#10 The Holy Spirit The Mystery Explained
There are many things that we ought to be able to understand, that we do not comprehend because we are so far behind our privileges. Christ said to his disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." This is our condition . . . .We should be in a position where we can comprehend the teaching, leading, and working of the Spirit of Christ. We must not measure God or his truth by our finite understanding, or by our preconceived opinions." (RH October 8, 1889; par. 2).
Have you ever wondered "why," in all of Ellen White's writings, she never uses the term "Trinity" when speaking about the Godhead? I believe that this is a most meaningful omission. Ellen was certainly familiar with the term. She had come out of a church that believed in and taught this doctrine. Why, then, does she not use the term trinity when speaking of the Godhead? If the traditional "Orthodox" position of the Trinity is correct then why not use the word that has come to be the accepted term in describing this position? Ellen uses phrases that do describe three beings comprising the Godhead such as "heavenly trio" or "three divine dignitaries," but she never uses the term Trinity - Why? Why didn't God inspire her to use this term to describe the Godhead if it truthfully describes the doctrine of the Godhead and the members comprising it?
I can only conclude that God did not intend that the traditional doctrine of the Trinity - as taught and accepted by most within the Christian world (and perhaps especially important, His remnant church) - should be understood by His people in the way that we have been content to understand and teach it. I believe that God intended, and still intends, that His people would come to know the "Truth" about the Godhead and the Great Price that has been paid by both the Father and the Son in order to redeem us and make us partakers of the Divine nature. I believe that God especially intends that we shall know the Truth about the Holy Spirit and the work that it is to accomplish in those in whom He is going to fully reproduce Christ's character before the Great and Dreadful day of the Lord.
I believe that God intends that we shall understand that Christ's incarnation and death involved not only the giving of His human life, but also the giving of His divine life (His Spirit) for the Salvation of His children. Christ sacrificed the fullness of His being in order to redeem the human race. This sacrifice meant "parting" with, or "laying aside," His inherent powers of divinity - that is, He could no longer singularly posses all of His divinity in His person. His person underwent a change and effectively created a third person of the Godhead. Now, these two "individuals" of the Godhead comprise the totality of Christ. They exist as His divine humanity (which has been incorporated into the Godhead) and His divine Spirit (which is that part of Himself that encompasses His divine power and has always existed with the Father).
"Jesus has done everything for you; he withheld not even himself" (ST: November 20, 1884; par. 20). Christ has paid the penalty for our transgression and in His humanity Christ pleads His own merits on our behalf before the Father. But that is simply not enough to bring about our transformation into His likeness: "Christ must be in us a living, working power" (MS #39, 1896 [7BC p. 921, par. 5]). He can only transform us into His image by abiding in us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. It is His "Spirit" that confirms and makes effectual what Christ, in His humanity, has done for us. His Spirit is responsible for the completion of the Plan of Redemption. "It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given his Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress his own character upon the church" (RH: May 19, 1904; par. 3). Christ's divinity and His humanity combined constitute the perfect sacrifice that He has made in order to make us "One" with God.
Some of you are probably mindful of the statements made by Ellen White that; "He [Christ] did not part with His divinity" (RH: June 15, 1905. [SDA BC 7A; p. 444, par. 6]). We must address this issue very seriously, and I hope that I can do so here. I do not wish in any way to leave the impression that Jesus Christ "gave up" His divinity and that He is no longer God. If Christ is not divine, then He could not be our Savior - and this position would be completely unbiblical. I am acutely aware of the warnings that the prophet of God has given regarding our treatment of "the humanity of Christ." And I believe that she had good reason for giving this advice. "Avoid every question in relation to the humanity of Christ which is liable to be misunderstood. Truth lies close to the track of presumption. In treating upon the humanity of Christ, you need to guard strenuously every assertion, lest your words be taken to mean more than they imply, and thus you lose or dim the clear perceptions of His humanity as combined with divinity. His birth was a miracle of God. . . . Never, in any way, leave the slightest impression upon human minds that a taint of, or inclination to, corruption rested upon Christ, or that He in any way yielded to corruption…. let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such an one as ourselves; for it cannot be" (SDA BC vol. 5, pp. 1128,1129). So the warning is given so that we do not speak of Christ in such a way as to leave the impression that Christ was a sinner - such an one as ourselves [it is interesting to note that when Ellen White gave this counsel she was speaking to a minister who had been reading a great deal from the early Church "Fathers" , and some of these men proposed theories that Christ was just a mere mortal who was especially favored by God - she was NOT giving a general counsel that we should not study the humanity of Christ. And she, herself, made some very pointed statements as to Christ's Humanity being full and real. Her counsel here really seems to be a warning against making Christ out to be a "Man" of human origin alone -- which could never be the case].
