The last part of the trinity is the Holy Spirit. Some people think that the Holy Spirit is a New Testament phenomenon. This simply is not so. Even in Genesis 1:2 we find that the Spirit hovered over the waters. The Spirit’s role is actually found in that very text. While the other two aspects of the Godhead are also mentioned as working, it is the Holy Spirit that stirs up the creation into greater realms of order and light. It is the Spirit that actually produces life in the creation. While the light was what pierced the darkness, it is not wrong to also note that the Spirit hovered over that darkness before. God speaks the word, and creation takes place through the power and person of the Spirit.
While the spoken Word was the agent to bring things into existence, it was actually the Holy Spirit that “enforced” that spoken Word. It was the Holy Spirit that animated and brought life into the cosmos. We actually even find in Numbers 11, 1 Samuel 10, and 1 Samuel 19:23 that the Holy Spirit had people speak in tongues and prophesy before Pentecost. What made Pentecost so incredible was not that these gifts were manifested for the first time, but that they were never manifested on such a large scale. It was actually rare to find the Spirit working in this sort of way in the Old Testament. So we can conclude that it is not a New Testament phenomenon at all.
When we seek to understand the role of the Holy Spirit, we need to understand the absolute foundational role that it plays. We know that the Holy Spirit is a comforter, convicts of sin, helper, empowers, speaks the Word to us, converts the sinner, transforms the life, etc. But what is that one thing that these stem from? I would actually submit that what these things stem from is that the Holy Spirit is the “enforcer” of the Word. What I mean by enforcer is not like a policeman would enforce the law, but rather that the Spirit is the outworking of that Word. God speaks truth and reality to our hearts, and the Spirit is what makes that truth and reality a veracity in our daily life.
God the Father is the revealer of Jesus, the Revelation. That revelation of God, in the man Jesus, is revealed through us in the Holy Spirit. It is via the Holy Spirit that God “enforces” His revelation. It was through the eternal Spirit that Jesus suffered. Jesus gets baptized and the Spirit descended like a dove. He was led out into the wilderness by the Spirit, and filled with the Spirit. But He endured the temptation of the devil by the strength of that Spirit, and therefore came out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit.
God’s Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth before it is the Spirit of Power. Truth is not a statement of correct doctrine or factual avowal. Truth is only truth when it is only truth and nothing but the truth. When our statements are technically correct, but our lives are living far contrary to that true statement, then we render the statement a lie. Truth is constituted in the life lived out, and not in the statement itself. Both work together or not at all. Thus, the Holy Spirit is the one that makes us true. In this, we must ask how it is that we can achieve such a glory? How do we live out the statements of resurrection? How do we live out the statements of freedom from sin? We can only live these out by the same Spirit of Truth. The Spirit of Power works in us the Truth, and it is from that Truth that we then gain the secondary glory of His power. It is more glorious that we would walk in truth than for us to walk in vanity and have outward demonstrations of dubious power.
The sole purpose of God’s eternal Spirit is that we would walk according to truth. It is to enforce the Word declared. When God declares from Heaven our salvation, and the revelation of Jesus Christ is made manifest to our hearts, it is the Spirit that makes that witness true in us. That is to say, that even with the revelation of Jesus Christ, we cannot be saved. It takes a conversion. It takes an enforcer of that Word. God’s Spirit is that enforcer, and it is not our own ability or power. We forsake our power to take up His power. If we do not live according to that power, then we in fact do not have that power. God’s Spirit is not the revelation itself, but the outworking of that revelation. We see this is true in the creation itself in Genesis 1, and we see it to be true in our own experiences as Christians. It is “not by strength, nor by might, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”