Great question, isn’t it? I think this is one of the tougher Trinity questions to understand. So bear with me while I try to logic this out for us.
We’ve already seen that Jesus places the Holy Spirit on the same level as the Father and Himself (Matthew 28:19). To me, it doesn’t make much since that Jesus would tell his disciples to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, if the Spirit were just a force of God.
#1. The most compelling Bible verses that show the Spirit as a “person” and not are force are Jesus’ words in John 14:15-17,25-26
If you love me, you will obey my commandments. Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you…I have spoken these things while staying with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.
Notice Jesus says “another Advocate.” The Greek word for another in this case means another just like Jesus. So someone like Jesus will come to the disciples. If the Holy Spirit is God’s force, the He is God’s force in the same way the Son is God’s force.
#2. Here are two more verses that show the Spirit as separate from God and acting of His own volition.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will. ~Romans 8:26-27
If the Spirit were only God’s force, why would He need to intercede for us to God? Personally, I’m glad the Spirit searches my heart and interprets my groanings because there are a lot of times when I don’t know what to pray. We are blessed to have Someone who knows us better than ourselves and can interceded for us.
#3. Here, the Spirit is credited as the one who decides what sorts of spiritual gifts we receive. Notice that all members of the Trinity are discussed in the first line (verse 4).
Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all. For one person is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, and another the message of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another performance of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. It is one and the same Spirit, distributing as he decides to each person, who produces all these things. ~1 Corinthians 12:4-11
#4: And the story of Ananias and Sapphira has always been an interesting one to me.
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land? Before it was sold, did it not belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!” ~Acts 5:3-4
If lying to the Spirit is the same as lying to God, we can assume that the Spirit is someone that can be lied to. (You wouldn’t lie to a force like the wind). And lying to the Spirit is the same as lying to God. (Which is another proof the Spirit is on the same level as the Father and Son.)
There are so many more Scriptures that we could discuss, but I think I’ll stop here. While there are many passages that make it seem like the Spirit is no more than an extension of God’s will, that shouldn’t be surprising to us. The Father sent the Son to us, and He has also sent the Spirit. The problem in understand lies with us. It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around the Spirit because He is something we can’t see or touch.