tirsdag 30. august 2016

It is about images

Yesterday I wrote that today’s blog would be about ‘breath’, but I postpone it one more day, because I need to say something about images. As a tool to come closer to an understanding of holiness, it can be helpful to look at some of the Biblical images of the Spirit. This will help me to take a step from what sometimes is conceived as abstract to a more concrete insight.

The Hebrew (ruach) and Greek (πνευμα - pneuma) used for the Spirit can also be translated with e.g. breath, wind and air. Even though I cannot “see” breath, wind and air, they are very real and concrete. I cannot live without them, because I need air to breath and the air needs wind to be in movement. Everything that belongs to the Spirit is in a constant movement. So is the life of holiness (1).

The image of a “spirit” can be confusing even for some Christians. For some it is even more difficult if we use the word “ghost”. It is easier to relate to the physical realities. A “ghost” does not have a body – the disciples knew that, and were scared when they saw the resurrected Christ – he responded by referring to his body, asked them to touch it and ate some fish to convince them (2).

I know from experience that it is possible to have a personal relationship with the Spirit of God, but to have such a relationship I must continuously learn more about Him to know Him better. I do that by being together with the Spirit in the way Paul describes:

'In him we live and move and have our being.'
Acts 17:28
The best way to make the Spirit more concrete for people in the world is to live with the Spirit like Jesus lived with him. 

‘Manna’ for today:

The Spirit is just as real as breath, wind and air.
(1) See: John 3:8
(2) See: Luke 24:36-43

mandag 29. august 2016

It is about spirit


The headline seems obvious, but it is interesting how often we forget this truth when the subject is holiness. Our attention easily drifts to behaviour, but: Holiness is about God’s spirit and man’s spirit = my spirit.

Already on the first page of the Bible we read that:

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Gen 1:2 KJV
It was just this presence that was needed for creation of new life. Holiness is not something I do, holiness is something I live. That which is about spirit, is about life. It was the same life-giving spirit that breathed life in the first man, but that is the subject for tomorrow.

Today I realize that spirit is like a red lifeline through the Scriptures to the very last page where we see the influence of God’s Spirit upon his creation:

“The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Rev 22:17
In this “Grand finale” it is interesting to note that the mission of the Spirit and the bride has become “one” – one of the aims of holiness has reached is fulfilment!

‘Manna’ for today:

Holiness is something I live

søndag 28. august 2016

It is about coming home

Since I am born and bred in The Salvation Army, I also belong to what we normally label as the ‘holiness movement’. Globally it is an extensive movement and its roots go way back to the church fathers. The evangelical part of the movement, is likely to refer to John Wesley as the one who revitalized the focus on the importance of holy living.

Wesley put much emphasis on the holiness experience as the ‘second blessing’. He frequently used a typological exposition of the Israelites’ exodus of Egypt, interpreting the crossing of the Red Sea as a parallel to receiving salvation in Jesus Christ, and the crossing of Jordan as entering into the second blessing, to be able to live in the presence of God in the pursuit of knowing him ‘fully’ (1).

It is a good illustration for the process we go through as Christians, a fact that also Gilbert Ellis commented on here on the blog a couple of days ago (2).

It is interesting that the prophecy from Hosea, which has been the focus of the last blogs, also opens up for a “two-step” experience of being revived:

After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
so that we may live before him.

Hos 6:2 CEB 
The Bible gives several examples when salvation occurs first and is followed by a second experience – the baptism of the Holy Spirit (3), and I believe it is important to be open for the fact that there is more “land to be conquered”. Even though I personally can point on a day of surrender and a day of baptism in the Spirit, I have over the years become more and more reluctant to speak about “two” experiences. 

The reason is that I have had many encounters with the Lord that have been of great importance for my own spiritual life, and I do not want to limit the Holy Spirit to work through a predestined number of important spiritual parameters. But, 'Yes!' there is salvation, there is a baptism in the Spirit and there is a way of holiness and many, many important blessings!

‘Manna’ for today:

I am home, but still on the road home.
(1) Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Cor 13:12
(2) See: Gilbert’s comment
(3) Acts 8:14-17 & 19:1-7