Grace & Truth, Inc., 210 Chestnut Street, Danville, Illinois 61832 U.S.A. www.gtpress.org
Table of Contents
Sanctification Through the Blood
Sanctification of the Spirit
Sanctification by the Word
Practical or Progressive Sanctification
Sanctification Through Chastening
Is the Old Nature Burned Out When One Is Sanctified?
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Some Questions as to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Speaking in Tongues and Working Miracles
A Word of Warning
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
Sanctification Through the Blood
"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." "For by one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified." "Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate" (Heb. 10:10, 14; 13:12).
It is necessary to note the way sanctification is used in the Scriptures when speaking of personal sanctification (for we are not now speaking of sanctification to a special service as Christ in John 10:36 or as the priests of the Old Testament). Sanctification always means to set apart to God, to separate unto Him, but it is spoken of sometimes in reference to one's person, sometimes in reference to the state of soul.
Sanctification of our person is through the sacrifice of Christ by the will and calling of God, but when speaking of the moral or spiritual condition of the soul it is by the Spirit through the Word.
God of His own sovereign will has sanctified, set apart for Himself through the sacrifice of His Son every believer in Christ. Therefore, in the New Testament, believers are uniformly called saints and holy, regardless of their moral or spiritual condition or walk. Every one who hears the call of God and puts faith in Christ then and there becomes a saint sanctified by the will of God through the offering of the body of Christ, and perfected forever by His one offering. This is the position or standing of all believers in Christ. God has set them apart for Himself through the offering of the body of Christ and henceforth ever sees them in Christ, clothed in all the value and perfection of that sacrifice that has for the eye of God purged away, once and for all when offered, all sin and defilement that ever attached or could attach itself to His saints. Therefore, believers in virtue of their sanctification through the blood of Jesus can boldly enter at all times into the very presence of their holy God. They cannot be made more holy as to their standing before God in Christ than His blood has already made them. Their standing in holiness is perfect, as perfect as the sacrifice of Christ, as perfect as Christ is; "as He is so are we" though we are still in this defiled and defiling world (1 John 4:17).
It is so necessary for one to have a clear understanding of this perfect sanctification we have through the sacrifice of Christ for the peace and comfort of the soul, as well as to have before the heart the right motive and basis for a walk in practical holiness. All practical holiness, if real, must flow from this. God's love displayed in giving us this perfection in Christ acts under the Holy Spirit as a powerful motive on the heart to constrain one to live unto Him in practical separation from evil in spirit, soul and body. Our standing in holiness is perfect; we should seek to be in practice what we are before God in our standing in Christ. Our seeking to maintain practical holiness in our life and walk should never be with the thought of attaining a more perfect standing before God but rather to live consistently with the perfect standing God has given us through the sacrifice of Christ.
Sanctification of the Spirit
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience" (1 Peter 1:2).
"God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:13).
Sanctification by the blood is an act of God's will in reference to us, not a work wrought in us. It affects our standing, or position, before God in Christ, not the condition of our souls. It is all in virtue of Christ's sacrifice when we put faith in Him. But the sanctification of the Spirit is a work wrought by the Holy Spirit within our souls by which we are made partakers of the divine and holy nature of God, and so morally and spiritually are sanctified, set apart unto Him. This work of implanting in our souls the divine nature is done once and for all and is complete and never needs repeating. When the sinner puts faith in Christ, he is not only sanctified by the will of God through the sacrifice of Christ; but he is, also, made by the operation of the Spirit a partaker of the incorruptible seed, or nature, of God. That nature that is thus implanted in the soul is holy; it cannot sin because it is the divine nature of God and delights in the divine will and hates all that the divine nature in God abhors. It is not a change of the old and fallen nature, but a new, divine and holy nature given. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed (as in natural birth, whereby we had transmitted to us a sinful nature from the corruptible seed of Adam), but of incorruptible" (1 Peter 1:23). This incorruptible seed of God is pure and holy and remains in us so that a child of God as born of this seed cannot commit sin (1 John 3:9). God's children, alas, can and do sin and sometimes grievously, but it is through giving way to the action of the old nature in them. The new nature created after God in holiness (Eph. 4:24) that they have through this new creation, or new birth, does not take part in such sins, but on the contrary abhors and grieves over them. "It is no more I (the 'I' of the new nature) that do it, but sin (the old sinful nature) that dwells in me" (Rom. 7:20). This is why a child of God after he has sinned, when he gets quiet before God and the new nature is active and the Holy Spirit working in the heart, will grieve over what he has done, confess it and abhor himself for it.
It is important, also, for practical holiness in life and walk to grasp intelligently this fact as to the two natures. Every believer has besides his old fallen nature from Adam, a new and divine nature, "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:24).
Practical holiness begins and only begins when one is made a partaker of the divine nature. This divine, incorruptible nature, or life, from God is in itself the active principle of holiness. Being the divine nature it hates sin and delights in what is good and pure. It necessarily delights in God and in His Son Jesus Christ, for there we have the divine nature manifested in all its perfection. That is why a child of God always finds joy when contemplating the Person of Christ. He finds joy also when meditating over the Word of God, for it is the expression of God's own thoughts. This divine nature in us also actively delights in the whole will of God expressed in His Word for the simple reason that it is God's will. God wills what He does because it pleases His own divine and holy nature; and the divine nature He has given us, which is created after God as its model in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24), will always find pleasure in what pleases God and will abhor what He hates.
This is why a child of God, if he is seeking satisfaction in worldliness, feels miserable in his soul; for his new and holy nature is grieved by these worldly things with which he is occupied, and has not before it the only objects it can find its delight in, namely, in Christ, God's Word and His will.
We can, of course, and should discharge faithfully all our obligations and duties that are of God that we should do down here, and can be happy in doing them too, for it is the will of God that we do so and the new nature finds its delight in what God wills for us. This is practical holiness—the outflow in the power of the Spirit of this new, divine and holy nature in our daily life and walk, doing all that we do with reference to the will of God and with a virtue to please Him.
"Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).
Sanctification by the Word
The new and divine nature that believers are made partakers of at new birth is created after God (after God as its model) "in righteousness and holiness of truth" (See Eph. 4:24, margin). It, therefore, is capable of delighting in righteousness (the will of God) and in the whole truth of God ("as the truth is in Jesus," Eph. 4:21). Outside of Christ you cannot find the truth. "The whole world lies in the wicked one"—under the power of the father of 1ies, the deceiver (1 John 5:19, New. Tr.). Its thoughts and maxims, its principles of action, are not of God. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). The believer because of the new nature is capable of delighting in the will of God and His truth, and he needs also to feed upon His Word. "Thy word is truth." As he feeds and meditates upon the Word, it forms and fashions his thoughts and influences his walk—in a word, it sanctifies him more and more in his practical life. The truth revealed in the Word acts upon him to deliver him, set him apart from what in his thoughts and ways is not according to God and separates him unto God more and more in thought, word and deed. Especially is this sanctifying influence produced by the truth revealed in the Word in connection with the person of Christ, who, rejected of the world, has "sanctified Himself" (John 17:19), set Himself apart from it altogether to that place outside of it in the glory where He now appears for us as our Representative and Forerunner and Model of the glory unto which God has called us "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 6:20; John 17:22).
"I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. … Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. … For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (John 17:14, 17, 19).
"That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word" (Eph. 5:26).
"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:1-2).
Practical or Progressive Sanctification
All believers are sanctified in Christ Jesus and by the Spirit of God. This work is perfect and complete by which they have been brought to God in all the perfection of the sacrifice of Christ and made partakers of His holy and divine nature. It has been likened to the cutting out of a stone from the quarry. A stone cut out from the quarry will never have to be cut out again, so believers are sanctified, set apart, separated unto God from the mass of sinners. But after the stone is taken out of the quarry there is much work that has to be done in chipping off rough angles and in polishing and smoothing it. So the believer has many angles that have to be rounded and much roughness that has to be smoothed off. This work of smoothing and polishing the stone after it has been taken from the quarry is what is meant by progressive sanctification. Or it can be likened to the gem dug out of the mine. It has been separated from its place in nature where it lay in the mire and darkness and brought out into the light. It is now the special treasure of the mine operator. This work is complete and will never have to be repeated. But now that it is brought into this new position in the light as the special treasure of the mine operator, it must go through a process of cutting and polishing whereby it reflects more and more perfectly the beautiful rays of light. So the believer by the sanctification of the Spirit has been made a partaker of the divine and holy nature of God, has been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His dear Son, and has been made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col. 1:12). But now that this work is done, there is another and progressive work taken up by the Spirit through the Word and by the purifying furnace of affliction to deliver the believer, who is now a saint in the light, from everything in his thoughts, words, and ways that is inconsistent with that kingdom of God's dear Son, of which he is a part, so that he may reflect more and more perfectly the pure rays of its Sun—Christ Himself. Christ is in ever increasing measure reflected by him as this progressive work of sanctification is carried on by the Spirit in his heart. The believer, sanctified by the Spirit unto obedience, must yield himself unto God and his members servants to righteousness for practical holiness. There is much work that needs to be done within the soul, so we read in 2 Cor. 7:1, "Dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
This practical holiness is never perfect while we are in this body, but should be progressing more and more towards perfection. So we read "Follow after holiness" (or sanctification. It is the same word in the Greek that is translated sanctification in other places). We are to follow after—to grow in grace and knowledge—for there is ever a degree beyond that unto which we have attained.
When Christ comes and changes "our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body" (Phil. 3:21) then we shall be like Him, conformed to His image, spirit, soul and body. We shall see Him as He is in the perfection of holiness.
God puts before the soul a standard no less than Christ in the glory as the goal towards which we are to work and with less than which we are never to be satisfied nor consider as perfection. "We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure." "Purifies," not is pure or is purified, but purifies—the present progressive tense. "As He is pure"—Christ in His absolute purity is the measure and goal to which we are ever to be progressing "perfecting holiness in the fear of God." If our lives are not reflecting more and more of Christ's purity and love as we go on, then something is wrong, and we should get before God about it at once and get deliverance from it.
The Holy Spirit, who dwells in all believers, is the power by which this progress is accomplished. All holy action in thought, word and deed can only be done by the enabling of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God must also be given heed to, for the Holy Spirit works through and by the Word. "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). They that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5). "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word" (Ps. 119:9).
