Holy Spirit: Indwelling (Part 4)

We continue our study of some key wordings.

Filled

The Old Testament record speaks of those who were filled with the Spirit (Exodus 31:1-5; 35:30-35; Deuteronomy 34:9). The reference is to supernatural wisdom and inspiration.

The New Testament record (Matthew – Revelation) speaks of being filled with the Spirit. Different Greek words are used in the passages: (1) Pletho. This word is used of inspiration or prophetic work [John the baptizer (Luke 1:15 cf. 1:41 cf. 1:76), Elizabeth (Luke 1:41 cf. 1:42-45), Zacharias (Luke 1:67 cf. 1:67-79), the apostles (Acts 2:4), Peter (Acts 4:8), the apostles (Acts 4:31), Saul (Acts 9:17), Saul (Acts 13:9 cf. 13:9-12)]. All of these occurrences refer to miraculous indwelling. (2) Pleres. (a) This word is used of Jesus after He was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1 cf. 3:21-22). Jesus was miraculously anointed with the Spirit (Luke 4:18-19 cf. Acts 10:38). (b) This word is used of Stephen (Acts 6:3, 5 cf. 6:8, 10). This seems to refer to inspiration. Some have denied this based on the fact that hands were laid  on Stephen after he is said to be full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3, 5-6). It should be remembered that the laying on of hands was done for different reasons. Yes, the hand of the apostles could impart miraculous gifts (Acts 8:17-18; 19:6). However, such is not the only reason for the laying on of hands. The laying on of hands was used to ceremonially set one apart for work (e.g. Number 27:22-23; Acts 13:1-3). The context seems to refer to a miraculous indwelling (Acts 6:3 cf. 6:10; 6:5 cf. 6:8). (c) This word is used of Stephen who received a supernatural vision into heaven (Acts 7:55). (d) This word is used of Barnabas (Acts 11:19-24). I see no reason to understand this passage different from the previous. passages. (3) Pleroo(w). This word used of the disciples at Antioch – Pisidia (Acts 13:52), and it is commanded to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:18-19 cf. Colossians 3:16). These passages seem to refer to a figurative, non-miraculous indwelling. Marion Fox commented “(Bruce) Metzger helps to understand this word – ‘The ‘ow’ verbs usually express causation’ (Metzger, Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek, p. 45)… It is evident that Paul employed a metonymy in Ephesians 5:18 as did Luke in Acts 13:52. The cause (the Holy Spirit) is put for the effect (obedience to the Scriptures)… Many brethren are guilty of the fallacy of inconsistency when they assert Ephesians 5:18 refers to the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If the personal indwelling is a promise, then it cannot be obeyed (Ephesians 5:18). Therefore Ephesians 5:18 cannot refer to a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It could be obeyed if the expression filled with the Spirit were a metonymy, and were equal to letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16)” (Fox, The Work of the Holy Spirit, Vol. 1, pp. 418-419). Foy Wallace Jr. has written, of paralleling Ephesians 5:18 with Colossians 3:16, “We have been told in quite a scholarly fashion that the two passages are not ‘completely parallel,’ and that the argument is not ‘sound reasoning’ because in Luke 1:41 Elizabeth ‘was filled with the Holy Spirit’ when ‘the babe leaped in her womb.’ …the illustration of Elizabeth does not illustrate, for the reason that when she was filled with the Spirit she was not obeying any command but was being acted upon. There is quite a difference in the phrase be filled with the Spirit and was filled with the Spirit. To the Ephesians the command be filled is the active imperative, a thing in the doing of which the person acts; but in the case of Elisabeth, was filled is passive, and she was acted upon” (Wallace, The Mission and Medium of the Holy Spirit, pp. 83-84). A few think that a miraculous indwelling is in view, even in these passages (Ephesians 5:18 and Acts 13:52). Marion Fox has written, “There is precedence for commanding one to use his miraculous gifts… (2 Timothy 1:6), therefore the possibility exists for this to refer to the miraculous” (Fox, ibid).

Spirit In

The Old Testament record speaks of those in whom was the Spirit (Genesis 41:38 cf. 41:14-37; Numbers 27:18-20). The reference is to inspiration.

The New Testament also speaks of those in whom was the Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwelt in Timothy and Paul (2 Timothy 1:13-14). How did the Spirit dwell in Timothy? There was a miraculously indwelling in Timothy (cf. 2 Timothy 1:6).

