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The Work of the Holy Spirit

If Paul believed that after our baptism that we were partakers of the divine nature and it is only then that we imbibe the Spirit as a drink of living water, then it is critically important that we begin with an evaluation of our spiritual condition. Have you been baptized into Christ? This is the only way to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which we discussed in a prior episode. The idea of drinking of the one Spirit, tells us that He is in us when we become children of God by faith in Christ. When Jesus was baptized, God made it clear that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. The Holy Spirit descended upon Him at that time (Mark 1:9-11). When we become sons of God, we too are given the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of His Son). This is a way of God saying to us since you are also a son of mine, you are an heir of mine (Gal. 4:6-7). Not only is this in harmony with Acts 2:38 in that each believer does receive the gift of the Holy Spirit after obedience to the gospel, but it is also in agreement with the teaching of Jesus regarding “living water” after our belief in Him (John 7:37-39). Paul is teaching that we are not only baptized by one Spirit into the church, the body of Christ (Acts 2:47), but that those who obey the Lord are made to drink of one Spirit, just as we all have been promised to have the Holy Spirit dwell within us.

The question before us today is what is the work of the Holy Spirit in us today? The role of the Holy Spirit in baptism is in renewing us. One passage that makes it obvious that the Holy Spirit has a specific work of renewing us is found in Titus 3:5-7, where Paul said, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to [the] hope of eternal life.” The washing of regeneration (bring the dead sinner back to life) happens in baptism (Rom. 6:3-4; Eph. 2:5-7; Col 2:12-13). The renewing of the Holy Spirit takes place when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and we are made new again, and given a new life (Eph. 1:13-14; Tit. 3:5b-7; II Cor. 4:16). The washing of regeneration is the salvation that comes when we are baptized for the remission of sins. The renewing of the Holy Spirit is that which comes when we have received Him as a gift and are then sealed for the day of redemption. I Corinthians 6:11 states on this same idea, “Such were some of you (sinners); but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Take note of the washing (baptism) and then the renewing work that takes place in the name of the Lord, but specifically in the Holy Spirit.

Another of the works or purposes for the Holy Spirit dwelling in us is to serve as a seal or a pledge of God to every believer. In II Corinthians 1:21-22, the apostle Paul explained, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave [us] the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” A standard in the teaching of the apostle Paul is that we have a guarantee, pledge, down payment, as a child of God when the Holy Spirit dwells in us. This is God’s way of sealing us for redemption and we can know that we belong to Him. In Galatians 4:6-7, Paul wrote, “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” Since the Spirit is sent to live in us, we are considered children of God. This is our pledge that we are heirs of His eternal glory. A seal is said to be used as a mark of authenticity, genuineness (letter), a mark of ownership, and a means of security. When a message was written on a scroll, the message was only considered authentic if it was rolled up, tied and secured with a wax seal with the sender's insignia ring pressed into the wax. This was a guarantee that the letter was genuinely from the source. We are viewed as authentic, genuine, children of God, and heirs by the fact that God has given His Spirit to live in us. In II Corinthians 5:2-5, Paul wrote, “For indeed in this [house] we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.” We know that we will have a heavenly body and eternal life, because of the indwelling Spirit. Again, in Ephesians 1:13-14, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of [God's own] possession, to the praise of His glory.” He continues in Ephesians 4:30, saying, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Most of us knew the first part of that verse, but how many of us knew that the reason that we should not grieve the Holy Spirit because His existence in us is our seal to allow us to be redeemed.

