The faithful as the medium of the Holy Spirit

How does a person come to faith in Christ, through the Holy Spirit? Both Origen and Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae emphasize the role that the ordinary believer can play in communicating the Holy Spirit to a person. Here I will cite passages from them both, leaving a more detailed analysis for another day…

Yet, do you want to know that it is not only when Jesus speaks that he bestows his Spirit to his hearers, but that anyone who speaks of the word of God in his name also bestows God’s Spirit to those who hear? Consider how, in the Acts of the Apostles where Peter is speaking to Cornelius, Cornelius himself is filled with the Holy Spirit along with those who were with him. Therefore, you as well, when you speak the word of God and speak it faithfully with a pure conscience, not being convicted yourself by your own words, as one who would teach one thing but practice something else, it can come to pass that while you are speaking the fire of the Holy Spirit may inflame the hearts of your hearers. They may at once begin to glow and burn to carry out everything that you are teaching, so that they would fulfill in deeds what they have learned in words and they may “seek the things above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God; they may set their minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth” (Origen, Commentary on Romans VI: 13, 8).

The Spirit of Christ sensitizes us to Christ and unites us with Him in the Church, because the fire of the Spirit which is communicated by Christ cannot be separated from a common human sensitivity to Christ. He manifests Himself as operating through the fire of  an operative faith. This fire is the life of communion with Christ, which is continually being perfected. The Spirit brings life because He realizes communion with Christ. Through the Spirit, believers are connected to Christ not in isolation, but together. The one who arrives at faith in Christ arrives through the faith or sensitivity of another. The interpersonal sensitivity of faith, in which the Holy Spirit manifests Himself, ties believers together in the community of faith, or in the Church. The sensitivity of joy to communion with the absolute Person of Christ is extended in the joy of communion and acts of communion with others, in the participation of others in the absolute Person of God, which comes at the level of communion with them in Christ (Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae, Teologia Dogmatică Ortodoxă vol. 1, p. 52)


About Steven

I study theology and philosophy without ceasing. I have a B.A. in Philosophy from Arizona State University (2013), and an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary (2016). I am currently an adjunct professor of philosophy at Grand Canyon University and a Ph.D. student at Fuller Theological Seminary.
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