The Holy Spirit-2


Note: These are miscellaneous notes on the Holy Spirit and His role in our life as believers. These notes include Scriptures, commentary and devotionals from a variety of sources. The notes are not arranged in a specific order except the notes toward the top of the page.

1) Exhortation of Witnesses

  • 1Cor 11:1, 4:16, 1Peter 2:21, 1John 2:6, John 13:15
  • (cf. Heb 12:2, Php 2:5, Php 2:8, 2Ti 3:10 Php 3:17 Ep 5:1-2 1Th 1:6-7 2Th 3:7-9 1Ti 4:12 Titus 2:7-8 Heb 6:12, 13:7 1Pe 5:3 3Jn11 )

2) Emptying by Jesus of His Divine Prerogatives

  • Php 2:3-8

3) Example of Jesus' the Perfect Man

  • Baptism (Anointing) - Mt 3:16-17, Lk 3:22-23,
  • Spirit remained - John 1:32, cp Isa 11:1-5, Acts 10:37-38
  • Leading, Filling, Empowering - Mt 4:1, Lk 4:1, 14-15, Acts 10:37-38
  • Anointing - Lk 4:18-20 (Isa 61:1-2), Acts 1:2, Acts 10:37-38
  • Joy - Luke 10:21
  • Casting out demons - Mt 12:28

4) Equipping of the Disciples

  • Jn 14:16, 17, 18, 26 (cp Jn 6:63, Jn 7:37-39, Lk 24:49)
  • Jn 15:26,
  • Jn 16:7-11, 13-14

5) Experience of the Disciples

  • Acts 1:5, Acts 1:8,
  • Acts 2:1-4,
  • Acts 4:8, 31,
  • Acts 6:5, 8, 10,
  • Acts 7:55-56,
  • Acts 9:17, Acts 13:9, 52
  • 6) Epistles of Paul
  • Gal 5:16, 18, 25,
  • Gal 5:22-23
  • Eph 5:18ff compared to Col 3:16ff,
  • Negative Commands: Eph 4:30, 1Th 5:19

Related Resources:

The Holy Spirit at Work Today by Dr John Walvoord.

The Person of The Holy Spirit by Dr John Walvoord.

(6) Equipping of the Disciples

John 13-16 is known as the Upper Room Discourse and describes the last hours and last instructions and promises of Jesus to His disciples before He went to the Cross. His little band of men had followed Him for 3.5 years, but now He was going to leave them and they were sorrowful (Jn 16:6) and frightened and had no idea how they would be able to carry on His work without His physical presence. And so Jesus explains to them that He is leaving but they will not be left alone to accomplish His work. And so it is not surprising that we in His last words, we find most of the Gospel teachings about the One Who He would sent to take His place. From the preceding diagram, we note that Jesus goes up and the Spirit of Jesus comes down and the Church begins to carry on the work Jesus began. But the only way the Church can accomplish the task is by following Jesus' example of reliance on and surrender to the power of His Spirit. The church began by the Spirit and must continue by the same Spirit!


Luke 24:49 "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."

Comment: Luke says that Jesus will send forth the Holy Spirit and Jn 14:26 says "the Father will send" the Spirit. In Jn 14:16 Jesus says He will ask the Father to give the Spirit. The Spirit was promised in Ezekiel 36:27 as the new order of the New Covenant.

Note the phrase clothed with power, which is a reference to the Holy Spirit's power to enable us in ministry. We are only effective in ministry when we jettison self-reliance and rely wholly on the Holy Spirit's power, dunamis, His inherent ability to accomplish the supernatural. Jesus did not commission His disciples to proclaim the Gospel before they were endued or clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit. The modern church invokes methods and men's plans seeking to proclaim the Gospel, but sadly in many instances has substituted a humanistic strategy for God's supernatural strategy. Jesus proclaimed the Gospel filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit and the modern church must return to His example!


Elmer Towns aptly illustrates why so much of Christian ministry has failed to bring revival to America - Sometimes children receive toys marked with three words that promise problems ahead: "batteries not included." Without batteries to energize these toys, they will not do what they were designed to do. Although they may look like the picture on the box, they fail to function like the toy our children see in the television commercial. Like the toy without its batteries, many Christians fail to rise to their potential effectiveness because they are not energized with the power of the Holy Spirit. They may look like a Christian should look, but they fail to perform as a Christian should perform. They lack the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin in their lives and increase their effectiveness in ministry. Only as they yield more completely to God and allow the Holy Spirit to exercise greater control in their lives can they be energized by the power He offers. (The Names of the Holy Spirit) Note that this illustration breaks down somewhat for if one is a true follower of Christ, he or she has been given the "batteries" so to speak. More to the point, we need to allow the batteries to be turned on, so that we might function as we should!

CHURCHES CLOSED FOR LACK OF POWER - The first winter that my wife Marlene and I were married was marked by severe blizzards. I can vividly remember one Sunday when we awoke to find that the electricity had been knocked out by an ice storm. Huddled around a battery-powered radio for news on that frigid Sunday, we heard a most unusual announcement. The announcer, before giving the list of church services canceled due to the ice storm, said, “The following churches will be closed due to lack of power.” What an interesting comment! I knew what he meant, but I was struck by what he said. The idea of churches closing due to lack of power conjures up some spiritual parallels that directly tie into Jesus’ promise of the Spirit. (Bill Crowder - The Promise Of The Spirit)

As followers of Christ, we don't need "help", we need enablement! Notice the difference of the these two English words...

Help = to assist or aid someone to do something, especially by sharing the work; "lend a helping hand" - this implies the one being helped has some inherent power of their own. They just need a boost or a little assistance.

Enable = to make able, to supply with power, to furnish with ability, to provide with the means, to make possible, to empower - this word implies that one has no inherent power and is completely dependent on being given the necessary power to accomplish a task.

In John 6 Jesus emphasizes the futility of flesh in the realm of supernatural endeavors, declaring in essence that we don't just need a little "boost," but we are 100% in need of the Spirit's supernatural enabling power!

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing (Greek = absolutely nothing of eternal value); the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63, cp a similar truth in John 15:5. As an aside how do we abide in Jesus today? Is it not as we abide in His Word and yield to His Spirit Who abides in us!)

Acts 2:33 "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

John 20:21 Jesus therefore said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

Luke 11:13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"


John 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 "After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. 20 "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."

Father will give - The other comforter, the Holy Spirit, is the gift of the Father through the Son, for our Lord says, "I will pray the Father and He shall give you another comforter." This is a new revelation for we do not find anywhere in the Old Testament such a promise.

With us forever - This also is new. In the Old Testament the Spirit of God was with those who believed in the coming of the Messiah, who trusted the Lord. But He was not known as the abiding Spirit. There was no assurance given that He would remain. That is why David prayed in his penitential psalm, "Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me"(Psa.51:11). No believer in the New Testament needs to pray this prayer.

Spirit of Truth - He is the Spirit of Truth, because He is the author of the Word of God which is Truth, and He brings Christ, the Truth, to the hearts of God's people.

Teach you - The Spirit of Truth is to teach the believer just as Christ taught His disciples, and the words which Christ taught and the disciples did not understand, He would bring to their remembrance all He had said to them. A number of times the Lord told them that they should know the meaning of His words afterwards, that is, when the Spirit had come. See John 2:22 and 12:16, in both passages we read of the fulfillment of this promise. The Holy Spirit then supplies the spiritual needs.

Notice that repeated emphasis that although Jesus is leaving, yet He will come to them (Jn 14:18, 19, 21). While there is disagreement about Jesus' meaning of "I will come to you," most agree that this is not just a reference to His post-resurrection appearances to them, but refers to His asking the Father for His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, Whom He sends to the disciples.

John 14:25 "These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. 26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Disciple's Study Bible - The Spirit came to the disciples in power only after Jesus had gone. This is one clear way by which the Spirit is distinguished from the Son. The Spirit teaches disciples about Jesus and helps us recall His teaching. He does not take disciples away from Christ but reminds us of Christ. This vital truth is expressed in several ways in the New Testament. At Pentecost the Spirit guided Peter to preach about Christ (Ac 2:22). The New Testament refers to the Spirit as "the Spirit of Jesus'' (Ac 16:7), "the Spirit of Christ'' (Ro 8:9), "the Spirit of his Son'' (see note on Gal 4:6), and "the Spirit of Jesus Christ'' (Php 1:19). When disciples need a way to test whether the Spirit is at work in someone's life, we are not to use criteria such as enthusiasm or success. The only criterion is faithfulness to Jesus Christ. See 1 Jn 4:2-3; note on 1 Co 12:1-3. The Spirit is always closely related to Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus, the Spirit is not working, however much power or emotion is displayed. Whenever anyone is committed to Jesus, the Spirit is at work. All Christians have the Spirit, whether they are outwardly powerful or weak people, whether they are emotional or quiet (Ro 8:9).

John 15:26 "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me, 27 and you will bear witness also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

John 16:6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.

One aspect of the Helper's enabling ministry in our lives is conviction, a word derived from two Latin terms meaning "cause to see." Conviction is the means by which the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see what is right and wrong in our lives.

The truth (16:13) - truth in the above passage has the definite article shall guide you into all the truth. Through the written Word He guides to Him Who is the Truth, our Lord.

Guide into all the truth - The Lord’s promise that the Spirit will guide believers into all the truth has primary reference to the writers of the New Testament. But it also extends in a secondary sense to the Holy Spirit’s work of illumination (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10–16).

Not on His Own initiative - He does not speak from Himself, that is in independence of the Father and the Son. His testimony is the testimony of the Father and the Son, as the Son on earth heard the Father's voice and spoke of that which He heard from the Father (cf. John 5:19; 7:16; 8:26–29; 14:10)

Thus, the Holy Spirit’s leading will always be consistent with God’s revealed will in the Bible; He will never lead anyone to violate the principles of God’s Word. When He speaks, He speaks through the Scriptures that He inspired. MacArthur,

Disclose what is to come - Like the Lord’s earlier promise that the Spirit would guide the disciples into all the truth, that phrase refers primarily to the New Testament (eg book of Revelation). The New Testament encompasses the entire sweep of history from Pentecost to the eternal state, as well as containing “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Glorify Me - By this we can test all teaching and preaching. If it has the effect of magnifying the Savior, then it is of the Holy Spirit.

take of what is Mine” - He will receive of the great truths that concern Christ. These are the things He reveals to believers. The subject can never be exhausted!

John 16:15 "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you. 16 "A little while, and you will no longer behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me." 17 Some of His disciples therefore said to one another, "What is this thing He is telling us, 'A little while, and you will not behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; and, 'because I go to the Father'?" 18 And so they were saying, "What is this that He says, 'A little while'? We do not know what He is talking about." 19 Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, "Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, 'A little while, and you will not behold Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me'? 20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy. 21 "Whenever a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more, for joy that a child has been born into the world. 22 "Therefore you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you. 23 "And in that day you will ask Me no question. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. 24 "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full. 25 "These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father. 28 "I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father." 29 His disciples said^, "Lo, now You are speaking plainly, and are not using a figure of speech. 30 "Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God." 31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? 32 "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

Summary of Jesus' Equipping His Disciples with the Holy Spirit in John

(1) He is an answer to prayer (Jn 14:16)

(2) He is called another Helper, the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16, 26)

(3) He is the Paraclete, the One Who comes alongside

(4) He will be with us forever (Jn 14:16)

(5) He is the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:17, Jn 15:27)

(6) He comes in the Name of Jesus - He accomplishes what Jesus desires (Jn 14:26)

(7) He will teach us all things (Jn 14:26)

(8) He will bring to remembrance the Word of God (Jn 14:26)

(9) He is sent by Jesus from the Father (Jn 15:26, Jn 16:7)

(10) He bears witness of Jesus (Jn 15:26)

(11) By implication, we will bear witness of Jesus (Jn 15:27)

(12) Jesus must go away for the Helper to come (Jn 16:7)

(13) He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (Jn 16:8)

(14) He will guide us into all truth (Jn 16:13, cp Jn 16:14b)

(15) He will speak what He hears (from Jesus, from the Father) (Jn 16:13)

(16) He will disclose what is to come (Jn 16:13)

(17) He will glorify Jesus (Not Himself) (Jn 16:14)

Jesus had given a preview of the Spirit in John 7...

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)

David Guzik - The water of the Holy Spirit not only goes in, it also comes out. Not only does the believer receive blessing, but he becomes a blessing to others.

John Trapp - (The Holy Spirit) is many times compared (as to fire, so) to water for its properties of cooling, cleansing, quenching thirst, fructifying, etc.

Ray Stedman on meaning of "living waters" - What does he mean by that? The true sign of the Spirit is that you become a blessing to somebody else; someone else is helped through you. Your concern is to reach out to someone else in need and help him. When that happens you will find that your own thirst has been slaked; you will find a deep satisfaction of heart. I have learned to look for this. When people tell me that what they have found is only satisfying them, I have grave doubts as to whether it is real or not. But when I see that what they have found leads them to reach out to needy people around them and to minister to them, then I know that it is the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29) doing what Jesus said would happen -- rivers of living water are flowing through them to others to satisfy their need. Only when you truly drink of Him do these rivers begin to flow.

Albert Barnes - This word is used to express abundance, or a full supply. It means here that those who are Christians shall diffuse large, and liberal, and constant blessings on their fellow-men; or, as Jesus immediately explains it, that they shall be the instruments by which the Holy Spirit shall be poured down on the world.

F B Meyer - we not only are infilled of the Spirit, but it is His gracious ministry to mankind through us that makes the desert rejoice and blossom.

JFB on "rivers of living water" - It refers primarily to the copiousness, but indirectly also to the diffusiveness, of this living water to the good of others.

Adam Clarke - As a true spring is ever supplied with water from the great deep, with which it has communication, so shall the soul of the genuine believer be supplied with light, life, love, and liberty, and all the other graces of the indwelling Spirit, from the indwelling Christ. The Jews frequently compare the gifts and influences of the Holy Spirit to water in general - to rain, fountains, wells, rivers, etc., etc. The Scriptures abound in this metaphor. Ps 36:8, Ps 36:9; Isa 44:3, Isa 44:4; Joel 2:23.

A. H. Moment - The believer, having received Jesus, becomes himself a fountain of eternal life--rather is he a channel through which the grace of God flows to bless other hearts. This is the effect of the regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

Ed: This begs several questions - "Does my life [my words, my deeds] bless the lives of others? If not why not? If not, can I truly say that the Spirit is filling me, controlling me, flowing forth from my innermost being? Or have I forgotten and/or neglected the "fountain of living waters?" Have I begun to "hew" for myself cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water? Jer 2:13 Have I failed to watch over my heart with all diligence, forgetting that from my heart, my innermost being flow the springs of life? Pr 4:23

T. Binney - Connected with this is the mission of the Spirit to renew, to strengthen the will, to purify the affections, to make duty a delight, and bring the whole man into harmony with duty and God (Ro 8:3-4).

M. Brock - They are “flowing waters.” “Out of Him shall flow rivers.” The Spirit which God has given is not to be restrained. (Ed: Which begs the question - What in me is impeding the flow of the Spirit of Christ? A good question with which we can each continually carry out our "cardiac checkup.")

Horatius Bonar - . There are two gifts of God which stand alone in their priceless greatness--the gift of His Son and the gift of His Spirit.

The principle of Christian activity has ever been the Spirit. He moves the waters, and they overflowed at Pentecost.

Chuck Smith - So, John makes reference then, or makes a commentary, that Jesus was actually referring to the Holy Spirit. And what was He declaring of it? That it would be like a river or a torrent of living water gushing forth out of a person's life.

Now, can you say that that is your relationship to the Holy Spirit? In the scriptures I see a three-fold relationship of the believer to the Holy Spirit, and it is designated by three Greek prepositions. There is the first preposition para, for Jesus said to His disciples that, "I will pray to the Father and He will give you another comforter, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it seeth Him not neither knoweth Him. But ye know Him for He dwells with you" (John 14:16-17), para. "And He shall be in you," the Greek preposition in, so a twofold relationship there. He is with you. Prior to our conversion the Holy Spirit was with us. It was the Holy Spirit that convicted us of sin. It was the Holy Spirit that pointed out that Jesus was the answer. And it was the Holy Spirit that drew us to Jesus, because no man can come except the Spirit draw him. And when the Holy Spirit had drawn me to Jesus and I open my heart and invited Jesus to come into my life, the Holy Spirit came in and began to reside in me and the Holy Spirit began to indwell me. So He was with me prior to conversion, drawing me to Jesus, and then He came into my heart the moment I received Jesus. And He began His work of teaching me all things. He began His work of conforming me into the image of Christ. He began that glorious work in my life.

But yet, I read in the scripture of one further relationship that the believer can have to the Holy Spirit. And that is found in, first of all, the commandment of Jesus to His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem. And to wait for the promise of the Father. For Jesus said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you" (Acts 1:8) and here is the Greek preposition hepi, which means upon, over, or, I like, overflows. When the Holy Spirit begins to overflow your life. The dynamic of the Spirit flowing forth. And this is what Jesus is referring to here. That third relationship. When the Spirit has accomplished His work within me and now that object of work of the Spirit as the Spirit of God begins to flow forth from my life and others around me, then begin to receive of the benefit of that work that God has done in me. God has to work in me first. That's primary. But God is never satisfied with just the work in me. God desires that my life be an instrument through which He might work through me. Or a channel through which He might flow from me, His dynamic love and power to a needy world. So, this He was speaking of the Holy Spirit. What? He will gush forth from your life like a torrent of living water.

Years ago I was working with a man who had been on a weekend retreat as a counselor to a youth group. And as we were working on Monday he said, "You, I had some trouble this weekend at this camp where I was a counselor." I said, "What was the problem?" He said, "Well, one of the speakers was talking to the kids there and saying, 'Now while you're here in camp you're getting marvelous experiences of drawing close to God and you're being filled with God's Holy Spirit,' he said, 'but when you go back from this camp,' he said 'your mom is gonna tell you to do something and you're gonna say, "Oh, I don't want to do it," and he said, 'Your attitude, because of that attitude, a little bit of the Spirit is gonna leak out. And then maybe you'll tell a lie or something and little bit more of the Spirit is gonna leak out. And after a while all of the Spirit would have leaked out and then you're gonna have to be refilled with the Spirit.'" He said, "Now that just didn't sound right to me." He said, "But I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong."

I said, "Well, I don't know of any place in the scripture where it refers to the Spirit leaking out of your life." I said, "But I know of a scripture that declares it's gonna flow forth or it's gonna gush out of your life like a torrent of living water." That's the relationship I want. I want my life to be just overflowing. I want God's Spirit to just come flowing forth from my life, like a torrent of living water.

(Acts 16:7, Php 1:19)

Lord Jesus Christ,
Fill me with thy Spirit
that I may be occupied with His presence.
I am blind – send Him to make me see;
dark – let Him say, ‘Let there be light’!
May He give me faith to behold
my name engraven in Thy hand,
my soul and body redeemed by Thy blood,
my sinfulness covered by the life of
pure obedience.
Replenish me by His revealing grace,
that I may realize my indissoluble union with Thee;
that I may know Thou hast espoused me
to Thyself for ever,
in righteousness, love, mercy, faithfulness;
that I am one with Thee,
as a branch with its stock, as a building
with its foundation.
May His comforts cheer me in my sorrows,
His strength sustain me in my trials,
His blessings revive me in my weariness,
His presence render me a fruitful tree of holiness,
His might establish me in peace and joy,
His incitements make me ceaseless in prayer,
His animation kindle in me undying devotion.
Send Him as the Searcher of my heart,
to show me more of my corruptions
and helplessness
that I may flee to Thee,
cling to Thee,
rest on Thee,
as the beginning and end of my salvation. (cp Rev 2:1-3)
May I never vex Him by my indifference
and waywardness,
grieve Him by my cold welcome,
resist Him by my hard rebellion.
Answer my prayers, O Lord,
for Thy great name’s sake.

Let us meditate for a moment on this important phrase "the power of the Holy Spirit" - Remember that when Jesus was on earth, having emptied Himself of His divine prerogatives (albeit still fully God - mystery of mysteries!

