by Dr. Ray Self
The Trinity from the Beginning
The Holy Spirit as a member of the trinity has been involved with the earth from the beginning. As a matter of fact the entire trinity was involved in creation. The Hebrew word for God "Elohim" is a uni-plural word indication more than one personality, which helps us to understand why God can be three persons. The Holy Spirit as the third person of the trinity, has been involved with world from the beginning. The Holy Spirit is active in every work that God is involved in. Some say He did not come into the world until the day of Pentecost. That is not true. The Spirit of God has been active since the beginning of time. Genesis 1:2 confirms this: "And the earth was without form, and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Some say that the Holy Spirit is the action arm of God; that God commands and the Spirit acts.
When speaking about the trinity, let’s start with Jesus. Actually, everything always starts with Jesus. Without Jesus nothing else matters including this school. Without Christ there is no access to God, no relationship, revelation, or power. Let’s look at some key scriptures that prove that our Savior was a part of creation:
- Hebrews 1:2 - (God) "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds."
- John 1:3 – "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made."
And of course we understand that God our Father was deeply involved in creation. The following scriptures prove this point:
- Genesis 1:1 – "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
- Genesis 1:7 – "And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so."
Now let’s take a scriptural look at the Holy Spirit in the work of creation:
- Psalms 104:30 – "Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth."
- Job 33:4 – "The Spirit of God hath made, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life."
The Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the earth, the animals, and mankind. For your understanding look up these scriptural proofs:
- The Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the earth (see Genesis 1:2, Job 26:13; Psalms. 33:6).
- The Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of animals (Psalms 104:11-12, 14, 17-18, 20-21, 25-26).
- The Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of human life (Job.33:4).
The Holy Spirit works with humanity as a whole. One of the main manifestations of the Spirit is that He tells us and witnesses to us about God’s plan for salvation. It is important to always remember that the Holy Spirit is constantly pointing to and glorifying Christ as our savior. You could say that He is our own personal witness of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him" (Acts 5:30-32).
The Holy Spirit convicts mankind of sin, righteousness and judgment. "And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8). Every one has a sense of right and wrong and our conscience warns us of things, but a godly conviction of right and wrong is a different matter. No man can produce godly conviction; it is a work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in John 16:9 that the Holy Spirit will convict the world "of sin, because they believe not on Me." In this scripture we see that it is not the sin of behavior, but the sin of unbelief that He is convicting us of. Unbelief in Jesus is a very serious sin because it brings all of the condemnation of one’s every sin upon the one who fails to be saved by faith in Christ. Saint Augustine, a founding church father, said, "Unbelief while remaining allows all sins to be retained and when it departs all sins are remitted".
The Holy Spirit convicts mankind of the righteousness of Christ. This is not a self-made righteousness or right standing but a godly righteousness that only Jesus can impart. Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit will convict the world "of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more" (John 10:16). In Christ is found the lost righteousness that the world needs. This righteousness is imputed by faith. II Corinthians 5:21 reveals, "For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him". This is such an amazing fact that many do not get this. Jesus is offering us a free gift of right standing with God. As a matter of fact the only way to get this righteousness is to accept it freely. It seems too good to be true and our fleshly nature often fights this truth. Everything that we are taught to believe points to the necessity of earning our way or proving ourselves. The world system says that we have to work for all that we get. This is not God’s way! The Holy Spirit will convict our hearts of God’s way.
There is a logical explanation for God’s demand for righteousness and His provision for it. What God demands from us is something that we can never achieve on our own. We need to understand that God is perfect. Because of His perfect nature God cannot tolerate or relate to sin. All of us have some sin. To have a relationship and be in right standing with God we must also be perfect. That is why we need a savior. God has a plan for our salvation and it is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit revealing and teaching us we will never fully understand His plan for salvation which gives us right standing with God. The plan that the Holy Spirit is disclosing to us includes righteousness which is imparted to us by Christ. He is actually giving us His standing with God. All of this comes by faith in the finished work of Christ. This is why the Gospel is called "Good News!" The Holy Spirit gives us the revelation of this "Good News."
The Holy Spirit convicts of judgment. Jesus tells us in speaking of the Holy Spirit that He will convict the world "of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged" (John 16:11). The world stands guilty for refusing to believe in Christ. If the prince of the world (Satan) is judged then all who follow him are also judged. It is a sad note that many do not believe in Christ. Therefore they are under serious judgment. This should put urgency in our hearts for evangelism. Sometimes a conviction of the punishment coming is all that is needed to quickly bring a soul to salvation.
Chapter One Review - Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
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