5 Things Every Christian Needs to Know About the Holy Spirit

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Pentecost is the day Christians remember when Jesus, after his ascension into heaven, sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples. The Apostles went out to the streets in Jerusalem and began preaching the Gospel, and “about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2.41)

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Here are 5 important things to know about the Holy Spirit:

1) He is a person

The Holy Spirit is not an “it” or a “what,” the Holy Spirit is a “he” and a “who.” He is the third person of the Trinity, and even though he might seem more mysterious than the Father and the Son, he is just as much a person as they are.

2) He is fully God

The Holy Spirit may be the “third Person of the Trinity,” but this doesn’t mean that he is in anyway less than the Father or the Son. All three persons, including the Holy Spirit, and fully God and are “equal in glory,” as the Athanasian Creed says.

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3) He has always existed, even in Old Testament times

Although we learn most of what we know about God the Holy Spirit (as well as God the Son) in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit has always existed. God eternally exists as three persons – this has always been true. So when you read about God in the Old Testament, remember that the God you are reading about is all three persons of the Trinity, including the Holy Spirit.

4) You receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation

The Holy Spirit may be active in the world in mysterious ways we can’t always know. But a person receives the Holy Spirit in a special way first in Baptism (Acts 2.38), and then is strengthened in the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation.

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5) Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit, so live accordingly

Christians have the Holy Spirit indwelling in them in a special way, and this has serious moral consequences, as St. Paul explains:

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Cor 6.18-20)