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The Triune God: The Holy Spirit is Fully Divine1 Peter 1:3
1 Peter Lesson #018
June 11, 2015
“Father we thank you that you give us such great opportunities today in this world even though there’s a lot of pressure and anti-Christianity going on. The opposition increases daily. We have such wonderful things such as the work the Institute of Creation Research has done and Answers in Genesis and other creation groups. This creation museum is such a fantastic thing and there are so many online resources people ought to check out. We’re just thankful we have these opportunities to go on trips like this Grand Canyon trip to study earth’s history. As Job said, “Let the stones teach us.” We can learn from creation what has happened and come to understand it in a Biblical framework. Father, we pray tonight that as we study Your Word we might gain a greater understanding of who You are, how You exist as a Triune God, and the deity of God the Holy Spirit. As we study these things let it strengthen our faith and trust in Your Word as well. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
(Pastor shows pictures taken on his recent trip to the Grand Canyon which can be viewed on the video.)
Okay. We’re in 1st Peter. Still in 1st Peter 1:3, still talking about the Trinity. Oh, one other thing I want to mention. I mentioned this Tuesday night and I probably need to go back over it again next Tuesday night to get some continuity. I mentioned this article that was in the Houston Chronicle Tuesday morning. It was about a homosexual activist who had gone to Biola. This guy’s mission is to try to talk to Christian leaders and get them to at least reconsider some levels of their opposition to homosexual marriage. Sadly, he’s going to have an impact. I don’t think he had an impact at Biola. I doubt that he did, but there’s always hope that they did something and of course, liberal writers for the national media, in order to get front page coverage, have to make it sound like something’s happening. He also went to talk to the Focus on the Family people and I don’t think he got anywhere there. They’ve been pretty firm in their opposition and their stand on the Scripture.
One of the things that came out in that article that I mentioned the other day was that he (the activist) says that he got the faculty group that he talked to admit that Sodom was not judged for sodomy, homosexuality, that Sodom was judged because they were greedy and they were arrogant. There’s one passage that at one blush makes it sound that way and I want you to turn there. This may come up and you need to know how to handle the Scripture on this. This is Ezekiel 16:49. You might want to underline this so you can find it. What I like to do in my Bible is that when there are particular topics on the page I like to write something down in the top margin up there so that when I’m thumbing through I can find it. You might want to jot down something about Sodom in the top margin so you can find this again. It’s sort of locked away down here.
God is talking here in verse 49. He says, “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister, Sodom.” Now if you look at that without paying attention to the context, you think He’s talking about literal Sodom. “Look, this was the inequity of your sister, Sodom. She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, an abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy.” See, that’s where they get the idea that she’s greedy, she’s abundant, she’s prosperous, and she just doesn’t care about the poor, the poor, and the poor. There’s no social justice. Social justice is always a key word for socialism and communism. Always be aware of that. Anyone who loves social justice does not fundamentally understand or like the American Constitution. Anyhow, so that’s where they go with this.
In verse 50 it says, “They were haughty and committed abomination before Me. Therefore I took them away as I saw fit.” Abomination, if you do a word study on it is just a broad word that just about refers to any sin that God detests, which is all sin. So it can be idolatry. It can be arrogance. It can be homosexuality. It can be greed or lust. It can be a host of different things that are considered an abomination. What is the most significant rule in Bible study? Can anyone say it? Context. It’s just like real estate: location, location, and location. It’s the same principle.
Let’s go back just a few verses to verse 46. Let’s look at verse 45 which is where my Bible kind of divides things. God is speaking and He says, “Indeed everyone who quotes proverbs will use this proverb or begins to: like mother, like daughter.” You are your mother’s daughter. He’s indicting the southern kingdom of Judah. This is Ezekiel. Remember. Ezekiel was a prophet who is already in the exile, already in Babylon. He’s talking about Judah when he says, “You’re your mother’s daughter, loathing husband and children. You are the sister of your sisters.” Who is the ‘sister of the sisters’? Judah. He’s not talking about Sodom here. He’s talking about Judah. “The sister of your sisters who loathe their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite. Your father an Amorite. Your elder sister is Samaria. Who’s the elder sister? Samaria. Keep that in mind.