We are, however, encouraged to study the incarnation and to "dig deep for hidden truth": "As the worker studies the life of Christ, and the character of His mission is dwelt upon, each fresh search will reveal something more deeply interesting than has yet been unfolded. The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last " (Gospel Workers, p. 251. [SDA BC vol. 7A; p. 444, par. 1]). "We should come to this study with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And the study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field, which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth" (The Youth's Instructor, Oct. 13, 1898. (SDA BC vol. 7A; p. 443, par. 1). But we are to be ever mindful that in so doing we do not make Christ out to be "altogether human," a sinner such as we are, and thereby lose our Savior.
While Christ was not "altogether human" (such a one as ourselves), the "truth" lies uncomfortably close to this Christ did in fact become a man: "Christ did not make believe to take human nature; He did verily take it" (RH: April 5, 1906; par. 4). And: "In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us . "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son." John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race . To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature . This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder." God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven" (DA: p. 25, par. 3). Indeed, Christ so fully partook of our human nature (became a "man") that even He was, for a time, put on probation. "As a free agent, He [Christ] was placed on probation, with liberty to yield to Satan's temptations and work at cross-purposes with God" (The Youth's Instructor, October 26, 1899). "For a period of time Christ was on probation….Had He failed in His test and trial…the world would have been lost" (ST: May 10, 1899; par. 6). Had Christ "Sinned" He would have been personally liable to face our fate: "Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour's head…Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam" (SDA BC vol. 5, p. 1131). Yet Christ did not sin. "We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ" (Ibid).
Many people do not accept the fact that Christ could, and did, in fact become a human being. We don't like to consider such a prospect. We think that if we accept this fact that we are making Christ nothing more than "one of us." We think that acknowledging this truth would somehow lessen the Glory of the person of Jesus Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth! Christ demonstrated the nature of God perfectly - in His humanity. As "One" who was once fully God, Christ condescended to become a man and to pass over the ground that we must tread. "Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but [Literally] emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant…being made in the likeness of men." (Phil. 2:6,7). Through complete dependence and surrender to His heavenly Father He never broke from God and never sinned. In His perfect humanity He took on our sin and paid the penalty for our transgression. And in His humanity He pleads before the Throne of God His merits on our behalf. By acknowledging the humanity of Christ we do not make Christ one like "us" - we acknowledge that Christ has made it possible for us to be "One" like Him. Rather than being uncomfortable with Christ's humanity, we should be in "awe" of it, and embrace it!
The condescension on the part of Christ - in becoming "man" -- involved an inestimable cost to Christ and to His Father. The person of Christ would never again enjoy the "Oneness" with His Father that He once enjoyed. The "man" Jesus Christ would no longer be equal with the Father but would instead be subjected to Him. It is only in this light that we can understand the statement of the prophet: "The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty" (MS #140 [SDA BC vol. 5, p. 1129]). The man Jesus Christ would forever be our example in dependence and trust in God. Christ has united Himself with us in such an intimate and real way that, "He is not ashamed to call us brethren" (Heb. 2:11). Through His sacrifice, Christ has not only restored us to a proper standing with God; but has made it possible for us to partake of His divine nature in such a real and intimate way that we are to be "joint heirs" with Him, living and reigning with Him -- sharing His throne>, His Kingdom, His divine nature!
