The Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit
Every human being has a spirit given by God (Job 32:8; Pro. 20:27; Ecc. 12:7; Act 7:59; 1 Cor. 2:11; 6:20). The Lord Jesus Christ was not only a man, but He was also God when He came to this earth (Php. 2:6-11; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:2; Isa. 9:6). The big difference between the Lord Jesus Christ and ordinary human beings is that while we were given human spirits when we were born, Christ’s conception was “of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 1:20-21; Lk. 1:31-35). In the flesh He was a man, and in the Spirit He was God. Just as one cannot regard the spirit within a man as a different person from the man, one must not think of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit as two separate Persons. The Holy Bible reveals that the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are in truth, one and the same Divine Person.
I have been asked this question many times. “If the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the same Divine Person then how do you explain His baptism in the River Jordan? The Bible states the Holy Spirit descended from heaven and remained upon Him. (Jn.1:32-33) Does it not prove that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are two separate Persons? Here is a simple answer to a seemingly complex question. The answer is No! It does not prove anything like that at all. Let us understand this truth very clearly.
First, the dove that appeared after the baptism of Jesus Christ is not a Person but a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Just like on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was manifested as the sound of a rushing mighty wind and also as divided tongues of fire. You cannot say that God is the wind or He was divided into one hundred and twenty tongues of fire. Some wrongly teach the dove in the River Jordan is the Third Person of the “Holy Trinity”. This is blasphemy and idolatry. God is not a dove.
Second, when Jesus Christ was baptized in the River Jordan He was not the Second Person of the “Holy Trinity” who was baptized. God is Spirit and He cannot be baptized and also He needs no baptism. It was Jesus the Son of Man who was baptized. Remember that Jesus has two natures. He has both divine and human nature. He is both God and man at the same time. As God Jesus is the Spirit who is invisible, and as man Jesus is visible because He is in human form. The Person who was baptized by John in the River Jordan is not the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. How can John baptize God? It was the Son of Man Jesus Christ who was baptized. This is the plain and simple truth!
By the way, I personally do not use the non-biblical terminology of “Holy Trinity.” It confuses a lot of people. I prefer to use Bible words.
The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Php. 1:19), “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2). The Lord Jesus Christ promised His disciples, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (Jn. 14:18). The only way in which believers can have the Comforter or Helper go into them is for the Lord Jesus to leave the world first, then receive Him in the Spirit (Jn. 16:7).
From the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ we discover there are three stages of the believers’ relationship with the Holy Spirit.
1. Initial Stage
Some call it the moving of the Spirit like the experiences of the Old Testament believers. When the Spirit came upon the seventy elders they prophesied but they never did so again (Num. 11:25). The Spirit of the Lord came upon His servants and they could perform great feats (Jud. 3:10; 6:34; 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Sam. 10:10; 19:20). The disciples of Jesus were familiar with these spiritual experiences. Our Lord spoke to them: “Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (Jn. 14:17) At this stage the Holy Spirit dwells with the believer temporarily but not permanently. The apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor.12:3) At this stage the believer acknowledges Jesus as his Lord and Savior. “And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven.” (Mt. 16:16-17) This is the stage that most Christians are in.
2. Intermediate Stage
On the same evening after His resurrection our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to His disciples. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn. 20:21-23) At that time our Lord had given the disciples only a measure of the Holy Spirit and not its fullness. He said: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (Jn. 16:7) There are several reasons Jesus gave His disciples a measure of the Holy Spirit.
A. Receiving the Holy Spirit is the sign that they were sent by the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 20:21-22). They were also authorized and empowered to baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Jn. 20:21-23; Acts 2:38; 22:16).
B. The disciples were also gripped with fear (Jn. 20:19). Receiving the Holy Spirit would remove the fear (Rom. 8:15; 2 Tim. 1:7)
C. The disciples could not bear and accept many things, and receiving the Holy Spirit would help them have a better understanding of the things that Jesus would speak to them pertaining to the Kingdom of God (Jn. 16:12-13; Acts 1:1-3)
3. Baptism of the Holy Spirit Stage
During the intermediate stage our Lord Jesus Christ was preparing His disciples to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5) Here is one of the reasons Jesus gave for the Spirit baptism. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) There are also several other strong reasons for receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Here is what the Holy Spirit does for believers.
A. He enables them to enter the Kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3-8).
B. He identifies believers who belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9)
C. He gives the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession (Eph. 1:13-14).
D. He gives life to the believers (Rom. 8:11)
E. He sanctifies the believers (Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thes 2:13).
F. He produces fruit in the life of the believers (Gal. 5:22-23)
G. He imparts gifts to the believers (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor 12:1-11)
H. He enables believers to receive teachings and instructions (Jn. 14:26; 1 Jn. 2:24-27)
I. He frees believers from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2)
J. He helps believers in their prayers (Rom. 8:26-27; Jude 20)
It is a commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ for us to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5)
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)
A sermon based on this article was preached by Paul Wong
to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on March 31, 2001
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May God bless you.
Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the
President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational.