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What is the Holy Ghost?

There is a lot of discussion involving the Holy Ghost amongst denominations but hopefully in this article, the scriptures will clarify and encourage us to see the truth behind this question. Is the Holy Ghost a feeling we get when excited about the sermon being preached? Is it an emotion that comes over us when we feel convicted or is it an ability to speak in tongues? Let’s dive in and answer these frequently asked questions. Let’s first look at what Jesus said in John 16:7

 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

Jesus has already resurrected and showed himself among men displaying many infallible proofs. He then says to His disciples that He must go ascend into heaven. After He says this, the disciples become troubled because they do not want to lose their Leader, Teacher, or Guide for the ministry. Jesus sees their dismay and reassures them that they will not be alone in life and further says it is “good” that He goes away. Why would Jesus say this?

Jesus’ Purpose

The scriptures of the Old Testament prophesied the coming of Jesus in many accounts. Jesus fulfilled over 400 prophecies in scripture and it was all for the purpose of redeeming us from the bondage of sin and death.

“For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” — Romans 8:2

Jesus died for our sins but He also defeated death, Hell, and the grave but rising again on the third day only after ministering and freeing the souls that died before Him in 1 Peter 3:18-20For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water

This verse states the ministry that He did in the spiritual realm and after resurrection He gained all power in His hands (ref. Matthew 28:18)

Before going further into the Holy Ghost, we needed to first see the purpose of Christ in relation to the Holy Ghost. Jesus was God in flesh and He fulfilled the prophecies foretold to carry out the Father’s perfect will. I know that this language can cause more questions but I will be doing an article on the “Godhead” to attempt to explain the mystery of the Trinity. Simply put, Jesus is a “form” of God and according to scripture, God has 3 forms. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit also called the Holy Ghost. Jesus was God in fleshly form so He was only “limited” to His physical form. It was researched that Jesus’ walked over 3,000 miles throughout His ministry and this was secluded to certain parts of the world. So how can God reach more people now that Jesus paid the ultimate price? How does God gain more sons and daughters through Christ?

Let us reexamine the perspective and rephrase the original question from “What is the Holy Ghost?” to “WHO is the Holy Ghost?”

Advocate, Witness, and Comforter

The scriptures tell us about the Holy Ghost in the very beginning in Genesis 1:26“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.”

From the very beginning, the Holy Ghost was there and knew us before we were ever in existence. He knows us better than we know ourselves and has a heart to lead us in paths of righteousness. He doesn’t have a bodily form from what we see in scripture but His purpose is to be our Advocate, Witness, and Comforter for our lives. He is the one who reminds us of who we are in God.

 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” – John 16:13-18

The Holy Ghost descended upon Jesus upon baptism and led Him. If the Holy Ghost guided Jesus, how much more do you think we need Him to lead us too? He moves upon us, helps us to speak about the goodness of Christ, and assists us in ministry.

What Does He Do?

The most famous depiction of Him is seen in Acts 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

In this verse the disciples and those elect followers around them were all waiting for the Holy Ghost to come as Jesus has said before He ascended and the Holy Spirit filled them up and gave them the ability to speak in tongues. This tongues is different than the tongues we hear most often in charismatic churches or talked about in regards to a Christian’s prayer life. The tongues they were speaking were different earthly languages that they did not learn previously. They were speaking the tongues of man and I’ll do an article on speaking in tongues in a different article but I would like to say that it is important for us to not get caught up in the charismatic or supernatural gifts of the Spirit because He is more than just a gift giver. He is a Healer, Counselor, Witness, Advocate, and so much more.

In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 Paul specifies some of the spiritual gifts given to us by the Holy Ghost but this is not a complete least of what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

These giftings can lay dormant inside of us and it’s only the Holy Spirit who can reveal what was placed in us before birth. God uses us to glory His kingdom and it is very important that we know what the gifts are so we can be used more of God for the purpose He has for us.

Paul addressed a big concern in Corinth noted in 1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

The church of Corinth had tremendous favor with displaying the power of God through spiritual gifts but pride and competition got in the way of their ministry. It’s not about who prophesies the most or how many people are healed of sickness. The heart of the matter is specifically our heart toward others and truly being led of the Spirit instead of ourselves. We must show love in everything that we do.

“Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32

How Can We Follow Him?

How do we know that the Holy Ghost is a person and not a thing? Scripture gives us tons of confirmation and Jesus even refers to Him as “he” and another great scripture to denote this is Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” This verse tells us that we can displease Him and this is not advantageous for us or God to operate in a manner that goes against the Holy Ghost.

I encourage you if you haven’t already, to seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost because it is a powerful part of our lives.

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – Matthew 3:11

The Holy Spirit is the new Spirit that is in us whenever we give our lives to Christ and from that moment on, He is on assignment to help us with our mission in Christ. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4

No matter what circumstance comes before you as a Christian, you are not alone and nothing can separate you from the Holy Spirit. We still can definitely “quench” the Holy Spirit or grieve Him but this does not remove the Holy Ghost from our lives. If you don’t follow the promptings however, it will cause us to not be effective Christians which is what God desires.

Imagine yourself as a cup that was empty. After you received Christ, some water poured inside of you who is the Holy Ghost. Some people get filled faster than others but this is all dependent upon many factors. It could simply be God’s timing, the openness of the person’s heart, awareness of the Holy Ghost, and maybe other things that we may not know. The only part that really matters is if you are willing to receive. Whenever we continue to be aware of His presence, pray, fast, and seek His face, then our cup overflows just like David prophesied in Psalms 23. When your cup overflows there is an outward sign of the Holy Ghost dwelling in you. Most would say that speaking in tongues is the only indicator of an outward sign and this has caused many rifts in the church due to disagreements on this topic however, this may not always be the case. Scripture says the spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit so if someone is operating in a spiritual gift then they have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

When the day of Pentecost happened, they were waiting for the Holy Spirit to come down 10 days after Jesus’ ascension. They were not sure what was going to happen or when but they were hungry to receive from God and the Lord sent the Holy Spirit to fill them. From that point on, the early church was equipped to spread the Gospel and be the proper representatives of Jesus Christ to the entire earth. We can also receive the full baptism of the Holy Spirit and be equipped for the ministry that God is telling us to serve. It could be evangelism, teaching, preaching, and many other avenues to give God glory.

Summary

God has extended Himself as the Holy Ghost to equip us and be with all of those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. I have been privileged to be baptized in the Holy Ghost and this has activated giftings in me that I did not even realize I had. This is not a necessity for salvation because spiritual gifts do not save us. It is Christ alone that guareentees our salvation with God however, the baptism of the Holy Ghost is essential for spiritual effectness and development. He can guide us but let us also be empowered. He can guide, encourage, transform, and assist different people all at the same time because the Holy Ghost is not limited by a human form. Again, He has been with us from the beginning. Let us draw near and receive Him even more.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

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2 responses to “What is the Holy Ghost?”

  1. Amen!

    Glory to God for His Spirit, the Holy Ghost!
    We would be lost without Him.

    Thanks for giving more clarity in how we should embrace receiving the Holy Spirit of God!

    Like

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