The Holy Spirit is a core doctrine in the Christian faith. The Apostles clearly taught that the Holy Spirit is God. He is a person and not a dove like is depicted by many Christians.
People become Christians by the regeneration of the holy Spirit. Being "filled" or "Baptized" by the Holy Spirit are separate concepts from the regeneration and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Not only are Christians effected by the work of the Holy Spirit; but, those who don’t believe are effected by the Holy Spirit’s work as well.
The Holy Spirit is NOT a dove
First and foremost, the Holy Spirit is not some created bird. The most popular depiction of the Holy Spirit is the symbol of the dove. The Spirit of God was seen by the apostles.
and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.”
(Luk 3:22 NAS)
The Spirit of God is NOT a dove. He is a person and not a creature. The Apostles are only describing the movement of the Spirit as being similar to the way a dove gracefully flies. The depictions of the Holy Spirit as a dove are idolatrous and very deceiving.
The Holy Spirit is God
The newest version of the Westminster Confession of Faith from the PCUSA Book of Confessions states,
The Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, proceeding from the Father and the Son, of the same substance and equal in power and glory, is, together with the Father and the Son, to be believed in, loved, obeyed, and worshipped throughout all ages.
Book of Confession of the PCUSA Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 9 Of The Holy Spirit Section 1
The Apostle Peter plainly calls the Holy Spirit God in Acts.
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? . . . You have not lied to men, but to God.”
(Act 5:3-4 NAS)
The Holy Spirit knows the depths of God, which is only possible for God to know.
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
(1Co 2:10-11 NAS)
God is Spirit
The Apostles taught that God is Spirit. That God is not a man sitting in some location in outer space. He is Spirit.
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(Joh 4:24 NAS)
There is only one Spirit
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
(1Co 12:13 NAS)
The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit
The Bible plainly teaches that God will give us His spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God.
And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams;
(Act 2:17 NAS)
“And I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord God.
(Eze 39:29 NAS)
The Holy Spirit has emotions
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
(Eph 4:30 NAS)
The Holy Spirit is a "He" not an "It"
If the Holy Spirit is not a person, the Apostles and the Bible would call Him "It." The Bible calls the Holy Spirit "He."
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
(Joh 14:26 NAS)
The Holy Spirit Speaks
And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
(Act 13:2 NAS see also Act 21:11; 28:25-27)
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years.
(Heb 3:7-9 NAS)
If the Holy Spirit was simply a person; He would not be able to speak, have emotions, knowledge, or be called a "He." The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is the person whom we call God.
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
Some false teachers and unbelievers, namely the Jehovah witnesses, teach that the Holy Spirit is merely God’s "force." They claim that The Holy Spirit is some inanimate thing and not a person. The Bible teaches something completely different. The Bible plainly teaches that the Holy Spirit is a person and not a thing. For those who want to make the Holy Spirit anything but God, God will by no means forgive them.
but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin “-
(Mar 3:29 NAS)
“And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.
(Mat 12:32 NAS)
I strongly recommend saying nothing about the Holy Spirit, instead of openly disgracing Him with insane and absurd teachings like the Jehovah Witnesses do.
Regeneration by the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the cause of our spiritual regeneration. All things given to us, spoken to us, revealed to us, and everything else, comes from God through His Spirit.
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
(1Co 2:10 NAS See also 1 Pe 1:12)
Salvation comes from the Holy Spirit
Nobody can accept God or have faith on God without the Holy Spirit.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
(1Co 2:14 NAS)
Only by the renewing of the holy Spirit can we be saved and not from something within ourself.
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
(Tit 3:5 NAS)
This is called being "Born Again" and is completely done at the Holy Spirits sole discretion.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
(Joh 3:5-8 NAS)
God Himself, the Holy Spirit, gives us everything, and, not from ourselves, but, freely from Him who loves us. The Westminster Confession of Faith states this well.
This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 10 Of Effectual Calling Section 2
The Holy Spirit dwells in us
The only reason God’s people can do anything good, is because of the Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit regenerates His people and resides with them.
Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.
(2Ti 1:14 NAS)
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
(1Co 6:19 NAS)
The Spirit of God gives us Peace, Love, Joy, and all goodness
If anyone has love, it is because of the Holy Spirit. Peace, love, joy and righteousness all come from the Holy Spirit. Nobody can boast in their own love and peace, because, they have no peace without God’s Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Gal 5:22-23 NAS)
This does not mean only those who believe have peace and love. The Holy Spirit gives peace and love to those who do not believe in God as well. Apart from the Spirit of God, nobody has love or peace for God is love.
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
(1Jo 4:8 NAS)
The Holy Spirit is our helper
The Apostles taught that the Holy Spirit is sent to help His people in all things.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (Joh 14:26 NAS)
So that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”
(Heb 13:6 NAS see also Joh 15:26)
The Holy Spirit teaches us
The true knowledge of God only comes through the Holy Spirit.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
(1Co 2:12-13 NAS)
The Holy Spirit is our comforter
We have comfort in God’s Spirit. Comfort in that we have the assurance of love and an eternal inheritance in heaven. We have peace, joy, and the hope only found in God’s Spirit.
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
(Act 9:31 NAS)
The regeneration and indwelling of God’s Spirit are not to be confused with being "filled" or the "Baptized" by the Holy Spirit. These are extra gifts that are bestowed upon God’s "visible" church.
The Holy Spirit and the unregenerate
Not only are true believers effected by the Holy Spirit, but all creation and humanity is governed by Him. In the Orthodox Reformed faith, we call it "Common grace." These are gifts given to those who are not God’s people. The Westminster Confession of Faith states,
Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved . . .
Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 10 Of Effectual Calling Section 3
The Holy Spirit gives gifts to those who are not His people. "Spiritual gifts" are not the same as being "regenerate." Please refer to my article on "Being ‘filled with’ or ‘the Baptism of’ the Holy Spirit."
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
(Mat 22:14 NAS)
Some people will preach God’s word and show all kinds of zeal; however, if they are not true believers, they eventually fall away.
“And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
(Mat 13:20-21 NAS)
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.
(Heb 6:4-6 NAS)
Many will even stand before the Lord with the assumption that their own works are acceptable to God.
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
(Mat 7:22-23 NAS)
Regardless of having the gift of prophesy, miracles, or casting out demons (gifts only given by the Holy Spirit), if they are still not true believers in Christ, God does not know them. Having Spiritual gifts does not make you regenerate or renewed by the Holy Spirit.