This series, “Bible Briefs: An Easy Practical Guide to Biblical Doctrine,” was conceived several years back when I saw people struggling with understanding the various biblical doctrines vital to the Christian faith.
“Bible Briefs” does not represent complete treatises on these various doctrines; I will leave that to those theologians and professors more qualified than myself. Further, each of these doctrines can be found in greater detail in books on Christian Theology, Bible Encyclopedias, and specific books dealing these each of these topics.
Instead these booklets are designed to give a working knowledge of these various doctrines in a way and method where both Christians and those seeking after the truth can readily understand and begin to apply to their lives.
Throughout my years as a pastor I have read, studied, and presented hundreds of sermons and teachings. Much of the material in this booklet isn’t new, but is based on what I have learned over 40 years of being seminary trained, a senior pastor and teacher, and living as a Christian.
The material in this booklet can be used by anyone without worry of any infringement. My prayer is that this material can be used to help Christians, churches, and those who are seeking to move closer to all that God has called for them to be.
The Holy Spirit
“Who Is The Holy Spirit?”
In this booklet we’ll be looking at and trying to get a handle on not only who the Holy Spirit is, but also the work of the Holy Spirit within our lives and within the life of the church. And the reason this is even necessary is because this great doctrine of the Holy Spirit has been kind of muddied up within the church.
When religion started taking over the church, where it was no longer about a personal intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, or a place where believers came together encouraging one another as brought out in Hebrews 10:25; the tragic result was that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit became neglected, and in large part replaced through the substitution of priests and priesthood, along with the Church being the ultimate authority. These were put in the place and in the position of the Holy Spirit, thus rendering the presence of the Holy Spirit unnecessary.
Even today, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is still being neglected, not only through these substitutions, but also due to the doctrine being over-emphasized, over-hyped, and over-exaggerated, making believers leery of those who teach about the Holy Spirit. Therefore, as a whole, the church has kind of let the whole doctrine of the Holy Spirit alone, allowing it to slip by the wayside.
The unfortunate part is that all these false ideas and manifestations of what people call a moving of the Holy Spirit is due to this overall neglect. Consider how terrible it would be to neglect the teaching or doctrine of the Father or Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is equally bad to ignore or neglect the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. This may also be the reason why we don’t see a move of God in our generation and in our time.
The Holy Spirit is a Person
The first thing that we need to understand is that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force that acts upon our lives, like the force in Star Wars. The Apostle Paul makes this clear in his benediction to the Corinthian Church saying how communion with the Holy Spirit is ours (2 Corinthians 13:14). To understand, the word “communion” in the Greek language means to have fellowship with, and we cannot have fellowship with a force or influence, we can only have fellowship with a person.
But such an outlook that the Holy Spirit is just a force or influence may be because of the titles or names given to the Holy Spirit that make Him look as if He is a part of, but not distinct from, the Father or Jesus. Names like the “Spirit of God,” the “Spirit of the Lord,” or even the “Spirit of the Living God.” He is also called the “Spirit of Christ,” the “Spirit of Jesus Christ,” and the “Spirit of the Son.”
These give the impression that that Holy Spirit is a spirit that is within the Father, and within Jesus, just like the spirit that is within us as humans. It is such an understanding that has brought about the unbiblical view of God being Father and Son only, but not the Holy Spirit.
Other examples from the Scriptures are the designations the Holy Spirit has been given, where He isn’t a person, but is represented by a thing, like breath, wind, fire, oil, water, and a dove. But these are symbols explaining the work of the Holy Spirit.
And before we move on, there is the name given by the writers of the King James Version who call the Holy Spirit, “The Holy Ghost,” which conjures up in our minds a shadowy aberration, but not a person.
But when we further examine what is said about the coming of the Holy Spirit we see there is a distinct difference between the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17a).
That word “another,” means someone else who is like the person who is doing the sending, which Jesus says is not only the Father, but that He, Jesus, also sends the Holy Spirit as found in John 16:7. So the Holy Spirit is a person, like Jesus, and is distinct from both the Father and Jesus.
The Holy Spirit, therefore, is not an “it” or “force,” or the internal spirit of the Father and the Son. He is separate, and from what the Bible says, a person in the same way as the Father and the Son.
We see this in several ways.
“I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).
