If God Were a Peripheral God

If anyone knows anything about philosophy it is certain that Frederick Nietzsche’s idea of a “dead god” is either infamous or famous depending on one’s world view. Nietzsche’s dead god did not mean that our God was without life rather it was Nietzsche’s way of presenting the idea that God was not involved in His creation. It is much like the idea of Deism wherein it is believed that God created man and then pulled away from mankind with little to no involvement. This, by extension, would make God a peripheral God, an idea which must be challenged.
The fact of the matter is that God was involved with His creation from the time of the creation. The narrative in Genesis clearly shows that Adam and Eve enjoyed a relationship with God. Relationships are far from peripheral in that there needs to interaction between the parties involved in the relationship. With that God spent time with man until sin caused a breach in the relationship. In spite of the breach God continued to reach out to man to repair a broken relationship. God longed for the communion He once enjoyed with man so that from the time sin entered the camp God put in place a plan to restore that relationship. Peripheral thinking would lend one to believe that a peripheral God would not care about a broken relationship. Thus, if God were a peripheral God there would be no concern for what was lost.
There are many other scriptural examples of God working to restore broken relationships between himself and man. Take for instance the period of time when the Israelites were in bondage to the whims of the Egyptians. The people of God were not allowed to worship Him and desired to be in a place where they could worship without hindrance. God heard the desires of His people and worked diligently to bring His people out from the land of bondage into a state of freedom. With this in mind God chose Moses and gave him specific instructions as to what to do in order to deliver God’s people. It is not certain that a peripheral God would take the time and care to bring His people from a state of bondage into a state of freedom where worship of Him is not only allowed but also encouraged.
The multiple encounters of God in the Old Testament with His people clearly show that our God is not dead. That is to say that God is not separated from those that love Him rather multiple evidences show that God speaks to and works with not only those that love Him but also God reaches out to those who have not chosen to love Him. There is no more evidence of that then the text found in John 3:16-17 which reads:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
The fact of God sending His Son into a sinful world does not speak of One who is peripheral. In fact the converse is true. For instance, if God were a peripheral God there would be no concern for the sinful state of man. There would be no desire to restore the broken relationship. A peripheral God would not put the life of His Son into the hands of those that chose to forsake Him on every hand. Instead God with all His love looked down through the annals of time and saw a wretched people in need of deliverance. If God were a peripheral God salvation would be non-existent and all mankind would be dammed by reason of the first Adam.

Moreover if God were merely peripheral Jesus would not have sacrificed himself on the cross with the result of paving the way for man to accept Him, the one and only source of redemption. If God were a peripheral God the spilled blood of Jesus would be void thereby making His atoning work of none effect. If God were as suggested by Nietzsche the promise made by Jesus to never leave us nor forsake us would be a lie. Further His fulfilled promise to send the Holy Ghost to live in believers would be null. If God were a peripheral God then my life is not worth living. Yet because God is intimately involved in the lives of those that love Him I am awed that God is not a peripheral God.

The Holy Spirit His Purpose

All too often the fundamentals of Christianity are ignored in light of a feel good agenda. This is furthered by ignoring the fact of Who the Holy Spirit is. This is part of the reason I taught the below lesson last week. We need not only to know Who the Holy Spirit is but He is due utmost respect.

 

The Holy Spirit His Purpose

 

 

 

 

For

 

 

 

 

Springs of Refreshing Fellowship Church

1932 Gwynn Oak Ave

Woodlawn, MD 21207

 

 

 

 

Prepared by:

 

Elder William James Carter, The 1st

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 April 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© The Christian Perspective

 

The Holy Spirit and His Purpose

 

The Deity of The Holy Spirit

 

          

     All too often the Holy Spirit is not provided due respect as the Father and Son are. This is problematic because the Holy Spirit is just as much Deity as the Father and Son. He is eternal and was instrumental in creation as is evidenced in the Genesis narrative. Genesis 1:1 reads “In the beginning God…” This word in the Hebrew is “Elohim” which has a varied history but is significant because it is a reference to the multi-faceted God. That is to say that the term recognizes not only the idea of the One and only True God but is suggestive of the entire Godhead which includes the Holy Spirit.

