Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Saturday, 10 March 2018

I believe, Week Four

I believe in the Holy Spirit



Although only getting one line within the creed this statement is a fundamental of Christian Faith.   It is through the Holy Spirit that God is active in the world.   It is the Holy Spirit who heals, who enables true worship, who teaches, who explains scripture.



To believe in the Holy Spirit is also to believe in the activity of the Holy Spirit.   The Holy Spirit is the bringer of gifts ~ the charismata ~


 


1 Corinthians 12:4-11


4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.


7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Romans 12


6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23



These gifts are given to us for the benefit of others.   Gifts of the Spirit do not depend on natural talents and aptitudes or developed skills, though God gave you those, too. A gift of the Spirit is something that God gives for the purpose of building up others in a life of faith. It is the experience of Christians over the years that the spirit usually harnesses one's talents in the service of the purpose for which the gifts were given. Yet sometimes, the spiritual gifts seem to work against a person's natural endowment. This is, after all, the same God who led his people out of Egypt using a stammerer named Moses, made a shepherd boy/musician named David into a renowned warrior and king, and turned rural fishermen into leaders who left a mark on the course of history. There are examples everywhere of people who don't have training, aren't highly skilled, have no particular knack, but when the time comes for them to benefit others, the gift is there. The Spirit takes pleasure in surprises and on turning the tables on the expected. It's wise to leave ourselves open for such action. You can develop a talent, but the Spirit gives the gift it's meant to go with.” Robert Longman Jnr



The spirit also brings us fruit, the nine visible attributes of a true Christian life.  Throughout the Bible, righteous men are likened to trees, and Paul in Galatians 5 explains what fruit a righteous tree bears. Accordingly, these fruit are grown by those who have truly repented, or are truly followers of Jesus.   In John's account of the Gospel Jesus said, "These things I command you, that you love one another" John15:17 referred to as the New Commandment or the second greatest commandment. Paul illustrates with these attributes the kind of love that marks a true Christian life.



·        We pray to the Father and to the Son, the Holy Spirit is fully God should we pray to the Holy Spirit?

·        If we do not speak in tongues are we proper Christians?

·        As Christians should we still expect the Holy Spirit to be active, and bestowing his gifts today?

·        Are Paul’s lists of gifts exhaustive, or are there other gifts we might receive from the Holy Spirit?

·        How can we recognize these gifts in ourselves and in others?

·        Should we expect all Christians to show evidence of all the fruits of the Spirit?

~



It is also this statement that that emphasises the Trinity, later Creeds make a lot more of this as various heresies grew up denying the Christ as fully human, or as fully God, suggesting that the Holy Spirit was subservient, or indeed created by the Father.   This is how the fourth-century apologist and theologian Anathasius explained the Trinity, his teaching played an important role in defining and defending the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ.



“Now this is the true Christian faith: We worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons or dividing the divine being. For each person -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- is distinct, but the deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty. What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit.

The Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated; The Father is eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three who are eternal, but there is one who is eternal, just as they are not three who are uncreated, nor three who are infinite, but there is one who is uncreated and one who is infinite.

In the same way the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty. And yet they are not three who are almighty, but there is one who is almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord; yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.

For just as Christian truth compels us to confess each person individually to be God and Lord, so the true Christian faith forbids us to speak of three Gods or three Lords. The Father is neither made not created, nor begotten of anyone. The Son is neither made nor created, but is begotten of the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeds from the Father and the Son. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

And within this Trinity none comes before or after; none is greater or inferior, but all three persons are coequal and coeternal, so that in every way, as stated before, all three persons are to be worshiped as one God and one God worshiped as three persons. Whoever wishes to be saved must have this conviction of the Trinity.”

 

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