Saturday, June 24, 2017

Who Is the Holy Spirit? An Excerpt from the New City Catechism

The New City Catechism: 52 Questions & Answers for Our Hearts & Minds was published earlier this year by Crossway. A companion volume, The New City Catechism Devotional (239 pages), with an Introduction by Timothy Keller and under the general editorial oversight of Collin Hansen was also published by Crossway. Part Three of the Devotional is devoted to short chapters on the theme of Spirit, Restoration, and Growing in Grace. I was asked to contribute the devotional chapter on the Holy Spirit. Here it is.

Rarely does a Christian struggle to think of God as Father. And to envision God as Son is not a problem for many. These personal names come easily to us because our lives and relationships are inescapably intertwined with fathers and sons here on earth. But God as Holy Spirit is often a different matter. Gordon Fee tells of one of his students who remarked, “God the Father makes perfectly good sense to me, and God the Son I can quite understand; but the Holy Spirit is a gray, oblong blur.”

How different this is from what we actually read in Scripture. There we see that the Spirit is not third in rank in the Godhead but is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Son, sharing with them all the glory and honor due unto our Triune God. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal power or an ethereal, abstract energy. The Spirit is personal in every sense of the term. He has a mind and thinks (Isa. 11:2; Rom. 8:27). He is capable of experiencing deep affections and feelings (Rom. 8:26; 15:30). The Spirit has a will and makes choices (Acts 16:7; 1 Cor. 2:11) regarding what is best for God’s people and what will most glorify the Son. Read More

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