The Spirit of God

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Westminster Confession of Faith

"But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26)

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)

The Greek and Hebrew words which are translated as “Spirit” both carry the meaning of breath. Breath is something which gives life, and something which forms part of our being. Death is the departure of breath from the body, and our breathing is something which is unconscious and continual.

Before Jesus left his disciples, he promised them that another would be sent by him from the Father: the Spirit of truth. This same Spirit is identified as the “Sprit of his Son” by the Apostle Paul. This Spirit is as much God as the Father and the Son are, but we must be careful not to think of him simply as some vague force. In the New Testament he is described as one who will teach, and bear witness. He does not permit Paul to go into the region of Bithynia and empowers believers. He can be grieved, and searches our hearts.

Here then is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. Yet there is more. This selfsame Spirit resides within the heart of the believer, God ever-present with and within us. This Holy Spirit over time transforms us into greater Christlikeness. AS he hovered over the waters in creation (Genesis 1) he also re-creates those who follow Christ. He inspires the Scriptures which guide us, and reveals God to us. He gathers the church, and equips it with all that is needed.

No wonder one recent theologian has called the Holy Spirit “God’s Empowering Presence”. The Spirit is God, closer to us than our own breath.

The Son of the Father

“but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:2–3) - So it is that Jesus is not another God, but simply the God. God made manifest. The God made known. The image of the invisible God.


So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:21-17) - Some treat Christianity as being fostered: you can only stay with God as long as you behave yourself; you might be moved on at any moment. That is to misunderstand things. Adoption is permanent. The papers have been signed. You are now a child of God. If have decided to follow Christ, you are a Child of God and the Holy Sprit within you acts as your adoption papers. He bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God.

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