Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jesus in the Power of the Spirit

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.2 Corinthians 13:14

In conversation with Paul Veal about the presence of the holy Spirit in the life of Christ. I have begun to maintain in my theology that, (in part?), to be "fully human" Jesus of Nazareth must have been perfectly dependent upon the Spirit in a way that perfectly models life in the Spirit for the followers of Jesus.

What follows basically outlines Sinclair Ferguson 's article on the Pneumatologia of John Owen.

John Owen reminds us that Jesus Christ, who is the One who gives the Spirit (John 20:21-22; Acts 1:8), is also, first of all, the Recipient and Bearer of the Spirit.
The Spirit is said to be communicated unto him, do plainly regard his incarnation; and the soul of Christ, from the first moment of its infusion, was a subject capable of a fullness of grace, as unto its habitual residence and in-being, though the actual exercise of it was suspended for a while, until the organs of the body were fitted for it. This, therefore, it received by this first unction of the Spirit.
Owen, Pneumatologia Book II, Chapter IV
Yes, Owen writes like that. But his point is that the Spirit was able to reside in the soul of Christ from its very incarnation.

Owen points essentially to four central divisions of Jesus' life: (1) Incarnation; (2) Ministry; (3) Passion; and (4) Exaltation, and outlines the Spirit's work in each.

Incarnation: Christ was conceived by/in and sanctified by the Spirit. The implication being that what the Spirit did in Jesus of Nazareth he seeks to do in us. Because Jesus is the cause, source, and pattern of the Spirit's ministry in the believer.

The only singular immediate act of the person of the Son on the human nature was the assumption of it into subsistence with himself... That the only necessary consequent of this assumption of the human nature, or the incarnation of the Son of God, is the personal union of Christ, or the inseparable subsistence of the assumed nature in the person of the Son... The Holy Ghost, as we have proved before, is the immediate, peculiar, efficient cause of all external divine operations: for God worketh by his Spirit
Owen, Pneumatologia Book II, Chapter III

Ministry: Just as Jesus grew in favor, wisdom... accomplishing personal perfect progress in grace
 (cf. "one who is taught" Isaiah 50:4 "grew up" Isaiah 53:2

The Lord Christ, as man, did and was to exercise all grace by the rational faculties and powers of his soul, his understanding, will, and affections; for he acted grace as a man, “made of a woman, made under the law.” His divine nature was not unto him in the place of a soul, nor did immediately operate the things which he performed, as some of old vainly imagined; but being a perfect man, his rational soul was in him the immediate principle of all his moral operations, even as ours are in us. Now, in the improvement and exercise of these faculties and powers of his soul, he had and made a progress after the manner of other men; for he was made like unto us “in all things,” yet without sin. In their increase, enlargement, and exercise, there was required a progression in grace also; and this he had continually by the Holy Ghost.
Pneumatologia Book II, Chapter IV

Passion: The writer of Hebrews links the passion of Christ with the work of the Spirit:
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,b so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:13-14

Exaltation: In the Church age the Spirit can only be known in connection with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the "Spirit of Christ."

The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”John 3:31-36

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