Spirituality by Grace
Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth," (John 4:24)
Spirituality by Grace
WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?
There has been much confusion regarding the subject of Spirituality. What is it that makes a person “Spiritual”? Is it an experience which some Christians achieve to a greater degree than others? Is it a stimulating feeling which produces an ecstatic reaction? Should we try to imitate the experience of another great believer in order to become Spiritual? What is Spirituality? What does the Bible actually teach regarding this important subject?
Let me say at the very beginning that Spirituality is open to all believers, just as Salvation is open to all humanity. It is not an elusive and mysterious experience which some can have and which will set them apart from other believers. Spirituality is just as available as is Salvation. The Word of God is very specific as to what it is --- how to obtain it and what it produces. In order to clear up the many misconceptions concerning this subject, it will be necessary to understand what Spirituality is not, as well as what it is.
In the broadest sense of the word, Spirituality is a relationship with God the Holy Spirit, just as Christianity is a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. A person is a Christian, not because he is religious or because of something he has done, but because he has received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through faith. (Gal 3:26) At the moment you believe in Him, you enter into union with the Son of God, and He dwells within us. (2Co 3:18) Christ provided on the cross everything necessary for you to have this relationship with Him.
From the time of the original sin in the Garden, man has been separated from God. He is Spiritually dead; (Eph 2:1) and therefore can have no fellowship with Him. In order to bring man into fellowship and a FAMILY relationship with Himself, the wages of sin, (Spiritual death) must be paid. As Jesus Christ hung on the cross. He was judged for every sin in the human race — past, present and future; He bore them all in His own body. (1Pe 2:24) He was separated from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit by Spiritual death. (Matt 27:46) and thus paid in full the debt of mankind. Only when His work was FINISHED did He die physically. (John 19:30) And because He has done all the work, you and I can have an eternal relationship with Him by simply receiving what He has done.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)
Looking at this relationship to Christ; from the standpoint of redemption. He has broken the shackles of sin. We are no longer in the slave market of sin; we are now free, even as Jesus Christ is free. From the standpoint of propitiation, the Father was satisfied with what Jesus Christ did on the cross. From the standpoint of reconciliation, the barrier is removed and we are now reconciled to God. From the standpoint of expiation, Christ was judged for every sin we have ever committed. From the standpoint of unlimited atonement, Christ died for the sins of the entire world. (1Jn 2:2) We might look at it from the standpoint of positional Truth or regeneration or any one of the many other marvelous facets of Salvation. But regardless of how we look at it, we can summarize by saying that Christianity is a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ!
Now, in a similar way, Spirituality is a relationship with God the Holy Spirit. It is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit, Who indwells every believer at the moment of Salvation, controlling or filling or occupying your life. Spirituality is specifically Commanded in two passages: (Eph 5:18; “...Be filled with the Spirit”; Gal 5:16) “…walk by [By means of] the Spirit.”
SPIRITUALITY VERSUS BAPTISM AND INDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT
Neither the baptism nor the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are synonymous with Spirituality. The baptism of the Spirit: is God the Holy Spirit taking the believer at the moment of Salvation and putting him in union with Christ. (1Co 12:13) It is a once and for all action. (Col 2:12). “Indwelling” is God the Holy Spirit coming to make His residence inside the believer at the moment of Salvation; (1Co 6:19; Gal 3:2) and while He never leaves. He may or may not control the believers’ life.
Like the baptism of the Spirit, indwelling cannot be experienced. We are never Commanded in the Word of God to be either baptized or indwelt by the Spirit. We are never told to make the Holy Spirit come within or that we should ask Him to come in. He indwells at the very moment we put our trust in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit always indwells, and there will never be a time when He does not! (Matt 28:19-20) But the filling of the Spirit comes and goes. These distinctions are very important. If you want to speak of Spirituality in other terms, Think of it as the filling of the Spirit, because this phrase conforms to Bible nomenclature. (Eph 5:18) We are Commanded to be filled, habitually and constantly, with the Holy Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit, then, of course. He controls the life. There is ONE act of indwelling; but there are MANY acts of the filling of God the Spirit!
CONCEPTS OF EXPERIENTIAL CHRISTIANITY
The Absolute Concept. Spirituality is not a matter of degrees. We often hear it said that some person is more Spiritual than another, or less Spiritual. The implication is that some people have a greater degree of Spirituality than others; but the Bible very definitely teaches that Spirituality is an ABSOLUTE! We either have it, or we do not have it. We are either 100 per cent Spiritual, or we are not Spiritual at all! If we are what might be said 99 per cent Spiritual, (And there is no such thing) then we are not Spiritual at all; we are carnal. Either our life is controlled by God the Holy Spirit, or we are controlled by the old sin nature. (Rom 8:7-8) There cannot be a dual control!
When the old sin nature controls your life, you are carnal. When the Holy Spirit controls your life, you are Spiritual. And at any particular point in your life either the old sin nature controls or the Holy Spirit controls. There is no half and half, or part and part. There is no such thing as being 5 per cent, 50 per cent or even 95 per cent Spiritual. You either have Spirituality or you do not. This is what is meant by the fact that Spirituality is an absolute. We are either Spiritual or we are carnal. We cannot be in between. The greatest step in understanding Spirituality is to understand that there are no degrees of Spirituality. The great difference in degrees is in the matter of Christian growth. There are degrees of growth, but not of Spirituality.
The Growth Concept. One of the greatest sources of confusion to the believer is the fact that there is no Law and also grace, so we must understand what actually constitutes growth and what constitutes Spirituality. While one very definitely helps the other, each is entirely different in every aspect. Maturity, which is the result of growth, is often mistaken for Spirituality; but we must understand that Spirituality is not maturity!
The instant we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are born into the family of God; (John 3:3; Gal 3:26) and we begin the Christian life as “babies.” From then on, as long as we live on this earth, we are Commanded to do two things: we are Commanded on the one hand to “be filled with the Spirit,” (Eph 5:18) and, on the other hand, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2Pe 3:18)
The issue of Spirituality is that at any point in your life you are controlled either by God the Holy Spirit or by the old sin nature. When you meet the Bible conditions, you are filled with the Spirit. When you fail to meet the Bible conditions, you are not filled with the Spirit, and you revert to a carnal status. You either have Spirituality or you do not!
From the standpoint of growth, believers fall into one of three categories: babies, adolescents, or mature Christians. In one assembly, believers may range all the way from babyhood to complete maturity. Furthermore, there are Spiritual babies and carnal babies; (1Co 3:1-3; Heb 5:11-13) Spiritual adolescents and carnal adolescents; Spiritual mature believers; (Heb 5:14) and carnal mature believers. (Rom 7:14-24) This is where the big problem lies. A baby, for example, has to be amused and entertained. If I am teaching a more advanced passage of Scripture, I notice that the babies’ eyes begin to stray and their minds begin to wander. The only way to bring them back to the subject is to give them an illustration or a story. Then, in other passages where a simple Truth is taught, we have their attention, but the more "adult" believers begin to tune out. So you see, in any particular group there are all stages of growth and variations of interest. This also makes a great deal of difference in our relationship with each other, since there are many things which are not required of babies but which are required of mature believers. (1Co 8:9)
Growth in the Christian life does not remain motionless. The Bible clearly indicates progression and retrogression, as well as degrees of growth. As a baby should grow, so the great objective of Christian experience is to get the one who is born again to grow! (2Co 5:20)
Dangers in Christian Growth.
(1) To the immature or infant believer. The infant mortality rate in the Christian life is extremely high! The less a believer knows about the Word of God and about Spirituality, the higher the infant mortality rate. Too many are ignorant of their marvelous position in Christ; they are unaware of all the Divine operating assets by which they could accomplish tremendous things for the Lord. They are at a standstill, or may even be retrogressing into Spiritual morons because of a misconception of Spirituality and because older believers are missing the boat on “baby care”, and how to get a baby started in the Lord.
So this particular message is crucial — extremely crucial! The objective is to provide a clear understanding as to exactly what you must do, as a believer, to help other believers. We put a great deal of emphasis on winning souls to Jesus Christ, and we should, for the Word of God does; but the Word of God puts an equal emphasis on helping believers to grow! (Heb 5:12-14; Heb 6:1-3)
(2) To Spiritual adolescents. Adolescence in the Spiritual realm is probably the most difficult period. Believers who have come out of the baby-hood stage into adolescence have a LITTLE KNOWLEDGE, and one of the most dangerous things in the world is a little knowledge of the Word of God! Once we begin to feel a little confident about what we know of the Word, though it is just a little knowledge, there is often a tendency to assume that we know everything! Such adolescents have often destroyed the possibility of other babies growing and progressing.
(3) To mature believers. After adolescence comes maturity; and although there are many ways to distinguish maturity; (e.g., the “Edification Complex” of the soul) by way of introduction, we will emphasize five words.
KNOWLEDGE. While many believers are Spiritual, and have been Spiritual, and can be Spiritual with very little understanding of the Word, maturity is different. In maturity you have one who has a maximum knowledge of the Word of God — a COMPLETE knowledge of God's Thinking on EVERY SUBJECT! There can be no true application to experience apart from Truth. So first of all, there must be a maximum knowledge of the Word and the Doctrines of Scripture! This is characteristic of maturity, but it is not Spirituality. It is possible to be Spiritual without a great knowledge of the Word of God. A baby can be Spiritual. As a matter of fact, when we are born into the family of God, we are born Spiritual. But the first time we sin, that is the end of Spirituality. There is a way to become Spiritual again by the application of, (1Jn 1:9)! But a maximum knowledge of the Word has to do with maturity.
WISDOM. Wisdom is the application of Truth to experience from the right lobe’s frame of reference. It is possible in many cases for one to be Spiritual without having much wisdom because of a lack of knowledge of Truth and or a failure to believe God's Thinking and so to transfer it from the perceptive lobe of the mind to the human spirit. The human spirit is received at the point of Salvation and is the means of storing and using Divine Thinking: Wisdom!
FAITH. A mature believer is able habitually to mix the promises of God with faith. Faith pulls in Truth we are learning so that we have inner resources in time of pressure.
GRACE. From eternity past, God’s plan for the believer can be summarized by this one word. Grace is all that God is free to do for the believer on the basis of the work of Christ on the Cross. Therefore, grace depends on Who and What God Is! Never on who and what man is, thinks or does! (Exo 33:19; Rom 9:15-16) Therefore, grace excludes all human merit, all human ability, and anything that can be "Thought of" as meritorious on the part of man! (1Co 3:19-20) For the believer who functions daily under Operation Z, (The grace apparatus for perception, provided for believers for the intake of Truth) and who, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit assimilates a maximum amount of Truth, grace becomes more and more of a Divine Reality in OUR SOUL each day! (Isa 55:8-9) The fourth floor of the edification complex, (Spiritual life) of the soul is grace orientation. Bible Truth in the right lobe produces God's Viewpoint; and application of God's Thinking to life produces Spiritual maturity. Therefore, a mature believer is always grace-oriented. http://thinkingtruth.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/top-and-bottom-circles/
PRODUCTION. The mature believer produces on a maximum scale. Now a baby can produce also. A newborn baby can win another person to the Lord Jesus Christ; but production on a large scale is the result of maturity. That is obvious. For example, a child cannot take as much coal out of a pit as an adult. So it is in the Christian life: all the way through there is an increased production which goes with growth.
Hindrances to Growth. (Heb 5:11-14) is our first passage in introducing the subject of Spirituality. We are still in the introduction of this tremendous subject. This passage looks at the Christian life and experience from the standpoint of growth, not from the standpoint of Spirituality. The concept of Spirituality will be studied later in, (Eph 5:1). Keep in mind that while the concepts of growth and Spirituality are interlocking, they are entirely different.
In order to integrate with the context, let us review a little background in the previous chapter. First of all, in Chapter 1 of Hebrews, the glories of the Person of Christ are presented. In Chapter 2, there is a warning about drifting from the Person of Christ. In Chapter 3, we are told to give Christ first place; and the means of so doing — the faith-rest life — is presented. Then, for the first time in Chapter 5, advanced Truth is mentioned — the great Doctrine of the High Priesthood of Christ! The author of the Book of Hebrews devotes ten verses to this Doctrine, and then suddenly he stops! He realizes that these believers cannot take it in because of their ignorance and carnality. He sees the necessity of departing from this Doctrine for awhile in order to take up the matter of their experience. That is where we pick up the subject.
Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. (Heb 5:11)
Now these things in themselves are not hard to be explained. The marvelous flow of this Truth as it is presented in, Chapters 7, 8 and 9 progresses easily and in itself is not hard to “say” or understand. It is hard to be explained when there is no positive response. This is the meaning of the phrase in the Greek. “Hard to explain” means that you cannot take it in. The writer says, “I would love to give you the rest of this Doctrine right now, but I must stop. There is something we must straighten out first; there is advanced work! Before we can grasp this glorious Doctrine that leads to maturity, we must stop and recognize a hindrance to perception — a lack of growth!
