In Paul’s plea to stretch ourselves out to have the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, he laid down seven foundations vital to our unity being what God wants among His people. The first of those one’s was “There is one body.” The second is “There is one Spirit.” The New Testament was first written in Greek. One of the unusual things about the original text is that it was written in all capital letters without separation of words and without the typical punctuation that we might have. Since it was all in capital letters when a word such as “Spirit” occurs the only way to know if it is being used in the sense of one’s attitude or in the sense of the “Holy Spirit of God” is from the context in which it is found. Here it is used of the Holy Spirit for certain since each of the members of the Godhead or deity is listed as one of the seven (one Lord and one God and Father of all).
Even though the Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the timid member of the Godhead, because He usually speaks of the other members of the Godhead instead of Himself, the Bible talks about His work from the very beginning. When God had Moses to tell the story of creation, in Genesis one, he said, “The Spirit of God hovered over the waters.” It was to the Spirit and the Word who would become flesh and live among us, that the Father said, “Let us make man in our own image and in our likeness.” So man was made in the image and likeness of God, both male and female.
The Spirit spoke through prophets and teachers to guide them in giving God’s message to people. Perhaps David, in the Psalms spoke more than any other Old Testament writer about the Holy Spirit and His work. David pleaded with God in Psalms 51 not to remove His Holy Spirit from him. It was after his sin with Bathsheba and the confrontation by Nathan the prophet for his sin that led to this Psalm being written. In the 139th Psalm beginning in verse seven David asked, “Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there, if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I live in the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will become night” even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You. For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful and I know this very well.” It would be difficult to imagine a Scripture that more vividly described the omnipresence of God. He is always there, wherever we may be.
In the New Testament the angel of the Lord pointed to the work of the Holy Spirit when he informed Mary about the nature of the birth of Jesus the Christ. She wanted to know how it could happen since she had never had sex with a man. He told her the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would give birth to a son and would call His name Jesus. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove and sat upon Him. The Father spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” When John compared His baptism to that of Jesus, he said, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but the One who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to take off His sandals. He Himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
In John 3:34-36 it says, “For God sent Him, and he speaks God’s words, since He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead the wrath of God remains on him.” Some of the older translations of verse 34 add the phrase “Unto Him” at the end so that it says that God doesn’t give the Holy Spirit by measure unto Him. But the phrase “Unto him” isn’t part of the original text and the point is instead that God doesn’t limit His gifts of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus talked to the woman at the well he told her that if she drank of the water that He gave she would never thirst again. He said, the water He would give would become a well of water springing up within her for eternal life. (John 4:13-14) In John 7:37-39 He used a similar illustration and then explained it further. “On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.’ He said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been received, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” So the work of the Spirit inside the believer is like an artesian well, with water springing out of the ground to flow all around.
Later in John chapters fourteen through sixteen Jesus gave far more detail about the coming work of the Spirit. He would no longer just be with the disciples but “In them.” He is called the “Spirit of Truth” who will abide with us forever. Jesus told them he would not leave them as orphans but would send another counsellor who would abide with them. When the church began in Acts 2 the Spirit was given to the twelve in an overwhelming manner, so that they spoke with languages they had never studied or learned and people from all nations could understand them in their own language. The people were cut to the heart and cried out, “What shall we do?” Peter told them to “Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for the promise is for you and for your children and for all who afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Throughout the Book of Acts the Holy Spirit is so active that many have said that the book should be called the “Acts of the Holy Spirit.” He both gave miraculous powers to the people and worked in the lives of the people who were Christ’s followers to mold them into God’s image.
Think of some things tied to the work of the Spirit in the letters to churches and individuals. He gives spiritual gifts to people. He strengthens us in the inner man. He dwells in our bodies as the temple of the Lord. He dwells in the church. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. He intercedes for us when we pray to the Father with words that we can’t comprehend. He bears the fruit of the Spirit in our lives to make us more like Jesus all the time. In one Spirit we are all baptized into one body and are all made to drink of the one Spiritual drink. We worship God in the Spirit. The Spirit speaks explicitly. Timothy was challenged to “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you.” In Hebrews 9:14 it is said that the blood of Christ was offered through the “Eternal Spirit to God.”
The One Spirit is the third member of the Godhead, who leads, guides, helps and blesses the lives of all who follow the Lord. He also convicts the world of sin, death and judgment to God. He is the one who breathed the word of God to the inspired writers who wrote the message down so that it might be passed down to all people. There can be no unity in the body of Christ without the work of the Holy Spirit.