Traditionally, Christianity has taken one of three options in explaining Christ's nature - none of which fully reveals the truth. They are: (1) Christ was fully human and thus a created being (Arianism) - (2) Christ was fully divine and not one of us (Catholicism) - and (3) Christ was fully human and fully divine in the same person (the view of most Protestants, including Seventh-day Adventists). But here is the problem: If we make Christ "altogether human, such an one as ourselves" we leave ourselves without a Savior. "…the life of an angel could not pay the debt" (Early Writings, p. 150). "In all the universe there was but one who could, in behalf of man, satisfy its [the Law's] claims….only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from the curse of the law and bring him again into harmony with Heaven" (PP: p. 63, par. 2). If we make Christ fully divine (of divine nature alone), we leave ourselves without hope -- for we do not possess this divine nature within ourselves. "The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man" (The Youth's Instructor, Oct. 13, 1898 [SDA BC vol. 7A; p. 443, par. 1]). "Christ did not make believe to take human nature; He did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature" (RH: April 5, 1906; par. 4). Even if we combine the two concepts and make Jesus fully human but maintaining His own divine power in His human form, we are still left with a Savior who is unlike ourselves, and who could not be "tempted in all things, as we are" (Hebrews 4:15). "If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was 'in all points tempted like as we are.' Heb. 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God" (DA p. 24, par. 2). "Our Saviour relied upon His heavenly Father for wisdom and strength to resist and overcome the tempter. The Spirit of His Heavenly Father animated and regulated His life" (The Youth's Instructor, February 1, 1873). The "Truth" about Christ's humanity and His divinity, and how they are combined, must lie beyond any of these positions.
In the person of Jesus Christ ("God with us") we are faced with a divine "dichotomy" and a "paradox" of enormous proportions! The solution to understanding this paradox is in understanding that Christ's divinity and His humanity were combined on two levels. We are told that in order to understand the mystery of the incarnation we must understand "the dual character of His [Christ's] nature" (DA p. 507, par. 1). When Christ was incarnated He implanted His brought-forth self into the womb of Mary - thus combining divinity with humanity and retaining His divine character. "In His human nature He maintained the purity of His divine character" (The Youth's Instructor, June 2, 1898 [SDA BC vol. 7A; p. 454, par. 4]). As part of this retained divine nature, He never had the propensity to sin - only the possibility of choosing to sin. "…our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation" (DA p. 117, par. 2). "He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity" (Letter #8, 1895. [SDA BC vol. 5, p. 1128]). Christ was of "divine" origin when He was incarnated and this He could in no way deny, give up, or "part" with. He was the Son of God.
However, in accomplishing the incarnation, Christ could not retain all the attributes of His divinity. It simply was not possible. These attributes included the attributes of His "Omnipresence," "Omniscience," and "Omnipotence." Christ could not simply "clothe" or "veil" these powerful divine attributes as if they were things He stuck in His pockets to be kept out of our sight. For example: Had Christ been "Omniscient" in His humanity but simply concealing it, He could not have said that He did not know the hour or the day of His second coming without being dishonest. It is also quite clear that Christ, in His humanity, was not Omnipresent and could only be "present" with those in His immediate physical proximity (and this remains the case for the person of Christ now in heaven). Had Christ been Omnipotent in His humanity (and simply hiding it) He would have been "lying" when He claimed that He could do "nothing of Himself" and that it was His Father "abiding in Me who does His works" (See Jn. 5:19 & Jn. 14:10).
So whatever Ellen White meant when she said that Christ "clothed His divinity with humanity" (7T: p. 221, par. 2) she could not have meant that He retained these attributes of His divinity within the person of His humanity for in His humanity He "was not the Lord God Almighty." Still, these divine attributes require "personality" and embodiment in a person (or Being). Can you imagine Omnipresence void of a personal Being (wouldn't that be nonsensical and meaningless)? -- Omniscience without the mind of a personal being? -- Omnipotence without the constraint of the personality, intelligence and character, of an actual being? The idea is ludicrous. We are faced with the fact that these attributes of Christ's divinity could not be brought with Him into His incarnated state, and also with the fact that these attributes of His divinity could not "die" with Christ -- for Divinity cannot "die" - and must exist as a individual, apart from the man Jesus Christ. "When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible" (Letter #280, 1904 [SDA Bible Commentary vol. 5, p. 1113]). The man Jesus Christ, in His Humanity, died. The divine Spirit of Christ (His own divine Spirit nature) did not die. As I pointed out earlier, it would require an impossible stretch of the imagination to believe that Christ's divine Spirit nature would go on living without some sort of personality and intelligence! If His divinity (Spirit) went on living without some kind of personality it would be nothing more than a mindless power and this would deny the testimony of the Scriptures: "He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:27).
