The Holy Spirit: Divine Comforter

Today, we finish our series on the doctrinal statements of God, the Trinity, and each member of the Trinity, by looking at the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was another difficult subject the early church fathers had to wrestle with. There was debate about His divinity and origin. There will be more in future posts about the procession of the Spirit, but this was one area that was hotly debated. Modern Christianity has given the Spirit a little more attention over the past 20-30 years by looking at the “gifts of the Spirit,” but overall the Spirit is probably the least mentioned or thought of member of the Trinity (This will also depend on a persons denominational view). This doctrinal statement mainly focuses on the divinity of the Spirit,  His role, and His activity. 

A final note, as these are doctrinal statements, that is the reason for the “I believe” statements. Much like you would see at a church or Christian organizations doctrinal statement of “We believe.”

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, and that He is of God the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.[i] I believe that He is to be worshiped and glorified just as the Father and Son.[ii] I believe that He is the promised Counselor indwelling every believer according to the divine promise and by His baptism unites all to Christ in one body.[iii] He spoke through the prophets to produce the inspired Scriptures.[iv] I believe the Spirit is active in the world today helping unbelievers come to know Christ, empowering the church, and leading believers into holiness to exemplify Christ.[v]

[i] Athanasian Creed. The Spirit is found active in creation, bring life to the universe (Gen 1:2; 2:7; Job 33:4; Ps 33:6, 104:30). The Holy Spirit has been referred to as such in Ps 51:11 and Isaiah 63:10-11. Similar to the Hebrew word ruah, pneuma in the Greek describes the Spirit as “the Spirit of God” or “Spirit of the Father,” or “Son.” – cf F.W. Horn, “Holy Spirit,” Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed David Noel Freedman, 6 vols, (New York: Doubleday, 1992) 3:265. The clearest evidence of the Holy Spirit’s divinity comes from the baptismal formula of Matt 28:19, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Also see John 15:26 (“the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father” KJV); 2 Cor 3:17-18. Counselor: John 14:16, 16:7. Also called Advocate and Comforter (John 14:26).

[ii] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. All the divine attributes that God has, the Spirit has (Isa: 40:13,14; 1 Cor 2:10-13; Ps 139:7-9; Heb 10:29; 1 Pet 4:14); and likewise, the Spirit does what the Father and Son do but often times in a complementary role (Gen 1:2; Ps 33:6; Isa 40:12; John 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit may also be described as a divine Person in that He has His own intelligence (2 Cor 2:10-13), has affections and emotions (Acts 9:31; Rom 8:26; Eph 4:30), and in the same way the Son submitted to the Father, so the Spirit submits to the will of the Father and the Son. John 16:13-14; Acts 7:51, 15:28; 1 Cor 12:11.

[iii] John 14:16-17; John 16:7-15; Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 6:9; Eph 2:22; Eph 4:3-6. “Virtually all the divine ministrations to Christians are accomplished by the Holy Spirit—regeneration, baptism, sealing, indwelling, anointing, etc. Even more directly, to resist (Acts 7:51), quench (1 Thess. 5:19), grieve (Eph. 4:30) or insult the Spirit (Heb. 10:29) is to do so to God.” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 15.

[iv] 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20-21.

[v] The Spirit “teaches us to pray, illumines us to the significance of Scripture for our lives, gives gifts to each believer for the building up of the church, and empowers our ministries with eternal consequences.” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 21. 1 Cor 12:4, 8, 13:14

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