See Phil 2:5, 6, 7-note), He presented us the perfect example of how to live a supernatural life. And what was Jesus' "secret"? Luke unfolds the beautiful truth that at the beginning of His ministry, "the Holy Spirit descended upon Him" (Luke 3:22, compare Isa 11:2, Isa 61:1, 2, 3, notice also the timing = Luke 3:23 "And when He began His ministry..."). Note what Luke is saying - Jesus receives the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and this event marks the inception of His powerful ministry over the next three years. Luke goes on to record that then "full of the Holy Spirit" (Luke 4:1, see Paul's command to believers to be continually full of the Spirit, Eph 5:18-note), Jesus "was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness" (Luke 4:1b) which resulted in a period of intense temptation "by the devil " (Luke 4:2-17).

In short, Jesus gives us His example for powerful ministry - filling with and submission or surrender to the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit that now indwells all believers (Ro 8:9-note, 1Cor 6:19-note, 1Cor 6:20-note). In the book of Acts, Luke reiterates the vital role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' ministry recording Peter's declaration...

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power (dunamis), and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. (Luke 10:38)

Notice the association of the Holy Spirit with the presence of enabling power, power to accomplish the ministry the Father had assigned to His Son (Do you see the Trinity at work?). Now return to Luke 4 and notice that after His victorious temptation

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power (dunamis) of the Spirit (Luke 4:14)

Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit and empowered by the Holy Spirit began His ministry. In so doing, Jesus the perfect Man provided us the pattern for powerful ministry! Have you learned the "secret" of the Holy Spirit's power in your life? One might ask if this is the Scriptural pattern?

Paul (1Cor 11:1), Peter (1Peter 2:21-note) and John (1Jn 2:6) all call on believers to follow in the steps of Jesus. While clearly there are some exceptions (Jesus' miracles of raising the dead, etc.), the basic pattern of power for supernatural ministry is provided - the secret is the Holy Spirit! Jesus' charge to His men in Acts 1:8 and playing out of that verse in the remainder of the book of Acts affirm the basic principle of the Holy Spirit's power enabling us to live the Christian life as more than conquerors!

May God open the eyes of our heart to the surpassing greatness of the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:18, 19-note) available in our lives so that we might experience an abundant, fruit filled life (Gal 5:22-note, Gal 5:23-note), in turn so that God the Father might be greatly glorified by the supernatural deeds the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29b) enables us to perform (cp Mt 5:16-note, Jn 15:8) as we progressively learn more and more to yield to Him, to be filled with Him and to walk by Him (Eph 5:18-note, Gal 5:16-note).


John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, declared

As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Mt 3:11)

Compare Luke's record...

John answered and said to them all, "As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16)

And so we observe that the vital components of John's message were repentance and baptism with the Holy Spirit. John clearly leaves no doubt that there is a distinction between water baptism and Spirit baptism for the latter has no water but is in fact a "spiritual" baptism. Kenneth Wuest offers this description of baptism as "the introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or into union with something else so as to alter its condition or its relationship to its previous environment or condition.”

The literal use of "baptize" as this word was used in the first century was illustrated by the smith dipping a hot iron in water and tempering it or by a dyer of cloth dipping the cloth or wool into the dye to change the color. And so in classic Greek the verb baptizo pointed to a change of identity by various means (dying, blacksmith's work on iron, etc). The Greek writer Euripedes used baptizo to describe a ship going down into the water where it permanently remained (it was in a sense now "identified" with the water).

Recall that the Greek verb baptize ultimately pictured the intimate identification of something with something else. And so we find the word used in the ancient description of "pickling",

After His resurrection Jesus gave His disciples some very vital instruction...

And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)

Before His crucifixion Jesus had taught His disciples that

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word (Ed: This begs the question "Do you REALLY love Jesus?" According to Jesus, how will your love for Him "be demonstrated" in your life if it is really true?) and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Observe the phrase "We will come to him." Compare this promise with Jesus' instructions in Luke 24:49. How was this promise fulfilled at Pentecost? Clearly the baptism of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of this promise.

Spiritual Power - The Book of the Acts records for us the possibilities of the Spirit-filled life. There are four men of importance in this Book of whom it is stated that they were filled with the Holy Spirit; Peter, Stephen, Barnabas, and Paul.

The Spirit-Filled Believer (Ephesians 5:18-21)

These verses describe God’s will for every believer. This is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. This is seen through acts such as speaking, singing, giving thanks, and submitting. Psalms and hymns are spiritual songs. Psalms are the composed writings of David and Asaph, while hymns are uninspired songs, which give God praise and glory. Spiritual songs are songs that deal with spiritual themes.

The Spirit-filled life is a fountain bubbling over with joy (see Acts 13:52). There are four results of the Spirit’s filling:

Boldness to witness—Acts 4:8-12, 31; Acts 13:52, Acts 14:3

Powers for service—Acts 1:8, Acts 6:3, 8; Acts 11:24

Generosity—Acts 4:31-32

Exaltation of Christ—Acts 9:17-20, 10:44-46

Power to suffer - Acts

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word (We say we love Jesus, but what is the irrefutable mark of love for Him?); and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.

Luke 24:49 "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."

John 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another (Note specific Greek word = not heteros [eg, heterosexual] but allos = another of the same kind; think "allograft", etc) Helper, (Paraclete = one called alongside) that He may be with you forever;

The Holy Spirit may be considered the Helper in three senses. First, He is called "another Helper" (John 14:16), in that He follows Jesus, to whom this same name is applied (see 1 John 2:1). Second, He demonstrated Himself to be a faithful Helper throughout the life of Jesus on earth. Third, He is promised as the Helper that helps us today in our Christian life....Jesus is the first Helper to be sent, and the Holy Spirit is the second. Several other titles are used in Scripture to help remind Christians of the similarities between the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity." Elmer Towns - The Names of the Holy Spirit

John 16:7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

Acts 1:8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 15:18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, 19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Power = dunamis in every passage. Inherent ability to accomplish a task, power in the sense of that which overcomes resistance, that which is able to produce a strong effect. It is worth noting that dunamis is translated "miracles" in some places (eg, Mt 11:20, 21 speaking of Jesus' miracles).

Power = dunamis in every passage above. Remember dunamis = Inherent ability to accomplish a task (Who is in us? Whose "inherent" ability do we need to learn to rely on? Remember self-reliance is a Gospel enemy, but Spirit reliance is empowerment for life and service that is pleasing to our Father), Dunamis is power in the sense of that which overcomes resistance (Practical application? How about the "resistance" of our flesh to walk in holiness, to not look at or do things which I know are ungodly? Where is the power to overcome that intractable, life long, so often "defeating" resistance?), Dunamis is that which is able to produce a strong effect. It is also worth noting that dunamis is translated "miracles" in several verses (eg, Mt 11:20, 21 speaking of Jesus' miracles). So what kind of life are we living when we learn to relinquish our control and rely on Spirit control and power? Our daily life, even moment by moment, when lived in the power of (and continual reliance upon) the Holy Spirit is a "walking miracle" -- what comes out of my mouth, where I go, what I look at, etc, becomes a "miracle" and results in glory to the only One Who could "pull that off", God Himself. And thus we begin to experience our LIFE glorify our Father Who is in Heaven (Mt 5:16)!

May our Father grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power (dunamis) through His Spirit in the inner man so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith and God be greatly glorified. Amen (Ephesians 3:16)


Jesus' Example for you to follow in His steps (1Pe 2:21)
he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1Jn 2:6)

Baptized by the Holy Spirit Filled With
Led By
The Holy Spirit

Returned to Galilee in the Power of the Spirit

By the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak

Luke 3 Luke 4 Luke 4:14ff Acts 1:2 Acts 1:8 Acts 2:4

A Young Christian: “I give up!”

A Mature Christian: “The further I go, the more aware I become of my rebellious nature.”

The Apostle Paul: “What I want to do, I don’t do; and what I don’t want to do, that’s what I end up doing.”

The Apostle Peter: “The devil is after us.”

The Lord Jesus Christ: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."


GOD’S PART: Power And Promise

OUR PART: Faith And Diligence

Faith = trust, full reliance on God

Diligence = effort to do our part

Trust + Effort = Success

Keep in mind: Peter’s seven steps are based on FAITH, or RELIANCE ON GOD. Yet that reliance is not enough by itself. It is activated only when combined with DILIGENCE. And diligence, also inadequate in and of itself, needs to be combined with reliance on God. What this means is that diligence and faith are two sides of a mystery. We don’t know how it all works out. But they both have to be present if we are going to have spiritual success.

This combination is often overlooked by those who emphasize the importance of living the “Christ-life.” Too many Christians sit and wait for the Spirit to move them. They never do anything great for God because they never take up the challenge. Yet that personal effort is what Peter said is OUR PART. In behalf of God, he called for diligence, for effort, for zeal, for putting out and not putting off.

(Phil. 2:12-13). = Faith doesn’t stand around with its hands in its pockets. The issue here is not working for salvation but because of salvation. Because we have been saved by trusting Christ, how determined and diligent we should be to serve with gratitude the God who saved us!

Present yourselves to God as a living and holy sacrifice (Ro 12:1, Ro 6:11-14) - I agree totally with what Tim Schoap says "we have no power to present ourselves to God, and we when we try in our own strength the flesh simply gets in the way, leaving us in total frustration. Again, God did not leave us without resource, and the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit enables us to obey, creating within us a desire for holiness and giving us the ability to live holy. And that brings us to this study. Even after the magnificent truths that we have seen, you will notice that the basic call to "present yourselves" (Rom. 6:14), to live a holy lifestyle, remains. Given all that God has done for us, our question in this study is, "What is the believer’s responsibility in the spiritual life?

When Paul says to "present ourselves", does that mean we are passive in obedience? Does God work thru us or do we do the work? Does self-discipline get in God’s way? Can one who is walking by faith still work to obey? Some say no: Jerry Bridges, in his excellent book, "The Pursuit of Holiness:" During a certain period in my Christian life I thought that any effort on my part to live a holy life was ‘of the flesh’ and that ‘the flesh profits for nothing.’ I thought God would not bless any effort on my part to live the Christian life, just as He would not bless any effort on my part to become a Christian by good works. Just as I received Christ Jesus by faith, so I was to seek a holy life only by faith. Any effort on my part was just getting in God’s way. Does that describe you? Have you had a similar point of view? Bridges answers his earlier self well: God has made provision for our holiness and He has also given us a responsibility for it . . . God’s provision for us consists in delivering us from the reign of sin, uniting us with Christ, and giving us the indwelling Holy Spirit to reveal sin, to create a desire for holiness, and to strengthen us in our pursuit of holiness. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and according to the new nature He gives, we are to put to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13)

Passive or Active?

To some, the "passive" approach, or perhaps we’ll call it the "faith" approach, seems more spiritual: a "let go, let God" kind of thing. This view says that man’s responsibility is to trust, God does the work. In fact, it says that man can do nothing but trust. But the big problem with that is that it doesn’t hold with Scripture:

David - Psalm 127:1 "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain."

Who is working? The Lord and the workers. What happens if the workers take a long lunch? Head for the river to do a little fishing? The work stops. Both are working, not the Lord only.

Nehemiah 4:9, the Holy Spirit records what happened when the people under Nehemiah’s direction found out that their enemies intended to destroy their unfinished work on the walls of Jerusalem: "But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night."

Notice their response? They 1) prayed and 2) posted a guard. We might know a few folks who would take the spiritual approach and pray, disdaining the presumption of taking matters into our own hands to defend the work. We can also imagine those who would hoot at the notion of praying for help when what is clearly needed is a guard to be posted! Nehemiah’s approach is clear - both!

n Paul - Col. 1:28-29 "And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

Talk about your paradoxical statements! Paul "labored," that is to say he toiled physically, striving (the Greek means agonizing). Nothing passive about this! Except, notice whose strength fuels Paul’s labor? "According to His power, which mightily works within me."

Somehow we feel that grace and duty (or discipline) are opposed to one another. But they are not:

Let us consider what regard we ought to have to our own duty and to the grace of God. Some would separate these things as inconsistent. If holiness be our duty, they would say, there is no room for grace; and if it be the result of grace there is no room for duty. But our duty and God’s grace are nowhere opposed in the matter of sanctification; for the one absolutely supposes the other. We cannot perform our duty without the grace of God; nor does God give his grace for any other purpose that that we may perform our duty. John Owen, quoted in Bridges, Discipline of Grace, p. 133

When the Bible commands us to love one another, to put to death the deeds of the body, to be filled with the Spirit, who is it talking to? It’s talking to us - Scripture certainly is written with the assumption that we have an active role and must assume our responsibility as believers to live a holy life.

So, Self-Discipline is the Thing?

If the "faith" approach is wrong, then what about its opposite, self-discipline? No, reliance on self-discipline is as wrongheaded as reliance on passive obedience. A regimen of Bible study, prayer, witnessing, meditation, ministry - important as they are, are not the source of our strength. Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit is the source of our strength.

We are feeble people spiritually, and we are tempted to rely on our spiritual disciplines instead of on the Holy Spirit. As critically important as Bible study and prayer are, if we place our trust in our regimen of study instead of in the Lord who reveals himself in the Word, we are in trouble! Don’t get me wrong. We need discipline and to be disciplined, but we need to be dependent as well.

Dependent Discipline

Jerry Bridges, in Discipline of Grace, likens our responsibility in the Spiritual Life to the two wings of an airplane. One wing is discipline, the other dependence. Without either one we crash and burn! We need to be disciplined, but in dependence on God’s strength and provision, because God’s strength and provision is the only resource we have:

The actual aid and internal operation of the Spirit of God is necessary to produce every holy act of our minds, wills, and emotions in every duty whatsoever. Notwithstanding the power or ability that believers have received by the principle of new life implanted at salvation, they still stand in need of the divine enablement of the Holy Spirit in every single act or duty toward God. John Owen, quoted in Bridges, Discipline of Grace, p. 136

A great example of this "dependent discipline" is Jonathan Edwards, probably the single greatest theologian America has ever produced. Edwards was an extremely disciplined man, as shown by his "70 Resolutions," written when he was a boy between the ages of 19-20. These resolutions covered virtually every area of his life, for example:

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; "knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord." June 25 and July 13, 1723

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak. Aug. 17, 1723

He read each of these resolutions weekly, lived his life by them, obviously a very disciplined man. Yet note the prayer he wrote at the very beginning of the resolutions:

"Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him, by His grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake."

So, what is our responsibility in the Spiritual Life? Simply this: we must be disciplined in living, reading and studying, praying, witnessing, ministering to one another. We must take every step necessary to obey God every moment of every day, but we must do it all in utter dependence on his provision and his strength. Sin is more than physical actions or mental attitudes of anger, lust, etc. Self-sufficiency, an attitude of independence, is sin. And perhaps the one sin in which we most indulge.

There is a paradox here: We are saved by grace, we live by grace, yet we must work like mad in the resources God has given us to live a holy life. Not so he will be pleased with us (he is fully pleased with us already) but because of what he has done for us. I like to think of the John Bunyan poem quoted earlier in this series:

Run, John, run. The law commands
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Better news the gospel brings;
It bids me fly and gives me wings.

Now, how do we self-sufficient, self-centered people nurture an attitude of dependent discipline? Through prayer, which is the next study in this series.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-2, 4). 


In his diary Jim Elliot wrote, "Am I ignitible? . . . Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame."

The disciples went through emotional burnout. The trial, the crucifixion, and the burial nearly snuffed out their flame. The res¬urrection and forty days with Jesus served as a bellows, but the fire still flickered. Then the Holy Spirit came like a mighty wind, and they became human infernos.

The Holy Spirit participated in creation, empowered Old Testa¬ment people, revealed God's Word to the prophets, and played an important role in Jesus' birth; but He never came for a permanent stay until Pentecost. Since then He has made His home in every believer and makes God's firepower available to us all.

The greatest evidence of His work may seem to many the most mundane: He grows spiritual fruit. That does not seem as exciting as starting spiritual fires. But His fruit is characteristic of Christ's life, and so He works at reproducing the best life ever lived in each believer. Like the oil of the olive used in lamps, the juice of this fruit lights the Christian life.

Unlike Jim Elliot, most of us would prefer to hear the Holy Spirit yell, "Lights out!" so we could get some rest. Instead, as a battle commander, He cries, "Fire!"

LUKE 24:44-49  "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you" (Luke 24:49).

One night the meeting place of a small and inactive group of Christians caught on fire. The blaze lit up the sky and attracted a crowd of people from far and near. A member of the church saw the town skeptic standing among the spectators and said, "I never saw you come near this church before." "No," replied the man, "but then I never saw this church on fire before either."

The church faces a challenge today, but the power to meet it is not found in fine buildings, modern equipment, large sums of money, or efficient programs. Only the Holy Spirit can enable believers to implement the Savior's command, but they must yield to His control. Otherwise the church will be powerless and will make little impact on the world.

The coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost marked the formation of the church. With its inception, the risen Christ also provided the power needed to propagate the gospel. Believers who formed the early church were to be witnesses of Christ in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth. The indwelling Spirit became the dynamic force to carry out the task of going into all the world.

Pentecost doesn't need to be repeated, because the indwelling Holy Spirit has never left. He is the Spirit of power, and He works through Christians who are yielded to Him. Luke records that the apostles witnessed "with great power" (Acts 4:33). This power is still present and available today. —P.R.V.

The power that compels comes from the Spirit that indwells.

INNER STRENGTH (Ephesians 3:16) - A large company extracts contaminating substances from steel drums by suction. Powerful pumps draw the materials out of the barrels, but the workers must carefully regulate the force of these pumps. If they take out too much air, the drums will collapse like paper cups because the outer pressure will exceed the inner pressure.

Likewise, when adversity and hardship come into our lives, unless God empowers us from within we will be unable to withstand the pressures from without. True, we get solid support from loved ones and Christian friends, but it is our spiritual inner man, "strengthened with might through His Spirit," that sustains us and keeps us from crumbling.

The Spirit works to strengthen us (cp Php 4:13) and renew our minds (Ro 12:2) as we read God's Word and pray. If we neglect the Scriptures (Mt 4:4), seldom talk with the Lord (1Thes 5:17), and stop fellowshipping with Him, we will grow weak and vulnerable. Then we will be unable to withstand the pressure of temptation or trouble. Let's ask the Lord to develop our inner strength (Ed: Pray Ephesians 3:16!) so that when life's blows and burdens press upon us we will not cave in. -- David C. Egner

Help us, O Lord, when troubles come
To trust Your Word and not succumb,
And help us not to turn aside
But in Your strength and love abide.

The power of Christ in You is greater than
The pressure of troubles around you.

Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

Some beautiful oak trees stand behind our home. Every fall I notice that some of them retain their crisp dried leaves long after the basswood, maples, elms, and walnuts become bare. Even the strong winds of winter and the early spring rains do not completely strip their boughs. But as springtime progresses, the scene changes. Small buds appear at the tips of the twigs. Soon the dried remnants of the preceding season drop away because of the surging forces of new life from within.

The Holy Spirit graciously works like that in Christians. Old habits cling to our lives with tenacity. Even trial and adversity do not remove all the lifeless leftovers of our fallen human nature. But Christ continually seeks expression from within us. As we confess our sin, pray, meditate on the Word of God, obey, and fellowship with our blessed Lord, the dead works of the flesh gradually drop away.

When all our efforts to turn over a new leaf or pluck off the old ones meet defeat, we can take a lesson from the mighty oak. Then we can thank God for the wonder-working power of the Holy Spirit within us. As we yield to His gentle urgings to be kind, loving, honest, and faithful, the Holy Spirit will take care of those "old leaves." —D.J.D.

If Christ is the center of our lives, the circumference will take care of itself.

Here is an explanation from Jerry Bridges excellent book on the Power of the Spirit (Bookends of the Christian Life)...

Now that we have clarified the role of the Holy Spirit, you might ask, "What’s our role?" It is the same as it was with the first bookend—faith. Here, however, it’s the action of leaning our books on the second bookend. And as we’ve already observed, faith involves both renunciation and reliance. We have to first renounce all confidence in our own power and then rely entirely on the power of the Holy Spirit. We must be enabled, not merely helped. What’s the difference? The word help implies we have some ability but not enough; we need someone else to supplement our partially adequate ability. By contrast, enablement implies that we have no ability whatsoever. We’re entirely powerless. We can do nothing. But when by faith we renounce self-sufficiency and embrace reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit, we receive divine empowerment, enablement, and strength for personal transformation and ministry.