In The Spirit

Some passages speak of those who were “in the Spirit.” David was “in the Spirit” when he prophesied (Matthew 22:43). John was “in the Spirit” when he received the message of Revelation (Revelation 1:10; 4:2). “In the Spirit” at times refers to being under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Peter said, “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

Spirit Upon

The Old Testament record speaks of those on whom the Spirit came (Numbers 11:17-29; 24:2-4; Judges 3:9-10; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Samuel 10:6, 10; 11:5-6; 16:13-14; 19:20-23; 2 Kings 2:9, 15-16; 2 Chronicles 15:1-2; 20:14-15). This wording is associated with inspired wisdom (Numbers 11:17-29), super-natural strength (Judges 14:6; 15:14), and prophecy (1 Samuel 10:6, 10).

The New Testament also uses this same wording in a similar way. It is used of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35). It is used of Jesus’ anointing (Luke 4:18). It is used of the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8 cf. 2:4).

One of the mistakes made by many Bible students is that they overlook the supernatural context of many words and phrases about the Holy Spirit. We must be very careful to not make this mistake.

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Cooperation

Webster defines the word “cooperation” to mean, “To act jointly with others; to unite for a common effort.” Luke 5:4-11 provides an example of cooperation. In this passage, we find two fishing boats cooperating together to bring in a great catch of fish.

The question is, can churches cooperate? Can two or more churches work together in a common cause? Some brethren have said “no.” Other have said, “Yes, but only in the area of benevolence and then only in cases of emergency.” How do we respond?

Benevolence

We clearly have scriptural precedence for churches cooperating together in benevolent relief. This example is set forth in Romans 15:25-26; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Who can deny such?

But some say this only allows for churches cooperating one with another in emergency situations. Is this so? Consider the following: (1) This collection took considerable time to gather and transport (see 2 Corinthians 8:10-11; 2 Corinthians 9:1-2). Does this sound like an urgent emergency? (2) Not all in Jerusalem, or even all the saints were suffering from poverty (see Romans 15:26). (3) It appears that some who sent money to Jerusalem were in equally poor or seemingly even worse shape. Those in Jerusalem that did suffer poverty are described as ‘poor’ (ptochos, Romans 15:26); while those in Macedonia who were giving to those poor in Jerusalem are described as being in ‘deep poverty’ (bathos ptochos, 2 Corinthians 8:1-4). The Macedonians were in poverty to the extreme degree. Could it be that there is something more going on here than just poverty relief? (4) Paul asked the brethren to pray that this collection be accepted by the saints in Jerusalem (Romans 15:30-31). (5) This collection was for a much greater purpose than poverty relief. This was about pulling Jew and Gentile together in the one body (2 Corinthians 9:10-15).

Evangelism

Yes, most recognize that churches can cooperate in benevolent activities. But, can churches cooperate together in evangelism?

There is a principle set forth in the Bible – It is the argument from the lesser to the greater. Jesus used this argument (Luke 12:6-7;  14:1-5; 15:1-4). If one could assist an ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath, then couldn’t one help a man in need? If one would go look for a sheep that was gone astray, then shouldn’t Jesus seek the lost? Paul also used this form of argumentation (1 Corinthians 9:9-11; 1 Timothy 5:17-18). If an ox was to be supported physically in its work, shouldn’t a preacher or an elder be?

An Example

Read Acts 15:22-33. Thomas Warren has said of this passages. “This passage shows that one church can scripturally send some of its own men to render assistance to another church… this passage shows that the assistance which one church may give another may involve spiritual matters…this passage shows that one church may send a writing to another church. This writing may involve spiritual matters. This shows that a church may send a tract to another church. If a church may send one tract to another church, it may send a number of tracts to another church. This passage shows then, in light of the fact that a church may send a number of tracts to another church, that a church may send funds to another church so that the receiving church may use those funds in the purchase of writings which involve spiritual matters… if a church may send funds so that tracts may be purchased the same principle which allows this would also allow radio time to be purchased…” (Lectures on Church Cooperation and Orphan Homes, p. 77-78).

Brethren, this subject can get to the point of ridiculous. Brother Warren tells this story, “Two churches in town, each with a television program, and one of the preachers loaned the other preacher some chalk. This chalk had been furnished by the congregation with which the first preacher was laboring. The second opposed church cooperation in ‘evangelism.’ When, in debate, it was pointed out to him that the principle which would allow one church to give chalk to another church would also allow it to give other assistance as well; I am told the preacher who had received the chalk gave the other preacher some money in order to pay for the chalk. This shows how ridiculous some of these ideas have become” (ibid, p. 45).

