Is the Holy Spirit God?

This was posted on Pentecost Sunday--a good day to address a question sent in by one of our readers, a church pastor:

"Within the past year, two long-time members have relocated from other parts of the country to one of my congregations. Neither of these individuals believes in the deity of the Holy Spirit, believing instead our old teaching that the Holy Spirit is some kind of energy or power of God.  Why is it necessary to believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit? Why isn't faith in Jesus Christ enough?"

To believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit is to understand that he, like God the Father and God the Son, is fully God. This contrasts with the mistaken idea that the Holy Spirit is merely the "power" or the "wisdom" of God, in an impersonal sense.

There are many reasons why it is vital to uphold the deity of the Holy Spirit. I'll comment on two here. I invite our readers to add others (use the comments feature below).

1. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is God. 
Seeing the Holy Spirit as merely an impersonal power extended by God, does not do justice to what the following verses (and others) infer concerning the divine nature and ministry of the Holy Spirit:

2. Knowing that the Holy Spirit is God, gives us assurance that God is with us. 
Scripture declares that the Holy Spirit indwells us. When we understand that the Spirit is God, we are assured that God himself ("in person") dwells with us! For a GCI article on this important teaching, click here.

Understanding that the Holy Spirit is a divine person also helps us understand why Jesus said that it is good for us that he return to heaven (John 16:7). Why? Because from there he sends the Holy Spirit to be with us as "another counselor" (John 14:16-17)--meaning another, just like him (God in person). Thus to believe in the deity of Jesus, is to believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and with us, has the specific ministry of helping us believe in Jesus.

Believing in Jesus means believing that he truly is who he says he is: very God (which means one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the divine Trinity). It is this tri-personal God who saves us. Indeed, salvation is from God the Father, through God the Son, in the power and indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit. Believe and receive!