| The Holy Spirit|
As I was studying John 16 this morning, I realized the importane of the Spirit. I don't know about your background, but I have grown up in a tradition that places great emphasis on the Father and Son and very little on the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it is an attempt to stay away from what some would consider "liberal theology". I think some people fear the idea of the Holy Spirit.
The words of Christ lept off the page when he talked about the Holy Spirit. He said, "
...if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
I have been contemplating what it means, not about God, but about man that we need the Spirit in order to understand sin, righteousness and judgement. Here, God incarnate, is standing before man proclaiming He is the Messiah and man's heart is as cold as stone. It is the Spirit that pentrates the hearts of men.
I got to thinking about this idea. When it comes to the topic of salvation and regeneration, I asked myself if it was man or the Spirit that enabled it to happen. Do I, as a man, will for it to happen. I know Calvinists would respond to this by saying that it is the Irresistable Grace that is drawing men to God, but I wonder if the Spirit is able to work in the hearts of unrepentant men.
If we can not stand in the presence of God because of our sin, I would conclude that the Spirit can not enter our hearts if we are sinful. Thanks to Watchman Nee, I have realized that the Spirit is always dwelling in us; we have no need to ask God to give us His spirit as believers because we already share in His resurrection and are a new creation. But what about before we repent?
Essentially, my thinking comes down to this: Is it man who wills repentence or is it God? If it is God, how can He work in our hearts when we are a sinful creation?
I am curious for other thoughts and especially scripture concerning the issues I have raised.
| 2008/12/11 11:33||Profile|
Stoke on Trent UK
| Re: The Holy Spirit|
Hi as soon as I read your post this scripture sprang to mind Php 2:13 ForG1063 it isG2076 GodG2316 which workethG1754 inG1722 youG5213 bothG2532 to willG2309 andG2532 to doG1754 of hisG5228 good pleasure.G2107
I have included strongs numbers in case you want to study the greek.
The way i see it is this, Man is utterly lost and without hope apart from God. It is God Who draws us, and gives us salvation as a free gift, He keeps and sustains us in all things. Man is even in his saved state utterly dependent on Him, for without Him we can do nothing. God requires of us that we die to self completely and live in Christ for and to Him, bringing Glory to His Name.
Without The Holy Spirit leading, encouraging and enabling us we cannot even desire this without tainting it with pride. Even then we may still fall prey missunderstanding Him, but without Him there is no hope at all.
Yours in Christ Owen
| 2008/12/11 12:35||Profile|
| Re: The Holy Spirit|
Thanks to Watchman Nee, I have realized that the Spirit is always dwelling in us; we have no need to ask God to give us His spirit as believers because we already share in His resurrection and are a new creation. But what about before we repent?
I normally hold Watchman Nee in high regard. There is unfortunately a lot of confusion about the Holy Spirit. I noticed that of the few who are saved among church folk even fewer are truly filled with the Spirit. Conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit, but it is just not true that you are automatically filled with the Spirit at the time of conversion. It is a marked 2nd experience and when you are filled with the Spirit you will know it. Most who argue against this are probably not filled with the Spirit.
Doctrine is important and the Holy Spirit will never negate the Word. You must be filled with the Spirit. Ask, Seek, Knock, Beg, Cry to be filled. Read the beautitudes in Mat 5, for such is the Holy Spirit given. If you have it all together, you do not need the Holy Spirit but you are reduced to only function in the realm of common sense, morals and factual knowlegde of God. You can still be on fire as Appollus was in Corinth, but you are missing out a great deal.
I can pull up bible verses to back up my points upon request.
| 2008/12/11 13:20||Profile|
Most who argue against this are probably not filled with the Spirit.
Thats a gross over generalization. We can not judge this in others. It would be a wise thing to refrain from statements like that. Many believers feel that those who believe in tongues, etc already think of themselves as spiritually superior (another gross over generalization), and statements like what you just made only add to their fears.
Anyway... Scripture is very clear that you can not be saved and have not the Holy Spirit. At the point of salvation you are sealed in the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit you can not even begin to live for Christ.
I do believe in a second "touch". Some call it the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, some call it a "second blessing", some call it sanctification, some call it the "deeper life". I personally believe these terms all describe the same thing.
But the fact is that the Holy Spirit is vital to our lives as Christians. Some churches in Pentecostal / Charismatic churches get out of balance and focus so much on the Holy Spirit that they ignore Jesus. The Holy Spirit always glorifies and lifts up Jesus. It's "magnifies" Him. Study that word "magnifies".
So if you're among believers who only focus on the Holy Spirit... they are out of balance.
On the flip side, many churches are so afraid of Pentecostals that they never even mention the Holy Spirit. Some preach the same salvation message to the same crowd week in and week out and never delve deeper into the Word. They focus on Christ and salvation so much that they ignore scriptures wonderful teaching on the Holy Spirit.
What I'm basically saying this: BALANCE.
The Holy Spirit is not given to us to freak us out. It is given in order to help us live the abundant and victorious life in Christ. I know plenty of people who speak in tongues and participate in all manner of weird stuff... and live miserable and worldly lives. None of that stuff means anything. Doesn't make one more spiritual than any other. I think a lot of it is fake anyway.
The fruit of the Spirit is not barking like dogs or falling to the floor or even speaking in tongues. Wanna know if you're filled with the Holy Spirit? Here's a little test:
Do you love others?
Do you exhibit joy?
Do you have peace?
Are you patient?
Are you kind to all?
Do others see you as a good person?
Are you faithful to God and to your spouse?
Are you a gentle person?
Do you exercise self-control?
If so... rejoice! You are filled with the Holy Spirit!
Nothing theologically deep. It's really just this simple.
| 2008/12/11 14:49|
a question that i still have after reading the responses thus far is this: if it is only by the work of the Holy Spirit that we are saved, how can the Spirit enter us when we are unrepentant but we can not stand before God unrepentant? or, does the Holy Spirit not enter into us, rather influence the things around us?
I am still interested to see what others have to say, and as always, I do appreciate scripture to support a thought! :-)
| 2008/12/11 16:03||Profile|
The Bible says "Be ye filled"...
If you want a drink of water do you fill the glass with water, or do you just pour it on the counter around the glass and let the water influence everything around it in the hope that you wont thirst anymore?
| 2008/12/11 16:45|