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Participating in the Trinity

• Greg Boyd

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when she was greeted by Mary, the mother of Jesus. To be filled or immersed in the Holy Spirit is a phrase often quoted, but what exactly occurs when we experience this filling? The role of the Holy Spirit is to connect our spirits with the divine nature so that we actually participate with God in His life. The goal of discipleship is to see yourself as you really are. See yourself as defined by Christ, as participating in God’s self-relationship, the divine nature. When this is your self-image, all other sources of self-esteem become petty.

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Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when she was greeted by Mary, the mother of Jesus. To be filled or immersed in the Holy Spirit is a phrase often quoted, but what exactly occurs when we experience this filling? The role of the Holy Spirit is to connect our spirits with the divine nature so that we actually participate with God in His life.

To comprehend this, we use a model. A model is not a perfect explanation, but it helps us attain a picture of one aspect of the Trinity. There is no one model that can explain the whole Trinity. This model is called the psychological model.

This model basically states that a person has three dimensions:

  1. self (core)
  2. self-image (expression of the core)
  3. relationship between self and the self-image

This self-image is not just and idea about ourselves. It talks to us, blesses us, accuses us. It relates to us and we relate to it. This internal

In the same way, the Son is the image of the Father (John 1:1, Heb 1:3, Col 1:15). The Holy Spirit is the perfect unity of the Father and the Son. The Father relates to the Son through the Spirit (Luke 3:21-22). And the Son relates to the Father through the Spirit (Luke 10:21; Heb 9:13-14).

To participate in the divine nature is to be “in Christ” “through the Spirit.” This means that “in Christ” we’re loved with the love the Father has for the Son. By the Holy Spirit we are brought into Christ. And in Christ, we participate in, are immersed into, the Holy Spirit. We are caught up by the Spirit into the life of God, taken up into the way that God relates to himself, and thereby we participate in the divine nature.

In this participation, we discover our true identity, who we really ARE. All that is God’s by nature, he gives us by grace. To the extent that you know this, believe this, experience this and walk in this, that is the extent that you will have freedom, joy, and peace. When you realize that your self-image is encircled by the reality that you are “in Christ” you see yourself differently. You are dancing in the dance of God’s being, participating in the Trinity’s life, the Trinity’s fullness (Eph 3:19), the Trinity’s blessedness (Eph 1:3), the Trinity’s righteousness (Romans 5:1), the Trinity’s fearlessness (2 Tim 1:7).

The goal of discipleship is to see yourself as you really are. See yourself as defined by Christ, as participating in God’s self-relationship, the divine nature. When this is your self-image, all other sources of self-esteem become petty.

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Topics: Holy Spirit, Identity in Christ, Trinity


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 1:39-45

    At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

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