Sanctification Through Chastening
"If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? … For they (our earthly fathers) verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness" (Heb. 12:7, 10).
Here we see chastening is another means God uses for the sanctification of His children—to deliver them from their evil ways and make them to partake more and more of His holiness. When His saints fail to walk in the Spirit, to be occupied with Christ, to meditate upon His Word and give heed unto it, then God must resort to chastening. In the grief and affliction under His chastening hand, they learn to hate their unholy ways and give them up, thus becoming more and more in a practical way partakers of His holiness.
Respect for and delight in God's holy will and Word and joyful bowing to it is essential to holiness in man. Lack of respect for God's will is sin—the very root of all sin. Obedience because of fear of punishment is not holiness. True holiness is an abhorring in our very souls of what is evil and a keeping at a distance from it because the soul is set upon that which is good and pure by reason of its real delight in everything that is according to God.
God's end in chastening is to lead the soul to abhor the evil and love and cleave to that which is good.
To see God's saints planning their day, or using their means without consulting God only betrays how little practical holiness there is in their lives. The essence of holiness is that God be given His full place in our hearts and lives, not only as the object of our hearts' affection but also that His authority and title over us be fully and practically owned and joyfully bowed to with reverential esteem and respect. "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Rom. 12:1; 6:11-13). "Become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness" (Rom. 6:22). The fruit of yielding ourselves wholly to God is practical holiness. God has a title over our whole being; our tongues, our hands, our feet, all of the members of our body, our minds and every faculty of our souls, our physical powers or our spiritual powers and all that we possess. He has a right over it all, and to use anything we possess or any of our powers of body, soul or spirit without consulting His will is sin, and a defiance of His title that He has acquired over us through the blood of His Son. A saint has no right to use his tongue to speak evil of anyone, for gossip, light or frivolous talking or foolish jesting, for bywords or idle words or a lie; God has forbidden it all (James 4:11; 1 Peter 2:1; 1 Tim. 5:13; Eph. 5:4; Matt. 5:37; 12:36; Eph. 4:25). No such things are learned in communion with God nor can be done in the consciousness of His presence. A saint has no right to allow in his heart any murmuring or bitterness, any feeling of envy or jealousy, hatred or anger. God's command is, Put it off, lay it aside (Phil. 2:14; Col. 3:8; 1 Peter 2:1; James 3:13-18). Self-asserting, pride or a feeling of self-importance is sin as also its more subtle but more obnoxious form of spiritual superiority or religious pride and its twin sister, mock humility. God's word is: "Be clothed with humility" adorned with a meek and a quiet spirit (1 Peter 5:5; 3:3-4). Wearing of gold, costly array, or fancy hair-dress, worldliness in our dress or in our homes are outward marks of inward pride and absence of holiness of heart. God forbids it, so He is not consulted nor considered by those who do such things (1 Tim. 2:9; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17).
Holiness is the abhorrence of sin in its secret springs and its outward manifestations coupled with deep delight in God, and longing to be always conscious of His presence.
This brings us to another important element of holiness. There is no practical holiness except in the measure we are walking in conscious communion with God and all our being and thoughts and ways are held consciously under His eye. We must speak as before Him; we must think as in His presence; we must talk as having Him for our listener; and walk as imitators of Him and in the footsteps of our Lord. To have any less standard before us is not God's standard of holiness. Is not this what Christ did? And should we not seek with Paul that we may in truth say, "For to me to live is Christ"? (Phil. 1:21).
And then in His presence, what do we find? not only light and purity but infinite love. And how were we brought there? by the exceeding riches of His grace. We cannot live and walk in His presence without living in the consciousness of His surpassing love—His love will be shed abroad in our hearts and overflowing from them. "He that loves not knows not God; for God is love" (1 John 4:8). As one has well written: "Failure in love would not be holiness but flesh and sin—self as a center, if not positive hatred—and this is not holiness, for holiness is separation to God in known love and so walking in that spirit with others. …
"Thus as He (the Lord Jesus) was the Holy One of God here, only absolutely and perfectly, as conceived, even as to the flesh, by the Holy Ghost—walking in love—so we, as partakers of life in Him, He being our life, are holy brethren, are saints brought in as we have seen by His precious blood, but saints as partakers of the life also that was and is in Him. If we look at that life in Him, we find perfect separation to God, love to Him and to us, and necessarily separation too from all evil, passing through the midst of it but not touched by it, goodness and holiness in the midst of evil in the power of divine love—and that is our path."
Is the Old Nature Burned Out When One Is Sanctified?
Does not the Bible teach that when a person is sanctified the old nature is burnt out, so that only the new nature remains?
Many of God's children after being saved become careless and so lose the joy of communion with God. Then comes a time when they are led to surrender themselves more fully to God. As always when there is surrender to God, the Holy Spirit fills the soul with joy. Many such, not knowing the teachings of Scripture, consider that they have experienced a second work of grace and so readily accept the teaching of those who claim that sanctification is a second work of grace that must be experienced some time after justification. But a careful weighing of the Scriptures will not bear this out.
