Manual Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God

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By implication, the Spirit's agency can hardly be less personal than that o f Christ. Moreover, one is struck by the scarcity o f impersonal images in Paul's letters. In contrast to Luke, he seldom speaks o f being filled with the Spirit; his primary language has to d o with God's "giving his Spirit 3 4 into you," or o f our "receiving" or "having" the Spirit. Furthermore, the fruit o f the Spirit's indwelling are the personal attributes o f G o d G a l S o m e o f diese texts seem to clinch the question o f Spirit as person, as for example Romans The term pneuma may have the imagery o f "wind" inherent in it, but Paul never uses it in this manner.

Finally, the Spirit is sometimes the subject o f a verb or implied activity that elsewhere is attributed either to the Father or to the Son. For example, in successive passages in 1 Corinthians 12 Paul says o f G o d the Father is implied that he "produces" all these activities in all people panta en pasin, v.

Likewise, in Romans the Father "gives life," while in 2 Corinthians it is the Spirit; and in Romans Christ "intercedes" for us, while a few verses earlier this was said o f the Spirit. Both the parallel and the fact that the activities o f the Son and o f the Spirit redemption and crying out from within the heart o f die believer are personal activities presuppose the Spirit as person.

This evidence indicates clearly that for Paul the Spirit is not thought o f as "it," but as "person. W h a t is the relationship between the Spirit and G o d and Christ? Is the language o f the later church, "one with, but distinct from" the other two persons o f the Trinity, a proper way o f expressing Paul's understanding? This last issue, and its implications for the contemporary church, will be taken u p in the next chapter. S o m e observations about this usage are in order. Paul uses the full n a m e at about the same ratio as he uses o f his full n a m e for Christ, "the Lord Jesus Christ," where name and title also blend as one reality.

This usage in itself, and especially in a passage like 2 Corinthians see ch. T h e Spirit as t h e Spirit o f G o d Despite the fact that his understanding o f the Spirit has been forever stamped by the c o m i n g o f Christ, Paul nonetheless thinks of the Spirit primarily in terms o f the Spirit's relationship to G o d 7 the Father.

N o t only does he speak more often o f the "Spirit o f G o d " than o f the "Spirit o f Christ," but G o d is invariably the subject o f the verb when Paul speaks o f a person's receiving the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians he uses the analogy o f h u m a n interior consciousness only one's "spirit" knows one's m i n d to insist that the Spirit alone knows the m i n d o f G o d.

Paul's concern in this analogy is with the Spirit w h o m the Corinthians have received as the source o f our Christian understanding o f the cross as God's wisdom; nonetheless, the analogy itself draws the closest kind o f relationship between G o d and the Spirit. T h e Spirit alone "searches all things," even "the depths o f G o d " ; and because o f this unique relationship with G o d , the Spirit alone knows and reveals G o d ' s otherwise hidden wisdom 1 C o r In R o m a n s this same idea is expressed in reverse: G o d knows the m i n d o f the Spirit.

There can be little question from G o d ; yet at the same d m e the of God's activity in the Spirit is b o t h the interior expression of the unseen God's personality and world. T h e Spirit is truly G o d in action; yet he is neither simply an outworking o f God's personality nor all there is to say about G o d. Here is evidence for Paul's high Christology his understanding o f Christ as fully G o d : that Paul, steeped in the O l d Testament understanding o f the Spirit o f G o d , should so easily, o n the basis o f his Christian experience, speak o f h i m as the Spirit o f Christ as well.

S o also in the three texts in which the Spirit is called the Spirit o f Christ, the emphasis lies on the work o f Christ. In Galatians the emphasis is o n the believers' "sonship," evidenced by their having received "the Spirit o f God's Son," through w h o m they use the Son's language to address G o d. In R o m a n s Paul seems to be deliberately tying together the work o f Christ in chapter 6 with that o f the Spirit in chapter 8, hence the evidence that they are truly God's people is that they are indwelt by the Spirit o f Christ.