     While Genesis 1:1 alludes to the presence of the Holy Spirit in creation Genesis 1:2 definitively brings Him into the picture. It reads:

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

The phrase “Spirit of God” is significant because while it recognizes the Father it also shows the Spirit and it shows the Spirit as being separate from the Father. Even more the word “spirit” in the Hebrew is “ruwach” which means breath or spirit. More specifically this word means “Spirit of God, the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son.”[1] This is absolute evidence that the Holy Spirit is not merely a power from God but that He shares the same attributes as the Father and the Son making Him Deity. Those attributes are:

  1.  Omniscience – Everything knowing
  2. Omnipresence – Everywhere present
  3. Omnipotence – All powerful

These attributes are enjoyed only by the Godhead and because the Godhead includes the Holy Spirit He, by extension, is fully Deity. This is not to say that there are three Gods because there are not. This speaks to the fact that God is multi-faceted in three Persons and that the Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Trinity.

     Additional evidence of the Deity of the Holy Spirit is found throughout the New Testament. Among the most prominent places is the record found in Acts 5:1-4:

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,  And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”   

     The Spirit of God is referred to here as the Holy Ghost.  However the distinction between Spirit and Ghost are purely linguistic in nature. The Greek word “pneuma” shares the same definition as the Hebrew word “ruwach.”  This is indicative of the fact the Spirit of the Old Testament is the same Spirit of the New Testament. With that is evident that lying to the Holy Ghost is synonymous to lying to God. Therefore the Holy Spirit (Ghost) must be God as He is an intricate part of the Godhead.

     The Deity of the Holy Spirit is further validated by at least twenty-three different titles. Among those titles are:

  1. Spirit of Adoption – Romans 8:15, “ For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
  2. Spirit of Lord God – Isaiah 61:6, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
  3. Spirit of the Father – Matthew 10:20, “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

The Person of the Holy Spirit

     With this the fact of the Deity of the Holy Spirit is indisputable.  It is also evident that He is not a mere force but that the Holy Spirit has a personality which is separate from the Father and the Son which shows that He is a person. With that there are specific acts the He engages in. Those acts are:

  • Ø He Teaches – John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
  • Ø He testifies – John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
  • He guides – Romans 8:14, “ For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
  • Ø He Speaks – I Corinthians 2:13, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
  • Ø He enlightens – John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
  • Ø He strives – Genesis 6:3, “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”
  • Ø He commands – Acts 8:29, “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”
  • Ø He intercedes – Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
  • Ø He sends workers – Acts 13:4, “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”
  • Ø He calls – Revelation 22:7, “ And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
  • Ø He comforts – John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
  • Ø He works – I Corinthians 12:11, “ But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”

The Purpose of the Holy Spirit

     Like Jesus the overall purpose of the Holy Spirit is to ensure that the will of the Father is fulfilled. That is done in a number of ways. One clear purpose of the Holy Spirit is to be a comforter to the people of God.

John 14:16:

          “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

The idea that the Holy Spirit is referred to as a Comforter presents a number of ideas and shows the complexities of His purpose. The Greek word is “paraklētos” which generally means called alongside to help but that there is much more to the term. Another definition takes on a legal term which means:

“one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate”

The definition continues with:

           one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor

  1. of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins

Also:

          “in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant”

This idea of the “Comforter” shows the general purpose of the Holy Spirit even while He has more specific purposes. Yet no matter what His work is the overall purpose is to ensure that the will of the Father is fulfilled. Among the more specific purposes of the Holy Spirit are:

  • Ø Edify the Church – Acts 9:31, “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
  • Ø Testifies concerning Christ – John 15:26, “ But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
  • Ø To impart hope – Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
  • Ø To guide to into all truth – John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

To convict the world of sin – John 16:7-8, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

 

 

 

 

     


[1] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ruwach (Strong’s 7307)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 16 Apr 2013. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7307&t=KJV >