“Since you have become dull of hearing,” or, more literally, ‘seeing ye have no ‘pusher’ in hearing.” The Greek for “dull” is “no push,” or “no desire.” There is no motivation and no desire to take in this marvelous Doctrine. (Prov 27:7) The Truth of the High Priesthood of the Person of Jesus Christ and the priesthood of every believer is one of the greatest Doctrines in the Word of God. Yet the writer has to digress and say, “Look, this is a tremendous Truth which belongs to every Christian, but you have no motivation and no desire to hear or to absorb it!” Verse 12 states the problem:
For though by this time you ought [OWE] to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles [Thoughts] of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
“You ought to be teachers” does not refer to the gift of teaching; it refers to a concept of the Church Age which we might call, “passing it on.” Believers who have been saved for a long time OWE to be sharing the Word with other believers as well as with unbelievers. (Rom 1:14-16)
We owe to be passing on the marvelous Thinking; that we have from Thinking with Mind of Christ. But instead, “you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God...” The author of Hebrews is saying, “You need someone to teach you the “ABC’s” of Truth — the simple Spiritual Thoughts, the basic Thoughts! Just as I was ready to go into a bit of calculus, I remembered that you didn’t know that one plus one equals two! You have not learned simple arithmetic.”
Now, do you see the picture? Here are people who have been believers for possibly ten years or longer, a group of people who are born again, who are saved, who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; yet they are still babies! Do you understand the Concept here? This is not Concept Spirituality — this is Concept growth! They are Spiritual morons, actually. The Bible calls them carnal Christians. We use the term “Spiritual morons” because they have been born again for many years and they are still babies. They have neither grown nor progressed, primarily for lack of KNOWLEDGE!
Before they can eat solid food, before they can get into this marvelous Truth, they actually need, not solid food, but milk! They are going to have to be put on a formula! Now, isn’t that tragic? They have been saved all these years, and they still need to learn the ABC’s. You can see that if this were true of all believers, there would be no impact for Christ, no production. Christians must grow up!
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the Word of righteousness, for he is an infant. (Heb 5:13)
Maturity is tied into the Word. There are those who have been believers for twenty-five years, yet are unskilled in the Word of God! They still do not know straight up from straight down! Consequently, it follows that they do not understand Spirituality. If there is anything every believer needs to understand, it is Spirituality! We need to get away from the idea that one person is more Spiritual than another. There is no such thing! You are filled with the Spirit, or you are not! You are not more or less Spiritual.
Even worse, is the idea of Spirituality by works. What must I DO to be Spiritual? So, people are doing certain things. We will elaborate on this later, as well as on other common but false demonic thoughts of Spirituality. They have confused the results with the means. This is one of the greatest problems we face in the subject of Spirituality. True, Spirituality causes one to grow faster; but the results of Spirituality are not the same as those of maturity. Today there is a tremendous structure in the Christian way of life and in the form of Christianity — even in fundamental Christianity — which says, “I DO certain things; therefore, I am Spiritual!” Or, “I am Spiritual because I DON’T do certain things.” Oh, that Christians could truly understand what the Word of God teaches about Spirituality!
But solid food is for the [Spiritually] mature, who because of practice [Thinking with the Truth] have their senses [Spiritual Thinking] trained to discern [Distinguish between] good [God's Thinking] and evil. [Satan's Thinking] (Heb 5:14)
Those who are of “full age’’ are those who have grown up; Spiritually mature believers, those who can take in “solid food,” or advanced Truth. Notice the word “practice.’’ “Practice” is application. “...By reason of ‘application” have their Spiritual Thinking exercised to distinguish between God's Thinking and Satan's thinking. “ Very few people can really distinguish between good and evil. I am not talking about such basic things as the Mosaic Law and other clearly declared passages of Scripture. I am not talking about the black and white. I am talking about the large mass of THOUGHTS in and about our lives that we face everyday which are not directly covered by the Word of God. It takes Spiritual maturity to distinguish what is good and what is evil in this area!
ON TO MATURITY!
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. (Heb 6:1)
The writer is saying, “Look, you people, you have to grow up. You will never understand this Truth of the High Priesthood until you mature. You have to leave the ABC’s — you have to move on!” Well, how are you going to leave them? More literally, the Greek says, “Therefore, knowing what you are leaving.” This changes the aspect somewhat. Many times we leave something, but do not know what we are leaving. But this is to leave and to know what you are leaving. You know the ABC’s of the Truth of Christ, so you should now “press on to maturity.” Keep moving toward maturity.
“Not laying again the foundation...” The foundation is one plus one equals two; two plus two equals four. It is listed here by six representative basic Doctrines. The first one is called “repentance from dead works.” You know, of course, that “repent” means a complete change of mental attitude. “Let us change our minds about works which are dead.” (Anything done by the power of the old sin nature) The word “dead’” carries the idea of non-production. There are works which are non-producing. There are things we do which cannot and will not produce. They are human old sin nature thoughts and actions; and count for nothing, as far as God is concerned.
The Christian way of life is a supernatural way of life in every detail! It cannot, therefore, be fulfilled through any naturalistic power or through the talents and energy of the flesh. (John 6:63) One of the great principles of the Christian life is to love the brethren. Yet it is humanly impossible to love all the brethren. I may go around and TRY to love the brethren; I may try to be friendly with them; I may go out of my way to be nice to people I don’t like. I can try and try — I can practice and practice, but it is only dead works and produces nothing.
When my son, who loves automobiles, was quite young, I noticed him go by my study window one day with a gleam in his eye and a garden hose in his hand. When I saw that gleam, I got up and moved rapidly, for he was moving right toward my automobile in the driveway. I arrived on the scene just as he put his hand on the gas cap. Now, why was I in such a hurry? I’ll tell you why! The carburetor is designed to run on gas. If you fill the tank with water, it won’t go. It was a wonderful piece of machinery; all the running parts were in perfect order. It rode nicely; it was comfortable and pleasing to the eye. But a car will not run if the tank is filled with water!
Nor is the Christian life designed to run on “water.” It will not run when it is loaded with the wrong thing. Our “carburetors,” given us at the new birth, must operate on the proper fuel. The only means of executing the Christian way of life is by God the Holy Spirit! You can practice certain things, you can give up certain things, you can observe all the local taboos, but none of these things makes you Spiritual. Too often an older believer (Older in point of time — not in growth) pounces upon a new Christian, a baby, and attacks him with certain taboos. He says, “You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t give up this, if you don’t give up that!” There is a great deal of difference between separation and tabooism. True separation is UNTO GOD. True separation is the result of Spirituality, the result of maturity, but never, never the means. There are three conditions for the filling of the Spirit, but giving up something is not one of them.
Now notice again this “repentance from dead works.” It is the first inference relative to Spirituality. I must change my mind about the means of getting Spirituality. That is basic. I must change my mind about how to get back in fellowship with the Lord when I sin. You see, getting back in fellowship does not involve works. It involves confession — acknowledgment. How many theories we hear regarding how to get back into fellowship — pray, ask God to give you a sorrow for your sins, weep over your sins, then come down the aisle and rededicate your life! Experience, experience, experience! The Bible does not say that any of these is the means of getting back into fellowship. The Bible does say “confess,” “acknowledge” being out of fellowship. (1Jn 1:9)
Confession is restoration by grace. The others are restoration by works. God has provided a means to get back into fellowship — not by works, but by grace. Every believer must decide once and for all: is the Bible my STANDARD OF THINKING, or is personal experience my standard? If the Bible is your standard of Thinking, you are going to have an experience; the impact of which will hit your city and the uttermost parts of the world! Now, I did not say an emotional experience. Emotion is not in question here. When we get to “Spirituality by ecstatics,” we will take up emotion. Emotion has a place; but Spirituality is the filling of GOD the Holy Spirit, and not an ecstatic experience. We will never be Spiritual, we will never be restored to fellowship, and we will never move or grow up in the Christian life as long as we think that we do it! God has provided the Spiritual life for us!
The second thing on the list about which to change our mind is “faith toward God” — the mixing of the promises of God with faith; the faith-rest technique.
Third, (Heb 6:2) “the Doctrine of washings and baptisms.” Note the plural “washings. “ There are seven different baptisms in the Bible: the baptism of Moses; (1Co 10:2) the baptism of John; (John 1:25-33) the baptism of Jesus; (Matt 3:13-17) the baptism of the Spirit; (Acts 1:5; (1Co 12:13) water baptism for the believer; (Acts 2:41) the baptism of fire; (Matt 3:11) the baptism of the cross. (Mark 10:38-39)
Fourth, the Doctrine of the “laying on of hands.” This was another Doctrine of identification which was used especially at this time.
Fifth, the Truth of the “resurrection of the dead,” and sixth, understanding “eternal judgment.” These are six representative ABC’s. It was just a list which was particularly applicable to the Jews at the time who had come out of Judaism and were going back to animal sacrifices. Do you remember what is first on the list? “Repentance from dead works.” Why do I mention this? In the syntax of the Greek, the entire list is not referred to again. That would be a waste of words. Only the top item will be given. For example, the fruit of the Spirit is “love” — the first in the list. There are passages of Scripture where “love” actually refers to the whole list of the fruit of the Spirit. (cf. Gal 5:22-23 with, (1Co 13:1-8).
“And this will we do, if God permits.” (Heb 6:3) If God permits us as believers to remain long enough in this life, we will learn Truth and grow up Spiritually on the basis of, (2Pe 3:18). The length of time the believer remains on this earth is determined by such factors as the potential cause of death. There are several reasons for Christian death: your work is finished; Divine discipline; glorification of Christ; superimposition of your volition over God’s. (Suicide) Since it takes time to learn Truth, the believer will accomplish the objective of growing up only if God’s will permits him to remain long enough to do so.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Heb 6:4-6)
This passage is so clear in the Greek, it is astounding how confusing it has been made in the English. It says in effect that under certain conditions of carnality and legalism, such as those referred to in the latter half of verse 6, it is impossible to take in even basic Truth. The key to understanding these three verses is based on a point of Greek syntax in which the action of the aorist participle precedes the action of the main verb. There are five aorist participles here which precede the main verb, “It is impossible,”
(Actually a noun) plus the present active infinitive “to renew again.’’ The subject of this long sentence is “for those who” — believers of Jewish descent living in Jerusalem, who were previously characterized in Hebrews 5 as “dull of hearing,’’ ignorant of basic Truth, and “unskilful in the Word.”
Since the participle precedes the action of the main verb, (Heb 6:4) should start, “Having fallen away, it is impossible...” This is a key spot where the translators certainly went off the deep end. “For those who were once enlightened” is in the aorist tense, and its Concept implies “once and for all enlightened.” These are believers who once knew basic Truth, but who through carnality have become ignorant. They have “tasted of the heavenly gift,” again an aorist tense, indicating that they have once and for all tasted of the heavenly gift.
“To taste” here has often been construed as “taking a little sip,” and therefore it is concluded that this could not be a believer. However, this same Greek word occurs in, (Heb 2:9) in the same tense, where it says, “Christ TASTED death for US.” Did He just take a little sip and not go all the way? Certainly not! He went all the way! “Have tasted” in the aorist tense is a point of time when the believer received Salvation. “The heavenly gift” is the Person of Jesus Christ and or Salvation. (2Co 9:15) “And were made partakers, (Partners, literally) with the Holy Spirit, (Aorist tense) in a point of time, (Salvation) when the Holy Spirit indwelt the believer.
These believers have “tasted” something else: “the good Word of God, and the powers of the age to come.” Here we have an aorist middle participle: the aorist tense gathers into one point every occasion when the believer has absorbed Truth or has been filled with the Spirit. The middle voice indicates that the believer is benefited by learning Truth and being filled with the Spirit Two things have been tasted: “the good Word of God,’’ which refers to a pertinent part of the Word. In the past, these believers have learned and applied certain Divine Thoughts. They have also tasted “the powers,” that is, the manifestation of the power of the Spiritual life, “of the age to come.” “The world” is literally “the age,” a reference to the Millennium when Spirituality will reach an all-time high.
Now I want you to get the main structure of the sentence: “Having fallen away, it is impossible... To renew them again unto repentance.” These believers have fallen away from something, but it is NOT Salvation. They cannot fall from Salvation.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jud 1:24-25)
To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1Pe 1:4-5)
Remember, one of the laws of the interpretation of Scripture is that the use of a word in context is determined by the FIRST use of that word. Where do we find “repentance” in context? Back in, (Heb 6:1) “repentance from dead works.” Therefore, the word “repentance” is a reference again to the list of the ABC’s. So, “having fallen away, it is IMPOSSIBLE “TO TEACH THEM AGAIN,” to renew, (Restore) them again, “so long as’ they...” Are doing something. (Ritual without Reality: Reading but not Thinking with God's Thoughts! Luk 14:26-33) cf. (Heb 6:1-6) They are doing something that is contrary to Truth and hinders their learning as well as their Spirituality and keeps them from maturing. The “falling away” is describing believers out of fellowship. The verb does not imply loss of Salvation from the Lake of Fire. These believers of Jewish descent are committing two sins in Jerusalem which hinder their interest and understanding of basic Truth. First, they are “crucifying the Son of God again.” These people are going to the Temple, (It was still in existence) to offer animal sacrifices. Now, what was wrong with that? These people are Christians; they have received Christ as Savior; they “have tasted of the heavenly gift”; they know that Jesus Christ died once and for all for their sins, and that it is no longer necessary to bring animal sacrifices! They are probably doing it to avoid persecution by the religious Jews. But they are dabbling in shadows after they have received the Reality of God's New Covenant Thoughts. The practice of Judaism was a compromise with religion; and contrary to the Word of God.
We have here the Doctrine of the High Priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of every believer. As long as they continue their practice of offering animal sacrifices, they are saying in effect that the sacrifice of Christ is not efficacious, which was tantamount to blasphemy! They were not operating under their true priesthood, but on a priesthood that is GONE! To continue in shadows constituted both legalism and religionism, a practice which obscured basic Truth and phased it out of the right lobe.
Secondly, they “put Him to an open shame.” By their old sin nature activity, they were exposing Christ to ignominy. Legalism and the practice of religion are the worst deterrents to the maintenance of Truth in the right lobe and to moving toward the goal of maturity!
THE GREAT ISSUE IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
The Spiritual Believer Imitates God. Spirituality is a difficult subject to launch into because so many people have a religious background. Most people have some pet area of holiness, some place where they are so good it hurts, and they always run to that place when someone is about to level with them. They have their little fort of self- righteousness, and they get in their fort and start shooting at everyone. (2Co 10:4) We have to do a lot of growing to get away from this! One of the best approaches to Spirituality is from, (Eph 5:1) because it is one of the great issues in the Christian life; yet it is a Command that no unbeliever or carnal believer can obey!
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” On the surface, it might appear that anyone can obey this Command. Any carnal believer, any Spiritual moron can RATIONALIZE his way through this Command. The King James Version leaves many loopholes. The social action crowd think they are followers of God; the liberals, left-wingers, anti-Semitics, those who beat the drums for world peace and disarmament, those who have given up everything from bubble gum to wild women think they are followers of God, In other words, most people assume that anything they do, of which THEY approve, makes them a follower of God!
But when you see this verse in the Greek, the first thing you should be able to say to yourself is, “I CAN’T DO IT!” That’s where Spirituality starts. It begins with the principle that it is something you and I cannot do! Human energy, human ability, human ingenuity are totally incapable of Spirituality. Like everything else in the Christian life, Spirituality is by grace, and this means God has provided and we respond in a non-meritorious manner. Grace equals God doing the work — Divine power ---Virtue --- good — and man receives it in a non-meritorious way. Grace means that any believer one degree above an idiot, all the way up to a genius, can be Spiritual. It doesn’t require any great intellectual ability or any academic perspicacity.
“Therefore be” is literally, “keep on becoming” — as long as you live in Phase Two, (The Christian life) and this is a Command to all believers. Now the next word is the real issue: “imitators” should be; “Keep on becoming IMITATORS of God!” There is one thing you and I cannot do — we cannot of ourselves become imitators of God. And yet when we are given a Command to do something, the impossible becomes possible through grace. Grace always takes the hopeless and converts it into hope.
As members of the family of God, we should bear the family resemblance. Whatever characteristics and traits we had from physical birth, we now have a new set of characteristics from Spiritual birth; and if we have normal growth and if we have the erection of the “edification structure”; (Completed Spiritual life in the soul) we will have a family resemblance! Christ, as God, is the manifest Person of the Trinity; (John 1:18) Christ, as humanity, set the pattern for the filling of the Spirit. He was filled with the Spirit, (Heb 9:14) during His entire life on earth. (John 3:34) In order to imitate, we have to have a pattern, and therefore, we are to imitate the manifest Person of the Godhead. This Command to imitate Christ can only be executed by the filling of the Spirit. (Eph 3:16-17; Php 1:20-21)
(Eph 5:1) is the Command to Spirituality! It will be repeated in, (Eph 5:18). To be imitators of God and to be filled with the Spirit are two sides of the same coin. To see the other side of the coin, we need to get the context, beginning at verse 14.
For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you. (Eph 5:14)
It is just as though half way through the fifth chapter of Ephesians, the writer, who has been telling of the marvelous supernatural way of life, suddenly interrupts himself and says, “Look, you have all this tremendous equipment and you don’t know how to operate it. Wake up, (Rebound) and find out how. Switch from negative to positive! Be aroused toward Truth!’’ Occasionally you run into Christians, who are positive toward Truth, but they can’t take it in; or will not put Learning and Thinking with Truth FIRST PLACE in their life. Being positive toward Truth is like wanting oxygen; it has to be available, and you must have the mechanism for taking it in. The whole point of this first analogy is to remind the believer that even though he may have a positive desire for Truth, it won’t get the job done, unless he also has the filling of God the Holy Spirit. This verse prepares us for the importance of the Command given in, (Eph 5:18).
All Truth is inhaled through the filling of the Spirit technique. Obviously, even though you are positive toward Truth, and even though Bible Truth is available, it still isn’t enough when you are out of fellowship and or not in LOVE, (AROUSED) WITH GOD'S THINKING! The believer out of fellowship is not filled with the Spirit and therefore he has two strikes against him: his carnality excludes the filling of the Spirit and it hinders the intake of Truth.
“Arise from the dead...” Of the different kinds of death mentioned in the Bible, this is temporal death being out of fellowship through sin. It is quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit. Indifference and apathy to Truth results when the old sin nature controls the life.
“And Christ will shine on you.” The light Christ gives is God the Holy Spirit controlling the life from within. “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, (God's Thinking) comes... He will glorify me.” (John 16:13-14) The light on the inside is not your personality, it is not the way you look nor your human old sin nature thought pattern — it is the Thinking and Virtue of God the Holy Spirit controlling the inside Spiritual life and producing the Spiritual nature of God in your soul. (2Pe 1:4) From the standpoint of Spirituality, you project either light or darkness. The most beautiful home in the world can appear drab and gloomy if the lights are all out. All of the lovely gardens, the scenery, and the elegant settings are lost if it is dark. But even the humblest type of dwelling takes on beauty when the lights are on. What is the difference? Light! Turn on the lights that is, God the Holy Spirit must control our life. The light is the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit animates the Christian life.
Suppose you have a perfectly beautiful television set studded with diamonds, emeralds and rubies and made of the finest grained wood. When friends come into your home, they admire it and exclaim, “My, what a beautiful TV set!” Then they sit down to see a program, and you turn on this beautiful set. Flip, goes the switch, but no picture! You try every station — still no picture. Your friends’ expletives fade. It is a beautiful set, but it does not work! Now, all of a sudden, you think, “Oh, I know,’’ and you go around behind the television and plug it into the electrical outlet. There has to be some power; it needs electricity!
Just so, the Holy Spirit is the power Who projects the Spiritually created Divine nature of the Person of Christ through your life and mine! From the human viewpoint we can have beauty, personality and all kinds of old sin nature human ability, but unless God the Holy Spirit controls the inside, there is no power, no animation. I can hear one of your friends say, after admiring your beautiful television set, (With no picture) I’m going down the street where there is an old beat-up set. At least it has a picture on it.” It doesn’t matter how beaten or “busted” up you may be, humanly speaking; God the Holy Spirit will project through you the nature of the Person of Christ. When the Holy Spirit is projecting the nature of Christ from inside you, (At our growth level) — THAT IS SPIRITUALITY! Hence, this passage Commands us to wake up to our need of this Spirituality and Divine nature by which we operate in our Christian life. “Awake, sleeper!” Why are we asleep? Because we do not understand that the best electrical gadget in the world must be plugged in to get the electricity to operate it. We have all of this equipment, but it will not operate without power — the power of God the Holy Spirit!
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.” (Eph 5:15) Every believer walks either as a fool or as a wise man. He walks as a wise man if God the Holy Spirit controls his life; in Thought and Virtue! Therefore, one of the greatest issues, if not the greatest issue in the Christian life, is Spirituality as over against carnality. The carnal Christian is a “fool”; the Spiritual Christian is a wise person and is walking carefully; or, more literally, he is walking accurately. He is operating on the power of God the Holy Spirit!
“Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16) The words “making the most of your time” means to purchase or buy up. Do you know that the Christian is the only one who can buy the most precious thing in the world? The wealthiest unbeliever who ever lived can purchase many things with his money, but he cannot purchase time! Christians, however, are Commanded to “buy up time,” to keep buying time, because the days are evil. It is necessary in this evil generation — in this intensified stage of the angelic conflict — to have those who are filled with the Spirit. A Christian can “buy up time” only when he is controlled by God the Holy Spirit. At the moment of Salvation we are given unlimited capital to spend and spend and spend; but this capital does not buy time apart from the filling of the Spirit.
“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph 5:17) The filling of the Spirit is related to the will of God. You will never know the will of God or do the will of God until you are filled with the Spirit. How do you know the will of God? It is defined by the teaching of Truth; but you cannot take in Truth unless you are filled with the Spirit! (John 4:23-24) Once you know the will of God, you must do it! But doing it also requires the filling of the Spirit, because the will of God is humanly impossible to execute. Everything you do in the Christian life depends on the filling of the Spirit!
A SUPERNATURAL LIFE DEMANDS A SUPERNATURAL WAY TO LIVE IT!
THE DIVINE SOLUTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION! THE HUMAN OLD SIN NATURE SOLUTION IS NO SOLUTION!
“Unwise” means “to be stupid.” And how does one become stupid? Simply by being minus Truth and Virtue, which means you do not know the will of God; and by being carnal, which means you are not filled with the Spirit!
The next verse amplifies the will of God as far as our subject is concerned. It is a Command to Spirituality; a Command to turn on the light!
THE COMMAND TO SPIRITUALITY
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph 5:18) Why does the Bible forbid drunkenness? Drunkenness is alcohol controlling the inner life and changing the character of the person. He becomes something he wouldn’t ordinarily be. This sets up an analogy between the physical and the Spiritual. As wine changes the thought pattern, behavior, etc., so the filling of the Spirit changes the Thought pattern and nature Spiritually — the first for the worst, the latter for the better. On the negative side, wine in excess on the inside becomes a controlling factor in the life, removing inhibitions and becoming a basis for licentiousness and escapism. On the positive side, the filling of the Spirit becomes the basis for producing the nature of Christ on the inside. (2Co 4:11)
“Be filled with the Spirit” is a Command to “be habitually, constantly and repeatedly filled with the Spirit;” and since it is a Command from God, it is not to a chosen few or to some super-duper class of Christian. It is for every believer, without exception. Spirituality is an experience: it is the experience of having the light turned on inside. The days we are living in are evil — nighttime — and the light is either going to be on or off. Every time the light inside is on, God the Holy Spirit controls the life.
Any Christian can be animated; any Christian can honor Christ. The secret of the Christian life is POWER and MORE POWER! The plug must be in the outlet — the power must be flowing through the line. Whether, humanly speaking, you are a Mr. Nobody or a Mr. Somebody, when the power flows through, there is a tremendous impact which enables you to be an effective representative of Jesus Christ here on this earth. Before Christ left the earth to go back to the Father, He promised that He would send the Comforter — God the Holy Spirit Who would indwell all believers and Who would glorify Christ. “You will receive power...”; (Acts 1:8) and that power is God the Holy Spirit filling and controlling the believer.
Now, here is the difficulty. This passage says nothing of HOW to be filled with the Spirit. What is necessary to be filled with the Spirit? The filling of the Spirit is as available to the believer today as Salvation is to the unbeliever, and it is appropriated by the same means. Therefore, it is most important to know how we can fulfill this Command to be filled with the Spirit, HOW? HOW? HOW?
THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF SPIRITUALITY
The answer is in three parts — two negative and one positive answer. First, the two negatives: “Quench not the Spirit; (1Th 5:19) and “Grieve not the Spirit.” (Eph 4:30) Now, immediately, these two negative conditions tell us we can do something NOT to be Spiritual. But we will see in a minute that we can do nothing, actually to BE Spiritual! What an amazing thing! We can do something so as not to be Spiritual: we can grieve and quench the Spirit of God. The context of these two passages indicates that grieving and quenching the Spirit describe the activity of the old sin nature. “Grieving the Spirit” refers to sinning which stems from the area of weakness of the old sin nature. “Quenching the Spirit” is the production of reversionism and or human old sin nature good from its area of strength.
From the negative standpoint, we know that we are not Spiritual when we are sinning. As a matter of fact, any sin in the life immediately destroys Spirituality and causes us to revert to the other absolute in the Christian life, which is carnality. It goes back to the important fact that at any particular point in our life, we are either Spiritual or carnal. We are either filled with the Spirit or we are grieving or quenching the Spirit. There is no in between! It isn’t a little grieving or a little quenching the Spirit. He is either quenched or grieved, or He fills and controls the life. It isn’t five or ten or fifteen per cent filled or quenched; it is either one hundred per cent filled or one hundred per cent carnal. Now we are getting to the heart of this matter. How can you fulfill the Commands, “Be filled with the Spirit” and “Walk by means of the Spirit”? This is the most critical point in your experience. The answer is so simple; yet it needs amplification. First, the two negative answers: “Quench not and grieve not” the Spirit. Now, the positive answer: rebound or restoration to fellowship.
