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8 Famous Quotes by Thomas Rees
- 8/1/1864
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The experiencing of divine sonship, of adoption, is the act of the Spirit in our hearts crying Abba, Father (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15,16)... Liberty, peace, and joy are correlative factors in the same moment of experience, and they are all attributed to the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:2,6; 14:17; Gal. 5:22,23; 1 Thess. 1:6). In the allegory of Abraham's two sons, Paul contrasts the state of bondage under the Law with that of liberty under grace, and defines the one as being after the flesh, but the other after the Spirit (Gal. 4:21-29)... The first great moment of the new life, whether it be called justification by faith, the realization of sonship, or peace with God, is a work of the Holy Spirit, through the preaching of the Word. But [Paul] does not indicate... the exact logical or historical sequence of the various elements in the experience, and it may be doubted whether he would have entertained any idea of sequence within the complex experience of justification. (Continued tomorrow).

Christianity Quotes, by Thomas Rees

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That Paul regarded the subsequent development of Christian life and character as in its totality the work of the Spirit is not questioned. All the Christian virtues are the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23). He is the Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4), of sanctification (II Thess. 2:13), and of a new life (Rom. 7:6). Love, the greatest of the Christian graces, is the pre-eminent gift of the Spirit (I Cor. 13; Col. 1:8; Rom. 15:30), not only as the grace of character, but also as a principle of unity in the Church (Eph. 4:1-6; cf. 2:18, 22). The Spirit bestows wisdom and knowledge on the individual and in the Church. Paul spoke "God's wisdom in a mystery... through the Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (I Cor. 2:7-10). "For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit" (I Cor. 12:8). All Christian knowledge was derived from the Spirit, both by Paul and [the Apostle] John (Eph. 1:17, 23; 3:16-19; John 16:13; I John 2:20, 27; cf. James 1:5, 3:15, 17). (Continued tomorrow).

Christianity Quotes, by Thomas Rees

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Commemoration of Richard Baxter, Priest, Hymnographer, Teacher, 1691 The Spirit was the power manifested in the resurrection of Christ (Rom. 1:4), in the inner life of man (Rom. 15:13; Eph. 3:16), and in the preaching of the word (I Thess. 1:5; 1 Cor. 2:4). He is the Spirit of life, both now and hereafter (Gal. 6:8; I Cor. 15:45); and the Spirit of assurance, the guarantee of the new life, whereby man obtains confidence towards God and courage in the face of the world's evil (II Cor. 1:22; Rom. 5:5, 8:16, 23; Eph. 1:13, 4:30). Man, therefore, as the dwelling-place of the Spirit, is the inalienable possession of God (I Cor. 3:16, 17, 6:19). (Continued tomorrow).

Christianity Quotes, by Thomas Rees

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Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941 As the Christian life in the individual is the work of the Spirit, it follows that the corporate realization of that life, in the Church built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, is also His creation... The great creative acts and significant turning-points were recognized, either by the Church or by its historian, as determined by the Spirit. The Spirit confirmed and preserved the community from the outset, by the descent at Pentecost (Acts 2:4). The extension of the Gospel beyond Judea and the first mission to the Gentiles were commanded and approved by the Spirit (Acts 8:29, 10:19, 44, 13:2, 4). Paul, on his journeys, was led by the Spirit (Acts 16:6, 7). He himself was especially conscious that his whole ministry was inspired by the Holy Ghost (Rom. 15:18,19). All the apostles were conspicuously men of the Spirit. (Continued tomorrow).

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Feast of Richard of Chichester, Bishop, 1253 Commemoration of Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, Moral Philosopher, 1752 The Spirit guided the Church in the creation of organization and officers (Acts 6:3, 20:28). The first three gifts of the Spirit which God had set in the Church were apostles, prophets, and teachers, in addition to which the whole Church had a gift of government (I Cor. 12:4, 28). The decisions of the first council of the Church were first of all decrees of the Spirit (Acts 15:28). Paul had preached and created churches by the power of the Spirit (I Cor. 2:4; 1 Thess. 1:5,6; Gal. 3:2). In one Spirit were all believers baptized into one body (I Cor. 12:13: cf. Phil. 1:27). The Spirit therefore dwells in the Church as the principle of its entire united and common life (Eph. 2:18, 22; cf. I Cor. 3:16).

Christianity Quotes, by Thomas Rees

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The supreme antidote against strife and confusion, the supreme principle of unity and service in the Church, was also the greatest gift of the Spirit and the perfect and abiding proof of its presence, namely, love. This introduces a third criterion of the Spirit, and on the wider stage of the moral life. It is loyalty to the moral ideal of Christ. "If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk" (Gal. 5:25). Where the Spirit dwells, it produces a new, a higher, a unique type of moral life. For Paul, the Christian life was not the normal and natural product of human activity, but a gracious divine gift, received by the descent of the Spirit into the human heart, for "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23). And there is yet one higher manifestation of the Spirit, the participation in the divine sonship of Jesus Christ. "And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6). Where sonship is, there the Spirit is. On the other hand, "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:l4). Where the Spirit leads, there sonship is... The possession of the Spirit and participation in Christ's sonship are but two aspects of the same experience. Here, the phenomenon, if it may be so called, bears its own credentials. Sonship is a self-evident work of the Spirit. But the evidence is available only for its owners in order that the Spirit of adoption may attest itself to others, it must issue in the life according to the Spirit, by walking in the spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

Christianity Quotes, by Thomas Rees

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Feast of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c.326 The first principle of differentiation was laid down by Paul, when dealing with the problems of the spiritual phenomena that had arisen at Corinth... In the confusion of spiritual phenomena, ... it was possible that evil spirits, as well as the Holy Spirit, inspired some of the manifestations. One in particular Paul singles out as being in obvious contradiction to the work of the Spirit of God: "No man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema (cursed)". On the other hand, "No man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit" (I Cor. 12:3). It is difficult to conceive the state of mind of a member of a Christian congregation who would curse the name of Jesus. Yet it is evident that at Corinth, people gave way to such uncontrollable frenzy that, either in folly or in momentary reversion to Judaism or heathenism, they cursed the name in whose honour they had met... But the spirit that inspired disloyalty to Jesus Christ could not be the Holy Spirit, for in Paul's experience and theology, the two beings were, if not identical, at least in perfect harmony of principle and action. This, then, was Paul's first criterion for deciding which spiritual phenomena could be approved by Christians as the work of the Holy Spirit. They must be loyal to Jesus Christ as Lord of life, and as the object of faith and love for every believer. [Continued tomorrow].

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Feast of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher, 397 Another criterion was loyalty to the community of Christ both as gathered congregation and as organized church. The pride of spiritual gifts had led the Corinthians to jealousy and strife. They had divided into factions owning the leadership, one of Paul, one of Apollos, another of Cephas, and another of Christ -- but such factions, the apostle tells them, were not characteristics of the "spiritual", but of the carnal. To divide the Church was to destroy the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwelt among them (I Cor. 3:1, 3, 16). And the very gifts about which they quarreled should have been a power to unite them, for they all proceeded from one and the same Spirit, from one and the same Lord, from one and the same God, who worketh all in all. The Spirit was indeed the principle of unity in the Church, "for in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body" (I Cor. 12:13). Therefore, to divide the Church was to drive away the Spirit... The tests of spiritual phenomena in the life of the community, and the proofs that they were of the Holy Spirit, were unity, order, and edification. [Continued tomorrow].

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