Church Autonomy

“What about church autonomy?” This is a common objection. “Churches lose their autonomy when they cooperate,” it is said.

Folks, this simply is not true. Did the churches in Galatia, Macedonia and Achaia give up church autonomy in contributing to the great collection for Jerusalem’s poor saints? Brother Warren has said, “Elders don’t lose their right of self-rule just because they send funds somewhere else” (ibid, p. 110).

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Grace Series: Grace Not Debt

Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5).

The term “work(s)” is being used of perfect obedience. It refers to one who never, in an entire lifetime, has need of forgiveness of sin. He does not need the blood of Christ applied to his life. It refers to one who merits heaven. This is evident from the words which follow: “just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin’” (Romans 4:6-8). “The man to whom the LORD does not impute sin is the pardoned person. God does not count his sins against him because he is no longer a sinner. The man to whom God imputes sin is the one still in his sin” (Robert Taylor Jr., Studies in Romans, p. 81). David needed forgiveness, and he was granted such by God’s grace, on conditions (Psalm 32:1-5 cf. Proverbs 28:13). Important: Meeting conditions for pardon is not the type of “work(s)” under consideration in Romans 4.

No one who has sinned (and that is all of us, Romans 6:23) can by a human act merit salvation (Note: I am not speaking of accepting God’s terms for pardon. I am speaking of meriting salvation). “For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted him for righteousness’… How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised” (Romans 4:3, 10). Many Israelites, and Judaizing teachers, put their trust in circumcision. However, Abraham was not circumcised, or even commanded to be, until he was ninety-nine years old (Genesis 17:10-11, 24-25). Yet, Abraham was counted righteous before this (Genesis 15:6), more than thirteen years before this (Genesis 17:25 cf. 16:15). Abraham lived a life of faith. (1) He moved his family from Ur (Acts 7:3-4; Genesis 11:31; 15:7; Nehemiah 9:7), and Haran (Genesis 12:4), because of his faith (Hebrews 11:8-10, 15-16). (2) His faith caused him to build altars and worship God wherever he went [e.g. Moreh (Genesis 12:6-7); Bethel (Genesis 12:8; 13:3-4); Hebron (Genesis 13:8)]. (3) He offered tithes (Genesis 14:19-20 cf. Hebrews 7:5-ff). All of these things were done before his circumcision. Abraham was not counted righteous because of flawless law-keeping (Romans 4:1-4). Abraham was not counted righteous by some meritorious act, as some seem to have considered circumcision (Romans 4:9-10). Circumcision, by itself, was not the important thing. Trust in God was. He was counted righteous because he lived his life by faith.

What about complying with God’s conditions for pardon? Salvation is a gift of God. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). Yet, gifts can be conditionally given (Romans 6:16-18 cf. 6:3-4). Naaman was required to dip seven times in the Jordan to be cleansed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-14). Who thinks that he earned such cleansing from leprosy? A man born blind was required to “go wash in the pool Siloam” in order to receive sight (John 9:1-11). Did this act merit sight? Or, was such simply a test of faith? Jericho was a gift to Israel (Joshua 6:2). Yes, they were required to march around the wall thirteen times, and blow trumpets, and shout (Joshua 6:3-5). Does such make such any less a gift? Of course not! There is nothing we can do to merit salvation (Romans 6:23). God certainly does not owe us salvation. However, we can comply with God’s conditions for pardon. It is only in this sense that we can save ourselves (Acts 2:40 ASV).

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Holy Spirit: Indwelling (Part 3)

We continue our study of some key wordings.

Giving/Receiving

He whom God has sent speaks the words of God for (God – supplied by the KJV, NKJV) does not give the spirit by measure (unto him – supplied by KJV)” (John 3:34).

Some have suggested that this teaches that there are different measures of the Spirit. Jesus received the Holy Spirit without measure. The apostles received the apostolic measure. Many Christians, in the first century, received the miraculous means. We, today, received a non-miraculous measure.

This verse is not teaching this. While it is true that the apostles received greater miraculous abilities than others, such is not under consideration in this passage. Furthermore, a non-miraculous giving of the Spirit is not in view.

