Seek The Lord Sunday: Questions About The Holy Spirit

This week's topic is to discuss a particular verse or matter of faith that is confusing, concerning, or otherwise unsettling to you. I'm hoping that we can help each other work through our questions/concerns and all walk away just a bit stronger.

This week is a bit different since we'll all likely be writing about different stuff. So here's how it will work: Write on the topic in your post, and link to me at the bottom of this post. We'll use the comments section to respond and discuss to each other's posts. In other words...don't write a separate post to respond to mine...respond in my comments section.

Okay, now that you're all either thoroughly confused OR wondering why I felt the need to clarify something so simple, I'll just jump right to my questions.

My questions are regarding the Holy Spirit. I understand the idea of God being triune, or "being 3". And I can sort of imagine a part of God that is all Spirit (The Father), I can almost comprehend a part of God being flesh (Jesus)...but the Holy Spirit? I'm very confused. My questions are:

1. What are the differences between God The Father and God The Holy Spirit?

2. I've never understood the "heart" of Luke 12:10: "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." Can anyone help me understand why it might be more offensive to God that The Holy Spirit be blasphemed than Jesus?

3. And exactly does the Holy Spirit come into our lives? I've always thought of Acts 2:38-39 as the strongest text to show how it works: "Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.""

But then, there were those folks in Samaria:

Acts 8:14-17 "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. "

What? Huh? Why hadn't they received the Holy Spirit? It seems to me that they were genuine believers. But this section in Acts 8 makes it seem as though there's some special prayer that needs to be done?

Help me out, please!

Seek The Lord Sunday Participants

1. Lisa-BlessedwithGrace

2. Katrina

Learn more about Seek The Lord Sunday here.

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Kimberly S  – (6/07/2008 10:34:00 PM)  

Ooh, Daiquiri, good questions. I wasn't sure I could come up with anything for this topic, but after reading yours I might be able to.

I discussed your questions with my husband, and I would like to speak to your third question. He made the point that some people tend to view all the events in Acts as normative (usually these are Pentecostals): like the Holy Spirit always manifests His presence in the speaking of tongues because that's how it happened in Acts 2, or the Holy Spirit comes on new believers through a special prayer and the laying on of hands, as in Acts 8. Others see the events of Acts in a different light, noting that in some instances, God was doing something unique, with a special purpose, to establish the church and to affirm the authority of the apostles. These people would say that some of the events of Acts do not happen today, because the church already exists and because there are no apostles now (apostles were only those who knew Jesus personally, and only a limited group from among them; Paul was included because of his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus). Anyway, you can see how one's view on the events of Acts can affect how she interprets this passage. I think the proper interpretation is not either/or, but depends on the events; for example, I believe in spiritual gifts for today, but I don't think the Holy Spirit's presence will always be manifested with tongues.

So, to your question: Scott and I think that God withheld His Holy Spirit from the Samaritans for a time so that this event could take place, and through this event, 1) the apostles' authority to manifest miraculous events was affirmed, and 2) the Samaritans were affirmed to be worthy of the gift of salvation, which prior to this, was really only happening among the Jews. It was later that Peter would have the encounter with the centurion that revealed that all people could receive the free gift of salvation.

Becky Avella  – (6/08/2008 09:49:00 AM)  

Hey Dac,

I'm sorry that I didn't get a post written this week. I'll see if I can later today. I'll do a better job of working on it during the week this upcoming week. I was having too much fun telling stories about my little brother and forgot. : )

Kimberly did a great job of helping you with #3. I guess I'll take a stab at #2.

The way that I have been taught to understand this is to begin with the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never demands glory for Himself, but brings glory to the Son. (The Son in turn brings glory to the Father). A part of the work that He does on earth is showing people their need for a savior and pointing them to Jesus.

When you reject the Holy Spirit, you are rejecting Jesus, and you are rejecting His gift of salvation done on the cross. We already know that there is only one solution for sin provided, that there is only one way to Heaven, and that is through Jesus and this is in line with God's heart.

I believe the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit is a heart condition, not a one time occurrence of saying some magic words that are unforgivable. It is a condition of hardening the heart so much against all that the Holy Spirit teaches (Jesus) that by choice, this person is hardening his heart against God's plan and God's Son and God's very own Spirit, therefore being left without forgiveness.

I'm not a theologian- but that has always made sense to me. Hope I made sense in trying to explain it. : )

Love ya,

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace  – (6/08/2008 12:59:00 PM)  

I like how Becky said things. I, too, think it is a condition of your heart. To reject the Holy Spirit, you have hardened you heart and no longing listening to that "still quite voice" that is leading and guiding you.

Anonymous –   – (6/12/2008 03:26:00 AM)  

I understand grieving the Holy Spirit much like Becky explained it; when a person is continually an incorrigible sinner, God withdraws the Holy Spirit.

As for #1?
Wow. That's a good question. I was searching for answers to a similar question a couple of years ago.

That eventually led me to question certain doctrines I was raised believing.

I don't know about you, but I was taught the 'Trinity' growing up. I never questioned this doctrine.

However, after much research and prayer - I realise the doctrine of the Trinity is perhaps not accurate. Potentially deliberately misleading (there are plenty of scriptures warning us of false, man made doctrines). If you look up the history of how the Trinity came into begs a lot of questions.

Anyway, at present, I simply stick to the Bible and prayer.

It is my understanding that God is God the Father and the Holy Spirit is God's power sent to help and guide us. Jesus, of course, is His Son....

Clear as mud? (to use your term;))
Mark 7:7-8 propels me to seek HIM first, and to question and 'test' all doctrine taught to me, that went unquestioned for years.

Here is a link on the Trinity that I found compelling.

However, I don't wish to mislead anyone. The Lord knows I'm still seeking answers to truly understand better.

Phil 2:12
1 John 4:1

Anonymous –   – (6/12/2008 05:50:00 AM)  

I found another article:

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