Your older sister is Samaria who dwells to the north of you and your younger sister who dwells to the south of you. He’s really talking to Jerusalem here. Your younger sister who dwells to the south of you is Sodom and her daughters. Who dwells to the south of Jerusalem? Sodom certainly doesn’t at this time. Sodom’s been wiped out. This is about 590 B.C. Sodom’s been wiped out for 1,500 years so there’s nothing there. It’s not talking about literal Sodom. It’s talking about. Judah dwelling south of Jerusalem.
“You did not walk in their ways or act according to their abomination but as if they were too little, you became more corrupt than they [Judah and her daughters] in all their ways. As I live, says the Lord God, neither your sister Sodom …” Who is your sister, Sodom? Judah. It’s very clear there that it’s Judah, the younger sister to the south. “Neither your sister, Sodom, nor her daughters have done as you. Look, this was the iniquity of your sister, Sodom.” Who is that? Not literal Sodom.
Throughout the Bible, the Scriptures will metaphorically let you know it’s using the name of Sodom, assigning it to people who are following in a similar path. Now we all agree that the root of every sin, whether it’s homosexuality or whether it’s blasphemy or implacability or bitterness or gossip or slander, the root of every single sin is haughtiness, arrogance, pride. So, that’s not a big deal to say that their real problem was pride. Everyone’s problem is pride. So she and her daughter had pride. This is not talking about literal Sodom in these verses. It’s talking about how Judah is following in the same sins as Sodom, including homosexuality. It was very much present in Judah prior to the destruction of the temple in 586 B.C. So by taking a verse out of context and not looking at its context you can come up with a completely wrong interpretation of what that verse is talking about and wrong application to today.
Okay. (Slide 4) We’ve been looking at verse 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I started this off by asking the question of why in the world does Peter emphasize God as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Slide 5) That caused me to go back and look at Old Testament passages to see how God is referred to as Father. About 90% of the time we find it in the Old Testament it’s emphasizing that God is the Father of Israel. But in a couple of passages He is mentioned in relation to His role within the Trinity as God the Father.
From there I looked at the Son because if God is called a Father that implies a son, it implies offspring, as it were. If there is a Father, there is a Son, not that the Son is the offspring of God but it is related to what theologians call the economic or functional relation of the Son to the Father. So you have God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That comes into play later on as we’ll see. It’s already been referenced in verse 3, referencing God the Father and referencing the Holy Spirit. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and sanctification of the Spirit for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
You have a triune reference there in verse 3. (Slide 6) This is a historical diagram for understanding the Trinity. It shows God who exists in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are distinct Persons. It’s not modalism. Modalism was an early Church heresy and an attempt to explain the Trinity. It was the idea that God appeared in these three modes, not at the same time. For a while He appeared as the Father and puts on the Father mask. Then He appears as the Son and puts on the Son mask. Then for a while He appears as the Holy Spirit and puts on the Holy Spirit mask. They are saying it’s basically one person, one nature and He just shows up in different modes. That is called modalism.
In this diagram we’re saying that God is the Son, is the Father, and is the Holy Spirit but the Father is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Son and the Son is not the Father. They are three distinct Persons with one essence. We saw in our study of the Old Testament that there’s an indication of plurality in the Godhead in the Old Testament, not just the name Elohim but there are passages that reference the Father, Yahweh, and the Lord of Hosts, the Angel of the Lord. There are passages that reference the Messiah, the Servant who is called the Son.
In Isaiah there are several passages that mention all three in the same verse. (Slide 7) Then we looked at plurality in the Godhead in the New Testament. Now we’ve looked at the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and now I want to look at the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. (Slide 8) This is from our doctrinal statement which is a traditional doctrinal statement. This represents traditional Biblical Christianity since the time of what they refer to as the time of the ecumenical councils. In this context ecumenical is not a bad word. There was only one visible church until the split that occurred between east and west around the 10th century A.D. So everyone agreed in these original councils, the Council of Nicea, the Council of Ephesus, Council of Constantinople, and the Council of Chalcedon.
“We believe that the Holy Spirit is co-equal and co-eternal and co-infinite with the Father and the Son.” He has all the same attributes as Father, Son, and Spirit so if you read in the Bible that the Holy Spirit is given the attributes of God and is called God and things that are said that God did in the Old Testament are ascribed to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, that tells us that He is one with God. He is full deity. “As God He possesses the same divine attributes as the Father and the Son.”
