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

Don Stewart :: Why Is the Holy Spirit Called, "the Spirit of Jesus Christ" and, the "Spirit of Jesus?"

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Why Is the Holy Spirit Called, “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” And, the “spirit of Jesus?”

The Identity of the Holy Spirit – Question 16

The Holy Spirit is called by a number of different titles. They include the “Spirit of Jesus Christ” and the “Spirit of Jesus.”

When Paul wrote to the Philippians he referred to the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance (Philippians 1:19 NRSV).

In the Book of Acts we read of the Spirit of Jesus.

And after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them (Acts 16:7 NASB).

The Apostle Paul, when he wrote to the Galatians, called Him, “the Spirit of His Son.”

And because you Gentiles have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father (Galatians 4:6 NLT).

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of His Son.

Is There a Distinction between Them?

Does this mean they are the same Person and there is no distinction between them? Why do we find the Holy Spirit called the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Jesus, and the Spirit of His Son?

The best answer seems to be the nature of the ministry of the Holy Spirit – Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and His job is to speak about Jesus. From Scripture we learn the following.

1. Jesus Sent the Holy Spirit

In a very real sense Jesus was the one who was the giver of the Holy Spirit. After Jesus came back from the dead, but before He ascended into heaven, He said the following to His disciples.

And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven (Luke 24:49 NLT).

Jesus said that “He” will send the Holy Spirit.

In the Gospel of John, we read about the risen Christ breathing on His disciples and telling them to “receive the Holy Spirit.” Scripture says.

Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22 CEV).

On the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter explained the source of the power they had experienced.

Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear (Acts 2:33 NKJV).

The Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus Christ and is under the authority of Jesus.

2. The Holy Spirit Speaks Only of Jesus

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be given to speak about Him. On the night of His betrayal, He said the following to His disciples.

However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you (John 14:26 God’s Word).

The Spirit of God, who will be sent in the name of the Father, will remind the believers of everything which Jesus taught. On that same night, Jesus again said that the Spirit would testify of Him. He said.

I will send you the Spirit who comes from the Father and shows what is true. The Spirit will help you and will tell you about me. Then you will also tell others about me, because you have been with me from the beginning (John 15:26-27 CEV).

The Spirit will teach these disciples the truths about Jesus.

Jesus then made these concluding remarks.

I have a lot more to tell you, but that would be too much for you now. When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into the full truth. He won’t speak on his own. He will speak what he hears and will tell you about things to come (John 16:12, 13 God’s Word).

According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit has come to glorify Jesus.

3. The Holy Spirit Glorifies Jesus Christ

The Holy Spirit now lives inside each believer in Jesus Christ. His ministry is to glorify Christ. Jesus said.

The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you. (John 16:14, 15 CEV).

His job is not to speak of Himself but rather of Jesus.

4. There Is a Close Relationship between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit

In fact, their relationship is so close that the Bible says both the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ, live in the believer. Paul wrote.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Romans 8:9, 10 NRSV).

Jesus, as well as the Spirit of God, dwells inside each believer.

Paul wrote that we have died to sin but are alive to Christ since Christ lives in us. He put it this way to the Galatians.

I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. I don’t turn my back on God’s undeserved kindness. If we can be acceptable to God by obeying the Law, it was useless for Christ to die (Galatians 2:20, 21 CEV).

Both the Son and the Spirit live in the believer.

5. The Holy Spirit Reveals Jesus in Another Way

For the disciples, the coming of the Holy Spirit was like having Jesus with them in a new and meaningful way. When Jesus was with them they felt courage to do anything. Indeed, we read of Thomas giving the following words to the disciples.

Thomas, whose nickname was “Twin,” said to the other disciples, “Come on. Let’s go, so we can die with him” (John 11:16 CEV).

There was boldness with these men when they were in the presence of Jesus.

On the other hand, when Jesus was taken away from them, these same men became fearful of the crowds. The Bible says.

Then everyone deserted him and fled (Mark 14:50 TNIV).

Therefore, when Jesus was absent from them their behavior changed.

Indeed, after Jesus’ death the disciples went into hiding. The Bible says.

In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were [gathered together] with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews. Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” (John 20:19 HCSB).

On Easter Sunday, these disciples of Jesus were hiding when He appeared to them.

When they realized Jesus had risen they were again courageous. The Bible records what occurred in this manner.

After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28 HCSB).

The presence of God, whether through the person of Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit, gives strength to believers.

6. The Holy Spirit Came down in a Unique Way on the Day of Pentecost

When the Day of Pentecost arrived, and the Holy Spirit came down on the disciples in a new and unique way, the presence of Christ was with them all the more.

Although the visible presence of the risen Christ was no longer with the disciples, the Spirit of Christ was with them always.

Conclusion: The Titles Emphasize The Holy Spirit Does The Work Of Jesus

Therefore the title “Spirit of Jesus Christ,” “Spirit of Christ,” or “Spirit of His Son” emphasizes the fact that the Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus. The Holy Spirit is not the same Person as Jesus Christ but rather He came to do Jesus’ work. In that sense He is the Spirit of Jesus.

Summary – Question 16
Why Is the Holy Spirit Called, “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” and “the Spirit of Jesus?”

The Bible makes a distinction between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They are, in fact, distinct Persons. Yet the Holy Spirit is sometimes called the Spirit of Jesus or the Spirit of Christ. This particular designation of the Holy Spirit has caused some people to assume that He and Jesus Christ are the same person. Yet, this is not the case.

The reason as to why the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Jesus Christ,” the “Spirit of Jesus,” and the “Spirit of His Son” because He was sent by Jesus to remind the world of what Jesus did – not because they are the same Person.

For the disciples, the Holy Spirit was like having Jesus with them in a new and meaningful way. While the visible presence of Jesus Christ is no longer in the world, He is with believers in the Person of the Holy Spirit. This is the likely reason the Holy Spirit is known as the Spirit of Jesus of the Spirit of Christ.

What Different Titles Are Ascribed to the Spirit of God? ← Prior Section
Should the Holy Spirit Be Singled Out for Worship? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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