What started as a band of 120 followers of Jesus grew to thousands within weeks. The message of Jesus spread beyond Jerusalem like wildfire. Each new believer became a living witness of what God could do in a person’s life. It was happening exactly as Jesus had said it would. “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Previously frightened and cowardly disciples had become bold preachers of Jesus and his message. They performed signs and wonders. The message they proclaimed resulted in millions of lives being transformed. This was not the result of nothing more than a vague, undefined influence of good, or some mystical force. It was God the Holy Spirit at work. And by the third century over 20 million people had made claim to the transforming power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. All this enormous growth in Christianity is evidence of God sending his promised Comforter. And for over 2000 years every true believer of Jesus has been a testimony to the living proof that the Holy Spirit is a real person who is active in the lives of people.
Transformed lives, answers to prayers, miracles performed in Jesus name are all a result of the workings of the third person of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. God the Father and God the Son are in heaven. In Peter’s opening message on the Day of Pentecost, he declared that Jesus “sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand” (Acts 2:33). So are supernatural manifestations of God on earth the result of the Father or of the Son? Or, is it the result of God the Holy Spirit?
Because of the incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity, it is simply God at work – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is why it is not inappropriate or incorrect to say that Jesus changes lives, or for a child to say, “God lives in my heart.” For Jesus himself said he would never leave us, but he clearly sits at God’s right hand. Yet we know he is in our hearts through the power of his Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus said, “When I am raised to life again, you’ll know that I am in my father, you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20). That means the one God in his fullness dwells within us and us within him through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Although we find it impossible to grasp the absolute perfection of God’s triune relationship, that does not diminish or lessen the reality of the Holy Spirit as a person in our lives. As CS Lewis said, it isn’t necessary to understand the process of digestion in order for your food to nourish you. We might say that after Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand, God the Holy Spirit became the interactive agent of God to us. Jesus said, “The Father sends the Counselor [Holy Spirit] as my representative” (John 14:26). But he is more than just a being for us to know about intellectually. Someone has suggested that when the Holy Spirit was poured out, the word God was not only a noun – it became a verb. Rather than just learning who God is or following the teaching of Jesus impersonally, the Holy Spirit brings God actually into our lives. He is the active, moving nature of God that impels us to action. God the Holy Spirit is about living, loving, responding, enjoying, embracing, comforting, supporting, accepting, encouraging, respecting, disciplining, growing, empowering, and a myriad of other such verbs.
The Holy Spirit is the dynamic, active, and ever-present version of the Trinity. We experience him in our everyday living. He demonstrates himself even in our capacity to love as God loves. “If we love each other,” John said, “God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us” (1 John 4:12-13). The Holy Spirit is real. He evidenced himself powerfully on the Day of Pentecost centuries ago. And his Spirit is additional proof that we live in him, for the “Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16).
Because of these things we can confidently know the truth that God the Holy Spirit exists. Because he is the active and interactive person of the Trinity that dwells within us, he is infinitely relevant to our lives.
Taken from The Unshakeable Truth: How You Can Experience the 12 Essentials of a Relevant Faith. Copyright © 2010 Josh McDowell Ministry and Sean McDowell. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402. Used by permission.