Tag Archive for 'Spirit'

God Is Spirit and So Are We

There are two messages to this post:

  1. Isn’t it amazing that being made in God’s image, we are also spiritual beings? The fact that we are able to be reborn spiritually, and with God’s Spirit in us is amazing beyond explanation or comprehension.
  2. This can only come from God. We can’t intellectualize ourselves into the Kingdom or just make a statement and then do nothing or have nothing to show for it.

This came about from reading the book that the quote below is from. I added some emphasis in the first two Scripture quotes so that hopefully you’ll see what I’m getting at. (Good luck.)

God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind.
Genesis 1:25 NLT

Then God said, “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness.
Genesis 1:26 GW

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts. I will put my Spirit in you. I will enable you to live by my laws, and you will obey my rules.
Ezekiel 36:26-27

However, he gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in him. These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.
John 1:12-13

Flesh and blood give birth to flesh and blood, but the Spirit gives birth to things that are spiritual. Don’t be surprised when I tell you that all of you must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it’s going. That’s the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
John 3:6-8

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will go to them and make our home with them.”
John 14:23

Those who obey Christ’s commandments live in God, and God lives in them. We know that he lives in us because he has given us the Spirit.
1 John 3:24

We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit. We have seen and testify to the fact that the Father sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God lives in those who declare that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God.
1 John 4:13-15

Being born again is not only a confession. D.A. Carson says, “Where there is new birth, you will always see the results.” [Emphasis is his.] New birth has not necessarily taken place because “somebody’s made a commitment to Jesus.” Where there is new birth–where it has genuinely come from God–you will see transformation. You will see change in the life. That does not mean that people have suddenly reached perfection: we shall have more Christian growth and Christian failures in due course. But where new birth takes place, there is a change of direction, or origin. There is a cleaning up in the life. There is a transformation. There is a beginning of life from God himself that shapes our existence in a new direction.

–D.A. Carson, The God Who Is There

You give glory to my Father when you produce a lot of fruit and therefore show that you are my disciples.
John 15:8

As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

The New Covenant is still an agreement.

But now Christ has brought you back to God by dying in his physical body. He did this so that you could come into God’s presence without sin, fault, or blame. This is on the condition that you continue in faith without being moved from the solid foundation of the hope that the Good News contains.
Colossians 1:22-23

But the fruit comes from God.

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you. I have appointed you to go, to produce fruit that will last, and to ask the Father in my name to give you whatever you ask for.
John 15:16

I don’t mean to make a portrayal that seems to remove any responsibility on our part.

He gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in him. These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.
John 1:12-13

How these two sides of God’s truth—His sovereignty in choosing us (Romans 9) and our responsibility to confess and believe (Romans 10)—reconcile is impossible for us to understand fully. But Scripture declares both perspectives of salvation to be true (John 1:12-13). It’s our duty to acknowledge both and joyfully accept them by faith.

–John MacArthur

Sproul Quote

Would God Take His Holy Spirit From David or Us?

I was thinking that naturally, the Holy Spirit, Spirit of holiness, or Spirit of God was thought of differently in Old Testament times than when after God’s Kingdom broke into this world (Luke 17:21). If we have been born again, we don’t need to worry about God taking His Holy Spirit from us.

Here is a great concise answer by a Facebook friend of mine:
“David’s anxious plea is not meant to cast a shadow on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints but an indicator of the human anxiety that naturally befalls man on account of sin.”
–Warren Cruz via Facebook

Treasury of David – Spurgeon’s commentary and collections of writings on them:

Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Withdraw not his comforts, counsels, assistances, quickenings, else I am indeed as a dead man. Do not leave me as thou didst Saul, when neither by Urim, nor by prophet, nor by dream, thou wouldst answer him. Thy Spirit is my wisdom, leave me not to my folly; he is my strength, O desert me not to my own weakness. Drive me not away from thee, neither do thou go away from me. Keep up the union between us, which is my only hope of salvation. It will be a great wonder if so pure a spirit deigns to stay in so base a heart as mine; but then, Lord, it is all wonder together, therefore do this, for thy mercy’s sake, I earnestly entreat thee.
–Charles Spurgeon

Verse 11. Cast me not away. Lord, though I, alas! have cast thee from me, yet cast me not away: hide not thy face from me, although I so often have refused to look at thee; leave me not without help, to perish in my sins, though I have aforetime left thee.
–Fra Thomé de Jesu.

