Faith Basics: The Third Person of the Trinity (A.K.A. The Holy Spirit)

Posted by Dan Jarms & John Gardner on November 1, 2023
Faith Basics: The Third Person of the Trinity (A.K.A. The Holy Spirit)
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John Gardner and Dan Jarms discuss the personhood and role of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity. The Spirit is a helper and comforter. He inspired the writing of scripture and he helps us remember, understand, and obey God's Word. He indwells believers and helps us to pray, and acts as the seal of our salvation. 

View the referenced Systematic Hymnology Booklet with the Trinity graphic

  • Automated Transcription
  • Dan Jarms 0:00
    Today on faith matters. We're beginning a series on the Holy Spirit as part of our faith Basics series, John Gardner is going to join me and we're going to be talking about the Holy Spirit's relationship in the Trinity.

    Dan Jarms 0:19
    I'm Dan Jarms, and you're listening to faith matters a podcast to help update you on matters of faith Bible Church, as well as equip you in matters of the Christian faith.

    Dan Jarms 0:38
    Well, today on faith matters, we're going to begin a series on the Holy Spirit. I have John Gardner in the

    John Gardner 0:44
    studio with me, Hey, John, Hey, Dan, always happy to be here. John's

    Dan Jarms 0:47
    just done some teaching for the kids on the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. So John is going to help us and we're excited about it's going to be a four or five part series. And depending on how many questions you have, it could go a little bit longer, but it's going to be a longer series than our previous ones. Because some of the most difficult controversies in our era in the church have to do with what we all think the Holy Spirit does, and how to serve well being filled with the Holy Spirit. Those are those are things before we get to those kinds of controversies though, John, and I want to just kind of talk about some common basics. That had been part of Orthodox Christianity from the beginning. So we're going to just start with the Holy Spirit as the third member of the Trinity today. So maybe the first thing to do is to talk about who the Trinity is, let's talk about each of the members of the Trinity. And then in a big picture, how do they work with each other.

    John Gardner 1:45
    So the Trinity is the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, one God existing in three persons. And throughout Scripture, we see Father, Son, and Spirit all presented as being God was being the one God. But the three persons have distinct roles within the Godhead. And so we see the father being the planner, the one with ultimate authority, who has conceived the plan of salvation in the design of creation and sits enthroned. There's the son who is sent forth from the Father to do the will of his Father who does the work. God's Word says that all things were made through Him. And that Jesus, the Son is the one who accomplished our salvation by being the one to die on the cross in our place. The Holy Spirit is the person within the Trinity, who gives life who the Psalms say, breathes life into creation, and in our salvation, it is the Spirit who gives us new life.

    Dan Jarms 3:06
    Yeah, one helpful analogy that I've heard is that the Father is the architect, The Son is the builder. And the Spirit is the one who gives power or energizes the work. So you get those different pictures, or, as some would say, Completer. So the father originates, the son executes, the spirit completes. So let's, let's look at some go to references that show that the Holy Spirit is a person, he is a person and the Holy Spirit is God. I think one of the ones that are good for showing both of those is this story in Acts chapter five, with Ananias, and Sapphira. Lying to the apostles, about selling a piece of property and giving all the proceeds to the church, when what they really did was they sold a piece of property, they give half to the church, and they kept half for themselves, but they lied. And so Peter makes some statements when he is rebuking them. And in Acts, chapter five, verse three, Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? Now you can't lie to a force. So one of the things that people have often thought is the Holy Spirit is a impersonal force, but he is a person that can be lied to. And then later on, Peter says it again, the same same section of verse four, why is it that you have continued this deed in your heart, you have not lied to men but to God? So he lied to the Holy Spirit, he lied to God equating the Holy Spirit with deity. So that's just one of a number and it goes the other way, and acts 16 When you have Jesus and the Spirit of Jesus, both prohibiting Paul All from going north, and instead redirected them to Macedonia. So same kind of thing happens this time equating the Holy Spirit with Jesus. So they're, they're both there. So if you take a look, there are many passages. And there might be other stones you have any others.

    John Gardner 5:18
    You know, one, just really good passage where we see all three persons presented together as as God is in the Great Commission, the end of Matthew says, Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We hear that all the time. When we do baptisms. In our church, there's there's one name, but it is the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They're all equally god.

