Day 1 Study - The Holy Spirit... Part 2


You have probably noticed that certain Persons of the Trinity are highlighted in certain works of God. We see the Father highlighted in the work of creation and providence, and we see the Son highlighted in the work of redemption for sinful humanity. It is the Spirit of God who now applies this redemptive work to our lives and gives us the great assurance of our salvation. Our faith in Christ is confirmed and given a special validity by the witness of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.


The natural (unspiritual) man often thinks of God the Father as far away and unattainable, and of the Son as a historical figure from the past, far removed from us today and unknowable. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that the Triune God reaches out to mankind today and makes Himself real. Without the Holy Spirit, there can be no true relationship with God - only lifeless and artificial forms of religion.


The Holy Spirit lives in all true believers and is active in their lives. It is by the Holy Spirit that we experience the Presence of God in our lives. Through the Spirit the entire Godhead works in us and through us. To help us understand the work of the Spirit, we will first learn a little more about who the Holy Spirit is.


A Brief Review

In RAD month three, chapter four, we learned that the Holy Spirit was the second Parakletos who came to live in us when Jesus ascended back to heaven. We learned that as our Parakletos, He is our Counselor, Comforter, Strengthener, Advocate, Intercessor, and Helper. He is God living in us personally, and loving us intimately.


Pneuma and Rauch

The New Testament word for spirit is pneuma. This is another Greek word that does not have a single corresponding word in the English language. The noun pneuma comes from the verb pneo, which means "to breathe or to blow." It is used to denote the wind, also breath, and finally spirit. The Old Testament Hebrew word for Spirit is ruach. It has the same full meaning as pneuma. By using these words to describe the Third Person of the Trinity, God has shown us some important things about the Holy Spirit. Let's look at how the definitions wind, breath, and spirit describe the Holy Spirit.


Wind

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."   - Jesus  (John 3:8)


The Spirit of God is like the wind in many ways. The wind blows where it will, and no one can stop it. It is completely beyond our control. The wind is invisible and is only recognized by its movement. We know the wind is blowing because we hear the sound, we feel the force of the breeze, and we see the trees bend and the leaves fly. Yet the wind itself we never see. The wind is also incredibly powerful. In the form of a tornado or a hurricane the wind uproots trees and blows down houses.


Like the wind, the Spirit moves as He wills, and is completely beyond our control Although He is unseen, we recognize the Holy Spirit when He moves. Though He Himself is an unfathomable mystery, we see the work He is doing in our lives. The Spirit's unlimited power is seen in many ways. Like the terrible fury of the hurricane, His power can be devastating. But this mighty Spirit of God also gently and lovingly comforts and refreshes us, as a gentle summer breeze soothes and refreshes us at the end of a scorching day.


Breath

The Spirit is often called the Breath of God. Breath speaks of life. Living persons are said to have "the breath of life." The

following verse is one good example of this:


The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)


The Holy Spirit is Life, and Life-giver. The Spirit is involved in creating life and sustaining life on the earth. In the next two verses we will see this clearly. As you read them, consider how the Holy Spirit is compared to the breath of life, and the life-giving breath of God.


...When You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When You send Your Spirit they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. (Psalm 104:29b-30)


The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)


There is another interesting aspect of the Spirit's work which we can learn here. Both the definitions breath and wind also speak of strength or endurance. Someone who is very tired is said to be "winded," or "out of breath." You have probably heard of a tired person needing to "catch their breath," or getting their "second wind" when they find renewed strength to endure. Someone who has been hit so hard that they have no more strength is said to have had "the wind knocked out of them."   When someone "breathes their last," it is all over.


We have seen in this section that the Holy Spirit is Life-giver, Life-sustainer, and Strengthener. We will study many ways the Holy Spirit strengthens us later on.


Spirit

The words pneuma and ruach also mean spirit. This is the word which the Bible translators chose to use.


The word spirit is used most often to refer to the very essence of one's life. When someone dies, we say that their spirit is gone.  In this definition, the word spirit indicates conscious personhood.  A spirit in this sense is somebody - a person who thinks, feels, and wills.


The word spirit is also used to refer to a person's nature or character. A wicked person may be said to have a nasty spirit. A charitable person may be said to have a loving spirit.  We have learned that the Holy Spirit is indeed a Person, and of the very essence of God. He is God Himself living and moving among us.  He is also the perfect representation of God's nature and character, and He possesses all of God's infinite attributes.


In trying to find an accurate English translation for the words pneuma and ruach, we are at a loss. Only the English word spirit clearly shows the pneuma's personhood, so this was the word which the Bible translators chose to use. The titles "Holy Wind" or "Holy Breath" would not have shown His Personhood and Godhood as clearly.


It is extremely important for us to recognize that the Holy Spirit is a Person, and to know that He thinks, feels, and wills, just as any other person. He is NOT just some great power or universal force which God uses to get His work done! Unfortunately, there are many people today who seem to believe that.