A n d in Philippians Paul desires a fresh supply o f the Spirit o f Christ Jesus so that when he is on trial, Christ will be magnified, whether by life or by death. That is, the Spirit to w h o m Paul is referring is the Spirit w h o is to be understood in terms o f his relationship either with G o d or with Christ. In this text especially the unity o f Father, S o n , and Spirit is made certain. It remains only to explore briefly die relationship between Christ and the Spirit.

The Spirit as the Spirit o f Christ As noted earlier, in Christian theology in general and Paul's theology in particular, the c o m i n g o f Christ has forever marked our understanding o f G o d. The transcendent G o d o f the universe is henceforth k n o w n as "the father o f our Lord Jesus Christ" 2 C o r ; Eph ; 1 Pet , w h o "sent his Son" into the world to redeem us G a l Likewise the c o m i n g o f Christ has forever marked our understanding o f the Spirit.

For Paul, therefore, Christ gives a fuller definition to the Spirit: Spirit people are G o d ' s children, fellow heirs with G o d ' s S o n R o m ; they simultaneously k n o w the power o f Christ's resurrection a n d the fellowship o f his sufferings Phil ; at the same t i m e Christ is the absolute criterion for w h a t is truly Spirit activity e.

T h u s it is fair t o say with s o m e that Paul's doctrine o f the Spirit is Christ-centered, in the sense that Christ a n d his work help define the Spirit and his work in the Christian life. But s o m e have pressed this relationship further, and in so d o i n g have seemed to miss Paul's o w n perspective.

Based chiefly o n three 8 texts 1 C o r ; ; 2 C o r 3 : 1 7 - 1 8 , Paul is understood to speak o f the risen Lord in such a way as to identify h i m with the Spirit. In context, however, Paul is using a well-known form o f Jewish interpretation, in w h i c h the interpreter picks out one word from a biblical citation and gives its "true meaning" for a new context. Thus "the Lord is the Spirit" interprets "the Lord" just mentioned in v. The "Lord" to w h o m w e turn, Paul says, has to d o with the Spirit.

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That is, "the Lord" is n o w to be understood in terms o f the Spirit's activity a m o n g us—the Spirit o f the new covenant, w h o brings freedom and transforms God's people into "the glory o f the Lord. Neither o f these passages identifies the Spirit with the risen Lord. That the risen Christ and the Spirit are clearly distinct from o n e another in Paul's thinking is demonstrated from all kinds o f evidence. Besides the passages discussed in the next chapter that i m p l y the Trinity, other texts indicate that the activities o f the risen Christ and the Spirit are kept separate in his understanding.

First, it is "through our Lord Jesus Christ," m e a n i n g "on the basis o f what Christ has d o n e for u s all as outlined in the argument o f this letter"; second, it is "through the love o f the Spirit," m e a n i n g "on the basis o f the love for all the saints, in c lu d in g myself, that the Spirit engenders.

O n the surface one c o u l d argue for identification in function; but what w e really get is the clearest expression o f distinction. The risen Christ is "located" in heaven, "at the right h a n d o f G o d , 10 making intercession for u s. Accordingly, when Paul in Galatians speaks o f Christ as living in h i m , he almost certainly means "Christ lives in m e by his Spirit," referring to the o n g o i n g work o f Christ in his life that is being carried out by the indwelling Spirit.

This fluid use o f language most likely results from the fact that Paul's concern with both Christ and the Spirit is not with the nature o f their being G o d , but with their role in salvation and Christian experience. It is in examining this concern o f Paul's that we meet the Trinity in his writings; and to this matter w e turn in chapter 4. The Spirit is fully personal, indeed, in the language of a later time, " G o d very G o d. Surely the reality J the person of the Spirit. A n d he is present, as we will point out in later chapters, as an empowering presence.

Here, then, is o n e o f the shifts that must take place in our thinking and experience if w e are to be biblical, and dius more effective, in our postmodern world. W e must not merely cite the creed, but believe and experience the presence o f G o d in the person o f the Spirit.