Here is the article by James Candlish on the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus...

THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON CHRIST. The New Testament is pre-eminently the dispensation of the Spirit, fulfilling the promises that God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh (Joe. 2:28), put His Spirit within His people's hearts, and so write His law there (Eze. 36:26, 27). This was also predicted to be done through the Servant of Jehovah, the root out of the stem of Jesse, who was to be Himself anointed with the Spirit of God (Isa. 11:1-4). Accordingly we find in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit is represented primarily as working upon and in Jesus Christ.

In the first place, the Holy Spirit is described as the agent in the miraculous conception of Jesus (Mat. 1:20; Luk. 1:35). Though this fact is mentioned explicitly only by these evangelists, their accounts are manifestly independent, and while varying in details agree in substance. The one may represent the report transmitted from Joseph, and the other that coming from Mary. But if not expressly stated, it is presupposed by other New Testament writers, that the beginning of Jesus' human life was not an ordinary one. John reports His saying, flesh, He knew no sin. Since all men born according to the ordinary law of nature inherit sin and death from Adam, He who has no sin and saves His people from their sin must needs have been begotten of the Holy Spirit.

In virtue of this agency it was that He grew up filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him (Luk. 2:40); that He advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men (Luk. 2:52), needing no repentance or conversion, but holy, harmless, undefiled, tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15; 7:26).

The holiness of the human nature of our Lord is not to be ascribed directly to its union to the divine nature by the Incarnation. The proper effect of that was to elevate it to the highest dignity, inasmuch as it became the human nature of the eternal Son of God, the soul and body that was for ever a part of His very self. But this wonderful union did not make His soul or body one whit less truly human; and the holiness he had in His human nature is human holiness, not something above our nature, but the very perfection and crown of it; and in this He is like His brethren, receiving the aid of the Holy Spirit. His being God did not make the preservation of holiness in an ungodly world at all more easy to His flesh and blood, nay His task was all the harder. Hence we read that He received the Holy Spirit, was filled with the Spirit, led of the Spirit, anointed with the Holy Spirit; that He was much in prayer to God, and was encouraged by voices from heaven, and strengthened by an angel.

The various points or stages in His life on earth, at which special mention is made of His being under the influence of the Spirit, are worthy of notice.

The first is when He entered on His public work, identifying Himself with those whom John called to repentance, by receiving baptism from one who confessed that he had need to be baptized by Jesus. Then He saw the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descending on Him in visible form as a dove, and heard a voice from heaven saying, Luk. 4:1), and we can hardly avoid connecting that with the occurrence at His baptism. He was now endowed to the full in His humanity with all the wisdom, and power, and zeal, and love, needed for carrying out His great commission as the Saviour of the world.

Then He was led (Mat. 4:1; Luk. 4:1), or as Mar. 1:12 expresses it, driven forth by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Before beginning His Messianic work, He sought retirement: away from His townsmen of Nazareth and the throngs surrounding the Baptist, He would fix His mind on the nature and means of His enterprise. Here He encountered and overcame those suggestions of the prince of this world, that would have led Him to attempt His work in a selfish, vainglorious, or worldly spirit. He suffered being tempted, yet without sin, for He was full of the Holy Spirit, and had been led to this conflict by the Spirit.

Next we read that He returned in the power of the Spirit (Luk. 4:14) to begin His work of proclaiming and establishing the kingdom of God. Thereafter He speaks of Himself as having the Spirit of God on Him in His teaching (Luk. 4:8), and of casting out demons by the Spirit of God (Mat. 12:28); and Peter afterwards declared that Act. 10:38).

We can hardly doubt also that the great act by which He gave Himself a sacrifice for the sins of men was performed in the power of the Holy Spirit; and this is possibly the meaning of the saying in Heb. 9:14; that He offered himself without blemish to God;

After His resurrection He is still represented as giving commandment to His apostles through the Holy Spirit (Act. 1:2); and thus from first to last His work is described as carried on in the power of the Spirit of God given to Him. This is that anointing which He had for His office, in virtue of which He is the Messiah or Christ, i.e. the Anointed One; and this shows us that He is qualified for all the parts of our salvation, not only as God but also as man. He is able perfectly to teach us as a prophet, not merely because He knows all things as God, but because His human mind is enlightened and taught by the Spirit of God: He can appear for us as a great high priest, because He can bear gently with the ignorant and erring, for that He Himself also was compassed with infirmity, and needed the support of the Holy Spirit: He can rule us as a perfect king, because He is not only Almighty God, but our brother, conquering His and our enemies by the power of the Spirit.

Hence, too, when He bestows the Holy Spirit He gives a blessing that He has Himself received and enjoys, and makes us joint-partakers in it with Himself. Thus we read, not only of the gift, but of the communion of the Holy Spirit, i.e. partaking in common of the privilege and blessing of having the Spirit of God given to us. It is a fellowship of believers with one another, but also with Christ; they receive the same anointing as He did; it is like the precious ointment on the head of Aaron, that flowed down his beard, and descended even to the skirts of his garments.

All the members of our great high priest partake of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, that is given to Him their Head.

This work of the Holy Spirit on Christ affords an explanation of a passage that has caused not a little difficulty to commentators, Joh. 14:16, 17: the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive, for it behoklcth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him, for he abideth with you and shall be in you.

Many understand these statements, though present in form, as future in meaning, so that the sense would be, Ye shall soon know Him, for He shall abide with you. This however is not satisfactory, because the contrast with the world's ignorance, which is undoubtedly present, requires that the disciples' knowledge be present too. Besides, that knowledge is clearly given as the reason why they can receive the Spirit, as the world cannot. It is more in accordance with the force of the words to understand Joh. 3:36); and the disciples had recognised this, when Peter said, words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of GodJoh. 6:68, 69). It was the blindness and sin of the Pharisees that they would not and could not recognise in Jesus' works the agency of the Holy Spirit, but ascribed them to Beelzebub.

In His work on the man Christ Jesus, the Spirit of God is more fully revealed as the Holy Spirit than ever before. Under the Old Testament He had been recognised as the spirit of wisdom and skill in a leader like Moses or an artificer like Bezaleel, as the spirit of strength and courage clothing men like Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, and as the spirit of prophecy in Samuel and his successors: but there had never been seen a perfectly holy man. That was the new thing that appeared in Jesus.

Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Gal 5:16

An elderly man who grew an amazing amount of food in a small garden said, "I have little trouble with weeds because I leave them no room. I fill the ground with healthy vegetables."

I tried his formula a few years ago when I found the weeds outgrowing my impatiens in a 5x5 area.

After pulling out the weeds, I added another box of flowers and watered them well. I had to uproot a few weeds, but the flowers soon took over, leaving no room for unsightly vegetation.

This formula works not only in horticulture but is also effective in keeping sins of the flesh out of our lives. Paul put it like this: "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16).

Are spiritual weeds getting you down? If so, pull them out. Confess your sins. Trust God to forgive you. Become accountable. Then fill your life with good things (Ed:. You'll soon find your garden fruitful and productive, with no room for weeds.—H. V L


Dear weary wayfarer. Learn the secret of taking His yoke, resting in Him. First "Be", then "Do" - It cannot be too often repeated, that it is not what we do for Him, but what He does through us, which really blesses men. Be satisfied then to be only a wick, unseen amid the glory of the light that crowns it, and willing to be consumed by the daily removal of the charred fringe. Delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus (Ed: Energized and empowered by the "Spirit of Christ", the "Spirit of Jesus") may be manifest in your mortal flesh. F B Meyer

Witness of the Holy Spirit.

Is truth. 1 John 5:6.

To be implicitly received. 1 John 5:6,9.

Borne to Christ

As Messiah. Luke 3:22; John 1:32,33.

As coming to redeem and sanctify. 1 John 5:6.

As exalted to be a Prince and Saviour to give repentance, etc. Acts 5:31,32.

As perfecting saints. Heb 10:14,15.

As foretold by himself. John 15:26.

In heaven. 1 John 5:7,11.

On earth. 1 John 5:8.

The first preaching of the gospel confirmed by. Acts 14:3; Heb 2:4.

The faithful preaching of the Apostles accompanied by. 1 Cor 2:4; 1Th 1:5

Given to saints

On believing. Acts 15:8; 1 John 5:10.

To testify to them of Christ. John 15:26.

As an evidence of adoption. Rom 8:16.

As an evidence of Christ in them. 1 John 3:24.

As an evidence of God in them. 1 John 4:13.

Borne against all unbelievers. Neh 9:30; Acts 28:25–27.

Spirit-Filled Devotion by Philip Doddridge

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25).

Let me farther lead you into some reflections on "the temper of your heart towards the blessed Spirit." If "we have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none of his." Rom. 8:9. If we are not "led by the Spirit of God, we are not the children of God." Rom. 8:14. You will then, if you are a real Christian, desire that you may "be filled with the Spirit;" (Eph. 5:18.) that you may have every power of your soul subject to his authority; that his agency on your heart may be more constant, more operative, and more delightful. And to cherish these sacred influences, you will often have recourse to serious consideration and meditation: you will abstain from those sins which tend to grieve him; you will improve the tender seasons, in which he seems to breathe upon your soul; you will strive earnestly with God in prayer, that you may have him "shed on you still more abundantly through Jesus Christ;" (Tit. 3:6.) and you will be desirous to fall in with the great end of his mission, which was to "glorify Christ;" (John 16:14.) and to establish his kingdom. "You will desire his influences as the Spirit of adoption," to render your acts of worship free and affectionate, your obedience vigorous, your sorrow for sin overflowing and tender, your resignation meek, and your love ardent: in a word, to carry you through fife and death with the temper of a child who delights in his father, and who longs for his more immediate presence.

Ray Stedman - Authentic Christianity - The great unveiling

How can these veils be removed? The answer is clearly stated by Paul in the Scripture passage we are considering:

But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

Only in Christ is the veil taken away! And as the apostle goes on to tell us, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (v. 17). Here is our first real key in moving from the old covenant to the new. The key is the Spirit. Some may be confused by Paul's word that only through Christ can the veil be taken away. They may wonder, "Are we to turn to the Spirit or to Christ to have the veil removed?" The answer, of course, is that it makes no difference.

In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is frequently called the Spirit of Christ. It is His divine task and joy to enter the life of those who believe in Jesus and continually unleash in them the very life of Jesus himself. Thus, to turn to the Spirit is also to turn to Christ. It is by means of the Spirit that we turn to Christ.

We must further see that in practical terms "to turn to the Spirit" means to have faith in the promise of the Spirit, to trust the word of God. It is to expect the Spirit to act in line with what he has said he will do. Specifically, the promise is to apply to our practical, daily lives the full value of both the death and the resurrection of Jesus. His death has cut us off from our old, natural life, as Paul tells us in Romans 6:6--"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin."

When we agree with this word concerning the specific form of pride we are at the moment experiencing (that is, the particular veil we are hiding behind), we are immediately freed by the Spirit from its control. We have called the veil what God calls it, which is usually also what we call it when we find it in someone else. It can no longer be excused or justified--we repudiate it, and the fleeting pleasure it offers us. That is what it means to turn to the Spirit. As Paul describes it,". . . if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:13, emphasis added). Remember, we turn to the Lord, the veil is removed--and the Lord is the Spirit.

Free to live

The second function of the Spirit is to make real to us in practical terms the resurrection of Jesus, as well as His death. This is the second part of "turning to the Lord." The first act of the Spirit ends the reign of the old life over us. The second act releases to us the resurrected life of Jesus. That is what the Scripture calls freedom. "Now the Lord is the Spirit," says verse 17, "and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

When by faith in that promise we have turned from the flesh with its lying promise of success and have trusted in the Lord Jesus, dwelling within us by His Spirit, to be ready to work the moment we choose to act, we have in very practical terms passed from the old covenant to the new. Nothing coming from us, everything coming from God! That is freedom!

The apostle goes on to describe this freedom in glorious terms: "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 2:18). Note the term unveiled faces. By faith in the promise of God (that is, by the Spirit) we have ceased to look at the face of Moses and are now beholding with full vision "the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." The veil is removed. Moses and the law are gone; only Jesus Christ fills the horizon of our life--for that precise moment. It is altogether possible that a minute or two later we may, like Peter walking on the water, take our eyes off the face of Jesus and begin to look once again at our circumstances and our limited resources. At that moment, of course, Moses and the law return. The temptation to do this is not the act, and we can find our faith sorely tested while still having it fixed upon the face of Jesus. But when we succumb to these pressures and begin to trust ourselves or others, we are back in the old covenant, wearing a veil over our faces, and must repeat the whole process for deliverance.

God is not angry

But let us not despair or feel condemned when this happens. Remember that God has already made full provision for failure in learning to live by the Spirit. He anticipates our struggles and our defeats and only expects us to recognize them as well and return immediately to the principle of the new covenant. God is not angry with us or upset because we have fallen. We are angry at ourselves, perhaps, but that only shows us more fully how much we were expecting something to come from us. We need but to thank God for letting us see what we were unwittingly trusting in and then resume our confidence that Jesus is at work in us as we take up the task at hand again.

This continual return to beholding the glory of the Lord is doing something to us, says Paul. More and more areas of our conscious experience (our soul) are coming under the full control of the Spirit, and we are therefore reflecting an increasing likeness to Jesus; we are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another. This is what we often call "Christian growth" or "growing in grace." Because of constant practice of the principle of the new covenant, it is increasingly easy to keep the eyes of the heart fixed on the face of Jesus. Gradually it feels more and more "natural" to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. The writer of Hebrews speaks of those "who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:14). It is still possible, under sufficient provocation or allurement, to act in the flesh in any given relationship of life, but it is increasingly unlikely, for the heart is being "strengthened by grace" (Hebrews 13:9).

Though this gracious effect is occurring in certain areas of the conscious life, it has not yet conquered all the areas in which we live. "Glory," the glory of the life of Jesus, is becoming dominant in some areas, but in others the flesh still reigns triumphant and must be attacked and subdued by the Spirit so that another degree of glory may become evident. What is happening has often been pictured as a throne room in the heart, where at first Ego (symbolized by the letter E) is seated upon the throne, and Christ (symbolized by the cross) is waiting to be given his rightful place of rule, as in the illustration below.

When the human will (the throne) is submitted to the authority of Christ, the Ego is cast off the throne and Christ rules as Lord in the heart, as illustrated below:

Growth is a process

These diagrams have been helpful to many, but are inadequate, for they represents the human heart as a single entity and the will as a single factor governing the whole of the inner life at one time. I believe it is more accurate to recognize the word heart, commonly employed in Scripture, as referring to the soul and spirit combined, as below:

The Spirit of God Penetrates the

Human Spirit: Ego is Dethroned - (These are pictures need to copy)

Note in this illustration that at the conversion of the individual, the Spirit of God penetrates the human spirit, dethrones the Ego (or the flesh), and replaces it with the Cross, depicting the life of Jesus. But that is only within the human spirit. The soul is still under the control of the flesh and remains so until the Spirit successively invades each area or relationship and establishes the Lordship of Jesus within. This is important to understand: There is a throne in every area of the human soul! The question of Lordship is fought out anew in each area, as indicated in the illustration below:

The Holy Spirit Invades Areas of the Soul

† = The Lordship of Christ

E = Ego, or Flesh, in Control

The up-and-down life

This would explain why it is possible for an individual Christian to be in the Spirit one moment and in the flesh the next. A good biblical example of this is in Matthew 16:16 where Peter confesses to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." To this, Jesus replies, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven." It is clear here that Peter spoke in the Spirit when he made his confession of the identity of Jesus.

However, in verse 22 of the same account, Peter actually rebukes Jesus for suggesting that he will be crucified and resurrected again. To this rebuke Jesus says, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Here Peter speaks from the flesh in ignorant opposition to the will and purpose of God.

It is evident that when it was a question of Peter's rational acceptance or rejection of the identity of Jesus, the Spirit had already successfully enthroned Jesus as Lord in that area of Peter's life. But when it came to the matter of Peter's involvement with the program of crucifixion and resurrection which that identity made necessary, the flesh was still very much on the throne and Jesus was not yet Lord of that area. But that was all in the realm of Peter's soul (his conscious experience). In his human spirit, Jesus was Lord and had been ever since Peter responded to Jesus' call and entered into life.

It is quite possible then for you habitually to walk in the Spirit in one area of life--say, your relations with Christian brothers and sisters--but perhaps the moment you are involved with a member of your immediate family, you enter an area where the flesh is still unconquered and speech and attitudes are fleshly instead of Spirit-governed. This frequently happens with young Christians. From his vantage point in your human spirit the Spirit of God exerts steady and unyielding pressure upon the area of family relationships, often precipitating several crises, until the will submits in that area and Jesus is enthroned as Lord there too. Thus another degree of likeness to Christ is achieved and another degree of glory manifested.

Perhaps it is the sex life which holds out against the control of the Spirit. Or it may be the vocational life. Many a businessman has learned to live in the Spirit on Sundays, but on Monday morning when he steps across the threshold of his office, he says, in effect, "Here I am in control. I have been trained to handle affairs here, and I don't need God's help. I know what is expected of me and I can handle things on my own." That, of course, is the old covenant in its purest form, and such a procedure will guarantee the presence in that businessman of many forms of death: depression, boredom, resentment, anxiety, tension, and so on.

Fighting a battle already won

Since we can live only in one area of relationships of our life at any given moment, it is evident that we can be in a Spirit-controlled area one moment and in a flesh-dominated area the next. This is why we can be a great person to live with one minute (delightful, because we are in the Spirit) and then a moment later some old habit pattern of the flesh reasserts itself and we are right back in our old covenant behavior--harsh, nasty, or cruel. When we become aware of those feelings within, we know we will lose our Christian reputation if they are allowed to show, so we snatch an evangelical veil and hide the fading glory.

But how encouraging to know that the Spirit will never give up the battle. He seeks in a thousand ways to invade each separate relationship of the soul, and gradually He is doing so--sometimes faster, as we yield to him; sometimes very slowly, as we resist and cling to our veils. The more we work and live with the face of Jesus clearly in view, the more quickly we find each area of our life being changed into His likeness. We cannot do that work. It is, as Paul says, all "from the Lord who is the Spirit." He will never cease the work he has begun.


Power belongs to God. Ps 62:11 

Years ago, workmen were building a bridge across a portion of the New York harbor. While seeking a base for one of the supporting towers, they hit a submerged barge full of stone that had sunk deeply into the mud at the bottom of the bay. Divers attached chains to the flatboat, but no crane was powerful enough to lift it.

At last a special engineer was called to solve the problem. He ordered two barges brought to the spot. Cables were fastened to them and tightly secured to the sunken boat when the waters were at low tide. As the water rose higher and higher, it began to move the two barges. The submerged boat shook and then responded, breaking free of the mud on the harbor floor. It had been released by the power of the Atlantic Ocean! So too, lives mired in sin are raised out of their plight by the Holy pint's heavenward "lift." With the psalmist we can say triumphantly, "Power belongs to God."—H. G. B.


JOHN 14:12-31 

"I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper" (John 14:16).

A theology student writing a term paper about confession meant to type, "When we confess our sins, He takes away our guilt." But the young man couldn't type too well, and when he came to the word guilt, he typed quilt by mistake. When the professor returned his paper, the student grinned as he read the marginal note: "Never fear, little one, you'll never freeze, because God gave us a Comforter."

Using his sense of humor, the professor had conveyed a marvelous truth. Jesus said that the Father would send the Comforter to abide with us forever. Pentecost fulfilled that promise (Acts 2:1-4). And ever since that historic day, the Holy Spirit has been faithfully carrying on His ministry in the lives of believers.

His comforting activities include: guiding us into truth (John 16:13), assuring us we are God's children (Rom. 8:16), helping us pray (Rom. 8:26), transforming us into Christ's image (2 Cor. 3:18), and strengthening us (Eph. 3:16).

Our response should be to learn all we can about Christ and by the Spirit put into action what we know. The Holy Spirit's purpose is always to glorify Christ, never to call attention to Himself.

