The Shock of Sin and Grace in the Life of a Leader

By Mathew Gilbert

It’s always difficult to see someone you really respect fall deep into sin. Even the slightest accusation of moral failure in someone you respect changes the way you look at them forever. When we see crucial authority figures in our lives fall into sin, we struggle to trust not only that person, but that position in the future. If you catch one of your parents having an affair, you will struggle to ever trust them again. And you will also have a negative view of marriage, which likely means it will affect your own marriage if unchecked. If you hear about your pastor, teacher, or coach indulging in sin, your trust in them and their position will be shaken. It is so hard to think about people you respect sinning so deeply. It’s one thing to know we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but it’s quite another to see sin creep out of the hearts of those we most respect.

I think about popular pastors who have recently been relieved of pastoral duties due to moral or leadership failures. There was a literal shockwave that ran through my social media feeds when Darrin Patrick and Perry Noble were outed for deep, latent sin in their lives and ministries. In our celebrity pastor culture, it is easy to forget that even the most charismatic leader is not immune to sin. I have lamented the number of times I’ve seen “This doesn’t surprise me” or, “I told you so” in response to the meteoric fall of evangelical leaders like Driscoll, Tchividjian, Patrick, Noble, and others. There is no place in the church for this kind of proud posturing. The shock of sin has drastic immediate and long-term effects on a church when one of her leaders falls.

I believe the life of David is a testament to the shock of sin and grace in the life of a leader. There are many lessons to be learned from David’s fall into sin, but two that help us when leaders in our lives sin revolve around the shock and awe of sin and grace.

David was a man after God’s heart and handpicked by the Lord to lead Israel as king. God even promised that David’s kingly line would culminate in a kingdom that would never end. One day, a Davidic King would sit on his throne and never give it up. David was righteous and desired to obey the Lord. But, David surprised his own people and even us by falling into a deep spiral of sin. He fell for a woman who was not his wife, and was in fact someone else’s wife! Then, in an attempt to cover his sin, David had the woman’s (Bathsheba) husband (Uriah) killed. David gave in to temptation and brought everyone around him down with him. Failing to kill his sin led him to continue in his sin. Instead of confessing his sin and trusting God to cover it with his grace, David tried to cover his sin by killing another man.
Despite David’s shocking downward spiral into dark sin, God’s shows him tremendous mercy. When David was confronted with his sin by Nathan the prophet, he confessed his sin to God and received his compassion. David shares what this experience was like in Psalm 51. There are a couple things that do surprise us about David’s sin and God’s grace that really shouldn’t.

First, we are surprised that a man like David can sin the way he did. While we should expect to grow in Christlikeness throughout our Christian life, sin remains in our hearts until we die or Christ returns. Anyone is capable of dreadful sinful actions, because the dreaded enemy of sin has invaded the heart of every person. So, don’t be surprised when you or people you respect sin. Sin should always be unwanted, but it should never been unexpected.
It is a sign of either a healthy or deceived church when the people are shocked when a pastor falls into sin. It is healthy, in one sense, to be shocked at deep sin in the life of a pastor. Christians are on a path of righteousness. They are being conformed into the image of Christ. Day by day, sin is being rooted out of their hearts. However, sanctification isn’t an overnight process. It is a lifelong process. There are many battles–some won, others lost. But, we fight knowing the war has been won by Christ on the cross as he defeated the dominions of darkness and death. While we should expect sin to still be in the heart and life of ourselves and our leaders, our hearts should be broken and in one sense shocked by unrepentant sin in the life of leaders.

Second, we are surprised that God would show David such compassion in the midst of his deep and dark sin. But, we know the character of God. He is slow to anger and abounds in steadfast love (Ex. 34:6). We should never be surprised at God’s grace, but we should always be amazed by it. Learn from David’s sin and God’s grace that covering your own sin with more sin will never satisfy. However, trusting God’s grace in the cross of Christ to cover your sin will always satisfy.

As deep as sin goes in the human heart, the grace of God in the gospel goes even deeper. Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, Darrin Patrick, Perry Noble, and any other Christian leader who has fallen into deep sin has not exhausted the riches of God’s grace in Christ. The tank of God’s benevolence toward them isn’t on empty. It is as full as it has always been. And assuming these men are in Christ, there is a fountain of mercy and forgiveness for the mountain of sin they have allowed to grow.