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Both Greek pneuma and Hebrew ruah can mean either "spirit" or "wind," depending on context cf. For a list of these passages in their various formulations, see ch. See GEP on 1 Thess ; cf. For this understanding of Rom , see GEP, That is, Paul is reflecting his biblical heritage that everything shall be established by two or three witnesses Deut ; cf.

It should be noted that, unless otherwise specified, the word "God" in Paul always refers to G o d the Father. For a full exegesis of these three texts, see the appropriate places in GEP. Some also appeal to Rom and see, e. See the discussions in GEP, ch. See GEP, n. Arthur W. Rose was a n o m i n a l Christian, w h o in her adult years had basically abandoned any relationship to the Christian faith.

They offered Rose a simplistic faith, one in which the mystery o f the Trinity was removed; and in her o w n spiritual emptiness she bought it—hook, line, and sinker. Toward the end o f the afternoon, however, Mark asked them about their experience o f the H o l y Spirit. They drew a total blank.

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The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

T h e "holy spirit" was for them n o person at all, but only an "influence" from G o d in our behalf. N o t only had we begun to enter an area where they had n o trained response; but also the one essential ingredient to their b e c o m i n g believers in Christ was clearly missing—the pouring out o f the Spirit into their lives so as to cry "Abba, Father" t o Jehovah. Through that experience I became convinced that the reason Rose, and so m a n y others like her, get trapped by this present-day Arianism is only in part because the Trinity is a mystery most people, after all, prefer to reduce G o d to a size that their o w n minds can grasp, a n d thus control ; it is also because they have been let d o w n by the church, which continually treats the Spirit as a matter o f creed and doctrine, but not as a vital experienced reality in believers' lives.

Indeed, o n this matter, the Jehovah's Witnesses are abetted by a large number o f N e w Testament scholars. S o m e deny that Paul was a trinitarian at all; others, even a m o n g those w h o are very orthodox, are skittish o f using the language o f Trinity" to describe the N e w Testament witness.

Part o f the problem here is o n e o f definitions. But that seems so self-evident that o n e wonders w h y it needs to have been repeated so often. The problem with such wariness is that its frequent repetition finally comes h o m e t o roost—such protests too often lead to practical denial.

W e are led to wonder, then, whether our difficulties with the Trinity d o not stem in part from our o w n experience o f the church and the Spirit, where the Spirit is understood not as person but as divine influence or power. After all, it is a short step from our experience o f the Spirit as a "gray, o b l o n g blur" to our b e c o m i n g 4 practical binitarians.

As noted earlier, the practicing creed for many Christians goes something like, "I believe in G o d the Father; 1 believe in Jesus Christ, God's S o n ; but 1 wonder about the H o l y Ghost. W e tend to think that a. W h a t makes this an issue for us at all is that Paul, the strictest o f monotheists, w h o never doubted that "the Lord thy G o d is one," wrote letters to his churches that are full o f presuppositions and assertions which reveal that he experienced G o d , and then expressed that experience, in a fundamentally trinitarian way.

Paul was writing not to present a study o f G o d , but to build u p churches and address gut issues about their being God's people in a totally pagan environment. H e was too busy being a missionary pastor to have the luxury o f purely reflective theology. That die issue is Trinity, not binity, comes directly out o f the church's personal encounter with G o d through die Spirit as put forth in the preceding two chapters. The question is, D i d Paul in fact have a trinitarian faith, even if he did not use the language o f a later time to describe G o d?

Analysis o f the Pauline data suggests that he d i d. Paul's encounter with G o d in salvation, as Father, S o n , and H o l y Spirit, alone accounts for the transformation o f his 6 theological language and o f his understanding o f G o d. In light o f this reality and the great number o f texts that support it—widi trinitarian language—these passages rightly serve as the starting point for any study o f the Trinity in Paul.