What is this verse teaching? It is affirming that Jesus’ message was from God. Then, there is an appeal to the evidence from the Spirit. There seems two possibilities here: (1) This could refer to God giving the Spirit to Jesus. James MacKnight commented, “God has given him the inspiration and assistance of the Spirit, without these limitations and interruptions wherewith they were given to all other prophets” (Lockwood, Mistakes Regarding the Holy Spirit, Hammer & Tongs, March – April 1996).   (2) This could refer to Jesus giving the Spirit to His disciples. B.F. Westcott commented, “Christ speaks the words of God, for his words are attested by his works, in that he gives the Spirit to His disciples as dispensing in its fullness that which is His own” (ibid), cf. John 15:26.

We are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32).

The context is miraculous. Peter healed a lame man and preached Jesus (Acts 3:1-26). Peter and John were arrested (Acts 4:1-3). Peter told the council that the miracle was accomplished through the authority of Jesus (Acts 4:5-10). The council could not deny the miracle (Acts 4:15-16). However, they commanded them to cease speaking in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:17-18). The apostles did not cease their work. More miracles were worked (Acts 5:12-16). The apostles were again arrested (Acts 5:17-18). They were freed by an angel (Acts 5:17-20). They continued to preach (Acts 5:21-25).   They were again arrested (Acts 5:26-28). They told the council that Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 5:31). Proof? The apostles testified to such. However, there was more than just their testimony, the Holy Spirit also testified of this (Acts 5:32). This is not speaking of a non-miraculous indwelling which one only concludes he has because the Bible says so.

Peter and John… prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit… Then, they laid hands on the, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money” (Acts 8:14-18).

They heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’” (Acts 10:46-47).

“He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit’ …And when Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon then, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:2-6).

All of these passages clearly refer to a miraculous reception of the Spirit. Stephen Wiggins has concluded, “When the word ‘received’ is used in the New Testament in connection with the Spirit being ‘given’ to Christians it is always a miraculous reception of Spiritual gifts either by direct outpouring or indirectly through apostles’ hands” (Wiggins, An Ordinary Reception of the Spirit? Hammer & Tongs, May – June, 1995).

This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? … Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:2, 5).

Judaizing teachers were troubling the church. Franklin Camp commented, “Did the Judaizing teachers confirm themselves as apostles by imparting the Spirit through the laying on of hands? … Paul in imparting gifts to the Galatians, provided proof of his apostleship, the genuineness of the gospel he preached, and the assurance to the Galatians that they were children of God by faith in Christ when baptized, and heirs of the promise of Abraham (Galatians 3;26-29)… It ought to be clear that a non-miraculous reception of the Spirit would have served no purpose in relationship to Paul’s argument” (Camp, The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption, pp. 143-144).

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him…” (John 14:16-17).

Jesus was about to depart this world (John 14:1-3, 19, 28; 16:7, 28). He would not leave them as orphans (John 14:18). Another Helper would be provided (John 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:12-13).

The context is important. Guy Woods commented, “The verb ‘receive’ is the rendering of a Greek term meaning to take, to seize. Soon the enemies of Jesus would seize him and take him from their midst; but the another whom the Lord would send could not thus be taken, and the reason is, the enemies of the Lord could not see him… Thus, this comforter the apostles would not lose!” (Woods, The Gospel According to John, p. 312). Wayne Jackson commented, “The Greek term for ‘receive’ is flexible; it can convey the sense of ‘to lay hold on’ or to ‘seize by force.’ The ‘seizure’ aspect would seem to be the correct meaning in context. The ‘world’ was about to seize Jesus by force and murder him. They would be unable to achieve any such goal with the Spirit, the reason being they cannot see him, nor do they know him” (Jackson, A New Testament Commentary, p. 180). Marion Fox noted, “The word ‘receive’ (lambano) is used to refer to taking something, or someone by force in the following passages: Matthew 5:40; 17:25; 21:35; Mark 12:3, 8; Luke 5:5; 9:39; John 7:23, 12:13; 18:31; 19:1, 6, 23, 40; Acts 2:32; 16:3; 17:9; 2 Corinthians 11:20, etc.” (Fox, The Work of the Holy Spirit, Vol. 1, p. 433).

