A. J. Pollock
(Extracted from Scripture Truth Vol. 33, 1941, page 8.)
Yes, Scripture is abundantly plain on the point. How pointed is Romans 8:9: "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of God he is none of His."
If a believer has not the Spirit of God he is in the flesh, and "they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:8). That could not be said of any believer. Moreover the Scripture just quoted says, "He is none of His," that is, he does not belong to Christ at all. To deny the Holy Spirit of God to a believer is to unchristianise him, a very solemn thing to do.
Ephesians 1:13, too, is a very enlightening Scripture. We read: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." This Scripture makes it abundantly plain, that when a man or woman or child truly trusts the Saviour, that one is indwelt thereupon by the Spirit of God.
I remember being at a Bible reading years ago when an eminent servant of Christ was asked, "How long after receiving the gospel do believers receive the Spirit? May it be at once, or may it be after a lengthened period of time?" The answer was most satisfying. The servant of Christ replied, "It is not a question of time, but of order; first the gospel believed, then as a consequence the Spirit received." The illustration was used of the blow of a sharp sword and the cut resulting. You cannot reverse the order, the blow must come first and the cut follows. It is not a question of time, but of order; of cause and effect.
Receiving "the gospel of your salvation," surely means hearing and receiving a gospel that assures the one, who believes, that he is saved, that his sins are forgiven, that he is justified from all things through Christ and is. the possessor of eternal life in Him. Can anything be clearer?
It is striking that redemption and the indwelling of the Spirit are linked together. We read: "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30).
Furthermore, Romans 8:11 links up the indwelling Spirit and the power of resurrection together in a remarkable way. "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." God raised Christ from the dead. The Spirit of God is given to the believer as the pledge that when the day of resurrection comes he will share in its triumph. The resurrection of the believer is linked up and flows from the resurrection of Christ. This Scripture, however, has the living saints in view. The saints, who have fallen asleep, will be raised. We know that from other Scriptures. The living saints will have their mortal bodies quickened; that is, if these saints lived on to the natural terminus of life mortality in their bodies would work on till death ensued. But the moment the Lord comes and shouts the summoning shout that moment their mortal bodies will be entirely quickened, that is every trace of mortality swept away, a spiritual body will be theirs, a new creation body, a fit vessel for the heavenly scene. If we have not the Spirit of God this promise would be null and void, and that cannot be.
When the Holy Ghost descended on the day of Pentecost the assembled believers "were ALL filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 11:4). Notice the word ALL!
When the Apostle Peter preached his famous Pentecostal sermon, and his hearers were pricked in their heart, and asked what they should do, the answer given was, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:3: 8). Notice the words, "every one of you."
In this Scripture the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit are linked together, the one following the other in sequence. There was no discrimination now.
In the interesting incident of the Gentiles coming into blessing in the case of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and his friends, we read, "While Peter spake these words the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word" (Acts 10:44). Again there was no distinction between believer and believer. Notice the word, ALL!
One who is not indwelt by the Spirit of God, cannot be a member of the body of Christ. How the Spirit of God is emphasised in relation to the one body: "By one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor 12:13). Notice again the word, ALL!
Can we imagine one believer being outside the one body — Christ the Head in heaven; His saints the many members, the body on earth?
There is a remarkable case of disciples in Acts 19:1-7, who had not received the Holy Spirit. To base teaching on an exception as if it were the rule is foolish. There can be no case like this now-a-days. The John the Baptist ministry is past and we live in the full light of the gospel of God. This incident we are about to adduce fell in a transitional period.
When these ten disciples were asked the question, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" their reply was, "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." They were then asked, "Unto what were ye then baptized?" They replied, "Unto John's baptism." Paul then said, "John verily baptised with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe in Him which should come after him, that is on Christ Jesus."
These disciples up to then had not heard the gospel of their salvation (see Eph. 1:13). When they did hear it they were sealed by the Holy Spirit of God.
John, the Baptist, preached repentance, exhorting his disciples to believe on the One of whom he was the forerunner, even on the Lord Jesus Christ. "When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus." Then Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.
This interesting narrative showing the difference between John's baptism and Christian baptism, and how the one superseded the other, with all the implications involved, only supports what we have been adducing from Holy Scripture, that those, who receive the gospel of their salvation, receive as a consequence the gift of the Holy Spirit. To teach otherwise is confusion and the unchristianizing of believers.
But now for a few words of practical import. We, believers, who have received the Holy Spirit of promise, may well ask ourselves as to what use we make of this wonderful gift. Are we sufficiently impressed by the fact that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit of God? We are exhorted not to grieve the Spirit, or quench the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, and manifest the fruit of the Spirit.
Alas! how many believers walk in a worldly carnal way and grieve and quench God's Holy Spirit. This we may well be exercised about.
This teaching that some believers have the Spirit and some have not, causes introspection of an unhealthy nature. We may be depressed, if we imagine we have not received the Spirit on the one hand; or elated, if we think we have received the Spirit in contrast to other believers. This is not of the Spirit of God.
To fasten on one Scripture and twist it to bear a meaning that contradicts the general trend of Scripture, and that occupies saints with themselves instead of with Christ is simply a device of Satan. May we be preserved from this, and seek in all simplicity of mind to walk in the Spirit.