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God the Spirit: The Trinitiarian Character of Faith (Part 3), from Francis Cheynell

16 February, 2009

francis_cheynellThe faith of Christians delights to exercise itself upon God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God the Holy Spirit is the object of a Christian’s divine faith. The Holy Spirit speaking in the holy scriptures teaches us to believe not only in the Father, and in the Son, but in himself also. ‘It is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth’ (1 John 5:6)…Here is special testimony given of the Spirit, that we might be moved to believe the Spirit who is to testify the whole truth concerning the Father, the Son, and himself. It is the Spirit (he says) whose special office it is to bear witness, and therefore there is this special testimony given of him that ‘the Spirit is truth’; and then it follows that the Spirit is one with the Father and the Son, one in nature, one and the same God with them both…and the witness of God must without  controversy be received, unless we will make God a liar, as the apostle reasons the point from the 9th verse to the 12th [of 1 John 5]: the Spirit is Truth; the Spirit is God; therefore the Spirit is the object of divine faith. He that tells a lie to the Holy Spirit tells a lie to God (Acts 5:3-4); he that then given the lie to the Holy Spirit gives the lie to God.

The testimony of the Spirit is a divine testimony (1 Cor 2:1, 4-5)–the demonstration of the Spirit a divine demonstration, the power of the Holy Spirit a divine power. Paul says his preaching was not

with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that our faith might not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

The wisdom, power, and testimony of the Spirit are all divine; the wisdom of the Spirit is infallible; the power of the Spirit is irresistible; and therefore our most divine faith is built and stands fast grounded and established upon the wisdom of the Spirit–becuase the wisdom of the Spirit is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 2:4-5).

We read in the prophets, that ‘all the children of God shall be taught of God’ (Is 54:13), of all three persons: for the Father teaches (Matt 16:17; John 5:45; Matt 11:25). And the Son who came out of the bosom of his Father, and yet remained in the bosom of his Father, teaches (Heb 1:2; John 1:18; Matt 11:27; John 15:15; Luke 4:18; Acts 1:3). But the Father and the Son, especially since the ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit, do teach all the elect children of God by the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27; 2 John 9; ; 1 Cor 2:10-12; 3:8; 12:3, 13; Gal 3:2; Prov 1:23; Is 30:21; 59:21; Ps 119:102).

And therefore the apostle [John] — showing how God teaches his elect after a more peculiar manner, so that even babes in Christ (those whom he called ‘little children’) are preserved even in seducing times and led into all necessary truths, notwithstanding all the diligence and subtlety of those many antichrists who are industrious to decieve — he says, ‘they have an annointing from the holy one, and know all things’, all things necessary to be known and believed for the obtaining of the remission of sins (1 John 2:12). But more especially he shows that the Spirit teaches them to continue in the Son and in the Father (v. 24), and therefore in the doctrine concerning the Father and the Son, as it is more expressly set down in 2 John 9. And then he shows that the Spirit would abide constantly in them, to give them clear and certain direction in all necessary points, 2:27:

But the annointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same annointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it has taught you: ye shall abide in him (or ‘it’).

Ye shall abide in Christ and abide in the truth which has been taught you by the Holy Spirit; and the teaching of the Spirit is clear and certain — for, he says, ‘the Spirit is truth and is no lie’. Here is the peculiar teaching of God: the Spirit teaches us to believe in himself, as well as in the Father and the Son. And the Spirit was sent by the Father in the name of the Son for this very purpose. Moreover it is evident that the Spirit not only teaches babes in Christ, but he taught even the apostles of Christ. ‘But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things’ (John 14:26; cf. Acts 2;3-4; John 16:13). Nay the Holy Spirit compose all the holy scriptures, and inspire the prophets, apostles, and all the holy men of God in the writing of them.  The scriptures were not written by the ‘will of men’, but by the motion of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21; cf. 1 Peter 1:11). Here the motion of the Holy Spirit is opposed to the will of men to show that the motion and will of the Holy Spirit is the motion and will of God. Many other places and arguments might be superadded….


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