Column: The Silent Partner in the Godhead — Getting the Holy Spirit Wrong   

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, January 9, 2024

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By Hank Walker | Pastor at Friendship Baptist Church

In my last article, we considered Jesus in light of the incarnation and how He is both God and man. We looked at how the doctrine of the Trinity (Tri-Unity) declares God to be One, even as He exists in three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This time, we will consider what the Bible teaches regarding the Holy Spirit. For brevity’s sake, this first installment will look at some wrong conceptions about the Holy Spirit, and next time we will see what the Word actually teaches about the third Person of the Trinity.

First, there is the It versus He error. This error is seen when people refer to the Holy Spirit as “it.” Doing so, they deny His personality and deity, while demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of His nature; namely, they suppose Him to be a power, force, or emanation that can be called upon or invoked. An embarrassing example of this thinking went viral on TikTok a couple of years ago after a contestant on Family Feud broke into a chorus of Holy Spirit Activate. Anyone who knows their Bible cringes at such craziness—but there it was. Trivializing God in such a way is no small matter! The Holy Spirit cannot be “activated,” invoked, or “called down.” His power cannot be wielded like a magic wand. He is no genie in a bottle. He is sovereign—He is all-powerful—He is all-knowing—He is ever-present everywhere—He is GOD!

Second, there is much wrong with how people understand the ROLE of the Holy Spirit. For too many, the words “Holy Spirit” conjure up ideas about ecstatic or extraordinary phenomena. This is unfortunate because, as we will see next time, the Holy Spirit NEVER draws attention to Himself—the Silent Partner of the Trinity. His role is to bring glory to the Son and the Father by turning people’s attention to THEM.

Finally, the Holy Spirit does not glorify individuals. Men are not “anointed” super-saints or given gifts that they can use to get rich or famous. The Holy Spirit empowers us to love God, love each other, and obey the Word. When the spotlight is drawn away from Jesus or the Father—even if it is placed on the Holy Spirit Himself—a grievous error has been perpetrated.

Soli Deo Gloria