The Gospel As Expressed Through Prepositions

For through [Gr: δι’] Him we both have access by [Gr: ἐν] one Spirit unto [Gr: πρὸς] the Father (Ephesians 2:18)

I have highlighted three Greek prepositions in the sentence above. Let’s take a look at them because they present a marvelous exposition of how the Gospel works. For those who may not know, a preposition is a word that expresses a relationship to another word or element in a sentence. The sentence above is loaded with prepositions and they are absolutely wonderful.

Let’s look at the last preposition in the sentence first. It is πρὸς. It is usually translated as “to” or “unto.” It is a word that means going toward a destination. In Ephesians 2 it reveals that access to God the Father is the ultimate destination. Isn’t that great! We have access to God the Father and He wants us all to experience it and know, at least to some degree, how it works! Basically we are studying the science of salvation as revealed through Biblical grammar!

Our next preposition is the first one in the sentence. It is “δι’” and it is followed by the genitive pronoun “Him” which refers back to Christ. What this preposition, followed by a genitive, means is that we are dealing with instrumentality. In other words the text is telling us that it is by the instrumentality of Jesus or “through” Him we have access unto God the Father. Jesus comes first in the clause, because He is the access point, as it is written:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me (John 14:6)

Yet Ephesians 2 gives us more detail of how this works. The instrumentality of Jesus in bringing us unto the Father involves “one Spirit.” Now the preposition here is “ἐν.” When used with a dative, as it is with the Spirit here, it typically means “in.” In other words the access that Jesus provides us to the Father is actually “in” the Spirit. Numerous translations render it this way.

For through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father (ASV)

For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father (ESV)

For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. (NASB)

For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (RSV)

This rendering helps to emphasize the internal aspect of our access. In other words we go through Jesus in the Spirit. In other words, through Jesus we get internalized access to the Father in one Spirit. I hope you are beginning to see how awesome this is!

EGW Commentary: The holy Spirit and the relation of Christ to us

The servant of the Lord tells us:

The minister is to show the people how the Holy Spirit makes them one with Christ, their divine Leader. {RH March 24, 1896, par. 2}

We need to become better acquainted with the terms upon which salvation will be ours, and better understand the relation which Christ sustains to us and to the Father. He has pledged himself to honor his Son’s name as we present it at the throne of grace. {YI January 30, 1896, par. 2}

You see the holy Spirit makes us one with Christ and it is Christ who connects us to God by that same Spirit. What we have here is an external and internal link between God and man – external in the humanity of Christ and internal in the Divine Spirit of Christ.

With His long human arm the Son of God encircled the whole human family, while with His divine arm He grasped the throne of the Infinite. His own individual presence was necessary, that in seeing him we might see the Father. He placed His throne, His spiritual kingdom, upon the earth. He revealed His special grace, and opened to our view the wonders of heavenly things. HE IMPARTED HIS OWN DIVINE SPIRIT TO HUMANITY, thus exalting humanity in the scale of moral worth with God {YI July 29, 1897, par. 9}

Do you see how wonderful this is? When the Son of God came to work out our redemption He gave Himself fully – both externally and internally! He took humanity so that He could give humanity an existence out of Himself so that we might become one with Him as He is one with God the Father.

By His obedience to all the commandments of God, Christ wrought out a redemption for man. This was not done by going out of Himself to another, but by taking humanity into Himself. Thus Christ gave to humanity an existence OUT OF HIMSELF. To bring humanity INTO CHRIST, to bring the fallen race INTO ONENESS WITH DIVINITY, is the work of redemption. Christ took human nature THAT MEN MIGHT BE ONE WITH HIM AS HE IS ONE WITH THE FATHER, that God may love man as He loves His only begotten Son, that men may be partakers of the divine nature, and be complete in Him.. {RH April 5, 1906, par. 15}

Notice that men are to become one with Christ as He is one with the Father. And what way are we to become one with Him?

Christ became one with humanity, that humanity might become one in Spirit and life with Him. By virtue of this union in obedience to the word of God, His life becomes their life {YI August 4, 1898, par. 7}

Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave,—not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal. {DA 388.1}

I was having a discussion in this forum with one of the brothers and I was trying to explain some these things to him. I’m not sure if he got them or not but I will share them again here for the benefit of all. To begin with let me say this:

Christ’s mission was not to explain the complexity of his nature, but to give abundant light to those who would receive it by faith.” {RH April 23, 1895, par. 7}

What I am about to share with you must be received by faith because Jesus did not come to explain the complexity of His nature. By the way the word “complex” in the 1828 dictionary means “composed of two or more parts or things.” So what is this complexity? It is that in Christ there are two expressions, each with distinct individuality, yet they are closely and inseparably one.

