Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Artwork: Holy Spirit

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People and change

People rarely change, and apart from God I believe change is impossible.

Like all things our memories work against us. Time begins to mythologize the past, making exaggerations out of minor variation.

However, at the same time people are like sediment. Our characteristic and personality traits layer themselves in our lives, and over time they settle and stratify. Characteristics that were once on the top of who we were may sink a few layers. While other traits which were hidden a few layers deep rise to the top.

This is effect is seen when someone turns to you, a spouse or close friend perhaps, and says, “you’re not the same person I knew… you’ve a different person.”

You begin to think, “Have I really changed? Am I not the same person?”

You sit and think, “Did I not have these same likes or dislikes before? Did I never get mad or upset? Was I always romantic and never critical? Did I not like certain thinks to happen a certain way?

The issue occurs on two levels. One is that our memories reshape themselves into something other than reality. But the other issue is that we become comfortable with who we are. We allow our layers to settle, and in the process layers shift, join and resize. Parts of us we use to have under control, and keep deep in us, slowly rise to top. Personalities traits we you’d never let anyone see, begin to become visible. And others response to this is “You’re a different person!”

Yet, in reality, your not a different person, but you’ve let comfort and lack of self-control reshape how you express yourself.

Now, returning to what I said at the beginning. People rarely change, and that apart from God I believe change is impossible. What I mean by saying that people rarely change is not that people characterizes don’t stratify, and make extremes. No, we just talked about how this happens, and it can happen quickly. What I mean by change is real change. Truly becoming someone they are not.

I believe in the Biblical narrative. So my foundation is that man is fallen, sinful and totally depraved. This means that man’s foundation is not good, but rather sinful. So as man in by natural progression will only grow more sinful. Some men choose of their own effort to continually sift themselves as not to stratify, others don’t.

However, when one surrenders their life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes along side of that person and begins to regenerate that person. Truly making them someone they are not! For the first time qualities that were never present will be present. Real, actual, quantitative life change will be seen.

In both cases stratifying is still possible. When the Christina stops searching himself, and letting the Holy Spirit sift through his life and thoughts layers settle, and old habits and traits reform.

The life in the Spirit is one that challenges us to sift and be searched by God. Walk and be lead by the Spirit. We are a new creation, but is become too comfortable the old man is ready to show up again.

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Speaking of the Trinity

trinty

The trinity is something unique to Christian thought. It is one of the great mysteries of God. In this doctrine alone, one can see how truly transcendent God is from our way of thinking. Roger E. Olson and Christopher A. Hall write in their book, The Trinity, “According to the Church Father Augustine anyone who denies the Trinity is in danger of losing their salvation, but anyone who tries to understand the Trinity is in danger of losing their mind (pg 1).”

The assertion that the doctrine of the Trinity is core to receiving Salvation seems hard to swallow. However, as one begins to look at the development of the Doctrine of the Trinity, it becomes clear why the Church placed such a strong emphasis on clarifying this divine mystery represented in Scripture.

The doctrine of the Trinity was developed as an polemic against the many forms of heresy arising in the Church. The basic problem the doctrine addresses was the tension between monotheistic worship of the Father (God), with the New Testament precedent that Jesus was worthy of worship as well. The doctrine of the Trinity really tried to answer how it was that Jesus was “one with the Father?” Was he one in essence or substance, or was Jesus some kind of divine “offspring” which leached a part of the Fathers being when he was created, or was he a separate deity?

The church Fathers concluded that Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were all of the same substance as the Father; that they were in fact all one, in will though and action. To affirm that Jesus was an offspring or offshoot of God, would not only contradict the monotheism of the Old Testament but it would also corrupt the nature of God because some of his divine would have been given to Jesus making the Father “less god.”

Tertullian was the first to formulate this “one substance three persons,” and use the Latin word trinitas when referring to God (O’Collins. The Tripersonal God. Pg 105.) From his influence the doctrine of the Trinity really moved forward. What was the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit? This had been one of the greater issues that the church sought to resolve since its conception, and here somewhere between 300-400 AD the answer was finally found in the doctrine of the Trinity. However, for as much as this doctrine explains it still leaves so many questions… and this is ok. However, to deny it is really to deny the Christian faith, because without you are left with a Christ-less Christianity.

Heresies Concerning the Trinity:

Arianism/Strict Monotheists: The affirmation of God the Father, but denial of the deity of Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit.

Modalism/Sabellians: The belief that God is one but revealed himself in three distinct ways throughout history; the Father in the Old Testament, The Son in the Gospels, and the Holy Spirit in the present age.

Multiple gods: The worship of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but as separate individual gods, divided in will, mind, and authority.

Hierarchy within the Trinity
One other major concern when speaking of the Trinity is the apparent hierarchy within its three persons. Specifically from the Gospels Jesus is submitted to the Father. The question then becomes why? If Jesus is God, the same substance as the Father, why is he submitting to the Father?

“Although God’s being is characterized by the hypostatic distinctions of Father, Son, and Spirit, all three persons are one in their will and Activity. They are not autonomous persons in the modern nuance of “individual,” each with its own separate “ego” and “center” of consciousness. Rather, they have always and will always purpose and operate with one will and action. They are one God, not three.

…Jesus’ human will is distinct from his divine will in the economy of the incarnation. In Gethsemane Jesus in obedience submits his will to the Father, while his divine will remains one with the Father’s.
In the same manner, when Jesus speaks of the Father as being “grater than I,” the reference is to the economy of the incarnation. The Father is indeed grater than the Son with reference to the Son’s humanity. ‘Without this [key] distinction between theologia and oikonomia we would have to interpret the obedience of Christ to the Father as an indication that even in his divine being he was subordinate to the Father—and this would be the end of Nicene trinitarianism.’ Again, in the Trinity we have one God, not three. (Roger E. Olson and Christopher A. Hall. The Trinity. Pgs 36-37.”

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