The fall of leaders in our lives is devastating. It is detrimental to the influence of a local church and the Church as a whole. No one is helped when a pastor bullies his way to power, commits an affair, or launders money from the church fund. We should guard our hearts from the treacherous lure of sin, knowing that none of us are beyond a Davidic descent into a pit of sin. But we should always marvel at the grace of God, which he bestows on unworthy and fallen sinners like us. As devastating as the fall of broken leaders is, the restoration of repentant leaders by God’s grace is an incomparably sweet reality. Whenever you see a leader in your life fail morally and fall into sin, don’t point your fingers and shake your head in arrogant self-aggrandizement. Instead, bow your head in humble prayer that God would restore these men to himself and their people.

God pursues us in his grace like a relentless mother searching for her lost son at the mall. He will not rest until his children are found! And for those of us in Christ, he will bring to completion the work he began in us (Phil. 1:6).


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

When Doctrine Dances: Why the Trinity Matters for Churches

By Obbie Todd

Church history is a dance between two partners: God’s people and God’s Word. It’s a beautiful, 2000-year-old display conducted for an audience of one. Unfortunately, that dance isn’t always a ballet; it can get messy. But that’s by design. God has a funny way of keeping the dance in sync. From time to time another dancer cuts in and threatens the bride’s performance. And in God’s sovereignty, the heretical intruder only serves to strengthen and sharpen the faith of God’s people. The delicate orthodoxy of the Chalcedonian Creed, for example, is a picture of beautiful choreography: “…one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably…”

If we look more closely at this theological gem, we can discern its contours refined in the fire of heresy: (1) Arius brought us to savor the only-begotten Son. (2) Apollinarius forced us to defend His two natures. (3) Eutyches brought us to affirm His unchanged and unmixed natures. (4) And Nestorius aided the church in recognizing the indivisibility and inseparability of those natures. Heresy isn’t just a roadblock to orthodoxy. Oddly enough, the road to orthodoxy is often paved with heresy. And that road doesn’t end with Christology. A heretical group known as the Montanists actually served to re-accentuate the role of the Spirit in the church. Time after time God strangely calls His church back to orthodoxy through heresy. And while our creeds serve as adequate safeguards for proper choreography, Jehovah’s Witnesses (Neo-Arians) and Pentecostals (Neo-Montanists) continue their attempt to cut into this divine dance.

While the music plays on, however, we are in constant danger from those who would seek to usurp the rhythm of the dance. The modern church  is in danger of losing its dance partner or of getting out of step with his leading. This is the result whenever the pulpit has surrendered to the pew. Sadly, many Christians have heard more sermons about Mother’s Day than they have about the most foundational doctrine of our faith: The Trinity. In his book The Holy Trinity, Robert Letham asserts, “Today most Western Christians are practical modalists.” (5) In other words, most American Christians are completely unaware how to articulate the very identity of their God. Instead they’ve traded in the Trinity of Persons for a more comprehensible God in three forms. We see it when pastors offer the pitiful illustration of water, ice, and steam. The introduction of liberal thought into the church has virtually dissolved Trinitarian thought. Friedrich Schleiermacher, the so-called “father of modern liberalism,” placed the Trinity as a mere addendum at the end of his famous The Christian Faith (1821). The experiential German theologian Albert Ritschl, in his systematic theology, failed to even broach the subject! In his famous Christianity and Liberalism (1923), J. Gresham Machen describes liberalism as “pantheizing. It tends everywhere to break down the separateness between God and the world, and the sharp distinction between God and man.” (55) Therefore topical, man-centered sermons are a direct by-product of a church that has taken its eyes off of the Triune God and His holiness. As a result, countless pastors have abandoned ship instead of navigating their churches between the Scylla of modalism and the Charybdis of tritheism. Unless a church preaches the Trinity, it arrives at one or the other.