Thank you, Father, for our Comforter. Help us not to grieve or quench Him. We face this day with confidence because of His blessed ministry in our lives.—D.J.D.

The Christian's heart is the Holy Spirit's home.

The Holy Spirit by Horatius Bonar - The Holy Spirit begins, carries on, and consummates in us all spiritual feeling, all spiritual worship, all spiritual life and energy. There be nothing more hollow and unreal than religion without the Holy Spirit. That which is external and superficial, that which manifests itself in mere dress, and music, and routine service may flourish without Him; no, can only flourish in His absence. But the deep and the real must be His work from first to last. The Spirit is absolutely necessary to a religion of love, and liberty, and joy. Mere 'religiousness' is at every man's command. Any man may get it up in a day. But 'spirituality' comes from above, and is the product of the Spirit dwelling and working in the heart...

Formalism, routine, and external religion, the excitements of mysticism- these are poor substitutes for the life, and glow, and energy of the Holy Spirit. Nothing but His own presence can avail to lift us out of the unreal religiousness into which we have fallen; to transform creeds into realities, and the bodily bowing of the head, or bending of the knee, into spiritual worship; turning the "dim religious light" into the sunshine of a heavenly noon; drawing out of our hymnals the deep 'heart music' of divine and blessed song; delivering us alike from Rationalism and Ritualism, from a hollow externalism, and from an impulsive and unreasoning fanaticism. The Holy Spirit

There is a Redeemer - good song (Keith Green - There Is A Redeemer - YouTube) - "leaves His Spirit until the work on earth is done!"

There is a Redeemer,

Jesus, God's own Son,

Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,

Holy One,

Thank you oh my Father,

For giving us Your Son,

And leaving Your Spirit,

'Til the work on Earth is done.

Jesus my Redeemer,

Name above all names,

Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,

Hope for sinners slain.

Thank you oh my Father,

For giving us Your Son,

And leaving Your Spirit,

'Til the work on Earth is done.

When I stand in Glory,

I will see His face,

There I'll serve my King forever,

In that Holy Place.

Thank you oh my Father,

For giving us Your Son,

And leaving Your Spirit,

'Til the work on Earth is done.

Here's one for today from Pastor Tim Schoap in his monograph entitled "The Spiritual Life"...there is some repetition with what we have looked at before but I could not resist Pastor Tim's vivid illustration of walking in the Spirit, especially in light of having just come off a broken leg and having been literally forced to depend completely on a cane to ambulate for about 4-6 weeks!

"In Galatians 5:16, 25, we are commanded to walk "by" the Spirit. Picture a man who needs a cane to get around with. He walks by that cane, he depends upon it. (Ed: Having fallen or stumbled when I did not lean dependently on my cane, I can really identify with the picture Schoap is painting!) In the same way, we are to walk by the Spirit. We are to depend on the Spirit, to need Him. What is the result of walking by the Spirit? In Gal. 5:16, freedom from the flesh. Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. In other words, don't walk by the Spirit and you will! (Ed: You will carry out the desire of your flesh!) In Galatians 5:22-23, fruit results from walking by the Spirit. Walk by the Spirit and be fruitful, don't walk by the Spirit and be fruitless. Whose responsibility is "walking?" Ours. This command is also continuous - we are to continually be "walking by the Spirit." Walking by the Spirit is not the same as being nice, or not having any particularly ugly vices. It is specifically a life that is totally dependent upon the Spirit." (from "The Spiritual Life).

Father, teach us the secret that Paul learned (in Php 4:11, 12), so that we also "can do all things through Him (the Spirit of Christ) Who strengthens us (continually giving us His dunamis)" (Phil 4:13) all for the glory of Jesus (see Spirit's objective in Jn 16:14). Amen

2Cor 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Jerry Bridges - This grace or power is “in Christ Jesus.” God has deposited all the blessings he has for us “in Christ,” because Christ’s obedient life and death purchased every blessing God has for us. But if the power is in Christ, why are we calling it the Holy Spirit’s power? Although all of God’s blessings are in Christ, they’re distributed and applied to us by the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote, “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11; see also Ephesians 2:20–22; Romans 8:2–17). Though we could call the second bookend “the power of Christ,” we’ve chosen here to emphasize the Holy Spirit’s work in applying this power to our lives.


The goal of this page is to open the eyes of our heart to the Person and work of the promised Holy Spirit, the precious Gift Jesus asked His Father to send to His original disciples and Who is also the Gift to all the followers of Christ through all the ages. This discussion is not meant to present an exhaustive "systematic theology" of the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology). The goal is not to become those who know just about Him (which is important) but those who come to genuinely know Him in our innermost being as our Lord's Provision, the One Who enables us to experience our supernatural, Christ life, life on the highest plane, an experience founded on sound doctrine about the Holy Spirit.

And so the goal of this brief discussion will be to emphasize the Holy Spirit’s role in sanctification or present tense salvation or growth in Christ-likeness or growth in holiness. Why? Because sadly many in evangelicalism either misunderstand and/or undervalue the vital role of the Holy Spirit in our real-time Christian life filled with temptations, struggles and disappointments. Often when the work of the Holy Spirit is discussed the primary focus is restricted to a discussion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit or sadly even to divisive discussions about His gift of tongues rather than His dynamic role in transforming our lives. As Paul clearly teaches in Second Corinthians the power of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential in our day to day sanctification and the corollary statement is that failure to understand and depend on the Spirit is the cause of much disappoint, failure and frustration in our spiritual lives. And so Paul writes....

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (eleutheria = freedom - not the right to do as you please, but the power to do as you should!). But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (Today we see His glory in the Word of God), are being transformed (passive voice = we are being acted upon by a force from without; present tense signifies this is an ongoing process) into the same image (the image of Christ) from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (He is the "effecting agent" of this supernatural work). (2Corinthians 3:17-note, 2Corinthians 3:18-note)

Comment: Observe the fruit of the Holy Spirit: (1) Freedom - real freedom. (2) Daily spiritual transformation into the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alister McGrath once quipped that...

The Holy Spirit has long been the Cinderella of the Trinity. The other two sisters may have gone to the theological ball; the Holy Spirit got left behind every time. (Christian Theology An Introduction)

Vance Havner had this to say about the role of the Holy Spirit in the modern church...

We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God. Too many people assemble at God's house who don't really believe in the power of God. Having begun in the Spirit, we live in the flesh (Gal 3:3) We say that we depend on the Holy Spirit, but actually we are so wired up with our own devices that if the fire does not fall from heaven, we can turn on a switch and produce false fire of our own. If there is no sound of a rushing mighty wind, we have the furnace all set to blow hot air instead. God save us from a synthetic Pentecost! Too many people assemble at God's house who don't really believe in the power of God. Having begun in the Spirit, we live in the flesh.

I heard of a boys' school where every morning before classes the youngsters were supposed to recite the Apostles' Creed. Each one was given a segment of the creed: "I believe in God the Father Almighty," and so on down the line. One morning they were getting along pretty well until all at once there was a dead stop and a profound silence. Then a lad spoke up and said, "The boy who believes in the Holy Spirit is not here this morning." I'm afraid that's happened in a lot of church prayer meetings these days.

Some are not filled because they must first be emptied. Even God cannot fill what is already full. When are we going to learn that all the wonderful things we read about in the Book of Acts were simply the outflow and the overflow of the inflow of the Holy Spirit? A keen mind and theological training are useful tools when they are sanctified but the Holy Spirit is our teacher and He who inspired the Bible is the best interpreter of it.

Neil Wilson writes that...

Many people are unaware of the Holy Spirit’s activities, but to those who hear Christ’s words (Ed: Concerning the Spirit - Jn 14:16, 17, 26, 15:26, 16:8, 13, 14, Mt 10:19, 20) and understand the Spirit’s power, the Spirit gives a whole new way to look at life. (The Handbook of Bible Application)

Sinclair Ferguson...

It is said, sometimes with embarrassing frequency, that until recent decades the Holy Spirit was 'the forgotten Person in the Godhead'. It is assumed in such a statement that only in the second half of the twentieth century has there been a recovery of biblical teaching. Only now has the Holy Spirit been given the central place He merits in evangelical thinking. The word 'embarrassing' is not used here carelessly. For such statements suffer from a characteristic modernism—a false assumption that our discovery of something must be epochal in its significance. But the truth of the matter is that this century is yet to produce an evangelical work on the Holy Spirit which merits comparison with the great and biblically creative studies of the past. It is doubtful if we moderns begin to approximate to the experimental and intellectual wrestlings of our forefathers (whether Father, Reformers or Puritans) in their desire to know the 'communion of the Holy Spirit' [2Cor 13:14]. (Sinclair Ferguson - John Owen On The Spirit In The Life Of Christ)

A. Schlatter wrote that...

The community brought together by the disciples of Jesus was sustained by the conviction that it possessed the Spirit of God, and in that possession it saw the peculiar feature which distinguished its members alike from the Greeks and from the Jews. This is a fact of fundamental importance for the entire subsequent history of Christianity. (James Hastings - Editor - Dictionary of the Apostolic Church. Volume 1. 1916, 1918-9 pages on the Holy Spirit!)

Ray Pritchard echoes the preceding quotes noting that...

To many Christians, the Holy Spirit is a mystery. He is the “hidden” member of the Trinity. The Father we know; the Son we know; but what about the Holy Spirit? Few believers understand who He is, why He came, or what He does in the world today. Fewer still understand the vital role He plays in the Christian life.

I don’t think I’m going overboard in saying that a proper knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is absolutely essential to finding peace, joy, and victory as a Christian. Many believers live far below their potential because they have never discovered the Holy Spirit. They know nothing about His power, His indwelling, His anointing, His intercession, His gifts, and the fruit He longs to produce in them.

But living without the Holy Spirit is like trying to drive a car with an empty gas tank. While we may not understand all the secrets of internal combustion, if we don’t understand the need for gas, the car isn’t going to get out of the driveway. (Names of the Holy Spirit by Ray Pritchard)

Kenneth Boa agrees that the church has ignored the Holy Spirit but

the winds of change have been blowing, and an unparalleled movement in the twentieth century has created a new awareness of the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The past few decades have seen an explosion of worldwide church growth, and the fastest growing churches are those that have centered on the fullness of the Spirit. At the same time that a number of mainline denominations have experienced significant membership loss, the Pentecostal and charismatic renewal movements have reached tens and now hundreds of millions of people around the world....

Many believers attempt to live the Christian life in their own power instead of the power of the Spirit. As A. W. Tozer remarked in Paths to Power, “the average professed Christian lives a life so worldly and careless that it is difficult to distinguish him from the unconverted man.”

But even among diligent students of the Word there is a temptation to depend more on human initiative and effort than on the power of the indwelling Spirit of God.

It is easy and comforting to reduce God to a set of biblical propositions and theological inferences rather than a living Person Who cannot be boxed in, controlled, or manipulated by our agendas....

God does not want us to walk in our own strength but in the power of His Spirit. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Too many Christians regard the Spirit-filled life as an option. The fullness of the Spirit is essential for genuine victory and ministry (Ephesians 5:18). Unconfessed sin grieves and quenches the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1Thessalonians 5:19). We must confess our sins of relying on our own effort and yield all areas of our lives to God (Romans 6:13, 19). As we depend upon the Spirit for guidance and empowering, Christ is glorified in our lives. (Handbook to Spiritual Growth Twelve Facets of the Spiritual Life)

Every journey begins with one step, so let us begin by listening to the apostle Peter's words regarding our "steps" in understanding how to walk in the Spirit...

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps. (1Peter 2:21-note)

John echoes Peter's words writing...

The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked (Paraphrased "ought to behave in the same way Jesus did"). (1Jn 2:6)

Our Christian journey is not just a physical one but is more importantly a spiritual journey. And God has not left us without a Trailblazer, but has given us the perfect example of Jesus' "steps" as the God-Man. The Greek word for example is hypogrammos (hupo/hypo = under + grapho = write) which presents a graphic picture of a copy which is set out by writing masters for their pupils to trace or copy as precisely as possible. When I was in the first grade, one of our writing exercises was to copy as exactly as possible the "A,B,C's" that were written out perfectly on the line above on special writing paper (see example below). Peter uses a rare Greek word for follow (only found in this passage in the NT), the picturesque compound verb epakoloutheo (epi = upon + akolouthéo = to follow from a = union/likeness + keleuthos = way, road = on going in the same way, walk the same road). The word for steps is ichnos which means footprints or tracks. Figuratively ichnos was used of a record left by someone's conduct or manner of life as an example for others to imitate! And so Peter is using an idiomatic saying charging all believers "to follow in the tracks" of Jesus! Beloved, do you see what Peter is in essence defining? Isn't his description that of a "Christ follower", otherwise known in the NT as a "disciple" (mathetes = a learner)? (cp Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23)

The apostle John echoes Peter's charge writing that...

the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1Jn 2:6)

Comment: "Ought" (opheilo) conveys the basic sense of owing a debt or having a strong obligation. We are not forced but are privileged to be able to walk as Jesus walked. Clearly His walk was perfect and that is God's desire for His children. As discussed more below, God has provided the power necessary to "walk in the same manner as" Jesus walked, albeit not without sin (1Jn 1:8).

Heb 2:14–16 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

2 Co 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed (present tense = continually) day by day.

How is it being renewed? The Word of God and the Spirit of God (cp 2Cor 3:18)

The Spirit of God - G Campbell Morgan

Wayne Barber - Believer and Holy Spirit 1John 2 Wayne Barber


It is important to note that Jesus faced the enemy as man, not as the Son of God. His first word was, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” We must not think that Jesus used His divine powers to overcome the enemy, because that is just what the enemy wanted Him to do! Jesus used the spiritual resources that are available to us today: the power of the Holy Spirit of God (Matt. 4:1), and the power of the Word of God (“It is written”). (The Bible exposition commentary)

1 John 4:4-6 (NIV) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (Who is in us? The Holy Spirit!). 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Sinclair Lewis - our Lord Jesus Christ is the cause, source, and pattern of the Spirit's ministry in the believer. What he did in Jesus he seeks to do in us!...The purpose of the Spirit's ministry is to conform us to the image of the Incarnate Son, in order that he might be the firstborn of many brothers [Rom. 8:29].

For John Owen, it was axiomatic that Jesus Christ 'acted grace as a man'. He did this (as men must) through the energy of the Spirit. That was evident in two ways:

(i) In his personal progress in grace. The work of the Spirit in the Messiah was prophesied in Isaiah 11:1-3 and also in 63:lff. Owen saw great significance in the prophecy that it was by the Spirit that the Messiah would be filled with wisdom, and that this characteristic was singled out for reference in Luke's account of Jesus' growth [Lk. 2:52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.]. In this sense, the coming of the Spirit on Jesus involved a continuous presence. In keeping with the development of his natural faculties as man, and his unique responsibilities as Messiah, he was sustained by the Spirit. The Spirit enabled Jesus to do natural things perfectly and spiritually, not to do them unnaturally. He was taught the wisdom of God from the Word of God by the Spirit of God! This is precisely the picture we are given in the third Servant Song:

The Sovereign Lord has given me the instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back [Isa. 50:4-9].

Each step of his way, it was through the word of the Father in Scripture, illuminated by his constant companion, the Spirit, that Jesus grew in the knowledge of the Lord. So, writes Owen:

In the representation then, of things anew to the human nature of Christ, the wisdom and knowledge of [his human nature] was objectively increased and in new trials and temptations he experimentally learned the new exercise of grace. And this was the constant work of the Holy Spirit on the human nature of Christ. He dwelt in him in fulness, for he received not him by measure. And continually, upon all occasions he gave out of his unsearchable treasures grace for exercise in all duties and instances of it. From hence was he habitually holy, and from hence did he exercise holiness entirely and universally in all things. [Works, III, pp. 170-171]

But besides this personal progress, there is another aspect of Christ's life in which the presence of the Spirit is manifested:

(ii) In Jesus' exercise of the gifts of the Spirit. In the hidden years of his life, Jesus 'grew... strong' in the power of the Spirit [Lk. 2:40]. What was distinctive for Owen about his later baptism was that there, in the fulness of his years, he received the fulness of the Spirit's anointing for public Messianic ministry.

Owen, however, notes that the significance of Jesus' baptism and anointing with the Spirit cannot be separated from his experience of temptation or from the 'driving' of the Spirit, by which he was thrust into the wilderness [Mk. 1:12]. The same expression [ekballein] is used of both the Saviour being driven into the wilderness by the Spirit, and the disciples being driven out into the harvest by the Lord of the Harvest [Lk. 10:2]. In both cases the function of the Spirit's ministry is the advance of the kingdom of God and the defeat of the powers of darkness. The sword of the Spirit is a weapon tested and tried by our Lord so that his disciples may use it with confidence; the armour the disciple is to take is the armour which the Spirit forged for Christ in his ministry. The controlling thought here, for Owen, is that the ministry of the Spirit in the ministry of Christ is the paradigm for the ministry of the Spirit in the ministry of his disciples.

Owen further underlines a point he has already made: when Jesus returned in triumph from his testing and preached in the synagogue in Luke 4, he did not speak as a retired military colonel, barking out orders to subordinates (if the analogy may be used). What shone through the Spirit's presence in our Lord's exercise of spiritual gifts, as Luke notes, was his gracious humanity, and especially his gracious words [Lk. 4:22] . Here, again, Owen sees Scripture emphasising that the chief evidence of the power of the Spirit in ministry is true and holy humanity.

Henry Blackaby on the Spirit of Truth and the Word of Truth...

A person cannot understand spiritual truth unless the Spirit of God reveals it. In fact, the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17). When you come to understand the spiritual meaning and application of a Scripture passage, God’s Spirit has been at work. This does not lead you to an encounter with God; that is the encounter with God. When God speaks to you through the Bible, He is relating to you in a personal and real way. When the Holy Spirit reveals a spiritual truth from the Word of God, He is personally relating to your life. That is an encounter with God. The sequence is this:

1. You read the Word of God — the Bible.

2. The Spirit of truth takes the Word of God and reveals truth.

3. You adjust your life to the truth of God.

4. You obey Him.

5. God works in and through you to accomplish His purposes.

The Spirit uses the Word of God (the sword of the Spirit — Eph. 6:17) to reveal God and His purposes. The Spirit uses the Word of God to instruct us in the ways of God. On our own we cannot understand the truths of God: “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things” (1 Cor. 2:14-15).

Unaided by the Spirit of God, the ways and things of God will be foolishness to us (1 Cor. 2:14). Aided by the Spirit, we can understand all things (1 Cor. 2:15).

Understanding spiritual truth does not lead you to an encounter with God; it is the encounter with God. You cannot understand the purposes and ways of God unless the Spirit of God teaches you. If God has revealed spiritual truth to you through this passage of Scripture, you have encountered God Himself working in you!

What passage of Scripture has God used recently to grip me and give me fresh understanding? Who has been at work in my life when I understand the spiritual meaning and application of a Scripture passage? ...

God speaks by the working of the Holy Spirit and through His Word. (Experiencing God)

Vance Havner on the Holy Spirit...

Holy Spirit

We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.

We say that we depend on the Holy Spirit, but actually we are so wired up with our own devices that if the fire does not fall from heaven, we can turn on a switch and produce false fire of our own. If there is no sound of a rushing mighty wind, we have the furnace all set to blow hot air instead. God save us from a synthetic Pentecost!

Some are not filled because they must first be emptied. Even God cannot fill what is already full.

When are we going to learn that all the wonderful things we read about in the Book of Acts were simply the outflow and the overflow of the inflow of the Holy Spirit?

A keen mind and theological training are useful tools when they are sanctified but the Holy Spirit is our teacher and He who inspired the Bible is the best interpreter of it.

There need to be refinings on special occasions. There is a gradual daily growth in grace, but there are special crises that demand special unction.