The evidence here is found in two sets o f texts: several explicitly trinitarian texts 2 C o r ; 1 C o r ; Eph and the 39 C H A P T E R 4 m a n y passages where Paul encapsulates "salvation in Christ" in trinitarian terms, sometimes in semicreedal fashion, but always in nonreflective, presuppositional ways. That the benediction is composed and intended for the occasion rather than as a broadly applicable formula only increases its importance in hearing Paul. First, it summarizes the core elements o f Paul's unique passion: the gospel, with its focus o n salvation in Christ, equally available by faith to Gentile and Jew alike.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is what gave concrete expression to that love; through Christ's suffering and death o n behalf o f his loved ones, G o d accomplished salvation for them at one m o m e n t in h u m a n history. Granted, Paul does not here assert the deity o f Christ and the Spirit. This suggests that Paul was truly trinitarian in any meaningful sense o f that term—that the o n e G o d is Father, S o n , and Spirit, and that w h e n dealing with Christ and the Spirit one is dealing with G o d every bit as m u c h as w h e n one is dealing with die Father.

In the former passage Paul urges the Corinthians to broaden their perspective and to recognize die rich diversity o f the Spirit's manifestations in their midst over against their apparendy singular interest in speaking in tongues. Thus the Trinity is presuppositional to the entire argument, and it is die more telling precisely because it is so unstudied, so freely and unconsciously expressed. In Ephesians o n e finds the same c o m b i n a t i o n as in 2 Corinthians —a creedal formulation expressed in terms o f the distinguishable activities o f the triune G o d.

The basis for Christian unity is the one G o d. The one b o d y is the work o f the one Spirit cf. All o f this has been made possible for us by our one Lord, in w h o m all have o n e faith and to which faith all have given witness through one baptism. The source o f all these realities is the o n e G o d himself, "who is over all and through all and in all.

Precisely on the basis o f such experience and language the later church maintained its biblical integrity by expressing all o f 41 C H A P T E R 4 this in explicitly trinitarian language. Paul's formulations, which include the work o f the Spirit, form part o f that basis. Salvation in C h r i s t as the W o r k o f the Trinity That the work o f the Trinity in salvation is foundational to Paul's understanding o f the gospel is further evidenced by the many texts that formulate salvation in less explicit, but fully presuppositionally trinitarian terms.

Titus As an example, we m a y take Romans As everywhere, the Spirit plays a vital role in Paul's and his churches' experience o f God's saving grace. But such love is not merely an objective historical event. By the presence o f the Spirit, God's love, played out to the full in Christ, is an experienced reality in the heart o f the believer.

This is what the Spirit has so richly "shed abroad in our hearts. G o d ' s love for us has been "poured out" as a prodigal, experienced reality by the presence o f the H o l y Spirit, w h o m G o d has also lavishly poured out into our hearts.

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Salvation is an experienced reality, m a d e so by the person o f the Spirit c o m i n g into our lives. O n e simply cannot be a Christian in any Pauline sense without the effective work o f the Trinity.

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W e will pursue this truth in greater detail in chapter 8 below. For n o w we offer a few concluding words about the Trinity and its further implications for our present life in Christ. S o also with the clear evidence o f the Spirit's unity with C h r i s t — i n receiving a fresh supply o f the Spirit, it is the Spirit o f Jesus Christ w h o m Paul receives—yet the clear distinctions between Christ a n d the Spirit. But w h a t does such trinitarianism mean for us? Several things. First, it means that the Spirit must be reinstated into the Trinity, where he has never been excluded in our creeds and liturgies, but has been practically excluded from the experienced life o f the church.

T o b e a Pauline Christian means to take die Spirit with full seriousness as the w a y the eternal G o d is ever present with his people. A l t h o u g h we will pursue this point further in chapter 6, suffice it here to say that the Trinity is the ground for the church's much-needed unity. The effective agent o f our unity, according to Paul in Ephesians 2 and 3 cf. Finally, although Paul does not press in our creeds and this point, the triune nature o f G o d liturgies, but has been relational being.

If Paul does not press this reality as explicitly as J o h n does, the offhand mention o f the relationship between the Spirit a n d the Father in 1 Corinthians and R o m a n s comes out at the same point. The Spirit, w h o reveals to us the "deep things o f G o d " that is, the cross as God's w i s d o m , does so because he alone knows the m i n d o f G o d ; and the Spirit is our intercessor, w h o prays through us in keeping with God's o w n pleasure, precisely because the Spirit and the Father each knows the m i n d o f the other.