Closely intertwined with sealing us is the second work of the Holy Spirit, known as sanctification. He helps us live pure lives before God. Paul made it clear that by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body in Romans 8. He also states in I Corinthians 6:19-20 that we should be motivated to live holy lives by the fact that Jesus' blood is our purchasing price and that the Spirit of God wants to use our bodies as His dwelling place. In the book of I Thessalonians 4:7-8, we read, “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity but in sanctification. So, he who rejects [this] is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” We are to live holy lives since the Spirit has been given to us to seal and sanctify us. Let’s use two illustrations for how we use seals today. When my mother sends me a card in the mail, she regularly sends a gift inside. When she closes the envelope, she never uses only the adhesive on the envelope, but she adds tape or even a sticker over the opening to make sure that no one tampers with the contents while en route. When God gives us the Holy Spirit he is not only the gift but is also the seal that ensures that we are pure and undefiled. When my father cans food every year, he will use mason jars and seal them in order to preserve the contents. My grandfather even poured wax on top of his jelly jars to protect the contents. We are kept or preserved by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. T.W. Brents, wrote about this sealing and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and said while commenting on Ephesians 1:13-14 we read, “Then it follows, most certainly, that if we are now sealed with the Holy Spirit, as these Ephesians were, it takes place after, and is something more than hearing, believing and receiving the word. Their sealing was to them an earnest of their inheritance; that is, a pledge of God’s faithfulness on their part, that they ‘grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.’ In Ephesians 4:30 ” (The Gospel Plan Of Salvation 642). Commenting on the Greek word arrabon which is seen in the text as “earnest” Ardnt and Gingrich say it means, “first installment, deposit, down payment, pledge, that pays a part of the purchase price in advance, and so secures a legal claim to the article in question, or makes a contract valid…In any case, [arrabon] is a payment that obligates the contracting party to make further payments”. In other words, because God has given the gift of the Holy Spirit prior to our eternal redemption, he is obligating Himself to fulfill the ultimate promise of everlasting life to those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit. William Barclay says this pledge is “ a foretaste of what is to come” ---(New Testament Words 58)

Now there are still those who would argue that the Spirit does not literally dwell in us, serve as our guarantee by personally sealing us, nor does He do any sanctifying work. The proponents say it is the word of God that reveals this hope of eternal life, and thereby serves as the seal, while also teaching us what to do to live wholesome lives. If you turn to Ephesians 6:17, we read, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” When Paul told the Christian about putting on the full armor of God, he references the word of God as the sword of the Spirit. What we learn from this is that the word of God is a tool that the Spirit uses or wields to prick the hearts of men, but the word of God is not the Holy Spirit. Let’s make this practical and easy to understand. Tell me if these statements are true or false. The man who uses a sword to fight against the enemy is the sword with which he fights. That is false! The sword will only accomplish what the wielder does with it. Consider this statement, “The sword that is used by the man to fight against the enemy is the man who sets out to fight.” This too is false! Use this same logic on the following statements regarding the Holy Spirit and the point will be clear. The Holy Spirit delivered and uses the word of God as a tool to prick the hearts of men unto salvation, but the Holy Spirit is not the word of God. The word of God is the tool that the Holy Spirit delivered and uses to prick the hearts of men unto salvation, but the word of God is not the Holy Spirit. Don’t miss this important point. Let’s revisit a text in Ephesians 1:13-14 and look specifically at the difference between the word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit Himself who wields the sword. Paul wrote there, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation (SWORD)--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance (SPIRIT), with a view to the redemption of [God's own] possession, to the praise of His glory.” Here Paul mentions that the sword of the Spirit, the message of truth or the gospel, is what pricked their hearts. After they believed they were then given the Holy Spirit as a seal. This is an easy way to see the distinction between the Spirit and His sword, the word of God. But there are many other texts that bear out this point. Turn to Ephesians 4:4-6, where Paul separates the Holy Spirit and the faith that he once for delivered, “[There is] one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” If we continue our search in II Cor. 6:6-7, Paul blatantly mentions the word of God as separate from the work of the Holy Spirit, “in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God…” It is absurd to conclude that the Holy Spirit and the word of truth are one and the same when in each of these passages they are set apart. Just in case this is not clear yet, consider II Thessalonians 2:13, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. What we learn here is that our salvation comes without question when we come in trusting faith in the truth, but it is clear from this text that in addition, our salvation is dependent on the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. One final passage and we will move on. In Hebrews 6:4-6, we find, “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and [then] have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” The writer clearly distinguishes the partaking of the Holy Spirit and having tasted the good word of God. While both are essential, they are not one and the same. We need to be partakers of the Holy Spirit and those that have tasted His good word as the Spirit wields His sword to prick our hearts.

