Systematic Theology Project «Return to STP Main Page | Printer Friendly | PDF Version
The Holy Spirit is the essence, power, mind
and spiritual extension of God. God begets Christians as His sons through this Spirit. It
strengthens a Christian spiritually, converts his mind and serves as an earnest or
guarantee of eternal life.
The Holy Spirit is described in the Bible as "the
Spirit of God," "the Spirit of the Lord," "the Spirit of Jesus
Christ," "the Spirit of truth," and "comforter" or
"advocate." It is the power of God, the mind of God and the extended means by
which God accomplishes His work throughout the universe. As such, the Holy Spirit is not a
separate being, it has no independent existence as an individual entity or person within
It was through His Spirit that God created the earth (Gen. 1:2). It was
through this Spirit that David received his moral strength (Psa. 51:10-13), and by it
Elijah and Elishamen with normal physical proclivities and weaknesseswere made
into powerful prophets of God (2 Kings 2:9, 15). Even though these men and others had
access to God's Spirit, it is also clear that they were among the relative few who in the
Old Testament era were blessed with the privilege of actually having the mind and power of
God work with or dwell within them.
God uses His Spirit to accomplish all His work. Whether causing
prophets to prophesy, kings to reign, craftsmen to create (Ex. 31:3), bodies to be moved
(Ezek. 3:12, 14) or people to keep His laws (Ezek. 36:26-27), everything God does is
through the power of His Spirit.
God is spirit (John. 4:24); both members of the godhead
("Elohim"), Father and Son, are literally composed of spirit; they are
wholly made of spiritual essence, in the same fashion as we are made of physical
particles. Yet God the Father and Jesus Christ are separate beings: each maintains His own
distinct identity and independent existence; and each, therefore, utilizes His own
"Spirit," though both the Father's Spirit and Christ's Spirit are an integral
part of the common Holy Spirit. The being who later became Jesus Christ was the God who
revealed Himself to the patriarchs and prophets and worked with them. When He utilized His
mind, His nature and His power, He was doing so through His Holy Spirit
which was the projection of His own unique, perfect spiritual power. God the Father was
unknown in the Old Testament; Jesus Christ came to reveal Him in the New. God the Father
was the one who begot Jesus Christ; He did so through His Spirit, which is the same
Spirit He begets spiritual children through today. Indeed, God the Father has retained to
Himself the unique capacity to beget new spiritual beings.
Under the New Covenant the Spirit of the Father has been made available
in a universal way, as was explained by Peter on the day of Pentecost when the Church
began (Acts 2:17-18). Before His death, Christ promised His disciples that the Holy
Spirit, which then worked with them should be given to them and should actually be in
them (John. 14:17). This "Comforter" should teach the disciples all things and
remind them of all that Christ had said to them (John. 14:26).
This same Spirit which was given to the disciples on the day of
Pentecost is available to all whom God calls. Upon true repentance granted by God and upon
true belief in Jesus Christ, one may be baptized and then receive God's Spirit through the
laying-on-of-hands ceremony performed by God's ministers (Acts 2:38; 8:12-17). God further
states that He gives His Holy Spirit only to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). God's Holy
Spirit is efficaciousIt creates deep changes within the individual, actually
converting or changing the type of mind that the person possesses. The Holy Spirit
generates within Christians its very fruit, which "is love, joy, peace, long
suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23). It
encourages us through trials and empowers us to do the Work of God.
Once a person receives the precious gift of the Holy Spirit, he must
use it in order to grow in the knowledge and grace of God. God's Spirit gives Christians
the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) to enable them to view life from a godly perspective
instead of from a selfish one. It is this power that gives us the capacity to obey God.
The deep mystery of the plan of God for mankind. cannot be completely and totally
understood without the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:7-10).
Of even greater significance is the fact that through this Spirit we
are actually "begotten" as sons of God and become members of the body of
Christthe Church (1 Cor. 12). The seed of this Holy Spirit, planted by God after
baptism, grows and develops spiritually within us as we grow in obedience and submission
to God's law. The Holy Spirit is dynamic: it flows from God to and through the Christian
and is expressed in his attitudes and actions. The more we use God's Spirit the stronger
our new spiritual life becomes. Finally, at the resurrection, this spiritual part of us
becomes the totality of our composition and essence and overtakes the physical, so
"that mortality [our physical essence] might be swallowed up of [spiritual]
life" (2 Cor. 5:4).
God's Word reveals that the Holy Spirit is an
"earnest"a formal pledge or assuranceof eternal life which God has
implanted within us making us sons. As long as this Spirit is living within us, we are
actually sons of God and brothers of Christ. "Now if any man have not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9). "For as many as are led by the Spirit of
God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). Indeed, the presence of the Holy Spirit
is the best criterion to define the true Christian: it is his only real ratification, for
one cannot be a true Christian without it. As long as we nurture the Holy Spirit, and
continue to renew it daily within us (2 Cor. 4:16) through prayer and diligent study of
God's Word, then this earnest of God's Spirit is the absolute guarantee that we will be
resurrected to spiritual life at Christ's return (ef. Eph. 1: 14).
This publication is intended to be
used as a personal study tool. Please know it is not wise to take any man's word
for anything, so prove all things for yourself from the pages of your own Bible.
The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association
P.O. Box 747
Flint, TX 75762
Phone: (903) 561-7070 • Fax: (903) 561-4141
More FREE literature is available at our Internet Web Site:
The activities of the Garner Ted Armstrong
Evangelistic Association are paid for by tithes, offerings and donations
freely given by Christians and co-workers who are dedicated to preaching the
gospel according to Jesus Christ.