Anus was a bishop in Alexandria who at the beginning of the fourth century argued that "there was a time when Christ was not," thus positing Christ as a divine being, to be sure, but a created one, who was not fully equal with God. It took the Jehovah's Witnesses many decades to discover that diey were Arians. Since that day diey stopped "witnessing" about "kingdom" issues, as had been their wont, and instead pursued their anti-trinitarian Arianism with full and knowledgeable vigor. And even our term "Person" causes all kinds of difficulties, partly because it stems from a Latin word that does not cany all the baggage that our word does.

Pinnock "Concept," 2 : "Modern Christians are largely content to be trinitarian in belief, but binitarian in practice"; he notes that much the same had been said by A. O n this whole question, and especially on Paul as a trinitarian, see the section entitled "What About the Trinity? So also Pinnock, "Concept," , who likewise notes that the later expression of trinitarian faith grows out of a trinitarian encounter widi die one G o d in his saving work.

For a thorough analysis of this text, see GEP, To return to an issue raised in ch. See GEP, , on Titus Here were people—often poor, and sometimes suffering, people— whose experience of the Spirit in "Spirit baptism" had assured them of God's love and of their own future glory. The gospel songs on which I was raised were the most constant reinforcement of this reality. And it was our experience of the Holy Spirit, who poured out this love of God into our hearts, that gave us this certainty. At a recent coffee hour with students in the Regent College atrium, o n e student asked, "If y o u were to return to the pastoral ministry, what w o u l d you d o [meaning, H o w w o u l d y o u g o about it?

Eschatology has to d o with the time o f the E n d , and refers first o f all to Jewish expectations that G o d through his Messiah w o u l d 49 C H A P T E R 5 bring a dramatic end to the "present age. These expectations may be diagrammed as in figure 1. A unique twist to this end-time expectation conditioned the earliest Christians' existence in every way; a n d the outpoured Spirit was essential to this new understanding. In their view they were already living in the beginning o f the end times.

But it was the resurrection o f Christ and the gift o f the promised Spirit that completely altered the primitive church's perspective, b o t h about Jesus and about the people o f G o d. In place o f the totally future, still-to-come endtime expectation o f their Jewish roots, with its h o p e o f a c o m i n g Messiah a c c o m p a n i e d by the resurrection o f the dead, the early believers recognized that the future had already been set in m o t i o n.

The resurrection o f Christ marked the b e g i n n i n g o f the End, the turning o f the ages. They lived "between the times"; already the future had begun, not yet had it been completely fulfilled. This is reflected both in his explicit language and in a w h o l e variety o f presuppositional ways. It is n o longer an option to view things from the 51 C H A P T E R 5 perspective o f the "flesh," that is, from the "old order" point o f view.

T h e death and resurrection o f Christ and the gift o f the Spirit mean both death to the old and a radical, newly constituted life in the present.

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In a sort o f divine time warp, the future condemnation that we all richly deserve has been transferred from the future into the past, having been borne by Christ R o m T h u s we "have been saved" Eph This essential framework likewise causes Paul to see the church as an end-time c o m m u n i t y , whose members live in the present as those stamped with eternity. W e live as strangers on earth; our true citizenship is in heaven Phil Ethical life, therefore, does not consist o f rides t o live by. Rather, empowered by the Spirit, we n o w live die life o f the future in the present age, the life that characterizes G o d himself.

Their heavenly citizenship trivializes such grievances—and puts believers in the awkward position o f asking for a ruling by the very people that 2 they themselves will eventually j u d g e. Believers have tasted o f the life to come; and the full and final realizadon o f the future is so certain that God's new people b e c o m e heavenly radicals as they live in the "already" but "not yet" o f the present age. Since this eschatological perspective so thoroughly conditions Paul's outlook o n everything, our first task is to look at the crucial role the Spirit plays in "salvation in Christ.

