Trinity And Relationship

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There has long been an effort to try to make God The Son, somehow less, or less important than The Father, and to dismiss The Holy Spirit as not actually being The Spirit, but “really” is just Jesus. The end result, of course, being a very confusing picture of who and what God is, and how trinity desires community and relationship with the human family:

Divinity cannot be polluted. There is no Bible reason, to say that trinitarian persons simply substitute One member of The Godhead for one another – as if in doing the dirty work for each other. And there’s no reason, for that matter, to think that any of the “One God” could take the credit from one another; they are not rivals for divine honors, they are never in competition; but they all glorify one another in mutually reciprocal ways. As strictly equal beings they are present with one another as the one God, and perfectly united in their saving work.

Jesus defined the unpardonable sin as “‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” (it was NEVER AGAINST JESUS OR THE FATHER, EVER) while saying, “‘Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come'” (Mat 12:31-32).

This could be true only if the Holy Spirit is God.

Is it then, any wonder, that the doctrine of The Holy Spirit is one of the most attacked, one of the most confused (by us) teachings in some corners of the church today?

Jesus, in John 8:42, came unto the world Incarnate; repeating with us what has always happened within the dynamic life of The Trinity, and quite apart from us, or at least, from beyond the point of what we can fully understand; but The Spirit also “proceeds from The Father,” (John 15:26) to rest on Jesus (Luke 3:14), The Word Incarnate.

The Spirit imparts the Humanity of Jesus, with The Father’s own Gifts of Light, Love, and Life. “In Him was Life, and The Life was The Light of [mankind].” (John 1:4). This Life; which The Spirit imparts, is not a Light that just shines through Jesus and on back to The Father; but “the life that was the Light of men” through His humanity, shines upon us. This is why Jesus declares: “I am The Light of the world…” (John 9:5), and Jesus further stated within this verse, that as long as He was in the world, He would be “The Light.”

The reason we can know that The Spirit radiates and shines the Light of Christ, not back to The Father, but to us is that Jesus also said: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Mat 5:4). It is in this precise way that the gifts of The Father indwell us in and through the gift of The Spirit Himself, shining through the Incarnate humanity of The Son, and then to us. As Scripture tells us:

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb 9:14)

The condition, if you will, for this inclusion of humanity within the hidden dynamic of The Trinity’s own personal life, shining forth in its form of Deity, is our personal unity with Christ. We are “In Christ, and by The Spirit,” “the light of the world,” spoken of in Mat 5:4. It is as we are united to Christ, by The Holy Spirit, as “the Spirit of Christ” or sometimes “the Spirit of God,” that we receive the perfections that Jesus received in His Incarnation, in His humanity. United with Christ, by The Holy Spirit, we go with Christ, to The Father:

The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God,” (Rom 8:16), “…ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom 8:9)

The Christian’s affirmation of the Holy Spirit’s work through the external word is not merely a polemic move against Arian enthusiasts but is an approach to pneumatology that assumes the Spirit’s inseparable connection to Christ and His words of life:

God’s Holy, educating Spirit is in His word. A light, a new and precious light, shines forth from every page. Truth is there revealed, and words and sentences are made bright and appropriate for the occasion, as the voice of God speaking to the soul. {COL 132.2}

There are people who like to subordinate the Holy Spirit ontologically to the Father and the Son, reducing His nature to that of a “ministering spirit,” or something similar, that is “less” than God, somehow, but Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit shares the same dignity with the Father and the Son because He shares with them the same divine name into which people are baptized according to the Lord’s command and teaching in Matthew 28.19

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:

The Spirit is the One in whom we worship the Son and by whom we cry out to the Father through the Son. We pray in the Spirit of the Sonship, of Christ.

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The major reason for safeguarding the divinity of the Holy Spirit at least, partially lies in the Christian’s confession of the tsaving work of the Spirit in baptism; and what follows thereafter. Through the regenerating grace of baptism, of The Spirit; people become “new,” and Experience many blessings to follow. In view of the saving works of the Spirit from the beginning of our adoption in baptism to our final sanctification at the resurrection, we confess the Spirit to be God.

