Appropriating the Power of the Holy Spirit

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zoeenglishministry

Puritan Board Freshman
This is perhaps in the wrong section but here is the question: How exactly did Christ appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit in the fullness of His humanity?

For instance, as I've heard some suggest in the past, was it upon the Holy Spirit whom Christ walked as He tread above the water (cf. Gen. 1:2)? If so, how exactly did Christ appropriate or invoke the Holy Spirit in His earthly ministry and, as such, how can those in Christ reflect this same appropriation towards an obedience of faith?

A pastoral application of this same question: how should the Church practically teach its members to appropriate the power of the Spirit to overcome sin? I see a tapestry of thoughts, some more esoteric than others, from calling out in prayer, spiritual disciplines, personal reflection/identification (Scazzero), etc.
 

TryingToLearn

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm not entirely clear what the question is, but as far as the overcoming sin part goes, I'd like to share two things that have been helpful to me personally as far as understanding exactly how it is done.

The first was this Martyn Lloyd Jones sermon here: https://www.mljtrust.org/sermons-online/ephesians-4-24/be-up-and-doing/ where he describes the way to live the Christian life as "preaching to yourself". You have to consciously "put on the new man".

The second was a book by John Piper called, "Future Grace". This really changed my view of how to live the Christian life. Piper argued that the Bible doesn't attribute the motivation to obedience so much to gratitude as it does faith in future grace. So the idea is basically, faith, trusting God to continuously provide all that you need is the way that you avoid sin. It makes sense given that when you sin, you're thinking that sin will give you pleasure; but when you have faith in God, you're believing that God will satisfy you.
Two verses I like to put together to summarize the thought of Piper's book are Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him", so part of having faith is believing God will reward you for it (so you have faith in future grace), and the other verse is Colossians 2:6, ""Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him". Well, how did you receive Christ? By faith. So then you walk in Christ the same way you received him, by faith. The entire Christian life, from beginning to end is lived by faith.

Anyways, I hope that's helpful :)
 
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KMK

Administrator
Staff member
This is perhaps in the wrong section but here is the question: How exactly did Christ appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit in the fullness of His humanity?

For instance, as I've heard some suggest in the past, was it upon the Holy Spirit whom Christ walked as He tread above the water (cf. Gen. 1:2)? If so, how exactly did Christ appropriate or invoke the Holy Spirit in His earthly ministry and, as such, how can those in Christ reflect this same appropriation towards an obedience of faith?

A pastoral application of this same question: how should the Church practically teach its members to appropriate the power of the Spirit to overcome sin? I see a tapestry of thoughts, some more esoteric than others, from calling out in prayer, spiritual disciplines, personal reflection/identification (Scazzero), etc.

Are you asking for information about the means of grace like in WSC Q 85?

Q: What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
A: To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life,1 with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.2
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
to appropriate the power of the Spirit to overcome sin
I think this language might cause us to wonder what is being asked.

To "appropriate" means, basically, to take something for your own use. It sometimes has the context of taking something against the owner's permission.

Which is quite contrary to John 3:8.

I.e., the Spirit cannot be controlled or forced to do our will.

Perhaps you are asking how we may not hinder the Spirit in our lives?
 

zoeenglishministry

Puritan Board Freshman
I can see the language causing some issues. Let me rephrase the first part as I am seeking more of a "practical" or "functional" answer: In the instance of, let's say, Jesus walking on water -- I would assume we uphold that Jesus, who is fully human, is performing a supernatural event. What is the role of the Holy Spirit during this event (if any)? As a follow up, how does one explain that God does not seek to contradict the inspiration of general revelation and the laws of physics in light of Christ's human nature, particularly in situations like this?

Or, to ask the question differently, how would you respond to someone would make the following suggestions: the axe head that floats isn't contradicting the law of gravity because the Holy Spirit is holding the axe head up; the burning bush isn't contradicting the law of thermodynamics because the HS is acting as a barrier between the bark of the bush and the heat of the flames so as to prevent the bush to be immediately consumed; Jesus is not contradicting the law of gravity (nor is He walking on a sand bar) but He is genuinely walking on water, though, He does not sink because the Holy Spirit is keeping His feet from sinking.

Maybe we can start there and the answers/responses provided will answer the other questions.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I'm not entirely clear what the question is, but as far as the overcoming sin part goes, I'd like to share two things that have been helpful to me personally as far as understanding exactly how it is done.

The first was this Martyn Lloyd Jones sermon here: https://www.mljtrust.org/sermons-online/ephesians-4-24/be-up-and-doing/ where he describes the way to live the Christian life as "preaching to yourself". You have to consciously "put on the new man".

