The Strong Trinitarian Statement In 2 Corinthians 3:14-18 And The Second Blessing Doctrine
Posted by Job on December 26, 2009
Actually, the context for this statement is contained within the entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 3, which builds up to the last 2 or 3 verses at the end. However, for length purposes, only verses 14-18 will be considered.
But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Even from a direct literary interpretation with very little if any background in Christian doctrine required, this passage treats God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as being one and the same AND treats God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as being distinct. The Lord referred to in this passage is Jesus Christ. The Spirit spoken of in this passage is the Holy Spirit. Yet verse 17 specifically states “Now the Lord is that Spirit.” This can only be if Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are One. Yet verses 17 and 18 refer to the Lord (Jesus Christ) and the Spirit of the Lord (the Holy Spirit) distinctly, not as relationships, “divisions of an egg”, emanations, manifestations or any of the other ideas proposed by those who deny God’s eternal triune nature.
If the Lord is that Spirit, meaning that Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit, then receiving Jesus Christ means receiving the Holy Spirit. To receive Jesus Christ means to receive the Holy Spirit, and therefore receiving Jesus Christ (salvation) means receiving the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. That would mean that while these gifts and fruits may not all manifest immediately but instead may manifest and develop as the believer is being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ and matures in the faith of Jesus Christ, they are still given to Christians at the time of conversion, at the time that they are placed in Jesus Christ’s body and the Holy Spirit begins to indwell them.
So the doctrine of a second blessing of the Holy Spirit? Since Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit, then this “second blessing” can only mean receiving Jesus Christ a second time. How is receiving Jesus Christ a second time possible and why is this necessary? When considering your answer to this, ponder upon Hebrews 6:6, which reads:
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Where the context of Hebrews 6:6 diverges somewhat from the matter being discussed here, it is still useful for establishing that receiving Jesus Christ once is sufficient just as was Jesus Christ’s going to the cross once was sufficient. The larger context of the book of Hebrews is actually very beneficial, because that epistle makes it obvious that only one sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross was necessary and links the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross to the one receipt of Jesus Christ by the believer. Thus, beware of any doctrine that teaches multiple receipts of Jesus Christ.
While this second blessing doctrine treats the Holy Spirit as acting separately, independently or at least supplementary to Jesus Christ with regards to the issue of salvation, Ephesians 4:7-8 says that Jesus Christ gives the gifts to the church.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
So why are these gifts (and fruits) commonly referred to as gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit as opposed to gifts and fruits of Jesus Christ? Again, from 2 Corinthians 3:17, Lord and Spirit are one! So, if the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are One and if Jesus Christ can only be received once, then how can there be second blessings, multiple blessings, multiple portions etc. of the Holy Spirit? It is so commonly accepted because saying “receive a triple portion of the Holy Spirit” sounds completely different from “receive a triple portion of Jesus Christ!” and more to the point “crucify Jesus Christ three times!” even though it is precisely what those terms mean.
Incidentally, I shall point out that the idea that Jesus Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross was insufficient and that He must be sacrificed anew again and again to provide benefits and gifts to the church is something that touches the Roman Catholic doctrines of communion and specifically of transubstantiation. Words have meaning, including the words used in doctrines. If one does not understand the meanings of the words, then one will not understand the doctrine.
So, the question must be asked: what implication does the fact that “a receiving second blessing from the Holy Spirit” amounts to “receiving Jesus Christ a second time” and then “Jesus Christ being sacrificed a second time” mean for those who adhere to this doctrine? Thank you.