The Spirit of Restoration -- By: Willem A. Vangemeren

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 50:1 (Spring 1988)
Article: The Spirit of Restoration
Author: Willem A. Vangemeren

The Spirit of Restoration*

Willem A. VanGemeren

Seventy-five years ago the Faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary published a significant symposium under 91 the title Biblical and Theological Studies.1 Among the chapters was one written by Geerhardus Vos, “The Eschatological Aspect of the Pauline Conception of the Spirit.”2 Vos’ concern was with the correlation of the work of the Spirit and of Christ with the doctrines of salvation and the future. He outlines briefly the OT contribution to this subject3 before his most significant study on the Pauline doctrine of the Spirit. Vos’ suggestive outline of the contribution of the OT to the doctrine of the Spirit still begs for further investigation.4 In spite of the influx of books on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the correlation of the Spirit with eschatology lacks sufficient development.

It is my hope that the OT witness to the Spirit may further the correlation of pneumatology, Christology, creation, soteriology, and eschatology. To this end we shall focus on one

* Dedicated to the students who joined me in an exegetical study of the kingdom of God in the Prophets, Fall 1986.

OT text (Joel 2:28–32) as a springboard to the larger discussion on the place of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the gift of God the Father and God the Son to the people of God. He is the Reconciler and Restorer, as he regenerates, indwells, and leads the children of God. He is the Guarantor of the restoration of heaven and earth as he applies the promises and the blessings of God in Christ, and as he creates and sustains hope. The very mission of the Spirit of God is eschatological. He is the agent of restoration, as he prepares a new humanity, applies the eschatological blessings, draws the people of God into an ever-closer relationship, extends the boundaries of the kingdom, and keeps hope alive in the hearts of God’s children living in the world of alienation. This approach does not reduce the soteriological significance of the Spirit’s work, but puts soteriology in the broader context of eschatology.5 The correlation of the Spirit and eschatology gives further ground to the correlation of creation, redemption, and eschatology: “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed…creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the ...

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