‘HOLY SPIRIT’ IS PERSONAL CONNECTION WITH GOD
The Holy Spirit is the part of God’s trinity that connects with our human spirit (see Topics 7-8). This gives Christians a personal relationship with God and a supernatural power for daily living.
The power is not because of a mysterious flow of energy but because God enters the life of a Christian as his or her personal counselor. (Jesus used the names ‘Holy Spirit’ and ‘Counselor’ interchangeably.) The practical result of good counsel is wisdom, strength, success, confidence and happiness.
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual counsel: how to have inner peace in the midst of trouble; how to develop good character; how to overcome worry, depression, loneliness and boredom; how to optimize physical health; how to help others; etc. The Holy Spirit is the constant inner divine presence, making a person complete, providing new and better motivations, and making it possible to live a good life with little self-effort.
Because this counsel, when heeded, promotes a happy and healthy life, there are practical benefits which result, such as greater success on the job and better relationships with family and friends. However, because the counsel is holy, it’s not available for selfish motives of physical or ego gratification.
WHY GOD CALLS PART OF HIS TRINITY ‘HOLY SPIRIT’
God chose spirit as the best word to describe a basic part of his trinity and a basic part of our trinity. The Greek word for spirit literally means ‘wind’ or ‘breath.’ Our modern translation of the word means ‘an incorporeal life principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling and action.’
When a person opens his spirit to the Holy Spirit, he has the breath of God within him. The spirit-part of trinity is a life-directing worship and communication connection between God and man.
The Bible uses the term ‘Holy Spirit’ – or simply ‘Spirit’ with a capital ‘S’ – when referring to God’s trinity. The Bible uses the word ‘spirit’ with a small ‘s’ when referring to man’s trinity. The meaning of the word ‘Holy’ is explained in Topic 47.
The Holy Spirit IS God – not a force or influence. Therefore, the Holy Spirit should be referred to as ‘he’ rather than ‘it.’
Jesus told his disciples that after his death and resurrection they would receive the Holy Spirit... God IN us, not just AMONG us! Various terms are used in the Bible to describe this inner presence of God in the life of a Christian, including ‘gift of the Holy Spirit, ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit,’ and ‘filled with the Holy Spirit.’
Before a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit is outside his life. Even from the outside, however, a person can often ‘hear’ the Holy Spirit convicting him of sin, telling him of his need for Jesus Christ, and pleading to be invited in. People are miserable when they resist the Holy Spirit and reject Jesus Christ. In fact, this is the worst possible sin, and it’s the only sin that’s absolutely fatal (see Topic 6).
After a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit is inside his life. A person still has free will and therefore may choose at times, and to degrees, to tune out the counsel of the Holy Spirit. The Bible calls this ‘grieving’ or ‘quenching’ the Holy Spirit. A person doesn’t cease being a Christian because he does this, but he loses spiritual energy and vitality. Fortunately, God forgives easily and a good relationship can be re-established quickly (see Topic 75).
God within is different from the concept most people have of God. Most people think of him only as God in heaven – remote and distant – because they don’t understand the trinity and don’t know him personally.
TRINITY MAKES PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP POSSIBLE
The trinity design – God’s trinity and our trinity – is what makes it possible for infinite God to have a personal relationship with finite man.
If God were only the Father, we could enjoy his creation but we couldn’t know him.
If God were just Father and Son, we could have better understanding and forgiveness of sin, but we still wouldn’t really know him.
But because God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the full trinity – we can enjoy his creation, understand him, have forgiveness of sin and know him personally!
There are many similarities between God’s physical design plan and his spiritual design plan. Thinking about the physical world helps us understand the spiritual world.
For example, we know how physical connections work. We connect two wires, and light comes on (see Topic 8). We connect two pipes, and H2O flows from one to the other in the form of water, steam or particle ice (see Topic 40).
Other examples: We connect a heat duct to a furnace... we connect a monitor to a computer... we connect oxygen to plutonium...
At the time the Bible was written, people didn’t know about wires, pipes, chemical bonding and many other examples of physical connection we know today. So, using grape vines as an example of that day, Jesus explained how a branch from an old vine can be ‘grafted’ (cut and reconnected) into a new vine and life miraculously flows from the vine into the grafted branch as if that branch had always been there.
These examples of connections in the physical world have important counterparts in the spiritual world. By personal act of the will, we can leave our spirit unconnected, or we can connect it to God’s spirit, or we can connect it to ‘evil spirits’.
The Bible says there’s only one spiritual connection we should make and this connection can be made easily and quickly (see Topic 62). We should accept Jesus Christ as our savior and this automatically connects our spirit to God’s spirit (i.e., it brings God inside of us and establishes an eternal personal relationship).
Here's a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.
Son is not now physically present in world, but Holy Spirit is spiritually present
John 14:17, Romans 8:9, I Corinthians 3:16
Holy Spirit indwells (lives within) Christians
Holy Spirit communicates with human spirit
John 14:16 and 26, John 15:26, John 16:7-15
Holy Spirit is Counselor
Holy Spirit gives us power to live a good life
Ephesians 4:30, I Thessalonians 5:19
We shouldn’t grieve or quench Holy Spirit
I Corinthians 6:19
Body is temple of the Holy Spirit
For help, see Topic 29.