by Pastor-Missionary David Cox
Let me begin by observing that in many doctrinal books on the Holy Spirit as well as Systematic Theologies, they all seem to present the Holy Spirit in certain ways, foci, and other manners. I would like to declare what I believe in central in the Bible’s teaching on the Holy Spirit.
The first thing that I see so many writers “take off on” is the fact that the third person of the Trinity is called a Spirit. God is Spirit. We are composed of a spirit. But being a spirit is not the principal focus of the Holy Spirit. People want to go off on mysticism as to what we should be focusing on. That is wrong. A spirit is something that is a person without a body, or a human, and that spirit or animating part of their being is attached to the flesh and bones part of the body. When the person’s spirit leaves him, his body is dead, and there is no further life in that body until the resurrection.
The third person of Trinity is Holy. He sets apart people to make them dedicated unto God. So His work is to make people holy, and as obvious as this is, so many writers and people miss this point completely. They pick up other points and miss the obvious.
A famous Pentecostal TV preacher had his Sunday TV service every week where he declared that God was filling him with the Holy Spirit at that very moment and that God was going to do miracles before the TV cameras (but not during commercials so stay tuned after the commercials to see it). Then it came out that Saturday night he was picked up by local police downtown with hookers, and that he regularly frequented hookers on Saturday nights before his Sunday service.
This is the disconnect I see often. If the Holy Spirit is filling a person, there can be no other option except “holiness” saturating that person, and this is very obviously NOT happening in these holiness preachers (and even the plain Pentecostal church member). So the “spirit” mysticism that overtakes these people are demons, not the Spirit of Holiness the Bible talks about.
The Holy Spirit’s principle “work” or function
There is a dynamic that we clearly understand if we are to understand the Holy Spirit at all. First, there is God the Father. He is attributed with having the plan, “his will”. This is the perfect will of God. Secondly, there is the Son. Between the perfect will of God and man, there is man’s sin. So the Son’s work is to save man. But the Holy Spirit also enters in here. While Jesus’ work makes us guilty free before the court of God or judicially, that does not address the fact that we still sin even though we are saved. Here enters the Holy Spirit. He makes us sinless. Yes, for now (this side of eternity) we still have constant, or daily sins. But the point is that God’s power is channeled through the Holy Spirit to sanctify us actually, while we are here on the earth, before our death. After our death, the Holy Spirit will finish the job as we walk into heaven.
For more insights, see Cox- Notes on the Filling of the Holy Spirit.