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1993 Issue 6 - He Shall Glorify Me, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the Westminster Standards Part 4 - Counsel of Chalcedon

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Section two (WCF 34:2) states that the dispensation of the gospel [NT age] is especially committed to Him [the Holy Spirit)...[He] accompanies it with His persuasive power... And yet, the Spirit was active in the Old Testament, preparing the way for it [the gospel dispensation]. In other words, in the Old Testament era, the Spirit's ministry was proleptic; it anticipated the coming of the New. B..B. Warfield points out that the Holy Spirit is referred to in well over half of the Old Testament books (and all but three in the NT: Philemon and 2 and 3 John). He avers that the Spirit played an active role in the Old Testament in three ways: theocratic, and individual or personal. Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical Doctrines, .pp. 101-129.
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  The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament Section two W F 34:2) states that the dispensation of the gospel [NT age) is especially committed to Him [the Holy Spirit) ... [He) accompanies t with His persuasive power . . And yet, the Spirit was active in the Old Testament, preparing the way for it [the gospel dispensation). In other words, 4 the Old Testament era, the Spirit s ministry was proleptic; it anticipated the coming of the New. a.B. Warfield points out that the Holy Spirit is refetred to in well over hall of the Old Testament books (and all but three n the NT : Philemon and 2 and 3 John). He avers tbattheSpiritplayedanactive role in the Old Testament in three ways: theocratic, and individual or personal. Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical Doctrlnes pp  101-129. Cosmically, as already seen, the Holy Spirit worked creationally and providentially, controlling aU things (Cen.l:2; Ps . 104:30). Theocratically, He governed Israel, as the chosen people of God, the Old Covenant church (ls, 63:11; Hag. 2:5; Neh. 9:20). And individually, the Spirit was the indwelling source of true spiritual life for those who were true members of the church (Ps. 51:11;Job 27:3; 32:8; 33:4), (The Spirit's personal indwelling of believers in the Old Testament era is clearly taught in Numbers 27: 18 and lsaiah63: 11, where in the srcinal Hebrew, the word beth [in) is used for Joshua and Moses   respectively . Moreover, in 1 Peter 1:11, we read that the Spirit was in the Old Testament prophets. Only noncbelievers are . devoid of the Spirit Uude 19).) Regarding the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament,] ohn Stek writes: By His Spirit, God affected His day of Pentecost was fulfilled. Just as purposes in .creation (see Ps. 104:30; all of the Passovers awaited the true, Gen. 1:2; job 33 : 4) and redemption final Passover, in Jesus Christ l Cor. (see ls . 32:15; 44:3; 63:11,14; Hag. 5:7), so also all of the Pentecosts 2:5), equipped His servants for their anticipated the fulfillment of Pentecost, appointed tasks (see Ex. 31:3; Num with the full outpouring of the Spirit 11:29;Jgs. 3:10; 1 Sam. 10:6; 16:13; (Acts2:1-21).Qesus'givingoftheSpirit ls. 11:2; 42:1), inspired His prophets inJohn20 :22 must be interpreted in (see Num. 24:2,3; 2 Sam. 23:2; Neh. this light. just as the Old Testament 9:30; Is. 59:21; 61:1; Ezek, 11:5; Mic. saint waved a sheaf of the firstfruits 3:8; Zech. 7:12) and directed their before the Lord fifty ditys prior to the ministries (see 1 Kgs. 18:12; 2 Kgs. fullness of Pentecost [Lev. 23:9ff.), so 2:16; ls. 48:16; Ezek. 2:2; 3:14). And also Jesus gave a sheaf' of His Spirit to A STUDY OF THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT the apostles fifty days prior to the Pentecost of Acts 2.) BASED ON THE WESTMlNSTER STANDARDS Th e Old Testament saints looked forward, in anticipation, to the coming of Christ and His Spirit. The patriar chs awaited the fullness oftim:e, which the NewTestamentbelieverhas seen (Gal. 4: 1-5; Heb. 11 :39,40). And, as Calvin has said, as they aspired to it, they embraced a share of i t. ; john Calvin, Institutes Il: 11 : 1O . it ·is by His Spirit that Godgives His people a 'new hean and .. a new spirit' to live by His will (see Ezk. 36:26,27; see also jer . 24:7; 32:39; Ezek. 11:19; 18:31).  John Stek, The Study Bible ed ited by Kenneth Barker, et aI., note on Psalm 51: 11. One must not so dichotomize the Old and New Testament eras that the proleptic work of God's Spirit is eliminated. A.W. Pink points out that john 7:39, The HolySpirit was not yet given, because jesus was not yet glorified, can no more be taken absolutely than Enoch was not (Gen. 5:24 ). The simple meaning of John 7 :39, is that the Spirit had not yet been given in all of His fullness, in all ofthe Pentecostal power that awaited the New Covenant a ge. This Is the teaching of Acts 2: 1, which Oiterally) reads, And when the They subjectively received what had not yet been objectively realized. Abraham s a good example of this. The New Testament teaches that the patriarch was promised Christ and the Spirit (Gal. 3: 13 ,14). As he embraced the promise, he embrac ed Christ Qn. 8:56). Thus, Calvincansay, The covenant made with the patriarchs is so much like ours in substance and reality that the two are actually one and the same. Yet they differ in the mode of dispensation. john Calvin, Institutes II:LO :2. That is, by way of anticipation, the gospel was contained in the ceremonial law; that law has now been abrogated, in its use, not in its essence, in Christ. B.B. Warfield beautifully summarizes th e Spirit's work in the Old Testament as follows: 28 THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon t July/ A.ugust 1993   The Spirit worked in providence no less universally then [in the OT era] than now. He abode in the church not less really then than now. He wrought in the hearts of God's people not less pr evalently then than now. All the good t hat was in the world was then as now due to Him .. .It is not that His work is more real in the New dispensation than in the Old. It is not merely that it is more universal. It is that it is directed to a different end that it is no longer for the mere preserving of the seed unto the day of planting, but for the perfecting of the fruitage and the gathering of he harvest. The church, to use a figure of Isaiah's, was then like a pent-in stream; it is now like . that pent-in stream with th e barriers broken down and the Spirit of the Lord driving it. . In one word, that was a day in which the Spirit restrained His power. Now the great day of the Spirit is come. Warfield, p. 129. John Owen has suggested that the Mark 8:23-25 passage gives usa clue to an understanding of the difference between the Old and New Testament eras. Sinclair B. Ferguson, John Owen on the Christian Life pp. 29,30. In this passage, Jesus touched the eyes of a formally blind man twice. After the first touch he saw men as trees walking about; but after the second touch he saw clearly. This is known as progr essive revelation. Perhapsthisisagood way of explaining the difference in the work of the Spirit in the Old Covenant, when compared to the New. The Old Testament era saw the Spirit, to be sure. But He was seen less clearly than He is now seen in the New Testament, since the great day of the Spirit has come. -_ .. . - .. . --_. _ . ._ _._ _._ As we cont in ue our study of the work of the Holy Spilit, in the balance of this chapt er and n chapters three and four, we need to continually bear in mind that what is true of the Spirit's work now was also true in the Old Covenant. As we have seen, the difference is one of degree and mode of dispensation. The Continuing Worlt of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament We have seen above that one of he works of the Sp ilil is that of common or non-saving grace, and that palt of this work is that of the uni ve rsal call of the gospel. The Confession concludes this section by elucidating this principle. Charles Hodge writes: The S cr iptures speak of God's reasoning with men; of His teaching them, and that inwardly, by His Spirit; of His guiding or leading them; and of His coming, reproving, and persuading them. These modes of representation would seem to indicat e a 'moral suasi on: an operation in accordance with th e ordinary laws of mind, consisting in the pr esentation of truth and urgingofmotives ... Thesecommon influences of the Spirit are all capable of being effectually resisted. Cited in Benjamin B. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings Vol. II p. 387. The f ullest teac hing, in one discourse, on the person and work of the Spirit is given by th e Lord Jesus in John 13-17. A brief summary, with some necessary repetitio n, follows. See Donald Guthrie, New estament TIleo l og) , pp. 529-535. 1. In 14:15-17,25,26; 15:26,27;and 16:5-1 5, the Spirit 'is called the Paraclete. The Greek word used here (parakletos) literally means one called alongside, i.e., as a helper. The Holy Spirit [unctions as an advocate, a counsellor. He is ever present to help the elect of God. 2.1n 14 :17; 15:26; and 16:13, Heiscalled the Spiritof ruth . The Spiritistheauthor(see above), teacher and interpreter of Scripture. Donald Guthrie writes: In these passagesthereisa close connection between the Spirit and the Word .. Not onlydoesthe Spirit share the nature of truth, but He also communicates truth. Guthrie, pp. 530,531. Not only does the Spirit inspire the apostles to write Scripture (14 :26; 16:13; 2 Pet. 1:20,21; 2 Tim. 3:16,17), but He also illumines believers in their under stand ing of it (1 Cor. 2:6-16). 3. In 14:26; 15:26; and 16:7, we read that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. As studied earlier, the doctrine of the ontological and economic Trinity is present here. The latter is evident in that the Spirit is sent y the Fath er and the Son to perform His task in red emptive history. The form er is evident in that the Spirit is considered to be of the same nature as the Father and th e Son. 4. In 15:26 we learn that the Spirit bears witness to Christ, and empowers Christians to do the same. Julyl August 1993 ~ TIlE COUNSEL o Chalcedon 29  5. In 16: 14, as alreadynoted, Christ says that the primary function of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son. The Spirit never speaks ofHis own authority (16:13). He does not seek His own glory, but that of Christ. 6. n 16:8-11 we read of cenain functions that the Spirit is to perform: He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.' John Calvin, Commentary on john l6:8~ 11. , a. Sin: the esSence of sin is disbelief in Christ. The Spirit functions, through SCriprure (2 Tim. 3: 16), to convict men of their unbelief. kijohn Owen points ollt, the Spirit is the efficient cause ofc:onvictioh, whereas the Word of God is the inSt'rumental caUse. John Owen, :Works Vol. III, j). 351. b. 'Righteousness: the essence of righteousness LSthe victory of Christ oversin(Jn. 16:; 33; IJn. 2:16,17) and death (2 tim 1:10). By His1lSCensiott, the Lord has establjshed His Kingdom, and confirms true righteousness atJhe right hand of he Father. The job of the Spirit is to revE;al this fact to fallen man. c. J)ldgment: the evil one has been judged and defeated by the work of Christ. The Spiritconvicts the world of judgment by showing that, having vanqUished the prince of Wickedness, Christ restores to order those thin:gs which were formally tom aild decayed. , john Calvin, orrriiJentary onjciui 16:8-11. Willem VanGemeren summarizes theJohn 13-17 diScourse as follows: The 'era of the Spirit-between the incarnation and thecoJ:isumma-, ti<jn-is :preparatory and anticipatory t the full revelation of the giorious Messiah.jesu,s as the Son of God is one with the ,Father Gn . 17:20,21), shares nithe glory of Goc:l (v. 24), and shares His glory with all His followers by sending the Holy Spirit (14:15-27; 16:14,15; 20:21-23). The Holy Spirit's , mission is to share the benefits of the glorified Christ with those who believe on Jesus. The Spirit reveals the Christ, teaches, and consoles (15:18-16:15), The Spirit is the helper who assures the church that jesus has not forsaken His own (14:26). He is the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father as well as from the Son (15:26) and convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. In so doing, the Spirit comes to sanctify God's people (17:17-29), to keep th em from the world, which is condemned already (16:8-11), and to prepare them for the great glory awaiting them.  VanGemeren, The Progress of Redemption : The Story of Salvation from Creation t the New jerusalem p. 360. To be continued n 30 THE COUNSEL of Chalcedon July August 1993
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