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Lessons From the Moon

The moon provides benefits to mankind.  The Bible says, “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth'; and it was so.  Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made stars also.  God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:14-18).  The moon and stars not only give us light at night, they also help us keep track of time.  It takes 29 1/2 days for the moon to complete a full lunar cycle.  The lunar phase helps us keep track of the passage of time; and by the stars, one can navigate a ship.

The moon also plays an important role in sustaining life in the oceans and seas upon earth.  Anyone who has maintained a pond or fish tank knows that keeping the water aerated is essential to the life of most aquatic plants and animals.  In comes the moon in God’s design.  The moon creates the tides.  On any given spot on the Earth’s beaches one can observe the ocean level rising for about six hours and then falls for about six hours. Then the cycle is repeated.  Tide and wind helps keep the ocean aerated.

The moon helps cleanse the oceans as well.  The area between the low and high tide line is called the intertidal zone.  Many of he organisms which live in this region feed off of things which would otherwise pollute the oceans  Thus the moon moves water around aiding in cleansing the oceans waters.

The moon also teaches us something about God’s wisdom in designing this Earth.  Water, particularly salt water, ocean currents, and convection help to prevent greater extremes of temperature on this planet.  John Hudson Tiner writes, “Vast oceans cover much of the earth’s surface. Ocean water absorbs heat in winter and releases it in summer, helping to moderate the earth’s temperature…An extreme example is the earth’s moon. The moon orbits the Earth, so it is, on average the same distance from the sun as the Earth.  The moon has no water.   For that reason, temperatures jump to more than 93 degrees C (200 degrees F) on the sunlit side.  After the sun sets, temperatures plunge to -73 degrees C (-100 degrees F)” (Tiner, The World of Chemistry,pp. 83-84).  Moreover, we all know that the moon is pockmarked by meteorites.  While, due to our atmosphere most meteoroids (named meteorite before striking or impacting) burn up  in the mesosphere (a layer of the atmosphere) because of friction between the meteoroid and the atmosphere.  God made this Earth to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18).

Next, we perhaps can learn something of the age of the universe from the moon. When Neil Armstrong was planning to go to the moon Bob Hope asked him what his greatest fear was.  He responded without hesitation, “moon dust.”  NASA, assuming the Earth and moon was very old, thought accumulated cosmic space dust would be 50 to 80 feet deep!  They put huge pods on the Lunar landing Eagle to prevent the craft from sinking into this cosmic space dust.  The Earth with its wind, rivers, and oceans, they thought would erode such – there would be no signs of such accumulations here.  But, on the moon it should be thick.  There would be no erosion to wash or blow it away.  It would just build deeper and deeper.  What did they find?  Paul D. Ackerman writes”There was not a billion years worth of dust, nor was there a million years worth of dust.  There was, in fact, only a few thousand years worth of dust on the moon’s surface”(Ackerman, It’s a Young World After All, p.21).

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Grace Series: Grace for Grace

And of His fullness we have received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17).

There is a contrast between what Moses brought to man and what Jesus brought to man. Curtis Cates commented, “The law of Moses pointed up sin and made sin ‘exceeding sinful,’ but it could not bring full and complete forgiveness and freedom from sin’s guilt, thus the ‘remembrance of sins year by year’ (Hebrews 10:3; Romans 7:13). It was characterized more by law than by grace; law without the shedding of Christ’s blood was inadequate. It killed, but could not give life (2 Corinthians 3:6). Only by the shedding of the blood of the precious Lamb of God (John 1:29) would full and immediate forgiveness be possible. Thus, forgiveness in the Old Testament was in promise, through offering animal sacrifices, looking to and typical of the coming Messiah (Romans 9:30-10:4). The Hebrews writer stated, ‘God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect’ (Hebrews 11:40)” (Curtis Cates, Studies in John, The 18th Annual Denton Lectures, p. 67).

What is Not Meant

This does not mean that there was no grace before Christ. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). Ezra said in prayer, “grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape” (Ezra 9:8).

This does not mean that there was not (in any sense) forgiveness before Christ. God counted them as forgiven when they complied with their part of His requirements for forgiveness (cf. Leviticus 4:22-23, 25-26). However, the blood of Christ was still required (Hebrews 9:9; 9:15; 10:1-4; 10:19-22; 11:39-40; Galatians 4:4-5). Here is an illustration, though imperfect: A utility company will count your bill as paid upon receiving your check. Though, it technically is not paid until the check clears the bank. God counted those of old as forgiven (in a sense) though it would require the blood of Christ.

