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                        "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD"

                      The Deity Of The Holy Spirit

INTRODUCTION

1. At this point in our study, we are simply trying to understand who or
   what the Holy Spirit is...
   a. Our last study concluded that the Holy Spirit is a personal being,
      and not some impersonal force or power
   b. We noted that His personality is manifested by:
      1) His works
      2) His characteristics
      3) His slights and injuries which He can suffer

2. But what else can we learn from the Scriptures concerning His nature?
   In this lesson...
   a. We shall present evidence that illustrates His deity
   b. We shall try to reconcile the concept of the Holy Spirit as deity
      with the Biblical teaching that there is only one God

[Let's begin by noting the evidence that...]

I. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A DIVINE BEING

   A. HIS "ATTRIBUTES" REVEAL HIS DIVINE NATURE...
      1. He is "omniscient" (knows all things) - 1Co 2:10-11
      2. He is "omnipresent" (everywhere) - Ps 139:7-10
      3. He is called the "eternal" Spirit - He 9:14

   B. HIS "WORKS" REVEAL HIS DIVINE NATURE...
      1. He was involved in the "creation" of the world - Gen 1:2; cf.
         also Job 33:4
      2. He was involved in the "working of miracles" - Mt 12:28; Ro 15:
         19
      3. He was involved in the "redemption" of man - He 9:14
      4. He is involved in the "regeneration" of man - Jn 3:5; Tit 3:4-6

[All this supports thinking of the Holy Spirit as deity.  In fact, Peter
spoke of the Holy Spirit and God interchangeably in Ac 5:3-4,9.  This
makes sense only if the Holy Spirit is indeed God! But if the Holy
Spirit is a personal, divine being...

   - Does that mean the Bible teaches a polytheistic concept of God?
   - Are there three Gods, or only one God?
   - What relationship does the Holy Spirit maintain with the Father and
     with Jesus Christ?

These questions that have challenged the minds of men throughout the
ages.  I don't pretend to set the issue at rest in one simple lesson.
But here are some thoughts on the subject...]

II. FOUR DIFFERENT CONCEPTS OF GOD

   A. TRITHEISM...
      1. This view holds that there are three gods
      2. That is, that the "Father" is a god, the "Son" (Jesus) is a
         god, and the "Holy Spirit" is a god - three separate and
         distinct gods
      3. This is truly polytheism (a belief in more than one god)
      4. Mormons hold to a slight variation of this view, in that they
         do not limit it to just three gods, but believe there many more
         gods

   B. ARIANISM...
      1. Named after Arius, who lived in Alexandria in the fourth
         century A.D. and taught this view
      2. According to Arius...
         a. God the Father existed from eternity
         b. Jesus (God the Son) was created in time by the Father
         c. The Holy Spirit is a creation of the Son (therefore, a
            creature of a creature)
      3. Members of The Watchtower Society (who call themselves
         "Jehovah's Witnesses") hold similar views, believing that...
         a. Jesus is a created being
         b. The Holy Spirit is just an impersonal force sent by God to
            accomplish His purpose

   C. SABELLIANISM...
      1. Named after Sabellius, who lived in the third century A.D.
      2. This view holds that God is one person...
         a. Who has manifested Himself in three different ways or three
            different modes
         b. Not simultaneously, but successively; for example...
            1) At one moment God presents Himself as Creator (or Father)
            2) At another moment, as Redeemer (or Son)
            3) Then again, as Revealer (or Holy Spirit)
      3. This view is held by many modern theologians, and by those who
         emphasize baptism in the name of Jesus "only" (United
         Pentecostal Church)

   D. TRINITARIANISM...
      1. This is the doctrine of the trinity
         a. The word trinity comes from the Latin "trinitas"
         b. From another Latin word, trinus, which means "threefold"
         c. Meaning a triad, or "group of three", suggesting both unity
            and diversity
      2. This view holds that God is one God...
         a. But that the one God exists eternally in three persons
            (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
         b. That in this one God there is both unity and diversity:
            1) The unity consists, not in the unity of purpose only, but
               in one common nature, in the sameness of "Godhood"
            2) The diversity is seen in that the Father, Son, and Holy
               Spirit are distinguishable
      3. The doctrine of the trinity can be stated in three propositions
         a. First, God is one God
         b. Second, the Son is fully God and is distinct from God the
            Father and God the Spirit
            1) There is nothing in concept of God (deity), no quality,
               no attribute, which the Son does not possess
            2) Yet He is not the same person as the Father or the Spirit
         c. Third, the Spirit is fully God, is distinct from the Father
            and the Son, and is personal
            a) The Spirit is not a created being or energy from God, but
               is deity
            b) He is different in His "person" and "mission" from the
               Father and the Son
      4. This is the view held by most Catholics and Protestants today

[Which of these four views is correct?  Is the Holy Spirit...