What we are left with is the reality that Christ yielded up His divine attributes as part of His sacrifice for mankind. The person through whom these attributes would be maintained could not be the person of Jesus Christ in His "brought-forth" or "incarnated" form (His humanity). And this is where we find the "Holy Spirit" coming into play. Through the Holy Spirit (a fitting title for the divine attributes of Christ), His divine attributes would ever remain alive and would be used to impart Christ's life and righteousness to all those who accept Him as their Savior. "The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. We do not now see Christ and speak to Him, but His Holy Spirit is just as near us in one place as another. It works in and through every one who receives Christ. Those who know the indwelling of the Spirit reveal the fruits of the Spirit,-love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith'" (Bible Echo, June 17, 1901; par. 6).
Christ "yielded up" His Spirit as a gift to us. Christ had been "brought-forth" from the Father prior to the creation and had separated from His Spirit (fully divine form) at that time in order to "mediate" between the Father and all free, moral beings. Christ effectively and essentially became two beings at this time. Christ still maintained command of His Spirit and would use His Spirit power to create the earth and mankind (See PP: p. 36, par. 2). But when He became fully incarnated as a human being, Christ's incarnated self was completely separated from His Spirit self. He would no longer exercise His own divine power. Incarnated into His human nature, He would be completely dependent upon the Father for His power. In His incarnated human form, Christ was totally dependent upon His Father's Spirit: "our Saviour relied upon His heavenly Father for wisdom and strength to resist and overcome the tempter. The Spirit of His Heavenly Father animated and regulated His life. He was sinless" (The Youth's Instructor: February 1, 1873). Christ - in His humanity -- had literally "emptied Himself" (Phil. 2:7) of His own divine power. When Christ died on the Cross this separation became irreversibly final. When He declared: "It is finished!" (Jn. 19:30), Christ was not only speaking of His human sacrifice on our behalf; He was also speaking of His Spiritual sacrifice -- He "gave up His Spirit" (Jn. 19:30). Luke 23:46 states that Christ said: "Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT." Ellen says that, "Christ commended His spirit into the hands of His Father" (2T p. 211, par. 1). To "commit" or "commend" something to another means: to "entrust, or give in charge for care" - "To consign (for preservation)" [ Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary: (G. & C. Merriam Co., Publishers; Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.; 1961)]. When Christ commended His Spirit to the care of His Father, He was parting with His own divine Spirit form forever, with the intent that it would be given to us - to dwell in us- to enable us to be partakers of the (His) divine nature. It was the only way that Christ could accomplish the reproduction of His character in us. Our trying to imitate His character can never accomplish this. Only through His Spirit, abiding in us, can we be made partakers of the divine nature and have His character reproduced in us. Consider what a sacrifice He has made that we may be called the Sons and Daughters of God!!
Christ maintained His "divinity" in character and origin in His human form, and He maintained His "divinity" in power and Godlikeness in His "Holy Spirit" form. These would, of necessity, exist in the form of two persons (the man and the Spirit) but they both are of the same being, Jesus Christ. In this sense, Jesus has not "parted" with His divinity in either case! But His divinity has certainly changed. Taken as a whole, these two forms of His being constitute the blending of humanity with divinity, but not quite in the way that we normally teach it.
Christ did "part" with His divine Spirit when He became man, but He did not part with His divine character, origin, or birthright. Christ, in His divine humanity, had taken upon Himself the "Sin" of the entire world and He suffered the separation that sin makes between man and God. "Christ suffered upon the cross. He bore the sins of the whole world upon Him. He was separated from His Father and great bloody sweat came from His brow and moistened the sod of Gethsemane" (Northern Illinois Recorder: August 17, 1909; par. 14). Christ suffered "the second death, which is the full and final penalty for the transgressor of the law of God" (1T p. 533, par. 1). And that "second death" is "the opposite of everlasting life" (SOP vol. 4; p. 364, par. 2). In other words, Christ would never again exist eternally as God (that is, with His Own divinity residing within Himself). Christ would forever be a partaker of His Father's Spirit (divinity), but He would not retain His own divine Spirit. Christ's human nature would forever exist separate from His divine Spirit nature. Christ was actually giving up the true Oneness He had enjoyed with the Father in the beginning when He had been "with God" and when He had been truly and fully God. Christ would never again experience the same existence He had once had with the Father. He would be forever human. Christ had suffered as a man, as a man He would die, as a man He would be resurrected, as a man He intercedes for us in the courts of heaven, as a man He will return to this earth, and as a man He will exist with us throughout eternity.