This does not mean that there was not any truth before Christ. The Psalmist said of the LORD, “Your law is truth” (Psalm 119:142), and “the entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).

This is not teaching that man today is not amenable to law. Man is today amenable to law (Galatians 6:2; James 1:25; 2:8; Hebrews 10:16 cf. Jeremiah 31:33; Isaiah 2:3; Romans 8:2; 8:6-7; 1 Corinthians 9:21). One cannot sin unless law exists (1 John 3:4; Romans 4:15; 5:13). “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).

What is Meant

We have received “grace for grace” (John 1:16). This could be literally rendered “grace instead of grace” (The Zondervan Parallel New Testament). Whatever grace existed under the Old Testament, far superior exists under the New Testament. Sins are no longer annually remembered (Hebrews 9:12 cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 10:1-4 cf. Leviticus 16). They had forgiveness in promise (though they were counted as forgiven when they complied with their part of God’s conditions for forgiveness). We have forgiveness in reality. This grace was prophesied of by the prophets of old (1 Peter 1:10-11).

However much truth was revealed under the Old Testament, we have received far more. His eternal purpose is accomplished in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:11). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

This grace and truth is “of His fullness” (John 1:16). It could be literally rendered “out of His fullness.” He came “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 cf. 1:16; 1:17).

“Oh the depths and the riches of God’s saving grace flowing down from the cross for me! There the debt for my sins by the Savior was paid in His suffering on Calvary!” (Song: Oh the Depths and the Riches by Tillit S. Teddlie).

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Holy Spirit: Indwelling (Part 2)

In this part, we will begin to set forth how I understand some key wordings.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39).

Some brethren have thought that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is salvation. This will not work. Baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); Yet, Cornelius and his company received “the gift of the Holy Spirit” prior to baptism (Acts 10:44-48).

My view is that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” refers to miraculous endowment.   Consider: (1) The phrase “the gift of the Holy Spirit” only appears twice in Scripture (Acts 2:38; 10:44-46). In Acts 10, the phrase is associated with miraculous endowment. (2) There appears to be a parallel with the Great Commission.

Mark 16:16-17: belief | (repentance cf. Luke 24:46) | baptism| salvation| signs follow.

Acts 2:38: (belief cf. Acts 2:36-37) | repentance | baptism | remission of sins | the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Some believe that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whether miraculous or not. They reason: (1) The promise was to the Jews, their children, and those afar off (gentiles) and even as many as the Lord God would call (Acts 2:39). Since, it is the case that He calls us by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), and since, it is the case that miracles have ceased (1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4), this must include a non-miraculous “gift of the Holy Spirit.” However, it should be pointed out that the term “call” (proskalew) is not the word used for being called by the gospel (Kalew). The word in Acts 2:39 is used elsewhere of being called to an office, position, or work (cf. Acts 13:2; 16:10). The language of Acts 2:39 is rooted in Acts 2:16-18 (cf. Joel 2:28-29). (2) The language sounds universal. Yes it does, if taken alone. Remember that this is also true of Mark 16:17-ff. The rest of the scriptures must be considered. Other passages indicate the duration of miracles (1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4).

Consider these words about Acts 2 – “Does it not seem unusual that every reference to the Spirit from the first verse to verse 33 speaks of the miraculous, and then Peter, without any explanation, passed to the non-miraculous in verse 38? Place yourself in the audience on that Pentecost day. You have seen the miraculous manifestation of the Spirit. You asked for an explanation of the miraculous. The preacher quotes a passage that mentions only the miraculous and then you are promised the Spirit as a non-miraculous indwelling. What would be your reaction? In the days of miraculous manifestation, for an apostle to promise the Spirit and one receive no spiritual gift would have made that person question the credibility of the apostle” (Franklin Camp, The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption, p. 153).

Some brethren have spent much time trying to prove that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” refers to not the Holy Spirit as a gift, but to a gift which comes from the Holy Spirit. While I do believe that this refers to a gift which comes from the Holy Spirit, and not to the Holy Spirit as a gift, I do not see how such can be established by grammar alone. Consider – “The gift of God,” in Romans 6:23, clearly refers to a gift from God, eternal life. “The gift of righteousness,” in Romans 5:17, seems to refer to righteousness (a right standing before God) as a gift. The Wise Men from the East, it could be said, brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were the gift.

These are my thoughts. Study for yourself. Draw your own conclusions.

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