Master Sermon List
Person and Attributes of the Holy Ghost
by A. B. Simpson
"God hath not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Tim. 1:7
I. The Holy Spirit is a Person.
The Holy Ghost is a distinct individual, and not a vague influence, or a phase of Divine working.
Just as there are three judges on the bench, constituting the one court, three persons in the household, constituting the one family, so there are three distinct persons in the Godhead, yet forming together the one Deity, and more perfectly one in nature, volition, and action than it is possible for any created beings to harmonize.
The Holy Spirit is constantly spoken of in the Scriptures as possessing the attributes of a person. The personal pronoun is used to describe Him not it, but He; and the strongest and most distinctive of the Greek pronouns, that word autos, which means himself, and distinguishes personality, as no English term can, is often used of Him; as, for example, in 1 Cor. xii: 11, "That one and the self-same Spirit." Again, the attribute of will is ascribed to Him in the same passage, "as He will," and there is no stronger proof of personality than the power of choice. It is the most distinctive thing in any human being, and it is constantly attributed to the Holy Ghost.
Again, all the emotions proper to a person are ascribed to Him; He knows, loves, is grieved, is provoked, vexed, resisted, and, in short, is susceptible to all the feelings that are proper only for an intelligent person.
II. The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person.
This glorious Being is no less than God. He receives the divine names. Peter tells Ananias that in lying unto the Holy Ghost he has not lied unto men but unto God. Christ declares that in casting out devils by the Holy Ghost, He does it by the finger of God. He possesses Divine attributes; He is omniscient; "The Spirit searcheth all things;" omnipresent; "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or hide from Thy Presence;" omnipotent; for Christ declares that, "The things that are impossible with men," namely, the salvation of the human soul, "are possible with God," and it is the Holy Ghost that converts the soul, therefore, He must have the omnipotence of God.
He is called the Holy Spirit, and holiness is a Divine attribute. Again, He performs the works of God; He was a partaker in the work of creation; the Spirit of light, order, beauty and life. He accomplishes the regeneration and sanctification of the soul which are divine works; He effected the incarnation and resurrection of the Son of God, and He will participate in the final resurrection of the saints of God from the tomb, at the Lord's coming.
Such works could be performed by no man, and they stamp Him as Divine. And, finally, He receives Divine worship; His name is associated with the Father and the Son in apostolic benediction, the formula of baptism, and the worship of the heavenly host. And John opens the Apocalypse with an ascription of praise, which links Him with the Father, and would be blasphemy if it were not Divine.
III. The Personal Attributes of the Holy Ghost.
Three of these only we shall mention. The three named in our text. "He is the Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
1. His power. He is Almighty. Within the sphere of His special office and operations there is nothing He cannot do; there is no case too hard for His working, no soul too lost for Him to save, too hard for Him to soften, too vile for Him to sanctify, too weak for His use. He is the Spirit of creation. Look abroad upon the springing forces of nature, throbbing in the spring-tide of life and glory; how quietly, majestically and resistlessly nature is moving on to the resurrection of the year, to the fullness and glory of the summer and the harvest; how abundant and redundant the exuberant life and power we behold on every hand, covering the forest and the field with a wealth of luxuriance of flowers, and foliage, and fruitfulness, beyond the actual needs of earth's inhabitants; scattering with tropical bounty the gifts of God, as though His strength and love were so full He knew not how to find vent for all its overflow.
Why should He be less full, less bountiful, less Almighty in the realm of grace? Nay, larger and nobler still is His promise here. "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground," is His blessed promise.
There is no stint to His resources. Let us enter into His omnipotence, and go forth knowing the might of our God, and claiming the full plentitude of His power and grace.
But mightier still is the power displayed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the apostle would lift our conception up to an adequate realization of the hope of our calling and the riches of the glory of our inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of God's power to usward who believe, he points us to that transcendent miracle, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He sees Him, without an effort, bursting the bonds of death, snapping asunder the sealed tomb, rising up above all the power of death and the natural law of mortality, above the laws of the material world, and passing through the closed door, and rising above the solid earth, as He triumphantly ascends above all might and dominion, far above all principality and power, higher and higher, till He is above the earth, above the sky, above the heavens, above every name that is named, not only in this world, but that which is to come. And then He sees us seated by His side, and raised up by the same Holy Spirit to share in all the fullness of Christ's ascension, glory and power. This is the measure of the power of grace; let us claim it in all its majestic fullness, and bring it down to lift up our life and the souls around us, to the heights of grace and glory.
2. Let us think of His love; it is greater than His power; all the terms in which He is described are notes of tenderness and expressions of gentleness, loveliness and grace. "I beseech you," says the apostle, "by the love of the Spirit." What love it was for Jesus Christ to live for thirty years and more in this uncongenial world, but oh! not less the love of the blessed Holy Ghost; He has lived for eighteen hundred years in this scene of sin, and this land of enemies.
How gentle the love of Jesus is coming so near to sinful men, but the Holy Ghost has come still nearer, but He enters our very hearts, and dwells in the inmost bosom of lost and worthless men. How marvelous the grace of Christ that endured the shame and spitting, the rejection and crucifixion of the Judgment Hall and the cross, but not less the gentleness which has pleaded for ages with wicked men, and borne all their resistance, rebellion and rejection, and yet waited through a whole life-time to win the faintest response from their faith or love.
How much He has borne from each of us; how gently and patiently He has suffered our slights, endured our ignorance, stupidity, gross, and direct disobedience!
How close He is willing to come to the heart; how unreserved and condescending His intimacy and affection; how dear we are to His affection! None but His loved ones know how exquisite and intimate the communion which we may enjoy under His feathers and wings, and on the bosom of His love; telling Him all our sorrow and care, finding Him responsive to every whisper and breathing of our heart, and ever near, by day or by night, our blessed Paraclete, and ever present One, ready to help in every time of need.
He asks more of our trust and love: Oh! let Him not ask in vain. Let us know, and prove, and fully appreciate the love of the Spirit.
3. He is the Spirit of wisdom.
Not only can He give us wisdom, but with a wisdom greater than all that we may see, He is guiding, teaching, over-ruling all our life. Let us trust His wisdom, love, and power, and as we read these succeeding pages, yield ourselves with a glad " yes" to His every call, and 'know the full blessing of "Walking in the Spirit."