    Dan Jarms 5:48
    Yeah. And the classic formulation, way back in the 304, hundreds, they drew a little diagram. And this where they draw a triangle, the top is the father, the left side is the son, the right side is the Holy Spirit. And they're all members of the Trinity. And then there's a circle that goes to each and inside and on the circle, it says is not. So that is to say, The Father is not the spirit, the son is not the spirit, the father is not the Son. And so that that little representation has always helped to be clear that we're not talking about one God who shows up in three different manifestations. Or, you know that that's the classic modal list. heresy. There are three, three persons in the Trinity. They are not each other. They have distinct personhood, but yet they're one essence, one being so that's Trinitarian. And that's maybe a little farther than that we want to go but we need to start there. Laying the foundation for who, who the Holy Spirit is and what he does. So let's talk about the personhood of the Holy Spirit. So there was one I mentioned where you can't lie. But are there any other places where we find that the Holy Spirit has personhood?

    John Gardner 7:03
    Yeah, so in Ephesians, chapter four, Paul's writing about living the new life in Christ says, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. And what was among the things that caused grief to the Holy Spirit is corrupting talk and bitterness, wrath, anger, all these things. It says, instead, be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. When we live in the way that Jesus showed us, we, we don't grieve the Holy Spirit. When we sin, then that does grieve the spirit,

    Dan Jarms 7:44
    let's highlight some of the the roles of the Holy Spirit, some of the work of the Holy Spirit, we're going to expand on these, we're going to take a couple sessions on those, but I want to highlight some of them. And maybe maybe I would say it this way, when I when I got saved, and I knew that Jesus had died for my sin and forgave me. And I started studying the Bible, I didn't realize all the resources that I had in the Holy Spirit. And I didn't realize the crucial role that the Holy Spirit played in keeping me or sealing me. And I have grown to appreciate God, the Holy Spirit and, and will will expand on this. But when Jesus tells the disciples, I will send you another Helper, it's in John 14, I will send you another Helper, and it's another of the same kind, when he says, I am with you, but he will be in you. That's an amazing statement. So the New Covenant has ministry for us from the Holy Spirit that's radically different. John, what give us a preview of some of the things that the Holy Spirit does in the life of a believer

    John Gardner 8:53
    in addition to Jesus saying this spirits a promised helper, and John 14 later in that same chapter, talks about the Holy Spirit being a comforter, who will teach us all things bring to our remembrance, what he said, We are comforted as we remember what God has spoken to us. And the Spirit reminds us of God's word, and brings us comfort in that way. The Spirit helps us understand God's Word. We see that in first Corinthians chapter two, among other places. And part of the reason that the spirits work is is primarily involved with reminding us of Scripture is the spirit is one who inspired the authors of Scripture. And in the first place, the Old Testament promises, that the spirit would enable us to obey God's law, you know, as God gives these commandments, knowing that we can't obey them on our own, through through the prophet Ezekiel, he says, I'm going to give you a new heart and put My Spirit within you so that you can do these Things that I've commanded. And Titus, we see that the spirit washes away our sins and gives us new life. Romans eight, the Spirit helps us to pray, says, when we don't know what to pray, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. The Holy Spirit lives in us. First Corinthians, as we preach through recently, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I Romans five says that the Spirit fills us with the love of God. Paul also writes in Romans that were filled with hope, joy and peace by the Holy Spirit, and acts for we see the Spirit giving believers courage to share God's word and empower you and right at the very beginning of acts as the you'll receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be my witnesses. It's the last thing Jesus said before He ascended, then you mentioned the seal of our salvation. And Ephesians says that we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, that's a way of God, just giving a guarantee that that he was going to complete the work that he's began in us,

    Dan Jarms 11:12
    you know, the, the Gospels are rightly considered at the work of Jesus. X is usually considered the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. So often a commentator will say, it's not really the Acts of the Apostles, it's the acts of the Holy Spirit as He empowered. And so if there's one place, you're going to see what the Holy Spirit does really, really clearly it's it says, you read through the book of Acts.

    John Gardner 11:39
    And even beyond that the says the Spirit gives us assurance that we're God's children. The Spirit gives life to our worship. Galatians says that because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of a Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father, we are able to cry out to God as Father because of the work of the Spirit in our hearts. The Spirit gives us fruit. In our lives, that famous passage in Galatians, five, the fruits of the Spirit being things that are manifested as we walk in the Spirit, and Spirit gives gifts that are used in serving God in a wide variety of ways.

    Dan Jarms 12:28
    That's a great preview. So that's fun, because we're going to explore some of those. Next time we get together, I'm going to get together with Mark Frankian. And we're going to talk about the Holy Spirit's role in the Old Testament, how he worked there. And that prepares us for the new, John, at some point, we'll bring you back because one of the things that the music guy, you know, the worship pastor at any church, he's usually embroiled in some discussion about spirit filled worship, spirit filled music, how do we have the Spirit work in our service? What does that look like? And so we'll bring you back for an important discussion on that. But before we get there, maybe maybe just come up with a couple of thoughts. What's so important for us to know about the Holy Spirit? Why is the Holy Spirit important for Christians,

    John Gardner 13:15
    the Holy Spirit is important for us to know, like you said, Not otherwise, being aware of the resources that we have, that's the greatest resource that we have in the Christian walk is the fact that God's Spirit is in us. God is near to us, in a very special way through His Spirit, in an immediate kind of way, God is always with his people through the Spirit. You know, we have freedom from temptation, not not that we aren't tempted, but we're not tempted beyond what we can do because of the work of the Spirit in our lives. We are equipped to do ministry, by the Spirit, we get power from the Spirit, to do the work that Christ has called us to do.

