The mysterious Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is probably also the most misunderstood or overlooked.
But whether we understand Him or not, the fact is, the Holy Spirit is God. He is worthy of worship, just as much as God the Father and God the Son, Jesus. But it would probably be easier to worship Him if you understood Him a little better.
So, just to clear up the confusion, let’s take a crash course on the Holy Spirit:
Third Person doesn’t mean third place.
The Holy Spirit is often called the Third Person of the Trinity. God the Father is the First Person. Jesus, or God the Son, is the Second Person, because He is the One and Only Son (John 3:16). That makes God the Holy Spirit the Third Person. According to John 15:26, He goes out from the Father, and He testifies about Christ. He is also called the Spirit of Christ in Romans 8:9; the Spirit of the Son (Galatians 4:6); and the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7).
But the Holy Spirit isn’t inferior in any way to the First and Second Persons of the Trinity. Genesis 1:2 tells us He was present at creation. He is eternal, just like the Father and the Son (Heb. 9:14). He has all the attributes of God. He’s all-powerful (Luke 1:35); He’s all-present (Ps. 139:7-10); and He knows all things (1 Cor. 2:10). In other words, the Holy Spirit coexists with the Father and the Son, and is co-equal with them.
But what does He actually do?
So, now you understand that the Holy Spirit is God, but you may be wondering what His role is in your daily life. To help you understand, think about four C’s:
The Holy Spirit convicts you.
The first step when you became a Christian was to become aware that you were a sinner. Who do you think made you aware of your sin? Yep. The Holy Spirit.
In John 16:8, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. So not only does He help you realize your sinfulness, He also helps you to understand what it means to be righteous.
The Holy Spirit converts you.
Once you became aware of your sin, it was the Holy Spirit who enabled you to be born again. Jesus told Nicodemus that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). And 1 Corinthians 12:3 teaches us that the only reason anyone can say “Jesus is Lord” is because of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit controls you.
This doesn’t mean He possesses you, or that you lose control. What it does mean is that Christians joyfully and willingly submit themselves to the Holy Spirit’s control. When we allow ourselves to be controlled (what Ephesians 5:18 describes as “being filled”) by the Spirit, He dwells in us and influences our behavior. As a result, our lives are characterized by what Galatians 5:22-23 calls the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In addition to the fruit of the Spirit, every believer receives at least one spiritual gift, which he or she is supposed to use to help build up the body of Christ. First Corinthians 12:7-11 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is the source of these gifts.
The Holy Spirit counsels you.
Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things (John 14:26) and guide them in all truth (John 16:13). To put it simply, the Holy Spirit helps believers understand what the Bible means. Which makes sense; after all—He inspired it (2 Peter 1:21)! He also helps us when we pray. Romans 8:26 tells us that even when we don’t know what to pray for or how to pray, it’s the Holy Spirit that helps us.
So there you have it: Holy Spirit 101. Do you understand everything there is to understand about the Holy Spirit now? Of course you don’t!
We will never be able to completely understand the mystery of the Trinity. God is beyond our complete understanding. But hopefully you now understand the Holy Spirit a little more—enough to allow Him to control your actions and behavior, and empower you to do God’s work in this world.