Spirit of Who?

Hello everyone. We’ve been going through the New Testament trying to understand the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re in the book of Romans and we’re in the middle of that great book. Tonight, our focus will be on the Holy Spirit with a look at another Trinitarian passage. I recommend that readers wanting to learn more about the Trinity should when reading the New Testament epistles look and see how many passages there are that speak of all three persons of the Trinity. Tonight’s passage is one like that. It’s Romans 8:9-11:

9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Let’s look at verse 9. In that verse, we have one person being spoken of three different times and that is the Holy Spirit. The first time, he is identified as the Spirit. The second time he is said to be the Spirit of God. The third time, he is the Spirit of Christ. There is no reason to think Paul is speaking of three different Spirits in this passage.

Once again, this is said as if it should be understood. Paul doesn’t have to explain his terminology. He merely has to explain how the terminology fits in. The early church did not have any problem in identifying the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ.

But does this mean that the Holy Spirit is the Father and/or the Son? No. We’ve already seen several passages where a distinction is made between the two. As we will see in this passage as well, there are distinctions present so what does the language mean?

The language refers to a more instrumental view. The Spirit is the agency through which God and Christ act in one’s life. After all, Christ does not live in us in the sense that his physical being is in us. Christ lives in us by the Holy Spirit however and not AS the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the agent that brings the life and righteousness of Christ to us.

The way the Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son also points to the relation between the two and how both were seen as equal in nature. God’s Spirit is Christ’s Spirit. There is not a distinction because there is one Holy Spirit coming forth from the Father and the Son. The early church had no problem accepting these claims and it wasn’t until the heretics came later on that the terms had to be further clarified.

Finally, we once again see that in the ministry of the gospel, all three persons work in the act of raising Jesus from the dead and in bringing about righteousness in a believer. Salvation is the work of the Triune God.

We shall continue going through Romans tomorrow.

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