Section 5: The Holy Spirit
Week 1: The Holy Spirit’s Nature
Day 3: The Holy Spirit Is God
Matt. 28:16-20; Acts 5:1-10
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of the Big Bang Theory. In the very first episode, Sheldon and Leonard meet Penny who is moving in across the hall. After some initial pleasantries, Penny sends them to her ex-boyfriend’s place to get her T.V. back from him. Sheldon and Leonard dutifully go, but fail miserably. Not only do they return without the T.V., they wind up getting “pantsed” by the boyfriend in the process. Their failure isn’t really a big surprise. If you’ve seen the show, you know Leonard and Sheldon aren’t the kind of “muscle” you send on a mission like that. Penny would have been better off sending almost anyone else.
Before he returned to heaven, Jesus said he was sending the Holy Spirit as our helper. Just what are we getting in the Holy Spirit though? Better help than Leonard and Sheldon no doubt, but by how much?
In assessing the magnitude of Jesus’ gift, we need to realize that in the Holy Spirit we have God himself. The Bible affirms the deity of the Holy Spirit in a number of places. Take the Great Commission for example. Jesus tells his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The word “name” is singular[i]. In the Old Testament, the one true God shared his name with his people: Yahweh. Jesus says that name includes the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. “In light of Jesus’ words, the biblical reality is that to name the Holy Spirit is to name God truly, but not exhaustively. The Holy Spirit is as much deity as is the Father and as is the Son.”[ii] That’s why Peter can equate lying to the Spirit with lying to God (Acts 5:1-10).
The deity of the Holy Spirit is a vital truth for believers. Why? It means Jesus didn’t send a mere lackey to take care of us in his place. As God himself, the Holy Spirit necessarily brings God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence with him wherever he goes. Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he sent the Spirit. He couldn’t have sent anyone better.
Are there ways that you think the Father or Son are “more God” than the Holy Spirit? Can they do things He can’t? Do they know things He doesn’t? What practical difference does it make understanding that the Holy Spirit is fully God?
Try to focus on one practical difference the deity of the Holy Spirit should make in your life. How will that change the way you live today?
[i] Graham Arthur Cole, He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Wheaton: Crossway Books (2007), Ch. 3 eBook.
[ii] Ibid., Ch. 3.