The Holy Spirit in Christian ministry, purpose and goal
June 8, 2016 7:43pm CST
Expanding a little bit on my post re. Pentecost Sunday and certain questions which came up, I thought first of all to go into certain basics. The Holy Spirit is what made the prophets prophets-and Peter's speech in Acts, relates the eschatological fulfillment of the gift of the Spirit in the Christian congregation-Peter says what Joel proclaimed, was fulfilled in that day-in New Testament thought there is one Pentecost, but the receiving and filling of the Spirit was not to be a presence that ended. So when speaking of the Holy Spirit, we must be careful to distinguish between the Gift of the Spirit, and the Gifts of the Spirit (that is, what the Given Spirit gives). Since when we speak of this, we are speaking in terms of the Pentecostal endowment, that is the energizing power of the Spirit given for a reason, we must examine what that purpose was-testimony to the Risen Christ and salvation proclaimed in His name. As such, that s the aim of what we are speaking of, the Biblical and Apostolic preaching. It as often been noted, that the gift of the Spirit involved that of communication-it was the giving of the Word, and then proclamation of the Word-in other words, ministry. As such, when we speak of the communication of the Spirit, we are looking at what the Spirit communicated-the Gospel and Apostolic preaching. In more simple terms, the Holy Scriptures. Before talking about tongues, healings, manifestations which point to a message, we look at that message, as the book of Revelation says, testimony to Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy-as Jesus says in John's Gospel, the Spirit would glorify Him-note that because those are very large theological concepts, that the Spirit gives testimony to Jesus. When people ask me about the Holy Spirit or gift/gifts/ of the Spirit, they usually have something a little different in mind, but I thought it was best to deal with the primary goal or end to which the gift is given-that is, in Christian terms, gifts have a reason and function, and if that is lost sight of then the entire concept is distorted.
5 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 16
This is an interesting discussion. It reminds me of the passage in Ephesians, "For we are are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (KJV) Do you feel that this refers to being created, in the sense of the "new creation," as in the life we live as redeemed creatures? Or does it simply mean all created beings are ordained to do these good works?
10 Jun 16
The immediate context of Ephesians is "to the saints...faithful in Christ Jesus", as 1:1 says, and here again he is speaking to the redeemed ("we...created in Christ Jesus")-a theme within Ephesians (and Paul's entire thought on Justification, actually) is Divine Election (1:4)-however, alongside predestination there is also the paradox of free will (in reality it may not be as much of a paradox as we have sometimes made it, it is just that Paul's thought is complex-and both Augustine and Calvin were speaking in more complex ideas then some have simplified them to), and if God gives a command, it is so it will be kept-so while the immediate context of that is Redeemed created in Christ to do this, the thought also does exist that yes, God wants all to come to Him and walk in His will-so while he was speaking to the Redeemed, Paul would also say that He wants all to walk after Him.
• United States
10 Jun 16
@HebrewGreekStudies Thank you for the explanation. That does make sense within the larger context of the chapter. I'm also glad you made that point about Augustine and Calvin. I sometimes hear people using one or the other to support their side of a debate, without knowing precisely what they say in their writings. After reading the Institutes, in particular, I was stunned by how little I had really known or understood about Calvinism.