Then we’ll just skip down to what I underlined here. “The Spirit is the agent of regeneration, sanctification, and comfort to those who believe in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is a Person just as the Father and Son are Persons.” He is not an impersonal force. A couple of key passages that talk about Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’s equality are (Slide 9) Matthew 28:19, which is part of what is called the Great Commission. Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “They are treated grammatically as three equal Persons. The concept of “in the name of something” that in Jewish thought was a reference to their essence, who they are and because they have the same essence they have the same authority and they are equal in person.
(Slide10) Then 2 Corinthians 13:14 is another passage that mentions all three, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [the Father], and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” This is the Apostle Paul’s closing benediction to the Corinthians at the end of 2nd Corinthians. So as we look at the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (Slide 11) one of the first things we ought to note is that God the Holy Spirit is spoken of as God and is treated equally with the other Members of the Godhead. He is treated as equal to the Father and as equal to the Son. He’s equated with God in several New Testament references.
(Slide 12) Now here we have an interesting passage. Remember we did this with Jesus when we pointed out that there are quotes in the New Testament from the Old Testament where the Old Testament passage is talking about God or Yahweh or the Lord doing something and in the New Testament that verse is quoted but it is said that verse was Jesus who did this. So by applying it to Jesus in the New Testament, it’s showing that Jesus was treated as fully divine and equal to God of the Old Testament. The same happens with God the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 6 is that wonderful passage. You ought to remember it. It’s where Isaiah goes to Heaven and he falls down before the Throne of God. You have the seraphim who are flying around the Throne of God. Isaiah falls down and says, “Woe is me, o man of unclean lips.” One of the seraphim flies over to him and touches his lips [a picture of purification and cleansing of sin] and then Isaiah worships the Lord. The angels are saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, etc.”
In Isaiah 6:9 we read, “And He [the voice of the Lord] said, ‘Go and tell this people: “Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.” ’ ” In Acts 28:25 the Apostle Paul says this, [Luke writing], “So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: ‘The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah.’ ” Now who is speaking in Isaiah 6:9? God, the Lord. Who does Paul ascribe it to? The Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, ‘Go to the people and say: “hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive;” ’ ” You see that the passage on the left, part of Isaiah 6:9 is identical to what is in Acts 28:26. That means that Paul is ascribing the voice there to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
(Slide 13) Now a second thing that indicates that the Holy Spirit is fully divine is that the Bible shows that lying to the Holy Spirit is just as naughty as lying to God. It’s blasphemy. We have that great instance in Acts 5 about Ananias and Sapphire. [I always joke with my charismatic friends that these are the first people ‘slain in the Spirit’.] This is a situation where Ananias had observed that Barnabas had very correctly, very rightly, and very humbly sold some property and gave it all to the Church. He was wealthy. He wanted to sell it and give it all to the Church so they would have the finances necessary to carry out their mission.
Ananias, who must have been wealthy, or at least a property owner, sold his property but he decided to keep something back. Now there was nothing wrong with keeping it back. This isn’t a passage teaching that you ought to go sell all your stuff and give it all to the church. This is a passage that says not to lie about how much you’re giving. That’s what Ananias did. He said he had sold his property and he was giving it all to the church. Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie?” Now some people take that passage to mean that Satan filled his heart and he was demon possessed. That’s not the focus of this passage. Satan is the one who is performing the action of the verb. He is filling the heart of Ananias with a desire to sin. He is tempting him externally to sin, which is demonic influence, and Ananias yields to that and gives control to his sin nature. He lies and keeps back part of the price of the land for himself. What’s wrong is that he’s lying about it, not that he’s keeping something back for himself. So Peter indicts him and confronts him on this. When Peter does this in Acts 5:5, “Ananias heard these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.”
As we studied this in Acts we saw that the reason for this is the church is just a little baby organism at that point. God is protecting that baby from being given over to sin and arrogance at the very beginning. What you do at the very beginning, you don’t do necessarily to protect a two or three year old. This, again, is a sign that God is protecting the early church but what He did in that early church was not necessary once the church had gotten to the walking, talking, and moving around stage where it reached a level of spiritual maturity. (Slide 14) So lying to the Spirit is the same as lying to God in Acts 5 and the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the same as blasphemy to God.
We studied this very recently in our study of Matthew 12 where we saw that the Pharisees ascribed Jesus’ power to Beelzebub, which was just an epithet they had for Satan. When Jesus cast the demon out of this one man, they told Him He didn’t do it by the power of God but by the power of Satan. They are ascribing to Jesus the power of Satan and they’re basically saying that the power of the Holy Spirit was the power of Satan. That was speaking ill of God the Holy Spirit and reviling God the Holy Spirit. That brought a punishment that Jesus identified as the unforgiveable sin. We saw that this is a unique sin in history. It’s unique to the nation Israel and it was unique to that time period because it’s related to claiming that Jesus isn’t the Messiah and that He gets His power from Satan. It’s not the sin of unbelief. It’s the sin of ascribing to Jesus the power of Satan and it’s sort of the ultimate rejection. There had been points here and points there going through the early stages of Matthew where the opposition to Jesus increased and increased and increased but this is where it reached its apex and its climax.
This is the major turning point in Jesus’ ministry. He never again is going to offer the kingdom to Israel. This is when the leaders make their final decision and there is a point of no return among leaders of a nation where they reject God and reject truth over and over again until it reaches a point where there’s not going to be any turning back and God is going to lower the boom in divine discipline. That’s what Jesus was announcing. Because of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit the nation would be executed. It was the death penalty. That was the penalty under the Mosaic Law. The nation had blasphemed against God and so God was going to execute the nation.
That execution was going to take place on Tisha B’Av which roughly, according to the Jewish calendar, was at the end of July and beginning of August in A.D. 70. This was the destruction of Jerusalem. Why? Because of their arrogant rejection of Jesus as Messiah and ascribing His power tos Satan. So blasphemy against the Holy Spirit got the same penalty as blasphemy against God, indicating that the Holy Spirit is fully divine.
Those were just several examples of where God the Holy Spirit is treated in the Scripture as having the same authority, the same power as God. He’s equated with God in all of these passages. (Slide 15) Secondly we see in the Scripture that the Holy Spirit has the same attributes as God. There are attributes that are seen in God the Holy Spirit that are unique to deity. Creatures do not have these attributes.
Of course, the first three attributes that come to mind are the three “omni brothers”: omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. That’s what is ascribed to God the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 we have a passage that indicates that God the Holy Spirit has an exhaustive knowledge of God the Father. To have an exhaustive knowledge of anything means you have omniscience but to have an exhaustive knowledge of an infinite God means that truly have an infinite knowledge. You know everything that can possibly be known about God. So we read in 1 Corinthians 2:10, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, and the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” So He knows God. That’s omniscience. Clearly, God the Holy Spirit is omniscient.
(Slide 17) In Psalm 139:7, we see a reference to God the Holy Spirit’s presence. David says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” These are rhetorical questions bringing out the fact that there’s no place David can flee where he would escape the presence of God the Holy Spirit. He is everywhere. All of this is ascribed to God the Holy Spirit. Another thing that is ascribed to God the Holy Spirit is related to His omnipotence. There are three things that indicate the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit.
(Slide 18) The first is seen with reference to the doctrine of regeneration. In John 3:3–5, which is a central passage on being born again, Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Nick, you’re never going to get to Heaven unless you’re born again.” Nicodemus is really confused. He says, “I don’t understand this. How can a man go back and be born when he is old? Can he enter into his mother’s womb a second time?” Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” This regeneration is from the Spirit. Titus 3:5 also talks about the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. That indicates that God the Holy Spirit is involved in regeneration.
(Slide 19) Then we have another passage since I’m talking about regeneration here that’s in the same context in John 1:12–13. John 1:11 says that Jesus came unto His own but His own received Him not but as many as received Him [the remnant that accepted Him as Messiah], to them gave He the power or authority to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.” So receiving Jesus is equivalent to receiving His name. That is how a person is saved. By believing in Jesus. Not inviting Jesus into their heart. Not committing their life to Jesus. Believe does not mean commit. Believe means to accept something as true. To believe that it is true.
You don’t need to genuinely or truly believe. If you believe, it’s genuine. If you didn’t believe it and you’re saying it, it’s not saving. You’re not believing it. Belief is belief. It doesn’t need to be qualified by an adverb because as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. Those who believe in who He is and what He did, that He is the eternal Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins. They are born not of blood. That relates to the Jewish idea that they’re automatically saved because of they are a descendant of Abraham. So it’s not of blood nor of the will of the flesh.
It doesn’t have to do with me exercising my own will, coming out of the sin nature, not of the will of man or mankind. It’s not a corporate choice. Ultimately God is the one who performs the action of regeneration. Now we believe but by believing in Jesus which is an exercise of our will it’s not the cause of our regeneration. It’s not a causal term. Faith is never, ever referred to as the cause of salvation. The Greek is very clear. If it were cause it would use the Greek preposition DIA plus an accusative noun. That means “because of” but when DIA, the preposition translated “through” is used with a genitive it indicates means, not cause. We’re saved through faith. It’s the means. The cause of faith is the omnipotence of God and the love of God that causes us to be born again. That’s what we’ll see in 1 Peter 1:3.
