When I was ordained to the ministry in 1988, I had to write a paper stating my views on a number of areas of theology—Scripture, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Man, Salvation, Church, Future Things, Angels & Demons, Spiritual Gifts—as well as several current issues—Marriage & Divorce, Homosexuality, Abortion, Social Drinking, and the Role of Women in the Church. When I transferred my ordination to the Evangelical Free Church in 2005, I had to rewrite the paper. Since people periodically ask me questions about these areas, I think it is time to restate my convictions about what Scripture says on these issues.
Here are my convictions about what Scripture says about the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19). He is declared to be God (Acts 5:3-4). Rather than being a mere influence or a divine power, the Holy Spirit is a person. This is evident through the use of the masculine personal pronoun (John 16:13ff), and through the characteristics of personality that are ascribed to him such as intellect (1 Corinthians 2:11), feelings (Ephesians 4:30), and will (1 Corinthians 12:11). He is not, however, merely a person. He is a divine person. He possesses attributes of deity such as being eternal (Hebrews 9:14), omniscient (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), true (1 John 5:7), and holy (Romans 1:4). Works of deity are also ascribed to him, such as creation (Genesis 1:2), inspiration of Scripture (2 Peter 1:21), and raising of the dead (Romans 8:11). He is associated with the Father and the Son in the baptismal formula (Matthew 28:19), the apostolic benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14), and in the administration of the church (Ephesians 4:4-6).
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people to equip them for a specific function or task (Exodus 31:3; Judges 3:10; 6:34). His personal relationship with men in the Old Testament was limited and he was at times removed (1 Samuel 16:14; Psalm 51:11).
The Holy Spirit had an active role in the ministry of Jesus Christ. He caused Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35), and anointed Jesus at his baptism (John 1:32; Acts 10:38). Christ was filled, led, and empowered by the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14). The Spirit endeavors to bring glory to Christ (John 16:14).
In the work of salvation, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11). He regenerates believers (Titus 3:5), indwells them (1 Corinthians 3:16), baptizes them into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), and seals them (Ephesians 1:13-14). He also fills (Ephesians 5:18), guides (Romans 8:14), teaches (John 16:13), gives spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1), and prays for the believer (Romans 8:26).
One of the blessings of the New Covenant is the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which was given at the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4). At the moment of salvation, Christ baptizes each believer into his church (1 Corinthians 12:11). This promise is conditional upon repentance and faith, universally available, and outwardly signified by baptism (Acts 2:38-41). Each believer is commanded to be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). This filling is to be a continuous yielding to the Spirit in obedience and faith, with the result being the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:19-21).