Holy Spirit

Missional Pneumatology: Salvation History in Acts

Missional Pneumatology: Salvation History in Acts

The Holy Spirit Introduces Himself

Acts records an exciting period in the life of the church. It is obvious that Luke saw the Spirit as living and active, as the missional emphasis of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is seen distinctly in Acts. The book is organized by the four major outpourings of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, 8, 10-11, and 19), in which the Spirit came to people in a spectacular manner. Each of these instances represents the introduction of the Holy Spirit to a different group of people. In Acts 2, one hundred twenty Jewish believers are filled with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 8, Samaritans—considered by Jews to be racial half-breeds—are filled with the Spirit after they believed the gospel preached by Philip. In Acts 10 and 11, Peter preached to Gentiles, and they believe and are filled with the Spirit. In Acts 19, Paul meets some followers of John the Baptist who didn’t even know what Jesus did and taught. They believe and are filled.

World Wide Mercy

What we see in Acts is the ever-expanding scope of the gospel. There is a wideness to God’s mercy. The Spirit’s ministry is expansive, just as Jesus’ was—including those who previously were excluded. The missional focus of Acts can be pictured by expanding concentric circles—the Holy Spirit brings Jesus’ good news to a small group of disciples, to one hundred twenty Jews, to the Samaritans, to Gentiles, and to the entire world. He illuminated and inspired the church. What we see in Acts is that Luke is not offering a paradigm for personal or individual experience. Rather, Luke is occupied with accounting for the gospel’s missional movement geographically, racially, and theologically. To Be Continued.

Missional Pneumatology: Redemption Applied

Missional Pneumatology: Redemption Applied

Who the Holy Spirit Is

Who is the Holy Spirit and what does he do? Answering these questions requires discussing “pneumatology”—or the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is God. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus told his followers to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not an “it” but a “he.” The Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, not an impersonal force. The Old Testament, Jesus, and New Testament authors always use the personal pronoun “he” when referring to the Holy Spirit. That’s who the Spirit is.

What the Holy Spirit Does

What does the Holy Spirit do? Why does Jesus say “It is better that I leave so I can send you the Holy Spirit” in John 16:7? John Murray’s book title, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, give us a great answer to these questions. Jesus accomplishes redemption and forgiveness through his life, death, and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit applies that redemption and forgiveness to us.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied

“Redemption accomplished” is Jesus being our “double cure” who saves us from the wrath of God and makes us pure before God. As our substitute, Jesus died the death we should have died for breaking God’s law, and he fulfilled the law on our behalf. His righteousness is given to us as if we had fulfilled the law. That is redemption accomplished. “Redemption applied” is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and this ministry is “missional.” The Spirit continues and expands the ministry of Jesus. The Gospels are accounts of Jesus’ ministry through the power of the Spirit. At age 30, Jesus was baptized by John, and the Holy Spirit came down upon him and anointed him for his ministry. The book of Acts is the extension of Jesus’ ministry through earlier believers. After Jesus’ resurrection and just before his ascension, Jesus said to his disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). To Be Continued.