The nation is crumbling because our homes have been devalued; what was once a man's castle has become only a place in which to change clothes. {Dennis Hester},{Vance Havner Quotebook},

Anointing 1 Jn 2:20

The Anointing from the Holy One (1Jn 2:20a)

With his “but you” (καὶ ὑμεῖς) John again turned directly to his readers with assuring words. The use of the emphatic pronoun (ὑμεῖς) lends support to the rendering “but” for the conjunction (καὶ), usually rendered “and.”22 In spite of the claims of these heretics, John assured his readers that they truly had the spiritual equipment to resist these antichrists. Of primary importance is the fact that “you have an anointing from the Holy One” (χρῖσμα ἔχετε ἀπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου). The noun “anointing,” the object of the verb, stands emphatically forward. Based on the verb χρίω, “to anoint,” the noun does not denote the act of anointing but rather the result of the action. In the Septuagint the noun is used of the “anointing oil” (cf. Exod 29:7; 30:25), and in Daniel 9:26 it is used metaphorically of “the Messiah.” In the New Testament the term occurs only in 1 John (2:20, 27 [twice]). John did not identify this “anointing,” but it is generally agreed that it refers to the Holy Spirit imparted to the believer at regeneration. The figure of anointing is used of the Holy Spirit in connection with Jesus’ ministry (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38), and in 2 Corinthians 1:21–22 it is used of God’s work in establishing the believer. John’s statement here seems reminiscent of the promise of Jesus in the fourth Gospel about the coming of the Spirit (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). The verb “you have” (ἔχετε) indicates the continued possession of this anointing. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit establishes believers in their faith and enables them to understand God’s truth.

Dodd understood the metaphor differently; he held that this anointing is the Word of God and he said it is “a prophylactic against the poison of false teaching.”23 Dodd felt that this view of the anointing freed the believer’s knowledge of the truth from the danger of subjectivism.24 But Burdick replies that Dodd’s argument “that the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit is too subjective to be trustworthy loses its force in the light of Paul’s declaration, ‘The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God’ (Rom 8:16).”25 Kistemaker notes that “Scripture never mentions the Word of God in relation to anointing.”26 It is preferable to hold that the “anointing” denotes the Holy Spirit, “since, according to verse 27, the anointing ‘teaches.’ This clearly suggests that the ‘anointing’ is conceived of as a Person.”27

The anointing was received “from the Holy One” (ἀπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου), stressing the sanctity of the Giver. The reference may be to God the Father, “the Holy One of Israel” (Isa 1:4; etc.) or to the incarnate Son, “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24; John 6:69; Acts 2:27). Views differ as to the intended identity. Biblical references associate both the Father and Jesus Christ with the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; Acts 2:33). The Spirit is indeed “the Spirit of God” (Rom 8:9) as well as “the Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7). While a study of the pronouns in 1 John 2:27–28 strongly suggests that the reference is to Christ Himself here, Smalley suggests that “John is possibly being deliberately ambivalent at this point.”29 Elsewhere John’s pronouns often do not draw a sharp distinction between the Father and the Son, implying John’s unquestioned acceptance of the full deity of the incarnate Son

On 1Jn 2:27 - This function, “teaches you about all things (διδάσκει ὑμᾶς περὶ πάντων), parallels the promised work of the Holy Spirit as uttered by Jesus in John 14:26. The present tense marks this teaching as the continuing work of the Spirit, while the plural “you” indicates that this teaching is received by all those indwelt by the Spirit. Kistemaker notes, “Believers do not have to consult learned professors of theology before they can accept God’s truth; in the sight of God, clergy and laity are the same; the Holy Spirit is the teacher of every believer, without distinction.”47 Bruce appropriately remarks that “the ministry of teaching must be exercised by men who themselves share the ‘anointing’ of which John speaks.”48 The Spirit teaches “about all things” (περὶ πάντων), all the things concerning which they needed His teaching to distinguish truth from error in any teaching being advanced. This teaching “is true and is not a lie.” This typically Johannine positive-negative assertion assures that what the Spirit teaches is true to fact, in full keeping with revealed truth, and therefore is “not a lie,” not a falsehood such as heretical teachers espouse.(Hiebert)

“We believe that Sanctification is the process by which according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration, and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means—especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and prayer” (New Hampshire Baptist Confession, 1833, Article x). ...

The Christian life begins with regeneration whereby the Holy Spirit implants spiritual life in the believer. Sanctification begins at that same moment of the new birth and God progressively separates the new believer from sin unto Himself. He transforms the whole life toward holiness and purity.

This process of sanctification never ends during this earthly life. It will be consummated in glorification when the believer through the death and resurrection or at the Rapture stands in the presence of the Lord God conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. Believers have been “set apart,” sanctified, once-for-all by the perfect offering of Christ’s body for our sins. All believers are sanctified positionally. It is our new standing with God as Christians. Our standing is what God has done for us in Christ. Progressive sanctification, on the other hand, refers to sanctification as experienced in the daily life of the believer. Daily victory over sin is itself a separation unto God and is therefore sanctification. This should be an ever-increasing growth experience.

It involves our availability to the Holy Spirit, our separation from sin, and our growth in the likeness of Christ. Every Christian is a sanctified person, belonging to Christ, and therefore should keep from immorality (1 Cor. 6:13-14; 2 Cor. 7:1). We are involved in a lifetime struggle against sin and a moment-by-moment submission to the Holy Spirit for victory....

The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God in the prevention of sin in the Christian’s life. The Psalmist testified, “Thy Word I have treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11)....

The Holy Spirit indwells the believer for the purpose of enabling us to overcome sin and conform us to the likeness of Christ. When we “walk by the Spirit” we do not carry out the deeds of the flesh, but produce “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16, 22).

God has made full provision when the Christian does sin. God has provided cleansing and forgiveness through the all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ (1 John 1:6-10). Our fallen nature is ever prone to sin (Rom. 7:21; 2 Cor. 4:7; 1 John 1:8).

The Scriptures do not promise eradication of our fallen nature. However, the Holy Spirit gives us moment by moment victory through His indwelling presence (Gal. 5:16-23). The believer is to be under the control of the Spirit and to walk accordingly (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16). ...

Not only is there the negative side of sanctification in removing sin, there is also our growth in Christ-likeness. The apostle Peter wrote, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). We are to be “conformed to the image” of Christ (Rom. 8:29). As we behold the glory of the risen Christ we are being “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Progressive sanctification sets us more and more apart from “the world, the flesh and the devil,” and makes us more and more like our risen Lord in character.

It is only as we “abide in Him” that we grow in Christian maturity. The end result of a life fully yielded to God is eternal life.

The Holy Spirit applies to believers at their conversion what Christ accomplished with His death and resurrection (Eph. 2:4-7). The same atoning sacrifice of Christ that obtained our forgiveness also accomplished our sanctification...

The mature Christian knows that he is always in Romans 7 apart from the Holy Spirit. Our dependence upon the Holy Spirit is not something that is attained once for all, but is the result of a daily struggle (Ed: And daily decision to surrender to the Holy Spirit)...God will not give up on His goal of making you become like Christ. He will not give up on you until the day He presents you complete, perfect, and mature to the Father in heaven. (Wil Pounds - Progressive Sanctification)

Anointed Preaching - Preaching is preaching only when the messenger is anointed with the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul tells how he arrived in the city of Corinth not dependent upon self-assurance, self-assertiveness, or a powerful personality, “but in demonstration of the Spirit and power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). In fact, Paul stresses the contrasting difference, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (vv. 2-5).

Only the anointing of the Holy Spirit can make great preaching. Paul was concerned that nothing distract from the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We live in a day that puts much of the emphasis on the attractiveness of the clever mind and entertainment.

Lloyd-Jones was a prophet when he wrote in Preaching and Preachers, that we take “so much time in producing atmosphere that there is no time for preaching in the atmosphere!” The church has turned to entertainment “as she has turned her back upon preaching.” The first century preachers “refused to pander to the tastes of their listeners.” They did just the opposite by admonishing, warning, rebuking, and reproving their listeners.

Over and over again in the book of Acts we are told of the preachers “being filled with the Holy Spirit.” They proclaimed their message as the Holy Spirit enabled them. Their message and deliverance were under the control of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit had baptized them when they first believed, and they had been filled on many occasions since then. One baptism, many fillings is still a Biblical truth for every preacher.

Biblical preaching is still the greatest instrument the church possesses. Every preacher should ask himself, “Do I have the anointing?” And “if not, why not?” Unless we have the sweet anointing of God’s Spirit we cannot bring the message of the Gospel with authority and power. “Am I anointed by the Holy Spirit?” (Anointed Preaching)

Fellowship of the Holy Spirit “The fellowship of the Holy Spirit” is a blessing for all believers in Christ (2 Cor. 13:14; Phil. 2:1).

We do not need any new baptism of the Holy Spirit to enjoy this blessing. All things are ours in the Christian life when we believed on Christ and received Him. The apostle Paul tells us we are heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. Every believer has received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit from the moment he believed on Christ. The baptism of the Spirit placed us in the body of Christ. We can now enjoy the communion of the Holy Spirit.

The only thing that can now mar this fellowship with the Holy Spirit is unconfessed sin. We abide in communion with the Spirit of God as we abide in the finished work of Christ on the cross. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NASB 1995).

We live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, which is the fellowship or communion of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit....

The fellowship with the Spirit is so important because we are united to Christ in the bonds of the Holy Spirit. We communicate with Him and He with us. He is our teacher and guide. He leads us. He is our advocate within who interprets the desires of our heart and the will of God. He gives us the power to do the will of God. He convicts us of sin and exhorts us to go to the cleansing fountain.

Our fellowship with the Spirit is of utmost importance because He seeks partnership with us in life and ministry. His resources are unlimited, inexhaustible, and His power is invincible. He longs for our intimate fellowship with us. He longs to be admitted to the inner life of the soul.

However, there are attitudes, reservations, interests, unbelief, prayerlessness, selfish-ambitions, arrogant pride, anger, bitterness, etc. that grieves and quenches His work.

When we are in agreement with Him the personality of the believer is quickened and sanctified. Our desire is to be in constant fellowship with Him.

When we cooperate with Him He comes to give us a daily life that overflows with the fruit of the Spirit. When we are in agreement with Him there is His power operating in and through us. Ministry becomes a daily adventure with Him at the helm. Our empathy for the needy are deepened and enlightened. Our compassion for the lost soul is strengthened and we pray with passion that they will be saved. Ordinary Christians become empowered when clothed with the Spirit of God.

The fellowship, joint-participation, partnership and communion, with the Holy Spirit is communion with the LORD God. It should affect everything we do in our Christian life and ministry.

True spiritual unity comes from within; it is a matter of the heart, and is based on this relationship. That is why Paul in Philippians 2:1 appeals to believers on the strength of this unique relationship with the Spirit. We could translate “if” with “in view of the fact that,” or “since” you enjoy this “fellowship with the Spirit” as a result of the Spirit’s permanent indwelling ministry (1Cor. 6:19). This may refer, however, to fellowship that comes from the Holy Spirit, just as encouragement comes from Christ and comfort comes from love.

Let us not neglect the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit in life and ministry. (Fellowship of the Holy Spirit)

Ray Stedman - 1 John 2:26-27: The Teaching Spirit

Commenting on Galatians 5:25 Andrew Murray writes that...

“If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us walk.” These words suggest to us very clearly the difference between the sickly and the healthy Christian life. In the former the Christian is content to “live by the Spirit;” he is satisfied with knowing that he has the new life; but he does not walk by the Spirit. The true believer, on the contrary, is not content without having his whole walk and conversation in the power of the Spirit. He walks by the Spirit, and so does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh....

One of the deepest secrets of the Christian life is the knowledge that the one great power that keeps the Spirit of God from ruling, that the last enemy that must yield to Him, is the flesh. He that knows what the flesh is, how it works and how it must be dealt with, will be conqueror.

We know how it was on account of their ignorance of this that the Galatians so sadly failed. It was this led them to attempt to perfect in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit (Gal 3:3). It was this made them a prey to those who desired “to make a fair show in the flesh” that they might “glory in the flesh” (Gal 6:12, 13). They knew not how incorrigibly corrupt the flesh was. They knew not that, as sinful as our nature is when fulfilling its own lusts, as sinful is it when making “a fair show in the flesh;” it apparently yields itself to the service of God (Ed: In other words "flesh" can look quite pious and religious on the outside, while all the while the inside of the person is full of dead men's bones so to speak, using Jesus' word picture of the inner corruption of some of the greatest hypocrites ever known, the Pharisees- see Mt 23:25, 26, 27, 28), and undertakes to perfect what the Spirit had begun...

Paul wants to teach them how the Spirit, and the Spirit alone, is the power of the Christian life...The crucifixion and death of Christ is the revelation not only of an atonement for sin, but of a power which frees from the actual dominion of sin (Ro 6:11, Ro 6:17, 18, Ro 6:22), as it is rooted in the flesh....nothing that is of the flesh, that the fleshly mind or will thinks or does, however fair the show it makes, and however much men may glory in it, can have any value in the sight of God. It warns us that our greatest danger in religion, the cause of our feebleness and failure, is our having confidence in the flesh, its wisdom and its work. It tells us that, to be pleasing to God, this flesh, with its self-will and self-effort, must entirely be dispossessed, to make way for the willing and the working of Another, even the Spirit of God. And that the only way to be made free from the power of the flesh, and have it put out of the way, is to have it crucified and given over to the death....I accept the cross, with its death to what is flesh, secured to me in Jesus, as the only way to become free from the power of self, and to walk in the new life by the Spirit of Christ.

The way in which this faith in the power of the cross, as at once the revelation and the removal of the curse and the power of the flesh, is very simple, and yet very solemn. I begin to understand that my one danger in living by the Spirit is yielding to the flesh or self in its attempt to serve God. I see that it renders the cross of Christ of none effect (1Cor 1:17; Gal 3:3, 5:12, 13; Phil 3:3, 4; Col. 2:18-23).

I see how all that was of man and nature, of law and human effort, was for ever judged of God on Calvary. There flesh proved that, with all its wisdom and all its religion, it hated and rejected the Son of God. There God proved how the only way to deliver from the flesh was to give it to death as an accursed thing. I begin to understand that the one thing I need is: to look upon the flesh as God does; to accept of the death-warrant the cross brings to everything in me that is of the flesh, to look upon it, and all that comes from it, as an accursed thing.

As this habit of soul grows on me, I learn to fear nothing so much as myself. I tremble at the thought of allowing the flesh, my natural mind and will, to usurp the place of the Holy Spirit. My whole posture towards Christ is that of lowly fear, in the consciousness of having within me that accursed thing that is ever ready, as an angel of light, to intrude itself in the Holiest of all, and lead me astray to serve God, not in the Spirit of Christ, but in the power that is of nature. It is in such a lowly fear that the believer is taught to believe fully the need, but also the provision, of the Holy Spirit to take entirely the place which the flesh once had, and day by day to glory in the cross, of which he can say, “By it I have been crucified to the world.”

We often seek for the cause of failure in the Christian life. We often think that because we are sound on what the Galatians did not understand—justification by faith alone—their danger was not ours. Oh that we knew to what an extent we have allowed the flesh to work in our religion! Let us pray God for grace to know it as our bitterest enemy, and the enemy of Christ....

Blessed Lord Jesus! who didst send Thy Holy Spirit, to secure the uninterrupted enjoyment of Thy presence, and Thy saving power within us, I yield myself to be entirely Thine, to live wholly and only under His leading. I do with my whole heart desire to regard the flesh as crucified and accursed. I solemnly consent to live as a crucified one. Saviour! Thou dost accept my surrender; I trust in Thee to keep me this day walking through the Spirit. Amen. (Galatians 5:16, 24, 25 Walking by the Spirit)

Mt 28:20 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go (present tense) therefore and make disciples (aorist imperative - the idea is "Do it! Don't delay. Don't procrastinate. Are you obeying dear reader?) of all the nations, baptizing (present tense) them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching (present tense) them to observe (In other words disciples are not to merely be hearers but doers of the Word - James 1:22) all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (What age? The church age which will end with His Second Coming)."

Comment: Jesus ascended to the Father and asked the Father to send the promised Holy Spirit which the Father did at Pentecost. Since that initial outpouring of the Spirit every person who has believed in Christ for salvation has received the gift of the Spirit. Here in what is commonly referred to as Jesus' great commission, Jesus promises that He will be with the disciples "always". "I am" is present tense which emphasizes His continual presence. How is Jesus with us always today? The answer is that He is with us because His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, indwells every believer forever.

Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk ( with a negative = command to stop doing this, implying some of the Gentile readers were doing this) with wine, for (Always note that "for" is a term of explanation - let it cause you to pause and ponder the text as described in the comment. Here it explains what drunkenness is - dissipation) that is dissipation (Pause and look up the definition of this word in Webster and you learn it is indulgent or wasteful living ~ in essence you are "wasting your life", the only life God has given you!), but be filled with the Spirit,

Comment: Observe the important conjunction but which should always prompt us to stop and ask what is being contrasted. This will force us to slow down and carefully re-read the text, so that we are guilty of "speed reading" which is too often superficial reading. As we perform this simple maneuver, we are in effect beginning to learn how to meditate on the Scriptures. Meditation is not what some Christian mystics described as being still and clearing the mind, which in fact is similar to the meditation techniques practiced in many eastern religions including the western "variant", the New Age movement. In fact Christian meditation is filling one's mind with the living Word of God, "chewing" on it, pondering it, lingering over it, actively interacting with the Word of life. And so as we encounter words like "but" ("for", English words we may not be able to easily define, etc), we take time to interact with the Holy Word and our teacher the Holy Spirit and as we do we are beginning to meditate. Meditation is a "lost art" in modern, fast paced evangelicalism but is a discipline God promises to greatly bless ("Meditate" on Psalm 1:1, Ps 1:2, Ps 1:3 and Joshua 1:8 and observe the "blessings" God promises to those who meditate on His Word. Then begin to make this your practice every time you open the Book. Don't miss the blessings God desires for you beloved!

Now back to our verse where we observe that God uses a common physical picture (drunkenness) to contrast with the somewhat "mysterious" spiritual truth of being filled with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16

This discussion is not an attempt to present a series of steps to be rigidly followed to assure that you walk by the Spirit, but are simply my suggestions (based on Scripture) regarding how walking by the Spirit can be a practical reality in your life. No one except Jesus ever mastered this Spirit controlled, Spirit empowered walk to perfection, but most of us can probably do much better than we have done in the past when we were relatively ignorant of the work of the Spirit in the process of sanctification in the believer's life. Note that we must be filled with the Spirit or yield ourselves to the control of the Spirit before we can walk by the Spirit. Victory over the fallen flesh is the Spirit's victory, one we can enjoy but one which we cannot take credit for. This victory begins by making sure we are not grieving, quenching or resisting the Spirit, which may mean we need to confess and repent of our sin. At the same time we fully acknowledge that we possess no power of our our own to defeat the flesh. We cannot control our temper, our lusts, our lies, etc in our intrinsic strength. We can't exhibit self-control by emphasizing the "self" aspect, which is just another way to describe the flesh. We must daily, moment by moment yield, surrender or submit our will to the Spirit (and even the desire and power to do that comes from Him! Phil 2:13. Amazing grace indeed). When confronted with a strong trial/temptation, we may need to cry out for "EMS" from the Holy Spirit (cp Heb 2:18). Remember however that if we are walking in sin, we are walking in unholiness and we in effect "negate" the work of the Spirit Who is the personification of holiness, until we confess and repent. We believe what God said about the relationship of the Holy Spirit and the sinful flesh in Galatians 5:16 and we walk in faith, not sight (2Cor 5:7). As we walk out by the Spirit, He leads us, He empowers us, He guides into all truth and in effect, He absolutely cuts off the power of the flesh and the strong desires to commit sin. How this all works together in our innermost being is mysterious, but our ignorance of the Spirit's workings does not detract from the fact that He gives us victory in that temptation/trial. The Father is glorified (Mt 5:16). Jesus is glorified (Jn 16:14). And we bear His Spirit's beautiful fruit. Are you practicing walking in the Spirit? Even as young children fall when they are learning to walk, you too will fall. However, don't let that discourage you from continuing to practice walking by the Spirit. As you practice walking in Him, you will begin to experience His victories over the flesh. You will be well on your way to living this Christian life on a higher plane, by the Spirit, not by the flesh (which tries to masquerade as pious or holy). You will not only have been made alive by the Spirit (born again), but you will be walking by the Spirit (Gal 5:25) experiencing His sanctifying work in your life as you follow His leading, His guiding and His teaching. This is all a bit mysterious beloved, but is is the truth of God's Word and as Jesus clearly stated "You shall know the truth (about the Holy Spirit's power over our flesh) and the truth (obeying God's command to walk by the Spirit daily) shall set you free." (Jn 8:31, 32).