Some will go to great lengths to attempt to prove that the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives are solely accomplished through the word and that they are one and the same in leading the Christian today. As we discuss the third work of the Holy Spirit, it will be obvious that it cannot be accomplished solely by the word of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us in our prayers (Romans 8:26). When we think of an intercessor, Jesus comes to mind immediately. This is because He is one intercessor between God and man in the forgiveness of sins. But who is our intercessor in prayer? The Holy Spirit according to Paul is the go-between for us in prayer. So we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus and when we cannot find the word to say, the Spirit, knowing out groaning, carries our petitions to the throne for us. This is astonishing and humbling to think about. He knows me so intimately, that when I’m as a loss for words, He speaks on my behalf. We need to ask, then what argument could someone possibly make to negate this obvious work of the Holy Spirit. For example, some will compare Ephesians 5:18-19 alongside Colossians 3:16 and deem these contexts to be perfectly paralleled passages. Before we even read the passages, ask yourself, if it takes a copy of Ephesians and Colossians to decipher what Paul meant when he wrote, then the early church, which would have had one or the other of these letters, would not be able to understand the revelation. Here is how the argument goes: Paul says in Ephesians 5:18-19 that Christians shouldn’t be drunk with wine but rather filled with the Spirit. Then in Colossians, he states what seems to be a parallel passage and says to allow the word of Christ to richly dwell within you. In these contexts, the apostle encourages each church to sing to the Lord in their hearts while teaching and admonishing one another. It is assumed that everything in the context must be perfectly paralleled to the other. This has caused many to conclude that being filled with the Holy Spirit must be the same as allowing the word of Christ to richly dwell within you. This being filled with the Spirit as opposed to wine is not in reference to Acts chapter 2, verse 13, where those filled with the Spirit were called drunks. I believe, after demonstrating this, that one who is filled with the Spirit is going to understand what the will of the Lord is and be filled with the word of the Lord as well. Nevertheless, this passage is a command to be obeyed and not a promise to be received. They were commanded to be filled with the Spirit while in Acts the Spirit was poured out upon them. This cannot parallel Acts 2:38 either in the promise of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul is telling Christians who had received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30) to allow the will of the Lord to lead and guide them in their teaching and admonishing of one another. Therefore, being filled with the Spirit and letting the word of Christ richly dwell in you are two distinctly different commands. We should expect to find common teachings in the writings of Paul from one passage to the other since he claimed to teach the truth in every church that he worked within his ministry. We cannot conclude that we would need to have a copy of each of these New Testament letters in order to interpret them and create any conclusion about what is taught in each respective letter. I believe the context of each letter interprets itself. For example in Ephesians 5:17, Paul wrote, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” It is right after this that Paul adds, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” Allow the context to speak for itself. Two separate commands are issued here. First, don’t be a fool but gain an understanding of God’s will for your life from His word. This is followed by don’t be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit. This brings to mind the character of John the Baptist in Luke 1:15, it is stated, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb. In Colossians 3:15, Paul wrote, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” He follows this with, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms [and] hymns [and] spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” If we allow this context to speak for itself, Paul commands to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts in the church and be thankful and follows that with, Paul then commands us to allow the word of Christ richly dwell within us and through singing we teach and admonish one another with thanksgiving in our hearts to God. We don’t need to find an exact parallel in another epistle to interpret these texts individually. If you try this same false tactic with other passages and teachings within separate epistles, the point will be obvious. If we compare Ephesians 6:1, 4 with Colossians 3:20-21 we will find some of Paul’s teaching on how children are to obey their parents and how parents are to care for their children. In the text of Ephesians Paul says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ... Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Then in Colossians 3:20-21, Paul wrote, “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children so that they will not lose heart.” At first glance, these might appear to be the same teaching. Look closer and you will see that in one passage Paul tells children to obey their parents in the Lord, meaning, when their teachings are in harmony with the Lord’s will. In the other context, Paul teaches them to be obedient in all things. Not a contradiction, but also not a parallel idea. Then in one passage, he tells fathers not to provoke their children to anger but rather to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In the other context, he doesn’t give this command but rather offers a reason to deter fathers from exasperating their children in saying, “so they will not lose heart”. The point here is that every passage is unique and written to a specific church. While we would expect harmony in all of the teachings of God’s word, we cannot create doctrines by combining and misinterpreting what we deem to be parallel passages in the word of God. Be careful with this practice unless without a shadow of a doubt there is a clear similarity between two contexts of biblical truth.