In His humanity, Christ became dependent upon His Father for the divine power to overcome Sin and to redeem the human race. He partook of His Father's divine nature just as we must partake of His (Christ's) divine nature, which He has shed for us. He became God in His Humanity by partaking of His Father's divine nature (Spirit). This is the only way that He could provide us with a perfect example of what we must do to become partakers of the divine nature, without doing (or using) something that we are incapable of doing. "He overcame in human nature, relying upon God for power" (The Youth's Instructor, April 25, 1901. [SDA BC vol. 7A; p. 447, par. 2]). "In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature. In His incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of the Son of God" (ST, August 2, 1905. [SDA BC 7A; p. 449, par. 3]). Christ came as a "man" to show us what we, as men, can do through dependence upon divine power.
"Christ's overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being…When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity…The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. Man cannot overcome Satan's temptations without divine power to combine with his instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ; He could lay hold of divine power [not His own but His Father's]…The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do, through faith in God's power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset…Jesus, the world's Redeemer, could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them." (MS #1, 1892 [SDA BC vol. 7: p. 929]).
Through complete dependence upon His heavenly Father, Christ has walked the same ground that we must walk and has given us an example of how we may overcome through His power and be partakers of His divine nature and Spirit.
We are told that when Christ's "Humanity died: [His] divinity did not die" (Youth's Instructor: August 4, 1898; par. 1). That "divinity" is what became what we refer to as the "third person of the Godhead" - the Holy Spirit. Christ would retain His human nature throughout eternity and His Spirit, He "yielded up" to His Father to be given to us that we might become partakers of Christ's divine nature and literally become the "sons of God." "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" (Galatians 4:6).
Through His Spirit (which He has given for us) Christ imparts to us His character, His righteousness, His power, and He makes it possible for us to be a partaker of His divine nature (next study). These two aspects of His nature - human and Spirit -- comprise the whole of which, makes possible our reconciliation to God. In taking our human nature and in partaking of the Father's divine nature Christ has shown us how humanity is to be united with God. In separating from His Spirit and in giving it to us He has actually enabled us to be united with God. By becoming human God has laid hold of the human race and united with it. By giving us His Spirit, Christ has empowered us to lay hold of God and to become like Him. "Christ was the representative of humanity. He had laid aside his glory, stepped down from his throne, clothed his divinity with humanity, that with his human arm He might encircle the race, and with his divine arm reach the throne of the Infinite. He took upon Him the nature of man, and was tempted in all points like as we are. As a man He supplicated at the throne of God, beseeching his Father to accept his prayer in behalf of humanity; and to his earnest petition the heavens were opened. Never before had angels listened to such a prayer, and the glory of the Majesty of heaven shone upon Him, and words of love and approval assured Him of the acceptance of his petition as man's representative. God accepted the fallen race through the merits of Christ" (Periodicals: The Messenger, December 15, 1892; par. 2). "We can come off victorious; for through Christ we can be partakers of the divine nature, having "escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."…When we had nothing to recommend us to God, Christ gave his life for us. With his long human arm he encircles the race, while with his divine arm he grasps the throne of the infinite. Thus finite man is united with the infinite God. The world, divorced from God by sin, has been restored to favor by the sacrifice of his Son. With his own body the Saviour has bridged the gulf that sin has made" (General Conference Bulletins; April 8, 1901; par. 13). This explains the necessity for, and the essence of, the "dual nature" of Christ's character and nature, or form.