Galatians 5:16 (cf Ro 6:12) does not say that if you walk by the Spirit you will no longer experience the lusts of the flesh. Believers are assured of a lifelong, continual inner struggle (Gal 5:17), but you can also be assured of the ultimate victory because of Christ's victory over sin and death on the Cross. And you can experience wonderful times of victory in this present life as you practice walking by the power of the Holy Spirit. But even in those times of victory the flesh will still actively be tempting you to commit sins. So don't be discouraged by the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit, because the very fact you are experiencing this struggle is one of the signs of genuine salvation! Before we were saved, we "chased after" sin, but now as believers, sin "chases after" us!


Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps (1Pe2:21)…

Luke 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness…14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit….

Hebrews 10:29 “the Spirit of grace”


Romans 8:9 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 (also found in 1Pe 1:11 speaking of OT prophets who experienced temporary indwelling by the Spirit), he does not belong to Him.

Comment: Believers are no longer "in the flesh" although we sometimes behave like we are. It is probably more accurate to say that we are acting "fleshly" in those moments. Believers have been taken out of Adam and placed in Christ (1Cor 15:22, Col 1:13) but they still have the fallen flesh within their mortal bodies. The flesh can still tempt us (and does so continually throughout the day) but it's power to control us or force us to obey has been broken by Christ's death on the Cross. Believers can still choose to "give in" to the lure and bait (both of which hide the consequences of the underlying "hook") of temptation, but they are not strictly speaking placed back again in the flesh.

Acts 16:7 and when they had come to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them

Hebrews 2:18 For since He Himself (Jesus the God-Man) was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able (pres tense) to come to the aid of (Gk = run to help upon hearing a cry) those who are tempted/tested.

ILLUSTRATION OF WHAT HAPPENED WHEN ISRAEL CRIED OUT - And the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. 9 And when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11 Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died. (Jdg 3:7–11)

Comment: he Holy Spirit empowers believers. This phrase, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him,” was also spoken of the judges Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson, among others. It expresses a temporary and spontaneous increase of physical, spiritual, or mental strength. This was an extraordinary and supernatural occurrence to prepare a person for a special task. The Holy Spirit is available to all believers today, but he will come upon believers in an extraordinary way for special tasks. We should ask the Holy Spirit’s help as we face our daily problems as well as life’s major challenges. (The Handbook of Bible Application)


The context of Jesus' teaching on the Holy Spirit is important, because He will soon be crucified and ascend to the right hand of His Father in heaven. And so Jesus is here speaking of how His disciples shall be enabled to complete their task. And by way of application He is speaking to all disciples regarding how we are to complete the good works "which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:10). Good works are supernatural works, works for which God alone can receive the glory and therefore they are works that can only be accomplished by Immanuel, God in us, the Spirit of Christ Who indwells us. And this is what Jesus proceeds to explain to the weak and tremulous disciples (we are no different than they).

The parting utterances of Jesus speak of His fellowship with His disciples as indestructible; as perfected, not impeded by His death. He remains in them, and they remain in Him, and they are thus encompassed by the Divine love. This relationship, however, lays upon them their special task—that of living and witnessing for Him, of pleading His claims, and of calling upon men to have faith in Him. As branches in the true Vine they have now the power, as they have also the duty, of bringing forth fruit. This brings them, however, to take part in a dire struggle, and the last discourse of Jesus affirms in words of deep impressiveness that He has made every provision for their warfare with the world and their victory over it....Now the question whether, and how, the apostles are able to fulfil their mission, and how they may convince the world that their message is true, is solved for them by the fact that the Spirit is with them. The Spirit is their Paraclete because He is the evidence of their standing, the efficacy of their words, the source of their authority, and the guarantee of their success. {Schlatter, A.},{Dictionary of the Apostolic Church (2 Vols.)},

Jn 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.

Illustration of Paraclete - The Karre language of equatorial Africa proved to be difficult for the translators of the New Testament, especially when it came to the word paraclete. How could they describe the Holy Spirit? One day the translators came across a group of porters going off into the bush carrying bundles on their heads. They noticed that in the line of porters there was always one who didn’t carry anything, and they assumed he was the boss, there to make sure that the others did their work. However, they discovered he wasn’t the boss; he had a special job. He was there should anyone fall over with exhaustion; he would come and pick up the man’s load and carry it for him. This porter was known in the Karre language as “the one who falls down beside us.” The translators had their word for paraclete. (From More Perfect Illustrations: For Every Topic and Occasion)

Jn 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Christ departed so that the Holy Spirit could be imparted.

The Spirit bears witness to and glorifies Jesus Christ—spiritual experiences, whether personal or corporate, should center on Christ and not ourselves. The tendency of some people and movements to glorify the gifts of the Giver more than the Giver of the gifts is incompatible with the biblical portrait of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Boa, Kenneth=Handbook to Spiritual Growth: Twelve Facets of the Spiritual Life

Jn 15:26 "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me, 27 and you will bear witness also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Oct 6 The Leadership of Our Guide "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth" (John 16:13).

Truth is like a vast cavern into which we desire to enter, but we are not able to traverse it alone. At the entrance it is clear and bright; but if we would go further and explore its innermost recesses, we must have a guide, or we shall lose ourselves. The Holy Spirit, who knows all truth perfectly, is the appointed guide of all true believers, and He conducts them as they are able to bear it, from one inner chamber to another, so that they behold the deep things of God, and His secret is made plain to them. What a promise is this for the humbly inquiring mind! We desire to know the truth and to enter into it. We are conscious of our own aptness to err, and we feel the urgent need of a guide. We rejoice that the Holy Spirit is come and abides among us. He condescends to act as a guide to us, and we gladly accept His leadership. "All truth" we wish to learn, that we may not be one-sided and out of balance. We would not be willingly ignorant of any part of revelation lest thereby we should miss blessing or incur sin. The Spirit of God has come that He may guide us into all truth: let us with obedient hearts hearken to His words and follow His lead. (Faith's Checkbook)

Unless we have within us that which is above us, we soon shall yield to the pressures around us.

{Pentz, Croft M.} {The Complete Book of Zingers: Over 5,000 Perfect One-Liners},

Jn 16:7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;

Luke 24:49 "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed (enduo) with power (dunamis) from on high."

1Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

The union and communion with God enjoyed by Christians is possible because of the indwelling Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor. 6:19). This means the Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity with whom Christians tend to relate most directly in their union and communion with God. --Elmer Towns, The Names of the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Beloved, you cannot drink the "wine" of the Spirit of Truth on Sunday and the lying spirits of the world the rest of the week....and expect to live the Spirit filled/controlled life!

1Thes 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit 20 do not despise prophetic utterances.

MacArthur writes...

As with illumination and all other divine works, we cannot understand exactly how God accomplishes His sanctifying work in us. We simply know from His Word, and often from experience, that He performs spiritual works in and through us that are not produced by our own efforts or power. Often we become aware of the Spirit’s activity only in retrospect, as we see His sanctifying power bearing fruit in our lives from seeds planted long beforehand. We also have the blessed assurance that, although we are not consciously aware of the Spirit’s work in us at all times, He is nevertheless performing His divine work in us at all times. He not only gives and sustains our spiritual life, He is our spiritual life. It is our heavenly Father’s great desire for His children to submit to the leading of His Spirit, for the sake of His glory and for the sake of their spiritual fruitfulness, well-being, and peace. (Romans)


Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father

The human spirit fails unless the Holy Spirit fills.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Boa - We need both the fire of the Spirit and the light of the Word. Unfortunately, many believers and churches have made this an either-or rather than a both-and by tending to be either Spirit-centered or Word-centered. Power without sound teaching is vulnerable to shallowness and lack of discernment; doctrine without power is vulnerable to dryness and spiritual torpor. But when power and truth, deed and word, experience and explanation, manifestation and maturity, are combined in our personal and corporate lives, the Spirit is welcomed and Christ is glorified.


Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?

2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

4 Did you suffer so many things in vain-- if indeed it was in vain?

5 Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

The Holy Spirit helps us understand and remember the Bible. Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them remember what he had been teaching them. This promise ensures the validity of the New Testament. The disciples were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and teachings, and the Holy Spirit helped them remember without taking away their individual perspectives. We can be confident that the Gospels are accurate records of what Jesus taught and did (see 1 Corinthians 2:10–14). The Holy Spirit can help us in the same way. As we study the Bible, we can trust him to plant truth in our mind, convince us of God’s will, and remind us when we stray from it. {Wilson, Neil S.}, title = {The Handbook of Bible application}


Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him Who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For (term of explanation - pause and ponder "What is Paul explaining?") while we were in the flesh (descriptive of an unregenerate person, an unbeliever), the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work (energeo in imperfect tense) in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.

Comment: "Work" is the Greek verb energeo which is in the imperfect tense. So we might paraphrase this passage something like this...

The law (rules, a list of do's and don'ts which we think we must obey or keep in order to gain God's approval) stirs up and excites those strong inward emotions and desires (that originate from our fallen flesh) which in turn over and over, again and again energize and activate (work effectively in us to cause) us to commit sins, that (rotten, decaying) fruit that always results in death (and separation from God).


Ezekiel 36:26 (Context = God’s promise of the New Covenant Ezek 36:26, Jer 31:31-34) Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 36 And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Philippians 2:12 Work out (present imperative) your salvation with fear and trembling 13 for it is God who is at work (energeo in present tense) in you, both to will and to work (energeo in present tense) for His good pleasure.

As Pentz says "When the Holy Spirit works, there is always a want—I want more holiness, more grace, more of Jesus."

God's Spirit causes us
to walk in His statutes
We are to be careful
to observe God's ordinances
Continually energizes us-giving us
the desire & ability to please our Father
Commanded to continually work out
our salvation with fear & trembling
Grace of God Work hard
By the Spirit
(Result = real, full, abundant life)
Putting to death
(by depending on the Spirit to accomplish this)
Equip (furnish) you
With every good thing you need
He is continually working in us
We are to be Continually Doing His will
That which is Pleasing in God's sight
Jesus Christ is glorified

Swindoll comments that...

To know about these great divine provisions from God is helpful, but it is not enough. We must also appropriate them at specific times throughout our Christian pilgrimage. We are responsible to surrender to Him, His Son, His Spirit, and His holy Word. How wonderful to know God has not only provided salvation for us; He has also given all we need for life and godliness (2Pe 1:3). We should continually pray, “God, give me the courage and conviction to carry out what you have assigned to me for victory.” (Understanding Christian theology)

Jerry Bridges adds that

There is a fundamental principle of the Christian life that I call the principle of dependent responsibility; that is, we are responsible before God to obey His Word, to put to death the sins in our lives (Ed: But be careful -- we can't put them to death. Only the Spirit can. So we must continually admit our weakness and appropriate His sufficient strength), both the so-called acceptable sins and the obviously not acceptable ones. At the same time, we do not have the ability within ourselves to carry out this responsibility. We are in fact totally dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit (see Php 2:12, Php 2:13). In this sense, we are both responsible and dependent.

John MacArthur...

The Paradox of Spiritual Life - An apparent contradiction of Christian living is that while my life is not mine but Christ's, at the same time I am living it (Gal. 2:20). Then who lives your Christian life: you or the Holy Spirit? It is all the Spirit's power, but it demands all our yieldedness and commitment. I am responsible to put to death my fleshly desires. I don't know how the combination works, but I do know that when I sin, I never blame the Holy Spirit. If anyone does, there's something grossly wrong with their theology because God has no part in sin. The opposite extreme of Quietism ("Let go, let God" idea) is Pietism, the religion of self effort. There must be a balance found in walking by the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit involves yielding to the Holy Spirit and killing sin. (Walking by the Spirit, Part 1)

Ridderbos notes that...

The principle of the Spirit does not make human effort unnecessary, but arouses it and equips it to put all its forces into the service of the Spirit. (The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia. Page 203)

1Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

Romans 8:13 If you are living (present tense = continually) according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body (deeds of our fallen, godless flesh) you will live.

Daniel Hill - Our obligation is to live by the Spirit but this is not an infinitive so we are not morally bound to do this. We have freedom, we have liberty, we chose by faith to live by the Spirit. The obligation we face is a response to what God has done for us. We should view it as a debt, as an obligation, but it is an obligation in the midst of the freedom God gives us. Paul had good reason to believe that these believers in Rome where walking in the Spirit. A result of being lead by the Spirit or walking in the Spirit is given here: "You are putting to death the deeds of the body." This is not a condition this is a result!

Tony Evans - You say, “...why is my flesh so dominating?” Because it has been in control of you so long. That’s why the only way to overcome the flesh is by growing the new you, not by trying to fix the old you. How do you grow the new you while shutting down the old you? You do it by feeding your spirit while you starve your flesh—those old, corrupt impulses and desires and habits. You cannot feed the flesh, neglect the inner you, and expect to have victory over the flesh. But too many Christians are like people in a cafeteria line. They get a steak smothered with brown gravy, mashed potatoes, bread with plenty of butter, and a big dessert covered with whipped cream. Then they come to the end of the line and get a diet drink, hoping somehow that it will cancel out the effects of the other stuff. This is what happens to a lot of us. All week long we feed the flesh, then we come to church for “diet worship,” hoping that two hours on Sunday will cancel out all the feeding the flesh we did Monday through Saturday. It won’t work. The only answer for the flesh is “putting to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13). And guess who gives you the authority to do that? The answer is right there in verse 13: the Holy Spirit. ... Once you realize the flesh can’t be salvaged and is destined for dust, it will radically change your approach to the Christian life. You will give up trying to tame or fix the flesh and concentrate on building up your inner person by the power of the Spirit. (The Promise : Experiencing God's Greatest Gift, the Holy Spirit)

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip (optative mood = signifies this is a prayer for) you in every good thing to do (present tense) His will, working (present tense) in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:16 (Paul prays to the Father) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power (dunamis - inherent ability to accomplish a task) through His Spirit in the inner man...20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power (dunamis) that works (energeo – present tense – same verb in Phil 2:13) within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Comment: If you are a Christ follower, what (Who) is the "power that continually energizes us" today.

Acts 1:7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you shall receive power dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

2Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for (My) power (dunamis) is perfected (present tense) in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power (dunamis) of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

1Peter 2:11 Beloved I urge you as aliens & strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Comment: As Jesus explains in verse 37, the Holy Spirit is definitely symbolized by water. The meaning of John 4:14 although also probably representing the Holy Spirit as "water" is not as clear because Jesus does not directly state the meaning of the water. Jn 7:39 identifies belief in Jesus with receipt of the Spirit, so the water in John 4:14 could be one or both members of the Godhead. Clearly Jesus is giving a prophecy which would be fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost and in every believer since that outpouring of the Spirit.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:13-14)


John 15:5 (Jesus) “Abide (aorist imperative = Command to "Do it!") in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides (present tense) in Me, and I in him, he bears (present tense) much fruit; for (term of explanation - pause and ponder "What is Jesus explaining?") apart from Me you can (dunamai = have no inherent ability) do (absolutely) nothing (of eternal value, see Jn 15:16 = fruit that remains).”

Comment: The word for "nothing" in Greek signifies absolute negation. In short, no abiding, no fruit!

Kenneth Boa...

The life of Christ can only be reproduced in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. As an inner work of God, it is not achieved by human effort, but by divine enabling. Apart from Christ and the power of His Spirit, we can accomplish nothing in the sight of God (John 15:4–5; Acts 1:8). Therefore it is crucial that we develop a conscious sense of dependence upon the Spirit’s power in all that we do (Handbook to Spiritual Growth: Twelve Facets of the Spiritual Life)


John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."


Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with (rendered inoperative), that we should no longer be slaves to sin;

Romans 6:11 Even so consider (pres imp) yourselves to be dead to (ruling, dominating power of) sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.


2Cor 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are (continually) being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

2Cor 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 Who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.


1Cor 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.


This passage supports the principle of intake of the Word is associated with filling of the Spirit…

John 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.


1Cor 2:4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

1Cor 1:18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1Cor 12:3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

1Cor 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (Manifestation = s an external manifestation to the senses which is thus open to all. It means to make visible that which has been hidden. The primary reference is to what is visible to sensory perception and thus which is made to appear, caused to be seen or uncovered, laid bare or revealed.)

2Cor 1:21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Pledge = originally referred to a down payment or earnest money given to secure a purchase. Later it came to represent any sort of pledge or earnest. A form of the word even came to be used for engagement ring.

Eph 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Acts 1:8 (He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority) but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

A pastor’s prayer: “Do something for us today that isn’t in the bulletin.”

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people...31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Learning to Depend on the Holy Spirit - Recognizing You Cannot Do anything supernatural without Him empowering you. Ray Pritchard writes the following article entitled "Get in Over Your Head!"

Have you heard the story of Charlie Riggs? Over 50 years ago, he came to Christ and was discipled by a young man named Lorne Sanny, who himself was being discipled by Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators.

Charlie was willing to grow in Christ, but he was a bit rough around the edges and didn’t seem very promising as a Christian leader. When Lorne wrote to Dawson, he told him that Charlie Riggs was the only man he was working with and he felt discouraged by the prospects. Trotman wrote back and said, “Stay with your man. You never know what God will do with him.” So, Lorne Sanny continued to work with Charlie Riggs.

A few years passed and a young man named Billy Graham came on the scene. In 1952, the Navigators “loaned” Charlie Riggs to the Graham team to handle the follow-up in their early crusades. He planned to return to the Navigators eventually. However, he worked out so well that he stayed with Billy Graham.

In 1957, on the eve of the famous New York City crusade at Madison Square Garden, the crusade director suddenly had to be replaced. Who could they get? The lay chairman suggested Charlie Riggs, but Billy Graham wasn’t sure if he could handle the job. “All he does is pray and quote Scripture.”

The layman insisted, Charlie Riggs got the job and the rest is history. The New York campaign became a model for the many crusades that would follow in later years. Billy Graham said, “I didn’t think he could do it. But I had this peace—that Charlie so depended on the Holy Spirit that I knew the Lord could do it through Charlie.”

Charlie Riggs retired after many years of effective service to the Lord. What was his secret? How could a man with little formal training rise to such a high position and hold it for so long?

He says, “I always asked the Lord to put me in over my head . That way, when I had a job to do, either the Lord had to help me or I was sunk.” God was delighted to answer this prayer time after time. He put Charlie Riggs in over his head—and then bailed him out.

So many of us dads play it safe with our families. We pray only for what we think we can handle. Our answers are small because our prayers are small.

Here’s a challenge. Let’s take Charlie Riggs’ prayer as our own: “Lord, put me in over my head.” It’s safer to stay in shallow water where you can always feel the bottom under your feet, but the real challenge is to jump in where the water comes up over your head. What are the challenges we face when we’re in over our heads? Job changes, teenagers, college costs and church schedules to name a few.

How about it, dads? Are you ready for some excitement? I am. Let’s ask God to put us in over our heads. And then, let’s watch God keep us floating just when we think we’re about to sink.(From “On the Father Front,” Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer, 1995)

When my wife and I are preparing for a trip, one of the first things we do is get out the road atlas. We study it intensely to learn the best routes, determine the number of miles we’ll have to travel, pick out interesting places to visit, decide how far we can get in a day, and estimate expenses. On the journey, the atlas is our constant companion, and we consult it many times a day. We couldn’t get along without it.

For Christians, the Bible is an atlas for their spiritual journey, but it is much more. It is described as:

• sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10; 119:103)
• a lamp (Psalm 119:105)
• rain and snow (Isaiah 55:10,11)
• a fire (Jeremiah 23:29
• a hammer (Jeremiah 23:29)
• water (Ephesians 5:26)
• a sword (Ephesians 6:17)
• solid food (Hebrews 5:12)
• a mirror (James 1:23)
• milk (1 Peter 2:2)

Like the highway traveler, we as Christians are on a long and sometimes hazardous journey. We face many decisions and will have many needs on our pilgrimage to paradise. The Bible has been given to us to help us make those decisions and to meet those needs. It should be our constant companion–studied diligently and consulted often along the way. We can’t do without it.