THE POSITIVE ASPECT OF SPIRITUALITY
Rebound. The personal sins of the believer come from the area of weakness in the old sin nature. Personal sin is the basis of getting out of fellowship, for the believer is responsible for his own actions. (Sins) Then is no place in the Christian life for “operation patsy.” So the first basic concept in the Christian life is to know how to get back in temporal fellowship with God when we sin. We must understand how to be restored to the place of power, how to put the plug back in the wall. If we do not understand that, we can wander around in such ignorance that we become Spiritual morons, utterly useless for the Lord. Hence, we must comprehend rebound, or (1Jn 1:9). It is the only way to get back into fellowship with the Lord. There is no other way.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. http://thinkingtruth.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/topandbottomcircles.jpg
I like to call this verse “rebound,” because it is the means of “picking up the ball” and moving again in the Christian life. In a state of carnality, the Holy Spirit does not control the life; consequently. He cannot work through us, and any production is only human old sin nature good. Rebound gets the sin out of the way; and until we sin again, we are filled with the Spirit and produce Divine good. Human old sin nature good was not judged at the cross; in fact, it was rejected. That means that the judgment of human good is held in suspension until another time: for the unbeliever, at the last judgment; (Rev 20:11-13) for the believer, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (2Co 5:10) Only that which was judged at the cross is involved in rebound — and that is sin!
(1Jn 1:9) is addressed to believers only, and the condition is CONFESS! The marvelous thing about confession is that there are no works attached to it. Now, here is a subtle danger. Even though you have confessed your sin, you may still feel bad; you may have a guilty conscience. You begin to think that perhaps your sin is not forgiven. Here is the key: you must believe what the Word of God says! It is not how you feel. No matter how great the guilt complex or guilt reaction, no matter what pressure is upon you because of the wrong you have done, you must believe what the Word says. This is an amazing factor. Here is a promise for the Christian, the operation of which depends only upon believing it, regardless of how we feel! Humanly speaking, we want to do something to make up for it, to get things straightened out our own way. We feel we ought to work up a genuine sorrow, and then we feel purified and cleansed. But, (1Jn 1:9) does not say, “If we work up a big sorrow”; it does say, “If we confess it! And admit it to God! Confess it to Him that we are out of fellowship.
Now looking again at, (Eph 5:14) “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead,” “Rising from the dead” is REBOUND! As we have said, “death” here is temporal death — getting out of temporal fellowship through sin. The only way to get back in fellowship is by rebound — by confessing our carnality; by standing on the Word of God, that when you confess your sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. “Arise from the dead!” When you confess your sins, you are immediately cleansed and restored to a position of fellowship with the Lord. If you are to be filled with the Spirit, you must get back in fellowship with God when you have sinned!
It should be emphasized that confession was not given to keep you from sinning. That comes as you grow Spiritually through the daily intake of Truth and its application, or by discipline, if necessary. Confession was given that you might have a means of being restored to a proper relationship with God when you have sinned. And this is based on grace alone, not on works!
Let us look briefly at the context of, (1Jn 1:9) so that we thoroughly understand the vital importance of confession.
“First John” is called a general epistle; that is, it was not sent to just one person or one church. Rather, it was circulated through many churches which had the same problems in common. The first problem is introduced in verses 1-3 of Chapter 1 when John states his desire that believers should have fellowship with one another and with the Father and with the Son. The fact that we have a relationship with God was established in eternity past, and John writes this book to give us an understanding of our eternal relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as to help us maintain a temporal relationship with Him. As John recalls the time when he was with the Lord during His incarnation, all of the impressions that he had of the life of our Lord came back to him. He declares emphatically that this Life was manifested, not only by what he saw the Lord do, but by what he heard Him say. Therefore, he desires to pass along to all believers this vital message that has as its basis the means of fellowship between believers and between a believer and God. We can only share in that fellowship through the Word of Truth.
What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. (Spiritual maturity) (1Jn 1:3-4)
“Fellowship” means “love” — to love through Truth. It is the exhale of Truth from soul to soul. (Matt 18:20) Believers have a deficiency in the soul: “that your joy MAY BE FULL.” Although we have One who loves us with a perfect love, we can respond to that love only through Truth in the soul! The deficiency, then, is lack of Truth, lack of ability to love God, and that means lack of happiness! The more Truth we have and Think with, the more happiness we will have because we can exhale toward God and respond to His Virtue love, as well as exhale Virtue love toward others! The first response toward God is faith-rest, which is then over time converted into Virtue love.
No member of the human race has anything in himself whereby he can love God. (Rom 5:5) We all start out with Spiritual death, which makes loving God absolutely impossible! Therefore, God had to make some provisions: first, Salvation; then from that point on He provides Truth and the means of taking it in — the filling of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) The constant inhale of Truth in the filling of the Spirit and exhale response toward God means that you may have a fulfillment of the happiness for which Virtue love is designed.
There are certain things, however, which slow this down. You are going to have some misunderstandings with God. These come from the old sin nature, which doesn’t have “lungs” or apertures. It resents the fact that it isn’t in the picture, so it comes up into the soul and intrudes with mental attitude sins and functions on the right bank of the soul, which cause you to look like any unbeliever. Immediately you are cut off from any response to God and the “breathing” stops. “Artificial respiration” is necessary to get the breathing going again — the “rebound technique,” whereby God the Holy Spirit can control the life. Therefore, the important message John has for us is simply this: it is impossible for a believer to have temporal fellowship with God as long as he has un-confessed sin in his life.
This is the message (Truth) which we have heard from Him, (This is the Word of God) and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1Jn 1:5)
John develops this idea by going back to the nature of God with Whom believers have a relationship and fellowship. “God (The God-head) is light.” “God” and “light” are not interchangeable terms; rather, it means that God has a nature or character or essence that partakes of light. The idea of light brings to mind the glory of God. (Rom 3:23) A more perfect word could not be found to describe the sum total of His Divine essence, His absolute holiness --- INTEGRITY!
The meaning is crystal clear in the Greek. You will notice that the passage does not say, “God is THE light.” The definite article “the” is not there. Now, there is a rule of Greek syntax that states when the definite article is absent before a word, the quality or character of that word is emphasized. Therefore, this means that God has a nature that partakes of light. (Divine Reality) Notice, too, John goes on to say that no darkness whatsoever dwells in God. John uses the term “darkness” many times in his Gospel as a state of evil or sinfulness. (John 3:19-21) Therefore, just as light and darkness are incompatible, so also are God’s Holiness ---Integrity and sin.
(1Jn 1:6-10) each begin with the word “if,” which introduces a third class condition in the Greek — maybe we will and maybe we won’t. This indicates that temporal fellowship is optional: a believer, on the basis of his own volition, makes a decision whether to rebound or not. There is certain terminology used throughout the New Testament to describe the believer in and out of temporal fellowship: (1) IN FELLOWSHIP: “filled with God the Holy Spirit’’; (Eph 5:18) “walking in the Spirit”; (Gal 5:16) “cleansed.” (1Jn 1:9) (2) OUT OF FELLOWSHIP: “carnal” (Rom 7:14; (1Co 3:1-3) “grieving the Spirit”; (Eph 4:30) “quenching the Spirit”; (1Th 5:19) “dead” (Rom 8:6; Rom 8:13; Eph 5:14; (1Ti 5:6; Jas 1:15; Rev 3:1) “walking in darkness.” (1Jn 1:6)
(1Jn 1:6-10) are conditional assertions, solved by “if we walk in the light,” and “if we confess” actually two sides of the same coin. “Walking” indicates the actual function of Phase Two. You have to do your own walking, and God has provided the means of doing so: the provision of Truth, the techniques, and, in this passage, the filling of God the Holy Spirit. That’s why we are Commanded to “walk in (By means of) the Spirit,” (Gal 5:16) to “walk in Truth,” (3Jn 1:3) etc.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice [Think with] the Truth. (1Jn 1:6)
Believers who think they are Spiritual when they are merely practicing asceticism, legalism, or some form of human old sin nature good or morality, are living a lie. They and interpreting it as Spirituality. This is described here as “walking in darkness.’ There are two areas of darkness: being under the control of the old sin nature and rejection of Truth. (God's Thinking)
If you are not taking in the Word of Truth, you develop scar tissue on the left bank of the soul; mental attitude sins produce scar tissue on the right bank of the soul, and “mataiotes” (A vacuum) opens up and lets in darkness. (Eph 4:17-18) The old sin nature has a lust pattern that shoves darkness into the right lobe, and both sin and human old sin nature good are evacuated through the sin nature. Divine good is exhaled out the right bank of the soul; but if your soul is clogged up with scar tissue, (Hardness of heart --- negitive to Truth) the only thing you can do is to live through the old sin nature. Rebound does not remove scar tissue, but it does prevent it. Where you have scar tissue, rebound produces the filling of the Spirit so that you can start the removal of it through the inhale of Truth. So (1Jn 1:6) is referring to a carnal believer with scar tissue on the soul!
But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1Jn 1:7)
In contrast to the carnal believer, the Spiritual believer walks in the light, “as He [God] is in the light.” “Walking in the light” is responding to God’s love by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit. So long as the believer does not step into the state of darkness through sin, he is walking in the state of light and has the joy of wonderful fellowship with other believers and with God Himself.
God found away, even though we still have an old sin nature, for us to have fellowship with Him and with each other: “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.” (Rom 5:5) This fellowship is based on the “blood” of Jesus Christ. Yet this word is one of the most misunderstood words in the Bible. The “blood of Christ” is always associated with Salvation or the cross. It portrays four Doctrines of Soteriology: redemption; (Eph 1:7; (1Pe 1:18-19) justification; (Rom 5:9) sanctification; (Heb 13:12) expiation. (Rev 1:5)
The Analogy of the Blood. In the Old Testament, the blood of the animal sacrifice portrays the cross and anticipates it. Every passage in Scripture is literal unless there is something in the passage to indicate that it is figurative and or Spiritual. However, literal things are often used to indicate Spiritual factors. The analogies and parables are obvious, so these present no problem. The greatest misconception about the blood is that while it is literal blood, yet the “blood of Christ” in the New Testament refers to one or sometimes all of the Doctrines of Salvation. (Depending on the context) He had literal blood, just as you and I; but wherever His blood is mentioned in connection with the cross, it is referring to Salvation. There was very little bleeding, actually. Whatever bleeding there was from His hands and feet coagulated immediately. Therefore, He did not bleed to death on the cross! This is easily substantiated, for a Roman soldier plunged a spear into His side and out came blood and water. Had He bled to death, there would have been no blood left to pour out. When He died physically, He did so by dismissing His spirit, (Luk 23:46) not by bleeding to death!
The physical death of Christ does not explain any passage which says that Christ died for our sins. There was a death which preceded His physical death, a substitutionary death. (Rom 5:8) A physical death cannot be a substitutionary death. Adam died Spiritually first, and this was the death which separated him from God. Therefore, the wages of sin is Spiritual death. (Rom 6:23; Rom 5:12) “The blood of Christ” also refers to the Spiritual death of Christ on the cross. (Isa 53:10-12) The “blood” is a representative analogy between the physical death of animals in the Old Testament (The animal was symbolically judged for the sins; but literally bled to death) and the Spiritual death of Christ on the cross. (Jesus Christ in his human nature was literally judged for our sins but did not bleed to death) The work of the blood of Christ is twofold: (1) cleansing at the moment of Salvation; (Eph 1:7) and (2) cleansing of the carnal believer after Salvation. (1Jn 1:7-9)
When the sins of the world were put on Christ and judged. He died Spiritually in His human nature. The moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our sins, past, present and future, are all forgiven judicially, for Christ has already been judged for them. God is no longer an enemy to us, but a loving heavenly Father!
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death (Spiritual death) of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Resurrection life) (Rom 5:10)
Were it not for the fact that the blood or Spiritual death of Jesus keeps on cleansing us from all sin, it would be possible for us to commit some sin which had not been paid for by the Spiritual death of Christ. This would bring the righteous judgment of God down upon us, and we would go to the Lake of Fire. But by God’s matchless grace, this can never happen. The phrase, “...the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin,” (1Jn 1:7) anticipates, (1Jn 1:9). The word “cleanse” is in the present tense in the Greek, which means that when we confess our sins, they are always cleansed, and therefore our forgiveness is certain.
False Conclusions. Now, there is a danger that a Christian might jump to two incorrect conclusions based on the fact that he has constant cleansing from sin. These are stated in verses 8 and 10.
If we say that we have no sin, [Sin nature] we are deceiving ourselves and the Truth [God's Thinking] is not in us. (1Jn 1:8)
Incorrect conclusion No. 1: “Well, if all my sins were washed away and paid for at the cross, then I no longer possess a sin nature because that must have been eradicated, too.” However, John warns us that if we believe this, we are only deceiving ourselves because God’s Word clearly states that, although our sins have been judicially paid for, we still retain our sin nature, which can tempt us to go contrary to God’s Word and thereby destroy our fellowship with Him in time. (Rom 7:17-18) That’s why we have verse 9.
Before we go to verse 9, let’s see incorrect conclusion No. 2: “Well, if all my sins are washed away at the cross, then I no longer commit any personal acts of sin,” But . ..
If we say that we have not sinned, (When we do sin) we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us. (1Jn 1:10)
My little children, I am writing these things, (Spiritual Thoughts) to you so that you may not sin. (Learn to stay in fellowship) And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1Jn 2:1)
To conclude that you have never sinned after Salvation is to call God a liar because He has stated in His Word that we can still sin as believers and thereby become carnal Christians. (1Co 3:1-3; Heb 12:1-2; (1Jn 2:1) Since we still possess a sin nature and commit personal acts of sin, there must be some way for these sins to be forgiven if we are ever to be restored to fellowship with God. The recovery must be on a grace principle; and that brings us to, (1Jn 1:9).
