May 14 – LD 20, Day 1: The Divinity of the Holy Spirit
by Prof Herman Hanko
Read: Romans 8:1-14
In discussing the Apostles Creed, our teachers in the classroom of the Heidelberg Catechism divide the 12 articles into three groups. The first group is “Of God the Father” (Lord’s Days 9 – 10; the second, “Of God the Son” (Lord’s Days 11 – 19); and the third “Of God the Holy Ghost” (Lord’s Days 20 – 24).
Lord’s Day 20 begins a discussion of God the Holy Ghost.
Our teachers are quite insistent on the fact that we understand the truth of the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the holy trinity. As one of the three persons, he is equal with the Father, the first person, and the Son, the second person. This means that all three persons are fully and completely divine. The essence of God is not divided into three parts, each person possessing one part. Each person possesses the whole essence as his own.
The one mind of God is not only the mind of the Father and Son, but is also the mind of the Holy Spirit. The one will of God is equally the will of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
God’s perfections are equally the possession of all three persons. Each person is omnipresent; each person is omnipotent; each person is eternal. Each person is omniscient. This must be true, for there is only one mind in God, one will and the same perfections belonging equally to all. God’s grace, mercy, love, compassion, longsuffering and holiness belong equally to each person, including the Holy Spirit.
God is a covenant God who dwells in fellowship with himself. His fellowship is perfect, infinitely happy, most blessed, and full of the perfect enjoyment each person has in each other person. The Holy Spirit makes such fellowship possible, for the Holy Spirit joins the Father and the Son by his own procession from the Father and the Son.
Just as the Father generates the Son and the Son is generated by the Father, so the Holy Spirit proceeds from Father and Son.
The triune God sent Christ, the second person of the trinity into this world to take on our human nature. In that nature, he suffered and died, rose again, ascended into heaven, and was exalted as King of kings and Lord of lords. The triune God gave the exalted Christ the gift of the Spirit, the third person of the trinity (Acts 2:33) so that Christ might give his Spirit to the church.
This article and truth concerning the Holy Spirit we must and do believe.
Some want to make the Holy Spirit a lesser person of lesser importance than the Father and the Son. We must not do that. Some want to deny the divinity of the Holy Spirit altogether. We must not do that. To deny the Holy Spirit as “true and co-eternal God” is to deny the trinity and our salvation. We must say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.”