We must not interpret the Scriptures by our experience but interpret our experience by the Scriptures. When we interpret the experience of God's children who feel that they have had a second work of grace by the Scriptures, it all becomes clear. Scripture clearly teaches that when a sinner is convicted of his sins and puts faith in Christ, he is then washed, sanctified and justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. God then sends forth His Spirit into their hearts crying, Abba, Father, bearing witness with their spirits that they are sons of God (See 1 Cor. 6:11; Rom. 5:1-6; 8:15-16; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:13). He has joy in the Lord, but the Spirit can only give him joy as long as he is walking with the Lord. If he gets careless his communion with God is interrupted and the Spirit is grieved. Then at last he confesses his sins and yields more fully to the Lord, the Spirit is now freer to shed abroad the love of God in his heart again and gives him back his joy in the Lord. If he had walked in full surrender to the Lord from the very first, his communion with God and joy in the Holy Ghost would never have been interrupted.
The following passages show that sanctification is in connection with justification and the new birth: Eph. 4:24, The new man (the nature we receive when we are born again) is created in true holiness. 1 Cor. 6:11, The order is: washed, sanctified, justified. Sanctification is mentioned before justification. 1 Peter 1:2, The order is, elect through sanctification unto sprinkling of the blood. 2 Thess. 2:13, Chosen to salvation through sanctification and belief of the truth. Not saved and then sanctified but salvation is through sanctification and that is connected with belief of the truth. Compare Rom. 5:9 with Heb. 13:12 and you will see that the blood that justifies also sanctifies. In 1 Cor. 1:30 we read Christ is made unto us both righteousness and sanctification. It is all in Him and when we have Him we have it all. We can't have Christ as our righteousness without having Him as our sanctification also: it is all complete in Him. There is and should be progress in the degree to which our faith lays hold upon it and appropriates it in a practical way for our hearts and walk. Other passages could be quoted but this is enough.
Sanctification is not a burning out of the old nature but the creating within us an entirely new nature. Many Scriptures prove that the old nature is not burnt out. Paul was sanctified but a thorn in the flesh had to be given him to keep him humble (2 Cor. 12:7). Again he says of himself, "I keep under my body and bring it into subjection." If the old nature was gone there would be only a pure and holy nature left. Then all the inclinations would be pure; there would not be anything there that would have to be brought into subjection and kept under. "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons" (Heb. 12:6-7). If there were no evil in His children, why should God have to scourge them? "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof" (Rom. 6:12). If the president should die would the people have to be told not to let him rule over them, so if there were no sin in our bodies we would not have to be told to not let it reign. Sin (called in other places the flesh, the old man) is there, but we are not to let it reign, we are not to yield to its lusts. "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). This clearly shows that the flesh is there and the only way not to fulfil its lusts is to walk in the Spirit. The Apostle James was a sanctified man but he says of himself and all believers: "In many things we offend all (of us)." So the Apostle John says: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). But doesn't John say in 1 John 3:9: "Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin?" Yes, indeed. But he is not contradicting himself, neither the other plain statements of Scripture. If you read the next verse you will see that he is speaking of what manifests the children of God, that is, they do not follow sin as a practice because they are born of God and have His seed remaining in them, and no sin can come from that seed. If they do sin it is by giving away to their old nature.
Now they who use this verse to prove that the old nature is burned out only show how carelessly they read the Scriptures. They say you must be born again and then you must be sanctified by a second work of grace that burns out the old nature. But John says: "Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." So what he says here applies clearly to everyone that is born of God from the very moment of his new birth. John says, "he cannot sin." Well, tell me then why he would have to have a second work of grace to burn out the old nature, if he cannot sin. And in verse 6 he says, "Whosoever sins has not seen Him, neither known Him." Now they all will tell you that a sanctified person can sin and will tell you if he does he loses his salvation and sanctification too; he was once saved but now he is lost again. But John says, "Whosoever sins has not seen Him, neither known Him." According to this if anyone sin he never knew God at all. How can you say he was once saved? This is the hopeless confusion one gets into when he tries to read a wrong doctrine into the Scriptures instead of getting his doctrine from the Scriptures. When we take it in the plain and simple meaning of the whole passage, that John is telling what characterizes and manifests the children of God and the children of the devil, then all is clear. What characterizes the children of the devil is that they sin and do not know God and what characterizes the family of God is that they do know God, have His seed, or nature, remaining in them and they do not practice sin.
That they may fall into sin if they are not watchful, John shows in 1 John 2:1-2, where he tells of God's provision for it. "My little children … if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." If through carelessness a child of God does sin, he does not lose his nature as a child of God and God is still his Father. What he does lose is communion with his Father and the joy that goes with it. He is still God's child but a naughty one, and the Spirit of God cannot give him his joy back again until he confesses his sin to his Father and is restored to communion with Him. Christ as the advocate takes up his case and the Holy Spirit works in his heart to bring him to repent of and confess his sins and thus through the advocacy of Christ he is restored. How thankful we should be that our Father has provided an advocate for us, but how careful we should be not to fall into sin and if we do fail, to confess it to our Father at once so our communion and joy will not be long interrupted. The only way to have the victory over sin is to bow to God's truth about ourselves, and accept His provision for it. This will keep us humble, dependent and thankful.
