Sunday: The Holy Spirit and God

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The Bible does not present a systematic description of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Instead we find interesting traces that indicate that the biblical writers considered the Holy Spirit to be equal with God. There are several biblical passages where the same activity is attributed to God and then also to the Holy Spirit.

Read Acts 5:1-4. What can we conclude about God and the Holy Spirit from Peter’s words to Ananias?

Comforted by Scripture

Image © Kevin Carden

If the Holy Spirit were not God, then Peter would have been speaking here in a very careless and fatally misleading manner. The interesting aspect about the nature of the Holy Spirit, however, is the fact that the apostle Peter puts God and the Holy Spirit on the same level. In verse 3, he asks Ananias why he has lied to the Holy Spirit, and he continues at the end of verse 4: “You have not lied to men but to God” (NASB). Peter clearly equates the Holy Spirit with God. His point is that Ananias was not just lying to the apostles, but to God Himself. Lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God. The Holy Spirit is God. The point is made here very clearly.

Why such a harsh punishment for what these two people did?

We must remember that the believers of the early church in Acts were “one in heart and mind” (Acts 4:32, NIV). This unity was a product of the Holy Spirit, and this is the reason they voluntarily and freely shared what they possessed. To lie with regard to the sharing was to deny the unity of the community and to belie the Spirit that undergirded that unity and made it possible.

This is why the lie of Ananias and his wife falsified the divine work and presence of the Holy Spirit in the early church community. Such dishonesty toward God is destructive and hinders the Spirit of God from working effectively in the lives of the believers. God wants us to serve Him undividedly. Because the new faith community was at a crucial juncture, God used drastic consequences to make sure that the new church would work in unison and truthfulness with one another and be willing to be led by His Spirit.

Think how easily Ananias and Sapphira may have justified their sin. After all, haven’t we sold our own property and given some of it to the church? What’s the big deal if we keep a little? What should this story tell us about how careful we need to be regarding how we justify our actions?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons