Monday, January 16, 2012

The Holy Spirit's Job

I've been thinking about posting on the role of the Holy Spirit to glorify the Son and not to glorify himself. Just as the Son humbled Himself to glorify the Father (and the Father thereby exalted him) the role of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son. As it relates to spiritual gifts, the role of the Spirit is not to glorify himself with his presence but to glorify the Son by forming God's people into one body. This is why, as Edwards taught, the distinguishing marks of the Spirit of God are not the excitement that accompany's conversion but the lasting change of character in fruit of the Spirit.

I was planning to right the post, and then I read this by Dan Phillips:

But there is one point of analogy [to Ed McMahon pointing out Johnny Carson and not himself as the star], and one only: the delight and joy of the Holy Spirit is not to train attention upon Himself. The Holy Spirit's great love, fascination, and focus, is the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Before the Incarnation, the Spirit moved in the prophets. And of what did He speak through them? Among other things, He spoke of the sufferings of Christ, and of His glories to follow (1 Peter 1:11).
The Holy Spirit performed the miracle by which the virgin, Mary, became mother to the human nature of the Messiah (Matthew 1:18,20Luke 1:35). He appeared at Jesus' baptism, not to flutter in mid-air while until everyone noticed and admired Him, but to rest on Christ, to mark Him out as Yahweh's anointed (Matthew 3:16; cf. Luke 4:18). 
And so the power of the Spirit continued in the ministry of Jesus, to guide Him in what He did (Matthew 4:1), and to bring glory and honor to Jesus, marking Him as God's Son (Matthew 12:28Acts 10:38). This He did preeminently in Jesus' resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). 
And what would the Spirit do after Christ's resurrection and ascension? More of the same. "He will glorify me," Jesus says of the Spirit, "for he will take what is mine and declare it to you" (John 16:14). It is worth repetition: "He will glorify me." In fact, the Greek is a bit more emphatic: "That one, Me will He glorify." The Spirit will come to bring glory, and it is to Jesus that He will bring this glory. 
Imagine that. God though He is, personal though He is, the Spirit's aim is not to glorify Himself. It is to glorify Jesus. And how does the Holy Spirit do that? By imparting inerrant revelation to the apostles, revelation which we have today in the Bible alone. He did this by granting them inerrant memory of Jesus' words (John 14:26), by bearing witness to them about Jesus (John 15:26), by convicting the world of truths related in each case to Jesus (John 16:8-11), and by continuing to tell them the "many things" that Jesus still had to say to them (John 16:12-13). Jesus emphasizes this last point, assuring the apostles that the Spirit would not speak aph' heautou, from Himself, but rather from Jesus. 
When the Holy Spirit wrote a book, what was it about? At least one has to confess that the Holy Spirit's recurrent theme, strain, melody, was the person and work of Christ (Luke 24:25-2744-46Acts 3:1810:43;24:1426:22-23). If I may put it this way, you could almost re-title the New Testament "Here's Jesus."

It should be a solemn reminder to us that the role of the Spirit in our lives is to point to Jesus. Most people look for the Spirit via displays of excitement and even displays of power that glorify the Spirit "look at all he is doing". But the Biblical model has the Spirit constantly pointing to Jesus.

This is why then for the believer, their present life takes on the character of suffering, difficulty, weakness and cross bearing. It is because we are taking on the image of Christ in his humility. One way the Spirit conforms us to Christ is to enable us to bear the cross of Christ and for that very reason not removing all trials and tribulations.

This also says something about the Trinity. One of the ways God displays his 'godness' is that each person does not glorify himself--even though they as God Almighty, far above all things, have every right and reason to do so. Yet each person constantly exalts and glorifies the other persons--giving credit, as it were, rather than taking it. This is a mysterious and marvelous ways of our God.

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