Every believer is indwelt by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 6:19). I ought to say therefore, when I rise in the morning, "The Holy Spirit, dwelling in me, will produce in me this day the walk and ways, the temper and deportment of Christ, if I do not hinder Him by the allowance of the flesh. The opposition of the world, the flesh and the devil are nothing to Him, if I am contented to be a broken vessel for Him to use. —H. C. A.
Separation from evil, when in fellowship of the Spirit, is separation unto God in true holiness, and in the title of Christ the appointed Heir in resurrection life and glory. And what is this but real strength in the power of the Holy Spirit?
If we merely act from impulse, when the impulse subsides, the acting will subside also.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
(The author of this article is unknown.)
Matt. 3:11; John 1:33-34; Acts 1:5; 1 Cor. 12:13
As every man by birth and practice since the fall of Adam has been a sinner against God, God could not dwell with him for He is holy. In His grace and goodness God visited man, speaking to him in these characters, working in him by His Holy Spirit. We find instances of this in the Old Testament. Also 2 Peter 1:21 says, "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." This was in old time. John the baptist also was to be "filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb" (Luke 1:15).
God wrought by His Spirit from the beginning both in creation and redemption, and He will do so to the end. It is the will of the Spirit. The three in one are always found acting together in one mind and purpose. So the work of the Spirit goes on in men through all ages.
But now that redemption is fully accomplished, and Christ is the exalted glorified man at God's right hand, the Holy Spirit has come to this earth to dwell in person. And if we follow out the Scriptures that speak of it, we shall find much to comfort our hearts in this blessed fact. We shall find as in John 14:17, "He dwells with you and shall be in you," and in verse 16, He is to abide with us forever. He is that other Comforter the Lord promised to send, after He went away (John 14 to 17).
Many are the offices He performs for those in whom He dwells. In Rom. 8:2, He is the power of the new life in us. In verses 15-17, He gives the cry "Abba Father." In Gal. 4:6, He is called "the Spirit of His Son," for He gives us the proper feelings of affection as children of God, He is the witness with our Spirit that we are the children of God, He is the firstfruits of the blessing we are to receive later in the glory (Rom. 8:23; Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:5), and He helps our infirmities, making intercession for us when we do not know what to pray for as we ought (Rom. 8:26). He sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts (Rom. 5:5), and takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us (John 16:14-15). He gives comfort and joy (Acts 9:31; 1 Thess. 1:6).
In 1 Cor. 2:10-13, He unfolds the deep things of God, we receive them by Him, and He gives words to communicate them to others.
Our carelessness, worldliness, or want of diligence, hinders Him in unfolding to us the things of Christ, so that He often needs to occupy us with our failures, that we may judge ourselves and get Christ again before our hearts. May the Lord help the dear reader to meditate more on these things. It is meditation that makes the truth good to our souls.
We have the divine assurance that He will not leave us, that He dwells in us "forever," and "unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30) which means, not till we do something to grieve Him, but, till Christ comes to claim His purchased possession.
The beginning of this article gives the Scriptures that refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are other ways He is spoken of, such as the "Anointing," the "Seal," the "Earnest " (2 Cor. 1:21-22). He is all of these in us.
As the "Anointing," He is our power for discerning the truth, and also our power for service and worship (Acts 10:38; 1 John 2:20, 27).
As the "Seal," He marks out the redeemed ones as being God's very own (Eph. 1:13).
As the "Earnest," He brings to us a foretaste of what we shall soon possess in glory.
In Matt. 3:11, Christ's coming is foretold. It is His coming to Israel as the King who will bless His willing people, and bring judgment upon the wicked. The baptism of fire refers to the judgment that He will bring upon the ungodly among them (verse 12).
John 1:33 points out the One that was to do this, marking Him as the One the Holy Spirit descended and remained upon, as He which baptizes with the Holy Spirit: and John saw and bear record "that this is the Son of God."
In Acts 1:5 the time is announced as near, that this baptism was to take place. The work of the cross is finished, and the Lord is risen, and has been seen of His disciples forty days, but now He must ascend to the Father's right hand and be glorified or the Spirit will not come (John 7:39, 16:7). Then He ascends and the disciples are left waiting and praying for ten days. After the fifty days (Pentecost) are fulfilled (Acts 2), and the Holy Spirit descended, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. He was now come to dwell on earth in them, and this blessed Spirit was to witness with them (John 15:26-27).
Each of the disciples was a temple of the Holy Spirit, but also all of them together became the temple of God: the Spirit of God dwelt in them (Compare 1 Cor. 3:17 with 1 Cor. 6:19). They were builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph. 2:22).
1 Cor. 12 adds to all this, and unfolds to us the truth that we are one with Christ. Verse 12 tells of this one body. Verse 13 tells how this body is formed, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." Here we get how the body of Christ was formed, it was by the Holy Spirit coming upon them. The Holy Spirit was poured upon the believing Jews at Pentecost, and on the believing Gentiles (Acts 10:44-45 and 11:16). The baptism of the Holy Spirit took place at that time. The Church, the body of Christ, began then, and believers were all united into one. "There is one body" (Eph. 4:4). When individuals since then are sealed with the Holy Spirit, they are thus united also to the body formed at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit Himself becoming the living link that links them up with the Head in heaven and the other members of the body on earth. This baptism could not take place twice: the body could not be formed twice, but receiving the Spirit puts the individual believer into the body as part of it. So it is true of us all. "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." This is union with Christ and with each believer in Him. We are one body, united to each other, and to Christ our glorious Head, part of Himself, as He said to Saul (Acts 9:4), "Why persecutest thou Me." Wonderful union!