The second was a book by John Piper called, "Future Grace". This really changed my view of how to live the Christian life. Piper argued that the Bible doesn't attribute the motivation to obedience so much to gratitude as it does faith in future grace. So the idea is basically, faith, trusting God to continuously provide all that you need is the way that you avoid sin. It makes sense given that when you sin, you're thinking that sin will give you pleasure; but when you have faith in God, you're believing that God will satisfy you.
Two verses I like to put together to summarize the thought of Piper's book are Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him", so part of having faith is believing God will reward you for it (so you have faith in future grace), and the other verse is Colossians 2:6, ""Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him". Well, how did you receive Christ? By faith. So then you walk in Christ the same way you received him, by faith. The entire Christian life, from beginning to end is lived by faith.

Anyways, I hope that's helpful :)
I'd stay away from Piper. He says some good things in an anti Reformed kind of way...
I can see the language causing some issues. Let me rephrase the first part as I am seeking more of a "practical" or "functional" answer: In the instance of, let's say, Jesus walking on water -- I would assume we uphold that Jesus, who is fully human, is performing a supernatural event. What is the role of the Holy Spirit during this event (if any)? As a follow up, how does one explain that God does not seek to contradict the inspiration of general revelation and the laws of physics in light of Christ's human nature, particularly in situations like this?

Or, to ask the question differently, how would you respond to someone would make the following suggestions: the axe head that floats isn't contradicting the law of gravity because the Holy Spirit is holding the axe head up; the burning bush isn't contradicting the law of thermodynamics because the HS is acting as a barrier between the bark of the bush and the heat of the flames so as to prevent the bush to be immediately consumed; Jesus is not contradicting the law of gravity (nor is He walking on a sand bar) but He is genuinely walking on water, though, He does not sink because the Holy Spirit is keeping His feet from sinking.

Maybe we can start there and the answers/responses provided will answer the other questions.
Are web talking about how Christ is an example to follow miraculously in a Kenotic/Bethel theory sort of fashion?
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Or, to ask the question differently, how would you respond to someone would make the following suggestions: the axe head that floats isn't contradicting the law of gravity because the Holy Spirit is holding the axe head up
Ok, but I think I'd step back a bit, though.

It's not like the Holy Spirit is off doing His own thing. After all, we are told Jesus made all things and everything is upheld by His Word (Hebrews 1:2-3).

Jesus in the flesh was in constant harmony and communication with the Father. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit act in unity.

To say that the Spirit somehow manipulates or suspends the laws of physics sounds backwards. Physics (as in what we observe in the physical realm) obeys God.
 

zoeenglishministry

Puritan Board Freshman
Ok, but I think I'd step back a bit, though.

It's not like the Holy Spirit is off doing His own thing. After all, we are told Jesus made all things and everything is upheld by His Word (Hebrews 1:2-3).

Jesus in the flesh was in constant harmony and communication with the Father. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit act in unity.

To say that the Spirit somehow manipulates or suspends the laws of physics sounds backwards. Physics (as in what we observe in the physical realm) obeys God.
Definitely agree. So would a better way to explain, for instance, Jesus walking on water be, "Since He created all things (including the laws of physics) He is Lord of these laws and their substances and, thus, is able to walk on water"?
 

zoeenglishministry

Puritan Board Freshman
I'd stay away from Piper. He says some good things in an anti Reformed kind of way...

Are web talking about how Christ is an example to follow miraculously in a Kenotic/Bethel theory sort of fashion?
Not sure what the theological affiliation of these ideas comes from but if I remember correctly, it actually may have come from a Reformed Covenantal perspective (especially as it pertains to the axe head floating -- the HS holding it up, I believe, was part of the preacher's exegesis of the text).
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Definitely agree. So would a better way to explain, for instance, Jesus walking on water be, "Since He created all things (including the laws of physics) He is Lord of these laws and their substances and, thus, is able to walk on water"?
That sounds much better. I think trying to pin down the details of "how" is just a distraction from "what."

As for what I think you were getting at with your original question, I'd say if we want to experience God's blessings and the power of His Spirit, we should proceed the way Jesus did: pray without ceasing.

Submission to and communion with God is our end and should be our goal.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Not sure what the theological affiliation of these ideas comes from but if I remember correctly, it actually may have come from a Reformed Covenantal perspective (especially as it pertains to the axe head floating -- the HS holding it up, I believe, was part of the preacher's exegesis of the text).
Oh I see. I was misunderstanding the nature of the OP.
 

zoeenglishministry

Puritan Board Freshman
That sounds much better. I think trying to pin down the details of "how" is just a distraction from "what."

As for what I think you were getting at with your original question, I'd say if we want to experience God's blessings and the power of His Spirit, we should proceed the way Jesus did: pray without ceasing.

Submission to and communion with God is our end and should be our goal.
Thank you for the clarification! Poignant and helpful indeed.
 
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