SHE PROCLAIMS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN
by John Waddey
Few topics have received such
attention in our generation as that of the Holy Spirit and the Christian. Much
of the teaching heard lays heavy stress upon a direct operation of the Spirit on
the heart of alien sinners to bring them to salvation, and supernatural
enlightenment and guidance for Christians. We will examine these points in light
of God's Word and see what is actually promised.
The Holy Spirit is a divine
person, a member of the holy godhead. It is erroneous to think of him as merely
a power, influence or feeling. Masculine pronouns are applied to the Spirit
(John 14:26). Attributes of personhood are given him. He speaks (Revelation
2:29); he leads (Romans 8:14); he forbids (Acts 16:6). The Holy Spirit plays a
vital role in our salvation. We are baptized into the name of the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). He is the seal of our salvation and the
"earnest of our inheritance" (Ephesians 1:13-14).
TO WHOM IS THE HOLY SPIRIT
Contrary to popular opinion,
God's Spirit is not given to alien sinners to convert them. "Because ye are
sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts" (Galatians 4:6).
The Spirit through the inspired
Scripture works on the minds and hearts of sinners, convicting them (John 16:8;
1 Peter 1:23). When the sinner believes the gospel message, repents and is
baptized, he receives remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts
2:38). Thus the Spirit comes, not to make us sons, but because we have become
Sons of God. God's Spirit is only given to those who in faith obey Christ.
"We. . . receive the promise of
the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14). Jesus said "He that believeth on me. . .
from within him shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the
Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive. . . " (John 7:38-39). Peter tells us of "the Holy Spirit whom God hath given to them that obey him"
(Acts 5:32). Jesus said, "how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13). The context makes clear that he
gives this gift to his children!
We should be reminded that
Scripture speaks of a baptism of the Holy Spirit which only the apostles and
Cornelius received (Acts 1:5; Acts 11:15-17) and the miraculous gifts of the
Spirit given by the hands of the apostles (Acts 8:12-18). (Only the apostles
could pass the gifts along to others, the recipients could not.) There also is a
general gift or indwelling of the Spirit which all receive at baptism. This is
non-miraculous (Acts 2:38). Holy Spirit baptism was promised to the apostles,
but never commanded of disciples. Only two cases of it are recorded at the first
reception of Jews and Gentiles into Christ's kingdom. Both cases involved open
displays of supernatural power (see Acts 2:1-13 and 10:44-48). Today there is
but one baptism (Eph. 4:5). This baptism of the Great Commission is in water
It is a remarkable privilege to
receive God's Spirit in our lives. Such carries with it heavy responsibilities.
"Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you,
which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;. . . glorify God in your body"
(1 Cor. 6:19-20). "If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God
destroy; for the temple of God is holy, and such are you" (1 Cor. 3:17). Thus
any habit or practice that would defile our body and soul must be cast aside, be
it fornication, drug abuse, indulgence in intoxicating beverages, gluttony,
tobacco or any like thing.
We must "walk by the Spirit,
and. . . not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). By that, Paul means to
order our lives by the Spirit's instructions found in the Scripture. "For the
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, (makes) me free from the law of sin
and death" (Rom 8:2). "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are
sons of God" (Rom 8:14). The Holy Spirit has given us the Bible to guide our
path (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Christians must put away all
things in their lives that would grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:25). In
Ephesians 4:17-5:14 the apostle catalogs that ugly list of sins we must put away
if we would please our heavenly guest. At the same time we must fill the vacuum
in our lives by bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, long-
suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control. . . " (Gal.