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Both o f these have n o w been set in motion. First, from his Jewish roots Paul understood the resurrection o f the dead to be the final event on God's earthly calendar, the unmistakable evidence for the full arrival o f the E n d. Believers therefore live between the times with regard to the t w o resurrections.

W e have already been "raised with Christ," w h i c h guarantees our future bodily resurrection R o m ; S e c o n d , the gift o f the Spirit is the crowning evidence that God's end-time promises are being fulfilled. A s noted in chapter 2 above, Jeremiah and Ezekiel gave a n eschatological cast to the promises o f the new covenant.

The gift o f the outpoured Spirit meant that the messianic age had already arrived. The Spirit is thus the central element in this altered perspective, 4 the key to which is Paul's firm conviction that the Spirit was b o t h the certain evidence that the future had dawned, and the absolute guarantee o f its final consummation. T h e Spirit as D o w n Payment, Firstfruits, a n d Seal This twofold role o f the Spirit as b o t h evidence and guarantee o f the future emerges in a variety o f ways throughout Paul's letters, but nowhere more prominendy than in three metaphors for the Spirit that are unique to h i m : d o w n payment, firstfruits, and seal.

All three images are apt; each may emphasize the Spirit either as the present evidence o f future realities or as the assurance of the final glory, or both o f these simultaneously. The metaphor o f "down payment," which occurs three times 2 C o r ; ; E p h , appears exclusively in Paul in the N e w Testament; and he uses it exclusively to refer to the Spirit.

The word shows up often in Greek commercial papyri as a technical term for the first installment hence "down payment" o f a total amount due. For Paul it thus serves in all three instances to emphasize both the already and the not yet of our present existence. O n the one hand, the "Holy Spirit o f the promise" and "our inheritance" come directly out o f the future expectations o f Paul's Jewish heritage: the Spirit w h o m we have received is the fulfillment o f the promise. The Spirit, therefore, serves as God's d o w n payment in our present lives, the certain evidence that the future has come into the present, and the sure guarantee that the future will be realized in full measure.

The metaphor o f "firstfruits," used o f the Spirit in Romans , demonstrates equally well the Spirit's role in Paul's changed eschatological perspective. The larger context o f Romans is especially noteworthy.

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With the Spirit playing the leading role, Paul in w. These are the two themes taken up in w. By the Spirit we have already received our adoption as God's children, but what is already is also not yet. Therefore, by the same Spirit w h o functions for us as firstfruits, we await our final adoption, in the form o f the redemption o f our bodies. T h e first sheaf o f grain is God's pledge to us o f the final harvest. Thus, in o n e o f Paul's clearest passages outlining his basic eschatological framework, the Spirit plays the key role in our present existence, as both evidence and guarantee that the future is n o w and yet to be.

The third metaphor, "seal," also occurs three times with direct reference to the Spirit 2 C o r ; E p h ; In literal usage a seal referred to a stamped impression in wax or clay, signaling ownership and authenticity, and carrying with it the protection o f the owner. In Paul, as Ephesians and make certain, the seal is a metaphor for the Spirit, by w h o m G o d has marked believers and claimed them as his own. In 2 Corinthians , the gift o f the eschatological Spirit in the lives o f the Corinthians serves as the seal that b o t h marks them off as God's possession and authenticates Paul's apostleship a m o n g them.

Likewise, in Ephesians , by sealing them with the H o l y Spirit, G o d stamped the Gentile recipients o f that letter as his o w n possession. A t the same time, the guarantee o f the future in the metaphor is expressly stated in Ephesians "with w h o m y o u were sealed for the day of redemption". At the same The Spirit is the time, the Spirit as God's empowering presence enables the people o f G o d evidence that the eschatological promises of Paul's Jewish not simply to endure the present as they await the final consummation, but to d o so with verve with "spirit," if y o u will.

A n d that is because the future is as sure as the presence o f the heritage have been Spirit is an experienced reality; hence fulfilled. T h e Spirit a n d Resurrection The most prominent feature o f what is "not yet" in Pauline eschatology is the bodily resurrection o f believers. Here again is a place in Paul's understanding where the Spirit plays a decisive role. But that role is not, as is sometimes asserted, that o f agency; 7 rather the indwelling Spirit serves as the divine pledge o f our future bodily resurrection. That is, the Spirit does not bring about our resurrection, but guarantees it.

