Voices from the Past
Gospel Guardian, Apri, 1975
The Person of the Holy Spirit
Perhaps as much is said and as little is known of the being, character, and work of the Holy Spirit as any Biblical subject that challenges our attention.
B. The indefinite and unscriptural concepts regarding the Holy Spirit and His functions result from a lack of proper study.
C. When controversy arises over such hazy, ill-defined ideas, our thinking is challenged and we are forced to re-examine our concepts in the light of what is taught in the Bible.
D. Recently a lot of conflicting ideas and controversial views have developed over the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. It is fitting, therefore, that we study the Holy Spirit anew as it is revealed in the word of God.
E. Our study in this series will involve the person, work and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
I. The Holy Spirit is a Member of the Godhead.
The term "Godhead" is a form of "Godhood."
B. It is defined: "Divinity, deity; the divine nature or essence."
C. It denotes the "quality or state of being God; the sum total of the attributes and characteristics that are common to deity. Manhood, childhood, etc."
D. The term "Godhead" is found three times in the Authorized Version (Acts 17:29; Rom. 1: 20; Col. 2:9).
E. Frequently the term "God" is used in the sense of the "Godhead" or deity. Things attributed to God are attributions made unto deity rather than to some particular personality of the Godhead.
F. The Scriptures reveal a plurality of beings in the Godhead (Genesis 1:1)
1. "Elohim" is plural in form.
G. The personalities constituting this plurality are "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
a. Plural meaning: "The gods."
2. The plurality of deity is seen in the statement: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26; Cf. John 1:1-3).
b. Singular meaning: "The deity." (Gesenius' Hebrew)
1. The three were present in the beginning (Gen. 1:1, 2).
2. The three were present at the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:16, 17).
3. Baptism is administered in the name of the three (Matt. 28:18-20).
4. Paul's entreaty to God involved the three (Rom. 15:30)
5. The benediction of the saints was in the name of the three (2 Cor. 13:14).
II. The Holy Spirit Possesses the Qualities of Deity.
He is called God (Cf. Acts 5:3 with Acts 5:4; Matt. 12:28 with Luke 11:20).
B. He is eternal (Heb. 9:14).
C. He is omnipresent (Psa. 139:7-10; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20).
D. He is omniscient (1 Cor. 2: 10, 1 1; John 16:13, 14).
E. He possesses divine power:
1. He creates (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; Psa. 104:30).
2. He works miracles (Matt. 12:28; 1 Cor. 12:8-11).
3. He inspires prophets (1 Pet. 1:9-12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).
4. He possesses divine character-holiness, grace, goodness, truth (Neh. 9:20; Heb. 10:29; John 14:16, 17).
III. The Holy Spirit is a Divine Personality.
Webster defines "person" as:
1. "A character or part, as in a play; a specific kind or manifestation of individual character."
2. "A being characterized by conscious apprehension, rationality, and a moral sense."
B. The Holy Spirit is such an individual character, and possesses conscious apprehension, rationality, and a moral sense; therefore, the Holy Spirit is a person with all that term implies.
1. He is not some mystical, indefinite, indefinable, ethereal substance that enshrouds and permeates the universe like a fog or the atmosphere.
2. He is not merely the mind, temper, or disposition of either God or Christ.
3. He is not a mere "influence" a vague, impersonal form released in response to human need.
4. The Holy Spirit is not the Bible, or the New Testament, or the written word of God.
a. The Holy Spirit revealed the Bible and the Bible is the produce of the Spirit, but it is not the Spirit.
C. Attributes which can only belong to a person are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
1. Knowledge (1 Cor. 2:9-11).
2. Will (1 Cor. 12:11).
3. Judgment (Acts 15:28).
D. Actions are attributed to the Spirit which can only be performed by a person.
1. Hears (John 16:13).
E. Personality requires individuality, and individuality demands separation, distinctiveness, and locality.
2. Shows (John 16:13-15).
3. Speaks (1 Tim. 4: 1).
4. Bears witness (John 15:16; Rom. 8:16, 17).
5. Gives commandments (Acts 13:2; 16:6).
6. Delivers law (Rom. 8:1, 2).
7. Is grieved (Eph. 4:30).
8. Can be vexed (Isaiah 63:10).
9. Gives life (Gal. 6:8).
10. Glorifies (John 16:14).
1. The Holy Spirit is distinguished from both the Father and the Son (Matt. 3:16, 17; 28:19), therefore, he is a separate, individual personality in the Godhead, and as such possesses definiteness.