John Calvin:
Verse 11. Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. The words of this verse imply that the Spirit had not altogether been taken away from him, however much his gifts had been temporarily obscured…Upon one point he had fallen into a deadly lethargy, but he was not “given over to a reprobate mind; “and it is scarcely conceivable that the rebuke of Nathan the prophet should have operated so easily and suddenly in arousing him had there been no latent spark of godliness still remaining…The truth on which we are now insisting is an important one, as many learned men have been inconsiderately drawn into the opinion that the elect, by falling into mortal sin, may lose the Spirit altogether, and be alienated from God. The contrary is clearly declared by Peter, who tells us that the word by which we are born again is an incorruptible seed 1Pe 1:23; and John is equally explicit in informing us that the elect are preserved from falling away altogether. 1Jo 3:9. However much they may appear for a time to have been cast off by God, it is afterwards seen that grace must have been alive in their breasts even during that interval when it seemed to be extinct. Nor is there any force in the objection that David speaks as if he feared that he might be deprived of the Spirit. It is natural that the saints, when they have fallen into sin, and have thus done what they could to expel the grace of God, should feel an anxiety upon this point; but it is their duty to hold fast the truth, that grace is the incorruptible seed of God, which never can perish in any heart where it has been deposited. This is the spirit displayed by David. Reflecting upon his offence, he is agitated with fears, and yet rests in the persuasion that, being a child of God, he would not be deprived of what, indeed, he had justly forfeited.

ESV Study Bible Note:
Ps. 51:11 take not your Holy Spirit from me. Some have taken this to imply that the Holy Spirit can be taken from someone, at least in the OT; others have suggested that the Holy Spirit is viewed here in his role of empowering David for his kingly duties, and that this is a prayer that God not take the kingship and the divine anointing for kingship from David as he did from Saul (see note on 1 Sam. 16:14; cf. 1 Sam. 16:13). To evaluate these views, one should observe that the OT rarely discusses the Holy Spirit’s role in cleansing the inner life (besides here, Ezek. 36:27 is the main OT text on the subject), and certainly does not enter into technical questions of the Spirit’s permanent indwelling. Further, the fact that this is a psalm for the whole congregation argues against the idea that this is David’s personal prayer about his kingship. The whole tenor of this psalm is that, if strict justice were God’s only consideration, he would have the right to bring dire judgment on those who sin (which includes all of his own people), and that the only possible appeal is to his mercy. The function of the psalm, as a song sung by the entire congregation, is to shape their hearts so that they feel this at the deepest level, lest they ever presume upon God’s grace.

NLT Study Bible:
your Holy Spirit: Or your spirit of holiness. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can change the human will to make it “loyal” (51:10) and “willing to obey”

‎”You haven’t really understood Psalm 51 until you have realized that every word of this penitential psalm cries for Jesus. Every promise embedded in this psalm looks for fulfillment in Jesus. Every need of Psalm 51 reaches out for help in Jesus. Every commitment of Psalm 51 honors Jesus. The sin that’s at the heart of this psalm will only ever find its cure in the grace of Jesus.

Yes, Psalm 51 is a prayer of confession. And it’s true that Psalm 51 is all about what true repentance produces in the heart and life of a man. Psalm 51 defines how true repentance always produces heartfelt worship. But more than anything else, Psalm 51 is Immanuel’s hymn. The forgiveness of Psalm 51 rests on the shoulders of the One whose name would be Immanuel. The Jesus who would provide everything that David (and we) need took a glorious name. It is a name whose implications are almost too wonderful to grasp and too lofty to imagine. It’s a name that summarizes everything the biblical narrative is about.”

–Paul David Tripp, Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, went through a period of two years where he felt very far from God. In his autobiography wrote that the words of Psalm 77 kept invading his mind: “Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again show me favor?”
–Found in The One Year Book of Psalms

Assurance of Salvation

I was always taught that we should memorize Bible verses (a good thing) that pertain to salvation and go to them when we doubt our salvation and they will give us assurance of salvation. Is this Biblical?

But what is that witness? It is nothing physical, vocal nor psychical. The Spirit never commits Himself to the flesh. The only witness He gives is a subjective one, known to the individual alone. The Spirit announces Himself to the deep, inner spirit of the man. The flesh profiteth nothing, but the believing heart knows. Holy, holy, holy.

The Bible says “it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:16 NRSV) “by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.” (2 Corinthians 1:22 NRSV) and “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 5:5 NRSV)

The Spirit is our guarantee that we are truly in Him and are saved. The changes the Spirit makes in us are evidence that He is in us.

We are not truly born again unless by the Spirit. “But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” (Romans 7:6 NRSV) “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:2 NRSV) “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14 NRSV)

While the infilling of the Spirit is received by faith and only by faith, let us beware of that imitation faith which is no more than a mental assent to truth. It has been a source of great disappointment to multitudes of seeking souls. True faith invariably brings a witness.