Understandably, the heavy philosophical language employed in Trinitarian doctrine makes it difficult for many untrained pastors to teach with confidence. For starters, the word Trinity isn’t found in the Bible. In fact, the Latin word “Trinitas” wasn’t even used by Tertullian to describe God until the early third century. (Against Praxeas, 2-3) Still, Theophilus of Antioch used the Greek term “trias.” (To Autolycus 2.15) It’s an example of why the entire history of interpreting the Trinity has centered around the problem of language. Tertullian first used “tres personae” after 213A.D. in reference to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Against Praxeas, 2) However, “persona” was often used to denote a “mask” for actors in Latin plays. And this suggested a kind of modalistic Sabbelianism. It wasn’t until the Cappadocians in the fourth century that the Greek word hypostasis became the standard equivalent to describe the personhood of the Trinity. It was at the Council of Nicaea that the “consubstantiality” of the Father and Son was articulated in the word homoousias (“of the same essence”). Such language is the best we can muster in describing the mystery of the Triune God. But does Joe Christian even know how to pronounce homoousias? Or consubstantiality? Church history doesn’t lack for some complicated language on the subject…

1. Eternal generation of the Son from the Father (Origen)2. Consubstantiality of the Son with the Father (Athanasius)
3. Consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and Son (Gregory of Nazianzus)
4. Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father through the Son (Cappadocians)
5. Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son (Augustine)
6. The coinherence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (John Chrysostom, John of Damascus)
7. The autotheos (of God in Himself) of Father, Son, and Spirit (Calvin, Athanasius, Augustine, Cyril)

Today most conservative scholars credit one man for re-introducing the Trinity into mainstream theological consciousness: Karl Barth. And the Swiss theologian’s understanding of the Trinity can aid us tremendously today as we seek to re-establish this essential doctrine in our pulpits: “It is the doctrine of the Trinity which fundamentally distinguishes the Christian doctrine of God as Christian – it is it, therefore, also, which marks off the Christian concept of revelation as Christian, in face of all other possible doctrines of God and concepts of revelation.” (The Trinity and Christian Devotion, 47) While John Calvin had included the Trinity significantly in his doctrine of God (Institutes) and John Owen had introduced the idea that the saints could enjoy communion with each divine Person of the Trinity (Of Communion with God), it was Barth who gave primacy to the doctrine and all but made Trinitarianism synonymous with biblical revelation. To him, the Three-in-Oneness of God was “essentially identical with the content of revelation.” (In This Name, 161) And barring Barth’s Neo-Orthodox view of revelation, our churches would do well to heed his advice.

When a church forsakes expository preaching, the doctrine of the Trinity immediately suffers. Nature teaches us that God is One. But only special revelation reveals that God is also Three. Scripture is the key to delivering a proper Trinitarian faith inside of our churches, precisely because it comes from no other source. A battle for the Trinity is a battle for the Bible. The very idea of a Three-in-One God is foolishness even inside of monotheistic communities like Judaism and Islam. And with the rise in world communication through innovations in technology and commerce, dialogue with Islam will only increase. An apologetic and evangelistic church begins with a catechetical church – teaching the Trinitarian faith. Are we teaching the Trinity? Intentionally? The very identity of God is at stake in the minds and hearts of our people. Do our churches know the Triune God they profess to believe in? Fortunately today the opportunities to teach the most foundational doctrine of our faith are present and real.

Despite the theological haze that fogs the modern American pulpit, there are small signs of Trinitarian thought emerging in the modern church. Hillsong’s This I Believe (The Creed) and The Newsboys’ We Believe are simplified versions of the Apostles’ Creed put to popular music. Millions of nominal Christians imbibe Trinitarian thought simply by turning on K-Love in their cars. But is that theology being processed by their church? In addition to music culture, moral culture has also seen the advance of Trinitarian thought. In God’s strange providence, the issue of same-sex marriages in churches has breathed new interest in the hierarchy of the Triune God. Copious amounts of conservative literature are now being written to defend the biblical concept of Eternal Functional Subordination (EFS). Scholars like Wayne Grudem, John Piper, D.A. Carson, Russell Moore, Bruce Ware, Jim Hamilton, and Scott Oliphint are rallying around the traditional idea that while co-equal in deity, power, attributes and personhood (“ontological Trinity”), the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have differing roles of authority (“economic Trinity”). For example, the Son submits to the Father, but the Father and Son are also one. (John 14:28, 10:30) And this “functional” hierarchy is eternal, evidenced by passages like 1 Corinthians 15 which feature the Son delivering the kingdom back to the Father at the end of the age. (vv.24-28) Why is this relevant? Scholars like Gilbert Bilezikian, Rebecca Groothuis, Stanley Grenz, and even Millard Erickson contend for an “egalitarian” (as opposed to “complementarian”) view of marriage based on an egalitarian view of the eternal Trinity. The orthodox dance between God’s people and God’s Word is being interrupted by an unwelcome intruder: a postmodern, liberal, egalitarian dance partner attempting to re-write the Trinity in order to promote a modern social agenda. The result is the church’s return to Scripture to define the Triune God. In His sovereignty, through a social and political issue, God is re-invigorating His church with a renewed interest in the most foundational doctrine of our faith: the Triune God.

