Friday, September 21, 2018

God in Three Persons

"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters" (Genesis 1:2).

Genesis 1:2 is the first place in the Bible that refers to the Holy Spirit. We speak of the Spirit as the third person of the Trinity. God, according to the Scriptures, is One in essence, yet three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the third person not because He is in any way inferior to the Father and the Son, but because in the eternal fellowship of the Godhead there is a divine order according to function.

The Holy Spirit is named as God and named as a distinct person, and He is given the attributes that only God possesses. An example of this is found in the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1–11). Ananias sold a piece of property and brought the proceeds to the apostles, falsely claiming to have given all of it to them, but he had kept some of it for himself. Peter charged him, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?” (v. 3). Peter concluded by charging, “You have not lied to men but to God” (v. 4). Here, lying to the Holy Spirit is identified with lying to God.

The Holy Spirit receives worship and honor. He is seen to be eternal, and He is present in creation. He is omnipresent, as we see in Psalm 139:7–8, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” These verses again show that the Spirit is God, and they also show that He possesses the divine attribute of omnipresence.

In the Bible all of God’s attributes are ascribed to the Spirit, so we must confess His full deity. He is very God of very God. Yet we must distinguish the works of the Holy Spirit from those of the Father and Son. He accomplishes a unique function in salvation, as did Jesus and the Father.

If you have a hymnal, look up some hymns that praise the Holy Spirit. Carefully read the lyrics of each hymn and discover how the church of all ages has praised the Holy Spirit as God.