We see the personhood of the Holy Spirit in the way the Holy Spirit is referred in the Scriptures, that is, in the masculine pronoun, as is seen in how Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as “He,” and “Him” in the above passage.
We also see this through some of the Holy Spirit’s personal activities, like teaching (John 14:26), bearing witness (Romans 8:16), interceding (Romans 8:26), searching (Romans 8:27), distributing (1 Corinthians 12:11), forbidding (Acts 16:6), speaking (Matthew 10:20), evaluating (John 16:8), being grieved (Ephesians 4:30), bringing comfort (Acts 9:31), and advocating on our behalf (John 14:6).
We also see the personhood of the Holy Spirit as we see different aspects of His personality within the Scriptures.
He possesses a mind and knows.
“Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27).
He possesses a will separate from the Father, Jesus Christ, and us.
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11).
He possesses emotions, and can be grieved and insulted.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
“Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrew 10:29)
He loves, and gives His love as a fruit to those who believe.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23a).
But what really makes this relationship with the Holy Spirit personal is what Jesus said in John 14:17. “But you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
It doesn’t get more personal than that!
What makes this relationship so personal? It’s because He not only dwells with us, but within us as well.
The Apostle Paul makes this same observation in 1 Corinthians 6:19. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
The Holy Spirit is God
To understand the deity of the Holy Spirit we must start with the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity says that God is one and yet eternally exists in three persons.
Now, there are many who have a hard time wrapping their head around this doctrine, thinking it to be irrational and impossible. But the Trinity is neither irrational nor impossible. It may be beyond the reach and scope of our understanding, but how can finite human beings with limited brain capacity understand an infinite God with unlimited capability.
Even the Lord tells us about our shortcoming in this area.
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Understanding God’s nature goes beyond our ability to understand, and that’s because we know of no other being like God.
And it is from this doctrine, or more specifically, what we read in the Bible, from which this doctrine or teaching comes from, that we find that the Holy Spirit is God, and that God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Oneness of God
The Bible makes it clear there is only one God. We see the oneness of God in His own statements.
“That you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me” (Isaiah 43:10).
“Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me” (Isaiah 45:21).
This oneness is also seen in in the very heart of the Jewish faith.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Yet, within this declaration of God’s oneness we see the plurality of the one God. It is seen in the Hebrew word used for “one.” It is the Hebrew word, “echad.”
There are two words in the Hebrew language for the word “one.” They are “echad,” and “yahid.” “Yahid” means absolute oneness or singleness, leaving no room for any meaning other than one and one alone. But “echad” brings with it the idea of many that make up one, or a composite unity.
There are several instances seen within the Bible.
The first is God’s plan for marriages where the husband and wife will be one, “echad,” flesh (Genesis 2:24). Here are two distinct individuals comprising a unity of one in marriage.
The creation account is another place where a composite unity is found when it says that one-day is made up of two distinct parts, evening and morning (Genesis 1:5).
And when the spies returned from spying out the land of Canaan, it is said that between them they carried one, “echad,” cluster of grapes, or many grapes that make up a single cluster (Numbers 13:23).
Next, this plurality in oneness is seen in the plural language used for God, like when the Lord recounts His creation of humanity.
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26a).
Plural language is being used, but whom is God speaking to? God is not speaking to or getting advice from the angels or any other created being, because there is no other created being that has been made in the image and likeness of God.
In another example we see the Lord addressing Himself in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens” (Genesis 19:24).
The Lord, who was upon the earth, rained down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord who was up in heaven! Two individuals who are both described as “Lord.”
And so, in our passage of God’s creation of humanity, God is speaking amongst Himself in unity, which is the whole idea behind the description of Godhead. But how can we be sure that the one true God exists in the three personages: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
The Godhead being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is brought out in the Apostle John’s first letter.
“For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).
The designation, “the Word,” is a name given to Jesus by the Apostle John. In John’s gospel it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). And then later, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
The Godhead being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is also seen in the Great Commission given by Jesus.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Now, what many people miss when giving this as a proof text of the Trinity, or one God in three persons, is that Jesus didn’t say to baptize in the “names of,” or the plural, which would mean that they are each separate and distinct from each other, and thus, not one. Instead Jesus said, “In the name of,” or the singular. Therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one.
But this idea of Trinity, God existing in three person, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is not a New Testament concept only; it is also seen through what the prophet Isaiah said in the Old Testament where the Father sends the Messiah and the Holy Spirit.
“Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last. Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand has stretched out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand up together” (Isaiah 48:12-13).
We clearly see that this is the Lord speaking by His reference of the creation account where it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Further, the Lord wants to make sure we know this isn’t the prophet Isaiah or anyone else speaking as He goes on to say, “I, even I, have spoken” (Isaiah 48:15a).
And then comes this statement made by the Messiah revealing the Trinity, that is, one God manifested in three Persons.
“Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me” (Isaiah 48:16).
In the Hebrew language this last sentence literally says, “The Lord God has sent Me and His Spirit.”
What is even more mind boggling about this passage, which is something that has confounded the skeptics of the Trinity doctrine, is that the Lord who is speaking, the One who is identified as the First and the Last, the Creator of heaven and earth, is the Messiah, Jesus, whom the Lord God sends along with the Holy Spirit (See also John 1:3).
Third Person of the Godhead
There are two verses when it comes to declaring the Holy Spirit as being fully God.
The first is when Peter assesses the actions of two church members, Ananias and Sapphira, who lied about a piece of property they sold and declared they had given the whole amount to the church.
“Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? … You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:3-4).
The second place is found in two verses found in 1 Corinthians. The first talks about our bodies being God’s holy temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), and then in the other, it says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
We also see the three main attributes of God being attributed to the Holy Spirit.
Omnipresent: everywhere present
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7)
Omnipotence: all powerful
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
Omniscience: all knowing
“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. … no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
The Economy of the Trinity
The last area to explore the truth that the Holy Spirit is God is known as The Economy of the Trinity, that is, the ordering of activities within the Godhead. While the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in nature and attributes, they do differ in their function.
Let’s look at the one area of humanity’s redemption.
Father: The Father planned our redemption and sent His Son, Jesus, to accomplish it.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus Christ: Jesus obeyed and accomplished the Father’s plan of redemption.
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit was sent by both the Father and the Son to maintain, bring to completion, and forever seal what the Father planned and what Jesus accomplish upon the cross. We could say that the Holy Spirit seals the deal.
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
And so, while the Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit is equally God, and there is only one God, each has a specific function within the Godhead.
What can we conclude about the Holy Spirit?
First, that the teaching, or doctrine, of the Holy Spirit has either been far to long neglected and ignored, or over-hyped and over-emphasized, both of which has been harmful and detrimental to the overall operation and effectiveness of today’s church.
Next, the Holy Spirit isn’t an inanimate force, nor is the Holy Spirit the internal spirit of the Father and the Son. Rather, the Holy Spirit has all the attributes of a person the same as both the Father and the Son.
And finally, the Holy Spirit is no one less than the Lord God in unity with both the Father and the Son, or what we know as the Trinity. He is the third person of the Godhead, and while He has the same nature and attributes of the Father and Son, His functions within the Godhead differ, just as the functions of the Father and the Son differ within Godhead.
Therefore, the conclusion is that we need to start working, and being in harmony with the Holy Spirit, both in our lives and in the church.
Therefore, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you (2 Corinthians 13:14 paraphrase).
Receiving the Holy Spirit
Our living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit rests solely upon being willing to receive the Holy Spirit and being open for God to pour His Spirit within us, filling us to overflowing.
Explaining why he was baptizing unto repentance, John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).
Concerning Jesus, the Apostle John said we’ve not only received His fullness but the additional grace of one blessing after another.
“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).
This is what every believer in Jesus Christ can expect, grace stacked upon grace. It’s where believers can expect to receive this fullness in an ever-increasing degree.
This is God’s moment-by-moment provision for vitality, strength, courage, boldness, victory, and an abundant life.
We see this fullness through the following ways in which the Holy Spirit moves within the life of a believer.
We become filled with the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. After Jesus’s resurrection, He showed Himself to the disciples.
“When Jesus appeared to the disciples He breathed on them saying, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22).
When we come to belief in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit enters, and we become His dwelling place.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? … Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19)
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is an important part of our spiritual life, because then we’ll discover a source of supernatural power that can help us throughout this journey of faith until we enter into heaven.
Setting all controversy aside, this is our greatest need.
And while being filled is important, there’s a greater filling available, and that is being filled to overflowing. It’s called the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Remember, they already received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them. Now Jesus is telling them of a further filling that is required known as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Many Christians aren’t experiencing being filled to overflowing because they haven’t received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They haven’t experienced the fullness and haven’t yet been empowered.