   - a god (Tritheism)?
   - a creature or force emanating from God (Arianism)?
   - God in just another form, but not in any way distinct from the
     Father or Son (Sabellianism)?
   - God, but a distinct personality from the Father and Son who
     together make up the One True God (Trinitarianism)?

Not Tritheism for that is polytheistic, and the Bible teaches "Hear, O
Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is one!" (Deut 6:4)  Let's consider,
then...]

III. WHAT THE BIBLE REVEALS ABOUT GOD

   A. THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT ARE DISTINGUISHABLE...
      1. All were present, but in different forms, at Jesus' baptism
         - Mt 3:16-17
      2. In His teaching about the Holy Spirit, Jesus clearly makes a
         distinction...
         a. "I (Jesus) will pray the Father, and He will give you
            another (note:  another, not the same) Helper (Holy Spirit),
            that He may abide with you forever." - Jn 14:16
         b. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send
            in My (Jesus') name..." - Jn 14:26
         c. "But when the Helper (Holy Spirit) comes, whom I (Jesus)
            shall send to you from the Father..." - Jn 15:26
      3. A distinction is made in the command to baptize people in the
         name "of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" - Mt
         28:19
      4. Paul makes a distinction in his benediction in 2Co 13:14
         a. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ..."
         b. "...and the love of God..."
         c. "...and the communion of the Holy Spirit..."
      5. John refers to "both the Father and the Son" - 2Jn 9
         a. Note the use of the word "both", which implies two
         b. How can you have "both" if they are exactly one and the same
            thing?
      -- This evidence rules out "Sabellianism" (or the "oneness"
         doctrine of the UPC)

   B. THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT EACH POSSESS DEITY...
      1. The Father is clearly God (deity) - 1Co 1:3
      2. The Son is also God (deity) - cf. Jn 1:1-3,14; Mt 1:21-23; Ro
         9:5; Php 2:5-6; Col 2:9; 1Ti 6:14-16; He 1:8-12
      3. The Holy Spirit also possesses deity (as noted earlier)
      -- This evidence makes "Arianism" untenable (or the view
         propagated by The Watchtower Society, i.e., "JWs")

   C. THE TRINITARIAN VIEW IS SUPPORTED THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE...
      1. Suggested by a Hebrew name for God (Elohim) used throughout the
         O  T - Gen 1:1
         a. The word "elohim" is plural in form, not singular
         b. The plurality of "personality" in one God is implied in the
            plural pronouns "us" and "our" in Gen 1:26
      2. Even the covenant name of God (YHWH, Jehovah or Yahweh), is
         used at times to show a plurality of "personalities" in the one
         God
         a. Bear in mind that this name can only be applied to the one
            true God - Isa 42:8; 45:5
         b. Yet notice that this name is used in prophecy to refer to
            Jesus - Isa 40:3 (Mt 3:1-3)
         c. In at least two passages, when YHWH speaks, He says YHWH
            sent him!
            1) Notice carefully, Isa 48:12-16 and Zech 2:8-9
            2) This indicates a plurality of personalities (i.e.,
               Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)!
      3. The only way I know to be true to all of the Biblical evidence
         for the nature of God is to draw the conclusion suggested by
         the words in Deut 6:4
         a. There is one God - "The LORD (YHWH, or Jehovah)..."
         b. But within this "Godhead" are three distinct personalities
            - "...our God (Elohim, suggesting plurality of some sort)"
         c. These three distinct personalities are one in substance,
            essence, purpose - "the LORD (YHWH) is one (in the sense of
            being united)"
         d. Yes, "Jehovah, our Elohim, is united Jehovah"!

CONCLUSION

1. Admittedly, trying to comprehend the nature of God is difficult...
   a. It is like trying to comprehend the infinite reaches of the
      universe
   b. With our finite minds, both are impossible

2. For those who accept the Bible as inspired of God, we must...
   a. Let the Bible reveal the nature of God
      1) Accept what it reveals by faith
      2) Even when we cannot comprehend it
   b. Avoid developing a concept of God (and the Holy Spirit)
      1) Through humanistic and rationalistic thinking
      2) Twisting the Scriptures to fit such concepts

3. I understand the Bible to reveal the Holy Spirit as...
   a. A distinct personality, possessing all the attributes of deity
   b. Yet one in essence, substance, and purpose with the Father and the
      Son
   3. A member of what is called the "Godhead"; truly a "mind-boggling"
      concept!

There is something else that should boggle our minds as well:  the love
God has for sinners! - cf. Ro 5:6-11...
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