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Restoration to Fellowship. Just as God deals with man in grace in the matter of Salvation, where man does nothing and God does everything, so He also treats us in grace in the matter of restoration to fellowship. All He asks of us when we sin to want to be back in fellowship with Him, to admit to Him that we have sinned. There is no room for human works in an arrangement like this. Whether or not the believer rebounds depends on his own volition acting in a non-meritorious way. The believer-priest has free will.
The Greek word for confess (“Homologeo”) means to cite a case as a judicial witness, to admit, to name, or to confess, in the sense that you simply tell God the Father you are out of fellowship. “Citing” means that you know your sins have already been judged. It is a legal term used where a case is cited.
So “homologeo” means to simply to admit what God already knows; that we are out of fellowship. It does not mean to feel sorry for sin or to promise better behavior. This way, God gets the credit and the glory for the believer’s forgiveness. This is going to be a big shock to some of you because you always thought you had to help God! You have tried to work up a big sorrow for your sins, to make vows and promises that you would never do it again. Some of you cling to the feeling that unless you feel badly about your sins or truly feel sorry or do some kind of penance, you are not really forgiven. That’s just as legalistic and out of phase with grace as anything can be!
How you feel about your sins when you name them is inconsequential. It matters how God feels about them and what God does and has done about them that counts! God says, “I don’t look at how you feel when you confess your sins; I look at the courtroom where they were judged, and I don’t forgive on the basis of feeling. I forgive on the basis of justice!” So don’t stand around and wait until you can work up a “sorrow” about your sin or until you can make some stupid promise. Some of you will be out of fellowship for a long time!
God has found a way to forgive you apart from your works. Feeling sorry for your sins is works; renouncing your sins is works; going through some system of penance is works; and there is no place for works in rebound, just as there is no place for works in Salvation. Citing or naming your sin is compatible with grace.
In rebound, God does the work: God the Father did the judging of our sins; (Isa 53:6) God the Son received the judgment; (1Pe 2:24) God the Holy Spirit discloses and fills. (John 16:13-15) When you rebound, the Holy Spirit fills and controls your Spiritual life. You can rebound because Christ went to the cross and bore OUR sins. When we rebound, the Father can forgive US because He was satisfied with the work of Christ on the cross! There are two places where people stumble over grace: unbelievers stumble over simple faith for Salvation; believers stumble over confession as the only means for forgiveness after Salvation. But grace always finds away, and is always compatible with God’s essence!
God the Father does the forgiving. “He, (God The Father) is faithful...” He always does the same thing; there is never a variation. No matter what the sin may be, when confessed, God always forgives. It is impossible for God not to forgive! The source of His faithfulness is Divine immutability plus Divine love. In both Salvation and restoration to fellowship, everything depends on the essence of God, not on the merit of man. Everything hinges on WHO AND WHAT GOD IS, never on who and what we are! The believer does not earn or deserve forgiveness; it is strictly a matter of grace!
“He is faithful and righteous” — God is fair and righteous in forgiving the believer when the believer simply names his known sins. How can a righteous God forgive unrighteousness? He can do it and still be righteous because the penalty of that sin was paid for at the cross. This is the link between, (1Jn 1:7) and (1Jn 1:9). When the sins of the world were poured out on Christ, God the Father judged those sins, past, present and future. The “blood of Christ’ is also the name of the court trial. You are naming a sin which has already been judged. Under the Law of double jeopardy, you can’t be judged twice for the same sin. So, because of the work of Christ, God is absolutely right and fair in forgiving sins. In other words, God has found a way to forgive us our sins and still be compatible with His own essence. His perfect righteousness is not violated because it was satisfied when our sins were borne on the cross.
Sins Committed in ignorance. Now, you may be wondering, “But what about the sins I commit in ignorance because I have not reached that point in Christian maturity where I realize they are sins?” This question is answered in the last half of verse 9: “and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “Cleanse” is a technical word here, which refers to the rebound offering of, (Lev 4:2-3) for unknown sins. The Greek word for “unrighteousness” has the meaning of deceitfulness. These sins deceive us because they are unknown to us. (Eph 4:22) But when we confess being out of fellowship, God in His grace also cleanses us from ALL the sins we may have done in ignorance. The slate is wiped clean, and we are restored to fellowship with Him.
CONFESSION IS THE ONLY MEANS THAT IS AVAILABLE TO RESTORE US TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD! Confession does not pay the penalty of sin; that was done at the cross. Rather, it is the means that God has provided for us to handle sin in our lives. The penalty of sin is not the issue here, but whether or not we want to be restored to fellowship with God on His terms.
To refuse to confess a sin is to say to God that we don’t see anything wrong with going contrary to His will in committing it. And let’s not kid ourselves — we sin willfully with a full knowledge that we are going contrary to His Word.
Divine Discipline. Someone may say, “Well, if confession restores me to fellowship, why can’t I go out and live any way I want, just so I confess my sins?” To answer this question, we must go to, (Heb 12:6-13). Divine discipline comes into the picture at this point: “ FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES.” (Heb 12:6) But this is not the discipline of a righteous judge which condemns us to hell; it is the discipline of a loving Father who wants to impress upon us the seriousness of sin and to bring us to the place of rebound.
Confession turns the suffering caused by discipline into blessing. When God does not remove the discipline after rebound, the cursing becomes blessing. It is far better to ride out the discipline in fellowship; where we can see it from God’s way of Thinking and accept it. Otherwise we will begin to feel sorry for ourselves, or we will become bitter and get into chain sinning. (Heb 12:15) But back in fellowship and filled with the Spirit, we can claim His promises (e.g., Rom 8:28; (1Pe 5:7), which produce peace while we are under suffering. This draws the attention of the unbelieving world and brings glory to God and blessing to us!
ASSURANCE OF SPIRITUALITY
One final question may yet be asked: ‘’I believe that confession of sin restores me to fellowship with God, but how do I know that I am also filled with the Holy Spirit?” Let me answer this question by asking you one: Is it possible to have fellowship with God and NOT be controlled by the Spirit? The Word of God clearly teaches that we are either controlled by the flesh, (i.e., the sin nature) or by the Holy Spirit; (Gal 5:16-18) we are either Spiritual Christians or carnal; (1Co 3:1-3) that nothing the flesh can do is good in itself; (Rom 7:18) that we are not to live by the power of the flesh, but by the power of the Holy Spirit; (Rom 8:4-7) that one thinking and living in carnality cannot please God! (Rom 8:8) From these passages and many others, we see that there is no middle ground. We are either carnal Christians controlled by our sin natures, or we are Spiritual Christians controlled by God the Holy Spirit. CONCLUSION: when we have no unconfessed sin in our lives, the Holy Spirit is no longer quenched or grieved; thus we are once again restored to fellowship with God and also controlled by the Holy Spirit. THIS IS TRUE SPIRITUALITY, and confession of sin is the only means of attaining it. You may feel ill physically, you may have pressures all day long, but faith moves right through and says, if you have fulfilled the Commands, “Do not quench the Spirit” (1Th 5:19) and “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit...” (Eph 4:30) By using, (1Jn 1:9) then YOU ARE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. You know that God the Holy Spirit is controlling your life; you know that you are Spiritual because you have met God's conditions. When there is no unconfessed sin in your life, you are in fellowship with the Lord and you know that you are filled with the Spirit! (Gal 5:22-23)
THE PURPOSE OF THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
There never was a day when we needed Christians living the New Covenant Spiritual life as we do today. We are certainly moving toward the end of the Age, if we are not already there! The apostasy is tremendous!
The Christian way of life is the simplest thing in the world, but we are trying to make something hard out of it. We are trying to get some super-duper experience — an experience that no one else has had which puts us on a little higher level. Yet it is the filling of the Spirit that makes the difference. Just as God the Holy Spirit indwells every believer, so He wants to control every believer; and when the Holy Spirit controls a believer, He animates that life. The Holy Spirit produces something in that life, and that production is the great test of the filling of the Spirit. To get the complete picture, we need to understand the purpose of the indwelling of the Spirit.
(1) To Teach Truth. In John 16, Jesus had been discussing the time of His departure. In, (John 16:12) He stops and says to His disciples, “I have many more things, (Doctrines) to say to you...” In fact, He hadn’t even begun to cover the ground. “But,” Jesus continued, “but you cannot bear them now.” Literally, “you cannot take them in now.” These disciples, who later on were able to grasp so much Truth, were not able to take it in at this time. What little He was able to teach them regarding their future in the Church Age is found in, John Chapters 14 through 17. But the many other things Jesus wanted to say to them, which were so extremely important, are found in the ENTIRE New Testament.
If you have in your possession a Red Letter New Testament, my suggestion is to discard it. The red letters are supposed to be the words of Jesus and therefore more important than anything else in the Bible. The continuation of what Jesus had to say was equally important, but impossible to say while He was on earth. If we are to have a red letter Bible with the words of Jesus in red letters, we must red-letter every word of the Epistles as well. In fact, the entire Scripture is the “Mind of Christ.” (1Co 2:16) But at that time the disciples were not yet able to take it in. The question is — why?
(John 16:13): “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the Truth...” The Holy Spirit would be the One Who would teach them and Who would reveal the Spiritual Thoughts that Jesus could not give the disciples. (cf. John 16:14) In their ignorance, they were not ready for these Doctrines. When the Holy Spirit came to indwell them on the Day of Pentecost, then they would be able to take in the Spiritual Thinking of the Word of God. (1Co 2:12-13) Then men like Peter could declare the great message that he gave that same day, as well as subsequent messages.
(2) To Teach Prophecy. “...But whatever He hears, He will speak: and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13)
(3) To Glorify Christ. “For He, (God the Holy Spirit) will not speak on His own initiative...” Here is a very important point: the Holy Spirit does not indwell to teach about Himself. Now, skip down to, (John 16:14): “He will glorify Me. (Christ) It is the work of God the Holy Spirit to glorify the Person of Jesus Christ. In order to get the whole picture, look at, (John 7:38-39).
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will 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 7:38-39)
Why had the Holy Spirit not yet come to permanently indwell Christ’s disciples? “Because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Why was it that the Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell every believer in the Old Testament and could be removed from those He did empower? “Because Jesus was not yet glorified.” But after Jesus was glorified, the Holy Spirit comes to make His permanent residence in every believer.
(4) To Form a Sanctuary, “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? ” (1Co 6:19) You often hear the church building or the church auditorium referred to as the “sanctuary.” But the Bible says that the “sanctuary” is the person who sits in the auditorium, or in the house, or in the building. The sanctuary is the body of the believer! Do you know what that means? It means that this body is something that God has animated. (A individual Theocracy that God wants to rule in. Luk 10:9; Luk 17:21) It means this body is the very basis of worship. It means that something has happened to this body that makes it possible for it to be a Temple and place of worship.
Once we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we no longer live for ourselves. (2Co 5:15) We no longer belong to ourself. Our purpose in life has completely and radically changed. We are now the Lord’s; we belong to Him. We are His ambassadors. (2Co 5:20) Since He is in us and in heaven; and we are here on this earth, we are to represent Him on this earth. Now, how can I represent Him effectively? By means of God the Holy Spirit, Who dwells within. I am a walking Temple, and so are you. Every believer is a Temple. (John 2:19; (1Co 6:19)
This tells us something else. You remember that God the Holy Spirit has a purpose — to glorify Christ. He is going to do it from inside the believer. Whatever in your life glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ is the direct result of God the Holy Spirit and Truth controlling your life! (John 4:23-24) We do not have the power in ourself to glorify God. (2Co 3:5) But there is Someone inside every believer who has the power, and that Someone is God the Holy Spirit! His purpose is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and HE DOES IT in and through you and me!
“For you have been bought with a price...” (Here is Salvation through the work of Christ; and when we accepted Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit came to dwell within) ...Therefore glorify God in your body. (1Co 6:20) Why does this passage say “in your body?” Because in your body and in my body dwells God the Holy Spirit. Think of it! God the Third Person of the Trinity dwells inside you and inside me. Therefore, glorify God! His purpose for indwelling is to glorify the Person of Jesus Christ.
(5) To Fill the Believer. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph 5:18) Be filled constantly, habitually, repeatedly and continuously! This is the secret; this is the animation that turns on the light. Do you remember (Eph 5:14)? “...Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” A believer out of fellowship, a believer who is not filled with the Spirit is temporally dead. He must wake up! (REBOUND AND BECOME HOT!!!; Rev 3:15-22) He is asleep! He is apathetic! He is indifferent! He is not representing Jesus Christ as he should! He cannot glorify the Person of Christ!
“Awake!” How do I wake up? By being filled with the Spirit. “Turn on the light!” How is the light turned on? The minute that God the Holy Spirit controls the life, the light is turned on. The most beautiful home, or the most beautiful structure in the world is a drab sight without light! The ugliest life in the world, the worst or the meanest life, takes on beauty and animation when God the Holy Spirit controls the inside. (Luk 14:26-33)
(6) To Declare Christ.