The TWO EXPRESSIONS HUMAN AND DIVINE were, IN CHRIST, closely and INSEPARABLY ONE, and yet they had a DISTINCT INDIVIDUALITY.” {ST May 10, 1899, par. 11}

Now this truly is complex because usually one person has only one individuality but in Christ there are actually two. He has a human individuality and a Divine individuality. This means He is a dual character -a human character and a Divine character – a twofold nature.

Looking upon Him in His humiliation, as He walked a man among men, they had not understood the mystery of His incarnation, THE DUAL CHARACTER of His nature. Their eyes were holden, so that they did not fully recognize DIVINITY in humanity… {DA 507.1}

He has A TWOFOLD NATURE, at once human and divine. He is both God and man. {Ms76-1903.29}

Now the whole purpose of His manifestation in the flesh was to demonstrate and familiarize us with His Divine character, revealing to us who God is, and, at the very same time, show us what man can be when connected to God.

That we might become acquainted with HIS DIVINE CHARACTER and life, Christ took our nature and dwelt among us. Divinity was revealed in humanity; the invisible glory in the visible human form. Men could learn of the unknown through the known;… {COL 17.1}

He came to bring to view the knowledge of God, REPRESENTING THE FATHER IN HIS OWN CHARACTER. {7LtMs, Lt 52, 1891, par. 25}

Christ had TWO NATURES, THE NATURE OF A MAN AND THE NATURE OF GOD. In him divinity and humanity were combined….He exhibited a perfect humanity, combined with deity; and by preserving each nature distinct, He has given to the world a representation of the character of God and the character of a perfect man. He shows us what God is, and what man may become–godlike in character.He shows us what God is, and what man may become–godlike in character..” {GCB, October 1, 1899 par. 20}

Now let’s return back to the previous point. In examining the complexity of Christ we saw Him two distinct individualities yet inseparably one.

The TWO EXPRESSIONS HUMAN AND DIVINE were, IN CHRIST, closely and INSEPARABLY ONE, and yet they had a DISTINCT INDIVIDUALITY.” {ST May 10, 1899, par. 11}

Now, bearing this in mind, what does Jesus impart to us? His own individuality!

Here we have plainly revealed to us that if we preserve the meekness and lowliness of Christ, if we walk humbly by the side of the Burden-bearer, if we come in close contact with our Redeemer, in being thus yoked up with Him, HE WILL IMPART TO US HIS OWN INDIVIDUALITY. {Ms70-1896.33}

When Jesus spoke of the Spirit that gives life? What was It? His [Christ’s] Person – the Divinity of His character!

It is THE SPIRIT that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, BUT TO HIS PERSON, THE DIVINITY OF HIS CHARACTER. {RH April 5, 1906, par. 12}

As I understand it the person of the holy Spirit is Jesus’ Divine individuality, His Divine inner person, His character as the only begotten Son of God. While this does not exhaust the identity of the Spirit this is truly Jesus in His Divine side – the omnipresent Spirit of Christ. He is operating outside of Himself by His Divine Spirit. This is how I understand His human individuality as being represented and personified to us.

The Holy Spirit is Himself, divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Christ would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit,—as the Omnipresent {PrT May 30, 1895, par. 7}

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality. {8LtMs, Ms 93, 1893, par. 8}

Now in all this I am not seeking to negate the living aspect of the holy Spirit, as the third Person of the Godhead. I believe we are dealing with a conscious, emotive, functional personality that operates within us by listening, speaking, emoting, etc,… I believe that there are personal ‘Spirit’ to ‘spirit’ interactions, if you will, that occur in relation to us and with God and Christ. At the very same time, I believe we are talking about the oneness of character that Christ has internally with His Father that was given Him (by virtue of His begotten nature but that’s another study). The salient point here is that Jesus came to give this very Spirit (aka: character) to us and thereby reform human character after the Divine character.

And THE GLORY (CHARACTER) that Thou gavest Me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one. {15LtMs, Lt 135, 1900, par. 16}

An earthly parent cannot give his child a sanctified character. He cannot transfer His character to His child. God alone can transform us. Christ breathed on His disciples, and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. [John 20:22] This is the great gift of heaven. CHRIST IMPARTED TO THEM THROUGH THE SPIRIT HIS OWN SANCTIFICATION. He imbued them with His power, that they might win souls to the gospel {14LtMs, Ms 94, 1899, par. 37}

The OUTWORKING IN THEM OF HIS OWN CHARACTER and spirit is His reward, and will be His joy throughout eternity {DA 624.2}

Are you catching it? What is to outwork in us? Jesus’ own character! And what is this? It is His Person, the Divinity of His character! This is amazing to me! And what God and Christ do through Their holy Spirit is equally amazing!

