I grew up with a view of the Holy Spirit that was incomplete at best. In fact, it is more accurate to say that it was partially distorted. I would have told you that the Holy Spirit is a person, but I certainly didn’t relate to Him in that way. I treated the Holy Spirit more as an impersonal power source to be tapped into for power, as if I was a Jedi Knight trying to “use the force.”
However, the Bible describes the Holy Spirit not as a force but as a person. He relates to us in personal terms. This Sunday we will look at two passages that lay out the person-hood of the Holy Spirit very clearly. First we will look at Acts 5:1-11. In this passage, Ananias and Sapphira are both struck down because of their sin. And their sin of deceit is described as being against the Holy Spirit. Peter says “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” That should raise our antennas, because it is impossible to lie to an impersonal force. You can only lie to a person.
Only a personal Holy Spirit can be grieved by our sin. This is why Paul says in Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
The second passage we will examine this Sunday is Acts 13:1-5. Here we see the Holy Spirit speaking, calling, and sending. In the midst of the Antioch believers worshiping and fasting, the Spirit says, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I called them.” In verse 4, we are told that they were sent out by the Holy Spirit. A few verses later, as Paul confronts the false prophet Bar-Jesus, we are told that Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit.
All of this points to the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person. Only a personal Spirit can speak, and call, and send. This means that His indwelling presence is not a “force” flowing through us. Rather, it is the personal presence of God with us to equip, empower, convict, lead, and teach.
Spend some time over the next few days asking yourself these questions: “Why does it matter that the Holy Spirit is a person? And what difference does that make in my life?”
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as the person of the Holy Spirit meets with us in worship!