Holy Spirit Posts
January 14, 2013 by Jason Hood
Here is how he begins an essay on the topic.
Historia Salutis and Ordo Salutis
What really happened on Pentecost? What is the significance of that event, variously described in Acts as the coming upon of (1:8), being baptized with (1:5), outpouring of (2:33), gift of (2:38), the Spirit? This is a large question, and I begin by suggesting that clarity in answering it depends, to a considerable degree, in appreciating and not blurring the distinction between the history of salvation (historia salutis) and the order of salvation (ordo salutis)—the distinction, in other terms, between the accomplishment and application of redemption, between Christ’s once-for-all work and the ongoing appropriation of that work by God’s people, the believer’s actual experience of its benefits.
Biblical support for this distinction will emerge along the way. Here we may observe that ongoing application derives its validity from once-for-all accomplishment, not the reverse. Nor does the latter simply exist to facilitate the former. The “main point” of Scripture and the Christian religion—if I may risk putting it that way and without intending to polarize among equally legitimate considerations—is not the Christian but Christ, not our experience but his work, not our needs but God’s triune glory. Only where that is appreciated do Christian identity and experience, both individual and corporate, come to stand in a right light.
If there is a thesis, then, in the rest of what follows here, it is this: The significance of Pentecost is primarily redemptive-historical, not experiential. It is certainly wrong to polarize these two aspects, but the point of Pentecost is not a radically new experience of the Spirit. A contrasting profile emerges so far as the before and after of Pentecost are concerned:
From the angle of the accomplishment of salvation (historia salutis), there is a radical, night and day, virtually all or nothing difference. From the angle of ordo salutis, there is essential continuity. Before and after differences in experiencing the Spirit are difficult to categorize simply because Scripture is not all that interested in them; such differences as there may be lie toward the periphery of its teaching.0 Comments
August 28, 2012 by Jason Hood
Once it is recognized that Judaism considered the eschatological temple to be operating in tandem with the earthly temple in Jerusalem, and once it is allowed that early Christianity saw itself as the community in which the eschatological temple was taking shape, there should be no difficulty in imagining that the early Christians recognized both their own Church and the structure in Zion as temples in a meaningful sense. (Nic Perrin, Jesus the Temple, 47)
Perrin goes on to note that Jesus’s statements in Matthew 5 and 23 presuppose the ongoing validity of the temple, at least for Jesus’s day and the earliest days of the Christian church.
. . . the Church’s willingness to exempt Gentiles from the yoke of the law and equal willingness to allow Jews to pursue the law for themselves, all under the banner of Christ, seems to reflect a situation in which the Christian community as a whole came to view the temple through ambivalent eyes.
. . .
Since Judaism as a whole found no contradiction in regarding both the Mosaic temple and the eschatological temple as true temples, Christians, who saw themselves as making up the latter, did not seem to think that on the day after Easter that it was their job to cordon off the gates of Zion with crime scene tape. . . [even though] it was clear that the Jerusalem temple was on borrowed time.
Perrin, 760 Comments
March 3, 2011 by Matthew Mason
There’s much more to be said, not least from the Farewell Discourse, but some thoughts on Jesus and the Spirit in John, basically plagiarizing Sinclair Ferguson.
Jesus is the one to whom the Father gave the Spirit without measure (Jn 3:34), the one on whom the Spirit rests (1:34).
Therefore, he is the one who, following his glorification, will give the water of the Spirit to all who come to him (Jn 7:37ff; I agree with Ferguson, and Carson, that it makes best sense to read v. 38 Christologically – Jesus is the one from whom the rivers of living water flow.) This seems to be another way of saying that he is the one whom the Father granted life in himself (5:26) and who can thus give life to all men in creation (1:4) and salvation (passim).
When God withdraws his Spirit, we die and return to dust (cf. Ps 104:29f). Thus, when Jesus takes our death upon himself he thirsts (Jn 19:28). Having completed his work, water then pours from his side to demonstrate that because his work of atonement is finished the life-giving gift of the Spirit is now his to give.
Therefore, when Jesus appears to his disciples on Resurrection evening, he shows his hands and side, the tokens that demonstrate that the Spirit is his to give, before breathing on them that they may receive the Spirit (Jn 20:19-23). Just as the Son breathed on Adam’s lifeless body to give him the breath of life (Gen 2:7), so now he breathes on his disciples to bring New Creation by the Spirit.
In Pauline terms, the first Adam was of the dust, a living being, the last Adam, the man of heaven, in his resurrection has become life-giving Spirit.2 Comments
February 21, 2011 by Matthew Mason
In the Apostles’ Creed, the order of the articles on Christ and on the Spirit is full of striking parallels.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (The Spirit prepares Christ’s incarnate body) One holy catholic church, the communion of saints (the Spirit prepares Christ’s ecclesial body) suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, died, buried… the forgiveness of sins on the third day he rose again, he ascended into heaven the resurrection of the dead he will come again to judge the living and the dead the life everlasting
The hinge is the confession of faith in the Holy Spirit, because his principal work is to unite us to Christ, incorporating us into his body, such that what is true of Christ is true of us. Thus, the narrative of our life is shaped by the narrative of his.0 Comments
February 14, 2011 by Matthew Mason
I’ve been dipping into Sinclair Ferguson’s wonderful book on the Holy Spirit again. His treatment of the Spirit as the Spirit of Christ is particularly rich.
Ferguson notes that 2 Cor 3:18 the phrase apo kuriou pneumatos could be translated in one of three ways: (1) ‘from the Spirit of the Lord’; (2) from the Lord who is the Spirit’ (3) ‘from the Lord of the Spirit’. He argues (as does Herman Bavinck) that the last is the most natural rendering, and is also theologically illuminating: ‘There is no ontological confusion here, but an economic equivalence; nor is there an ontological subordinationism, but rather a complete intimacy of relationship between Jesus and the Spirit’.
In effect, Paul is teaching that through his life and ministry Jesus came into such complete possession of the Spirit, receiving and experiencing him ‘without limit’ (Jn. 3:34), that he is now ‘Lord’ of the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). With respect to his economic ministry to us, the Spirit has been ‘imprinted with the character of Jesus. This is precisely what it means for Jesus to send him as allos parakletos [another Helper – Jn 14:16] (Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, 55)
As he’s said earlier,
From womb to tomb to throne, the Spirit was the constant companion of the Son. As a result, when he comes to indwell Christians, he comes as the Spirit of Christ in such a way that to possess him is to possess Christ, just as to lack him is to lack Christ. (37)
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in this increasing identification with Jesus is in order that, being ‘shaped’ as messianic Spirit by the life and ministry of Jesus, he may come to us thus qualified to shaped us to be ‘like Christ’, from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor 3:17-18). This is the central function of the Spirit in the life of the Christian believer. (56).