I would add a few words on the difference of being sealed with the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit. On reading the Scriptures on sealing, we find, "Ye are sealed;" it is an accomplished fact and always true; it never alters. God never takes His Spirit away from those He has sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). But we read, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). We are only filled with the Spirit in the measure in which we abandon the things that grieve Him and walk in the Spirit allowing Him to have full control of us. At Pentecost all were filled with the Spirit, then again later in Acts 4:31, but this did not continue as soon afterwards we find there was murmuring among them. We read of Peter and others on several occasions being filled with the Holy Spirit, but we read also of Peter on another occasion that he had to be withstood to the face by the Apostle Paul because he "walked not uprightly" (Gal. 2:11-14). He was not then filled with the Spirit; though he was still sealed with the Spirit. The Spirit was still dwelling in him, but he was not at that moment full of the Spirit. "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 4:30; 5:18). —Arranged.
Some Questions as to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
(a) Do you believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit (as spoken of in Acts 2:4) is being poured out in this day?
(b) Is it intended for the present day?
(c) Is one qualified to judge regarding it, if she or he has not received the experience?
(a) There was only one baptism of the Holy Spirit. This event took place at the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down from the glorified Christ in heaven (John 7:32; Acts 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit is a divine Person of the Godhead, not an influence. "I will send Him (not it) unto you." "He will reprove the world of sin." "He will guide you into all truth," etc.
Since Pentecost the Holy Spirit in person is now dwelling in the believers here on earth: "He dwells with you and shall be in you" (John 14:16-17). There could not be another outpouring of the Holy Spirit today as in Acts 2. It is a denial of the presence here on earth of the Person of the Holy Spirit, to pray or sing: "Lord, send the power," or "the fire," for the Spirit is already here.
The following Scriptures speak of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as future: "shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5). In Acts 1:5 the Lord made it very clear that "not many days hence" this baptism with the Holy Spirit was to take place, and so it was—only ten days after the ascension of Christ, "having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost He has shed forth," etc., on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33). This is an important point to note: "The Holy Spirit, in Person, was sent here consequent to the glorification of the Crucified One" (John 7:39).
Acts 10:44-47 is not to be considered as a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, although very manifestly, God did make these believing Gentiles partake in the like gift as He did unto the Jews "who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 11:17).
It is well to note here that there was no tarrying for the Holy Spirit nor praying for Him to come upon them. Peter was preaching to them, "To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word" (vv. 43, 44). As they heard the gospel that whosoever believes in Christ receives remission of sins, they believed it and received immediately the Holy Spirit. The inspired Apostle says the same of the Ephesians: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13). Thus their receiving the Holy Spirit is directly connected with their faith in Christ upon hearing the gospel. In Gal. 3:1-4 we have the same truth: when they heard the gospel and put faith in it, they received the Spirit.
The Apostles were told to tarry for the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the simple reason that "the Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39). On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came and is now dwelling personally with and in the believers. So now, since He is come, when a sinner repents and believes the gospel the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in him, and thus he also becomes a member of the body of Christ and shares with the other members the gift of the Holy Spirit who came down from the glorified Christ on the day of Pentecost and baptized the believers into one body.
The first Samaritans that believed did not receive the Spirit immediately as did the Gentiles, but the reason is evident when we turn to 1 Cor. 12:13: "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." These Samaritan believers upon receiving the Holy Spirit would become fellow-members with the Jewish believers at Jerusalem of this one body formed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But there was racial hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans; they had no dealings one with another (See John 4:9). In order to efface this and to make it evident that they were to be considered not separate companies but one body together, God purposely withheld His Spirit in the case of these first believers of Samaria until the Apostles came down from Jerusalem and laid their hands on them. We do not read that this was ever repeated with the Samaritans that believed after this.
The only other case recorded of the Spirit being given by the laying on of the hands of the Apostles is in Acts 19:6. Paul comes to Ephesus and finds some disciples there. He immediately put the test to them whether they were really believers in Christ by asking whether they had received the Holy Spirit. Then it comes out that they had not heard of the Holy Spirit for they were only disciples of John the Baptist. Paul preaches to them that they should believe on Christ as John told the people they should do. They believed and were baptised and Paul lays his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came on them. By this God bore witness to Paul and his message by making it thus evident that he was sent of God for the great work that God did through him there. (Read the whole chapter). This laying on of hands was not repeated that we read of. Paul writing to all the believers of Ephesus later says of them simply, "after that ye believed ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
Paul's case was a special one (Acts 9:10-18). That proud Pharisee and ardent persecutor of the disciples of Jesus was struck down and blinded by the brightness of the Lord's glory. Yet the Lord in His sovereign and wise ways does not heal his blinded eyes nor give him the Holy Spirit directly but gives it to him through the laying on of hands of one of those despised disciples that Paul had intended to persecute.
