"What, or who is the Holy Spirit? Most Christians readily and warmly respond to the description of Jesus as the Son of God not only because of his humanity (Jesus), but also because the designation 'Son' indicates a relational identity (son-father) with which we are familiar. In addition, when, in Christ, we learn to call God 'Father', that name conveys a rich kaleidoscope of images which helps us to understand and respond to him as the one who governs, guides, provides for, guards and loves his children.
"But the name 'Holy Spirit', or worse (at least at the emotional and psychological levels) 'Holy Ghost', tends to convey a cold, even remote image. After all, what is 'Spirit'? Yet, perhaps the older 'Holy Ghost', with its connotations of vagueness, mystery and insubstantiality, did in fact express what many Christians experience: the Holy Spirit is seen to be distant and impersonal by comparison with the Father and the Son. 'We know not what spirits are, nor what our own spirit is,' wrote Abraham Kuyper. How much less capable are we of comprehending the Spirit of God?
"What, or who, then, is the Holy Spirit?"
-the opening words of chapter 1 of Sinclair Ferguson's excellent book The Holy Spirit
So far the most interesting thing to happen at General Assembly this week has been the moment when I discovered that my hotel-issued conditioner (which I found waiting for me on the bathroom counter next to my hotel-issued shampoo) was actually hotel-issued body lotion.
No wonder my hair looked so shiny for a couple of days.
Actually, there have been some wonderful seminars & some very enjoyable fellowship with beloved brothers in Christ.
Looking forward to worship tonight after the day's business is over. I hear that Tim Keller is preaching.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
In working on the final parable in the series of three parables that Jesus teaches in Matthew 21.28-22.14, I'm impressed with how each parable is interconnected to the teaching that came before it.
And when you keep the linking images in mind as you study, you really feel the full weight of what Jesus is teaching when you come to the end. These are some of the most sobering passages in the Bible. And they're not taught to "worldly" people... rather they're taught to "conventionally religious" people. We need to feel the weight of these words.
In the first parable -- the Parable of the Two Sons -- Jesus is pointing back to the previous passage (21.23-27) by the returning to the issue of believing in & responding to John's teaching, when John pointed everyone to Jesus.
In the second parable -- the Parable of the Tenants -- Jesus is linking back into the first parable by returning to the image of Working in the Father's Vineyard -- not just saying we will, but really doing so. And the important reference to "the kingdom of God."
In the third parable -- the Parable of the Wedding Feast -- Jesus is linking back into the second parable with the continuing themes of
the Servants who are Sent Over & Over (& who get shamefully abused & murdered by the wicked)
the Astonishing Patience of the Master/Father
but also the Eventual Destruction of the Wicked
and the Transfer of Favor to Another (Unlikely) Group of People.
The prideful religious people say they're living in the kingdom of God, but actually they refuse to even enter the kingdom by believing in & following Jesus. Meanwhile the outcasts -- the tax collectors & the prostitutes -- are entering the kingdom.
But... the tenants must yield the fruit... the guest must wear the garments. The Master/Father/King wants to taste & see the fruit of his righteousness and grace in our lives.