I Believe in the Holy Spirit

Gerald De Graaf, a sophomore at Dordt College, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William De Graaf of Pella, Iowa, A member of Faith Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Gerald is in the Pre-seminary program at Dordt. Dr. Gerard Van Groningen., professor of Bible at Dordt, writes: “I have had a most wonderful time during the past eighteen hours. I have read seventy-seven creeds. Let me explain. In the class on “History of Christian Confessions” we reviewed the historical circumstances and the main teachings of various creeds . It was found that . . . compared to what is said of the work of God the Father and of God the Son, little is found concerning the work of the Holy Spirit . . . I thought it to be helpful if the students would be assigned the task (and privilege) of writing their own creed to express their belief concerning the Biblical teachings about the Spirit’s work . . . .” We thank Dr. Van. Groningen for making some of this material available for publication.

I believe, concerning the Holy Spirit’s work in Creation, that the Holy Spirit is the Giver of life and that the Holy Spirit was pleased, as well as God the Father and God the Son, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing by the Word of His mouth, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days: and all very good.

I believe, concerning the Holy Spirit’s work in Revelation, that the Holy Spirit is active in both general and special revelation. In general revelation, the elegant book of nature, the Holy Spirit is the Author and Giver of life. In special revelation the Holy Spirit moved men and used these men with their own character and temperament—which includes gifts and talents, education, culture, vocabulary, diction and style—to reveal the Scriptures by completely controlling and guiding them, even as to the choice of their words. The Holy Spirit never works in man’s heart apart from the true Scriptures (or the Word of God); therefore, all witnesses and revelations of the Holy Spirit today must be in concordance with Scripture. The Holy Spirit in His inward work fully persuades and assures me of the infallible truth and of the divine authority of the Word of God, bearing witness to me by and with the Word in my heart. Thus He seals the Word, or in other words, creates in my heart the firm and lasting conviction of the divine and absolute authority of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit enables the Word to fulfill its destiny; namely, to be believed by me, understood by me, and lived by me. The Holy Spirit’s inward illumination is necessary for a saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word. It is to be the supreme judge by which al1 controversies of religion are determined, and in whose sentence I am to rest, provided I am listening to the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures.

I believe, concerning the Holy Spirit’s work in Incarnation, that the Holy Spirit by His power caused Jesus Christ to be conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary of her substance without the means of man. Thus He sanctified and anointed the Lord Jesus in His human nature. In becoming man, Jesus Christ as Son became inseparably united with the human nature, so that there were two natures united into a single Person; each nature having its own distinct properties. These two natures are so deeply united that they were not separated even by His death. The Holy Spirit also supplied gifts which served to enable Christ’s weakened nature so that it could be an instrument in the working out of His holy design, and finally be transformed by resurrection into a glorious nature.

I believe, concerning the Holy Spirit’s work in Redemption, that the Holy Spirit, working in due season, calls me unto faith in Christ, being fallen in Adam, and redeemed by Christ. This the Holy Spirit begins by bringing me into contact with the Word, then He shows me a picture of a sinner according to the Scriptures, the salvation which mercifully saved him, and lastly, He makes me hear the song of praise upon his lips. After I have seen this with an eye of understanding, He then so works in me that I begin to see myself in that sinner, and to feel that the truth of the Scripture directly concerns me. The Holy Spirit then proclaims God’s grace to me, calling me out of the state of sin and death. He regenerates me, for without His regenerating grace I am neither able nor willing to turn to God; and by His enlightening my mind to understand the things of God, and by His softening of my heart, He makes me both willing and able. He takes hold of my will, causing the very power seen in the Scriptures to work in me. I am then by God’s grace a prisoner released from sin by Christ’s atoning death and victorious resurrection, and now able to live in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, having effectually persuaded me to believe and obey, then strengthens and nourishes this faith which He has imparted to me and gives me assurance by witnessing to me that I am a child of God.

I believe, concerning the Holy Spirit’s work in Sanctification, that the Holy Spirit through the Word renews me to repentance, to a sincere and godly sorrow for my sins, that I may seek and obtain remission in the blood of the Mediator, and may again experience the favor of a reconciled God to more differently work out my salvation with fear and trembling. The Holy Spirit dwells in me and I believe live in His fullness. Through the Holy Spirit the dominion of sin in my life is destroyed, lusts more and more become weakened and mortified, and I become more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving grace. He enables me to cleanse myself from sin in an ever fuller measure and to press to the goal of Christian perfection. He supplies continual strength and instructs and builds me in the faith. He alerts me to sin and strengthens me for the battle against the devil and inspires me to obedience. In redemption the Holy Spirit imparts to me the washing away of my sins and the daily renewal of my life. He continually transforms me, making me more like Christ.

I believe, concerning the unity of believers, that the Holy Spirit witnesses to my spirit that I am a child of God and unites me to others of the elect who have had this same witness, and we become united as members of one body in true brotherly love. A means for this uniting is that we all by true faith are partakers of Christ and of all His benefits: life eternal, righteousness and glory; which are given to comfort us and to abide in us forever. Also He is One, and the indwelling of the same Spirit guarantees a real and substantial unity which brings about the love of God to be shed abroad in our hearts.

I believe, concerning the proclaiming and maintaining of the truth, that the Holy Spirit works in my heart and convinces me of the truth and causes me to proclaim His truth to others, thus making me a witness for Him. He powerfully illuminates my mind that I may rightly understand and discern the things He wishes me to know. The Holy Spirit also works through such means as Bible study. the ministry of the Word, and the spiritual experience of the Church; and, by means of such, He indicates to me what deviates from the truth and what is the correct understanding of the Word.

I believe, concerning missions and service in all of life, that the Holy Spirit speaks to the heart of some, calling them to bring the Gospel to those who have not heard. The Holy Spirit then guides them in this their task and uses them and their work for God’s glory if they continually seek God’s will and the aid of the Holy Spirit. These are not to be held above any other believer; however, for all true believers have a calling, a task, a vital charge from Christ brought home by the Holy Spirit; and all must do their task in obedience to our Sender with the help and guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables me by grace to do good works through faith and causes me to do God’s will and not my own. He also enables me to give gifts readily and cheerfully for the advantage and the salvation of others.