Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

The Holy is the third Person in the Holy Trinity, (the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,) yet we hear Him spoke of far less than the first two Persons. At times, He is left out all together. The apostle Paul was shocked in Acts 19:2 when he was told by some Ephesian believers that they had never even heard of the Holy Spirit. We find today that there are many believers in that same boat. The Holy Ghost may have been preached to these modern day believers, but often His person and ministry are so understated, that a believer may discount Him entirely. Therefore, for the next 5 or six posts, I will be focusing on the Holy Spirit.

The Personality of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a Person, just like the Father and the Son. He has all the same elements that the Father and the Son have as well. He has a mind (Romans 8:27) and He intercedes to the father on our behalf. He actively searches out the human mind. (1 Corinthians 2:10) He has a will. (1 Corinthians 12:11) He has the power to forbid, (Acts 16:6-7) as well as the power to permit, (Acts 16:10.)

The bible records the Holy Spirit speaking to Phillip, (Acts 8:29,) Peter, (Acts 10:19,) some elders in Antioch, (Acts 13:2) and to seven churches in Asia Minor, (Revelation 2-3.)

The Holy Spirit loves, (Romans 15:30,) and grieves, (Ephesians 4:30.) It is important to note that the grieving attribute of the Spirit is actually an extension of His love. One can really only be grieved by those he loves.

Finally, the Holy Spirit prays, (Romans 8:26.) When I have times of trials in my life, I am always comforted by calling a Christian friend of mine and asking them to pray for me. There are even certain people who remind me that they have been praying for me almost every time I see them. How much more comforting is it to know that the Holy Spirit Himself is offering up a prayer on my behalf. In fact, even when I cannot think of the words to say, He says the words for me.

So we see that the Holy Spirit is in fact, a Person. The bible, over and over again, assigns personality traits to Him that we also see in ourselves. He is relatable, just like the Father and the Son.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Genesis 2:4 – Genesis 3:8

The Fall of Man

Mankind was the pinnacle of God’s creation. He was made in the image and likeness of God. This is evident in the fact that he resembles the trinity. (He is made up of body, soul and spirit.) He is the only creature who possessed self-consciousness and he resembled the form that Jesus would later manifest himself in.

It is estimated that the most brilliant genius uses only one percent of his total potential brain ability. This means that Adam was probably at least one thousand times superior to today’s smartest and brightest intellectuals. Adam may have even possessed E.S.P. We find him apparently communicating with the animals and he seemed to be completely in tune with himself and his surroundings. He was completely unique, meaning that no other creature created by God was like him or at his level. He was declared the king of creation and charged with subduing the earth, naming the animals and caring for the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 1:28-31; 2:8-15, 19, 20)

Adam was commanded by God to abstain from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, lest he die, (Genesis 2:17) but he was encouraged to partake of the tree of Life and all the other trees in the garden. (Genesis 1:29; 2:9, 16) He was given a helpmate and the first wedding in history was performed, presided over by God Himself. (Genesis 2:22-24)

This brings us to introduction of Satan.
He is subtle and cunning and he demonstrates this in chapter 3. He comes to Eve in the form of a serpent. Important to note here is that Eve did not seem to find it strange at all that the serpent was talking to her, indicating that Man and animal may have been able to communicate before the fall. The serpent was not simply the snake that we think of it today. It had legs and was perhaps the most beautiful and wisest of all the animals. Some have even suggested that the serpent may have had wings and stood upright before the fall.

First he convinces Eve to doubt God’s word when he asks Eve, “yea, hath God said…” Eve then tries to match wits with him, (which is a foolish mistake for any Christian.) Through his cunning and wit, the serpent tricks Eve into adding to God’s word. God did not tell Adam and Eve they could not touch the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, only that they could not eat of it. (Note that these are two tactics that Satan loves to use even today. He convinces us to doubt God’s Word and has convinced many that it is OK to add to or take away from God’s Word.)

Finally, the serpent flat out denies God’s Word by saying, “ye shall not surely die.” God never has and never will tell a lie.

Eve gives in to the three lusts of the flesh that the apostle John speaks of;
1. The lust of the flesh. – “The woman saw that the fruit was good for food.”
2. The lust of the eyes. – “And that it was pleasant to the eyes.”
3. The pride of Life. – “And a tree… to make one wise.”

Satan had managed to trick Adam and Eve through his subtlety and cunning. He had told the truth, but only a half truth. Eating of the fruit really did open there eyes and they did know of good and evil, but not as God did. God knows Evil because he is so good. Man is now the opposite; he recognizes good because he is so evil. We have the knowledge, but we have buyers remorse. The price was simply too high.

Although Eve had actually eaten the fruit first, Adam is declared to be the original sinner because he is the head of the human race and responsible for it’s actions.

Adam first tries to hide his nakedness. It’s unclear if he simply did not realize he was naked before this, or if there was some sort of drastic change in his physical and spiritual condition. Either way, his protection is now gone and he tries to remedy the situation by sewing together fig leaves.

Realizing his fig leaves are not going to cut it, Adam tries to hide himself from God. This is the tragedy of Sin. Not only does it cause us to be separated from God, but it also causes us to go one step further and actually avoid God completely.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Scripture Twisters - Matthew 7:1

"Judge not, that ye be not judged." --Matthew 7:1
There is currently a great piece about Matthew 7:1 posted over at Echo Zoe. Go check it out.