Saturday, December 10, 2011

Prelude To the Spirit's Humility

We have been considering humility in the Triune God.

The Persons of the Trinity are humble. Each Person prefers the Others before himself. The Trinity shows their humility, and their humility shows the Trinity. Humility is divine because God is humble. It is not just something that God commands in others. It is something God is and does. No god but the Trinity can be humble, because only the Trinity has Persons.

All by itself, this is reason enough to convert from the gods and self-esteem to the Trinity. Every god other than the Trinity is vainglorious and unworthy of worship. No one-person god can be humble.[1]  One-person gods can only be self-willed, self-loving, and self-esteeming. All one-person gods are sinners, just like us.

Offense of Humility

The Trinity is revealed only by Christ, the Cross, and Scripture. The world never could have thought of it. On hearing of the Trinity, the world is offended. The Trinity is part of the offense of the Cross. The Trinity shows that Christ humbled himself to the Father to the point of death, even the death of the Cross.[2]  It is offensive to sinners that Jesus is humble and suffered crucifixion because of our vainglory before entering into his glory.[3] 

The Trinity is offensive also to the gods. It is offensive to them that only the Father, Son, and Spirit can be divine. Only the Father, Son, and Spirit can be divine because only They are humble.[4] Three gods perhaps could form a triad, but a triad is not the Trinity. The gods are only demons.[5]

Humility of Father and Son

Previously we saw the humility of the Father.[6] The Father glorifies Jesus. He directs our attention, obedience, and worship to the Son. He gives the Kingdom to the Son.

We saw the humility of the Son.[7] He voluntarily entered a state of humiliation: birth in poverty, born under the law, life of suffering, crucifixion, and burial. On the cross, Jesus’ shame and dishonor were total. He caused his glory to vanish. Not only did He not look like God, He did not even look like a man. He was a King who set aside his glory. His humility was toward both his Father and us. He looked not to his own interests, but to ours.

There is still much more to the humility of the Father and the Son. We might look more into their humility at other times. For now, let’s prepare ourselves for an opening view of the humility of the Holy Spirit. His humility, too, is enormous.

The Spirit’s Rightful Glory

Many texts of Scripture show the glory due to the Spirit.

Since this posting is a prelude, we can summarize the Spirit’s rightful glory in the words of the Ecumenical Creeds.[8] The Athanasian Creed summarizes from Scripture that the Spirit is uncreated, infinite, eternal, almighty, God, and Lord. It says, “In this Trinity none is before the other or after another; none is greater or less than another.” The Nicene Creed says the Spirit “with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified.”

If summaries of Scripture in the Three Ecumenical Creeds are inadmissible, in a prelude we have space to consider two texts of Scripture. In one, Christ says that there is only one unforgivable sin, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Every other sin and blasphemy can be forgiven; but not that one, not in this world or the next.[9]  In another, Luke reports that for lying to the Holy Spirit, two people fell dead.[10]  Who could this Spirit be if sin and blasphemy against the Father and the Son could be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot? Who could this Spirit be if people who lie to him fall dead?

There are more pleasant revelations of the glory of the Spirit in Scripture. The dreadfulness of the two texts used here does show, however, the majesty of the Spirit. His glory is equal to the glory of the Father and the Son.

The Spirit and the Kingdom

The Spirit is glorious, but He makes little of himself. Like the Father, He glorifies Christ.[11] He witnesses to Christ12 and with Christ brings sinners to the Father.[13] With the Father, He gives the Kingdom to the Son.[14] At the consummation of the age, the Spirit, with the Son, will return the Kingdom to the Father.[15]

The Spirit invites many to the marriage of Christ and his Bride, the Church. The Father will make quite a production of his Son’s marriage, and the Spirit will draw multitudes to the glory of the Bridegroom and Bride on that day.[16]

Meanwhile, the Spirit brings the Kingdom to us and us into the Kingdom.[17] At different times, the Father and the Son have the Kingdom, but the Spirit never does. The Spirit is always building a Kingdom for Others. Humility.

The Spirit is humble toward the Father, humble toward the Son, and humble toward sinners. The Spirit — think of it — is humble toward you and me. Faith sees the glory of the Spirit’s humility, and worships him.

In the next posts, we will look at the humility of the Spirit within the Trinity, and then the humility of the Spirit toward sinners.


1.  For example, though the word Islam means “submission,” Allah never submits to anyone. He does not submit to angels, man, or beast. Because Allah is only one person, there is no one in god besides himself, and therefore no one in god to whom he can submit. The Trinity alone makes humility in God possible.
2.  Phil 2:8.
3.  Gal 5:15, 3:10-15, 6:14; 1 Cor 1:22-25; Lk 24:26.
4.  Psalm 138:2 says, “You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” God humbles himself to keep his word. He humbles himself by directing us to know him by the weak and foolish means of his Word rather than through self-glorious manifestations of his majesty. God absconds; he hides in the weakness and foolishness of his word, and let’s himself appear weak and foolish. See Lk 10:21.
5.  1 Cor 10:20-21; Rev 9:20; 1 Tim 4:1; Lev 17:7; Dt 32:17; Ps 106:37.
6.  See the Recap page for summaries and links to the postings.
7.  See the Recap page for summaries and links to the postings.
8.  See The Three Ecumenical or Universal Creeds in the Book of Concord.
9.  Matt 12:31-32.
10.  Acts 5:1-11.
11.  Jn 16:14.
12.  Jn 15:26; Matt 10:19-20; Mk 13:11; Acts 2:33, 5:32; 1 Cor 12:3.
13.  Eph 2:18.
14.  Lk 22:29.
15.  1 Cor 15:24; Matt 26:29; Lk 11:2.
16. Rev 20:7-9, 21:2, 9; Matt 22:2-14.
17.  Lk 2:27, 12:32; Matt 12:28; Jn 3:5; Rom 14:7.


1 comment:

  1. Only the true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, can be both humble and all mighty. A very enjoyable discussion, Tom, thank you. David