By Teresa Ferraro
The importance for the born-again Christian to understand the Trinity and the distinctions of the three persons of the one true God cannot be overstated. This is a major piece of the Christian-life puzzle which, when in place, helps us understand God's Word accurately and lets us live and rest in Christ. So, we want to be very clear in explaining the distinction of the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
First, God is one spirit, not multiple spirits. We are not polytheists. There is one God in three persons or three positions or forms. The three forms or persons of God are united; they are one. So, we must be careful to not represent God as separate spirits.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” (Eph. 4:4)
“He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” (John 14:9)
“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:7)
We tripartite humans are an image of that structure, with three forms or three parts: body, soul, and spirit.
“I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:23)
Now, because of the mentality in our religious environment, Warren Litzman has spent a lot of time distinguishing the parts of the godhead, and this should not be misunderstood as teaching distinct gods. Warren emphasized seeing BOTH Christ and the Holy Spirit as residing in the believer, in an effort to counter the wrong notion that Christ is only in heaven by the Father and only the HS is in the believer. It was also to identify the works of each part of the godhead in the believer. It was not to teach that one part of the godhead is separate from the other parts. Indeed, we can make the case that the whole godhead is resident in the born-again believer, including the Father.
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:6)
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Cor. 8:6)
“For in him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9)
It is helpful to understand them distinctively, especially in how we relate to God and how He works in us. Here, again, it is vital that we distinguish soul from spirit.
“He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor. 6:17)
The Lord is Christ; He is Lord of lords. We are joined to Christ in spirit. We are spiritually baptized into Him, and into His death and resurrection. We worship Him in Spirit. He is our spiritual position/identity, making us spiritual sons of God; He is our spiritual righteousness. That all comes from the Son. He is specifically named in many verses relating to our spiritual reality. Example:
“God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:11-12)
This does not say eternal life is in the Holy Spirit, but in God’s Son. Because we have the Son, we have eternal life.
Likewise, the Holy Spirit is specifically identified in scriptures where Christ defined the Spirit’s work.
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (John 15:26)
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16:7-11)
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:13-15)
A close look at these verses reveals they all deal with the soul (mind, will, and emotions) of man. The Holy Spirit teaches, comforts, convicts, and reveals. He is at work in our souls, in our minds, renewing our minds, revealing Christ to us, changing our hearts, conforming our will, bringing forth the fruit of God out through us, causing God’s love to come forth through us, maturing us.
Again, it is helpful to understand the distinctions, but we do not teach God as separate and distinctive spirits, even though the phrasing in the moment, in Warren Litzman’s lectures, may sound like it. It is only to focus on distinctions, not to say they are separate spirits.
I hope this helps. Stay hungry to know truth and to grow in the knowledge of Christ. We are all on that quest.
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