(This is part thirteen of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)
This is a line that I recited my entire life but didn’t fully grasp until around this time last year (an experience that I blogged about here). I think this line is about Someone that Christians forget about all too often:
“I believe in the Holy Spirit.”
To start, the Holy Spirit is a He, not an it. The Holy Spirit is a person and not some immaterial force. The Holy Spirit has feelings, thoughts, and even emotions. The Holy Spirit makes His first appearance earlier in the Bible than you might initially think! In Genesis 1:2, the Holy Spirit hovers over the water during creation. This tells us that the Holy Spirit participated in the creation of the world.
Throughout the Old Testament, there are dozens of references to the Spirit coming upon different judges and prophets and working through them. For example, the Holy Spirit empowers the Judges to guide Israel as a nation (Judges 3:10, 6:34, 11:29, 13:25, 14:6) The Spirit gives Samuel his power as a king (1 Samuel 10:6) The Spirit gives Isaiah his prophetic powers (Isaiah 11:2, 61:1). (I found a great list here that has dozens of OT references to the Holy Spirit.) My point is simply that the Holy Spirit was the inspirational engine of the Old Testament.
The Holy Spirit has an even more active role in the New Testament. For example, read through Luke and Acts (both written by the same guy) and you’ll see that the Holy Spirit empowers Jesus through the course of His ministry and then does the same for the Apostles. For example, in Luke 4:1, the Holy Spirit fills Jesus and even leads Jesus into the desert; after His temptation in the desert, Jesus returns “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). Then, in John 1:16, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to believers. And finally, in Acts the Holy Spirit arrives and empowers the early Christians to spread the Gospel throughout the entire Roman empire.
And nothing has changed since then! The Holy Spirit is the engine in the life of modern believers, too! First, the Holy Spirit actively convicts non-Christians of guilt for their sins (John 16:8). Thus, true regeneration is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides Christians in daily living (Galatians 5:25). In fact, the Holy Spirit is the litmus test for being a true Christian (1 John 4:13)!
This truth became profoundly important to me last year and since then I’ve started to be intentionally aware of the Holy Spirit’s role in my life. The Holy Spirit gives me power, gives me His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), and connects me to God the Father. I can do nothing if I am disconnected from the Holy Spirit. In short, I believe in the Holy Spirit.