“Being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2Co 3:3)
The Christian way of life is not in keeping the Mosaic Law; the Christian way of life is executed by God the Holy Spirit filling and controlling the life. When the believer is filled with the Spirit, the Holy Spirit “writes” a letter to humanity from God, which declares, in effect, to the unbeliever, “come to Christ; receive Him as Lord and Savior!” And to the believer, to grow to Spiritual maturity!
(7) To Keep Out Demons. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes it impossible for the believer to be demon possessed. He can be influenced by demons, but never indwelt by them, even during the time he may be grieving or quenching the Spirit. The only way the devil can get at believers is through their negative volition toward Truth, which opens up the vacuum in the soul through which false Satanic thinking can enter. (False twisted Biblical Truth of demons — 1Ti 4:1)
FALSE CRITERIA FOR SPIRITUALITY
Now the question arises, how can we tell when we are filled with the Spirit? How can we detect Spirituality? There is a Biblical answer, but human speculation is voluminous! So before we can answer the question of how to recognize true Spirituality, we must first expose the false criteria.
Morality. Many people are under the delusion that morality is Spirituality. This does not hold water because the unbeliever doesn’t have the indwelling of the Spirit; yet he is capable of morality. Both the believer and the unbeliever are capable of being moral or immoral. The filling of the Spirit, or Spirituality, belongs to believer ONLY! This should tell you that morality is not Spirituality. People who think that morality is Spirituality are usually those who have been taught that the Ten Commandments are the Christian way of life. Whatever sins these people have, they are not sins of immorality. Many sins are not immoral. So morality is not a manifestation of the filling of the Spirit. The Spirit-filled life has a glory that far exceeds mere morality!
Emotion. As believers, we have been freed from the bondage of sin; we are no longer in the slave market of sin. But we are still in bondage to a number of things. For one thing, we are in bondage to our emotions. Many Christians “feel” their way through the Christian life. They think they must have a certain feeling or the experience is not valid. Many true and sincere believers contend that the only way to recognize the filling of the Spirit is by having an ecstatic experience.
However, just as the standard for Salvation is never how you feel, so the criterion for Spirituality is never emotion. Although some people have a tremendous emotional reaction when they are saved, and there is nothing wrong with that, yet others have no emotional reaction at all. Does this mean that the individual who has not had the emotional reaction is not truly saved? Absolutely not! Salvation is never determined by the presence or absence of ecstatics. Emotion, has a place in life, (For appreciation of God and Truth) but emotion is not the means nor the test nor the measure for either Salvation or Spirituality.
We need to remember that just as no two of us are alike physically, so none of us is alike in the Christian life. The Christian life is illustrated in, (1Co 12:12) by the human body. No two members of the body are exactly the same. We all have hands, eyes, joints, muscles, etc., but they are not identical. Wouldn’t it be appalling if the human body were just a big ear? Or a nose? Or a hand? A hand walking around would be a terrible thing! And yet, there are people who do their best to try to get everyone in the Christian body, of which we are all members, to be a “hand.” If they are a hand, they want everyone to be a hand. If they are a nose, they want everyone to be a nose. Actually, these people are saying, “If you are not a nose, you are not Spiritual. If you have not sneezed, you are not Spiritual.” The Christian life is a supernatural way of life demanding a supernatural means of execution! Therefore, if we are going to fulfill that purpose for which the Lord has left us on this earth, we must be controlled by the Spirit. The Christian life cannot be executed apart from the filling of God the Holy Spirit. Now, there are Spiritual gifts, but they have nothing to do with Spirituality, except that it takes the filling of the Spirit to exercise all the Spiritual gifts. (1Co 12:6)
Facial Expression or Superficial Hypocrisy. We also need to understand that a long, sad face is not a manifestation of Spirituality. Spirituality cannot be judged on the basis of facial expression. “If I crack a smile, I am not Spiritual. If I seem to be enjoying life, I am not Spiritual.” Does Christianity really guarantee that I am not to enjoy life that I must set my face into a somber expression? Remember, every believer is representing the Person of Jesus Christ. We are never Commanded to represent Him with a certain expression, for the Spiritual life importance is the inner life. (2Co 4:16)
When the Holy Spirit controls the inside, there is animation not apathy or indifference or that sad face which gives the impression that Christ is not sufficient. The believer can be an advertisement that Christ is all in all to him; only when he possesses that inner animation which comes from the filling of the Spirit. (Matt 23:26)
A Second Blessing. Must you have a second blessing? Do you recognize the filling of the Spirit by a so-called second blessing? A man once asked Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer if he had ever had the second blessing. With a twinkle in his eye, Dr. Chafer replied, “You know, many years ago I had the second blessing.” The man leaned forward and asked eagerly, “Yes? Did you speak in a heavenly language?’’ Then Dr. Chafer added, “But since then I’ve had the one millionth, two hundred and seventy-five thousandth blessing!’’ Just imagine limiting the grace of God to two blessings! What is this business of the “second blessing”? Are we once and for all indwelt and filled with the Spirit after an ecstatic, post-Salvation experience? We might have a tremendous emotional reaction, or none at all — it depends upon the individual’s emotions; but one’s emotional reaction, or lack of it, never cuts any ice in the Christian life. People who emphasize experience to the exclusion of Truth are always a flop as far as representing Christ is concerned. Imagine basing a whole life of service, a whole life of impact for Christ on ONE experience!
Think of trying to run a fine automobile for years and years on one tank of gas! There is no such thing as a one-shot experience of any kind which will guarantee a Spiritual giant. It is impossible for an experience to do such a thing. The filling of the Spirit is to be constant, habitual, repeated and repeated, and the means is by confession of sin — not an experience!
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Is it necessary to recognize the filling of the Spirit? No, it is not necessary, since, if you meet the Biblical conditions, you are filled with the Spirit, whether you recognize it or not. As a matter of fact, you may not be able to recognize it at first, or even to be conscious of it. You cannot judge Spirituality by any overt activity. Now, don’t worry about whether Divine impact in being produced. With the consistent use of rebound, Divine impact will take care of itself!
Is it possible to recognize the filling of the Spirit by the production of the Spirit, as defined in, (Gal 5:22-23)? If we are filled with the Spirit; God the Holy Spirit will be producing these Virtues and Thoughts in us; but we cannot say that we are filled with the Spirit just because we THINK WE are producing them. You might be confusing the true production of the Spirit with the many substitutes for animating one’s life which are peddled today. There are many books on the market on how to impress everyone with your personality, how to be animated, and how to and develop a scintillating personality — forget them! There is a Book which, though centuries old, has THE ONLY TRUE ANSWERS, (THOUGHTS) for every born-again child of God — the Bible! The answer is not in changing your personality. You are spinning your wheels unless you discover that the answer is the control of Truth and the Holy Spirit on the inside, not on improving the outside. When God the Holy Spirit takes control of your life. He produces the most marvelous miracle the world has ever seen!
“My little children, (Addressed to the Galatian believers who were having so much trouble) with whom I am again in labor, (Or we might translate it into the modern vernacular — ‘whom I am sweating out’) until Christ be formed in you.” (Gal 4:19) Do you get the impact of these words? It is possible for the Thinking and Virtue of Jesus Christ to be formed inside every believer! How can Christ be formed in you? By reproducing the miracles that Jesus did? By following in the “footsteps’ of Jesus? No! The answer is found in the next chapter, (Gal 5:22-23). This is the great miracle of Christian experience. This is something that animates the Christian life and makes it incredible to those who behold.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no Law.
When you are filled with the Spirit, these nine characteristics become true in your life. Notice, the Scripture says the “fruit” or the production of the SPIRIT. It is not the fruits of discipline, the fruits of practice, the fruits of our works — it is the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT! It is that which God the Holy Spirit produces, and God the Holy Spirit produces the very Spiritual life of the Incarnate Christ.
The first item on the list is “love.” (Rom 5:5) This is not the ordinary type of love. It is the Greek word, “agape” — actually a relaxed mental attitude toward others, minus mental attitude sins. It is the love of, (1Co 13:1-8) and (1Jn 4:7-21). This is the love that does not discriminate, the love that is fair to all, and the love that gives itself to the unlovely as well as to the lovely, to the unattractive as well as to the attractive. It is the love that Christ has for humanity, when we read, “He had compassion on the multitudes.” (Matt 15:32) That compassion was expressed at the cross. “We love him because he first loved US! (1Jn 4:19) This is supernatural love. (Virtue love) This Divine love fulfils the Old and New Covenants and turns the world upside down. (Matt 22:36-40; Acts 17:6) This is the love that warms Christian fellowship. This is the love that destroys all personality conflicts, all antagonistic attitudes, all of the apathy and indifference. This is the love that animates Christianity. This is the love people see and say, “I want Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ can do that, I want that in my life!”
What does Virtue love produce?
(1) Love produces characteristics which are self-ward, first of all: joy, an inner HAPPINESS which nothing on the outside can disturb, whether it is suffering or success; and peace, an inner mental STABILITY in all situations in life. (John 16:33)
(2) Outward or neighbor-ward characteristics: long-suffering, a RELAXED ATTITUDE toward the human race; the avoidance of judging, maligning and gossiping. Long-suffering completely eliminates the problems of relationship with other members of the human race. Gentleness, THINKING GRACE; a mental attitude of giving others the benefit of the doubt. Goodness, the OVERT ACTIVITY OF GRACE; e.g., to forgive as Christ forgave. (Col 3:13)
(3) Upward or God-ward characteristics: Faithfulness, (Literally) the operation of the FAITH-REST technique; the application of Bible Truth to experience. Gentleness,, a MENTAL ATTITUDE OF GRACE with regard to Divine provision not self-effacement. It is recognition of the fact that we earn or deserve nothing from God at any time. “Self-control,” includes the DISCIPLINES of life, such as proper use of time.
The nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit coexist, though they may not all be manifest at the same time. They are “standing by,” just as the characteristics of God’s essence are always present, but are not necessarily manifest at the same moment. Of course, the more Spiritually mature the believer, the more he is consistently filled with the Spirit and the more consistently he manifests the fruit of the Spirit.
“Against such there is no Law.” Why? Because this is a supernatural plane that transcends any and every other Law! (Matt 17:24-27) When God the Holy Spirit controls the life, the Virtue love of Christ is produced and the world cannot resist the impact of His nature. (2Pe 1:4)
THE CARNAL BELIEVER IMITATES THE UNBELIEVER
One of the keys to understanding Spirituality is that when you as a believer get out of fellowship for any length of time, you imitate the unbeliever. (Php 3:18-19) Perhaps as high as eighty per cent of believers today are living just as they would live if they were unbelievers. They are moral, religious or immoral, just as they would be as an unbeliever. This runs counter to the grain today because we are getting the worst bit of tripe in Christian literature we have ever had. For example: “If you are a Christian, you ought to be living a nearly perfect life. There are certain sins you could never commit if you were a Christian.” Well, I have news for you — there isn’t any sin you can’t commit as a Christian! This is a very serious problem today because people do not Spiritually Think WITH the Mind of Christ. They are looking at the Christian life entirely from EXPERIENCE. Both the believer and the unbeliever have an old sin nature; so obviously, when the believer is controlled by the sin nature, he is going to act exactly like the unbeliever. Yet believers are blubbering about victorious Christian living and mountain-top experiences through one-shot decisions; they are throwing faggots on the fire for dedication and rededication; they are practicing some system of legalism, moral degeneracy and or tabooism or some type of ecstatics or asceticism, such as fasting or agonizing in a closet; and they think they are living the Christian way of life, when in reality they are carnal believers imitating the unbeliever. Look at, (1Co 3:1-3)
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to Spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1Co 3:1-3)
In, (1Co 3:1) Paul is not saying that he did not have the ability to speak, but that the Corinthians could not take it in because of their carnality. No communicator in the world can communicate one c.c. of Truth unless the recipients are filled with the Spirit! The ministry of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential to the teaching of the Word of God! They had to be fed with “milk” (1Co 3:2) — very elementary Truth — because of their persistent carnality. Whether they were producing sins from the area of weakness of the sin nature or human old sin nature good from the area of strength, they were imitating the unbeliever. This was a case where believers did not use the rebound technique, and the old sin nature became “set,” as it were. The Holy Spirit was continually grieved and quenched, and the old sin nature controlled the life without a break.
