The Deity of The Holy Spirit
Countless pages have been written about the deity of the Holy Spirit. Key arguments include his biblical titles, attributes and works. One straightforward and simple summary of the person and work of the Holy Spirit comes from the Westminster Confession for Today:
The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, proceeding from the Father and the Son, of the same substance and the equal in power and glory is, together with the Father and the Son, to be believed in, loved, obeyed, and worshiped throughout all ages.
He is the Lord and giver of life, everywhere present, and is the source of all good thoughts, pure desires, and holy counsels in men. By him the prophets were moved to speak the word of God, and all the writers of the Holy Scriptures inspired to record infallibly the mind and will of God. The dispensation of the gospel is especially committed to him. He prepares the way for it, accompanies it with his persuasive power, and urges its message upon the reason and conscience of men, so that they who reject its merciful offer are not only without excuse, but are also guilty of resisting the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, whom the Father is ever willing to give to all who ask him, is the only efficient agent in the application of redemption. He regenerates men by his grace, convicts them of sin, moves them to repentance, and persuades and enables them to embrace Jesus Christ by faith. He unites all believers to Christ, dwells in them as their Comforter and Sanctifier, gives to them the spirit of Adoption and Prayer, and performs all those gracious offices by which they are sanctified and sealed unto the day of redemption.
By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit all believers being vitally united to Christ who is the head, are thus united one to another in the church, which is his body. He calls and anoints ministers for their holy office, qualifies all other officers in the church for their special work, and imparts various gifts and graces to its members. He gives efficacy to the word and to the ordinances of the gospel. By him the church will be preserved, increased, purified, and at last made perfectly holy in the presence of God. 1
Throughout the scriptures the Spirit is identified with God (Genesis 1:2, 2 Samuel 23:2-3; Matthew 12:31-31; Acts 5:1-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; Ephesians 2:22). In the Great Commission passage (Matthew 28:19) the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are described with the singular word “name” indicating the deity and unity of all three members of the trinity. In 2 Corinthians 13:14 we see a similar unity, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” In another case, the inspiration of Scripture is attributed to God (Hebrews 1:1) but in 2 Peter 1:21 to the Holy Spirit.
In essence the Holy Spirit is the power of God acting from the beginning to the end of human history. The scripture explains that the Spirit possesses all the attributes of God in the fullness that belongs to God. The Holy Spirit is not some diminished version of deity. The Holy Spirit participates fully in all God’s works. He is as sovereign, holy, gracious, merciful, powerful, and loving as the Father and the Son. We are to worship the Holy Spirit as fully as the Father and the Son.
Practically speaking, I love the way one puritan writer from the 1600’s stated it, “Our worship is sometimes with the Father and then with the Son, and then with the Spirit. Sometimes the believer’s heart is drawn out to consider the Father’s love in choosing, and then the love of the Son in redeeming. And sometimes His heart is drawn to the love of the Holy Spirit that searches the deep things of God and reveals them to us. . . We should never be satisfied with our worship until all three persons lie level in us and we sit in the middle of them while they all manifest their love to us.” 2
1. George S. Hendry, The Westminster Confession for Today (Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press, 1960) 118-119
2. Thomas Goodwin, The Works of Thomas Goodwin, volume 8, The Object and Acts of Justifying Faith (Edinburg: James Nichol, 1864) 378 – 379