N. T. Wright’s After You Believe: The Nature of the Spirit’s Work, For Discussion

Regarding the Spirit’s work, Wright notes (and this is a point of repeated emphasis) –

Paul’s answer is emphatic, here and throughout his writings. Christian virtue, including the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit, is both the gift of God and the result of the person of faith making conscious decisions to cultivate this way of life and these habits of heart and mind. In technical language, these are both “infused” and “acquired,” though the way we “acquire” them is itself, in that language, “infused.”…

Once again, the conduct which Paul expects the Spirit to produce will not come by the Spirit’s bypassing the mind, the will, the conscious choice of young Christians. They have to crucify the flesh. They have to be transformed by the renewal of their minds.

(pp. 197-198).

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5 Responses to N. T. Wright’s After You Believe: The Nature of the Spirit’s Work, For Discussion

  1. Steven says:

    Sounds right to me. Maybe that's why no one's commenting. Nothing to argue with and nothing super insightful about this.

  2. Ray Downen says:

    How does this infused-Spirit theory harmonize with Peter's exhortation to saints that they (THEY) should add to their faith? Should Peter have said, "Pray that the Spirit will add to your faith. . . ."?

    It seems to me that what is taught is that the Spirit is given to HELP, not to DO our growing in Christ.

  3. Ray Downen says:

    Now I've re-read the comment by Wright, who agrees that it takes thought and action on OUR part to grow in Christ. It's the infusion bit that hits me wrong. Helping us is not the same as putting thought or purpose INTO us.

  4. Jay Guin says:

    All,

    I think Wright has it about right — the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don't have to accomplish these things on our own.

    I'd be cautious in saying how much the Spirit helps. I think there's potential there for overwhelming help — but we often fail to receive that help by failing to acknowledge the Spirit's work, claiming credit for ourselves, and failing to do even our part.

    Power brakes might do from 0% to 99% of the work, but only if we step on the pedal. But we only get the 99% when we actually need 99%.

    Sometimes we don't submit to works challenging enough to allow us to grow as much as we might.

  5. Jay Guin says:

    Ray Downen was kind enough to privately email me and point out that "peddle" should've been "pedal." That'll teach me to post before my coffee has fully kicked in! And thanks to Ray.

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