In the midst of a sexual revolution God has managed to draw His true church back to Himself. And we see this most vividly in the fight for the Trinity. Are we meeting that call? Or are our teenagers humming lyrics they don’t understand? Are our families accepting societal norms without an understanding of principles grounded in the very identity of God? Churches who seek God in His Word will seek after the Triune God. And churches who desire to know the Triune God will seek Him in His Word. It’s a difficult doctrine and dance to learn. But then again, He’s God. If He were like us, there’d be no need for such precious revelation.


Obbie is married to Kelly. He attended the University of Kentucky (B.A.) and SBTS (M.Div and Th.M).  Obbie is Associate Pastor of Students at Zoar Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Obbie is currently a doctoral candidate in Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

 

 

Sermons from Sunday (March 27th, 2016)

Deep South Reformation would like these Sermons to benefit you and be an aid to help you understand the scripture for God’s glory. If you are a pastor and would like your sermons on DSR, let us know and if you have any other questions please contact us.

Jarrod Hawthorne on Mark 1:40-45 “Jesus and the Leper”

Paul Sanchez on Matthew 26-28 and Isaiah 53 “Like a Sheep led to Slaughter”

Greg Gilbert on Romans 8:28-30 “God’s Plan For Your Life”

Josh Landrum on 1 Corinthians 15 “Jesus’ Resurrection Changes Everything”

 

 

Glorious Spirit (Part Three)

By Andy Reeves

Romans 8:14-17

This passage establishes another pillar supporting the Father’s glorification of the Holy Spirit. In this passage, there is an important chain of events that points to the Father glorifying the Holy Spirit. In this passage we see one of the most important works of the Spirit; adoption as God’s children. First, the passage tells us that those “who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”[1] The Spirit leads people to trust in Christ, thereby making them sons of God. Second, “the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”[2] Not only does the Spirit lead people, he also assures them of their faith in Christ and their status as God’s children. Third, the passage tells us that those who are children of God are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”[3] The final step in the process is that the Spirit’s presence in our lives, coupled with suffering for Christ, results in believers being “glorified with him.”[4]

The Spirit enters the lives of people, convicts them of sin, and causes them to believe in Christ. In this act of regeneration and belief, the Spirit applies the work of Christ to believers, and the work of Christ removes the hostility between God and man. The Spirit now indwells believers leading them and assuring them that they are God’s children. Because they are God’s children they are heirs with Christ and will inherit all the riches of God’s love. Finally, since they are also heirs with Christ they will be glorified with Him.[5]

This process is known as adoption. Galatians tells us that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”[6] The process of adoption involves both Christ and the Holy Spirit. In this passage in Galatians, we see the work of Christ. God sent Christ to live under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that believers may be adopted into God’s family. The passage in Romans 8:14-17 shows the Holy Spirit’s work in this regard. The Holy Spirit applies the work of Christ, by leading us to trust in Christ, and by assuring us that we are God’s children. “Such adoption was secured for us by Christ, as Galatians makes clear; here it has been made effective in the life of the believer through the work of the Spirit.”[7] Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance.[8] This joint work of adoption will result in believer’s being glorified with Christ.

Now, on the basis of the previous verses, we see that both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit play a significant role in our adoption as God’s children. Scripture is explicit that the Father glorified Jesus because of his work on the cross. Hebrews 1:9 tells us that “we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death.”[9] The Father exalted and glorified Jesus Christ because of his work on the cross and obedience to the Father’s will. “The Father rewarded him with rule over all because he was the obedient Son, because he never strayed from doing God’s will.”[10] The Father also glorifies Jesus by glorifying those for whom Christ died. If the Father glorifies the Son in his work of making adoption possible, and glorifies the adoptees who are recipients of the work of the Son, then it must be concluded that the Father also glorifies the Holy Spirit in applying the work of Christ. The application of the work of Christ causes adoption to take place and is the down payment of full inheritance with the Son.

