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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Identity of the Holy Spirit

Don Stewart :: Has the Holy Spirit Performed Divine Works?

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Has the Holy Spirit Performed Divine Works?

The Identity of the Holy Spirit – Question 14

The Holy Spirit is the member of the Godhead which consists of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As God we find that He executes the work of God in both the physical and moral realm. Indeed, He performs certain works that only God can perform. We can cite the following evidence.

1. The Holy Spirit Was Involved in the Creation of the Universe

The creation of the entire universe was attributed to the Holy Spirit. In the opening chapter of Scripture, we read the following.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:2 NIV).

Some translations do not see this as a reference to the Holy Spirit but rather of a “wind” sent from God.

The Hebrew word ruach can mean spirit or wind depending upon the context. Most translations assume that it refers to the Holy Spirit.

In the Book of Job, we are told the beautifying of the heavens was the work of the Spirit of God. We read.

His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent (Job 26:13 NLT).

It is the Spirit of God who made the heavens beautiful.

The psalmist described the creation in the following manner.

What a large number of things you have made, O LORD! You made them all by wisdom. The earth is filled with your creatures. The sea is so big and wide with countless creatures, living things both large and small. Ships sail on it, and Leviathan, which you made, plays in it. (Psalm 104:2-26 God’s Word).

After describing the creation, which He attributes to the Lord, the psalmist emphasizes it is the Spirit of God who created everything. He wrote.

When you send your Spirit, new life is born to replenish all the living of the earth (Psalm 104:30 NLT).

The Holy Spirit is the Creator of all.

2. The Holy Spirit Was Involved in the Creation of Life

The Holy Spirit was also involved in the creation of life. Through the Holy Spirit of God, Adam, the first man was created. We read of this in the Book of Genesis.

Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7 NRSV).

The Spirit of God was indeed involved in the creation of life.

The patriarch Job also acknowledged that God’s Spirit was involved in the creation of life. He put it this way.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4 NIV).

Again, we have the testimony of this work of the Holy Spirit.

The psalmist also emphasized how the Spirit of God works in creating and renewing “living things.” He wrote.

When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. (Psalm 104:30 NIV).

The Holy Spirit creates and renews.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit is the One who gives life.

It is the Spirit who gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life (John 6:63 NLT).

Again, creation of life is a work of God alone.

The Apostle Paul wrote about the life-giving Spirit of God.

And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death (Romans 8:2 NLT).

Thus, the Scripture consistently says that Holy Spirit is involved in the creation of life itself.

3. The Holy Spirit Can Predict the Future

Only God can accurately predict the future. However, we are told that predictive prophecy is actually done through the Person of the Holy Spirit. Peter wrote.

Some prophets told how kind God would be to you, and they searched hard to find out more about the way you would be saved. The Spirit of Christ was in them and was telling them how Christ would suffer and would then be given great honor. So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen. But they were told that they were serving you and not themselves. They preached to you by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven. And their message was only for you, even though angels would like to know more about it. (1 Peter 1:10-12 CEV).

Again, if only God knows the future, and if the Holy Spirit knows the future, then the Holy Spirit must be God.

4. The Holy Spirit Divinely Inspired the Bible

The Bible is the written Word of God. We find that God the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source behind the books of the Bible. Peter wrote.

First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20, 21 NRSV).

Since God is the ultimate source of Scripture, this is further evidence that the Holy Spirit is indeed God. In addition, we find that the Apostle Paul tells us that all Scripture is God-breathed. We read.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV)

Consequently, the Holy Spirit, the source of biblical truth, must be God.

5. The Holy Spirit Transported People from One Place to Another

We have a number of examples in Scripture where the Holy Spirit supernaturally took believers from one place and brought them to another place.

The Holy Spirit Transported Ezekiel

This happened three different times to the prophet Ezekiel. We read.

Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the LORD that faces east. There at the entrance to the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people (Ezekiel 11:1 NIV).

The Holy Spirit brought the prophet Ezekiel to the temple.

On another occasion the Lord took Ezekiel to the valley of dry bones. We read.

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones (Ezekiel 37:1 NIV)

Again, this is a supernatural work of the Spirit.

On a third occasion, Ezekiel was brought to the inner courtyard of the temple.

Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple (Ezekiel 43:5 NIV)

Thus, we find the prophet being supernaturally transported on these three occasions. Each time it was by the Spirit of God.

6. Elijah Spoke of the Ability of the Spirit to Transport Someone

The prophet Elijah thought that the Spirit of the Lord may take the younger prophet Elisha away. He said the following to Elisha.

But when I leave you, the Spirit of the LORD may carry you off to some place I don’t know. Then when I go report to Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. But [I], your servant, have feared the LORD from my youth (1 Kings 18:12 HCSB).

Elijah knew that the Spirit of the Lord had this ability.

The Holy Spirit Took Elijah Away

The Spirit of the Lord then took Elijah away. After this event some of the people asked the prophet Elisha if they should look for him.

“There are fifty strong men here with us. Please let them go look for your master. Maybe the Spirit of the Lord carried him off to some mountain or valley.” “No,” Elisha replied, “they won’t find him” (2 Kings 2:16 CEV).

They realized that the Spirit of the Lord had the power to move a person from one place to another. Again, this is a work that only God can do.

Philip the Evangelist Was Transported by the Holy Spirit

In the New Testament, we find that the Holy Spirit supernaturally brought Philip to another place after speaking to the Ethiopian eunuch. The Bible explains it in this manner.