BLESSINGS THE SPIRIT IMPARTS
Although no miraculous power or
leading is promised to us today, the blessings bestowed by the indwelling Spirit
are manifold. When at our baptism we receive the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:38)
it is likened to God's seal or stamp of approval or ownership (2 Cor. 1:22). His
presence in our life is the earnest or assurance of our ultimate reward in
heaven (Eph. 1:13-14). Our possession of the Spirit is an assurance of our
sonship: "hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he hath
given us of his Spirit" (1 John 4:14). "The love of God hath been shed abroad in
our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us" (Rom. 5:5). We
"abound in hope, in the power of the Holy spirit" (Rom. 15:13). Christians are
"strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man" (Eph. 3:16). "And
in like manner the Spirit helpeth our infirmity" (Rom. 8:26a). When we do not
know how to pray as we ought, "the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us. .
. according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26-27). Paul urges us to pray "at all
seasons in the Spirit" (Eph. 6:18). By the Spirit (we) "put to death the deeds
of the body" (Rom. 8:13); thus we find help to overcome those powerful habits of
sin which have attached themselves to us. When we walk in the fear of the Lord
we enjoy "the comfort of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:31). The Holy Spirit leads the
Christian in paths of righteousness. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of
God, these are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).
Many claim the Spirit whispers
words in their ear or overpowers their mind, but such is not Biblical. The Holy
Spirit leads us through the instruction of the Scripture he caused to be
written. Scripture came as "men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit"
(2 Pet. 1:21). In Ephesians 5:19 Paul instructs us to be filled with the Spirit
and sing. In Colossians 3:16 he says "Let the words of Christ dwell in you
richly" and sing. Thus with David we pray "Show me thy ways, O Jehovah; teach me
thy paths, Guide me in thy truth and teach me. . ." (Psalm 25:5). Truly
Scripture "is a lamp unto my feet, and light unto my path" (Ps. 119:105). It is
the medium by which God's Spirit leads us. Led by the Spirit we enjoy "the
communion of the Holy Spirit" (2 Cor. 13:14) and the. . . "fellowship of the
Spirit" (Philippians 2:1). In a similar way "the Spirit himself beareth witness
with our spirit, that we are children of God" (Rom. 8:16). In his word, the
Spirit has told us the conditions of salvation; i.e., faith (Hebrews 11:6),
repentance (Acts 17:30), immersion (Mark 16:16). When our spirit can truthfully
say, I have met these terms" then the Spirit's Word says "he that believeth and
is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16).
EVIDENCE OF THE INDWELLING
Those who have God's Spirit in
their hearts will reflect it in their attitude and con- duct. They will love the
Bible which the Spirit caused to be written. "I have longed after thy precepts"
(Ps. 119:40). "I love thy precepts" (Ps. 119:159). Sinners receive "not the love
of the truth that they might be saved" (2 Thessalonians 2: 10). Spirit filled
men will confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (1 John 4:2). They will
be led by the Spirit's word (Rom. 8:14) and mind "the things of the Spirit"
(Rom. 8:5). With the Spirit's help they will be mortifying the sinful desires
and practices of the old life (Rom. 8:13). In their lives will be seen "the
fruit of the Spirit. . . love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, meekness, self-control. . ." (Gal. 5:22-23).
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SALVATION
The implanted word of God which
the Spirit inspired is able to save our souls (James 1:21). In every case of
conversion recorded in the Acts of Apostles, souls were saved only after hearing
the word of God taught and obeying the divine will (Compare Acts 2:1-47). The
Lord today will open your heart even as he did Lydia's by the preaching of the
gospel (Acts 16:11-15). He will remove your sins even as he did Saul of Tarsus'
when you respond by being baptized (Acts 22:16).
Without God's Spirit, you
cannot be saved (Rom. 8:9). It is impossible to receive the Spirit apart from
Christian baptism (John 3:5). We urge you today to let Christ save you "through
the washing of regeneration (baptism) and the renewing of the Holy Spirit"
(Titus 3:5). In so doing you will find "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy
Spirit" (Rom. 14:17).
How do we conclude that the
Holy Spirit is a person?
To whom is the Holy Spirit
In Scripture, who received the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Name three obligations of those
who have the Spirit.
Discuss the blessings the Holy
Spirit provides Christians today.
What is the evidence of the
Spirit dwelling in one's life?