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The Spirit of Burning: The Person of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

As a Christian do you know who the Holy Spirit is? Do you have some concept? I am not talking about some deep theological knowledge but a basic understanding.

I am referring to the Person of the Holy Spirit here as the Spirit of Burning. There are over 32 names for the Person of the Holy Spirit in scripture. Here is a link to a book that covers that topic well. 40 Names of the Holy Spirit: Who He is, What He does and His place in your life by Bishop Fred Addo

The Holy Spirit is the third person of God. Get that? He is a person! When you talk to God the Father, Christ Jesus who is a Human (as God intended) and the Holy Spirit you speak to a PERSON. I cannot emphasize that enough. We probably know the least about this important character in the Trinity, but we learn the most about God the Father and His Son through the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is our link to God the Father and God the Son here on earth. Therefore the more we learn about the Holy Spirit the more we learn about God. What I love about titles in the Old Testament is that they assigned names to their people that had rich meanings. I think it’s a great to go back and see what the meanings are behind the names to get a better understanding of that person. The same works with God.

To come closer to God, we must be increasingly holy in our lives. What does that mean? To better understand how privileged we are in our time we need to look back to the OT times when a person had to be “holy” to get closer to God, to enter the two rooms of the Temple: the “Holy Place” and the “Most Holy Place” which held the Ark and God the Father’s presence (Judg. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25). Several sacrifices (see Leviticus) increased and accounted for one’s holiness in order to gain access. The most intimate access to God was reserved for the holiest Israelite which usually was the oldest male born into a select tribe or family. This high priest could come closest to God’s presence but only once a year, wearing special clothing (turban/gold emblem with the title “Holy to the LORD) Exod. 28:36.

Old Testament individuals looked forward to a time when everyone (believers) would be granted the special presence of God through his empowering Holy Spirit. Joel had expectations of a universal outpouring of the Spirit: on sons and daughters, old men, young men, male, female slaves, “on all flesh” (Joel 2:28–32). This is the same phenomenon Peter identifies on the day of Pentecost in (Acts 2).

So the temple eventually went away, it was no longer needed. Instead of God’s presence in a room which only a few select people could enter the Incarnation of Christ, our mediator from the beginning allowed the Person of the Holy Spirit to indwell each of us! In his farewell discourse in John 14–16, Jesus had comforted his disciples and told them that his departure would mean the arrival of the Holy Spirit in his stead. Jesus indicated that the Spirit’s presence would be indwelling (John 7:37–39; 14:17).

The reality of this is seen in Paul’s ministry in Romans 8:9–11. The Apostle moves away from discussing “those” who are in the flesh to speak instead of “you” who are in the Spirit, he phrases the phenomenon positively: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you … the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you … his Spirit who indwells in you.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Here Paul singles out sexual sin, yet the same principle applies to all of life.

So here we are today, in the age of the Church, the Body of Christ, the Church is you and me. There are many issues defined by our cultures and traditions that don’t necessarily have strong biblical warrant for or against doing or not doing. It is important for us to appreciate the weight and grandeur of what this temple language invokes and implies. Although it is wise to take care of our bodies as best, we cannot just not casually invoke “my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” as if our job is to maintain the building for inspection. Paul primarily emphasizes the church body as a whole as God’s dwelling. The language of “temple” and “holiness” reminds us that individually and corporately as the Church we are preparing for the long-term residence of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus!

So when you pray greet Christ and the Person of the Holy Spirit with the respect they deserve.

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