The character of Christ may become your character; His spirit, your spirit. {AUCR April 29, 1907, par. 4} It is essential to “have the imprint of the divine Spirit upon your spirit.” {1888 1140.1} For “when the imprint of the divine character is upon you you will will see that envy, evil surmisings, and passionate, insane actions shall not come into your home life,... {8LtMs, Lt 109, 1893, par. 28}

Let us strive to make our lives what Christ designs them to be, full of the fragrance of love to God and our fellow men, FULL OF CHRIST’S OWN DIVINE SPIRIT, full of holy aspirations toward God, rich in the beauty of Christlikeness. {Lt117-1899.31}

To Jesus, who emptied Himself for the salvation of lost humanity, the Holy Spirit was given without measure. So it will be given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered for His indwelling. Our Lord Himself has given the command, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), and this command is also a promise of its fulfillment. It was the good pleasure of the Father that in Christ should “all the fullness dwell,” and “in Him ye are made full.” Colossians 1:19, R.V.; 2:10, R.V. {MB 20.3}

Let all now understand the representation given by Christ, “He shall not speak of himself”—He shall testify of Me; He shall glorify Me. As the Saviour came to glorify the Father by demonstrating His infinite love in all His works, so the demonstration of the Spirit came to glorify Christ by demonstrating [that] “I and My Father are one.” This the true disciples of Christ will do—to so assimilate themselves to Christ that in His disciples should be manifest His great love to the world in [the] expression of their oneness in and through Christ. {Ms151-1906.24}

Henceforth Christ would live through their faculties and speak through their words. They were privileged to know that hereafter He and they were to be one. They must cherish His principles and be controlled by His Spirit. They were no longer to follow their own way, to speak their own words. The words they spoke were to proceed from a sanctified heart, and fall from sanctified lips. No longer were they to live their own selfish lives; Christ was to live in them and speak through them. He would give to them the glory that He had with the Father, that He and they might be one in God {14LtMs, Ms 94, 1899, par. 37}

JESUS IS WAITING TO BREATHE UPON all His disciples and GIVE THEM THE INSPIRATION OF HIS SANCTIFYING SPIRIT and TRANSFUSE THE VITAL INFLUENCE FROM HIMSELF TO HIS PEOPLE. He would have them understand that henceforth they cannot serve two masters. Their lives cannot be divided. CHRIST IS TO LIVE IN His human agents AND WORK THROUGH their faculties and ACT THROUGH their capabilities. Their will must be submitted to His will; THY MUST ACT WITH HIS SPIRIT that it may be no more they that live, but CHRIST THAT LIVETH IN THEM. Jesus is seeking to impress upon them the thought that IN GIVING HIS HOLY SPIRIT HE IS GIVING TO THEM THE GLORY WHICH THE FATHER HATH GIVEN HIM, THAT HE AND HIS PEOPLE MAY BE ONE IN GOD. Our way and will must be in submission to God’s will, knowing that it is holy, just and good. {Lt11b-1892.7}



The Person/Personality Problem

In Ellen White’s day, there were different definitions of “person” and “personality”. I find it interesting that people are so quick to ascribe a particular definition of “person” that suits their theology when reading her writings.

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Blasphemeth Against the Holy Ghost?

By Paul Chung
Trinitarian’s Objection: If the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Christ are the same as how non-trinitarians claim then how is it that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost is not forgiven but speaking against Christ shall be forgiven? How can one be forgiven and not the other if they are the same person?

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Unseen Christ

“We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, WHO IS AS MUCH A PERSON AS GOD IS A PERSON, IS WALKING THROUGH THESE GROUNDS, UNSEEN BY HUMAN EYES; … HE HEARS EVERY WORD WE UTTER and knows every thought of the mind.” — (E.G. White, 2SAT, pp. 136, 137, 1899)

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The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth

Wind is simply understood as a current of air or the movement of a body of air in a certain direction. Our breath operates on this same principle. When we breathe, we are simply moving air in and out of our lungs. The Holy Spirit is symbolized by both the wind and the breath in the Bible. Notice this interesting exchange between Christ and His disciples…

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The Power of the Spirit

Originally published on Signs of the Times – March 8, 1910, Pg. 3

In the first chapter of Genesis we read the record of the creation, and as a part of the record, these words, “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The word “moved” comes from a Hebrew word, “to flutter,” or “brood.” It gives us the idea of energy, of vibratory power, of life-producing impulse…

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2 Responses

  1. Maybe one could think of the Holy Spirit as God’s Avatar. It is God being present in another form, but it is truly Him, because the Avatar does not exist in and of itself, but is the representation of God homself. Think of the movie “Avatar”. The concept here is that the Na’vi character is in reality the soldier, but in another form, and separate from the soldiers own physical form. They are two distinct beings, personalities, yet the same person in essence, character etc. In this sense the Holy Spirit would be God’s Avatar, and a distinct and an omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent one, but it does not exist apart from God Himself.

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