    Dan Jarms 14:06
    So people ask a question like this, I remember it in seminary. Do we pray to the Holy Spirit? Can we worship the Holy Spirit? Yeah. Yes, I think that's yes, go ahead. That's, that's the answer. The the Nicene Creed, I remember just reading the author's name is Karissa an exposition of the Nicene Creed for from 3d one ad, and it has a line that he has to be co worshipped with the Father and the Son. So for all of the Christian history, the Holy Spirit is to be worshipped, and we are to thank him and even to seek His help. If you'll notice, when any of us pray for the preparation for the sermon, we're usually asking the Holy Spirit to help us. i One of the things I think is so cool about the truth of the Holy Spirit is From all of the Scriptures, God the Father, God, the Son, God, the Holy Spirit together as God, yes, they are everywhere present. So there's a sense where God is omnipresent. So the father is everywhere, the sons everywhere, the spirit is everywhere. But when we talk about the members, the father is in heaven. And that's how we're told our father, who are in heaven, who is in heaven, we want to hollow your name, the son after His crucifixion, and resurrection is seated at the right hand of God. So in some sense, the Father and the Son are dwelling in heaven, raining and heaven. And it is God the Holy Spirit who lives not just with us, but in us. And that's really remarkable. God lives in us. So when Jesus says, and you just refer to a John, when Jesus says, In the Great Commission, lo, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age, he is with us through His Holy Spirit. And that's an amazing thing to think of, that we we always have. Christians always have the Holy Spirit within them. So we should think about him

    John Gardner 16:01
    in the Nicene, Creed is is definitely a good resource for just a basic outlining of Trinitarian Christian orthodoxy. But another another creative that came along later, more specifically about the Trinity is the Athanasian Creed. You know, it's, it can be a little, I don't know clunkier to read, because it's so repetitive. But the Their goal was, when the Nicene Creed came out, there were so a lot of questions, and they wanted to remove any doubt about and that that graphic you described earlier, which, by the way, if you have kids in discovery, that graphic is printed in their current discovery books. So you can you can look that up. But that that graphic was an illustration that came out of the Athanasian Creed, and that goes into great detail about the distinctions between the persons and where are they? Where are they one, where are they distinct? And how did those things coexist. So be a good one to look up. We have

    Dan Jarms 17:04
    all of the material in the discovery curriculum on hymnology, and doctrines. So those are really good for adults. So if your kids don't go to discovery, and you want some exposure to basic Bible doctrines, and music with them, John's wrote up a fantastic curriculum for that. I'll leave you with another resource. Jonathan Gibson wrote a devotional he's got a second one out, but the first one is called beat out my vision. And it's a daily, it's a daily devotional that has scripture readings that go through a liturgy similar to our service. But at the end, or in the middle of it, it's got a reference to a creed, and it rotates through the apostle, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creed. And you get regular exposure to those things, which help you come to clarity about the various roles. So that's a good resource. John, do you have any other resources for people?

    John Gardner 17:59
    Yeah, a book that's a little digs a little deeper, but it's still really accessible is delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. Good book that was really helpful to me back when it came out. And I was trying to wrestle through was it's hard work to think about this. But the thing

    Dan Jarms 18:19
    that I really like about Michael reefs, delighting in the Trinity is that it's, it's written in a way that's really compelling and worshipful. And, like J i Packer's knowing God, it's not just bear theology is theology that's energetic and, and stirs your soul. So I really love that book, too. So that's, that's a good one.

    John Gardner 18:41
    Yeah. And I guess, you know, one more resource that would be I think we've mentioned on the podcast before, but Bruce wares book, big truths for young hearts, has a whole section on teaching the Trinity to your children. But it's not just good for parents, although it is very good for parents. But there's, he's got a really accessible way of writing that's still saturated in Scripture.

    Dan Jarms 19:11
    Alright, thanks, John, for joining us. My pleasure. And if any of you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us info at FB Thanks.

Dan Jarms

Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.

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John Gardner

John is the pastor over Music Ministry at Faith Bible Church. He is a coffee aficionado who loves most kinds of music, but has a particular fondness for big band (especially when he's playing trumpet in the band). He and his wife, Laurie, have 3 kids who enjoy reading, hiking, and the symphony.

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