Tuesday, November 3, 2009

To the Holy Spirit

Something that I have always found delightfully challenging in my Christian journey is my theology of the Holy Spirit - some use the big term pneumatology here. I remember being challenged at Moody that I do not think through pneumatology enough in my life. I usually focus on other areas of theology - like Theology Proper (Study of God), Soteriology (Study of Salvation) and even Ecclesiology (Study of the Church). What is funny though is that the Spirit is working in all of these things, and I rarely pay enough attention to notice.

This week as I was reading Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, he spoke on faith, for quite some time - I believe something in the range of 150 pages would be accurate. Calvin gets into the nitty-gritty on what faith actually is and what the object of faith is (Belief in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, not just in God). He manages somehow near the end of this contemplation on faith to swing the focus to the work of the Holy Spirit. It is only through the work of the Holy Spirit in one's life and heart that one can have faith in the first place. So, if you are reading this today as a Christian, true follower of Christ, you have faith because the Holy Spirit worked in you to bring this about.

When I first became a Christian, there was a lot of doubt in my mind on several subjects. Questions like - is this really all true? What will really happen when I die? How can I truly know that I am saved? These plagued me for quite some time. Despite these questions though, my faith grew over the years. As I read more of the Word, my faith grew more assured. The questions that haunted me slowly faded away and I became more and more sure of the Truth in my life and in my faith.

Calvin writes in 3.2.36 and 37:

"The Spirit accordingly serves as a seal, to seal up in our hearts those very promises the certainty of which it has previously impressed upon our minds; and takes the place of a guarantee to confirm and establish them."

"Faith is tossed about by various doubts, so that the minds of the godly are rarely at peace - at least they do not always enjoy a peaceful state. But whatever siege engines may shake them, they either rise up out of the very gulf of temptations, or stand fast upon their watch. Indeed, this assurance alone nourishes and protects faith."

I am continually learning that the Holy Spirit's work in my life has always remained constant. From the time that faith was given to me, He has sealed it upon my heart. Throughout this time, I may have had my doubts and experienced temptations, but His seal has always remained the same! My faith grows because the Holy Spirit's assurance and seal is nourishing it and protecting it. Once again, Faith is ALL about God the Spirit! There is nothing that I can do in it - He imparts it, He protects it, He seals it, He nourishes it. If any part of myself were left to preserving it, I would have utterly failed years ago. Temptation would have overtaken me; doubt would have ceased me; death and destruction would be awaiting me. But Praise Be to the Holy Spirit, for He has protected me and sealed me, and death, doubt and temptation have no reign over me!

No comments:

Post a Comment