I have a companion, a dear, faithful friend,

A union of blessing that never shall end;

Till Jesus returns with His saints from on high

We'll travel together, my Bible and I. —AnonThe Bible is like a compass—it always points the believer in the right direction.

A POWERFUL PAIRING: FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT & FILLED WITH THE WORD: In Eph 5:18 Paul commands the saints “do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” And then in the parallel epistle of Colossians he commands the saints to “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. “(Col 3:16) When one compares the “fruit” of being filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18) and the “fruit” of being filled with the Word, (Col 3:16), a remarkable and instructive parallel becomes apparent. Unfortunately Facebook does not allow insertion of TABLES. If you have never seen this association before, you are encouraged to CLICK THE LINK BELOW for a TABLE comparing Ephesians 5:18-6:9 & Colossians 3:16-4:1. That the supernatural effects of the Holy Spirit should be so intimately related to the supernatural effects of the Holy Word is not surprising, for Scripture teaches us that the Spirit of Truth (1Jn 5:7b) uses the Word of Truth to save us, bringing “us forth by the Word of Truth…as the first fruits among His creatures” (Jas 1:18) and then to sanctify us (to make us holy, to set us apart from the unholy world and unto the Holy One). Jesus associated the Spirit and the Word in His great declaration that it “is the SPIRIT Who gives LIFE; the flesh profits nothing; the WORDS that I have spoken to you are spirit and are LIFE.” (Jn 6:63) In Jn 6:66 many of the “disciples” (not genuine) withdrew, after which Peter rightly understood the words that Jesus had spoken declaring “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have WORDS of eternal LIFE.” THE SPIRIT + THE WORD = REAL LIFE! Jesus later prayed “Sanctify them in Truth. Thy WORD is Truth.” (Jn 17:17) Peter referred to “the SANCTIFYING work of the SPIRIT” (1Pe 1:2). THE SPIRIT + THE WORD = ABUNDANT LIFE! As J C Ryle said "We may depend upon it as a certainty that where there is no holy living there is no Holy Spirit." And so we are daily being set apart by the Holy Spirit as we daily take in His Holy Word. Paul also alluded to this intimate “working relationship” of the SPIRIT and the WORD writing that “we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror (James says God's WORD is like a “mirror” Jas 1:23-25) the glory of the Lord, are being (continually) transformed (Gk = metamorphoo ~ "supernatural metamorphosis”) into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the SPIRIT.” (2Cor 3:18) The Spirit of the Lord takes the Word of the Lord that we “behold” and progressively transforms and conforms (Ro 8:29) us more and more into the image of God’s Son.

Vance Havner put it pithily when he said that our enemy “has scored a point in making us so afraid of extremism about the Holy Spirit—which abounds indeed—that we may miss the true in our fear of the false. We can be so wary of getting out on a limb that we never go up the tree!“ However, from the preceding Scriptures it is clear that the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to grow the People of God. Indeed, the Holy Spirit's filling of the saint is intimately associated with the saint's ingestion of the Holy Word. The human spirit starves unless fed with DAILY BREAD, for as Jesus declared "man shall not live on bread alone, but on EVERY WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (Mt 4:4) Spurgeon rightly said of the Spirit "He is your credentials as a Christian: He is your life as a believer." Tozer added that "The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people." These important truths beg a question - AM I DESPERATE for His Spirit and His Word? Listen to this beautiful modern worship song which ties all these thoughts together with these words...

This is the air I breathe

Your Holy Presence living in me

This is my DAILY BREAD

Your very WORD spoken to me

And I, I'm DESPERATE for You

And I, I'm lost without You



The Person of the Holy Spirit Part 4: The Holy Spirit in Relation to the Person and Work of Christ

(Continued from the October-December Number, 1940)


To the careful interpreter of the Scriptures, no portion of the Word of God requires more careful exegesis than the Gospel narratives. Combining in their scope the elements of three dispensations, Law, Grace, and Kingdom, the problems of interpretation are multiplied, yet the accounts are so simple in statement that a child may read with profit. Christ lived in the days of the setting sun of Mosaic law. Its provisions had ruled Israel for fifteen hundred years, more frequently disobeyed than obeyed, equally misinterpreted by the literal Pharisee and the liberal Sadducee. It had been intended as a schoolmaster to bring Israel to Christ (Gal 3:24), but its pupils had not learned their lessons. Christ came to fulfill the law, not only in His death on the cross, but in His own life to demonstrate perfect obedience. He was “made under the law” (Gal 4:4). Repeatedly in His messages, Christ referred to and interpreted the law, correcting the interpretations which had abused it, and adding new concepts of God and truth. Even as Christ had a backward look at times to the law, so also His prophetic message anticipated the coming glorious kingdom. He teaches the people the principles of the kingdom, warns of the danger of exclusion, raises a lofty standard which pierced through the outward forms of religion to matters of the heart. His Messianic message is presented with all the clarity and revelation which could be expected from His lips. As the growing unbelief of the people indicates their rejection and brings the shadow of the cross nearer, Christ turned to truth concerning the present age, the kingdom not in its outward display, but in its mystery form. The fulfillment of the promise of God to David is postponed, and into the foreground comes the undeclared purpose of God to call out from every nation a new company, composed of both Jew and Gentile, independent of all His promises to Israel, having its own calling and destiny. Only by bearing in mind that Christ lived in His prophetic ministry in the three dispensations of Law, Grace, and Kingdom is it possible to exegete with accuracy and profit the Gospel narratives which contain extended reference to all three systems of truth.

Aside from the intricate nature of the prophetic truth revealed by Christ, a further amazing event is enacted by God becoming incarnate, assuming human form, and living for a time within the limitations of the human frame. Culminating in the death and resurrection of Christ, the pages of the Gospel portray the most magnificent revelation, have reference to every important line of truth, and furnish a field of study which has been explored rather than mined for its treasures. It is not without point that the Old Testament so largely anticipates and looks forward to the coming of the Messiah, and the New Testament, after John, looks back to the work of Christ and gives itself to the task of interpreting what He did and what He is yet to do.

The period of time spanned by the Gospels is largely in the dispensation of the law, at least up to the death of Christ, and after this event fulfilling the law, the period of transition properly begins. Of primary interest is the relation of the Holy Spirit to Christ during His life on earth. Little that is new is found in the relation of the Holy Spirit to other men.

The period of the Gospels is of special interest in the study of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit because the work of the Spirit is Messianic in every dispensation to a large degree. In the Old Testament, prophecy abounds on the theme of the Messiah and of the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to Him. Much of this is in reference to the millennium, but some is more general. Notable passages are Isaiah 11:2-3, speaking of the fact that the Spirit would rest on Christ; Isaiah 42:1-4, quoted as fulfilled in Matthew 12:18-21; and Isaiah 61:1-2 which Christ claimed was fulfilled in His Person and work (Luke 4:17-21). Not only in relation to His Person, but also in relation to Messianic times the Holy Spirit is revealed to undertake for man. It is clear that the work of the Holy Spirit is inseparably related to all the Messianic purpose (Isa 32:15ff; 44:3-5; Ezek 36:26ff; Zech 12:10).

As in the Old Testament, the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to men other than Christ is individual and sovereign throughout the period of the Gospels. As in the Old Testament, some saints were filled with the Spirit, but this ministry was limited to a few, only four people being mentioned in addition to Christ: John the Baptist (Luke 1:15), Elizabeth (Luke 1:41), Zacharias (Luke 1:67), and Simeon (Luke 2:25). It was predicted that the disciples would be told by the Spirit what to say in persecution (Matt 10:20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12), and in John 20:22, apparently a temporary filling of the Spirit was given to provide for their spiritual needs prior to Pentecost, but none of these passages has reference to the normal operation of the Holy Spirit prior to Christ’s death. The matter of greatest importance in the study of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels is the consideration of His ministry to Christ, to be considered here, and the predictions of His ministry through this age which will be subject to later discussion.

I. The Work of the Holy Spirit in Relation to the Birth of Christ

There are few supernatural acts of God which present a more inscrutable mystery than the birth of Christ. All the elements of the miraculous are present, defying the reason of man and the normal course of nature; but whereas other miracles seem out of harmony with known natural law, the birth of Christ seems to require a change in the nature of God Himself. While the difficulties present no problem to faith, the statement of the factors that entered into the birth of Christ and their meaning are a most serious problem to the theologian. The doctrine of the virgin birth has been attacked vigorously because of its central importance to the Christian faith, and it has been defended with the best of scholarship and sustained by a mass of argument. Coming to the Scriptures in simple faith, building on the foundation of their inspiration and infallibility, the problem is still great, not to explain away the Scriptures, but to fathom and state in accurate terms what actually occurred. While all the questions which might arise cannot be answered, certain truths are made clear in the Scripture.

1. The Holy Spirit the Agent of Conception.

The Scriptures bear a clear testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit which resulted in the conception of Christ. Matthew reveals that Mary “was found with child of the Holy Ghost,” and quotes the angel, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:18, 20, 21). Luke is even more specific. “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). These passages should settle beyond doubt that Christ had no human father. The conception of Christ is definitely traced to the Holy Spirit. As in other operations of the Holy Spirit, however, the First Person and the Second Person are vitally related to His work. According to Hebrews 10:5, quoting loosely Psalm 40:6, Christ said, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” The preparation of the body of Christ seems to be related to a work of the Father. Hebrews 2:14, likewise, seems to indicate that Christ took flesh and blood by an act of His own will. It is clear that that life which was joined to the humanity of Christ was none other than the Second Person who had existed from eternity. The inscrutable mystery can be stated, then, that Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit, the life which was joined to humanity was that of the Second Person, and the First Person became the Father of the humanity of Christ. It must be noted that the Scriptures never refer to the Holy Spirit as the Father of Christ.

2. Mary the Mother of Christ.

The Scriptures considered are unequivocal in tracing the origin of the humanity of Christ to normal birth to Mary, the wife of Joseph. While the conception was supernatural, the birth of Christ seems to follow the natural pattern. The prophecies of the Old Testament are explicit that the Messiah should be born of a woman, a virgin, and Mary is said to fulfill these prophecies (Gen 3:15; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:18, 20, 21, 22, 23; 2:11, 13, 20, 21; 12:48; 13:55; Mark 3:31; 6:3; Luke 1:35, 43; 2:5-7, 16, 34, 48, 51; 8:19, 20; John 19:25, 26, 27; Acts 1:14; Gal 4:4). The evidence is so abundant for the motherhood of Mary that no serious attempts have been made to deny it even on the part of liberal scholarship, though the Cerinthian heresy denied that the conception was miraculous and held that Jesus was possessed only for a time with a heavenly spirit,1 and the Docetics held that His body was unreal.

3. The Nature of the Conception of Christ.

An investigation into the nature of the conception of Christ has its chief difficulty in solving the problem of the origin of the humanity of Christ. It is clear that Christ was born of Mary, yet certain features of His Person are quite distinct from the human race. The problem of deity becoming part of humanity is a great miracle, but the origin of a sinless humanity is a problem of the first magnitude. Many questions could be asked. Did the humanity of Christ proceed from Mary alone? Was the humanity a product of generation or creation? Why was the imputation of sin upon the whole human race apparently non-operative in the ease of Christ? Was His human nature sinless or merely sanctified? Such questions naturally arise in the course of the study of the conception of Christ. To a large extent we are shut up to reason, without explicit revelation, but to the degree a solution can be found a defense of the conception of Christ from serious errors is furnished. A proper examination of this field of truth would obviate such doctrines as that of the immaculate conception of Mary and heresies in the statement of the hypostatic union. and the known attributes of God. The truth probably is that the conception of Christ is both generation and creation, generation in the sense that He was born of a woman who conceived by the Holy Spirit, creation in the sense that a Second Adam was the product, a member of the race and yet the Federal Head of a new race. By analogy, Abraham was at once a Gentile and the first of the Israelite fathers. Christ was at once a member of the race and the Head of a new people.

Owen advances the argument that the conception of Christ can be thought of as creation more accurately than generation: “This act of the Spirit was a creating act; not indeed like the first creating act, which produced the matter of all things out of nothing; but like those subsequent acts of creation, whereby out of matter already prepared, things were made what they were not before, and which they had not active disposition to, nor concurrence in. So man was formed of the dust of the earth, and woman of a rib taken from man. Thus in forming the body of Christ; though it was effected by an act of infinite creating power, yet it was made of the substance of the blessed Virgin.”3 Dorner seems to hold much the same view: “And the soul itself is not given by Mary nor by the race, but by a Divine creative act.”4 The viewpoint of Owen and Dorner, including as it does the necessary connection with the race, presents less difficulties than the other view. Those holding the traducian view of the origin of the soul generally avoid the use of the word creation in connection with the humanity of Christ, but this is not at all necessary. The natural method as used in the race might be traducian, while the supernatural method used in Christ might be likened to creation. If the word creation is used in regard to Christ, it must be severely limited as Owen does to avoid any thought of creation ex nihilo. It partakes of the idea of both creation and generation.

(2) Was the Humanity of Christ Sinless or Merely Sanctified? One of the chief difficulties in avoiding the idea of creation of the humanity of Christ is that one is faced with the problem of producing through a sinful medium a holy child. The fact that the child born to Mary is sinless is conceded by all who accept the Scriptures. How can Mary, who partakes of the sin of Adam, become the mother of a holy and sinless child? If the humanity is the object of an act described as creative, the problem is much relieved, but if the humanity is transmitted in the act of conception, some explanation must be found. Shedd’s answer is that the humanity is sanctified before it is joined to deity: “The human nature assumed into union with the Logos was miraculously sanctified, so as to be sinless and perfect.”5 In support of this argument he quotes various Scriptures to the point that Christ is holy and sinless. Shedd concludes: “With these statements of the symbols, the theologians agree. They assert the sinfulness of the Virgin Mary, the consequent sinfulness of human nature as transmitted by her, and the necessity of its being redeemed and sanctified, in order to be fitted for a personal union with the Logos.”6 What Shedd apparently overlooks is the tremendous difference between being sanctified and being holy. Every saint in heaven is sanctified and free from all sin, and as such is a token of God’s grace through eternity. The case would be quite different, however, if any saint could be found who had never known sin. Of Christ, however, it is said specifically, that he “knew no sin” (2 Cor 5:21). One must choose, then, between the view that the humanity of Christ came into existence creatively, and the view that it was transmitted in its natural sinful state and sanctified before being joined to deity. Augustine who advanced and supported the idea of traducianism in respect to the race as a whole sums up the dilemma in these words: “If the soul of Christ be derived from Adam’s soul, he, in assuming it to himself, cleansed it so that when he came into this world he was born of the Virgin perfectly free from sin either actual or transmitted. If, however, the souls of men are not derived from that one soul, and it is only by the flesh that original sin is transmitted from Adam, the Son of God created a soul for himself, as he creates souls for all other men, but he united it not to sinful flesh, but to the ‘likeness of sinful flesh,’ Rom 8:3.”7

There is a sense, however, in which both views demand sanctification. Owen who insists on the creative idea also affirms the idea of sanctification: “The human nature of Christ being thus miraculously formed, was sanctified from the instant of its conception, and filled with grace according to its capacity. Being not begotten by natural generation, it desired no taint of original sin from Adam; it was obnoxious to no charge of sin, but was absolutely innocent and spotless, as Adam was in the day he was created.”8 Owen, however, uses, the thought of sanctification in a different sense than Shedd does. To Owen, sanctification is merely setting aside to holy use with a positive endowment of grace, while Shedd includes in the idea the thought of cleansing from defilement.

The question of whether the humanity of Christ was sinless or merely sanctified must be answered by the positive assertion that it was ever sinless, unless the creative origin of the humanity of Christ be denied.

(3) Was Adam’s Sin Imputed to Christ? The doctrine of imputation, while not a popular subject of study by Christians generally, lies at the heart of the whole program of salvation. The Epistle to the Romans has as its central theme the doctrine of imputation. When Christ died on the cross, all sin was imputed to Him, with the result that all the righteousness of God can be imputed to the believer in Christ. While the imputation of Adam’s sin to Christ on the cross is commonly accepted, what can be said of the imputation of sin to Christ at His conception? A study of Romans 5:12-21 will reveal the whole race under the condemnation of Adam in that Adam’s sin, while not theirs experimentally, by imputation becomes the burden of his seed. Entirely apart from the sin nature of man which may be transmitted mediately, imputation of sin is immediate.9 If the problem of the mediate transmission of a sin nature to Christ may be solved by accepting the theory of creation as Owen defines it, the problem of imputation remains. It is clear from Scripture that Adam’s sin was not imputed to Christ until the cross. How can this be explained?

Very little attention has been given to this theme by theological writers, and this not without cause. The Scriptures make it clear that Adam’s sin was not imputed to Christ until the cross, but do not explain why. While the problem cannot be finally solved, certain observations can be made. First, it is in the nature of imputation that it is related to judgment rather than to experience. Imputation has in view our standing before God as our Judge. Imputation in itself does not influence men to sin or have any real effect upon man’s will or experience, though it may result in a difference in divine blessings. Thus in the case of Christ, imputation of sin does not become an issue until Christ takes our place of judgment on the cross. Then imputation becomes a reality.

Second, in the nature of His position as the Second Adam, Christ was the Head of a new people. While it was necessary for the purpose of incarnation for Christ to become truly human, it was not necessary in His conception to partake of Adam’s sin. The imputation of sin to Christ at birth is contrary to the evident purpose of God and out of harmony with the program of His life and ministry prior to the cross. Christ is never said to be in Adam, while everyone else at birth is so regarded in Scripture. To be in Christ is to sever our connection in Adam. The two ideas and two positions are at opposite poles.

Third, it was essential to redemptive purpose that the Savior be able to save and be willing to save. All those in Adam fail to meet either of these conditions. If sin had been imputed to Christ at His conception, it would not only have made impossible the union of God and man, but it would have made impossible His substitutionary sacrifice. He would, therefore, be dying for His own sins justly His because of imputation, rather than dying willingly as the sinless One who voluntarily took unto Himself the judgment of sin. It may be concluded, therefore, that the imputation of Adam’s sin to Christ did not take place at the conception and that this is in harmony with all we know of Christ.

4. Conclusion.

More important from a practical standpoint than the inquiry as to the nature of the conception of Christ are the conclusions relative to the nature of His humanity. Here we deal not with speculation but with revelation, and the conclusions reached are of great importance in determining the doctrine of His Person. While it is not possible to discuss the intricacies of the doctrine of the hypostatic union, attention may be directed to the humanity of Christ, resulting from the work of the Holy Spirit, that humanity which was joined inseparably without confusion or loss of its true humanity to the Second Person of the Trinity.

(1) The Elements of the Humanity of Christ. The Scriptures make it clear that the humanity of Christ included all the essential elements. Christ possessed a true body, composed of flesh and blood and all the normal human functions (Heb 2:14). The immaterial factors of soul (Matt 26:38; Mark 14:34; John 12:27; Acts 2:27) and spirit (Mark 2:8; 8:12; Luke 23:46; John 11:33; 13:21) are included in His humanity. It may be conceded that some of the characteristics of His body were temporary and were abandoned after His death in the glory of His resurrection, but this argument has no bearing on the validity and completeness of His humanity. Only the characteristics of the body were subject to change, and this also followed the pattern of all flesh in that Christ died and in resurrection received a spiritual body, the pattern of those who will be raised in Him. The Scriptures make it clear, then, that Christ did not take to Himself in the incarnation a human body which was indwelt by deity, but that rather He took to Himself a human nature and body. He did not simply possess a human body, but He possessed a human nature. Yet, in the incarnation, Christ did not take possession of a human person, else He would have had dual personality. As Charles Hodges says, “The Son of God did not unite Himself with a human person, but with a human nature. The proof of this is that Christ is but one person.”10 It may be concluded that the Scriptures demand that the humanity of Christ be complete, and any other viewpoint is a serious departure from revealed truth.

