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Jesu, Juva

Pentecost

with 4 comments

Tomorrow is Pentecost. Once, God espoused himself to his people through the letter at the first Pentecost. Now he has espoused himself to his people through his Spirit at the latter Pentecost.

Be filled with the Spirit. — Ephesians 5:18

How can we obey this command?

  • We pray for the Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12)
  • The Spirit is the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4). Our sin quenches the Spirit and our receptivity to his work: so we are more filled with the Spirit when we pursue holiness and flee sin. Of course, it is only by the Spirit that we pursue holiness, but this is not a cruel irony because God is at work in our working. In other words, we are filled with the Spirit when we submit to him and to his will.
  • The Spirit is the Spirit of the body (1 Cor 12:13, Eph 4:4), and the purpose of the Spirit is to build up the body (1 Cor 12:7). The Spirit is about interpersonal life and ministry. This is an extension of what theologians call the “procession” of the Spirit — the Spirit proceeds between the Father and the Son (Augustine and Edwards describe the Spirit as a sort of personified love), and proceeds to us from the Father and from the Son. But in a lesser way the Spirit also proceeds from us to one another. Because of this activity of procession and ministry in the body, the Spirit is particularly associated with corporate worship. The Spirit kindled the fire on God’s altar and now kindles a fire on us as living sacrifices. The Spirit is particularly active when we gather together before the Lord’s throne on the Lord’s day for corporate worship (Rev 1:10). Putting this together, an additional way that we can be filled with the Spirit is to persevere in being joined to the body, to allow ourselves to be ministered to by one another, and in particular to participate in corporate worship so that we are ministered to by Jesus. We go up to God’s house to meet with our husband, king and commander, and are commissioned by him to go out into the world again, freshly equipped with his Spirit.

Thanks to Anthony and John for prompting some of these thoughts. Picture from Uri Brito.

Written by Scott Moonen

May 26, 2012 at 11:47 am

Posted in Biblical Theology

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. On pursuing holiness, Acts 5:32 is more direct: “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

    On praying, Luke 11:13 is more direct: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

    Thanks to Andrew Sandlin.

    Scott Moonen

    May 30, 2012 at 11:50 am

  2. I read about Pentecost tonight with Olivia in her Picture Story Bible and while looking at the pictures of the fire over the disciples, I was reminded of the pillar of fire in the wilderness that was a symbol of God’s presence with the Israelites. They also looked like candles. (Not to be put under a bushel!)

    John

    May 31, 2012 at 7:55 pm

  3. In Book 1, Chapter 9 of the Institutes, Calvin makes the following provocative statement. We often speak of how the Spirit illuminates the word. We speak much less of the word as a vehicle for receiving the Spirit:

    “As [the children of God] feel that without the Spirit of God they are utterly devoid of the light of truth, so they are not ignorant that the word is the instrument by which the illumination of the Spirit is dispensed.”

    Scott Moonen

    March 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm

  4. […] Pentecost […]


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