Of being baptized with the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).
There’s a special anointing, a special empowerment of the Holy Spirit that awaits all who come to faith in Jesus Christ.
The word “baptism” gives us this understanding. It’s a special anointing. The word means to be completely immersed. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “I want to completely immerse you in the power of the Holy Spirit, flooding every compartment of your life.”
We see this same meaning in what Jesus said in Luke 24:49.
“I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
The word “endued” means to completely cover or to clothe oneself in. Jesus is saying He wants us to be clothed in Holy Spirit’s power.
This isn’t some academic exercise that sounds good in church but has no application in real life. Rather, it’s the one thing that we as believers need above and beyond everything else, which is why Jesus told His disciples prior to His accession to wait for it.
We need this baptism of the Holy Spirit if we’re ever going to make an impact upon this present generation. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit so we can be like a river of living water allowing the Holy Spirit to overflow our lives so we can overflow God’s mercy and grace in the lives of everyone we meet.
But there’s still another step in this filling process, and that’s the constant fill up we need along the way.
After being filled and baptized in the Holy Spirit, the disciples found it necessary to be continually refilled. After the Jewish authorities punished Peter and John telling them not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus, they went to the local church and prayed.
“The place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
They were refilled.
When full-service gas stations were around, we use to go in and say, “Fill ’er up,” and the attendant knew this meant two things. First, the gas in the car was getting close to empty, and second, we wanted our gas tank filled.
As believers, once we get filled and baptized, we need to be continually refilled.
We need a fresh anointing and refilling of the Holy Spirit to meet the new complexities and challenges of life. This was something God’s people knew and wanted from the very beginning.
I love the way the prophet Isaiah calls out for this fresh anointing.
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence … When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, the mountains shook at Your presence” (Isaiah 64:1, 3).
We always need to be yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit wants to be working within us, filling us, controlling us, and directing our lives so that we can be everything God has created for us to be.
Living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit is not some holy suggestion, nor is it optional on the part of believers. Rather, it’s a command Jesus gives in order for us to be continually filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.
Finally, this is not something we can work up on our own; rather, it is a work of God in our lives. We need to be open and available for God to do this fantastic work within us.
Quench, Grieve, and Blasphemy the Holy Spirit
Those who desire to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit. There are certain things that we as individuals and as a church, must avoid.
Quenching the Holy Spirit
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)
To “quench” means to dampen, to fight against, and to discourage. The word was used of extinguishing lights or fires. If we were to literally translate this passage it would read, “Do not put out the Holy Spirit’s fire.”
One way we quench the Holy Spirit is by not allowing Him to work within and amongst us as He desires.
Some question whether the Holy Spirit is moving if they don’t see the gifts of tongues, prophecies, or other overt manifestations. This sort of requirement quenches the Spirit, because people begin to force the Spirit and act out in the flesh, where literally the flesh is fighting against the Spirit.
And who says the Spirit isn’t moving? How about when He opens up the truth of God’s word within our hearts, or when we experience the wonder and majesty of God in worship. And then there is the greatest move of the Holy Spirit, and that is the conviction of sin, and those who are lost are saved.
The other side of this equation is that we quench the Holy Spirit when we don’t allow Him to move in the power gifts. It’s where we exclude Him and prevent Him from moving in the miraculous, due to our denominational stances that these were needed back at the foundation of the church, but are not needed today. Who are we to say how and when God moves?
Another way we quench the spirit is by not testing all things. There are those who think that we must put our intellect on hold and stop thinking and examining. That we just let ourselves go and be carried away.
But this not Scriptural, and it has produced some bad fruit within the church. People start doing whatever they want with absolutely no basis in Scripture. Paul tells us to put all these things to the test, and that which is good, hold onto. But that which is bad, that is, that which doesn’t match with Scripture, reject.
We must be careful not to quench the Spirit by going beyond the teaching of the Scriptures, or ignoring what the Bible says because it goes against our sensibilities.
Grieving the Holy Spirit
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
To “grieve” means to cause sorrow or sadness, so how do we grieve the Holy Spirit? The most obvious way is to continue in our sins. It causes Him deep distress and sorrow.
Another way we grieve the Holy Spirit is not doing what He clearly tells us in the Scripture.
