The Spirit of God
Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Westminster Confession of Faith
"But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26)
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)
The Greek and Hebrew words which are translated as “Spirit” both carry the meaning of breath. Breath is something which gives life, and something which forms part of our being. Death is the departure of breath from the body, and our breathing is something which is unconscious and continual.
Before Jesus left his disciples, he promised them that another would be sent by him from the Father: the Spirit of truth. This same Spirit is identified as the “Sprit of his Son” by the Apostle Paul. This Spirit is as much God as the Father and the Son are, but we must be careful not to think of him simply as some vague force. In the New Testament he is described as one who will teach, and bear witness. He does not permit Paul to go into the region of Bithynia and empowers believers. He can be grieved, and searches our hearts.
Here then is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. Yet there is more. This selfsame Spirit resides within the heart of the believer, God ever-present with and within us. This Holy Spirit over time transforms us into greater Christlikeness. AS he hovered over the waters in creation (Genesis 1) he also re-creates those who follow Christ. He inspires the Scriptures which guide us, and reveals God to us. He gathers the church, and equips it with all that is needed.
No wonder one recent theologian has called the Holy Spirit “God’s Empowering Presence”. The Spirit is God, closer to us than our own breath.