Part 1 dealt with some basic definitions as well as “WHERE WE ARE” on the filling of the Holy Spirit. I continue with some concerns and challenges.
WHAT WE MISS! The Holy Spirit filled life is not only a specific command and teaching of the Bible, but it may also serve as a summary phrase for some of the doctrine of sanctification by grace. God’s Spirit working in, with, to, and through us to grow us in holiness, love, and faith making us more like our Lord Jesus inside and out (Phil. 2:12,13) is the Spirit filled life.
When preachers and teachers reduce our faith to confessions and creeds (though they may be Biblically accurate and necessary) then instruct people how to live and behave (even using the Scriptures) but DO NOT teach the truth about the filling of the Spirit, we fail them and the Gospel. This practice produces pride, Pharisee-ism, frustration, and even false converts. When we as Christians intimate that the experience of salvation is to try to do better in our strength and somehow to “hold out faithful to the end”, we are of all men most miserable. Because of lack of instruction, many think the Christian life doesn’t work when the truth is, for most church members, the real Christian life has not been tried! We MUST teach that: 1- We cannot do what the Bible commands in our own strength. Christ never intended this. 2-Through His Spirit, He desires to live in and through us by faith. We must believe Him to do what He has commanded to be done. 3- We MUST teach one another how to seek and receive and maintain the power that works in us by the domination of His Holy Spirit.
We deceive people when we merely instruct and inspire them for better behavior and obedience, allowing them to think that by law, works, or efforts of the flesh they may please the Lord. By teaching that we can live apart from the Spirit controlled life, we “fall from grace” in the area of sanctification by the Spirit. Jesus said in John 5:30, “I can of Myself do nothing…” (an incredible statement for the Son of God). How could we not take Him seriously in His teaching on abiding in Him in John 15:5 when He said, “…without Me you can do nothing”? This is more than just a generic truth but is specifically designed by God to be accomplished by the filling of His Spirit in the believer.
WHAT GOD GAVE! For the doctrinally diligent among us, consider this: The Holy Spirit’s fullness indeed does make us more like our Lord. To be godly and represent His name Elohim, (Gen. 1:1) meaning among other things, the God of fullness, we must ourselves be full of His Spirit. The song writer said, “His height exceeds the Heavens, His weight out-weighs the world, His reach reaches everywhere, His age is evermore.” No wonder the Scripture says, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16); and “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him…” (Col. 2:9,10).
What God gives is fullness, and Who He gives is His Holy Spirit! He indwells every believer at conversion. Then we continue to yield so the Spirit of Christ may be Who He is in who we are so we can be who we are supposed to be. This is the grace for living, and it is found in Jesus by His Spirit’s fullness in each believer. He is the very dynamic of His own demands. “Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it” (I Thess. 5:24).
Since early this year when God again visited me on this subject to revitalize these truths in me and my ministry, there have been attacks, struggles, failures, and victories. Oh how I thank Him for walking with me in all this! I still believe what our Lord Jesus shouted at the feast in John 7:37f, “…’If anyone thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;…” A river is defined by its source, its course, its force, and its capacity. We must seek to define our faith not only by doctrine and duty but also by its dynamic!
Now some questions for us all: Is the teaching you give, seek, and receive FULL of the filling of His Spirit? Are you seeking Him and His fullness in your life? Are you asking God what hinders Him from filling you? Are you seeking through knowledge of the Word and obedience to increase the capacity of the river of your heart?
Glenn Rogers – July 2013