This principle applies to believers who do not use rebound or who are ignorant of rebound, who are negative toward Truth and live their entire lives in carnality. There is no way you can tell whether these believers are saved or not. They are not necessarily the “town drunk” type; they may be the most religious people in town. The idea that only moral people are saved and immoral people are lost is ridiculous and non-Biblical. Some of the worst offenders in the field of carnality are the religious, legalistic types. Saul of Tarsus was the worst sinner who ever lived because he was saturated with religion. (1Ti 1:15)
“...But as to men of flesh . . . .” Because they were out on the town? Because they were alcoholics? No! “For you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” — mental attitude sins! In persistent carnality, they “are walking, (And or thinking as unbelievers). (1Co 3:3) This is their consistent pattern of life. They walk according to the thinking of the unbeliever. (Rom 12:2) They are saved, but they are not living under the control of the Spirit. (Gal 5:15-21) cf. (Gal 5:22-23) This describes the pattern: that both believers and unbelievers are thinking with the same thoughts. (Isa 65:2) Believers who are persistent in their carnality are not only imitating the unbeliever, but they don’t show any family resemblance. They are in union with Christ, but they manifest no evidence of it. However, you have to be careful on this matter of “evidence.” You may think you are showing evidence that you are in the family of God because you are moral or self-righteous, when all you are doing is showing the pride of the devil. You are actually imitating “cosmos diabolicus.” (Satan's system of thinking)
THE BELIEVER FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT CANNOT SIN UNDER THE STATUS OF SPIRITUALITY
You must make the decision as to who or what is going to control your life the Holy Spirit or the old sin nature. It is impossible for a person to sin who is under the control of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, and therefore does not sponsor sin or solicit to sin. He is not the Author of sin and does not condone it. If you cannot sin while filled with the Holy Spirit, how, then, do you lose the filling of the Spirit? There are two ways: through sins of ignorance in which the volition is involved, though you are not aware of what you are doing; and through sins of cognizance whereby, from your own volition you succumb to temptation. Once you succumb, the temptation becomes a sin and you come under the control of the sin nature. There are three sources of temptation: the world; (False values and thinking) the flesh; (The old sin nature; lust of the eyes; lust of the flesh; and the pride of life) and Satan; (Demonic false Truth). It is not sinful to be tempted. As long as you maintain the filling of the Spirit, you are not sinning.
However, there are sins you commit of which you are ignorant; unknown — sins. These put you out of fellowship as well as the known sins. You went positive toward the temptation — known or unknown — and through negative volition to the Holy Spirit, you are out of fellowship, (Bottom circle) and under status quo carnality. Once you succumb to the temptation, you come under the control of the sin nature and you commit the sin. Positive volition toward God; (Confession) gets you back in fellowship and under the control of the Holy Spirit.
You can do something to get out, but, compatible with grace, you DO nothing to get back in. Just as, “For by grace you have been saved through faith;” so “by confession are you restored through rebound.” This is not saying you can’t sin as a Christian; it means you can’t sin when you are filled with the Spirit. THIS IS A PRINCIPLE! We have all sinned, but not while we were filled with the Spirit. You cannot do both at the same time. The Principle is so close to our experience, we want to apply it before we get the Divine Thought, and we miss the boat! The point is when you are filled with the Spirit, you can't sin; and when you’re under the control of the sin nature, you are not filled with the Spirit. There is no difference between the carnal believer and the unbeliever as far as control of the old sin nature is concerned. He is in the “top circle,” but out of the “bottom circle.” http://www.dictionaryofdoctrine.com/files/Top And Bottom Circles.jpg
The one who practices sin (Living out of fellowship) is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. (1Jn 3:8)
No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1Jn 3:9)
By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness, (By staying in fellowship) is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1Jn 3:10)
“ The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” (1Jn 3:8) When the old sin nature controls the unbeliever, that is simply a part of the devil’s system — cosmos diabolicus. But when the believer gets out of the control of the Spirit, he has moved into the devil’s world, and to that extent, he is in the same bracket with the unbeliever and is the devil’s evangelist. Both are imitating the devil. The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, (First advent of Christ) to destroy the works of the devil.’’ (1Jn 3:8) On the cross, Christ provided the basis for getting out from under the control of the sin nature. Through Salvation, the believer is given something greater than the sin nature — God the Holy Spirit — by which he may have victory over the sin nature.
“No one who is born of God, (In fellowship with God) practices sin, because His seed, (Spiritual life) abides in him; and he cannot sin, (In fellowship) because he is born of God.” (In fellowship with God) (1Jn 3:9)
“Practices” means that in the point of time when you are controlled by the Holy Spirit, you are not doing sin. “For his seed abides in him, (In this context, the Spiritual life: as a seed produces, so the Spiritual life produces Divine Virtue) and he cannot sin, (He is able not to sin while controlled by the Holy Spirit) because he is born of God (In fellowship with God).” The Holy Spirit is God and therefore could never sin; it is totally incompatible with His Divine nature. Only ignorance of a certain sin or negative volition at the point of temptation can break the control of the Holy Spirit. Grace found a way to overcome the bondage of the old sin nature, which is summarized in Principle by the phrase, “cannot sin.” Every creature must live according to his own nature. To be born of God means to live in union with Christ under the indwelling of the Spirit in a permanent relationship with the Father in the family of God. This means we have to take on the nature of God, and this can be done only by the Holy Spirit. (2Pe 1:4) The Divine nature of God is manifested through the filling of the Spirit! Believers can walk as either children of light or children of darkness. In regeneration we carry the life of God which cannot sin; but we also carry over the unregenerate old sin nature which can only sin and produce human old sin nature good; therefore, there is an inner struggle in the believer. By his own volition, he can choose to move under the control of the sin nature and therefore imitate the unbeliever; and thereby he produces both sins and dead works.
RESULTS OF SPIRITUALITY
Glorification of Christ. Everything in the Christian life which honors the Lord has only one source God the Holy Spirit! Nothing good is produced in the Christian life apart from the work and power of the Holy Spirit. We have previously seen the reason for His indwelling, and also the reason why the New Covenant permanent indwelling was never true before the Day of Pentecost: “The Holy Spirit was not yet given permanently because Christ was not yet glorified.’’ (John 7:39) All of the worship, all of the activity under the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament was designed with one thing in mind — to point to Christ. But Christ was not yet glorified. The God-Man had to go to the cross; He had to die; He had to rise from the dead; He had to ascend, to enter into the presence of the Father and be seated before He was glorified as the God-Man. And once Jesus Christ was glorified, then God the Holy Spirit could permanently indwell every believer.
Now that the glorified Christ is absent from the earth, every believer is left on earth for the express purpose of glorying Jesus Christ. Your life as a Christian can be reduced to one factor: you are here to honor and to glorify Jesus Christ! You can now glorify Him because He is glorified. It is impossible for the energy of the flesh — human talents, human abilities, human powers and human activity — to glorify the Person of Christ! God the Holy Spirit DOES; when He empowers the inner man. (Eph 3:16) Now, do you see how this applies? There are two things which every believer must understand or he will never move for the Lord: he must understand how to handle the sin problem, for when he is out of temporal fellowship he is powerless and useless, as well as under discipline; and he must understand how to be filled with the Spirit.
The amazing thing about so many believers today is that they have never heard that there is a means of fulfilling the Christian life. Some understand experientially that it is humanly impossible to execute the Commands and injunctions of the Word of God, but they are ignorant of the remedy. They are, therefore, incapable of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh. (Rom 7:18) There is only one issue at the beginning of experiential Christianity — how can you be filled with the Spirit?
Many Christian parents are going to be utterly shocked some day to find their children suddenly antagonistic to Christian things, turning their backs on the Bible, and even heading down the road toward juvenile delinquency. The reason is too often that parents have put so much emphasis on the taboos without teaching the children the means of fulfilling the Christian life. I have talked with many such young people who, almost without exception, admit to defeat when they tried to live the Christian life. They had heard the “taboos” all their lives, but once they had gotten away from parental influence, had ceased to observe them. The mental attitudes expressed by most of these people was, “Oh, I got tired of that nonsense. I want to have some fun now.” I always ask these young people, “Do you know how to be filled with the Spirit?” Their answers are almost invariably, “No!” Some do not so much as know there is a Holy Spirit.
So, I say to Christian parents, if you do not start teaching your children how to be filled with the Spirit, you can try to enforce taboos until you are exhausted, and they may observe them in front of you; but when they get out from under your wing, there is likely to be a complete breakdown. The Word of Truth is the only protection for the Christian child, and the first Truth they must know is how to rebound; and that is HOW to be filled with God the Holy Spirit!
Fulfillment of the Law. God has designed something on earth to reflect the glory, the perfection and the grace of our position; and the immediate reflection is the filling of God the Holy Spirit. Since the filling of the Spirit is inside the believer, it is challenged by the old sin nature.
(Rom 8:2-4) brings into focus the filling of the Spirit versus the Law of the sin nature. There is a conflicting set of Laws operating inside the believer: the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus and the Law of sin and death. (cf. Gal 5:16-17)
For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, (The Spiritual life) has set you free from the Law of sin and of death. (The Old Covenant) For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, (By the old sin nature) but according to the Spirit. (Rom 8:2-4)
It is often true that believers were nicer people before they were saved. So we have a right to ask, “What happens?” The answer is quite simple: before a person accepts Christ as Savior, there is no contest. The old sin nature ruled the roost. Whatever the person was — pleasant, nice, phony, and hypocritical — there was no challenge. Any restraint upon sin came from fear of the repercussions. In addition to that, the unbeliever who is trying to get to heaven by his own works is going to keep up his human old sin nature good column. Society will look at this person and say, “Very nice; very wonderful!”
Now, when he becomes a believer, the fears that restrained sin are removed. Often he will go through a period of unrestrained sin or carnality because he knows he has eternal life, regardless. He no longer runs scared. During this period, although he is permanently indwelt by the Spirit, the old sin nature controls his life and the Spirit is quenched. Not until we take in enough Truth can we reach a place of stability and grace orientation in our life. Truth has to replace human restraints in our Thinking. (1Co 2:16)
If the carnal or baby believer never understands the Truth of the two Laws and how to operate under the Law of the Spirit of life, he can never begin to move in Phase Two. He is going to operate under the Law of the old sin nature, and without the restraint of fear, he will get into unrestrained sin and will actually become worse than before he was saved. (2Pe 2:20-22) Furthermore, the misery factor enters in, which always triggers guilt in the soul, and guilt begins to work in all facets of the soul until a guilt complex is built up. This is followed by a reaction to the “wild oats” period, and being minus Truth, he goes into self-righteousness or religious activity. The only way to get out of this bracket is to get positive to Truth and to stay with it.
Even though we as believers are no longer under the Mosaic Law, we operate under Law — either the Law of the filling of the Spirit or the Law of the old sin nature. These Laws are a set of Principles inside the believer which are combined into a norm or standard. The first Law is the New Covenant Law of the Spirit — a reference to God the Third Person of the Trinity and the Thinking of Christ. The “Spirit of life indicates the Spiritual life as a function. The Holy Spirit indwells us so that He can control us and enable us to function under the plan of God, the grace of God and the life of God.
This Law of the Spirit is “in Christ Jesus,” which goes back to positional Truth of, (Rom 8:1). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit indicates the power and the glory of our position in Christ. Notice what this Law does: it has made us free! We have freedom to function under His plan from our own volition — not someone else’s. Every believer is a priest; and as priests, believers have privacy to live their lives as unto the Lord and not as unto people. (Rom 14:4; Rom 14:10) If God gives us the privacy to live as unto Him, He also makes provision for it. God is not easily satisfied. God is perfect, and He demands perfection. Yet we are going to find the verb “to please’’ in this passage. Grace has found a way to provide something whereby we can meet His standards and please Him! This provision is God the Holy Spirit empowering the Spiritual life; and the believer Thinking with God's PERFECT THOUGHTS! The Christian way of life is a supernatural way of life, and He has provided ALL the supernatural means of executing it!
In this sense, we are set free. All the freedom is directed toward God and not toward SIN. People often think that since they are now saved and can’t lose their Salvation, they are free to go out and raise “hell,’’ as they have always desired to do. So they say, “Goodbye, God, I’ll see you in heaven!” However, God has provided a way for you to serve Him and honor Him and to reach the place where you have the reflected glory of an edification complex, (Spiritual life) in your soul. But in this passage, since the believer is just starting out, the filling of the Spirit shines through positional Truth — your relationship with Christ.
When people first catch on to rebound, they often think that this gives them a license to sin. If you think that, you are looking in the wrong direction. Instead of looking at sin, you must look in the direction of God, for rebound gives you a license to serve the Lord. Inevitably, people are going to misunderstand and distort grace. “The Law of sin and death” refers to the Mosaic Law, but it is not the Christian way of life. “For what the Law could not do... ” (Rom 8:3). The Mosaic Law can do certain things for the human race. It can give people norms and standards; it can teach by its norms and standards that you are a sinner. It also proves that we are helpless and hopeless to save ourself or to MAKE THE SIN NATURE HOLY! You cannot gain the approbation of God by your human old sin nature good. The Law shows that you have a problem; but the Law can’t do anything about the problem. Nor was it ever designed to produce Spirituality. Since it is on the outside, it cannot do for you what the Holy Spirit, Who is on the inside, can do. Why can the Law not help you? Something weakened it: “...In that it was weak through the flesh, (The old sin nature).” The sin nature prevents the POSSIBILITY of fulfilling the Mosaic Law!
