We’ve begun looking at the names of God and how they help us understand him better. We’ve seen that God is called ‘The Father’ but also ‘The Son’. We also know from the Scriptures that God is referred to as ‘the Holy Spirit’.
For example Paul, quoting from Isaiah, says: ‘”No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”-but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:9-11).
Thus the Scriptures declare that there is one God yet three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But what does the fact that one of the persons of God is called ‘Spirit’ teach us about God? There are many answers to that question. But one thing we can learn about God is his life giving work.
The word for Spirit in both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament can also mean ‘breath’. And breath implies life. Humans know this all too well. If we don’t breathe, we die.
So if we understand that God is Spirit, it helps us to understand that he is the one who gives life.
In Genesis, when God creates the world and gives life to all creation, we see his Spirit (breath) is present: ‘Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters’ (Genesis 1:2). The same idea that God’s breath gives physical life is present when God makes Adam, the first man. We read: ‘…the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life’ (Genesis 2:7). Elihu in the book of Job also says: ‘The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life’ (Job 33:4).
Then in the New Testament, Jesus speaks about a different life-giving work of the Spirit. Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders, comes to Jesus and Jesus says to him: ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit’ (John 3:5-8).
Jesus is teaching that in order to have ‘spiritual’ life, you need the Holy Spirit to blow in your direction and give birth to you. Physical life is insufficient to inherit the kingdom of God. You need spiritual life. Only if you start breathing by the ‘Breath of God’ can you enter the kingdom of heaven.
So the fact that God is called the Spirit helps us to understand how we are completely dependent upon God. He is our oxygen. Without him, we cannot breathe on this earth. Without him, we cannot breathe for all eternity in paradise.
So do you trust in the Holy Spirit for your life here on earth? Do you trust him for life eternal? Joel Radford