Person of the Holy Spirit Thesis

Pages: 10 (2952 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Person of the Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity, along with God and Jesus. While all three parts of the Trinity are part of each other, Christian religions that believe in the idea of the Trinity stress that the three units are separate. The distinctions between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are not superfluous; doctrine suggests that the three different incarnations of God play very different roles in the lives of the faithful. Despite these distinctions and the importance of the Holy Spirit in Christian theology, the Holy Spirit often is shortchanged in discussions of protestant Christianity. Either the Holy Spirit's role in salvation is minimized, or the idea that the Holy Spirit is a separate and distinct person from God or Jesus is conflated to turn the Holy Spirit into a mythical abstract rather than a concrete person. This confusion is understandable, given the specific role that the Holy Spirit plays in Christianity. The Holy Spirit's role is to live in the hearts of Christians, once they have embraced Christianity. As indicated by Berkhof, "it was especially in the Spirit and His sanctifying work that God revealed Himself as the Holy One. It is the Holy Spirit that takes up His abode in the hearts of believers, that separates them unto God, and that cleanses them from sin."Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Thesis on Person of the Holy Spirit Is the Assignment

Despite the Holy Spirit's very broad job description, it is important to view the Holy Spirit as an actual embodiment of God, not only as a metaphorical approach to one way that God relates to his followers. To do otherwise is to impose a pagan view of the holy onto a Christian idea. Many religions discuss personifications of gods, but deny that their gods can ever be described as human. However, the defining doctrine of Christianity is the duality of Jesus- at once man and god. To take the third element of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and reduce him to a metaphysical idea, is to reduce the miracle that is at the heart of Christianity. This idea is supported throughout the Bible. There are passages throughout the Bible that refer to the Holy Spirit as a person, and nothing to suggest that these passages mean anything other than what they say. In fact, Berkhof rejects the notion that the passages in the Bible that refer to the person of the Holy Spirit are merely personifications. Instead, he argues that, "personifications are certainly rare in the prose writings of the New Testament and can be easily recognized. Moreover, such an explanation clearly destroys the sense of some of these passages."

Reading through these passages, it is clear that the authors intended to portray the Holy Spirit as a separate person.

Some may question why a third incarnation of God was necessary, since God sent Jesus as a human to earth and Jesus died for our sins, thus introducing the idea of salvation. However, that question ignores the distinct roles that Jesus and the Holy Spirit play in salvation. "Just as the Father sent his Son to perform the objective, historical work of the atonement as the ground of our salvation, so also he sends the Holy Spirit to apply that manifold salvation to us personally. This is not one simple and indivisible act. Rather, it involves a series of acts and processes: God's calling, regeneration, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. In each case, the Holy Spirit applies the work of Christ to us personally."

Because the process of salvation is ongoing, one needs to be able to have an ongoing relationship with God, and the Holy Spirit makes such an ongoing relationship possible. That is not to suggest that one cannot maintain an ongoing relationship with God through relationships with Jesus or God, but to state that the specific purpose of the Holy Spirit is to mediate the relationship between the human follower and God.

Discuss three works of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit plays a unique role in the process of salvation, and it is a role that is as critical as lives of Christians as the roles played by God and Jesus. "Scripture teaches us to recognize a certain economy in the work of creation and redemption and warrants our speaking of the Father and our creation, of the Son and our redemption, and of the Holy Spirit and our sanctification. The Holy Spirit has not only a personality of His own, but also a distinctive method of working; and therefore we should distinguish between the work of Christ in meriting salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit in applying it."

As a result, it is succinct, and accurate to say that the Holy Spirit is involved in the works of sanctification. However, it is not complete to state that the Holy Spirit is involved in sanctification.

First, the Holy Spirit displaces the role of reason in humans as they address Christianity. That is not to suggest that a Christian is unreasonable, but to reveal that the stumbling blocks in the human thought process can present significant obstacles to understanding the revelations in Scripture. Therefore, it is the Holy Spirit's job to supplement human reason, so that humans can step outside of the uncertainty that defines humanity and into the certainty that defines Christian salvation. As a result, the Holy Spirit not only reveals Scripture to people, but also allows people to believe that the Spirit's testimony is superior to their human reason. This is because God is the only means of revelation for people, but, people being innately inferior to God, they lack the means of understanding his revelations without being assisted by the Spirit.

Not only does the Holy Spirit allow men to understand God, but He also prompts men to act in accordance with God. While the idea of salvation by grace is rejected by most Protestant theologies, they do accept that Christians should act in moral ways. That is because Christians who have embraced the Holy Spirit have Him working in their hearts and minds. While they are still prey to thoughts of sin and be led astray, they are more inclined to act in a moral manner. As a result, when one sees a person mastering his or her will, that can be considered a work of the Holy Spirit. It is almost as if the Holy Spirit works like a life preserver and humans are swimming in a sea of sin, temptation, and lust. While the Holy Spirit does not remove humans from the surrounding forces, it helps them keep their heads above water and refrain from indulging in those temptations.

Finally, the Holy Spirit works through sanctification. By sanctification, it is recognized that the Holy Spirit does not give life to people, but gives people the ability to understand Jesus. Stepping outside of the Calvinist viewpoint, it is understood by most modern scientists that human beings are the only animal with the capacity for religion. There is something different about people that makes them want to seek God. It is this innate desire for the profound that reflects the Holy Spirit's works in man. Not only does the Holy Spirit give men the means of understanding the divine, but He also gives them the desire to seek out the divine. This does not come down to the mere intellectual superiority of mankind to other animals, because there are animals with intellectual capabilities that are very close to the intellectual capabilities of some humans. It does not appear that intelligence limits human understanding of the divine, but there does not seem to be a correlated experience in the lower animals. That is because the Holy Spirit augments human reason; without the Holy Spirit, an understanding of the divine is impossible. However, without the Holy Spirit, a quest for the divine is unlikely, since the Holy Spirit is what drives people to seek God.

In a Reformed view of salvation, explain which comes first and why, Faith or Regeneration?

In a Reformed view of salvation, regeneration comes first, and then regeneration. However, this distinction is not something that is accurately taught in much of Reform theology. On the contrary, as pointed out by Berkhof, "our confessional writings speak of regeneration in a broad sense, as including both the origin of the new life and its manifestation in conversion. We are even told that faith regenerates the sinner. There are passages which seem to say that Word of God is instrumental in the work of regeneration. Yet they are couched in such language that it still remains doubtful, whether they actually teach that the principle of the new life is implanted in the soul by the instrumentality of the Word."

The fact is that, in much of theology, the ideas of regeneration and salvation are used interchangeably, but that is an inaccurate portrayal that has led to confusion about the respective roles that faith and regeneration play in the role of a Christian.

To understand the distinction, it is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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