If someone does not think of the Holy Spirit as a Person, they undoubtedly will not think of Him as God either. This is the ultimate tragedy. Through the Person of the Spirit, the full Trinity of God draws near to us, and reveals Himself to us. If we don't believe that, we don't believe what God says in His Word, and we will not consciously experience His Presence in our lives.


It is very important for you to know WHY you believe what you believe. We have already seen many proofs of the Spirit's Personhood and Godhood. As we continue to study the work of the Spirit, we will see many more proofs which we have not had time to cover here.


Although translating the word pneuma as Spirit was the best option in showing the "Pneuma's" Personhood, there are certain disadvantages of the limited scope of this English word. Unfortunately, the word Spirit does not convey the "blowing wind" picture of power in motion in the same way pneuma and rauch did to the original readers. We also need to identify the Holy Spirit with God's awesome power in motion.


A Brief Summary

We have learned that the Holy Spirit is a Person, the very essence of God Himself, displaying all of God's divine attributes. We see that He is our Life and our Life-giver, and our Strengthener. We see in Him the awesome power of the invisible God in motion. The Holy Spirit is the Almighty God Himself in action.


The Spirit Moving Today

The Spirit is on the move in the world today, and in the lives of people all around us. He is working mightily in our lives as Christians, and we need to learn to recognize His Presence. We must learn what He is working to accomplish, and how He is going about His work. Then we will be able to cooperate with Him, and not end up resisting the work He is doing.


Keeping In Step With The Holy Spirit

We have already learned that the Spirit was active in the creation of all things, that He gives life to all creatures on earth. To have eternal life we must be born again by the Spirit. The Spirit is our life, and we now live by the Spirit. Paul talked about "living by the Spirit" in the book of Galatians:


Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.     (Galatians 5:25)


Once again, a quick examination of a very descriptive Greek word will help us here. The phrase "keep in step" in this verse is the Greek verb stoicheo, derived from the noun stoichos, meaning "a row." Stoicheo means "to walk in line, in order, following a leader, keeping in step." We should follow the Holy Spirit closely wherever He is leading, following His example, and keeping in step with Him.


To keep in step with the Spirit, we need to know what we can expect the Spirit to be doing in our lives. As we become more familiar with His work, we will learn to recognize Him working. As we recognize Him working, we will be better able to cooperate with Him, and "keep in step."


Our study of the Spirit's work will span a number of chapters in the R.A.D. course. But in reality, we should be learning more and more about the Spirit all our lives. We can never know all there is. The depths of the mysteries of God are quite unsearchable.  After an entire lifetime of learning, we will have barely scratched the surface.


The Main Work of the Spirit

The main work of the Holy Spirit today is to reveal Jesus Christ to us in His glory. Without the Holy Spirit we would not know Jesus' Presence, or be able to respond to the work of love He has done for our salvation. It would be impossible for us to understand how Jesus is moving and working in our lives today.


Without the Spirit's revelation, Jesus would mean no more to us than the historical figure who lived 2000 years ago. The Word of God would be no more than words on paper, and all that Jesus taught would be no more than a great guideline on how to live. Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth.


Jesus continues His work on earth today in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit Jesus reaches out to us and draws near.  The Spirit reveals that Jesus is alive, that He is just as real today as He ever was, and that He is here. He stands as close as our heart's door, waiting to enter into intimate fellowship with us. Through the Person of the Holy Spirit the Words of the Bible come alive as we read, as Jesus Himself speaks to our hearts today.  Something inside us leaps and sings and comes to life when the Eternal Word speaks to us. The truths Jesus taught bring us a new abundance of life and an eternal certainty that no mere book of principles for living could ever do. This is the difference between religion led by the Holy Spirit and religion without Him. It is the difference between life and death.


Everything that the Holy Spirit does in our lives is a result of His work of continuing Jesus' ministry. The Spirit does the things Jesus did while He was on earth and much more. Because Jesus has now been glorified again, He is no longer subject to the limits of His temporary physical existence. He now carries on His ministry of reconciliation in every believer's life through the ever-present Holy Spirit.


Jesus' Teachings on the Holy Spirit

While Jesus was on earth, he taught His disciples some important lessons about how the Holy Spirit would carry on His ministry after He ascended to heaven. As you look up the following verses, write down the different works Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit would perform. We will discuss these works in depth a little later. For now, we will just identify them.


• Read John 14:25-26. What two things does Jesus say the Holy Spirit will do here?




• Read John 15:26. What does Jesus say the Spirit will do in this verse?





• Read John 16:8-11. What three things will the Spirit convict (convince) the world of guilt in regard to?



• Read John 16:12-15. Find four different works here that the Holy Spirit will perform.




• Read Acts 1:4-8. What did Jesus say would happen when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples?




• Think about these works of the Holy Spirit this week as you do the daily devos. (We'll talk much more about the many works of the Holy Spirit later.) Think about how the Holy Spirit is active in your life now, and what it means to you that He is working. Be sure and thank Him for what He has done and what He is doing, and for His great faithfulness!