LUKE 11: 1-13 records a discourse by our Lord in which He taught His disciples how to pray properly. He begins by providing them with a sample prayer which all Christians know as The Lord’s Prayer (verses 2-4). Jesus then gave the parable of a man who requested bread from his friend at midnight. His friend initially refused, but the man’s importunity finally gained him his request (verses 5-8). The lesson is not that God is averse to His people’s requests, but that we need to pray persistently in order to gain the greater blessing. Next He speaks about the importance of sincerity in our prayers, requesting only those things that would be in harmony with the Heavenly Father’s will, resting by faith in His promises that such prayers will receive an answer in due time (verses 9-12).
We now come to our text (verse 13). The doctrine of the holy spirit is one of the chief teachings in the Bible, and as with every other Biblical doctrine, Satan has cast all of his influence in opposition to it; and he has succeeded in confusing nearly the entire Christian world by advocating that the holy spirit is the third person of a Trinity.
Here are some of the many expressions in the Bible that refer to the holy spirit: the “spirit of the Lord,” “spirit of Christ,” “spirit of holiness,” “spirit of truth” and “spirit of a sound mind.” Each of these expressions describes a different aspect of the holy spirit.
The Words “Spirit” and “Holy” in the Bible
The word “spirit” is the translation of the Hebrew word ruach in the Old Testament and the Greek word pneuma in the New Testament; and the word “holy” is the Hebrew translation of the word qodesh and the Greek translation of the word hagion. The word “spirit” is used nearly eight hundred times in the Scriptures and has twelve different meanings, one of which is invisible power (for either good or evil). According to this meaning, we would say that God’s holy spirit is His power exercised in any manner, but always in harmony with His Wisdom, Justice and Love. In essence, it is His holy power.
God’s power has many different modes of operation, some of which are:
(1.) The energy of life (Genesis 2: 7).
(2.) A creative power (Genesis 1: 2).
(3.) A life-giving power (Romans 6: 4).
(4.) A begetting power (Matthew 3: 16).
(5.) A transforming power or influence (Romans 12: 2).
The Holy Spirit as God’s Power and Influence
The holy spirit as used in our text (Luke 11: 13) has two senses. The first one is as God’s power and influence, however, or by whomsoever, it is exercised. Some examples follow:
(1.) The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and said to her, “The Holy Ghost [holy spirit] shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee” (Luke 1: 35). God exercised His power in Jesus’ human begettal.
(2.) Jesus, in His earthly ministry, was given power to perform various miracles, such as healing and casting out devils. He gave His Apostles, and later The Seventy evangelists, the same power.
(3.) 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 speaks about the various gifts of the spirit that consecrated believers received and used during the early part of the Gospel Age.
(4.) 2 Peter 1: 21 reads: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost [holy spirit].” The writers of the Old Testament books wrote by Divine inspiration.
(5.) The judges in Israel, such as Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson were all given the power to judge and to deliver Israel from its enemies. This power included the knowledge as to what, how to do, and the ability to do the work that the Lord appointed for them to do.
(6.) Israel’s kings, such as David, Solomon, Hezekiah and Josiah were also given this same power in order to prosecute their work successfully.
(7.) God’s consecrated people living today have also been given the power to know God’s will, how to perform His will and the ability to perform His will. Of course, this power does not come miraculously, but needs to be developed through the study of God’s Word, prayer, assembling together with fellow believers for mutual edification, etc.
The Holy Spirit as God’s Disposition
The second sense in which the term holy spirit is used in our text is as God’s disposition. God’s disposition can be exercised in Himself, Jesus, the Church, in fact, in all the consecrated.
The term disposition can be defined as the natural or acquired mental, moral and religious character of a person, either good or bad. Let us consider each in turn:
(1.) Mental character has to do with one’s mind, intellect and thoughts, such as perceiving, remembering and reasoning.
(2.) Moral character consists of one’s feelings, affections and will as directed toward our fellows.
(3.) Religious character includes one’s feelings, affections and will as directed toward God, Christ and good principles.
Isaiah 11: 2: “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” This verse refers to Jesus, who was anointed with God’s holy disposition following His consecration and spirit-begettal at age thirty. Following are the six parts of the anointing that He received:
(1.) “the spirit of wisdom” – A wise disposition.
(2.) “and understanding” – A disposition that perceives and reasons correctly.
(3.) “the spirit of counsel” – A disposition that gives true advice and acts with practical ability.
(4.) “and might” – A disposition that has the will power of self-control and patience to make decisions and to accomplish those decisions.
(5.) “the spirit of knowledge” – A disposition that is expert in Divine Knowledge.
(6.) “and of the fear of the LORD” – A reverent disposition in love and justice toward God and others.
Following their consecration, each member of the Church, Christ’s body, became begotten of the spirit and anointed with the holy spirit. This resulted in their being given spiritual capacities, a spiritual will, and gradually developing a spiritual character.
God’s Old Testament consecrated people also possessed the holy spirit as God’s disposition, but unlike the Church, their hearts, minds and wills were directed toward the human plane. They were particularly required to perfect faith and obedience (Hebrews 11: 1, 2, 33). Although they were not required to develop perfect love, they were to develop as much as they were able.
Psalm 51: 10, 11 records David’s beautiful prayer for mercy following his sin: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.” The “right spirit” and “holy spirit” in these verses refer to God’s disposition.
God’s consecrated people today receive God’s holy spirit, in the sense of His disposition, similar to God’s Old Testament people, although today we have the advantage of Christ’s Gospel Age ministry and a greater knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit in God’s Kingdom
Finally, the restitution class will have the privilege of receiving and developing God’s holy spirit in both of its senses during Christ’s future Mediatorial Reign. The classic passage proving this is Joel 2: 28: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
Another passage that speaks of that glorious time is Isaiah 35: 8: “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Indeed, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11: 9). Though no one will be forced to receive God’s holy spirit, only the faithful will gain eternal life and enter into the Ages of glory.
In summary, our text expresses that it is God’s good pleasure to give His holy spirit to those who truly desire and seek to receive it. It is incomparably greater than any earthly blessing that the world desires and seeks after. It is an invaluable possession, one of the greatest gifts that the Heavenly Father can bestow, and if we prove faithful, it will become our eternal possession.