My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND SHALL ALWAYS BE! Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HIS VARIETIES OF GIFTS
By Rev. Father George Mastrantonis
"Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, Who hadst made the fishermen most wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and by them didst draw the world into Thy net. O Merciful Lord, glory to Thee." Apolytikion (Dismissal) of the Feast. Tone Plagal Fourth
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity, of the same essence and equal rank as the Father and the Son.
"And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the Truth. There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree". (1 John 5:7-8).
The Holy Spirit as God, is revealed in many verses in Sacred Scripture, "Why has Satan filled your hearts to lie to the Holy Spirit...you have not lied to men, but to God" (Acts 5:3,4b; also, "There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit...the same Lord...it is the same God", 1 Corinthians 12:5f (cf. St. Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:13f). The Godhead of the Holy Spirit comes directly from the Father. As the Son is begotten by the Father, the Holy Spirit also is proceeded from the Father, for:
"When the Counselor[the Holy Spirit] comes, whom I [Christ] shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me" (St. John 15:26).
The Church has proclaimed this Truth, that the Holy Spirit is of the same substance with the Father and the Son in the Godhead of the Trinity. The Church has incorporated this Truth in the Nicene Creed as pronounce by the Second Ecumenical Synod (381 AD). It states:
"(I believer) "And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spoke by the prophets."
The Holy Spirit in Truth remains in the Church, protects and preserves its Truths and sanctifies its members. The Holy Spirit is the Power and Comforter of the believers, and was promised by Christ. Being the Third Person of the Holy Trinity does not mean He is not equal in substance with the Father and the Son. The Spirit is the Life-Giving energy and bower which makes the Church "the pillar and ground of the truth," (1 Timothy 3:15).The Holy Spirit was the Divine instrument in the birth of Jesus Christ as God-Man.
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you (Virgin Mary), and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God" (St. Luke 1:35).
The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Holy Bible and the Source of inspiration for its writers through those years. This is why the Holy Bible, although it was written by different persons and in different eras over the span of 1000 years, is coherent and consistent in substance and meaning. This is a remarkable and overwhelming fact. There is no other literature in the world which has this outstanding coherence, while written over such a period of time and by different writers. What was prophesied in the Old Testament, dating back hundreds of years, was fulfilled in time, and in detail, in the New Testament. This is an extraordinary phenomenon. This coherence of the Old with the New was an evolutionary process in the course of time between the Divine promise and it realization. This was not because of any change of the Truth as such, but because of its development for human acceptance, for:
"...when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son...God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts" (Galatians 4:4,6).
The Holy Spirit throughout the centuries revealed the Divine Truths and inspired chosen Prophets and Apostles to spread and proclaim them to all peoples of the inhabited earth. It was in the Design of Almighty God that chosen personalities were indispensable in teaching and preaching these Truths to "all nations". These chosen personalities did not proclaim their own ideas or philosophies, but only used their own abilities, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to serve the Will of God. These chosen personalities proved themselves outstanding co-workers of God. The Prophets, Apostles and any chosen personalities considered themselves instruments of the Holy Spirit, and they spoke with authority, as Christ said to the Apostles: "Receive the Holy Spirit", (St. John 20:22). The "gift" of the Holy Spirit is not a static one, but a transforming and sanctifying power leading the chosen one to accomplish the Will of God. Chosen personalities are exhorted to:
"Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the Church of the Lord" (Acts 20:28).
This "gift" of the Holy Spirit is given to both the clergy and laity who belong to the True Church.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Christian should be informed of the various gifts given by him by God. Gifts are given only to those who believe in the true faith, and not to those who have gone astray by interpreting on their own or to those who believe in superstitions. There is no neutrality in matters of belief; either one believes in the "True God" or in his own man-made gods, such as astrology, fortune telling, witchcraft, greediness, etc., all as objects of worship (cf. St. John 17:3). The difference between the belief in the True God and in others is the acceptance of the gift of the Holy Spirit. For "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:3). The acceptance of Christ as the Savior through confession in Christ as the True God, is the highest gift given to the believer by the Holy Spirit. If one does not wish to accept this gift, he does not allow himself to understand the reality of the True God as opposed to his own ideas. This acceptance is his own choice through his own free will. This is why one is responsible for his own fate. As a result, those who believe in superstitions are enslaved in thoughts and feelings by their choice. Their preoccupation with superstitions, astrology, etc., does not permit them to accept the True God. This is true slavery of the mind. If one opens his mind and heart to accept the gift of the Holy Spirit in the belief in the True God, he will realize a great difference in himself, having peace of mind and harmony of living which bring about a living faith.
"There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:4). It is the Holy Spirit from Whom every gift is given with certain abilities and understanding. The faithful one is called to undertake the responsibility of gifts or charismata which are bestowed on him:
"And there are varieties of service, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God Who inspires them all in everyone" (vs. 4-6).
In addition to the "varieties of gifts" of faith, there are the "varieties of service" by which the faithful one serves his fellow man with love and almsgiving. The one who receives the gifts of "service" considers himself a steward of the Lord. He devotes all his abilities with love in the service of God's Commandments. The "varieties" of "service" in everyday life include: medicine, hospital care, nursing, social work, care for the elderly, teaching, missionary work, honest government and in general all services which deal in helping others when done in the name of the "same Lord." The "varieties of working" are the results of the energies and the actions of the "varieties of service." They are the wonderful results which comes either in the everyday life of the people or in the spiritual world, when done in the name of the "same God". The varieties of gifts of service and of working, "...are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills" (v. 11).
"To each (person) is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (v. 17). Each person is given the energy, charisma and grace to work for the common interest of the people. The successful achievements of this "service" and "working" should be attributed to one and the same power--the Holy Spirit--Who bestows them. These "varieties", although separate, contribute to the same goal--the helping one another--and depend upon the same authority, the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the God. These are not varieties for destruction, but energies of unification in the service of the Will of God. They are fruits coming from the same root--the inspiration of God Himself.
(To be continued)
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God