Reflections for the Week of May 15, 2016 Pentecost (Whitsunday)

Scriptures: Acts 2.1-21; Psalm 104.25-35,37; Romans 8.14-17; John 14.8-17, (25-27).

Acts 2 tells of the coming of the Holy Spirit as prophesied in Joel 2.28, 29. Psalm 104 praises the LORD for His many blessings. Rm 8 says all who are led by the Spirit are children of God. In Jn 14 Jesus says He will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit in His name.

The Holy Spirit

We worship the Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for believers and taking away our sins, but of equal importance in our salvation is His sending the Holy Spirit which was promised by the Father. It is the Holy Spirit dwelling in believers that accomplishes the union and reconciliation of God and fallen man. Who is the Spirit and what does He do? First of all, the Spirit is a Person, one of the three Persons of the Trinity. He is addressed as He, not it. He is not an impersonal force or power. Persons have the attributes of minds, personalities, wills, and intentions. They (we) think and feel, have knowledge, opinions, purposes, goals, wills, emotions, love, grief, etc. We humans have a spirit which may be our minds or the part of our minds that can relate to God and distinguish between moral qualities. The Holy Spirit was present at Creation (Gen 1.2), conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb, and is called the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16.7), the Spirit of Christ (Rm 8.9), the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14.17; 16.13), and the Helper (Jn 14.16, 26). In the Hebrew Scriptures (the “Old Testament”) the Spirit lived in certain exceptional individuals and prophets, priests, and kings including King Saul, David, Solomon, and others. The Spirit inspired the human authors of the Bible (including the authors of the New Testament) so that it is both a human and a divine work (as Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is both fully human and fully divine). The Spirit is called a Paraclete (Gk para-kletos meaning “called alongside”). This is exactly what ‘advocate’ means in Latin. He is called alongside as a Helper to inform, lead, guide, inspire, and sanctify us. The Greek word for Spirit is ‘pneuma’ meaning breath or wind, so to ‘inspire’ means to fill or breathe in.The Holy Spirit is like a spot light that illuminates Jesus as God the Son, but deflects the light away from Himself. Jesus promised to be with us forever and sent the Spirit to fulfill this promise. The original Nicene Creed (325 AD) said the Spirit proceeded ‘from the Father’, but later the Church in the west added ‘and the Son’ (Latin: ‘filioque’) which in 1054 led to the schism of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches which has not yet been resolved. The Spirit dwelling in believers sanctifies them progressively. The Spirit causes believers to be ’born again’ (or ‘born from above’) according to Jesus in Jn 3.1-15. This is also called ‘regeneration’ and causes justification, the verdict of ‘not guilty’, pronounced on believers by God, and confers the gift of faith based on God’s grace. In John 14.23 Jesus said that God would come to dwell in those who love God and keep His word. It is this indwelling of the Holy Spirit that restores the relationship with God that Adam had with Him in the Garden, that was lost in the fall, and that God promised to restore in the covenants made with Abraham, Moses, and David. Christians in whom the Spirit dwells are ‘adopted sons’ of the Father (Rm 8.15; Gal 4.6) like Jesus in whom the Spirit dwelled, and like the temple where God dwelled with man, so that Jesus and His Christian brothers are the new temples (1 Cor 6.19) that occur throughout the world.

Memory Verse: As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Rm 8.14).





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