A few words about each o f these matters are warranted. T h e clearest expression o f the Spirit's role in this reality is R o m a n s Here Paul does not say, as s o m e have read it, "If the Spirit w h o raised Christ dwells in you. T o this clause Paul adds a prepositional phrase, which ended u p in die textual history o f Romans in two different forms. O n e , taken u p by the NIV and others, reads, "through the Spirit w h o dwells in you. Both the manuscript evidence and the primary rule o f textual criticism namely, the reading that best explains h o w the other came about is the original support the text that reads, "because of the Spirit w h o dwells in you.

Thus, in this passage, as in all others that speak to the question, the Spirit guarantees o u r future, i n c l u d i n g o u r resurrection. That leads, second, to a word about the nature of our redeemed bodies, since in 1 Corinthians Paul insists o n calling them "spiritual bodies. T h e "body o f glory" is his "Spiritual body," the b o d y supernaturally transformed for existence in the final realm o f the Spirit. Thus, the "redemption o f the body" has to d o with the present body's b e c o m i n g a "Spiritual body," in that it will be totally transformed, fully adapted, for the life diat is to be, o f w h i c h the Spirit's presence n o w is the guarantee.

This was apparently the Corinthians' position, and Paul attacks it twice in his letters to them. For Paul the Spirit meant empowering for life in the midst o f present bodily weaknesses—in a b o d y obviously in the process o f decay. T h u s in 2 Corinthians he reaffirms his position from 1 Corinthians that the presence o f the Spirit means that these "decaying bodies" have also been stamped with eternity; they are destined for resurrection and hence transformation into the likeness o f Christ's n o w glorified body.

G o d , Paul argues, "has fashioned us for this. The point o f this passage, I should add, needs to be heard again and again over against every encroachment o f Hellenistic dualism that would negate the b o d y in favor o f the soul. G o d m a d e us whole people; and in Christ he has redeemed us wholly. In the Christian view there is no dichotomy between body and spirit that either indulges the body because it is irrelevant or punishes it to purify the spirit.

That creed does not lead t o crass materialism; rather it affirms a holistic view o f redemption, w h i c h is predicated in part on the doctrine o f creation—both the physical and spiritual orders are g o o d because G o d created t h e m — a n d in part o n the doctrine o f redemption, including the c o n s u m m a t i o n — t h e w h o l e fallen order, including the body, has been redeemed in Christ and awaits its final redemption.

T h e clear evidence that the b o d y is included in final redemption is the presence o f the Spirit, w h i c h does not m o v e us toward a false, Hellenistic spirituality, but toward the biblical view noted here. This was the singular passion o f his life; and their inclusion together with Jews as o n e people o f G o d o n the basis o f the work o f Christ and the gift o f the Spirit, and therefore apart from Jewish Torah observance, is what drives the argument o f both Galatians and R o m a b s and is the presupposition o f the argument o f Ephesians.

It is as Jews and Gentiles together "with o n e m o u t h. T h e role o f the Spirit in this fulfillment is a staple in the argument o f Romans. It is expressly stated elsewhere in two key passages. Since the "blessing o f Abraham" came in the form o f a "promise," this word is the one Paul uses throughout the argument o f Galatians 3 to refer to the blessing o f the Abrahamic covenant. In a statement crucial to this argument, Paul says the fulfillment o f this promised blessing for the Gentiles is in their having experienced the Spirit as a living and d y n a m i c reality.

T h e blessing o f A b r a h a m , therefore, is not simply "justification by faith. By that same token G o d also guaranteed the final inheritance for Jew and Gentile alike, since the Spirit is God's d o w n payment o f our Jew and Gentile together inheritance. This is eschatological language.

