Work of the Holy Spirit
Third person in the Godhead
I admit that to me one of the hardest things in the scriptures that I have tried to comprehend is the Godhead. I do not think that anyone can fully scale all there is to know about the Godhead. However, there are some basic principles about the Godhead that are revealed to us in scriptures.
The Godhead is set forth for us in 1 John 5:7: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” How three can be one has been a puzzle that men have puzzled over for centuries.
There are two major errors that people make concerning God. One error is to believe that there are three Gods. The scripture plainly tells us that there is but one God, and I believe that to be true:
1. Mal 2:10 “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?”
2. Mark 12:32 “And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:”
3. Rom. 3:30 “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”
4. 1 Tim. 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
5. James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”
However, I find that often in my thinking I tend to compartmentalize God into three God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost). We tend to assign certain works to the Father and other works to the Son and still others to the Holy Spirit. By continually doing this we can begin to think of them as three separate distinct Gods. However, they are not three separate
From the very beginning of the scriptures God began to show us something about the Godhead. The Hebrew word for God in Genesis chapter one is “elohiym.” This word is a plural form that takes a singular verb. This is similar to the word, “church.” Let’s say that a church consist of 50 members. While the church consists of 50 members, a plural number,
yet the word church is used in the collective and takes a singular verb. There are not 50 churches in the above example, just one, and that one consists of 50 members. Likewise, we see that the word, God, in Genesis chapter one is a collective consisting of three persons in the Godhead. This is further illustrated to us in v.26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” In this verse God refers to himself in the plural using the pronoun “us.”
We are limited in our ability to use analogies in considering the Godhead. There are no perfect analogies. Because of our nature and limitations due to the fact that we are products of and living in a material universe and God has no such limitations, we cannot possibly make perfect analogies that depict perfectly the Godhead. Knowing these limitations, I present
two imperfect analogies from the experiences and knowledge of men to illustrate in a limited way the Godhead.
In Rom. 1:20 we are told that if we study the things that are made that we can get some understanding of the Godhead: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” The atom is said to be the building block of nature. The
smallest division of elements in nature is the single atom. Yet the atom consists of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Thus, the atom consists primarily of three subatomic substances. Similarly we can think of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost as being the substance of the Godhead.
The second analogy I make comes from my roles in nature. I am my mother’s son; I am my wife’s husband; and I am my children’s father. Thus, I am a son, a husband, and a father. I am not three separate distinct persons, but I am performing three separate roles as a son, husband and father. Neither of the two above examples is a perfect parallel to the
Godhead, but perhaps it will help with our understanding.
The second major error people make is to believe that there is only one God who is God the Father and that the Son and the Holy Spirit are emanations from God and therefore do not measure up to the stature of God.
Below are scriptures that teach us the deity of Christ:
1. Matt. 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
2. Is. 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
3. Col. 2:9 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
4. 1 Tim 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
5. John 8:58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
6. Tit. 1:3 “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of
God our Saviour; 4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
7. Rom. 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the
Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” In this verse, the Spirit of God is equated to the Spirit of Christ.
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is equated to God in the scriptures. In the majority of instances the new or spiritual birth is attributed to the Holy Spirit. However, in some instances the spiritual birth is attributed to God:
1. John 1:13 “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
2. John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he
cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
3. Gal. 4:29 “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”
4. 1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
5. 1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”
6. 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
7. 1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
8. 1 John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”
9. Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
The above scriptures attribute the new or spiritual birth to both the Holy Spirit and to God. Thus, we are drawn to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is God and not an emanation of God.
Finally, we see the work of all three persons working together in approving of the baptism of Christ: Matt. 3:16 “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am
well pleased.” Thus, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son all gave their approval to the baptism of Christ.