2. This individuality demands locality, sphere, place (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7).
IV. The Holy Spirit Collaborates in the Work of Deity.
In the physical creation.
1. God (Jehovah) planned it (Jer. 51:14, 15).
2. The Son (Word, Logos) executed it (John 1: 1-3; Col. 1: 16; Heb. 1: 1, 2; Cf. 1 Cor. 8:6).
3. The Holy Spirit assisted in the work done (Gen. 1: 1, 2; Gen. 2:7).
a. He garnished the heavens (Job 26:13).
b. He renewed the face of the earth (Psa. 104:30).
B. In the spiritual creation.
1. God planned it (Eph. 1:8-1 1).
2. The Son executed it (John 4:34; Eph. 1:3-7; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:18-20).
3. The Holy Spirit assisted in revealing it (John 16:13; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 2:9,10; Eph. 3:1-4).
Holy Spirit is a definite personality working with God and Christ in the execution of the divine system.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
The "Godhead" is made up of a plurality of divine beings.
B. One of these divine beings is the Holy Spirit, and as such He is a person even as God and Christ are persons.
C. He possesses all the qualities of deity and the marks of personality.
1. Qualities of deity (Acts 5:3,4; Psa. 104:30; 139:7-10; 1 Cor. 2:10, 11; 1 Pet. 1:9-12).
2. Attributes of personality (1 Cor. 2:10, 11; Acts 15:28).
3. Actions of a person (He hears, shows, speaks, bears witness, gives commands, delivers law, is grieved, gives life and glorifies).
D. The personality of the Holy Spirit requires individuality, and individuality requires both separation and location.
E. The work of the Godhead is both unified and diversified. The work of each member can be called the work of God, yet there is diversity in the work which each one does.
1. Jehovah planned.
F. What, then was and is the particular work of the Holy Spirit in the redemptive system?
2. The Word executed.
3. The Holy Spirit assisted.
I. It Was the Work of Revelation.
The Holy Spirit was involved in the revelation of the Old Testament (Heb. 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:9-12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).
B. The Holy Spirit was the revelator of the New Testament.
1. The promise of the Master to His disciples (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7, 13, 14).
C. The revelation of the Spirit was supernatural, verbal, and final (1 Cor. 2:9-13; 1 Thess. 2:13).
2. The promise fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4).
a. The fulfillment of prophecy (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2).
b. The word delivered was confirmed by miraculous power (Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 14:22; Heb. 2:3, 4).
c. These supernatural powers extended to others through the laying on of apostle's hands (Acts 8:14-19; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12:8-11).
1. It was delivered through inspired apostles and prophets confirmed by miraculous signs and written down, so that those who read might understand what they knew by inspiration (Eph. 3:1-6).
2. Sum of the process of revelation.
D. This was a work of communication through inspiration.
II. It Was A Work of Conviction.
The Holy Spirit was the Advocate (Paracletos) of Christ.
B. He would convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:7, 8).
C. As the Advocate of Christ, He would be furnished with sufficient evidence and competent arguments to accomplish the task assigned.
D. He would argue the case from three vantage points:
1. The world stands condemned because of unbelief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God,
2. Righteousness (justification) may be obtained through faith because Jesus as Christ has gone to heaven.
3. Judgment is sure because the prince of this world has already been judged (John 16:9-1 1).
E. The testimony to establish these points and convince the world was revealed and confirmed by the Holy Spirit, recorded by inspired writers, and stands today with the same force and power.
F. This was a work of argumentation through revelation.
III. It Was A Work of Conversion.
Conversion is accomplished by the power of the gospel which the Holy Spirit revealed (Rom. 1:16, 17; 10:12-17).
