The Triune God of Christianity is certainly a difficult concept for us mere mortals to comprehend. Christians hold that there is only one God, and that this one God comprises three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All three persons are one at the same time.
God the Father is certainly beyond human description, simply being described as “pure spirit” and as “pure light.”
God the Son is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, when on earth, lived among us and was wholly man and wholly God, both at the same time. The Bible describes Jesus and who He was, as in Colossians 1:15-17,
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation. For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.”
God the Holy Spirit, like God the Father, is a person beyond human imagination and ability to truly comprehend. The Holy Spirit – also called the Holy Ghost – is likened to a wind, to a breath. As John 20:22 says: “And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.”
And as the Bible tell us, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit will come and dwell inside us. This indwelling of the Holy spirit transforms us into Temples of the Living God. As First Corinthians 6:19 says “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own…”
The Holy Spirit came to live with us after Jesus returned to Heaven to sit at the right side of God the Father. Jesus told His disciples about this in John 14:16, saying “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever…”
While the Holy Spirit had been on earth since creation, He previously had only dwelt temporarily in individuals, when as the Bible says, the Spirit of the Lord came upon someone. This all changed and the world has not been the same since that day of Pentecost described in Acts 2:1-4 when the Holy spirit came to reside in the believers of Jesus Christ:
“And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly a sound came out of the heaven as borne along by the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And tongues as of fire appeared to them, being distributed; and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled of the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
The Bible versions describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:16 as the “comforter,” others call Him the “Helper.” The question is: What is the correct description for the Holy Spirit?
The Comforter or the Helper, are translations of the Greek word for the Holy Spirit, παράκλητος or paráklētos, which may be rendered in English as the “Paraclete” – literally, the one who comes alongside. For simplicity and breviary, the English bible translators use only one word in their translation of παράκλητος, but in that, they give us only the gist of the full Greek meaning. The Amplified Bible gives seven words for παράκλητος: the Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby. All of these seven, and each of these seven together, describe the qualities and characteristics of the Holy Spirit, of our Paraclete, of He who comes alongside us and He who resides within us.
Let’s look at how these descriptions are supported by scripture:
As our Counsellor:
As our counsellor, the Holy Spirit of God leads us to the truth of God and gives us wisdom when we need it.
John 14:13 says “And whatever you may ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” and
James 1:5 “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and with no reproach, and it shall be given to him.”
The Holy Spirit also works in us before we come to Christ, convicting us all of our sin, as John 16:8 says:
“And when that One comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgement.”
On occasions, the Holy Spirit has empowered me to counsel others, giving me the exact words to say, line by line. On these occasions I have heard the words in my head and I could either repeat them or paraphrase them – just as long as I spoke them. In such circumstances, the counselling hit the mark 100%, with no lost time or wasted effort.
As our Comforter:
As our Comforter, the Holy Spirit constantly reassures us that nothing and no one can separate us from the love of God.
Romans 8:15-17 says “For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father! The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; so that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together.”
Romans 8:35-39 says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For Your sake we are killed all the day long. We are counted as sheep of slaughter.”
But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As our Helper:
As our Helper, the Holy Spirit enables us to do that which we are normally unable to achieve in our own spirit, or by our own hands and effort. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to do that which is beyond our natural abilities and inclinations. The embodiment of Peter is a wonderful example of the enabling and empowering work of the Holy Spirit. When Peter left Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, in abject fear, he proceeded to deny Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Later, enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Peter went on to be perhaps the greatest Apostle, on whom Jesus built His Church. Acts 4:31 also explains the strengthening and emboldening of the Holy Spirit in believers saying “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.”
As our Advocate:
As our Advocate, the Holy Spirit pleads our case before God the Father. As lawyer pleads a case before a judge, so the Holy Spirit please our case before the maker of all creation.
As our Intercessor:
As our intercessor, the Holy Spirit prayer for us. Sometimes we can pray and know what to pray for, but sometimes we cannot. When words fail us and we cannot express to God the feelings we have, the Holy Spirit will intercede for us and pray on our behalf before God.
To share personal testimony, sometimes in prayer I know the Holy Spirit takes over and uses my tongue and mouth to speak out loud His words of prayer, not mine. When this happens, I don’t know if my accent changes, but I do know the vocabulary used is not mine, nor the sentence structuring. When the Holy spirit prays through me, it is in public and for all who hear, not particularly for me.
Romans 8:26-27 says of this intercession: “ Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
As our Strengthener:
As our Strengthener, the Holy Spirit allows us to stand, rather than take flight. When Steven stood before his persecutors, (Acts 7:54-60) the Holy Spirit strengthened him to face them. Throughout the Book of Acts and the writings of Paul and Peter, there are many, many other examples of how the Holy Spirit strengthened them too, as they carried out the Great Commission of Jesus.
As our Standby:
As our Standby, the Holy Spirit comes along side us to support us. Hebrews 13:5-6 explains it perfectly for us, saying:
“Let your way of life be without the love of money, and be content with such things as you have, for He has said, ‘Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!’ so that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.’”
The Bibleprovides other descriptions of the Holy Spirit:
As a Witness:
The Holy spirit is a witness to us from God, concerning the promises of God, as Hebrews 10:15-17 says :
“The Holy Spirit also is a witness to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put My Laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ also He adds, ‘their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.’”
As the empowerer of Prophecy:
As Second Peter 1:21 tells us “… prophecy was not borne at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke being borne along by the Holy Spirit.”
As a Teacher:
Concerning the Holy Spirit as a Teacher, in First Corinthians 2:13 we read:
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
From my own personal experience, I know the Holy Spirit is also my Teacher. On occasion, the Holy Spirit has given me advanced teachings to complete teachings provided by others. On one particular occasion as I was teaching, the Holy Spirit led me word by word, to teach the full and true version of His word. It was an amazing experience, to teach and be taught, at the same time.
Yes, the Holy Spirit also gives us dreams and visions; and He speaks to us in that small still voice all the time (1 Kings 19:12). All we need to do is slow down; incline an ear…. and listen….
And finally, Christians are warned in Ephesians 4:30 not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” This means, do not make Him mourn; we must not treat Him harshly or take Him for granted. Hebrews 10:29-31 outlines the results and consequences of grieving the Holy Spirit:
“Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, says the Lord.” And again, “The Lord shall judge His people.”
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God…..”