Barnstaple Baptist Church

Connecting people to Jesus Christ

Spirit, Not Ghost....

The 18th century hymn writer Charles Wesley wrote:
          Granted is the Saviour's prayer,                Sent the gracious Comforter;
            Promise of our parting Lord,                    Jesus to his heaven restored:

The prayer and the promise he mentions refer to Jesus’ conversation with His followers, about His going to His Father; His ascension.

Jesus said to them: .....I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. John 14:16-17 NLT

Older versions of the Bible speak about the Holy Ghost whereas modern versions speak of Spirit, Not Ghost.  We use the expression Holy Spirit rather than Holy Ghost because of the peculiar associations with the word ghost.

The Holy Spirit is one member of the Trinity. He has important roles in a person’s living relationship with God.  It is the Holy Spirit who is active in making people aware of their need of God.

When people recognise that need and ask God for forgiveness then, Jesus said, they are born of the Spirit John 3:6.  (Born Again)  This same Holy Spirit then lives within each Born Again person as a guide, a helper and as One who empowers. 

The word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit may be translated Advocate (or Comforter, as Wesley did, or Encourager, or Counselor).  They are short versions of that word’s actual meaning: One Who Comes Alongside - like a friend or a barrister. 

The Holy Spirit Stands With all Born Again Believers, (Christians) to strengthen them in living the quality of life God wants for them - a Holy Life.  He makes God’s thoughts known to Christians showing them the way through life. 

He helps Christians resolve problems and issues they meet.  He also gives them gifts which are special abilities enabling them to worship and serve God with increased powers.