The passage we’re studying says, “Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who through His great mercy, has caused us to be born again.” He causes us to be born again but as a result of our expression of faith in Jesus Christ. (Slide 20) Another example of the power of the Holy Spirit is that it was God the Holy Spirit who enabled Mary, the virgin Mary, to conceive. He is the one who made that possible, for her to give birth. The verb in Greek is the word GENNAO which is sometimes used with another word like PALIN GENNAO [I’m not talking about Sarah Palin]. PALIN in Greek means “again”, so PALIN GENNAO means “to be born again”. The word we have in 1 Peter 1:23 is ANA which is a preposition that’s prefixed to the root, ANAGENNAO, which means to be born again. God the Holy Spirit is able to make it possible for the virgin Mary to give birth, so that indicates His power.
He was involved in creation. (Slide 21) Psalm 104:30. This is a familiar passage for those of us who went on the recent trip going down the Grand Canyon. Let’s look at that so we can connect a couple of dots. Psalm 104 is really a praise psalm to God for His work as Creator and Sovereign taking care of the planet. We don’t need environmentalist groups to take care of the planet. God can do it very well. Thank you very much. He built into all of the systems of the earth the mechanics to cleanse itself and to perfect itself and to deal with all the problems that develop.
There are more hydrocarbons that are thrown into the atmosphere by a volcano like Krakatoa or Mount St. Helens, more garbage and pollution and carbon dioxide, than mankind has thrown into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution began. Nature, God’s creation, pollutes itself a thousand times more, ten thousand times more than man can ever dream. The environmentalist in his worst nightmare can’t imagine man polluting the earth just one thousand or one millionth as one or two volcanoes will do.
Psalm 104 is a great psalm to reflect upon God’s sovereign control. For example, look at verse 5, “You who laid the foundations of the earth.” God is the one who laid the foundation of the earth. I believe they were laid in Genesis 1:1, “God created the heavens and the earth [bara shamayim ehrets].” That’s when the foundations were laid. Then from that point He develops it but that foundation is laid at that particular point and all the angels, the sons of God [Job 47], shouted for joy.
So He laid the foundations and then we read, “You covered it from the deep as a garment, the waters stood above the mountains.” This is not a reference to that primordial water that covered the face of the earth in Genesis 1:2–3 before God separated the waters from the dry land. This is the water that covered the mountains. When does that take place? That takes place with the flood. That’s not what takes place at the beginning. The mountains are formed from the tectonic upheavals that occur as a result of the Noahic flood. That is when the fountains of the deep burst forth. That’s just one sign of the evidence of those tectonic shifts. The psalmist here praises God, “You covered it from the deep as with a garment.” That’s referring to the Noahic flood.
The waters stood above the mountains. That’s what is stated in Genesis 7 that the waters covered all the mountains. That’s before you had the major tectonic upheavals that lifted up the Himalayans and the Rockies and Mount Kilimanjaro and the other major mountain ranges in the earth. These came later. They’re like the aftershocks from the flood. Prior to the flood the mountains weren’t that high. That comes as a result of these tectonic shifts that occurred during and following the flood.
“At Your rebuke they fled.” When the flood was over with, God dried up the earth. “At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; they went down into the valley [the drainage of the flood waters] to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary for them that they may not pass over.” In other words, the waters have gone into their designated locations and they’re not going to come out and flood the earth again. That is the promise in the Noahic Covenant that God will not destroy the earth by water again. “You have set a boundary for them that may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth. He sends the springs into the valleys. They flow among the hills.” This is the drainage. You had these tectonic shifts and the upheavals that occurred after the flood over probably the next couple of hundred years as a result of all these tectonic activity that caused these uplifts to occur and then the water that was still there drained off.
