About The Work of the Holy Spirit
Title: The Work of the Holy Spirit
Author(s): Kuyper, Abraham (18371920)
Publisher: Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Description: "Even though we honor the Father and believe on the Son, how little do we live in the Holy Spirit!" Throughout the history of the Christian tradition, the Holy Spirit has been one of the most elusive aspects of the faith. During Kuyper's time, very little attention had been given to the person and works of the Holy Spirit. Kuyper recognized this void, and as the editor of the weekly religious publication entitled The Herald, Kuyper dedicated approximately one hundred short entries to the works of the Holy Spirit. The Work of the Holy Spirit is a compilation of these entries organized into three Volumes. Volume One addresses the influence of the Holy Spirit in the Church as a whole, while Volumes Two and Three focus on the works of the Holy Spirit in the individual. Kuyper's entries provide a comprehensive study of the Holy Spirit, exploring in detail how the Holy Spirit sanctifies both the Church and its members.
CCEL Staff Writer
Print Basis: New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1900Rights: Copyright Christian
Classics Ethereal Library
THE INCARNATION OF THE WORD.
In this work of the Holy Spirit two things must be distinguished:
First, the creation of the human nature of Jesus.
Secondly, His separation from sinners.
On the first point, the Scripture teaches that no man ever could claim paternal connection with Jesus. Joseph appears and acts as the stepfather of Christ; but of a fellowship of life and origin between him and Jesus the Scripture never speaks. Indeed, Joseph’s neighbors regarded Jesus as the Son of the carpenter, but the Scripture always treats this as an error. St. John, declaring that the children of God are born not of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God, undoubtedly borrowed this glorious description of our higher birth from the extraordinary act of God which scintillates in the conception and birth of Christ. The fact that Mary was called a virgin; that Joseph was troubled at the discovery of his bride’s condition; that he intended secretly to leave her, and that an angel appeared to him in a dream —in a word, the whole Gospel narrative, as well as the unbroken tradition of the Church, allows no other confession than that the conception and birth of Christ were of Mary the virgin, but not of Joseph her betrothed husband. Excluding the man, the Scripture thrice puts the Holy Spirit in the foreground as the Author of the conception. St. Matthew says (chap. i.18): “When Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child by the Holy Ghost." And again, in ver. 20: “For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Lastly, Luke says (chap. i. 35): “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” These clear statements do not receive full recognition unless it be plainly confessed that the conception of the germ of a human nature in the womb of the virgin was an act of the Holy Spirit.
It is not expedient nor lawful to enter more deeply into this matter. How human life originates after conception, whether the embryo immediately contains a human person or, whether he is created therein afterward, and other similar questions, must remain unanswered, perhaps forever. We may advance theories, but Omnipotent God allows no man to discover His workings in hidden laboratories of His creative power. Wherefore all that may be said according to Scripture is contained in the following four particulars: First, in the conception of Christ not a new being was called into life as in all other cases, but One who had existed from eternity, and who then entered into vital relation with the human nature. The Scripture clearly reveals this. Christ existed from before the foundation of the world. His goings forth were of old, from the days of eternity. He took upon Himself the form of a servant. Even tho the biologist should discover the mystery of the human birth, it could not reveal anything regarding the conception of the Mediator.
Second, it is not the conception of a human person, but of a human nature. Where a new being is conceived, a human person comes into existence. But when the Person of the Son, who was with the Father from eternity, partakes of our flesh and blood, He adopts our human nature in the unity of His Person, thus becoming a true man; but it is not the creation of a new person. The Scripture clearly shows this. In Christ appears but one ego, being in the same Person at once the Son of God and the Son of man.
Third, from this it follows not that a new flesh was created in Mary as the Mennonites used to teach, but that the fruit in Mary’s womb, from which Jesus was born, was taken from and nourished with her own blood—the very blood which through her parents she had received from fallen Adam.
Last, the Mediator born of Mary not only partook of our flesh and blood, such as it existed in Adam and as we have inherited it from Adam, but He was born a true man, thinking, willing, and feeling like other men, susceptible to all the human emotions and sensations that cause the countless thrills and throbs of human life.
And yet He was separate from sinners. Of this we speak in the next article. Let this suffice for the fact of the conception, from which fact we derive the precious comfort: “That it covers in the sight of God my sin and guilt wherein I was conceived and brought forth” (Heidelberg Catechism, quest. 36)