The Spirit of Yahweh

Acts 5:3-4 (CSB) — 3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God.”

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Scripture calls the Holy Spirit “God”. When Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, he was lying to God himself. When the Pharisees blasphemed by accusing Jesus of demon possession, they were attributing the powerful work of God’s personal presence to Satan! This is why we refer to the Spirit of God as the “Holy” Spirit because he is set apart and exalted above all life. When we speak about the Holy Spirit, therefore, we are speaking about the personal presence of Yahweh himself, in whom he draws near to his creation. Therefore, he must be esteemed in glory and honor, with preeminence in all things because, as Jesus said, to sin against him with blasphemy is unforgivable!

One of the greatest dangers that exists in the Charismatic movements of our time is the low buddy-like view that many take of the Holy Spirit. I tremble at some of the things that are so casually attributed to him. Many preachers in the Charismatic movement today attribute to the Holy Spirit things that Scripture explicitly attributes to demonic possession (Mk. 9:20; Lk. 9:42); the identity of the Holy Spirit as being the personal presence of Yahweh himself must effect a sober mind in those who seek to walk in this life by the Holy Spirit in his sweet communion. Anyone who wishes to walk by the Holy Spirit must treat him with all holiness and reverence (Lev. 10:2 – NASB).

The names of the Spirit make his deity and holiness clear (1 Cor. 2:11–14; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18; cf. Matt. 12:28, Luke 11:20). He is of God (Gen. 1:2; Mt. 3:16); he is of Christ (Rom. 8:9; 1 Pet. 1:11); he is holy (Rom. 1:4); he is eternal (Heb. 9:14); he is life giving (Rom. 8:2); he is the incomparably one (Eph. 4:4); and he is of of one essence with God (2 Cor. 3:18).

The works of the Holy Spirit also make his deity and holiness clear: it is by the Spirit that demons were cast out by the Son (Matt. 12:28), sinners entered the kingdom of God (John 3:5), and the Son was raised from the dead (Rom. 8:11). He is the author of revelation and the one who bestows truth (John 14:17); he is “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2; cf. Exod. 28:3; Eph. 1:17), who gives grace and enables supplication (Zech. 12:10; Heb. 10:29).

God is also identified with the Holy Spirit: he is nothing less than “the Spirit of the Lord” (Luke 4:18; Acts 5:9); he is “his Spirit” (Rom. 8:11); he is “the Spirit of the living God” (2 Cor. 3:3); he is the “Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).

Gregory brilliantly extols the beauty of the Holy Spirit:

Always existed, and exists, and always will exist; who neither had a beginning, nor will have an end; ever being partaken, but not partaking; perfecting, not being perfected; sanctifying, not being sanctified; Life and Lifegiver; Light and Lightgiver; absolute Good, and Spring of Goodness; by Whom the Father is known and the Son is glorified.

Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. XLI.9, NPNF 2 VII, p. 382, amended

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