What Do Seventh-Day Adventists Believe About God the Holy Spirit?
Besides believing in the full divinity of God the Father and God the Son, Adventists also believe in the full divinity of God the Holy Spirit. This post will go over what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. You’ll learn:
- That the Holy Spirit is God
- That the Holy Spirit is a person
- The role of the Holy Spirit in the Godhead
- What is the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit
- What the Holy Spirit does for us
- How we can know that the Holy Spirit is influencing us
A correct understanding of who the Holy Spirit is and His role in our Christian experience is so important to Adventists. They even have it as one of their core beliefs which reads:
“God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He is as much a person as are the Father and the Son.
He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God.
Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth.”
Adventists believe the Holy Spirit is God
Central to the very idea of the Trinity is how all three members of the Godhead are fully divine. Of course, this would include the the Holy Spirit.
In numerous places in Scripture, the divinity of the Holy Spirit is evident, even though the concept can be hard to grasp.
One passage to look at is commonly known as “The Great Commission.” This was Jesus’ command just before His ascension. He asked His followers to spread the Gospel to all the world.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . .” (Matthew 28:19, NKJV emphasis added).
It wouldn’t make sense for the Holy Spirit to be listed with the others in the Trinity if He were anything other than divine.
Another example is when Jesus was baptized.
“And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased’” (Luke 3:22, NKJV).
This text shows that all three Persons of the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit were working together in the plan of salvation.
There is also the story of Ananias and Sapphira, two early church members who were being exceedingly dishonest.
After they had been caught lying, Peter said:
“‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God’” (Acts 5:3-4, NKJV).
Peter equates lying to the Holy Spirit as the same as lying to God.
How do we understand the Holy Spirit as a person?
In a sense, it’s easy to understand Jesus as a Person. After all, He was a Person. Even God the Father as a Person is still somewhat understandable. But the Holy Spirit as a Person? How do we understand that?
At times, because the Holy Spirit is depicted in the Bible in impersonal terms such as fire or wind, some assert that He’s an impersonal, divine power. Like an electric current that empowers us rather than a personal being who interacts with us on an intimate one-to-one level.
However, many Bible texts refer to Him in ways that can be understood only if He, same as the Father and as the Son, is a divine person.
The following are a few texts that show why Adventists believe in the divine personhood of the Holy Spirit.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26, NKJV).
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13, NKJV).
“Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27, NKJV).
The Holy Spirit teaches, guides, searches the heart, and intercedes for us.
Paul also talks about the “love of the Spirit.” An impersonal force who loves? Only a personal being has the capacity to love.
Consider the following texts too:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30, NKJV).
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11, NKJV).
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things” (Acts 15:28, NKJV).
Look at this text. One could have put the terms “the Father,” “Yahweh” or “Jesus” in the text for “Holy Spirit” and it would still make sense.
These texts all show the attributes of a Person.
What do Adventists believe about the role of the Holy Spirit?
When Jesus was here, He was able to talk to people in the flesh. Face-to-face. And though He’s now gone from the earth, He has made a powerful promise to His people saying, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20, NKJV).
How could that be when the Bible is very clear that He ascended to heaven where He ministers for us in the sanctuary in heaven?
The answer is that He is here through the presence of another Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, who is just as much God as Jesus is. The Holy Spirit’s role is crucial because after Jesus ascended to heaven, we can still know Him because of the work of the Holy Spirit in revealing Him to us.
The Holy Spirit works—as a Person of the Godhead—to reveal Jesus to us.
The Bible even calls the Holy Spirit
- The “Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7).
- The “Spirit of His Son” (Galatians 4:6).
- The “Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11).
- The “Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:19).
- The “Spirit of God” (Matthew 3:16; 12:28; Romans 8:14).
He is not only equal with God and the Son, but He functions with them in the salvation of humanity.
This Adventist publication puts it succinctly:
“As Jesus is our intercessor in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 7:25), the Holy Spirit comes to us on earth as the intercessor (Romans 8:26) to help us pray with the attitude and mind of Jesus, connecting us while still on earth to God in heaven. He is able to do that because He is one with God and knows the depth of the very being of God (1 Corinthians 2:10).
Sanctifying us in Christ, the Spirit reaps in our lives a harvest of love, peace, joy etc. (Galatians 5:22, 23), thus reconciling us with God by applying the merits of the sacrifice of Calvary.”1
What does the Bible say about the Holy Spirit and the unpardonable sin?
Some Christians at times have wondered about what is termed the “unpardonable sin.” It can sound pretty scary.
The God—who loves us so much that He died on the cross to save even the worst human being from eternal loss—warns about a sin that cannot be forgiven?
Notice the words of Jesus here:
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12: 31-32, NKJV).
There has been a lot of discussion over the centuries about what this means, and many Adventists believe the sin against the Holy Spirit is when a person completely rejects the Holy Spirit’s leading them to Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the one that leads us to Christ, that acts as our conscience, interprets our prayers, and
“guides us into all truth” (John 16:13, NKJV).
Therefore, refusing to surrender to that leading by fighting against it and hardening oneself to it, could indeed be the unpardonable sin.
But as long as one fears that they might have committed it, they most likely haven’t, because they still come under conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Though debate will remain over what that sin is, the point here is to look at whom the sin has been committed against—the One who calls us and leads us to the Son.
What does the Holy Spirit do for us?
The Holy Spirit works in the world in ways that Jesus worked when He was here.
He teaches, He guides us, He comforts us, and He even convicts us. In fact, one of the most important works of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin.
But is that good? Who needs more guilt than they already have?
Jesus explained this to us:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16: 7-8, NKJV).
Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit as the Helper who first of all convicts us of sin.
This is so important because we are all sinners, whether we know it or not. And how can any person grow and mature if they never figure out that they’re doing something that is harming themselves or others?
Sin ultimately leads to death. And that is the whole reason our world is in this mess—because of sin.
“For the wages of sin is death” the Bible says.
That’s the bad news. But the rest of the verse continues to offer good news which reads, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NKJV).
And here is where the work of the Holy Spirit comes in for us.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to point us to “Christ Jesus our Lord.” He alone does it.
Infact, “no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3, NKJV).
It is the Holy Spirit who makes us realize we are indeed sinners. That we are corrupt. So, the sense of guilt you feel isn’t always an illusion. We are all guilty (Romans 3:9).
But the Holy Spirit is also the One to lead us to the solution: Jesus, whose life of perfect righteousness can be credited to us by faith.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit convicts not just of sin, but also “of righteousness.”
That’s the great news!
The righteousness is His own righteousness, which the Bible calls, “the righteousness of God” (Romans 3:21, NKJV).
This can be ours by faith in Jesus. And we know and experience this only because of the Holy Spirit, who points us to Jesus, who convicts us of our need for Jesus.
The Holy Spirit, which “illuminates every man [woman] who comes in the world” (John 1:9, NKJV), will point believers to Jesus and His salvation.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit will also convict people of “judgment.”
Who in the world hasn’t been impressed at some point with the idea, or perhaps even the fear, that one day they will have to answer for their deeds? That there, is the Holy Spirit working on hearts and minds, leading those who are open to the need of repentance and faith in Jesus.
How can we know if the Holy Spirit is influencing us?
The Holy Spirit reaches out to everyone who is open to His help (John 1:9). And since you are searching and studying, it’s clear you are being influenced by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told us the Holy Spirit “will guide you in all truth” (John 16:13, NKJV).
If you are wondering about Jesus, feeling convicted about sin, and seeking to know the truth, join a Bible study today! It’s an exciting journey.
 Peterson, Paul. God in 3 Persons—in the New Testament; Andrews University, May, 2015.
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