Did you know that when we attempt to say that the Holy Spirit works solely through the word of God and not independently on some level in the life of the Christian, we contradict the word of God? There were people in the Bible that were said to be full of faith (which come by the word of God Romans 10:17) but they were also full of the Holy Spirit. How is this possible if the word of God is to be equated with the working of the Holy Spirit. Consider Stephen in Acts 6:3, 5; 7:55, where we read about him, “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.” Just before he died it is said of Stephen, “But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Being full of the Spirit and full of wisdom or of faith are different realities in these passages. Also look at the life of Barnabas, where in Acts 11:24 we read, “he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.” The point here is not to completely separate the word of faith from the work of the Holy Spirit. The point is to prove that the work of the Holy Spirit is accomplished along with the power of the word of God. The Holy Spirit wields His sword to accomplish His will in the lives of others, but we should never make the grave mistake of diminishing any mention of a direct work of the Holy Spirit to something that was only accomplished with the word of God. While the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, it needs a wielder to prick the hearts of those that hear its truth. This is where we must acknowledge the independent working of the Spirit in conjunction with the word of God that allows men to be full of the Holy Spirit which is given at our baptism, and of faith, which comes by hearing the word of the Lord. Another example should sum this up. In Acts 13:53, we see, “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” No one would argue rightly that being filled with joy is the same as being filled with the Holy Spirit, but we could say that the joy that they felt was a direct extension of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives as disciples of Christ. In Romans 14:17, we learn, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

There are some at this point that will pull out a chart to prove that the work of the Holy Spirit is nothing more than the word of God working in our lives. It is difficult to explain a chart in words, but I will do my best. This chart is available with our special offer connected with this series in the complete PowerPoint outline. This chart contains the following items and supporting Scriptures to attempt to make this argument. It is stated that all of the following works are accomplished by both the word of God and the Holy Spirit. Since this is true, then any mention of the Holy Spirit working in these capacities is to be credited as a work of the word of God: ACTIONS OF THE WORD AND THE SPIRIT - Gives Birth - Gives Life -Saves -Convicts -Testifies -Gives Power –Sanctifies -Washes –Comforts –Indwells –Reproves etc. Then these proponents list passages that show how the Holy Spirit does all of these things: SPIRIT -John 3:5, 8 -John 6:63 -Titus 3:5 - John 16:8 -Rom. 8:16 -Rom. 15:13 -II Thess. 2:13 -I Cor. 6:11 -Acts 9:31 -Eph. 5:18-19 -John 16:8. Finally, to drive their point home, they provide a list of text references that show how the word of God accomplishes the same work: WORD -I Pet. 1:23-25 -Ps. 119:93 -Jam. 1:21 -Titus 1:9 - John 5:39 -Heb. 4:12 -John 17:17 -Eph. 5:26 -Rom. 15:4 -Col. 3:16 -II Tim. 3:16. Just because the Spirit and the word have similar qualities does not mean that they are the same in each passage. If I was a constant encouragement to you in person and I wrote you a letter, do you think you would find encouragement through my letter? Sure you would because I wrote it. But you would never say that the only work that I do is through the letter that I wrote. It’s an absurd proposition to explain away the plain passages that talk about the Holy Spirit doing a work in us today. The Bible plainly states that after we receive the word, we obey that word, and then, we receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit” who dwells in us (Eph. 1:13-14). People often talk about how we confine God to a BOX (this is said when we limit his power)…In reality, we have confined the Holy Spirit to a BOOK (limiting Him to only work through the word)…This is not biblical but is solely the work of man. All scripture is indeed inspired of God by the Spirit (II Tim. 3:16-17). Men were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the word of God (II Pet. 1:21). These men of God were “filled” (pimplemi) with the Spirit for a specific period and in such a measure to be able to speak or write the divine will of God (Acts 1:2, 5, 16; 2:2-4, 33; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9-11). In such cases, the filling was temporary and had a specific purpose while being given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and being full of the Holy Spirit is permanent following obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ in disciples (Acts 4:25; 28:25). Ferrel Jenkins, who was a professor of mine in college, wrote in an article about the Holy Spirit and his work, “Whatever we read about the power of the gospel or the activity of the written word in the lives of aliens or Christians is true. But these facts do not contradict what we read about the Holy Spirit dwelling within the Christian…I don’t really think that any gospel preacher believes that the Spirit is to be identified as the written word, but there are some Christians who do believe it. And they have gotten this erroneous impression because some preachers can’t read one of these plain passages without saying, ‘through the word; not separate and apart from the word’” (The Holy Spirit And The Christian). A man tells of attending a Bible class in Missouri where the teacher held his Bible up and declared “This Book is the Holy Spirit, and all the Holy Spirit there is. When I have it in my overcoat pocket, the Holy Spirit is in my pocket. The Holy Spirit is the Word of God, and that’s what this book is the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit.”