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:39-40 NRSV).

This is another illustration of the Spirit’s ability.

This particular capability of the Holy Spirit, to transport people from place to place, is only something that God can do.

7. The Holy Spirit Brought Jesus Christ into the World

The Holy Spirit is the divine agent that brought Jesus, God the Son, into the world. We read of this in the Gospel of Matthew.

But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20 NRSV).

Jesus’ birth was a work of the Spirit.

Luke records the same truth. He wrote.

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35 NLT).

The Holy Spirit is the Person who brought about the humanity of Jesus Christ and His sinless nature. Since Jesus Christ has been God from all eternity, He was not brought into being at the time of His human conception. It was only the human form that came into being when He was conceived.

8. The Holy Spirit Guided Jesus Christ through His Life

The Bible says that it was the Holy Spirit who guided God the Son, Jesus Christ, during His earthly life. Scripture says.

Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Soon he became well known throughout the surrounding country (Luke 4:14 NLT).

Jesus was guided by the Spirit of God. Only God would have the ability to do this.

9. The Holy Spirit Brought Jesus Christ Back from the Dead

The Bible says that it was the Holy Spirit who brought Jesus Christ back from the dead. The Apostle Paul wrote.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11 NKJV).

Thus, the resurrection of Christ was a work of the Spirit.

Paul wrote elsewhere that Jesus was raised by the “spirit of holiness.” He said.

And was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:4 NRSV).

Thus, it was the Spirit of God who brought Jesus back from the dead into His glorified body.

Peter also said that Jesus was made alive by the Spirit.

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18 NRSV).

Therefore, we have the testimony of Scripture that it is the Spirit of God who brought Jesus back from the dead.

10. The Holy Spirit Regenerates the Believer

The work of regeneration, or giving spiritual life, is attributed to God the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote the following to Titus.

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5 TNIV).

It was through the work of the Holy Spirit that we are saved or regenerated.

Jesus Himself taught that the spiritual new birth was the work of the Holy Spirit. In a conversation with the religious leader Nicodemus, we read of the Lord saying the following.

Jesus replied, “The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. So don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8 NLT).

It is the Spirit of God who gives life.

11. The Holy Spirit Intercedes for Believers

The Holy Spirit does the divine work of interceding for believers. He speaks to God the Father on our behalf. Paul wrote.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans (Romans 8:26 TNIV).

Thus, one of the works of the Holy Spirit consists of interceding on behalf of the believer. Again, this is a work that only God can do.

12. The Spirit of God Sets Believers Apart for God’s Service

The Holy Spirit sanctifies, or sets apart believers for Christian service. Paul wrote the following to the Thessalonians.

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV).

The setting apart for service is a work of God.

Peter also wrote about the sanctifying, or setting apart work of the Holy Spirit. He said the following.

God the Father chose you long ago, and the Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Jesus Christ and are cleansed by his blood. May you have more and more of God’s special favor and wonderful peace (1 Peter 1:2 NLT).

The Holy Spirit sets apart the believer for the work of the ministry.

13. The Holy Spirit Helps Believers like Jesus Did

The Holy Spirit presently takes the place of Jesus Christ with earthly believers. Jesus promised this would happen. We read.

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you (John 14:16, 17 God’s Word).

The Spirit is the Helper. Indeed, He helps us live the way in which we ought to live.

Jesus Christ is pleading the case of believers in heaven while the Holy Spirit is helping the believers upon the earth. John wrote.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1 NASB).

The Holy Spirit helps believers in the same way as Jesus.

Conclusion: The Holy Spirit Does Things Only God Can Do

Each of these many works are works of God; for no being less than God can perform them. Since the Holy Spirit does things only that God can do – He too must be God.

Summary – Question 14
Has the Holy Spirit Performed Divine Works?

The Holy Spirit is God. There are a number of different ways in which we know this. For one thing, the Bible attributes various works to the Holy Spirit that belong to God and Him alone. They include the following. The creation of the heaven and the earth is a work of God. According to Scripture, it is also a work of the Holy Spirit.

The creation of life is something which God alone has the power of doing. Yet we are told that the Spirit of God creates life. Indeed, He was involved in the creation of the first man, Adam.

The Bible says that God alone predicts the future accurately. Indeed, no other being in the universe can know what will happen in the future. The Scripture also tells us that it is the Holy Spirit who actually predicts the future. Thus, He must be God.

The Holy Spirit is the One who divinely inspired the Bible. The Bible also makes it clear that God is the source of Scripture. Again we conclude, the Holy Spirit must be God.

The New Testament says that Jesus Christ was brought into our world by the Holy Spirit. This too is a work of God.

It was the Spirit of the Lord who guided Jesus Christ throughout His earthly life and ministry. Only God could do something like this.

Scripture says that the Holy Spirit brought Jesus back from the dead. In another place, it tells us that God brought Jesus back from the dead.

The Bible also says that regenerating, or giving spiritual life to every believer, is a work of the Spirit of God. It is a work that only God can do.

The Holy Spirit is the One who intercedes to God on behalf of each believer. No human is able to do this.

The Spirit of God also sets apart believers for God’s service. This too is a work of God alone. The Spirit of the Lord helps believers become like Jesus Christ. This is a supernatural work of the Lord; something only God can do

Consequently, the evidence clearly demonstrates that the Holy Spirit is God Himself.

Does the Holy Spirit Have the Attributes of God? ← Prior Section
What Different Titles Are Ascribed to the Spirit of God? Next Section →
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