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Posted: Sun May 14, 2006 8:52 am
HOW DOES ONE RECIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT TODAY?
SCRIPTURALLY WHEN DOES SOMEONE RECIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?
Posted: Sun May 14, 2006 9:19 pm
Your question about receiving the Holy Spirit is indeed a good one, and one that has been the center of much Biblical discussion through the years. It is a shame that such a central N.T. topic has been often been the "lightening rod" of disagreement between people who have an interest in Biblical matters. With all this said, allow me to offer a few comments that hopefully will help answer your inquiry.
First of all, we ask the obvious question...does the Holy Spirit dwell within the child of God? The answer is an unequivocal YES. The truth on this alone is too plain to deny. All we have to do is read passages like Acts 5:32; Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:19-20 and 1 Jn. 3:24 to know that the Holy Spirit does indeed dwell within the Christian. However, also notice that these passages are silient on how the Holy Spirit indwells the saint. To answer that aspect of the question, we must allow other Biblical passages to instruct us.
When proponents of a direct indwelling of the Holy Spirit are pressed to offer proof for their belief, they usually will turn to passages like Jn. 14:25; 15:26; and 16:7-13. When studying these texts, we must remember who the audience is and the reason for the Lord's words on that occasion so that we are not guilty of taking them out of their proper context. Notice that Jesus was addressing His hand-chosen 12 disciples and promising them help for their future work as His witnesses or ambassadors. No one else was ever given this work or given miraculous help as they were in such a way. While it is true that some portions of Jn. 14-16 apply to all believers of all ages [i.e. mansions or dwelling places (14:1-6)], it is really not proper to use all the above mentioned verses as proof that the Holy Spirit personally indwells the believer today.
The concept of the Holy Spirit indwelling the Christian doesn't necessarily have to be of a "personal" or "miraculous" nature. A simple observation about our own human relationships will illustrate this. For example, how many times have we heard someone say or even ourselves said, "I sure see his daddy in him!" when making an observation about how a young boy's mannerisms or speech or apperance that bears a striking resemblance to his father's? Are we implying there is something "mystical" or "miraculous" about that? Obviously not. All we are commenting on is the influence that boy's father has had upon his son. Much in the same way, I believe that is how the Holy Spirit influences us today...of which it can be said, "He [the Holy Spirit] is in us." Should people not be able to see God in us? Should God not be at home in our hearts? (cp. Jn. 14:23) Should we not be conformed to the image of the Son of God? (cp. Rom. 8:29) Should not the word of God dwell within us? (cp. Col. 3:16) Should Christ not dwell in our hearts "by faith?" (Eph. 3:17) As you can see, it doesn't have to be something "miraculous" to have God "indwelling" the Christian.
The Calvinist will teach as part of his T-U-L-I-P doctrine the "irresistible grace" of the Holy Spirit. According to Calvinism, this is usually the "zapping" that happens when the Holy Spirit falls upon the individual, of which no one can fight against...it is "irresistible." No where in the N.T. does the inspired record state that one sinner was ever saved in such a way. Does the Holy Spirit do anything today? Absolutely. Is His work of revealing the word of God complete? I believe the Bible teaches it is 1 Cor. 13:8b-10; Jude 3). Is His work of convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment [a work begun by the Holy Spirit-led apostles] complete? No...anytime a person obeys the Holy Spirit-revealed word, the Spirit is "convicting" him cp. 1 Pet. 1:22-23). Does the Holy Spirit do anything else? Yes, He intercedes on behalf of Christians who may be struggling at times to even find the right words when praying to their Father Rom. 8:26-27).
What I am trying to emphasize is that things usually attributed to the Holy Spirit in a "direct, miraculous" way can also be attributed to the word He revealed. For example, sinners are "born again." How...by the Holy Spirit or by the word? Read Jn. 3:5 and 1 Pet. 1:23 to decide. Sinners are "saved." How...by the Holy Spirit or by the word? Read 1 Cor. 6:11 and James 1:21 to decide. Sinners are "sanctified" or set apart from the world for service unto God. How...by the Holy Spirit or by the word? Read 1 Pet. 1:2 and Jn. 17:17 to decide. Do you see the point? The main point is...the Holy Spirit operates through His chosen medium...the word He revealed to inspired chosen servants to write in the 1st century. That is how He operates...not in a direct way today.
One final observation...I think we should all agree that God is not going to save 1 person one way and another person another way. We are all accountable to the same word of God and its demands are encumbant upon all of us. If someone asks today the question recorded in Acts 2:37 or 16:30, he/she is going to have to do what those people did in the 1st century to be what they were...simple N.T. Christians. If that is so, notice the statement found in Acts 8:14-17. The reception of the gospel in Samaria had reached the ears of the apostles in Jerusalem. They were not the ones doing the preaching in Samaria...that was Philip, one of the 7 men mentioned in Acts 6:5. Upon hearing the great news of the gospel's success in Samaria, the apostles send Peter and John (2 of the apostles) to Samaria for the purpose of imparting to these new Christians miraculous gifts through the laying on of their hands v. 15). Now notice the important point made in v. 16. The receipt of the Holy Spirit in a "personal, direct indwelling way" had nothing to do with their salvation. He had "...not yet fallen upon any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord." What this tells us is that one doesn't need the direct indwelling of the Holy Spirit to obey God and receive His gift of salvation. This text also informs us as to what is required to have the "direct, personal indwelling" of the Holy Spirit...the hands of an apostle to be laid upon you. Since all the apostles are dead, such is physically impossible to occur today. However, I can "receive" the Holy Spirit when I allow the word He revealed and inspired to dwell within my heart and shape every fiber of my being and character. Then can it be said I am being led by the Holy Spirit.
I hope this answers your question.
Posted: Sun May 21, 2006 7:55 am
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
Does this passage teach that one can not have the indwelling of the Spirit yet still be saved?
Does this passage teach that the Holy Spirit dwells only through His word?
How does the Spirit intercess for your prayers, is it direct or through the word that He does this?