B. There is not a need the sinner has in being saved, but that his need is supplied by the power of the gospel.
1. Discuss the sinner's need and the gospel's adaption to those needs.
C. There is not an influence wielded by the Spirit in conversion, but that the same influence is attributed to the word of the gospel.
1. Notice parallels attributed to the Spirit and the word.
D. There is not a case of conversion recorded, but that it was accomplished through the preaching of the gospel.
E. The Holy Spirit converts men, but He does it through the use of His sword-the word of God (Eph. 6:17).
F. Everything necessary to move people to accept Christ and be saved is set forth in the gospel.
1. Love of God, sacrifice of Christ, forgiveness of sins, hope of heaven, eternal inheritance, fear of hell, certainty of judgment, etc.
G. This is a work of restoration through motivation.
IV. It Was A Work of Sanctification.
Sanctification is a work accomplished in God's people (1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Thess. 2:13, 14).
B. Christ prayed for the sanctification of His disciples through the word of truth (John 17:17).
C. The power for spiritual development is contained in the word of God rather than in some mystical influence of an indwelling Spirit separate and apart from the word (1 Pet. 2:1, 2).
D. In His revelation the Holy Spirit calls for the sanctification of God's people (1 Pet. 1:13-21; 2:11,12; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; Heb. 12:14).
E. This is a work of consecration through edification.
The work of the Holy Spirit was and is a work of revelation, conviction, conversion, and sanctification, and is accomplished through instruction, persuasion, and edification.
B. Whether it be revelation, conviction, conversion or sanctification, the Holy Spirit does the work, but He does it through. the means of teaching and the medium of the gospel.
The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Review briefly the two preceding lessons.
B. This is possibly the most misunderstood and controversial lesson of this series.
C. The leading, guiding, indwelling, and comforting of the Holy Spirit have always been grounds of dispute and controversy.
D. It is not the fact that the Holy Spirit does these things that is disputed, but the battleground is the manner or means by which He does them.
1. The denominational view.
E. The precise point at issue in this discussion is:
a. The mourner's bench system of getting religion.
2. The view of some brethren.
b. The supposed spiritual illumination of the scriptures.
a. Guides the preacher to a receptive audience.
b. Saves a parking place when preacher is in a hurry.
c. A powerful dynamic in the life of a Christian-glossalalia.
1. Does the Holy Spirit as a person immediately and without means enter into and inhabit the body of a Christian separate and apart from the influence of His revealed word?
2. If so, what does He do for the Christian as a result of this bodily indwelling that is not said to be accomplished through the medium of His teaching in the revealed gospel?
I. The Holy Spirit Dwells in the Christian.
The fact of this proposition will hardly be disputed by anyone (Rom. 8:9-1 1; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 2 Tim. 1:13, 14).
II. The Alleged Modes of the Holy Spirit's Indwelling.
All admit that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian through the medium of the word.
1. By the word is meant the gospel of divine revelation.
B. Some, however, argue that the Holy Spirit as a personal being also inhabits personally the body of a Christian and operates in him in ways separate and apart from the influence of His word.
2. The Holy Spirit is not the word, and the word is not the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit uses the word as the means by which He accomplishes His work in conviction, conversion and sanctification.
a. The power for the conversion of alien sinners is the gospel (Rom. 1:16, 17; 1 Cor. 4:15; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:22-25). That word is powerful enough to get the job done (Jas. 1:2 1; 1 Thess. 2:13).
b. The power for the sanctification and edification of the saved is in the same gospel (John 17:17; 1 Thes. 4:1-7; Cf. 2 Thess. 2:13,14; 1 Peter 2:1-3; Eph. 4:17-21).
c. Things attributed to the Spirit in conviction, conversion and sanctification are also attributed to the influence of the Spirit's word.
1. It is a little difficult to figure out what the advocates of this doctrine think the Holy Spirit does by means of this personal indwelling.
a. He gives no revelation of God and no religious knowledge (Thomas, the Spirit and Spirituality, p.5).