Romans 8:14-17 shows us the work of the Spirit. If we are led by the Spirit, we are children of God. As children of God, we are heirs with Christ. Since we are heirs with Christ, we will be glorified with Him. If the work of the Son in causing us to be adopted is glorified, then we must conclude that the work of the Holy Spirit in applying the work of Christ is glorified as well. Ephesians 1 comes the closest in making this conclusion explicit, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”[11] In this passage, we see that those who hope in Christ are to the praise of his glory. “The recipients of these wide-ranging blessings of salvation, along with Paul, have been stimulated by this recital of God’s mighty acts in his Son to express their gratitude and praise.”[12] And those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of the coming inheritance are to the praise of his glory. All glory goes to God, and we see that the Son and Holy Spirit are included in this glory because they carry out the work of redemption in believer’s lives. Therefore, we can conclude that the Father glorifies the Holy Spirit for His work in applying the work of Christ causing adoption to take place.

[1] Romans 8:14.

[2] Romans 8:16.

[3] Romans 8:17.

[4] Romans 8:17.

[5] John 16:8-11; Colossians 2:8-15; 2 Timothy 1:14; Romans 8:14-17; Ephesians 1:11 Romans 8:17.

[6] Galatians 4:4-5.

[7] Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, Reprint edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009), 566.

[8] 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:14.

[9] Hebrews 1:9.

[10] Thomas R. Schreiner, Commentary on Hebrews (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2015), 73.

[11] Ephesians 1:11-14.

[12] Peter T. O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 123.


Andrew Reeves is married to Hannah, an Arkansas native, and a student at SBTS.

Glorious Spirit (Part Two)

By Andy Reeves

John 16:13-15
The father glorifies the spirit

In John 16:13-15, Jesus makes several important statements about the Holy Spirit. These statements point to God the Father glorifying the Holy Spirit in the same way He glorifies God the Son. There are three lines of evidence in this passage that point to the Spirit’s glorification. But, before looking at this passage in depth, it is necessary to look at earlier Scriptures in John that build a foundation for the proper interpretation of John 16:13-15. What Jesus says in John 16:13-15 about the Holy Spirit builds upon the same foundation that points to the Father glorifying the Son.

These texts show that the Father glorifies Jesus, because, he does not speak on His own authority, but upon the Father’s authority. Jesus states in John 5:19 that, “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”[1] Jesus does not do anything that the Father would not do. He does only what He sees His Father doing. In John 5:30 Jesus says, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”[2] Again, Jesus does not act on His own but acts in complete agreement with what the Father wills.

In John 7:16, Jesus states, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me…The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”[3] In this passage, Jesus makes an interesting addition to the formula seen so far. Jesus speaks only upon the authority of the Father, and in doing this He seeks the glory of the Father. By not speaking on His own authority but in accordance with the Father’s authority he brings glory to the Father through his obedience. In the next passage, it is again seen that Jesus does not act upon his own authority, but he adds another important piece of information.  “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”[4] In this passage, not only is the Father glorified when Jesus does not act upon his own authority but it also pleases the Father that He does this.

In one of the most foundational passages to Jesus’ deity, Jesus makes one final addition to what He has said so far. Jesus said multiple times that he does not act upon His own authority, and that in doing so, this glorifies and pleases the Father. But what does the Father do in reaction to Jesus operating solely upon the Father’s authority? “I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge” and a little later Jesus says, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me.”[5] In reaction to Jesus doing exactly what the Father said, and not acting upon His own authority, God the Father glorifies Jesus. The next passage to look at before the upper room discourse adds another detail. Jesus says, “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment-what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”[6] In this passage, Jesus makes clear that He speaks the exact words that the Father gave Him. He proclaims exactly as He has heard from the Father.  One final passage points to the Father’s glorification of Jesus because of His obedience. “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you… I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed”[7] In this part of the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus shows that the Father glorifies Him, because Jesus did what the Father gave Him to do while on earth. He did nothing of His own authority but sought the Father’s glory. The Father, in turn, glorifies the Son for his obedience and accomplishing this work of proclamation.

