30th August 2019

The Self-Emptying God, Humility
(Part Seven – The Spirit, continued)

“He will glorify me…”
John 16:14 (NRSV)

In our previous reflection we saw that the Spirit is kenotic in his relationship with us, however the Scripture also reveals that he is kenotic in his relationship with the Son: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-15). The Spirit clearly exalts Jesus and is kenotic, speaking not his own words but those given by the Son. This involves the disregarding of himself as the Son’s words are the words he has chosen to express.

Luke also regarded the Spirit’s descent at Pentecost as the cause of the exaltation of the Son. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, under the inspiration of the Spirit, was supremely focused on Christ and not the Spirit (verses 22-36). Throughout the book of Acts the Spirit’s activity was achieving not only the spread of the gospel that brought salvation to people; it was achieving a spread of the gospel that brought honour to Christ. Paul also shows that the outpoured Spirit exalted the risen Jesus: “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

The ultimate criterion of the Spirit’s activity is the exaltation of Jesus as Lord. In other words, to Corinthians who were perhaps impressed by unusual phenomena, Paul was warning them to be careful to see if Christ is being exalted as Lord before they judged that a phenomenon has its origin in God. It is the Holy Spirit who moves the one under his influence to declare, ‘Jesus is Lord!’ Put more simply, it is the Spirit who says that ‘Jesus is Lord’ and exalts the Son in the eyes of Christian believers. The Spirit does not glorify himself, instead he glorifies Jesus, and so acts in the same self-emptying, self-giving way as the Father and the Son.

God as Father, Son and Spirit, has acted towards humanity in a kenotic way because that is what God is like in his essential being. Having been embraced in this circle of self-emptying, self-giving life that is Father, Son and Spirit, we now have the privilege of participating in this life in the way we relate to others (1 John 3:16). Thankfully the communion of the self-emptying God is with and in us to make that possible.

Loving God, Father, Son and Spirit, thank you that we may become participants in your divine nature and be self-emptying towards others.

Study by Barry Robinson

About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and part of the National Ministry Team directing Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a pastoral worker in the South of England, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: camberwell@gracecom.church

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One Response to “30th August 2019”

  1. John Magowan on August 30th, 2019 9:31 am

    A most enlightening series of articles on the out-working of the Holy Spirit as the self-emptying God. Thanks, Barry, for sharing these nuggets of truth with us.

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