2. Brother Thomas distinguishes between what the Holy Spirit does through the word and what he does separate from it--the one is revelation, the other is providence (Ibid. p. 11).
b. He provides no power unto salvation (Ibid. p. 5).
c. He produces no faith, for the word is exclusive in this function (Ibid. pp. 10, 17).
a. Revelation: that which provides a communication from God.
b. Providential activity: all activity that is not revelational.
c. But the Holy Spirit's work in providential activity on behalf of Christians is in such things as:
(1) Answering prayer.
d. But how does brother Thomas know that these 14 "providential" workings are accomplished by the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the body of the Christian? He has distinguished between "providential help" and "the indwelling Spirit" as "different expressions" of the "varying influences of the Holy Spirit upon men in New Testament times" (Ibid. pp. 4-6).
(2) Punishing evil people.
(3) Blessing Christians.
(4) Delivering from temptation.
(5) Chastening children.
(6) Directing lives.
(7) Providing material necessities.
(8) Interceding for the saints (Ibid. pp. 18,19,32,33)
e. According to brother Thomas, providence is working "behind the scenes" or in ways that man can never be sure of (Ibid. p. 17).
(1) There is no empirical knowledge (through our five senses) or certainty for us about it-only our belief
(2) "It would be foolish for us to say how God works providentially, since we have no revelation on the point" (Ibid.).
(3) Then how can one be sure that God works providentially through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a person in the body of a Christian, "since we have no revelation on the point." And if no revelation, there can be no faith regarding such.
(4) Yet the author says, "If they could first accept the fact of personal indwelling they would then be more likely to understand some of the more detailed providential influences as normal and usual" (ibid. P. 31). How? There is no revelation to give such understanding.
III. Proof Texts Used to Establish this Supposed Personal Indwelling.
The Spirit to be given (John 7:38, 39).
B. The gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 5:32).
C. The Holy Spirit a seal of Sonship and a down payment on an eternal inheritance (2 Cor. 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13; Gal. 4:6).
D. The Holy Spirit intercedes for Christians (Rom. 8:26,27).
IV. A Bit Of A Problem.
Since the Holy Spirit is a person possessing all the qualities of personality, how is it possible for Him to personally dwell in a multiplicity of Christians at the same time?
1. if it be admitted that he indwells the Christian through the instrumentality of His word, I can understand how such is possible and readily accept it as true.
2. If it be maintained that the Holy Spirit as a personal being inhabits the bodies of Christians directly, immediately, without medium, then I must reject it as impossible without fragmenting the Spirit, which would destroy His personality.
a. Illustration: Paul Harvey and the news.
V. The Indwelling Deity.
God dwells in the Christian (1 John 4:12-16).
B. Christ dwells in the Christian (Col. 1:27).
C. The Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian (1 Cor. 6:19).
D. What is predicated of one member of the Godhead is predicated of all members of the Godhead. (Eph. 5:18, 19; Cf. Col. 3:16; Luke 11: 13; Cf. Matt. 7: 11.)
E. When we learn how one member of the Godhead dwells in the Christian, we will learn how all members indwell the Christian.
1. It is by faith (Eph. 3:17; Gal. 2:20; 3:2).
2. The indwelling simply signifies unity (John 15:1-10; 17:20-23).
3. The Christian has the witness in himself (1 John 5:9-12).
Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian, but he does so through the medium of the word as man believes and obeys that word.
[The Gospel Guardian, Vol. 27 No. 7, April 1, 1975. Special Issue dedicated to the life and work of Franklin T. Puckett]
sermon outlines above are excellent work by the late brother Puckett on the subject of the Holy Spirit, and through them "he being dead still speaks" (Heb. 11:4).
With the abundance of error on the person, work, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we thought it prudent to republish these outlines for your study, and encourage you to pass them along to others. We need to make sure we are well grounded in the faith concerning this issue, as Charismatic/Pentecostal groups are on the increase (Col. 1:23; Titus 1:9-14). Too, there are brethren who believe in a direct non-miraculous indwelling of the Spirit, something which brother Puckett and this writer deny.
With all that is above, we have nothing further to add.
e-mail this feature editor at SFDeaton@compuserve.com
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