By locating, within scripture, and then following the Holy Spirit’s action in our personal baptism and its benefits, Christians can move move towards a material and thus sacramental view of the specific work of The Spirit today. Such an approach inevitably leads to an Incarnational view of the Spirit that highlights His inseparability from the Son, the Word made flesh, who bears and gives the Spirit:

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom 8:9)

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal 3:3)

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16)

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:25)

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Eph 6:8)

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Tim 3:16).

As Christians, walking in The Spirit today, we look for the Holy Spirit not simply as coming sometime after Christ, but also very much as already in Christ, in His life and mission. Christ did nothing Incarnate, without The Holy Spirit. Including His birth, by Mary. And in our new birth, by The same Spirit, we enter into this same “life that was the light of men.”

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The Spirit was present in the beginning during Creation, (Gen 1:26-27), and He is always there for us as we experience our personal and active “new birth” and betroth ourselves to Him. (2 Cor 5:17)

Our new life in Christ, is proof of The Spirit’s work in our life. (1 John 1:1-3).

It is the absence of the Spirit that makes the gospel ministry so powerless. Learning, talent, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but, without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner won to Christ. On the other hand, if they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts. God makes them channels for the outflowing of the highest influence in the universe. {8T 21.4}

Why do we not hunger and thirst for the gift of the Spirit, since this is the means by which we are to receive power? Why do we not talk of it, pray fowilling to give the Holy Spirit, preach concerning it? The Lord is more t to us than parents are to give good gifts to their children. For the baptism of the Spirit every worker should be pleading with God. Companies should be gathered together to ask for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to plan and execute wisely. Especially should men pray that God will baptize His missionaries with the Holy Spirit.” {8T 22.1}

It is the Spirit that causes to shine into darkened minds the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness; that makes men’s hearts burn within them with an awakened realization of the truths of eternity; that presents before the mind the great standard of righteousness, and convinces of sin; that inspires faith in Him who alone can save from sin; that works to transform character by withdrawing the affections of men from those things which are temporal and perishable, and fixing them upon the eternal inheritance. The Spirit recreates, refines, and sanctifies human beings, fitting them to 94.5}become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. {AG 1

The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit; for it is His representative. Through it He infuses spiritual life into the soul, quickening its energies for wgood, cleansing from moral defilement, and giving it a fitness for His kingdom. Jesus has large blessings to bestow, rich gifts to distribute among men. He is the wonderful Counselor, infinite in wisdom and strength; and if we will acknowledge the power of His Spirit, and submit to be molded by it, we shall stand  of the Saviour, did not naturally possess that loveliness of character. He was not only self-assertive and ambitious for honor, but impetuous, and resentful under injuries.

But as the character of the Divine One was manifested to him, he saw his own deficiency and was humbled by the knowledge. The strength and patience, the power and tenderness, the majesty and meekness, that he beheld in the daily life of the Son of God, filled his soul with admiration and love. Day by day his heart was drawn out toward Christ, until he lost sight of self in love for his Master. His resentful, ambitious temper was yielded to the molding power of Christ. The regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit renewed his heart. The power of the love of Christ wrought a transformation of character. This is the sure result of union with Jesus. When Christ abides in the heart, the whole nature is transformed. Christ’s Spirit, His love, softens the heart, subdues the soul, and raises the thoughts and desires toward God and heaven. {SC 73.1}

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As they met together after the ascension they were eager ao present their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. In solemn awe they bowed in prayer, repeating the assurance, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23, 24. They extended the hand of faith higher and higher with the mighty argument,

“It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34. And Pentecost brought them the presence of the Comforter, of whom Christ had said, He “shall be in you.” And He had further said, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” John 14:17; 16:7. Henceforth through the Spirit, Christ was to abide continually in the hearts of His children. Their union with Him was closer than when He was personally with them. The light, and love, and power of the indwelling Christ shone out through them, so that men, beholding, “marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13. {SC 74.1}

All that Christ was to the disciples, He desires to be to His children today; for in that last prayer, with the little band of disciples gathered about Him, He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” John 17:20. {SC 75.1}

The disciples no longer had any distrust of the future. They knew that Jesus was in heaven, and that His sympathies were with them still. They knew that they had a friend at the throne of God, and they were eager to present their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. In solemn awe they bowed in prayer, repeating the assurance, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23, 24. They extended the hand of faith higher and higher, with the mighty argument, “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34. And Pentecost brought them fullness of joy in the presence of the Comforter, even as Christ had promised. {DA 833.1}

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