I don’t have a difficulty with the relationship of Jesus, Father and Holy Spirit – as representative, of the Three Persons, which Christianity has accepted for the last eighteen hundred years – as the Holy Trinity. It is the best representation of a mystery – that we cannot understand – this side of the grave.
If you look at it another way – the Bible shows us something less than 1% of God’s nature – but it is enough to get us safely home. Any representation of God will fall short of the total nature of His Being – what we see – is like looking through a window, which has thick dark glass. There are two extreme views: one, is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is just a different mode of the one ‘Person’. The other is that there are three Gods working in unison with each other.
The Holy Trinity as defined in the Nicene Creed, falls somewhere between these two views – each Person has a specific role as illustrated in Scripture – but there is only one God. Yet, at the end-of-the-day, the Holy Trinity is impossible to understand; be on your guard with people who say they can understand this mystery. Usually, what they mean is that they understand the ‘definition‘ as given in the various creeds; and, they have some idea of each Person’s role as illustrated by Scripture. They don’t, and they can’t understand the full nature of God and how He works.
I agree with Selwyn’s conclusion; and to maintain the context, I’ll reproduce it in full.
“One writer says, ‘The Holy Spirit is the most Christlike Person in the universe.’ He is. We can abandon ourselves to the Holy Spirit knowing that He accomplish nothing in our lives that is not in harmony with Jesus. The name of Jesus provides the opening through which the Holy Spirit flows. When we have been redeemed by Christ, and take on His character, God’s Spirit and power become operative in our lives. Don’t ever be afraid of the Holy Spirit. He comes in, not to detract from Jesus, but to direct our attention the more to Him.”
However, Scripture is the best place to go – to gain a reliable understanding of the Holy Spirit; and these three excerpts, I think, cover this area well:
John 14:15-18, 25-26 (NIV): ‘ “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” ‘
John 15:26 (NIV) “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”
John 16:5- 15 (NIV): ‘ “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
I think the above verses, taken from John’s Gospel, give us a good idea of the role of the Holy Spirit; Jesus returns to His glory and does not leave us, as orphans – His Spirit comes and is available to us, to help us understand Jesus’ words, and to guide us in a truthful way – in exactly the same way, as if Jesus was walking with us. The main purpose of God’s Spirit within us, is to help us testify to the world, the truth about Jesus.
What do you think?