You have evidence, for example, that there were probably three or four enormous lakes, much, much larger than the Great Lakes, that covered much of what we call northern Arizona, southern Colorado, some of New Mexico and Utah, and all the way up into Idaho and the area west of the Rockies. That was there for some time after the flood until the natural dams that held those waters back broke. Then you probably had a series of dam breakages that occurred, sort of like dominoes falling. Then all of that water began to rush out towards the Pacific, down toward the Sea of Cortez and that’s what formed the Grand Canyon. It was probably in a matter of a few months. The result was all those different canyon systems we see going from the Grand Canyon on up to Zion National Park up in Utah and some of the other canyons like Canyon National Park. Those were all formed as a result of that catastrophe. Anyway since we were in Psalm 104 I just thought we’d take that little side trip.
Psalm 104:30 says that God the Holy Spirit was involved in creation. So He is attributed omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience by various passages in both Old and New Testaments. Again, if the Holy Spirit is given the attributes of God and if the Holy Spirit is equated with God in numerous passages, then our only conclusion is that God the Holy Spirit must be divine.
Now let’s move on to another point and that is that God the Holy Spirit is identified as being equivalent to God the Son in passages such as John 14:16 (Slide 22). He is called another Helper or another Comforter, depending on your translation. Jesus says, “I will pray the Father [the Son praying to the Father] that He will give you [talking to the disciples] another Helper.” The Greek word there for another is the word ALLOS. There are two different words that mean another in Greek. There are ALLOS and HETEROS. HETEROS is a word that we use [not very popular word today when they’re more focused on the word HOMO]. HETEROS means another of a different kind, like when you have heterosexuality, you have male and female. When you have homosexuality that’s talking about the same thing. ALLOS is a word that describes another of the same kind, whereas HETEROS identifies another of a different kind. Here Jesus is praying that God will send another Encourager of the same kind. The same kind as who? The same kind as Him, Jesus. Since He is divine, the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Encourager, is divine. That’s another indicator that God the Holy Spirit is divine.
Another indicator of His deity is that He’s treated as a distinct person. A person has intellect and will. A person can think and makes choices. A person is capable of having relationship. What you have is that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have an eternal relationship that is not dependent on any creature. Therefore, God is what they call independent. He is not dependent upon His creatures for anything. Unlike Allah and unlike the Mormon gods who are dependent upon their creation for something, God is independent and self-sufficient, and He is not dependent upon His creatures for anything. He doesn’t have to have creatures in order to have an object for love. God the Father loves God the Son. God the Son loves God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit loves God the Father and God the Son. There’s no need for Them to have creatures in order for Them to have an object for their love or someone to love Them.
(Slide 23) God the Holy Spirit is described as a Person with intellect and will. For example, in 1 Corinthians 2:10–11 it says, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” This says that the Spirit of God knows something. He has intellect so that’s important.
(Slide 24) We look at a passage like Romans 8:27, “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” The Spirit has mind, has intellect and the word here in the Greek that is used indicates thought process, intelligence, the ability to reason, the ability to think through issues and problems, doing analysis and logic. So the Spirit has the ability to perform intellectual activity.
(Slide 25) The Holy Spirit is also able to be rejected. Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” This is an anthropopathism but it helps us to understand that the Holy Spirit can be rejected by human beings who do not want to obey Him. I do not believe that God has emotion like man does because emotion is a responder and God is eternally present to all of His knowledge all of the time. Therefore when you have things like God is angry, He would always be angry because He always knows. When God got angry at Israel, how long did God know that Israel was going to sin like that? Forever and ever and ever so if God always knew that, God was always angry about that. We have a real problem trying to explain emotion with God. Emotion is much better understood as something God built in to the creature. It doesn’t mean emotion is sinful. It just means it’s creaturely.
(Slide26) The Holy Spirit exercises will. 1 Corinthians 12:11, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” He has His own volition. Because of the unity of the Trinity, They never operate independently of each other but they do have their own will. So God the Holy Spirit exercises His own will.
(Slide 27) The Holy Spirit is also able to pray for us. He not only distributes spiritual gift as He wills but He also is able to pray for us. Romans 8:26 says He is our intercessor. That’s why we don’t pray to the Holy Spirit because He’s praying for us. We don’t pray to Jesus because He’s interceding for us. You don’t pray to your intercessor. You pray to God the Father. This is one of things that is a problem in Romans Catholic theology because they’re always praying to Mary.
We had a young lady on the trip. She is married to a guy who is a Special Forces guy. She grew up in a richly mystical, Italian Catholic family. When she gave her testimony she said it was like the opening scene in Godfather 2 when they’re having a parade down the streets of New York. They have the big statue of the Virgin Mary and everyone’s running out and pinning money on the statue. She said you never heard about Jesus. All you ever heard about was the Virgin Mary. That is a huge distraction, she said, to understanding Jesus and the importance of Jesus because it’s all about Mary. So you pray to Mary. You pray to the saints. You forget about Jesus and God the Father. They become almost meaningless in those particular systems.