There are some that propose that there is no way that the Holy Spirit can be divided and placed within each individual believer. We won’t spend a whole lot of time here, because this faulty thinking misunderstands the omnipresence of God. Some say you cannot take a cookie-cutter to the Holy Spirit and have Him to dwell in every believer in Christ. I agree that you cannot divide the Holy Spirit, but you don’t have to spilt the Holy Spirit for Him to dwell in every place that He wills (Ps. 139:7-10). He is everywhere present! The omnipresence of God in the Spirit allows for an easy, clear understanding of this teaching. The Holy Spirit dwells in all who obey the Lord.

There are still others that demand that if the Holy Spirit dwells in us that we should be able to perform miracles. Some demand that we must see something supernatural from a believer, in order to believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the body. John was full of the Holy Spirit but never worked a miracle. We pointed out in Luke 1:15 that John was full of the Holy Spirit, but in John 10:41, we read, “Many came to Him and were saying, ‘While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.’". The promise of the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is for everyone who believes, while the miraculous “gifts of the Spirit” were only for those that were apostles or were gifted through the laying on of the apostle’s hands. The apostles were promised that the Spirit Himself would come with power and guide them and provide additional gifts (Lk. 24:48-49). This was fulfilled and was only given to the apostles in this miraculous measure (Acts 1:2, 12-13; 2:1-4, 43). All believers are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells in them (John 7:37-39). This blessing came to those who first obeyed the gospel and will be given to all who believe (Acts 2:38-39; 5:32). The Spirit gives a specific measure as He will. Listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:11, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” As the old saying goes, “where there is a will, there is a way”. J.D. Thomas once wrote, “The fact of the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit does not mean that any of the erroneous denominational theories about the Holy Spirit discussed… are true. It does not imply that there is a present-day baptism of the Spirit, nor present-day miracles, direct operation of the Spirit in conversion or tongue-speaking” (The Spirit and Spirituality 26). Roy Lanier Sr. wrote, ““…I conclude that the Holy Spirit dwells in my body as well as in the body of an apostle, though not in the same measure or manifestation” (Firm Foundation 20 Oct. 1964:673.) Richard Longnecker stated, “’ The gift’ is the Spirit himself given to minister the saving benefits of Christ's redemption to the believer, while ‘the gifts’ are those spiritual abilities the Spirit gives variously to believers 'for the common good' and sovereignly, ‘just as He determines.’”

There are many who say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all dwell in the Christian the same way and thereby must do their work in us in the same way. Again, this argument is usually followed with a chart where the Father is shown to dwell in us (Rom. 8:9-11; I John 3:24; I John 4:16), then Jesus dwells in us (Rom. 8:10; Eph. 3:17; John 14:18-23; Gal. 2:20) and finally the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian (Rom. 5:5; Rom. 8:9-11; I Cor. 3:16; I Cor. 6:19; II Cor. 1:22; II Tim. 1:14) Up to this point I can agree with the ideology. The problem comes when you get to the conclusion. It is usually expressed in this way: There are passages that explain that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all dwell in us, and the way through which this is accomplished is through the written word of God. These passages all speak of the indwelling of the Godhead. Do the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all abide in us in the same way? Indeed they do, but not through the written word of God, but through the Holy Spirit who is in us. Consider the following passages: I John 3:24; 4:13; Eph. 2:19-22; Eph 3:16-21; II Cor. 6:14-18. One author summarized the point like this, “Clearly, to Paul, to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit is to be inhabited by God. By equating the phrase 'God's temple' with the phrase 'a temple of the Holy Spirit,' Paul is clear: The Holy Spirit is God."

Some have attempted to symbolize the relationship from passages like John 15 and John 17, where the language in the text seems to blend our being in Christ and Christ in us. There is no question that Jesus was referring to a relationship in John 15, “for apart from” Him we can “do nothing”. The way that we enter this relationship is through obedience to the word of God, after which we receive the Holy Spirit to dwell in us as a pledge of our inheritance. Listen to John 17:20-23, “"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, [are] in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” Jesus wanted us to be “perfected in unity” like He and the Father were (vs. 23) and this happens when we “believe in” Jesus (vs. 20). This is also in harmony with the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell within the child of God after our obedience. This assures us of being in a right relationship with God. Some may conclude that the Father and the Son are just as much in us as we are in them. The reality is that until we are in Christ, He cannot be in us. Until we have the right relationship with the Father through Christ, he cannot dwell in us. We have pointed out throughout this season that God the Father and God the Son have elected to lead and live in us through the Holy Spirit.