(b) In this present day every soul who has received the Lord Jesus by faith, is a child of God, belongs to those who are God's sons (Gal. 3:26). "And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying: Abba Father" (Gal. 4:6).
The inspired writer raises the questions (Gal. 3:2):
"Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law"? (by doing something); answer, "No"; or "by the hearing of faith"? (by believing the gospel); answer, "Yes." Now that makes it plain: all blessings, as believers in the crucified One, came to them by the way of the glad tidings which they believed and received, "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 that holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13).
(c) It would be better to say "received the Holy Spirit" rather than "received the experience." Scripture never speaks of it as an experience. The word experience is likely to get one occupied with the emotions and feelings or outward evidences, whereas the Holy Spirit never occupies us with our feelings but rather turns our attention to the Word of God, to the love of God and the unsearchable riches of Christ. When we receive the Holy Spirit we receive a person not an experience. God sends Him "into our hearts crying, Abba, Father" and He "bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15-16). No doubt joy will result from this. Now as to your question if we can know whether we have received the Holy Spirit or not; yes, certainly, if we will but believe the plain statements of God's Word. Take the verses just referred to: "God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father" and "the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father." If you can look up to God and call Him your Father in the consciousness that you are His child, it is evident that you have received the Spirit, for it is by the Spirit that we cry, Abba, Father. Are you conscious of God's love to you? then you can say on the authority of Rom. 5:5 that you have received the Holy Spirit; "because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." If you gladly own Jesus as your Lord and Master, then according to 1 Cor. 12:2 you have the Holy Spirit, for "no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost." Many other passages could be referred to but we have not the space for it now; but these few are mentioned in addition to what was said in answer to your first question where we saw that, now that the Holy Spirit is come down to dwell in and with the believers, all that believe have Him dwelling in them. All outward signs are not trustworthy in this day of ruin, where there is so much empty profession and so little reality, and especially since Satan is filling the world with his counterfeits.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7.
Speaking In Tongues and Working Miracles
Many believe that unless one can speak with tongues one has not received the Holy Spirit; but in this day of the Church's ruin a true Christian, guided by the Word of God, need not be troubled nor allow others to trouble him because he is not able to do signs and wonders or speak with tongues. The apostles and others had this special gift (Acts 2:4, 43; 4:30; 5:12; 14:3), but even in the beginning not all spake with tongues or did miracles; but all who believed were sealed with the Holy Spirit (See 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13). The questions of the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 12:29-30 show conclusively that all did not speak with tongues. Every member in the Body of Christ has a place and service, but each member, however useful, has not the same gifts. "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" The answer to these questions is clearly "No." And note it well that the apostle is speaking to those who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit (See verse 13).
In Matt. 16:18 the Lord Jesus spoke of building the church or assembly and in Acts 2 this work was begun. God was pleased to introduce this new testimony with signs and wonders—the ascended glorified Lord was "working with them (His own) and confirming the word with signs following" (Mark 16:17-20).
The gift of tongues especially became the manifest token of this divine work. Scriptures show that the gospel was told out by the gift of tongues; for the strangers heard the wonderful works of God, each in his own dialect (Acts 2:4, 8, 11; 10:46; 19:6); but it is wrong to conclude that one had not the Spirit of God if he had not this special gift. Tongues were for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not (1 Cor. 14:21-22). This is a fulfilment of Isaiah 28:11-12. We see from this prophecy that it was a sign especially intended to demonstrate to the unbelieving Jews their guilt in rejecting Christ.
The confusion of tongues had been brought in through sin (Gen. 11:6-9). The law had been given to one nation and in one tongue, but now when God sent forth His pardoning grace to "Whosoever," it went forth in the many tongues in which every one was born; therefore, there could be no doubt but that this was of God.
But very early in the Church's history (1 Cor. 14), we find the gift of tongues much misused, and the assembly appeared to the unlearned as a company being mad (verse 23). This was the very opposite of 2 Tim. 1:7 where those who had the Spirit of God were characterized as of a "sound mind." In 1 Cor. 13:8 we are told "tongues shall cease," although the time is not given.
In 2 Cor. 1:21-22 three characteristic things are mentioned in connection with the Holy Spirit—(1) Anointed, (2) Sealed, (3) Earnest.
Not tongues but the following things are real evidences of the presence of the Holy Spirit:
Gal. 4:6 — "Crying, Abba, Father" —the Spirit of adoption (Also Rom. 8:15).
2 Tim. 1:7—Power, love, and sound mind.
Since the second Epistles (excepting 2 Corinthians) are prophetic, 2 Tim. 1:7 especially characterizes the Holy Spirit's work today.
The Christian is born of the Spirit (John 3:6); is persecuted by those born of the flesh (Gal. 4:29); is guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13); the love of God is shed abroad in his heart (Rom. 5:5); therefore, he will be conscious of the love of God "toward us" and "in us" (1 John 3:14, 23-24; 5:1-2), and he will confess the Lord Jesus Christ as come in flesh (1 John 4:2). If the Spirit of God is not grieved and has the unhindered place in our lives and hearts, we will be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Manifestation of signs to confirm this is not needed, but there will be submission to the Word, worship to God and ministry for edification to the assembly.
