Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where God is Found...

...and How He Deals with us

Here are a few biblical passages (and there are more than these) that tell us, presumably with the force of a promise, that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will dwell in our hearts.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophes
(Acts 2:17-18, quoting Joel 2:28-29

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26)

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:8)

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Ro. 8:15;16)

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (Eph. 1:17)

Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. (Psalm 4:4)

The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment. The law of his God [is] in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. (Psalm 37:30-31)

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart. (Psalm 40:8)

[Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are. (1Corinthians 3:16-17)

What? do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit[which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?’ (1 Corinthians 6:19 )

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (2 Corinthians 6:16)

If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself. (John 7:17)

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. all things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-15)

So we Orthodox look for — and find — God not only in the Bible, not only in the sacraments, but also in the depths of our own hearts, where we are repeatedly told He dwells. We look to God the Holy Spirit to guide us into all Truth, all Truth being much more than could ever fit, explicitly at least, between the covers of a million books, or into words at all. We look to the Spirit of Truth in the sacraments He performs, in the Holy Scriptures He inspired, and deep within all our hearts and the collective heart of the Church. That is to say, we seek Him and His guidance from the lips of the prophets, through whom He spoke, in the teachings of the Holy, All-Glorious Apostles whom He anointed at Pentecost, in the writings of His saints who, by becoming so Christlike, lived on such intimate terms with the Holy Spirit, in the handed-down praxis of the Church (the doing of God’s will, per John 7:17 above), in her prayers and worship, in our own hearts and the hearts of our fathers and mothers throughout the Church’s history -- and none of this conflicts, all being vivified and verified by the same Spirit of Truth, all being consistent throughout. (If anything is not consistent with the rest, with the whole, we discard it as error.)

We find the Holy Spirit “deals with us” and shows us Truth in all these ways. Indeed, to him who is intimate with the Him, He reveals God in every flower, stone, and raindrop. For such a person, the Spirit of Truth makes the whole world what it was intended to be: a sacrament of communion with God.