary gifts”.
Accordingly, the believer is exhorted to be as Holy as God is Holy (1Pet.1:16), and to love as Christ loved (Jn.13:34). As both experience and scripture demonstrate, man beset by constant temptation and opposition to the Holy life could never even partially attain this high standard of conduct apart from the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is provided that believer may be empowered to serve God and attain personal holiness. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be Holy, he will be called Son of God. The Holy Spirit is believed to perform specific divine functions in the life of the Christian or the church. The Holy Spirit acts to convince the unredeemed person both of the sinfulness of their actions, and of their moral standing as sinners before God. The action of the Holy Spirit is seen as an essential part of the bringing of the person to the Christian faith. The new believer is born again of the Spirit. As a comforter, on who intercedes, or supports or acts as an advocate, particularly in times of trial. The Holy Spirit both inspires the writing of the scriptures and interprets them to the Christian and or church. The Holy Spirit is also believed to be active especially in the life of Jesus Christ, enabling him to fulfil his work on earth.
According to the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus, the beginning of his incarnate existence was due to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to live inside those who believe in Jesus, in order to produce God’s character in the life of a believer, (Gal. 5:22-23) rather than trying to be loving, patient, kind, God ask us to rely on Him to produce these qualities in our lives. Christians are told to walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:25) and be filled with the Spirit (Eph.5:18), and the Holy Spirit empowers Christians to perform ministerial duties that promote spiritual growth among Christians. In conclusion, Christian belief holds very strong belief on the concept of the Holy Spirit, which he distributes to whomever he wills, for the common good of mankind.