Category Archives: Holy Spirit
Paul’s prayer wish for the believers in Rome:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
A collection of thoughts from my morning reflections:
- God is the source and object of all hope.
- Personal joy, peace, and hope are gifts from our gracious heavenly father–and he desires to give us more!
- God fills us with joy, peace, and hope via our abiding trust in him. Personal faith and trust in God is the conduit God has chosen to communicate his joy, peace, and hope to us [causal: ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν].
- Hope does not operate apart from our trust, the forward-looking aspect of our faith.
- If I do not trust God for the future, I cannot experience his joy today.
- In faith, the Holy Spirit fills us with hope.
- Joy, peace, and hope are all external to us, they are gifts.
- Piper: “Confidence in the promises of God overcomes anxiety.”
- Faith’s object is the gospel (Rom. 1:16–17). To have faith in the gospel is to receive peace, joy, and hope.
- Schreiner: “Faith and hope are functioning here as virtual synonyms, for the God who gives hope does so by increasing faith, which results in joy and peace.”
- As we grow in our faith and in the content of the gospel promises we experience greater peace, joy, and hope. These are gifts from God.
- Paul’s pastoral concern in this prayer for the Roman believers is simple: he wants to see them grow in faith in order to experience more of God’s abounding and abundant joy, peace, and hope.
- Mounce: “Our role is to maintain a relationship of continuing trust in God.”
B.B. Warfield, The Right of Systematic Theology (1897), pages 84-85:
There is no creative power in doctrines, however true; and they will pass over dead souls, leaving them as inert as they found them: it is the Creator Spiritus [Holy Spirit] alone who is competent to quicken dead souls into life; and without Him there has never been, and never will be, one spark of life produced by all the doctrines in the world.
HT: Zaspel, p. 76.
John Piper has recently summarized his position on the work of the Holy Spirit in a sermon on August 20th. The full sermon is freely available in text, audio and video from Desiring God.
“Should we be expecting the same miraculous confirmations of our witnessing [evangelism] today? My answer is yes, but not in the same measure that the apostles experienced this miraculous power. The reason I say yes is that I don’t see any compelling reason given in the New Testament that God has declared a moratorium on miracles. But I do see lists of miraculous gifts for the church (not just apostles) in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. So I think God intends to bless his word and his people with miracles in our day — extraordinary works of divine power that go beyond the laws of nature.
… when the Lord Jesus returns to heaven and the apostles have laid the foundation of the church in the New Testament and are taken off the scene, I think what we have is not a de-supernatualized religion. Not at all! The Holy Spirit has been poured out, and he is still fully capable of doing signs and wonders. Rather, we have a centralized focus on the word of God, the gospel, because all the central acts of salvation are now in history and it is the word that connects us with these saving acts of God in the past.
… As long as we keep the word of God in its properly central place, I think it would please the Lord for us to pray the way the early church did in Acts 4:29-30. Here’s what they said, “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” We don’t dictate when or what kind or how many miracles God may do among us. But not to ask for them seems to me to be more secularistic and naturalistic than biblical.”
- John Piper, sermon: By Signs and Wonders, 8/20/06
I think the most difficult lesson to learn about preaching (especially in the beginning) was prying myself away from carefully crafted notes. This quote, from maybe the best preacher of the past century, reminds us to study hard and then become sensitive towards supernatural editing of the Spirit in the pulpit.
Preaching should be always under the Spirit – His power and control – and you do not know what is going to happen. So always be free. It may sound contradictory to say, ‘prepare, and prepare carefully,’ and yet ‘be free.’ But there is no contradiction … You will find that the Spirit Who has helped you in your preparation may now help you, while you are speaking, in an entirely new way, and open things out to you which you had not seen while you were preparing your sermon.
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Zondervan: 1971), p. 85.