(2) The Human Nature Was Without Sin. In contrast to all other human beings, Christ was without sin both in His immaterial and His material being. This was essential to the hypostatic union as it is inconceivable that deity could be united with humanity in one Person if this would involve sin. While the attributes of the divine nature do not transfer to the human nature and the attributes of the human nature never transfer to the divine nature, the attributes of either nature may be attributed to the Person of Christ. Therefore, if the human nature were sinful, the Person of Christ would have this characteristic. It is essential to every important doctrine that the Person of Christ be sinless and to this the Scriptures give abundant testimony (Isa 53:9; John 8:46; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet 1:19; 2:22; 1 John 3:5). The sinlessness of the human nature is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in conception, as we have seen, the humanity being kept from all sin.

(3) The Human Nature Partook of Unmoral Limitations. While guarded from every taint of sin, the human nature of Christ partook of the limitations true of humanity. This involved on the part of the human nature that it was temptable and peccable, even though the Person of Christ was impeccable. The human nature lacked omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and infinity which of course characterized the divine nature. The body of Christ had all the normal feelings and emotions which are natural to humanity except those arising in a sin nature. There was nothing lacking to His humanity which was essential to it, and there was nothing added to His humanity which was unusual, apart from the divine nature itself. The human nature of Christ was very similar to that of Adam’s before the fall, the great difference being found in its union with the divine nature.

(4) Christ Was of the Seed of David. While the birth and conception of Christ involved many unusual factors, and while we do not understand how all these elements were produced, the fact is clear that Christ was born of the seed of David as Mary’s true son. His was the lineage of David as to His humanity, and probably the racial characteristics of Israel were evident in the body of Christ apart from sin. Christ was never accused of not being a true Israelite as far as His race was concerned. It is essential to all the purpose of God in fulfilling His promises to David that Christ should be of his seed. On this hangs the fulfillment of the propheeies relating to the millennial kingdom and God’s purpose relative to the earth. The viewpoint that the humanity of Christ was effected creatively does not exclude this aspect, but rather includes all the natural features related to His conception and birth.

The record of Scripture does not satisfy in every respect the natural curiosity of an inquiring mind into the various factors of the conception and birth of Christ. Sufficient is revealed, however, to satisfy both faith and reason. However inscrutable the process, the birth of Christ is clearly revealed to have resulted from conception produced by the Holy Spirit, and in due time Christ was born, the eternal Second Person forever united to a complete and sinless humanity, providing in His birth the provision of God for revelation and salvation.

II. The Work of the Holy Spirit in Christ as a Child

Concerning the period of the life of Christ from His birth to the beginning of His public ministry, comparatively little is known, only the events surrounding His birth and the incident in the temple at the age of twelve being revealed. The relation of the Holy Spirit to Christ during this period is not the subject of extended revelation, but from what is known a number of important conclusions may be reached

1. Christ Filled with the Holy Spirit from the Moment of Conception.

In the Old Testament predictions of Christ, it is expressly revealed that Christ should have the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Such passages as Isaiah 11:2-3, 42:1-4 and 61:1-2 are explicit. The Gospels speak frequently of the fulfillment of these passages, and particularly after His baptism reveal Christ as filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1). While it is not possible to produce evidence beyond question, it is a matter of reasonable inference that Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit from the very moment of conception. A number of reasons present themselves for holding this opinion.

(1) From the doctrine of the Trinity, it may be inferred that the Persons of the Trinity are inseparable. For this reason, the Person of Christ even when in the womb of the Virgin Mary was attended and filled by the Father and the Holy Spirit.

(2) In the case of John the Baptist, it is revealed that he was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). If this blessing should attend the birth of the forerunner of Christ, it is inconceivable that the blessedness of Christ Himself should be less in degree.

(3) According to John 3:34, the Holy Spirit is not given by measure unto Christ, His ministry to Christ and His presence being abundant in every particular. As the verb is in the present tense, it would indicate that this is characteristic and continual.

(4) Not a single reason can be found why the Holy Spirit should not have filled Christ from the moment of conception. As the Person of Christ was ever holy and without sin there was nothing to hinder the full ministry of the Spirit. The purposes of God being so great in Christ, and the filling of the Holy Spirit being so evidently in keeping with His Person, the reasonable conclusion may be reached that Christ always possessed the fullness of the Holy Spirit. remain immutable, the human nature is subject to change as the Scriptures bear testimony.

(1) The Humanity of Christ Subject to Physical Growth. Without possibility for argument, the Scriptures make clear that Christ in His physical development followed the general pattern of all flesh. He was a normal baby when born, and during the ensuing years grew physically into manhood. This is expressly stated in Luke 2:40, 52, where we learn that he “grew,” and “increased in wisdom and stature.” Without departing from the natural aspects and characteristics of physical growth, it is entirely possible that the body of Christ, being devoid of sin, developed more rapidly and manifested perfection of body which could not be true in sinful men. In contrast to the picture often drawn of Christ, His body was probably unusually strong and graceful, devoid of the hereditary effects of sin as manifested in the race. The account in the temple of Christ at the age of twelve, while chiefly in reference to His mental powers, indicated that He was developed beyond His years in every way. While the omniscience of deity was present then, as always, it is not clear that His divine attributes are manifested in this instance.

(2) The Human Nature of Christ Subject to Increase in Wisdom. While it will always be an inscrutable mystery how in one Person, Christ can be said at the same time to be ignorant and omniscient, weak and omnipotent, these apparent contradictions are dissolved when the characteristics are traced to their respective natures, human and divine. Without detracting from any of the attributes of the divine nature, it may be said of the human nature that it was capable of growing in knowledge and mental ability. This is expressly claimed in Luke 2:40, 52 where Christ is said to be “filled with wisdom,” and to have “increased in wisdom.” Christ himself referred to the limitations of wisdom in His human nature (Matt 24:36; Mark 13:32; John 14:10). How can this process of increase in wisdom with its attendant factor of lack of knowledge be defined?

It is clear in the first analysis that the human nature is not omniscient. However wise its own mental powers may have been, unaided by deity it lacked the attribute of omniscience which is a quality only God possesses. The human nature of Christ was undoubtedly the seat of the most brilliant human mind ever found in the world. Whatever lack of knowledge may be found in it is likewise evident in every other human mind apart from revelation. The limitations of humanity must be acknowledged, but not overstressed. It is evident that the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the humanity of Christ supplied knowledge of every fact necessary to duty, to avoid sin, or to do the will of God. The lack of knowledge consisted in some cases in the contrast of theory to experience. Hence, Christ learned obedience by suffering (Heb 5:8), and the nature of trial and temptation was experienced by actual contact (Heb 2:18). In it all, Christ reached a perfection in development through His experiences (Heb 2:10). All of these elements applied only to the human nature and through the human nature become the properties of the Person of Christ.

III. The Holy Spirit in Relation to the Baptism of Christ

The baptism of Christ by John has been the subject of considerable discussion. All agree that the incident was the induction of Christ into his Messianic ministry proper, although the interpretation of the meaning of baptism in the case of Christ varies. All the Gospels record that Christ was baptized by John and that on that occasion the Holy Spirit descended from heaven in the form of a dove and abode on Christ. What is the meaning of this unique ministry of the Holy Spirit?

1. Not the Beginning of the Holy Spirit’s Ministry to Christ.

It has been demonstrated already that Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment of conception. The coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove must not be interpreted, then, as meaning the beginning of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to Christ.

2. A New Phase of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is ordinarily associated with some outward manifestation, but it is not necessarily so at all times. During the years of preparation, Christ was in relative obscurity, though filled with the Holy Spirit. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ at His baptism does not make any essential change in His relationship, but it does mark the beginning of a new phase of His ministry. From now on, the Holy Spirit will effect the outward signs of Messiahship, the miracles and the prophetic ministry of Christ being its major evidence. As the coming of the Spirit in the form of a dove was visible and outward, so the ministry of the Spirit would be visible and outward from then on. An observer from that moment on could see the full-orbed ministry of the Spirit in the life and work of Christ.

3. A Renewed Declaration of the Unity of the Trinity.

The baptism of Christ was the occasion for a notable illustration of the doctrine of the Trinity. After Christ had been baptized, the Father spoke from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). The Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and Christ was coming up from the Jordan. No better instance of revelation of the Trinity could be desired. At the same time, however, the occasion was one for declaration of unity. Christ is proclaimed as the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit is declared to be permanently resident in Christ. While Three Persons are revealed, it is clear that there is One God.

IV. The Holy Spirit in Relation to the Prophetic Office of Christ

Christ during His earthly life lived and taught as a prophet. His office was attested by miracles, and His unusual teachings led many to recognize His prophetic gift. In the sphere of limitation which Christ voluntarily assumed in the incarnation, He was dependent on the Holy Spirit for the exercise of His prophetic office. This conclusion is sustained by an examination of Christ’s own teachings.

1. The Holy Spirit the Normal Source of the Prophetic Gift.

The work of the Holy Spirit in revelation in the Old Testament has already been considered at length. The New Testament is equally explicit in referring the work of revealing truth to the Holy Spirit. Christ in particular gave extended teaching on the subject. He told His disciples that when they were brought before rulers in judgment for preaching the gospel the Holy Spirit would give to them what they should speak (Matt 10:20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12). Concerning the need of the apostles for spiritual revelation, Christ promised that they would receive the teaching of the Holy Spirit which would enable them to give their prophetic message (John 16:13-14). The epistles frequently allude to the same truth. It is therefore a normal operation of the Holy Spirit to sustain the prophetic gift.

2. Christ Anointed of the Holy Spirit to Preach.

At least two references point to the special work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the prophetic office of Christ. According to Matthew 12:18-21, Christ claimed fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 42:1-4) that the Messiah would have the Spirit upon Him in His prophetic work. Even more explicit are the words of Christ in the synagogue at Nazareth where He quoted Isaiah 61:1-2 and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). The anointing of the Holy Spirit in preparation for His preaching ministry as prophesied by Isaiah is fulfilled in Christ. While there was resident in the Person of Christ all the attributes of deity, in the limitations of His earthly walk Christ chose to be dependent on the Holy Spirit for the exercise of His prophetic gift. By the Spirit He was “anointed” to preach, and His prophetic office is sustained by the constant ministry of the Holy Spirit. performed by the power of the Spirit is afforded. It may be noted that Luke 4:14, preceding the passage, reveals that Jesus had returned from His temptation “in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.” The display of divine power in various forms apparently resulted from the work of the Holy Spirit on His behalf.

2. Did Christ Perform Miracles in His Own Power?

From the Scriptures considered it is evident that at least some miracles of Christ were performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The question is often raised whether some of the miracles of Christ were performed in the power of His divine nature. The incarnation and the self-limitation which this involved did not strip Christ of a single attribute; it only denied their independent use where this would conflict with His purpose to live among men as a man. Even in the limitations of the flesh, before the cross, Christ possessed omnipotence. In effecting miracles was the power that of the Second Person or that of the Third Person? The same question could be raised in some of the other works of Christ, such as His work as Prophet.

It must be admitted that the problem is beyond final solution. However, there are some clear instances in Scripture which would seem to point to a conclusion that the power of the Second Person was not entirely inoperative and could be used at will. It would seem that Christ chose to perform miracles in the power of the Spirit rather than that He had no alternative. Frequently in reference to the miracles of Christ the word power (δύναμις) is used (Mark 5:30; Luke 5:17; 6:19; 8:46). The power in point is often said to have proceeded from Christ. In connection with the healing of the woman who touched Christ in the throng, Christ perceived that power “had gone out of him” (Mark 5:30; Luke 8:46). Again in Luke 5:17, the power to perform healing is referred to Christ Himself: “The power of the Lord was present to heal them.” According to Luke 6:19, power went out from Christ in performing the miracles of healing. From the language of these passages, a conclusion might be reached that Christ acted in His own power. The final solution to the problem cannot be reached except to state that Christ performed His miracles in the power of the Spirit, and that He could if He wished and probably did exercise His own power as well. In the unity of will and action of the Trinity, the cooperation of the Second and Third Person in doing mighty works should be expected.

VI. The Holy Spirit in Relation to the Sufferings of Christ

The sufferings of Christ are an inexhaustible theme for meditation and study. From them flow many precious truths and foundational doctrines. The relation of the Holy Spirit to these is seldom mentioned, though the Holy Spirit admittedly has an important ministry to Christians in their times of sufferings. From all we know of the Holy Spirit and His relation to Christ, it would seem most natural that Christ should be sustained by Him in His sufferings. As revealed in the Scripture, though there are few passages, it is clear that the Holy Spirit did have this ministry.

1. The Relation of the Holy Spirit to the Sufferings of Christ in Life.

Fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, Christ on earth was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa 53:3). It was the ministry of the Holy Spirit to sustain and strengthen Him. In connection with the temptation of Christ, we note that Mark records that He was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness: “And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). While in the wilderness, angels were His ministers, but immediately after this trial, Luke records that Christ “returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee” (Luke 4:14). While there are no direct statements, it would be reasonable to assume that the Holy Spirit ministered to Him during this time of suffering and trial.

A twofold inference aids in establishing this fact. First, from the unity of the Trinity, it must be concluded that their relationship involves mutual sustenance. While this concept is hardly necessary when all Three Persons are free to exercise omnipotence, when the Second Person denies Himself the use of some of His attributes for a time, it would be proper for the other Persons to minister to Him.

A second inference may be drawn from the abundant ministry of the Comforter to Christians while they are in this world. The Holy Spirit is ever ready to strengthen and comfort the saint in distress (John 14:26; 15:26), and teach them the truth of God.

It may be concluded that the Holy Spirit continually ministered to Christ. As Owen writes: “By him he was directed, strengthened, and comforted in his whole course, in all his temptations, troubles, and sufferings from first to last; for there was a confluence of them upon him in his whole way and work; a great part of his humiliation for our sakes consisting in these things. This God promised to him, and this he expected, Isa l.7, 8, xlii.4, 6, xlix.5, 8.”11

2. The Relation of the Holy Spirit to the Sufferings of Christ in Death.

According to Hebrews 9:14, Christ offered Himself to God in death by the Holy Spirit: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” There has been opposition, of course, to this interpretation, Westcott, for instance, arguing that the absence of the article before Πνεύματος indicates that the reference is to Christ’s Spirit.12 Others have taken the view referring it to the Holy Spirit. H. C. G. Moule, for instance, disagrees with Westcott,13 and George Smeaton writes plainly, “The expression: ‘the eternal Spirit,’ can only mean the Holy Spirit according to the usual acceptation of the term,-not the divine nature of Christ, as too many expositors have understood it.”14 While in the last analysis the Greek would probably admit either interpretation, the matter must be settled on theological grounds. The question is whether Christ offered up His whole Person as a sacrifice, or whether merely the human nature was the sacrifice. As Smeaton puts it: “To explain the text as if it described the divine nature as priest and the human nature as the sacrifice, is inadmissible. The WHOLE PERSON is priest and victim; for all done by either nature belongs to the Person: HE offered HIMSELF, says the apostle.”15

If the reference to the Spirit is a reference to the Holy Spirit, in what sense did Christ offer himself to God through the Holy Spirit? The context does not give us any specific light on the subject, but the general content of Scripture points to the inclusion of all the ministry of the Holy Spirit to Christ as being antecedent to His act in dying. There is implication that the whole process of the incarnation leading to the cross was related to the work of the Holy Spirit. As Christ was sustained in life, so also in death the Holy Spirit sustained Christ. In the difficult hours of Gethsemane and all the decisive moments leading to the cross, the Holy Spirit faithfully ministered to Christ.

While on the cross, Christ, in fulfillment of Psalm 22:1, cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46). It is possible that there was a cessation of the Spirit’s ministry during this period without altering the fact that Christ offered Himself by the Spirit to God. While the Holy Spirit could succor Christ in making His decision and in fulfilling the eternal purpose of God in taking the path which led to the cross, only Christ could bear the load of sin. In this the Holy Spirit could not avail.

The work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the sufferings of Christ on the cross consisted, then, in sustaining the human nature in its love of God, in submission to the will of God and obedience to His commands, and in encouraging and strengthening Christ in the path of duty which led to the cross. In it all the ministry was to the human nature, and through it to the Person of Christ. The inquiring mind must ever confess that the truth is infinite and beyond our complete comprehension.

VII. The Holy Spirit in Relation to the Resurrection and Glorification of Christ

The Holy Spirit who had sustained Christ throughout the period of His humiliation might be expected to have part also in His glorification. The Scriptures reveal that such is the case. Particularly in the act of resurrection, the Holy Spirit undertook for Christ.

1. The Holy Spirit in Relation to the Resurrection of Christ.

The Scriptures frequently refer the resurrection of Christ to God without distinction as to Persons. In Acts 2:24, for instance, Peter in reference to Christ said, “Whom God hath raised up.” Christ before His death had revealed His own power in resurrection. To Martha He had said, “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25). In John 10:17-18 Christ announced: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” In like manner the Father is revealed to have raised Christ from the dead (Eph 1:17, 20).

In cooperation with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit undertook His part in the resurrection of Christ. According to Romans 8:11, the Holy Spirit acted in the resurrection of Christ even as He acts in the spiritual resurrection of those who believe: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” The passage assigns to the Holy Spirit a specific agency in connection with the resurrection.

Other passages may sustain this, though these are less clear. According to 1 Peter 3:18, Christ was “quickened by the Spirit.” It is probable that this has reference also to the Holy Spirit rather than Christ’s human spirit. Less clear is Romans 1:4, which probably refers to the human spirit of Christ.

The exact nature of the work of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection of Christ is not revealed. Owen feels it included rendering the dead body of Christ holy and free from all natural process of corruption during the time it was in the tomb.16 While this seems in harmony with the predictions of Psalm 16:10 that His body would not see corruption, this idea must be left in the realm of opinion. More sure is the fact that the resurrection of Christ involved the production of a spiritual body, embodying the characteristics of immateriality and spirituality along with its physical aspects. The realm of creation and resurrection is clearly in the proper office of the Holy Spirit, and the reunion of the soul and body of Christ seems to fit properly into the sphere of ministry of the Spirit. In any event, the act of resurrection displays the power and glory of God as few other events.

2. The Holy Spiiit in Relation to the Glorification of Christ.

From the fact that the Holy Spirit had part in the resurrection of Christ it may be assumed that He also had part in the glorification of Christ. On this subject, however, the Scriptures are silent. As Kuyper says, “The work of the Holy Spirit in the exaltation of Christ is not so easily defined. The Scripture never speaks of it in connection with His ascension, His sitting at the right hand of the Father, nor with the Lord’s second coming.”17 From the nature of the Holy Spirit we may assume that He would be related to the blessed estate of our Savior. From His work in us, we would assume a most intimate relation between the glorified Savior and the indwelling Spirit. Of the Spirit we learn not only of His sufferings and death, but we are also taught the power of the resurrection of Christ and the riches of the glory of His grace. Even as the Holy Spirit was infinitely faithful in every ministry to Christ, so in the experience of the Christian whether in the flesh or in glory the ministrations of the Spirit are infinitely wonderful.

Dallas, Texas

(To be continued in the April-June Number, 1941)

* * * * *

The difference between Christian theologians and Christian laymen is only a difference in degree; one class blends itself with the other; there are in Christianity no exoteric and esoteric systems. Every reflecting laymen acquires at the present day some theological education. The commentaries on the Bible, the systematic instruction in the Catechism, the popular histories of the church constitute the beginning of his theological course. Unless he have some insight into the faith which he adopts, then is he blind in his faith.-Bibliotheca Sacra, February, 1844.


This article was taken from the Theological Journal Library CD and posted with permission of Galaxie Software.


1 George Park Fisher, History of Christian Doctrine, p. 56.

3 A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, pp. 91-92.

4 A System of Christian Doctrine, Vol. III, p. 341.

5 Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II, p. 296.

6 Op. cit., p. 297.

7 Letter 164, quoted by Shedd, Loc. cit.

8 Op. cit., p. 95.

9 Cf. Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. II, pp. 192-203.

10 Op. cit., p. 391.

11 Op. cit., p. 99.

12 The Epistle to the Hebrews, pp. 263-264.

13 Veni Creator, p. 32.

14 The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, p. 132.

15 Op. cit., pp. 132-133.

16 Op. cit., pp. 102-103.

17 The Work of the Holy Spirit, p. 110.