I Believe in the Holy Spirit -- By: Thomas N. Smith

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 03:2 (Spring 1994)
Article: I Believe in the Holy Spirit
Author: Thomas N. Smith


I Believe in the Holy Spirit

Thomas N. Smith

The conflict of the ages is a spiritual one. It is the battle between the pseudospiritual and the spiritual, between superstition and the supernatural, between magic which seeks to manipulate the powers, and faith that trusts and obeys, depends and expects, submits and hopes.

When the Christian confesses, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” he is aligning himself with the forces of the spiritual, the supernatural. He is engaging in the fight of faith. He is swearing eternal vigilance, indeed, eternal hostility against the pseudospiritual, against superstition, against the magical; against all forms of false spiritual or religious experience. To put it more bluntly, the Christian is opposed to the demonic, whether in its common or its more bizarre manifestations.

The early church (by which I mean the apostolic church and the post apostolic church) understood these things. The martyrs (witnesses) and confessors of this whole period saw themselves in fixed battle positions. They were warring for the very life of the faith, for the life of the faith is truth. Thus, against every assault upon the truth, against every foe that refused to relinquish even the vestiges of paganism, they confessed their faith in one God in three persons. They confessed their belief in the Holy Spirit. “The church, though scattered through the whole world to the ends of the earth, has received from the Apostles and their discipline the faith ... in the Holy Ghost ... the firm persuasion also in the Spirit of God....” Further, the early church could say, “Moreover, the order of reason and the authority of faith, in due consideration of the words and Scriptures of the Lord, admonishes us, after this, to believe in the Holy Ghost.” “They also delivered that the Holy Ghost was associated in honor and dignity with the Father and the Son.” “We believe in ... the Holy Ghost given for consolation and sanctification and perfection to those who believe....” “So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Spirit is God.

And yet they are not three gods; but one God.”

Therefore, to confess the Christian faith is to confess the faith of the historic church. But it is more. To confess the Christian faith is to confess our faith in the Scripture of the Old and New Testaments upon which the church is built.

And the testimony of both Testaments is to the history of God’s saving acts, culminating in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We may even say that, when viewed from one perspective, the Scriptures are a history of the Holy Spirit.

In the Old Testament we are confront...

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