In conclusion, let us consider Israel which was brought out of Egypt with signs and wonders (Ps. 78:11-16, 20, 24, 27, 32; Acts 7:36). God cast out the nations of the land so wonderfully and gave it to the Israelites for an inheritance. It was manifested that they were God's chosen, earthly people, the possessors of the oracles of God (Rom. 9:4-5), but they rejected their Messiah, God's dear Son, when He was here on earth; therefore, Judaism with its divinely appointed service was set aside—as a defiled camp—from which Christians were exhorted to "go forth" (Heb. 13:13) to the blessed Person of our Lord Jesus Christ as being the only gathering center that God now recognizes.
A Word of Warning
In these perilous times in which we are living we need to be very careful of the "spirit of error" (1 John 4:6) for there are many "false prophets gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). A very simple test for these spirits is—Are they abiding in the apostles' doctrine as to the Person of Christ, God manifest in flesh (1 Tim. 3:16)? If such confess not this, clearly they belong to those of the "spirit of error"—"by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:15-20), and Scripture is very clear as to how Christians should deal with such teachers (2 John 1:9-11).
An example of Satan's counterfeit is Saul prophesying under the influence of the evil spirit while at the same time he seeks to kill David (1 Sam. 18:10). Also there was a lying spirit in the prophets of Ahab (1 Kings 22:22). Strong delusions and satanic miracles to deceive are allowed of God as a judgment upon those who receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved (See 2 Thess. 2:9-12). Working of miracles is no evidence of the Holy Spirit's power. Satan has always worked miracles to deceive, and one of the characteristic signs of the end time is that Satan will work many miracles to deceive if it were possible the very elect. Read carefully these references on this subject (Ex. 7:8-12, 20-22; Deut. 13:1-3; Matt. 24:24; Rev. 13:13-14; 16:13-14).
The Spirit of God gives special warning of "seducing spirits" (1 Tim. 4:1) which we find at work in false cults, spiritism, etc. They often impersonate or pretend to be the Spirit of God, but their true character is revealed by the fact that they wrest the Scriptures seeking always to undermine the truth as to God and Christ, heaven and hell, eternal punishment, the resurrection of the body, the vicarious atonement, the deity of Christ, etc. Many in our days are giving heed to deceiving spirits and to the teaching of demons who speak lies in hypocrisy.
Dear reader, let us remember: All Scripture is enough for the man of God to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Timothy was exhorted to "preach the Word" (2 Tim. 4:2).
The Word of God is very clear for those "who have ears to hear." Let us flee from the voice of strangers (John 10:5).
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
"How can one blaspheme against the Holy Ghost today? Jesus said that it was one sin that can never be forgiven" (Mark 3:28-29).
Read also verse 30: "Because they said, He has an unclean spirit." It would be well for us to first enquire what the Lord called "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost." In the more detailed account given in Matt. 12:22-32 we find the Lord Jesus had healed a blind and dumb man by delivering the subject from a demon and when the man "both spake and saw" all the people were amazed and said, "Is not this the Son of David?" Thus the shining forth of the glory of David's Lord and Son was what aroused the Pharisees and Scribes (Mark 3:22) to this blasphemy—"this fellow does not cast out demons but by Beelzebub, the prince of demons." Some time before, in Matt. 9:34 they had said something very much the same, but the Lord Jesus had passed it over in grace as ignorance. But now, after He had been on the mountain (Mark 3:13) and in prayer all night to God (Luke 6:12) and sent out the twelve, more light had in grace come to them, and now it was no longer a dumb man as in Matt. 9:32 but one "blind and dumb." The grace and power of God was equal to it all—by the Spirit of God, He cast out the demons (Matt. 12:28). Then it was manifest so much that the poor heathen had been able to recognize that here the "finger of God" was at work (Luke 11:20; Ex. 8:19) but in wilful blindness, they attributed this work of the Holy Spirit in grace to Beelzebub—Satan. "They have both seen and hated both Me and My Father" (John 15:24). Here is where the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost lay. These Pharisees and Scribes who had the privilege of all the light (the kingdom of God had come unto them and the King was in their midst so that even the people said, "Is not this the Son of David?") ascribed the act of casting out the demon to the power of Satan.
Let it be stated once again: In wilful enmity against God's beloved Son and Servant in whom God was well pleased (Matt. 12:18; Isa. 42:1) they attributed the work Christ did by the power of the Holy Spirit to Satan. There was no forgiveness to them as we read in Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28; Luke 12:10. It is a question if this blasphemy against the Holy Ghost can be committed today—one lacks the circumstances.
Now a word to any troubled soul which Satan may have harassed with the suggestion that it is no use for you to seek the forgiveness of God for your many sins, you may have sinned against the Holy Ghost. The very fact that anyone is at all anxious to learn of forgiveness as to their many, many sins, shows that the Holy Spirit is still at work (John 16:8). This would not be if you were beyond hope. As another has well said, "We do not believe that any sinner in the acceptable year, this day of salvation, is beyond the reach of the pardoning love of God and the atoning blood of Jesus." "The blood of Jesus Christ, His (God's) Son, cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).