Five Studies on the Holy Spirit (Part 1)
Ian McDowell, Epping, Australia
THE PERSONALITY AND DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Deity of the Holy Spirit. The
Holy Spirit is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, Matt. 28. 19 — three Persons, but one Name. He is the Spirit of the Living God who wrote Paul's worth on Corinthian hearts, 2 Cor. 3. 3. He is the Spirit of the Father who instructs witnessing disciples, Matt. 10. 20. And He is the Spirit of His Son, who teaches sonship to believers, Gal. 4. 6. He is a Person, never a mere influence; our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of Him using the masculine pronoun "He", John 14. 26; 16. 8, 13, 14 — He speaks of Christ, inspires the New Testament, teaches the disciples of "things to come". We should never refer to the Holy Spirit as "It".
The Personality of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit possesses the usual features of personality. Believers who have the "mind" of the Spirit receive guidance in prayer, Rom. 8. 27. Those who have the "love" of the Spirit experience emotions in prayer, 15. 30. Those who receive "gifts" from the Spirit know the working of His "will", 1 Cor. 12. 11. Though Divine and not human, He is no less a person than we are.
The Holy Spirit and Salvation. At
conversion, the new Christian is "born again" through his response to the application of the truth of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit to his heart, John 3. 5-8; Rom. 10. 17; Eph. 2. 5; 1 Pet. 1. 23.
The Indwelling Holy Spirit. All Christians have the Divine indwelling through the "hearing of faith", Gal. 3. 2. His Person dwells within our persons in that mysterious realm of the human being called the spirit, John 14. 17; Eph. 5. 19. The, New Testament describes this indwelling in a variety of ways (e.g., 1 Cor. 6. 19-20, the body of the believer is His temple) which subsequent studies deal with in more detail.
The Holy Spirit and Sanctification.
Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in setting us apart for God and making us holy as He is holy, 1 Pet. 1. 2, 16. Holiness of life shows in the "fruit of the Spirit", which is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control", Gal. 5. 22-23. He is the Holy Spirit, who gives capacity for holy living without which no believer has real assurance of salvation, 1 John 2. 5.
Our Personal Relationship with the Holy Spirit. This Divine Person who associates so intimately, with us is grieved when we sin, Eph. 4. 30-32, and quenched when we restrain His work in us, 1 Thess. 5. 19, etc. So let us avoid behaviour which gives Him sorrow, and lack of active godliness which quenches His fire. Further studies deal with His sealing, earnest, unction, witness, baptism, gifts, fruit and fulness, all of which become very personal to us by faith.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Introduction. Some Christians misunderstand this topic. The only way to gain understanding is to gather together all the important Scripture references and examine them. This study does that.
What Baptism is. Baptism means immersion, e.g. in water, Acts 8. 37-38. The term is extended to mean some vital significant experience, e.g. our Lord Jesus Christ said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with", meaning the death of the cross, Matt. 20. 18, 22; Luke 12. 50.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The New Testament does not contain this exact phrase; all relevant passages have the verb "baptize", not the noun "baptism", with the words "Holy Spirit" in the dative case following the preposition "in". This construction indicates intimate association — compare "in Christ", 1 Cor. 4. 17. Thus we may paraphrase the expression "baptized in Holy Spirit" as "given a vital significant experience through intimate association with the Holy Spirit". This experience is objective in character, though it may be accompanied by subjective feelings in emotional people. Scripture does not promise these feelings.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Baptiser. The four Gospels and Acts contain the promise (given before Pentecost and comparable to the Great Commission): "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire", Matt. 3. 11; Mark 1. 8; Luke 3. 16; John 1. 33; Acts 1.5. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is unto life, but the baptism in fire is unto death, Matt. 3. 11-12; Mark 9. 43. The baptism in the Holy Spirit occurred first at Pentecost as our Lord promised, John 7. 38-39; 16. 7; Acts 2. 3; 11. 16.
The Significance of the Baptism. The special ministry of the Holy Spirit in this "baptism" is the inclusion of the new Christian in "the church, which is his (i.e. Christ's) body", Eph. 1. 22-23. This happens as we become "living stones" at the moment of conversion, 1 Pet. 2. 5. We Christians are "all baptized into one body",
1 Cor. 12. 13, so that we are all "builded together for an habitation of God through (in) the Spirit", Eph. 2. 22-23.
Instant Fellowship Between Christians. When we appreciate through faith what the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" means, we will enjoy the "instant fellowship" of Christians, and work anywhere and at any time for "the unity of the Spirit" John 17. 21; 1 Cor. 12. 25; Eph. 4. 1-4. It is a pity for any Christian to deprive himself of the blessing of understanding the truth of the "baptism" by confusing the term with "fulness". We consider "fulness" in Study 4.
THE SEALING, EARNEST,
ANOINTING AND WITNESS
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Introduction. God ministers His Holy Spirit to the Christian at his conversion in four ways, thus establishing him, 2 Cor. 1. 19-24. The first two bring assurance and worship; the remaining two bring power and guidance.
The Sealing of the Spirit. To "seal" in this sense means, to mark for a purpose, where the fulfilment of that purpose depends upon the authority of the person who makes the mark. Despite confusion in Christendom, "the Lord knoweth them that are his", 2 Tim. 2. 19. His seal is like a shipping mark or a signature on a currency note, and is irrevocable. God the Father sealed His Son to Himself, John 6. 27, and us to Himself likewise, Eph. 4. 30. Receiving this marvellous truth by faith brings the grace of assured hearts.
The Earnest of the Spirit. As our "earnest", the Holy Spirit is our constant token of eternal life, 2 Cor. 5. 1, 5. He is the present evidence of ultimate complete redemption, Eph. 1. 14, like the deposit on a contract which expresses the intention to fulfil (the modern Greek word for an engagement ring resembles the New Testament word). "Sealing" and "earnest" appear in a context of worship, "unto the praise of His glory". This is more than mere assurance; it involves the lifting up of the heart to our Lord Jesus Christ in response to grace.
The Anointing of the Spirit. Anointing, or unction, relates to spiritual power. God anointed His Son Jesus with His Holy Spirit so that by Him He should have such power, Luke 4. 18; Acts 10. 38. The title "Christ", i.e. "Messiah", expresses this idea of anointing. God anoints Christians by the Holy Spirit in the same way, and by this anointing we enjoy also spiritual discernment, 1 John 2. 20, 27. We make possible this special touch upon our lives through faith in the various promises.
The Witness of the Spirit. He who lives in our human spirits "bears witness" with them, Rom. 8. 16, of the truth of the inspired, inerrant and authoritative Word of God, 2 Tim. 3. 15-17; 2 Pet. 1. 20-21. This is how He speaks to us, Acts 8. 29; 1 Cor. 2. 10-14. Guidance outside scriptural statements is by divine wisdom imparted through grace, James 1. 5; 3. 17-18. The voice of the Holy Spirit is soft and gentle, and never speaks contrary to Scripture. But the voice of an evil spirit is urgent and compulsive; for other spirits see 1 Cor. 2. 12; 2 Tim. 1. 7; 1 John 4. 6; such a voice hurries men forward without reference to Scripture. These considerations are very important for anyone who is consistendy seeking the mind of Christ on any matter.