• Christianity 101: God’s Holy Spirit (Week 2)

    May 7, 2013 Leave a Comment

    Christianity 101In continuation of the series on Christianity 101, this week our focus will be on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the name of the third person in the Trinity, sometimes called the Holy Ghost. Jesus promised the Apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit after His crucifixion and resurrection. In Christian theology the study of the Holy Spirit is called pneumatology, from two Greek words, pneuma meaning “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit” and logos meaning “word,” or “logic.” Pneumatology is the study of God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. It answers numerous important questions about the Holy Spirit such as: who/what is the Holy Spirit, when/how do we receive the Holy Spirit; what is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and how can I be filled with the Spirit.
    When it comes to the Personhood of the Holy Spirit, it is important to establish the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person. He is often forgotten in the discussion of the Father and the Son, and yet plays a role within the Trinity and salvation that is fundamental to the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is a person who can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), bear witness (1 John 5:7), and teach (John 14:26) among many other things. The roles of the Holy Spirit are evident in both the Old and New Testaments. Most evident is His work in the life and ministry of Jesus. Today He is seen clearly in the work of salvation and sanctification of each believer. Referring to the Holy Spirit, Jesus said in John 16:3:
    “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.”
    The Holy Spirit, according, to John 16:8ff, comes to convict the world of guilt. It is the Holy Spirit Who makes people aware of their sin—aware of it in a way that leads to repentance. It is the Holy Spirit who brings awareness of righteousness and of judgment. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the convicting influence to awaken mankind’s conscience to the real issues of life: sin, righteousness, and judgment. In John 16 is really the first time Jesus has explained the ministry of the Holy Spirit to His disciples. Prior to this, very little has been said about the Holy Spirit. But now at this most crucial time when Jesus is about to leave, the Holy Spirit is the subject He discussed rather extensively. Jesus assured His disciples the Holy Spirit would be the One who would take care of them, strengthen them, and lead them in the way they should go. Just as surely as the Holy Spirit has been sent to those disciples, He has been sent to us. He is exactly what we need.
    Next Week: Salvation
    The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.

    The Counseling Corner
    Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min., M.Th.
    Christianity 101: Salvation (Week 3)

    In theology, the study of salvation is called soteriology, from the Greek soteria meaning “salvation.” Salvation refers to the act of God’s grace in delivering His people from bondage to sin and condemnation and giving all on the basis of what Christ accomplished in His atoning sacrifice. The Bible says we are saved by grace through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is God’s gift to mankind (Ephesians 2:8). Apart from Christ, we are “weak” and “ungodly” (Romans 5:6), under the coming “wrath of God” (Romans 5:9), “enemies” of God in need of “reconciliation” and salvation (Romans 5:10), under the “judgment” and reigning “death” that followed Adam’s “one trespass” (Romans 5:16-17), “enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6, 16-17, 2, presenting our “members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness” (Romans 6:19), “of the flesh, sold under sin” (Romans 7:14), having “nothing good” dwelling in our flesh (Romans 7:18), having bodies “of death” in need of deliverance (Romans 7:24), “hostile to God” (Romans 8:7), the fruit and wages of which are death and condemnation (Romans 6:21, 23; 8:1). As Christians, we were saved from the penalty of sin when God brought us to faith in Christ.

    In the New Testament Jesus is portrayed as the Savior of sinners. The title reserved for God in the Old Testament is transferred to Jesus as incarnate Son in the New Testament. He is the Savior or Deliverer from sin and its consequences as well as from Satan and his power. Jesus preached the arrival of the kingdom of God the kingly, fatherly rule of God in human lives. When a person repented and believed, that person received salvation. Jesus said to Zacchaeus in Luke 19:9:

    “Today salvation has come to this house.”

    Zacchaeus did not allow anything to stand between him and seeing Jesus, neither the crowd, nor his stature. He was willing to do anything it took to get right with God. Is there anything that is standing in between you and your desire to see Jesus? Are you willing to pay whatever price necessary to get right with God? Are you ready to walk away from sin and run to Him? Jesus said in Revelation 3:20:

    “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

     
    *Article Sources: theopedia.com; All In One Bible Reference Guide (Zondervan).

    Next Week: Conclusion: Redemption
    The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.

    The Counseling Corner
    Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min., M.Th.
    Christianity 101: Redemption (Conclusion)

    In the final article in the series on Christianity 101, our focus will be redemption. Redemption (Hebrew: ge’ullah, Greek: lytrosis, apolytrosis, meaning to tear loose; a ransom) is a metaphor used in both Old and New Testaments to describe God’s merciful and costly action on behalf of His people (sinful human beings). The basic meaning of the word is release or freedom on payment of a price, deliverance by a costly method. When used of God, it does not suggest that He paid a price to anyone, but rather that His mercy required His almighty power and involved the greatest possible depth of suffering. Thus God redeemed Israel from Egypt by delivering the people from bondage and placing them in a new land (See Exodus 6:6; 15:13, Psalm 77:14-15) and God did this by His “mighty hand.” To appreciate the New Testament theme of redemption, the position of human beings as slaves of sin must be assumed. Thus they must be set free in order to become the liberated servants of the Lord. Mark 10:45 states:
    “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    The use of the metaphor of ransom does not require that the question, “To whom was the ransom paid?” be answered. The emphasis is on costly sacrifice, the giving of a life. Paul wrote of the “redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24) and claimed that in Christ “we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7). Through Christ, God has redeemed and forgiven us from our sins. The picture we see is a man or woman being set free by the paying of a ransom. Jesus Christ has paid a price; He has paid the ransom for our freedom. (Source: Bible Reference Guide, Zondervan, p. 523).

    Why Is Redemption Necessary? This question often comes from unbelievers as to why and what we need to be redeemed from. The answer was introduced last week – “SIN.” Sin enslaves, blinds and binds. Mankind needed Jesus to offer Himself as a ransom. When a man or woman accepts Christ as their Savior, they are no longer blinded by sin but set free from the bondage of sin. The chorus of the hymn written by Elvina Hall in 1865 inspired by 1 Peter 1:18-19 sums up the premise of Salvation and Redemption:
    Jesus paid it all,
    All to Him I owe;
    Sin had left a crimson stain,
    He washed it white as snow.

    Beloved, let me offer a final word. This month we presented just a handful of basic Christian beliefs as relates to God, the Holy Spirit, Salvation and concluding with a great spiritual blessing, Redemption. Remember, not only did Christ come to pay the price for our sins; He also set us free so that we may share this Good News with others.

    Next Month: National Health Month

    The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.

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