In the Bible, three persons are revealed to be God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. There is no difference whatsoever in the divine attributes, in the divine will, and in the divine working, as well as in the divine worship due to each person, for the three are the one God. Each person is fully God, yet the three persons remain distinct from one another.
The Father is the person from whom the Son of God is eternally begotten, begotten not in a flat carnal way, but in an analogically beautiful way from the very being of the Father. The Son always has been “in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18). The Son of God possesses all the Father possesses (John 16:14-15), does whatever the Father does (John 14:10), and speaks whatever the Father speaks (John 12:49-50). The persons of the Father and the Son are united not only in act but in being. The two may thus be described, according to Jesus, as “in” one another (John 14:11). The Son is one with God (John 10:30).
And both the Father and the Son in turn send the Holy Spirit from eternity into the world to work the will of God declared by the eternal Word. “Sending” speaks to the economy or work of the Spirit, while “proceeding” speaks to the ontology or essence of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit proceeds from God eternally. The language used to describe the eternal procession from the Father in John 15:26 is both fascinating and instructive. The Greek term is ἐκπορεύομαι, which the Bauer lexicon says can be used in two closely related ways. It can either mean “to be in motion from” or “to come forth from.” Bauer classifies John 15:26 under the first to mean the Spirit “proceeds from someone.” And this someone is God.
Did you catch that? The Holy Spirit does not proceed from a creature. He is not like you and me or any other creature. Nor is the Holy Spirit sent by any mere creature. The Holy Spirit proceeds, like the Son, directly from God. The Son and the Spirit are uniquely related to the Father in that both participate by nature in the Godhead. The Son is the eternally begotten God. The Holy Spirit is the eternally proceeding God.
The Spirit’s deity is why, throughout Scripture, we find the Holy Spirit described with divine attributes, working with the divine will, doing things only God can do. Over the next several weeks we must speak of the Holy Spirit in his person and his work. And the first thing we must consider about the Holy Spirit is that He is Love.