GodReflection: Is Worship for God or for Me?
I sometimes wonder if the traditional way I’ve understood the Holy Spirit is less than helpful. Let me explain.
Truth is the word trinity is not found on the Bible’s pages. Nor are Father, Son and Holy Spirit ever used together in a specific Scripture text as three distinct personhoods.
Rather than the view of Father, Son and Spirit as three different Holy Beings, what if I envisioned the Holy Spirit as the earthly presence of Father and Son? Isn’t that more in line with the New Testament? My copy of Acts and the Letters paint the picture of Father and Son actively at work through believers who composed the church—the body of Christ.
In Acts chapter sixteen Father and Son desired the message of God’s grace to enter the continent of Europe. We read this account:
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
However, note verse seven:
When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to (Acts 16: 6-7).
It is the Spirit of Father and Son that dwells within the heart of believers and guide their steps.
I don’t believe Scripture ever tells us to worship the Spirit as a third member of the Godhead. Whereas worship is always directed only to Father or Son. The Spirit of Father and Son are present to receive worship.
When Paul the apostle writes to a group of believers in the city of Thessalonica he makes the connection between Father and Spirit as one and the same: Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:8).
Let me lay one more foundational stone to my thought process. It comes from the conversation of Jesus with a woman at a well in Samaria. Jesus’ response is focused on God’s Spirit in worship:
“. . . Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
Ok, here is what I think.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit is simply the presence of the Spirit of God and Christ.
When I engage in the worship assembly the spirit of Father and Son not only are present in my body but are also present within every believer in the room.
We are in the combined presence of the Holy.
Where could be a better place to be convicted or to encounter forgiveness and healing than in the presence of the Holy? That is intensified through the joint presence of Holy-indwelled siblings.
In silence I look around the room. It isn’t difficult to envision the weakness and defects of all us human types. Then I think of the contrast beyond comprehension that is palpable. In contrast to all my weakness stands the strength of the Holy Spirit. Father and Son are present and active.
We have had the joyful audacity to bring our sin and defects into the Holy Presence. Perhaps that alone is the picture of God’s Holy Spirit active in worship.
Isn’t that a blessing that comes through joint worship for God AND for me?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells