What is God's Spirit?
God's spirit is His power. He used His spirit to create life (Psalm 104:30), and it is His spirit that maintains life (Job 34:14-15).
What is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is a portion of God's power that is set apart (the meaning of "holy") and has been granted to certain people at certain times. Peter tells us that this was how the Old Testament was written...
2 Peter 2:21 - "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost [Spirit]."
The Old Testament tells of Moses and many others possessing this Holy Spirit (see Exodus 35:30-31; Numbers 11; Deuteronomy 34:9).
We are also told that this would end for a while (Micah 3:6). This period lasted until the time of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. The apostle received the power of tongues (Acts 2:1-4) to be able to preach to those of other nationalities.
The Purpose of the Holy Spirit Gifts
Jesus was given this power without measure (John 3:34) to display he was from God and to enable him to proclaim the kingdom of God. This is the same reason the disciples were given the Holy Spirit during Jesus' ministry (Luke 9:1-2) and also after (Acts 5:14-16).
The purpose of the gifts is listed in several passages in the New Testament, for example in Ephesians 4:11-16.
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
The Holy Spirit gifts were given to ensure a solid foundation for the early church until there was a unity of mind and doctrine developed.
The Holy Spirit Gifts to Cease
The Spirit gifts were only to last a short time.
Acts 2:38-39 - "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
There are three groups of people mentioned here:
- The Jews of Peter's time
- Their children
- Those afar off (the Gentiles)
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 - "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
This passage tells us that when "that which is perfect [mature or complete] is come" then the gifts will cease.
What is that? It is the Bible.
Does the Bible do all the things that the Spirit gifts did? Since the purpose of the gifts was instruction in the "things concerning the kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 28:30-31), the Bible does accomplish this.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 - "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
Does the Believer receive the Holy Spirit Today?
No. The Bible, which is God breathed, written by the power of the Holy Spirit through men is sufficient for us today. It does everything we need, doctrine, proving the truth of Jesus, correcting our errors in life and doctrine, and for instructing us and our children in the way of righteousness. For what purpose? For the same purpose as the Spirit gifts... "that the man of God may be perfect [mature/complete], throughly furnished unto all good works".
Edited by Cdelph, 22 February 2006 - 02:16 PM.