The Holy Spirit is the One who prays for us, He intercedes for us; And then Acts 8:39 points out that the Holy Spirit also can perform a miracle. These are acts of an individual person when He took Phillip away, took him to Samaria miraculously after he had witnessed to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:39.
(Slide 28) Another point is in John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth.” The word there for “He” is the Greek word HEAUTOU which is a masculine reflexive pronoun there. Now the word Spirit [this is where we get into Greek grammar] the noun Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit. But it is the word PNEUMA, which is a neuter noun so grammatically you would refer to a neuter noun with a neuter pronoun, but when you refer to a neuter noun with a masculine pronoun, you’re making a point that that which is described by the neuter noun is a Person. “He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority.” That word “own”, again, is EKEINOS which is a masculine form referring back to the Spirit which is a neuter noun. There are numerous references like this in the Scripture that indicate God the Holy Spirit is a Person because He is referred to by a masculine pronoun. That doesn’t mean He’s masculine. Words have gender. People have sex. People have destroyed those distinctions in language. Gender doesn’t have anything to do with a word’s sexual orientation.
In German the word “fraulein” is a neuter word. Gene, you’ve been to Germany. Do you know any neuter “frauleins”? No, hardly. So it has nothing to do with that. A fenster [a fun word in German] is a feminine noun. I’ve never seen a masculine or a feminine window. I’ve seen some feminine window dressing but I’ve never seen a feminine window. The gender assigned to nouns has nothing to do with any kind of sexual orientation. One of my favorite words coming out of that is defenestration, which means to throw yourself out of a window.
(Slide 29) 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is a Member of the Trinity who oversees revelation. Prophecy did not come by man’s will but God the Holy Spirit moved upon them. The word used there is similar to a word that is used to describe the wind moving a sailing vessel. It’s unseen but it’s felt. That’s the role of God the Holy Spirit. He’s unseen but His presence is felt and moves them along. It doesn’t matter what the sailors do. It’s the wind that moves them in the correct direction.
(Slide 30) This is affirmed by Old Testament passages such as 2 Samuel 23:2 where David says, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.” So God the Holy Spirit is the One breathing out the Word of God through the writers of Scripture. Another passage is in Micah 3:8 where Micah writes, “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.” So it’s God the Holy Spirit who is providing the inspiration and the power for Micah to write his indictment of Judah.
(Slide 31) Then we have passages like Matthew 22:43, where Jesus asks how does David in the Spirit call him Lord, referring to Psalm 110. God the Holy Spirit inspired David in his verbiage. (Slide 32) Another passage is in Acts 1:16, “Men and brethren [Peter said] this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David.” Here the Holy Spirit was the Agent of revelation. (Slide 33) Acts 4:25 says, “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things?” There’s the passage that indicates David speaks through God the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion we see that along with these other passages on the Trinity, 1 Peter 1:2 is a critical passage on the Trinity, mentioning Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as distinct entities. From this we’re going to get into a distinction from God the Son and God the Father in verse 3. (Slide 35) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy …”
Who have we seen so far? God the Father and God the Son. Then there’s an allusion to God the Holy Spirit because it says “God has begotten us again to a living hope.” We’ll look at the doctrine of regeneration next time but the Agent of regeneration is God the Holy Spirit. In verse 3 we have the specific and overt mention of the Father and the Son and then an allusion to the Holy Spirit by way of His activity in regeneration. God the Father is the One who ultimately causes regeneration, but it is God the Holy Spirit who is the Agent of regeneration. God the Father is the one who has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We’ll come back next time and begin with our understanding of regeneration. It’s a very important doctrine that is often misunderstood today. Often misunderstood, especially in many reformed circles and Calvinist and lordship circles, who miss the boat a little bit on understanding regeneration.
“Father thank You for this opportunity to study Your Word this evening. To reflect upon what it says and to come to understand how You exist as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Father, we’re just reminded so much that the Word of God is not about us but it’s about You and teaching us who You are and how we’re to respond to You in our lives. To respond to You means most of all that we need to know You and understand You, which only comes through a study of Your Word. Father, we pray you’ll challenge us with what we study today that we may walk more consistently by God the Holy Spirit. In Christ’s name. Amen.”