Some state that if the Spirit personally indwells the obedient believer that it would force us to become a deity, just as Christ was God in flesh. The issue is that others that were indwelt by the Spirit were not God, and we are not God but are children of God, born of the Spirit by obeying the gospel. In Luke 1:15, John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit but was not God. He makes it clear that he was not the One who would be God in the flesh. He was the one to proclaim the coming of Christ. Do a search of those who were “filled” or “full” of the Spirit and show me where they were made equal with God and or became Deity. Jesus was Deity because His Father is God. The Holy Spirit caused Mary to be with child and she gave birth to Immanuel, which means, God with us. We are adopted into the family and are partakers of the Divine nature in our spiritual birth through baptism into Christ.

One final work of the Holy Spirit that we need to discuss before we conclude this season is His ability to strengthen us. In Ephesians 3:16, Paul wrote, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man…” We have already mentioned how the Holy Spirit dwells in our innermost being, where He would operate like a river of living water that flows within us. Paul here talks about how we can be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. While we can certainly find courage and strength from the word of God, Paul seems to indicate here that there is an inner strength that comes directly from the Holy Spirit. While no parameters are set for when the Spirit provides this strength, we must believe that this is one of His vital roles in the life of the child of God. Praise God for this work in us.

Let’s summarize the work of the Spirit for the believer today. First, he renews us in baptism and seals us for the day of redemption. Next, he intercedes for us in our prayers. He also is our motivator to live pure lives in sanctification before God. Finally, He strengthens us in the inmost part of our being for our journey of faith.

Consider some early writings from history and apocryphal entries, to give context to how this work of the Holy Spirit was viewed by other authors. The Epistle of Barnabas, written by an unknown author shortly after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, makes frequent reference to the importance of this spiritual relationship: "Behold then we have been created anew, as He said...’ Behold, says the Lord, I will remove from them...their stony hearts and will put into them hearts of flesh.’ For He, Himself was to be manifested in the flesh and to dwell in us. For the abode of our a holy temple to the Lord." We also read, "By receiving the remission of our sins and hoping on the Name we became new, created afresh from the beginning. Therefore God dwells truly in our dwelling within us.… He Himself [is] dwelling in us.…” Ignatius once wrote, “"I realize that you are not conceited; for you have Jesus Christ in yourselves." "Let us, then, do everything as if He were dwelling in us. Thus we shall be His temples, and He will be within us as our God—as he actually is." In the apocryphal work of the Shepherd of Hermas, we find, “"Love truth, and let nothing but truth proceed out of thy mouth, that the Spirit which God made to dwell in this flesh, may be found true in the sight of all men; and so shall the Lord, Who dwelleth in thee, be glorified." "For if thou art long-suffering, the Holy Spirit that abideth in thee shall be pure...[He] shall rejoice and be glad with the vessel in which he dwelleth.“ "Take heed, therefore, ye that serve God and have Him in your heart..."

As I wrap up this episode, I think it is only fair for me to state in plain words what I do and do NOT believe so that the teaching that we have offered here is not misconstrued in any way.

Let me go on record with the following: # 1 I believe that the believer’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in them and He is given by the Lord to those who are to glorify God in their body (I Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20). # 2 I believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit is only given to those who obey the word of God becoming believers in Christ and that this gift is the Holy Spirit Himself, that all believers receive after Christ has now been glorified. (John 7:37-39; Acts 2:38; 5:32). # 3 I believe that the Holy Spirit is given to all those who are saved to indwell them as a seal, pledge, guarantee and down payment of the inheritance, proving that they are the children of God. The Spirit also intercedes in our prayers and serves as an assurance of what is to come in our eternal home. (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).

The following is a list of what I do not believe. # 1 I do not believe that the measure of the Spirit that was promised to the apostles is given to believers today. This would then remove the use of miraculous or supernatural works from those who have the Spirit dwelling in them. # 2 I do not believe that the relationship of the Holy Spirit with the believer is one that causes a special level of holiness or sanctification apart from the efforts of the individual involved to live in such manners. # 3 I do not believe that this is a matter over which we can divide or draw lines of fellowship since our views are not going to keep the Holy Spirit from doing exactly as He wills as a person of the Godhead. We must do our best to understand and appreciate the relationship that the saved have with the Holy Spirit.

One final passage in 2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” (See Phil. 2:1) I hope that you have enjoyed this study on the Holy Spirit and that it has been a blessing to your walk with the Lord.

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