Paul, the Spirit and the People of God

Jew and Gentile togedier have obtained the inheritance, which they also patiently await. S o also with the language o f hope. In Ephesians 4 : 1 - 3 , Paul's concern is that his readers "maintain the unity o f Jew and Gentile as o n e people o f G o d ] effected by the Spirit. In light o f all this evidence, including that already given in chapter 2, it is fair to conclude that the Spirit is the key to the future orientation o f Paul and the early church. By the Spirit's presence believers have tasted o f the life to come and are now oriented toward its consummation.

Despite what is often implied to the contrary, however, Paul's primary emphasis is not o n this certain and eagerly awaited future that the Spirit guarantees. This is especially taie at the very heart o f matters for h i m , that through Christ and the Spirit, G o d is already calling out a people for his name, w h o will live the life b f the future in their present existence together as they await the consummation. O n this question, the classic is G. That Paul never lost this perspective is witnessed most vividly in 1 Cor When Christ raises the believing dead, that spells the death of death itself; thus Christ turns over all things to the Father, who is all and in all.

See Fee, I Corinthians, See J. Moulton and G. Although there is nothing inherently difficult theologically with this assertion, and indeed it may very well be so, nonetheless one cannot derive such a view from anything Paul says explicitly. For the contrary view, and the arguments against it, see GEP, and See 1 Thess ; 1 Cor ; ; 2 Cor ; ; Gal ; Rom ; ; ; ; Col ; Eph ; plus the texts where Christ's resurrection is expressed in the "divine passive" 1 Thess ; 1 Cor , 20; 2 Cor ; Rom ; ; ; O n this question see esp. GEP, , n. For the exegetical support of what is said here, see GEP, The question: Is this person saved?

I w o u l d answer: O n l y G o d knows; but such salvation lies totally outside the N e w Testament frame o f reference. The individual is god; narcissistic self-interest and self-centeredness is the chief end o f life. Unfortunately, i n recognizing the biblical emphasis o n the significance o f the individual. Paul's view is considerably different. W e have already noted that Paul's understanding o f salvation in Christ has b o t h continuity and discontinuity with Paul's Jewish heritage. Continuity, the concern o f this chapter, resides in God's 2 still "saving a people for his name," a people w h o fulfill the covenant with Abraham G e n Discontinuity, the concern o f the next chapter, lies in the fact that the people o f G o d are n o longer so o n the basis o f "nation," but o n the basis o f individual entry through faith in Christ Jesus and the gift o f the Spirit, signaled by b a p t i s m.

T h o u g h entered individually, salvation is seldom if ever thought o f simply as a one-on-one relationship with G o d. W h i l e such a relationship is included, to be sure, "to be saved" means especially to be joined to the people o f G o d. English Standard Version The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. Berean Literal Bible But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them , because spiritually they are discerned. New American Standard Bible But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

New King James Version But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. King James Bible But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them , because they are spiritually discerned.

Christian Standard Bible But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God's Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. Contemporary English Version This is why only someone who has God's Spirit can understand spiritual blessings. Anyone who doesn't have God's Spirit thinks these blessings are foolish. Such a person really does not understand them, and they seem to be nonsense, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis.

Holman Christian Standard Bible But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God's Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. International Standard Version A person who isn't spiritual doesn't accept the things of God's Spirit, for they are nonsense to him.

He can't understand them because they are spiritually evaluated. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. New Heart English Bible Now the natural person does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. Aramaic Bible in Plain English For a selfish man does not receive spiritual things, for they are madness to him, and he is not able to know, for they are known by The Spirit. He thinks they're nonsense. He can't understand them because a person must be spiritual to evaluate them.

Book Description Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory ST Seller Inventory ST More information about this seller Contact this seller. Condition: New. Seller Inventory Book Description Baker Academic, Seller Inventory mon Language: English. Brand new Book. Peterson, professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College"Gordon Fee is one of the finest Bible expositors I have known. Seller Inventory AA Book Description Baker Publishing Group. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days.

Seller Inventory B Book Description Baker Academic , Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Not Signed; "In Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, Pentecostal scholar Gordon Fee has redefined the terms of the discussion about the Holy Spirit in a way that transcends today's paradigm of 'charismatic' or 'noncharismatic' orientation.