The Holy Spirit – Imparted as a Whole

I just started reading “The Holy Spirit in Action” by Sheed and some of it is already blowing my mind. Some of it is just pondering the implications of God having and being a spirit. I’ll post the quote from the book, which is kind of heady and out there, then my interpretation which might be clearer or might be even more out there.

In a spirit – God, our soul – there is no division of parts as in matter. Therefore there is no dispersion of powers, but total concentration of being and of powers in one single act of being. the body has parts, each with its own function, which only it can perform. But all the things the should does are done by the whole soul, for there is no element in the soul which is not the whole of it. It knows, loves, hates, wants, chooses, refuses to choose, decides, animates a body. And one single soul does each of these things with the whole of itself.

Two things emerge from spirit’s absence of parts – it does not occupy space; it is everlasting.

Space is emptiness. A being which has parts can spread them in it! Even the minutest material thing has parts – the top is not the bottom, one end is not the other. But this is not so of the soul, not so of God: They have no parts to spread. They are not in space.

What of permanence? A being with parts can be taken apart; therefore it can always become something else by union with parts taken from some other source. But a spirit having no parts can not be taken apart; it has no parts to be taken from it. It is the whole of itself.

 What he is saying here is that a spirit isn’t something that has distinct parts like a person. I have an arm and a nose, they are distinguishable parts that do different things. They also take up different spaces. If I reach for a hammer with my nose, it can’t do what my arm can do. If I dip my arm into a barrel of dandelions, it won’t sneeze. That part isn’t affected by pollen in the same way as my nose is.

That means that wherever the Holy Spirit is, there isn’t a part of it there that is different than another part. ALL OF GOD’S SPIRIT is there. God doesn’t put a little bit customized for Dan Sullivan into Dan Sullivan. All of God’s glorious self, is put, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into Dan Sullivan. The other wild part about this is that since the Holy Spirit can’t be cut up into parts, it can’t be combined with things and changed. Everything that exists in mass can be altered somehow like Lego blocks being switched out. The Holy Spirit isn’t and can’t. Therefore, the full and holy and complete spirit of God doesn’t get changed when He enters into someone. The person is what does the changing.

One more bit then we’ll give it a rest for the day. God’s unchanging, fully full and complete spirit is in all who believe in Him (Ephesians 1:13-14). Think about the implications of that. There is no training or urging or laboring as far as getting God to do something more because He has already filled you, Christian, with all the fullness of Himself. You have a lot more access to God than you realize, so pray today that we’d realize that!

Romans Chapter 3 Sermon

Here is my sermon on Romans 3 and Justification. You’ll find my rough notes after the download.

Romans 3 Sermon – Justification (Download Link)

When we last left off, Paul was talking about circumcision or any other outward sign of the law or of being Jewish is worthless toward righteousness if you don’t keep the whole law.

The key issue in this whole section of chapters is the thing that everyone really wants: to be right.

The Pharisees thought that they were right because of the families they were born into. They were kind of like the guy that when you knock on his door and offer to pray for him says “That’s ok, my dad’s a pastor.” And then closes the door in your face.

It might sound like it was pointless to be Jewish at this time, and that the Jews didn’t do any good towards God. That’s not true either. Just like if each one of us is judged by our own faith and not by our families, what good does it do to be raised in a Christian home? It’s still good, but it won’t make you righteous before God.

That is where Paul begins here.

1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar,

This is one of the greatest truths about God. He isn’t whatever we believe Him to be. He is who He is and that’s really who He is. No matter how many people call me Snow White and no matter how many people really think I really am Snow White, I’m still Dan Sullivan. Just because people are confused doesn’t change who I am.

It would be great if that message could go out to all the world. “God isn’t who you think He is! He’s Himself!”

Paraphrase v. 5-8

5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

If my being sinful shows off God’s mercy, if my wickedness makes a great story of forgiveness and redemption that makes God looks good, then what right does God have to judge me for being evil? That’s what Paul is asking here. How can God be just in condemning me if my evil looks good? Again, good is good and evil is condemned. Evil that makes God look good isn’t good, it’s still evil.

Paul’s preaching was so free from a law, that people accused him of saying “let’s do evil so that good will come from it” They accused Jesus of drunkenness and gluttony. These guys lived so free in the Father’s love that the law-makers and the law-keepers couldn’t understand it.

We are all Sinners

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11  no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13  “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14  “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16  in their paths are ruin and misery,
17  and the way of peace they have not known.”
18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Justified: to be proven right. You did the right thing, that means you are justified.

The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

This

This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

This

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

This

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

God’s Righteous Kindness

Romans 2:4 ESV

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? — Ro 2:4

This has to be part of the discussion about why bad things happen in this world. Sometimes, God is letting us be. Like the end of Romans 1 talked about God giving us over to what we seek the most. He is patient and forbearing. He is waiting for us to turn around, but until then, He patiently waits with kindness, forbearance, and patience.

This is what the righteousness of God looks like. Not hitting with a baseball bat, but waiting with open arms.

Look at Luke 15 – The Parable of the Prodigal Son. In the tradition of the Rabbis, the son would come back and beg to work for the father, and the father would re-instate him as a slave. Jesus twists the end of this parable towards the grace and mercy of God by having the loving father welcome his son back and throwing a party! This would be like the three little pigs inviting the wolf in for steak and they all live out their days as friends.

Let’s bring repentance back.

Let’s call for repentance with all of the passion of a bullhorn guy.

But let’s do it the way God Himself would have us do it: with kindness.