The Holy Spirit is God

November 18, 2021 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement

In the last two Sundays, we have been considering the words of Jesus about the Holy Spirit in John 16. Jesus says, “It is to your advantage that I go away” (v. 7). The “advantage” Jesus is speaking about is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our attention these past two Sundays has been on the work of the Spirit. He convicts, guides, and glorifies, all activity that blesses us by deepening our faith and enjoyment in Christ our Savior. 

There is one other dynamic about the Holy Spirit that Jesus mentions, which highlights the advantage we have when we receive the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. Now, Jesus does not explicitly state, “The Holy Spirit is God himself and he will be with you.” But he does not hide the fact that he believes the Spirit is God himself and he wants us to receive him as such. How so? In the word, “declare.” 

In the span of three verses, Jesus says the Spirit will “declare” things that are to come and what is his (v. 13-15). Perhaps to our normal Bible reading ears, the use of this word doesn’t register as unique or important. We have seen, however, throughout John’s writing of his gospel that the Old Testament scriptures have shaped his understanding of the life of Christ. John has demonstrated multiple times that Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT expectation for the coming Messiah. We know that John has the prophet Isaiah on his mind as he is writing, quoting Isaiah in John 12:37-43. Compare with me, then, these verses from Isaiah with what Jesus says about the Spirit in John 16:13-15. 

Isaiah 44:6-8

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” 

The word “declare” used three times in these verses is the same Greek word in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT) used by John to speak about the Holy Spirit. The word “declare” is no menial word in Isaiah. God uses his ability to “declare” the things to come as a mark of his uniqueness as the only God. There is no god besides Yahweh (Lord). And this becomes a source of comfort for the people of Israel. God commands, “Fear not, nor be afraid.” Why? Because he has “declared” from of old what is to come. 

Take that background from Isaiah and apply it to what we learn about the Spirit in John 16. Jesus says the Spirit will “declare to you the things that are to come” (v. 13). Yahweh says that there is no god (and no human, for that matter) who declares what is to come but himself. Our only conclusion can be the Holy Spirit is God himself. He does what only God can do. Jesus continues by saying that the Spirit takes what is Jesus’ and declares it to us. All that the Father has is Jesus’, therefore the Spirit takes what is Jesus’ (and, ultimately, the Father’s) and declares it to us. 

In Isaiah, the people of God find comfort in the fact that God has declared who he is and what he plans to do. Therefore, “do not fear.” God does not hide from his people. This rich promise is repeated in John 16. The Spirit will declare the things to come. The Spirit declares the things of Christ and the Father. God is not hiding from his people. 

Fear not; nor be afraid. We have the Holy Spirit! Is there a God besides him? There is no other Rock! I know not any.


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