God … Demands All or Nothing

After a man is convinced that he can be filled with the Spirit he must desire to be. To the interested inquirer I ask these question: Are you sure that you want to be possessed by a Spirit Who, while He is pure and gentle and wise and loving, will yet insist upon being Lord of your life? Are you sure you want your personality to be taken over by One Who will require obedience to the written Word? Who will not tolerate any of the self-sins in your life: self-love, self-indulgence? Who will not permit you to strut or boast or show off? Who will take the direction of your life away from you and will reserve the sovereign right to test you and discipline you? Who will strip away from you many loved objects which secretly harm your soul?

Unless you can answer an eager ‘Yes’ to these questions you do not want to be filled.

How many authors are willing to say this nowadays? (Tozer wrote this in 1957.) Paul preached Christ crucified to the Corinthians which was foolishness to them. Jesus asks us to count the cost. He turned away the rich ruler (Luke 18:18-27). How many of us try to make it easy for others to be saved only for them to fall away because they didn’t count the cost?

Grace has become… cheap. We are busy these days proving to the world that they can have all the benefits of the Gospel without any of the inconvenience to their customary way of life. It’s ‘all this and heaven too.’

2 Corinthians 3:18

2 Corinthians

I’ve never fully grasped this verse as I have it memorized in the NIV:
2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

In 2 Corinthians 3:6-18 Paul gives a commentary on Exodus 32-34. While the face of Moses needed to be veiled to protect the people from the overpowering radiance of His glory, we are able to to see the glory of God through the gospel of Jesus without the need of a veil. The word reflect can also be translated as behold or contemplate. We become like the one we look at. God’s image can be seen through Christ (John 14:9). Instead of looking through a veil, we are able to see clearly as though looking at a mirror.

Praying God’s Will

Someone was once saying that a preacher on the radio was saying that we shouldn’t be saying, “If it’s Your will” when we pray because we’re not having confidence in what we’re praying, or something to that effect.

I said that it’s Scriptural to say that because of a couple of passages/verses:

James 4:13-15
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” TNIV

1 John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. TNIV

However I’ve rethought my reasoning. The James passage isn’t talking about prayer, it’s talking about plans, predicting the future etc. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” So while I think it’s Scriptural to say, “I’ll be doing … God willing”, the James passage doesn’t support saying, “If it’s Your will” when praying.

The 1 John passage is talking about God answering according to His will, not necessarily how we should pray. Matthew 21:22 says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” But this needs to be balanced with 1 John 5:14 as mentioned above.

So when is is appropriate to say, “If it’s Your will?” I’m not trying to teach here. I’m just writing what my thinking is at the moment. Please feel free to comment.

If we are praying something that we know is Scriptural, it would almost be disrespectful to to add the if. For example–praying for growth in knowledge, wisdom (James 1:5-8) etc. If we are praying for miraculous healing, a certain material item etc. it may be respectful and reverent to say if it’s Your will. Some would say that shows a lack of confidence. I’m not sure if we could judge right or wrong either way.

As far as asking for something we know might or might not be in His will, it’s fine to ask and to be persistent as the parables of the woman in front of the judge and the man knocking on his neighbor’s door asking for food for a guest. If we should know the answer is no, then should we stop asking.

Paul pleaded with God three times for the thorn in his side to be taken away. God gave him a definitive answer, ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”‘ (2 Corinthians 12:9)

We don’t always know what to pray and the Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26-27). Thomas Schreiner in his commentary on Romans says that since the totality of God’s will is hidden from us, the Spirit fills this lack by interceding for us. The Spirit searches our hearts which long for God’s will, searches even the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:10) and intercedes for us according to God’s will with groans that our words can’t express.

I think it’s very important when praying for someone to always pray for things that you know are in God’s will according to Scripture along with any requests they may have or things you think they should have that may or may not be a part of God’s plan. For example if you pray only for healing and that isn’t a part of God’s plan, you’re not really doing them any good. But if you pray for comfort, perseverance, hope, strength etc. along with healing, you know you will be participating in glorifying God in their situation whatever the outcome.

Theology

I’ve been so busy moving to a new web host and email provider, moving this site from wordpress.com to its own domain and tweaking the look of this site I haven’t had time to get back to posting what I want to post. So today I will punt and post another quote.

Theology is faith seeking understanding, but understanding is more than theoretical. If we really grasp who and where we are as disciples, we should know how to live out our faith. All too often, however, the church professes its faith but is unsure how to practice it. Even some of my seminary students come to theology classes somewhat reluctantly, assuming that doctrine is neither practical nor relevant to their future ministry.

To define doctrine as direction for fitting participation in the drama of redemption – in what God is doing in Christ through the Spirit to form the church and renew creation – is to ensure that the understanding that faith seeks will not stop short of practice. My goal as a theologian is to move beyond the acquisition of knowledge to its application in real life: in a word, I want to get wisdom.

–Kevin Vanhoozer, Theologian