Rushdoony on the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, from “Systematic Theology” (Part 4)

The Spirit and Bezaleel

[I]t is definitely not enough to hold to a unified view of man’s nature, although such a view is true. It is necessary to say that man is a creature, but this too is not enough. The key fact about man is that he is a creature made in the image of God. His created status man shares with all creation, but, as image-bearer, he is unique (Gen. 1:26-28). As God’s image-bearer, man thus is most truly what he was created to be when he is most faithful and obedient to the triune God. By his fall, man damaged his entire being, so that he is infected in all his life by his rebellion against God (Gen. 3:1-5). From being God’s priest, prophet, and king over creation, he fell to the status of a slave to sin (John 8:33-36). In Christ, man is restored to his original calling, and, by the Holy Spirit, empowered and guided in the fulfillment thereof. We must therefore say that man is most truly himself, as God intended him to be, when he fulfills his vocation by living in the Spirit.

We see this very early in Scripture. When God ordered the tabernacle to be built, He gave, not only the specifications, but the power to do the work by His Spirit… [Read Exodus 31:1-6.]

Too often churchmen see virtue in an ugly church, or no church property at all. The Lord stresses in His word the need for such a physical (as well as spiritual) witness, and a beautiful one. The church is His palace and throne room from whence His law-word goes forth. Hence, the Lord called out by name the artisans who were to do His work, and He empowered them by His Spirit. As surely as prophets were used by the Holy Spirit, so too were God’s artisans… (p. 308)

[T]he influence of Aristotle led to a view of God as being, and the Trinity as substance (the Father), structure (the Son), and act (the Holy Spirit). The Spirit was thus limited to a mindless and emotional role, because structure or reason belongs to the Son in such a system. Although in the economy of the Trinity, certain acts or functions are restricted to one Person, (i.e., the Son alone became incarnate), in the being or ontology of the Trinity, no such limitations can be made.

The work of the Spirit in the life of Bezaleel, Paul, and John meant the mature and fuller realization of all their being and all their aptitudes. If we were to locate, in some archaeological discovery, some of the non-canonical and uninspired letters of Paul, we would not know Paul better. By comparison to the letters of the New Testament, these letters would be flat, intellectually and emotionally. Paul was most Paul when he was writing his inspired epistles. (308)

The Holy Spirit comes to a man prepared by the triune God for His coming. God calls us from our mother’s womb (Jer. 1:5), and from all eternity He decrees and establishes all things (Acts 15:18; Prov. 16:4, 33; Rom. 9:11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23; Eph. 1:5, 6, etc.). All that precedes our regeneration and conversion is used by God in terms of His purpose. The Spirit thus comes to us, having prepared us all our lives for His purposes. (308-09)

The Holy Spirit thus comes to us, not to fulfill our purposes, nor to gratify us, but to fulfill His purposes, and all our lives and being are a preparation by Him for His work… Our Lord was filled with the Spirit at His baptism (Matt. 3:16f.), and the Spirit always spoke in and with Him. At His baptism, our Lord began His calling; we have the plain testimony of Scripture to His Spirit-filled life years before, however, as a child (Luke 2:40-52). The baptism was Christ’s public inauguration into His ministry, by means of the entrance rite of the new creation. At that moment, the Spirit gave public witness to his indwelling in Christ, and to the new creation and its King.

Thus, whether in Bezaleel or in Jesus Christ, the Spirit is directly related to our calling. He appoints the calling, and He appoints the purposes of our lives. The gift of the Spirit Himself is permanent and abiding.

One final word… [Read Exodus 28:3.] Bezaleel and others, who were called, were already able and wise men, whom the Lord God had prepared all their days for His service… Now, in their work on the tabernacle, they were to follow God’s pattern; this again required a separation from other traditions of artisans of paganism. Art was a religious function, a handmaid of religion, and God’s artisans were put through a schooling, as are we all. The Holy Spirit prepared them for His service.

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