These passages point to several important truths. First, Jesus did not speak on his own authority, but only spoke what He heard from the Father. Second, Jesus only did what the Father told him to do. Third, in speaking and doing what the Father commanded, Jesus sought the glory of the Father. Fourth, because Jesus seeks the Father’s glory, the Father is with Jesus and is pleased by Him. Lastly, Jesus does not glorify himself, the Father glorifies the Son because the Son does what the Father told him and accomplished what the Father gave Him to do.

Now, how do these passages throughout John relate to John 16:13-15 and the glorification of the Holy Spirit? First, Jesus says of the Holy Spirit that, “he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”[8] In this statement, a clear parallel can be seen between Jesus speaking only what He heard from the Father and the Spirit speaking only what He hears from the Son. As Jesus only spoke what He heard, in the same way, the Holy Spirit will speak to the disciples only what He hears from Jesus. However, what Jesus tells the Holy Spirit to say will be the exact same thing that the Father told Jesus to say, for the Son does not speak on His own authority. Therefore, we can conclude that the Holy Spirit speaks as He is told from the Father and the Son.

Second, Jesus says of the Holy Spirit, “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”[9] Again, a parallel is seen between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jesus took what the Father told Him and spoke it to His disciples. The Holy Spirit takes what Jesus tells Him and declares it to the disciples. When Jesus declared what the Father told Him, He glorified the Father. Since the Holy Spirit takes what is Jesus’ word and declares it, He glorifies the Son. And in glorifying the Son he does not glorify Himself, implying that the Son seeks the glory of the Holy Spirit. But again the Son does not act upon His own authority but only upon the authority of the Father. Therefore, the Son glorifies the Holy Spirit prompted by God the Father. Jesus states in John 17 that, because He accomplished what the Father gave him to do the Father would glorify Him. Therefore, we can conclude that the Spirit is glorified by the Father and the Son, because He only declares what He hears from the Father through the Son, and is accomplishing the work that was given Him by the Father and the Son.

The final piece of evidence that the Holy Spirit is glorified in the same way as the Son is that Jesus says “All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”[10] Now, the process comes full circle and Jesus confirms the allusions made in the previous statements. Here it is seen that everything the Father has is the Son’s and everything the Son has is the Spirit’s. Therefore, what the Father has, the Spirit has. This seems to be the conclusion of what Jesus said. Therefore, as the Father has life in Himself, so too the Son and the Spirit. As the Father has authority in Himself, so too the Son and Spirit. As the Father has deity in Himself, so too the Son and the Spirit. “In John 16:14-15, the Father is identified as the ultimate source of both the Son’s and the Spirit’s revelatory ministry to believers. There is continuity between the Son and the Spirit: just as the Son brought glory to the Father, so the Spirit will bring glory to Jesus. There is also continuity between the Father and the Son and hence between Father/Spirit and Son/Spirit, with the persons of the Godhead collaborating in the task of self-disclosure.”[11] As the Father has glory in Himself, so do the Son and the Spirit. For all three possess each other, what they have is each other’s, and they share fully in one another’s work and glory. “We now ought to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit receives from the Son that which belongs to his own nature. This does not signify that there is a giver and a receiver, but one substance, since the Son is said to receive the same things from the Father which belong to his very being. For the Son is nothing other than that which is given to him by the Son. These statements are made for this reason: so that we may believe that in the Trinity the nature of the Holy Spirit is the same as that of the Father and the Son.”[12] In the final analysis, it must be concluded that God the Father glorifies God the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is God along with the Father and the Son.


 

[1] John 5:19.

[2] John 5:30.

[3] John 7:16,18.

[4] John 8:28-29.

[5] John 8:50,54.

[6] John 12:49-50.

[7] John 17:1b, 4-5.

[8] John 16:13.

[9] John 16:14.

[10] John 16:15.

[11] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 474.

[12] St Athanasius the Great and Didymus the Blind, Works on the Spirit PPS43, ed. John Behr, trans. Mark DelCogliano, Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, and Lewis Ayres (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 2011), 194.


Andrew Reeves is married to Hannah, an Arkansas native, and a student at SBTS.