It is my belief that when Ellen White (and the Bible for that matter) make a distinction between the person of Jesus and the person of the Holy Spirit, that they are doing so in the understanding that the incarnated Jesus (who retains His human form before the throne of God in Heaven) and the His Holy Spirit (which retains His "Spirit" form both in heaven and upon this earth) now exist as two individual entities. How else are we to comprehend the words of Jesus in John 17:3? "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Is Jesus saying that He isn't truly GOD? The answer is "Yes" and the answer is "No." Jesus was truly and fully God - "in the beginning." But when He was "brought forth" prior to the Creation, that existence began to change in a very real and substantive way. The Father has never changed in form, substance or character. Jesus did change. Jesus was "brought forth" - He was incarnated -- and in so doing He became both a Human and a Spirit. It was not possible for Jesus to accomplish the incarnation and retain all of His "divine" attributes (His Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and His Omniscience). His humanity would posses none of these attributes (just as our humanity does not posses them). His divinity (or Spirit nature) would continue to posses these divine attributes - but would exist apart from the person of Christ's humanity and would therefore not be the fullness of Christ by itself [ Please note: Jesus was still "God" even in His brought forth and incarnated form for the simple reason that He is of divine origin. He is not a created being, and so, must always and rightfully be considered "God." Jesus is also God because He still has all the attributes of God albeit now existing in the form of two individuals. And, even the Man Jesus Christ is truly God by virtue of His partaking of the Father's Divine Nature. I am not taking anything away from Christ's divinity by suggesting these things. But we simply must admit and understand that Christ has "changed" and "sacrificed" a great deal in order to meet us in our fallen (lost) state and to redeem us to the status of "Sons and Daughters of God." This is a mysteriously Wonderful fact -- that Christ would part with and sacrifice His complete Oneness with and as God in order to Save you and I! What love is this?!]. These two parts make up the complete personof Jesus Christ, but neither of them alone is truly God in the fullest and truest sense. Christ has a "human personality" and a divine "Spiritual personality". These two exist as separate individuals, but together comprise the totality of the person of Jesus Christ. Neither of these individuals alone posses the totality of Christ's Oneness as God. Only the Father maintains His true and original existence as God. And I believe that this what Jesus meant when He said: "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (Jn. 17:3).
We may speak of Jesus as a person and speak of the Holy Spirit as a person, but we must never separate the two from Christ - for it can never be so. Christ sacrificed Himself - body and Spirit in order to redeem us. The person of Jesus Christ must be understood in this light. It is He who has provided His Spirit "as a regenerating agency," a "reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin" (RH: May 19, 1904; par. 3) -- and He has done so at an enormous and eternal cost to Himself. "Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves…He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. 'With His stripes we are healed'" (DA p. 25, par. 2) .
I understand that this is a difficult thing to be understood - that Christ (God Himself) would sacrifice Himself so completely that He would become human (forever to retain that nature and forever subservient to His Father), and in so doing would also sacrifice His divine Spirit nature on our behalf in order that we might become One with Him - accepted of the Father - brothers and sisters of Christ. It is beyond human reasoning and beyond the heart of man. But it is in this mystery that we find our hope and our Salvation.
For those of you who still have trouble accepting that the Holy Spirit is Christ's literal Spirit and that Christ effectively became two persons (human and Spirit) in order to save us; please consider these words of inspiration:
In Christ, through Christ, Christ in us! Christ has made it possible for God to be "over all and through all and in all" (Eph. 4:6) . May we never forget that; "The great gift of salvation has been placed within our reach at an infinite cost to the Father and the Son. To neglect salvation, is to neglect the knowledge of the Father and of the Son whom God hath sent in order that man might become a partaker of the divine nature, and thus, with Christ, an heir of all things" (RH: March 10, 1891; par.2).
I would encourage you to read what I consider to be Ellen White's single-most revealing essay on "The Spirit" of Christ, which may be found by Clicking Here. [Note: I would also recommend that you read the chapter entitled "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled" in the book "The Desire of Ages" with your newly ackquired insight and see if this doesn't all make very good sense]. It is a very precious message for our time and summarizes much of what I have tried to expound in this study. Namely, that Christ became a man in order to Justify us - He "became a life giving Spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45) in order to Sanctify us. The nature of His sacrifice is far beyond what we have traditionally acknowledged and the implications of this sacrifice have been ignored and unrealized by His people. Because we have failed to understand the fullness of Christ's sacrifice (physical and Spiritual) we have failed to fully comprehend the significance and magnitude of the truth that Christ has literally given us His Spirit in order that we may actually become ……(see next study!)