And then there’s becoming more interested in experiences than having a relationship. Nothing is more insulting than being more interested in what you can get out of a person than in the person himself. When all we want is to see and experience His power and not His presence, this grieves the Holy Spirit.
And there are plenty of other ways. Like forgetting or ignoring Him. Neglecting His word. Doubting, not believing His purposes and desire for us. Our wanting control of our life. But the most serious is not having Jesus Christ at the center of our lives.
Not being obedient to God’s word. Failing to forgive others as God has forgiven us, and promoting disunity, this all grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit.
However, many think that if they quench or grieve the Holy Spirit it removes God’s seal and guarantee. But that is not the case. Yes we lose the joy of our salvation, and the fullness of the Spirit’s blessing, but we don’t lose our salvation.
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)
There are many explanations as to what this unforgivable sin is, that is, what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit entails. But, within the context of the passage, Jesus is referring to what the Pharisees said about how Jesus cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub, that is, Satan (Matthew 12:24).
This accusation would then be a direct affront to the Holy Spirit, because Jesus said that it was in the power of the Holy Spirit that the demon was cast out (Matthew 12:28).
They saw Jesus deliver the man from Satan’s clutches, but attributed the work to Satan, and not to the Holy Spirit. This was indeed slanderous and defamatory.
That is the meaning of the word blasphemy in the Greek language. It means to speak against, slander, and defame.
This is what Jesus says happened. The Pharisees spoke against and slandered the Holy Spirit.
What should also be understand is that forgiveness is for everyone and for every offence, even if it is slanderous language against Jesus (Matthew 12:32), which we are all guilty of in our pre-Christian days. But these Pharisees should have known better. They weren’t ignorant of God or of His workings. It is then for this reason, attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan that is blasphemous, and therefore will not be forgiven.
There is also one other area where this is mentioned, that is, where there is an instance where something is unforgivable and where the Holy Spirit is then mentioned and an integral part of?
It is found in Hebrews 6:4-6.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Now, while the Pharisees were not believers in Jesus Christ, this verse directly references believers.
There are, however, those who say it doesn’t apply to believers in Jesus Christ, saying these people tasted, but never partook. The unfortunate truth, however, is that the word used for “tasted” in the Book of Hebrews is also used in Hebrews 2:9, and clearly indicates that tasting is partaking.
It says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9)
Jesus didn’t kind of die; He was dead and buried. He died for all of us. Therefore, what this means in our passage in Hebrews 6:4-6 is that these people were fully followers of Jesus Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and experienced the reality of God’s word of truth, which includes the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
These individuals then fell away, that is, they no longer believed even to the point of saying that Jesus really didn’t die for our sins, which goes directly against the witness of the Holy Spirit in their life.
In Romans 8:16, it says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Paul is saying that the presence of the Holy Spirit is that witness in our lives that we are children of God, and thus believers.
Therefore, as believers, to turn away from God and to call the sacrifice Jesus made upon the cross useless, and the blood He shed as some unclean thing, has insulted the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:29), that is, they slandered and defamed the Holy Spirit. This, according to the writer of Hebrews, makes this sin unforgiveable (Matthew 12:32), that is, it would now be impossible to renew them to repentance.
Spiritual Transformation Series
Spiritual transformation is probably the most important process undertaken by a Christian. The goal is to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It’s about actively engaging with God and His Word, the Bible, following its commands in and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible tells us not to be conformed to or by any worldly standards, but rather we are to be transformed, that is, a change that happens within through the renewing of our minds and hearts (Romans 12:2), because as a person thinks in their hearts, that is who they will become, (Proverbs 23:7).
The Apostle Peter says it’s all about growing in both the grace and knowledge of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Pastor Dennis Lee is writing a series of books and pamphlets dealing with discipleship and doctrine to help the reader grow, not only in their knowledge of God, but also in how to apply biblical reality to everyday life.
You can find out more at https://spiritualtransformationseries.com
Copyright © 2019 by Dennis Lee
Bible Briefs: An Easy Practical Guide to Biblical Doctrine
“The Holy Spirit”
by Dennis Lee
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved solely by the author. The author guarantees all contents are original and do not infringe upon the legal rights of any other person or work. No part of this book my be reproduced in any form without the permission of the author. The views expressed in this book are not necessarily those of the publisher.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scriptures quotations are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.