The three witnesses

spirit and the Spirit

For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement

1 John 5:7-8

On the first pages of the Bible, we read of how human beings were created:

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

Imagine the situation: God has formed the body of the first human, Adam, who is there in front of Him, completely ready, completely pure and beautiful, but without any life. Then God breathes a spirit into him, and he awakes. God breathes into Adam’s nostrils, right up close, right there in front of him. Immediately, all of his senses activate. He opens his eyes and the first thing he sees is the Creator, the one who is perfect love, perfect goodness. Everything is bright, good, peaceful and pure. He breathes the air into his lungs for the first time, experiencing all the scents and smells of paradise. He hears all the birdsong and the other sounds of the creation, because God created humans to live in a beautiful world. Can you imagine a better beginning, a better first day of life?

In this way, then, the first human being received their own spirit and soul, just as every person now has their own spirit and soul. Humans have their own spirit. This is not Holy Spirit, but their own spirit. Every person has a spirit which God has given to them. When this spirit no longer lives within our body, we die. If you have been present when someone dies, you will have noticed how after death there is just a body which remains, a body in which no one dwells any more. Our spirit, however, continues its life, because to God all people are alive all the time, even those that have died.

In the same way that God created the first human, He has also created the spirit of each person and given it to them. King David wrote about this:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.’

Psalm 139:13

The Heavenly Father and Jesus, therefore, together create each person when they are still in their mother’s womb, and each person receives their spirit at this time. Each spirit is different, and each spirit is created with love. Often, craftspeople sing as they work. What is the song that your Heavenly Father and Jesus were singing when they created you? That song vibrates within you, and sometimes you can detect its melodies. When you are created, a good plan for your life was also created, so it is worth following the sound of that song. The source of every person’s life is God, and there is a part of each person which longs for its Creator, as Paul explained to the citizens of Athens:

For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship — and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. “For in him we live and move and have our being.” As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring.”

Acts 17:23-28

Paul was speaking this to the people of Athens, who were probably hearing about God for the first time, and he told them that in Him we live and move and have our being. This means that without the spirit given by God, each person’s life would simply pop like a balloon. And in this it makes no difference whether you are a Christian, atheist, or anything else. Without the spirit that God has given you, you would have no personality, character, emotions, will, nor life of any kind.

Holy Spirit, however, is God’s own spirit. Not everyone has Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of God, is quite different to a person’s own spirit. If you want to receive Holy Spirit, you must first become a disciple of Jesus. You must be born again. If you want to become a disciple of Jesus, get connected with a Christian community and ask them to help you with this. That is what I did.

John describes in his gospel how Jesus, after he had been resurrected, gathered his disciples together and breathed Holy Spirit onto them:

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.

John 20:21-23

The original word used here for ‘breathe’ is the same word used when God breathed life into the first human. (Septuaginta) With that first breath, human beings received their own spirit, and now Jesus breathes onto His disciples Holy Spirit. In the same way, a person can be born twice: first physically as a baby, and then a second time as a child of God in the Kingdom of God. So after receiving Holy Spirit we have two spirits, our own and also Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit lives inside us and is connected to our own spirit.

The apostle John even says that becoming a Christian means receiving the seed of God, the divine spiritual DNA, when we are born again as a child of God (1 John 3:9).  We have two kinds of genes: the natural and the spiritual. Our spiritual genes make us part of the family of God.

The second chapter of the book of Acts speaks about receiving Holy Spirit. In that passage, the focus is more on receiving the power of Holy Spirit. The apostles, who had turned inwards and were hiding away behind locked doors, were transformed by this power into bold witnesses who had the spiritual and even physical authority and power to change the world around them as part of God’s family.

Holy Spirit enables us to live a life of resurrection power. We have both the genes of God’s family as well as the power given by him to learn to live as a child of God in every area of our lives. Of course, we also have our old genes and old self inhabiting the same body. Which set of genes do we want to live your life by? The old or the new? Those that bring life for those that bring death? Through baptism, we identify with Jesus’s death and resurrection, with the death of our selfishness, and with the resurrection of our new self. Holy Spirit gives us strength to live a life of resurrection power. We feel the presence of Holy Spirit within us. He empowers us to live in a new way and to be changed so that we are no longer tied to our past addictions. Instead, He is always doing new things in us. God’s work of creation has not finished.

Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Adoption, through whom we call out to God our Father in our daily walk with Him. He also prays for us, guides our steps, and defends us, advocating on our behalf. He is therefore always present in our lives, giving us security and peace and pouring God’s love into our inmost being.

May your day be filled with God’s peace and love
Frank Hill