“God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh [NO SIN NATURE] and as an offering for sin, (Sin offering) He condemned sin in the flesh.” The first advent of Christ makes it possible for the Law of the Spirit of life to exist. No one was filled with the New Covenant Spiritual life in the Old Testament; there was no such thing as the universal permanent indwelling of God the Holy Spirit until Christ came in the flesh, went to the cross and was subsequently glorified. (John 7:39) In His humanity, He was in the “LIKENESS of sinful flesh.” He was without a sin nature, imputed sin, and without ANY personal sin! His Divine Person, (I AM) had a human spirit, human soul and a human body. He came “for a sin offering.” (Literally a body prepared) (Heb 10:5-10) Christ is the sin offering that satisfied the righteousness and justice of God: Father, Son and Spirit! Every righteous and holy demand that God had on the human race was satisfied by the sin offering, and therefore, God is now free under His own plan to love us and still be consistent with HIS ESSENCE. (INTEGRITY AND HOLINESS) http://dictionaryofdoctrine.com/files/Essence of God.jpg
In, (Rom 8:4) all three Laws are brought together. “So that the righteousness of the Law, (The perfect standard demanded by the Law) might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The old sin nature frustrates the demands of the Mosaic Law. The New Covenant Law of the Spirit fills the deficiency created by the Law of the old sin nature. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law by ALWAYS living in the Spiritual life and by dying for our sins! We fulfill the Law by staying filled with God the Spirit. But whether or not the Experiential righteousness demanded by the Law is actually fulfilled, depends on the use of the rebound technique and the subsequent filling of the Spirit. In other words, the POWER of our walk lies in the ministry of the Holy Spirit; but the CHOICE of our walk resides in us — in our volition with regard to rebound. The believer can choose to operate under the Law of carnality or under the New Covenant Law of grace in Spirituality.
The Enemy to Spirituality. In, (Rom 8:5-8) we have the great enemy to Spirituality — the thought pattern of the old sin nature; thinking according to the standard of the sin nature: “For those, (Carnal believers) who are according to the flesh, (In carnality) set their minds on the things, (Thoughts) of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things (Spiritual Thoughts) of the Spirit.” (Rom 8:5) From the thinking in the old sin nature comes thought pattern sins: hatred, jealousy, self-pity, egoism, religion, legalism, worldly and empty chatter, human and satanic false realities, implacability, mental fornication, etc. (Matt 15:18-20; Rom 14:23) Christians have the tendency to excuse the sins of the mind and think they are Spiritual because they do not commit overt sins. (Rom 2:1)
They put on a phony, self-righteous facade of asceticism, but inside they are full of mental attitude sins. (Matt 23:25) The emphasis in Christianity is what you Spiritually Think! Christianity is not a system of ethics or morals; it is a dynamic, vital life, determined by what you THINK WITH: God's Thinking or satanic and human thinking! (1Co 3:18-20)
The sin nature has an area of strength, which causes people to interpret activities of human old sin nature good as the Christian way of life. (2Ti 3:5) What does an old sin nature good thought pattern say? “What we need is to love everybody. Or, “socialism is of God — we must have the greatest good for the greatest number,” (Which has been a gimmick leading to slavery throughout human history) But these are human viewpoint thoughts straight from the sin nature and cosmos diabolicus. (Satan's world system of false thinking)
In the sin nature is also a lust pattern — approbation lust, power lust, sex lust, etc. Lust for approbation is one of the greatest enemies of Spirituality. For example, doing things around the church so that people will tell you how good you are or what a great Christian you are. But as long as you are doing anything for the praise of man, you are always off balance, and you will never know what’s the matter. You are thinking the thoughts of the old sin nature. (Rom 8:7-8)
“But those who are according to the Spirit, the things, (Thoughts) of the Spirit.” Their Spiritual Thought pattern is Divine Viewpoint; (GOD'S REALITY!) it is the Virtue love toward others which has no mental attitude sins; it is serving as unto the Lord and not for the praise of men; it is inner happiness and inner peace! (1Jn 3:16)
“For the mind set on the flesh, (A thought pattern controlled by the sin nature) is death; (Temporal death — out of fellowship, cut off from God, and or out of the bottom circle) but the mind set on the Spirit is life, (Spiritually Thinking with God's Word filled with God the Holy Spirit) e.g. (Life in the bottom circle; life in the filling of the Spirit; the Spiritual life which reflects our position in Christ) and peace, (The opposite of having a mental attitude thinking with satanic and human realities and or sins; a relaxed mental attitude).” (Rom 8:6) You don’t need some great experience, you don’t need to rededicate your life or to reaffirm your faith. These are all substitutes for rebound and the filling of the Spirit.
“Because the mind set on the flesh, (Old sin nature thinking) is hostile toward God... ” (Rom 8:7) The thought pattern of the believer becomes the enemy of God when he is out of fellowship. Perhaps you understand that mental attitude sins are against God; but when you think you have to do something to help God, that you must have a certain experience to be Spiritual, that you must go through some activity or ritual, that you must have an emotional or ecstatic experience, then you are just as much at enmity with God as at any time you are committing mental attitude or overt sins. These experiences glorify self, and there is no place in the plan of God for glorifying self! (Gal 5:4)
“…For it, (The thinking of the old sin nature) does not subject itself to the Law of God, (The Spiritual Thinking of God; 1Co 2:12-14) for it is not even able to do so.” It, (Human old sin nature thinking) does not take its orders from God, but from the sin nature! The mental attitude of the believer out of fellowship makes it IMPOSSIBLE for him to be in the will of God or to Spiritually Think and do the will of God! He is not in the place from where we receive our orders — the “Law of the Spirit” — the Word of God! He is living by his emotions or by some system of ecstatics or experience, and therefore he is not in obedience to the Word of God. Such believers are off balance all their lives — always seeking, always looking, but never finding. They run from person to person, asking, “What’s the secret, what’s the answer?”
“So then, (In conclusion) those who are in the flesh, (In temporal death; carnality) cannot please God.” (Rom 8:8) Every believer is “in Christ,” in the top circle, and can never get out. At the same time, we are in the bottom circle, filled with the Holy Spirit, and we can get out of this position. When we are out of the bottom circle, we are “in the flesh.” It is impossible for any Christian to please God when he is ruled and controlled by his old sin nature! The great emphasis in the Word of God is not reaffirmation of faith, which doesn’t mean a thing, nor rededication, which means less than nothing, but REBOUND, which is everything and gives God the glory! (Prov 1:23; Prov 28:13)
There are so many ideas prevailing today as to what is Spirituality and how we fulfill the Command to be filled with the Spirit, that it is necessary to point out some of these false practices which Christians are engaging in and by which they are trying to attain Spirituality. The reason for this is quite obvious. We are living in an age of carnal preachers who do not know what the Christian life is all about. Or they are so busy with administration, activities and programs, they neglect the primary function of the ministry — the study of the Word of God!
There is also the mistaken idea that the Christian way of life by grace is a license for sin. I have actually been accused of telling people they can indulge in all the taboos! Nothing could be farther from the Truth. This problem stems from a misunderstanding of grace and from legalism. Well meaning believers are trying to get all the rest of the believers straightened out by imposing upon them their pet taboos. Now, many of these taboos should be observed, provided they are the results of Spirituality and are not being observed as a means of trying to become Spiritual. They will take care of themselves as the believer matures and understands the true basic Concepts of Christianity!
All of the following theories of Spirituality are works — Spirituality by works! They are HOW NOT TO BE FILLED WITH GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT! The negatives emphasize the positives.
Confusion of Means and Results. Believers in this category think they are Spiritual because they witness, give, pray, present, dedicate and rededicate, etc.; but this is putting the cart before the horse. Except for “present” (In the aorist tense) in, (Rom 6:13; Rom 6:19; Rom 12:1) which is the principle of rebound, none of these things are the MEANS of the filling of the Spirit — only the result! The words “present” of Romans are “paristemi” in the Greek. “Par” is a preposition of immediate source, and “istemi means “to stand. “ The Holy Spirit is the source of our help. When you present yourself to sin, (Rom 6:13) you are under the control of the old sin nature; when you present yourselves to God, (Rom 6:13) you have used the rebound technique, you are back in or have stayed in fellowship with God, and the Holy Spirit controls your Spiritual life.
The idea of Spirituality by prayer is very common and quite subtle. Prayer is one of the most marvelous things God ever gave us in grace! We cannot minimize prayer. In fact, we need more and more prayer. God is so gracious to give us a means of approaching Him and presenting our petitions and our needs. (Heb 4:16) It is wonderful when we can spend time together in prayer, when we can approach the Throne of Grace for each other. But as wonderful as prayer is, it is not the means of Spirituality. (Psa 66:18) We are never told either to pray for or to ask for the Holy Spirit, as were the disciples in the previous dispensation. Nor are we ever told to get down on our knees and pray through or to utter something over and over again in order to get the filling of the Spirit. Effective prayer is the result of Spirituality! (Eph 6:18)
Spirituality by Personality Imitation. Another false concept involves the imitation of some outstanding Christian in the matter of dress, speech or mannerism. I decide that wearing black or somber shades, wearing rags, presenting a disheveled appearance, or omitting cosmetics makes me Spiritual. Or, I use a language which sounds Spiritual, such as “amen, “hallelujah,” “Lord willing,” “God bless you,” “brother this and brother that.” I stand in a slump, I lower my head in humility and put on a pious facial expression. All of these are superficialities which in no way indicate true Spirituality. The believer must learn to distinguish between personality and Spirituality.
Spirituality by Tabooism. This idea of Spirituality has become very popular today, especially in fundamental Christian circles. Spirituality by tabooism says simply this: I am Spiritual if I observe certain taboos. By “taboos” I do not mean the negative Commands of the Word of God which are unquestioned. I am talking about the problems of social life of certain groups and time periods which are not specifically covered in Scripture, such as problems of entertainment or those that have to do with our extracurricular activities. The taboos are usually characterized by the “big five.” I once sat beside a man in California during a message on the “big five.” He nudged me and said, “I don’t know how you feel about it, but I lost ten years of honoring the Lord because of this very thing!” Here were the big five: don’t smoke, don’t dance, don’t go to the movies, don’t drink, and don’t play cards! In other words, if you observe certain social taboos, you are “Spiritual.” There are many sincere believers who honestly believe they are Spiritual because they have given up this and that, or go with the girls who do, and it has become their means of Spirituality. But it is Spirituality by works, which is an abomination to the Lord.
It does not necessarily mean that we condone all these things; but the point is, they are NOT THE MEANS OF SPIRITUALITY! A dead man gives up these things, and he is still dead! Anything the unbeliever can do is not the Christian way of life! Bona fide taboos exist in two areas: the application of superseding Laws — that is, the Laws of liberty, love, expediency and supreme sacrifice; and certain things which are given up AS A RESULT of either Spirituality or Spiritual maturity or both. No two believers have attained the same degree of growth in the Christian life. A believer who is a baby will not handle a taboo in the same manner as a mature believer. When believers impose their taboos on new believers, it will result either in legalism and hypocrisy if accepted, or, if rejected, in bitterness or resentment.
One of the most awful sins in the Christian life is pride. Pride is the thing that springs out of Spirituality by works: “I have given up this, and I have given up that, and therefore, you now behold the most Spiritual person walking on the face of the earth. If YOU have not given up these things, then, pardon me, if I slant my nose a little bit and look down at you and say, “You are not Spiritual.” Oh, you may not say this with your mouth; you have more subtle ways of conveying the idea.
The Bible does not teach Spirituality by tabooism by the things that we give up. It is true, a number of things that come under the category of tabooism are given up as a result of Spirituality plus Spiritual maturity; but they are not the means of Spirituality. The Bible very clearly defines the means of Spiritually; but it is not by observing social taboos laid down by Christians in your area. Although there are some negative approaches to Spirituality, they are not in the form of tabooism. The energy of the flesh cannot give up anything to the glory of God. God-honoring “tabooism” results from the filling of the Spirit!
Spirituality by Relativity. This says, “By comparing myself to others, I am Spiritual.” I watch others very closely, I put the binoculars on this one and that one until I discover their sins and their weaknesses. Then I make an estimate and do a little compensating. I compare my weaknesses with their weaknesses, and I say to myself, “Well, that one is guilty of gross sin — those are terrible things he does. I see the telephone pole in his eye, but, of course, the splinter in my eye isn’t bad at all. (Matt 7:3) My sins are cultured and refined. Oh, I gossip now and then, true — but not very much. And I tell a little lie now and then; I’m a little envious and a little jealous once in awhile, but not very often. But HE does or SHE does — or THEY do ! Therefore, by comparison, I am Spiritual.” (2Co 10:12)
That is carnal relativity. Now, remember, Spirituality is an absolute. It is God the Holy Spirit filling and controlling the life. We are not Spiritual because our sins are more refined than someone else’s sins!
Spirituality by Asceticism. Asceticism is extreme self-denial. It is the denial of food, human relationships, the denial of all normal activities and functions of life. One who is ascetic is one who goes in for monasticism — seclusion from everything possible in the world. Some even go to the extreme of inflicting self-torture. These people believe they are Spiritual because they have given up the normal things of life and have shut themselves off from everything in order to fast and pray and agonize. That is merely asceticism; it is not true Spirituality, nor a means of Spirituality.
Spirituality by Ecstatics. This is very popular today among the highly emotional. It might be classified as Spirituality by emotion. There are those who say they have a Spiritual monopoly because they have had a certain kind of experience — an ecstatic experience. Now, there are many kinds of ecstatic experiences, many of which are bona fide. There are times when the emotional pattern in the life of anyone can be in the place where he can have an ecstatic experience. As a matter of fact, even unbelievers have ecstatic experiences. But the ecstatic experience we are dealing with here is identified with certain things, such as speaking in a “demonic language,” or suddenly going into a feeling of being completely out of one’s self and praising God, etc. It is again a system of works and is not the way to be filled with the Spirit.
Spirituality by Ritualism. This is a false system of holiness based on the observation of a ritual or holy day. It includes those who think they are Spiritual because they observe certain rituals of the church, such as baptism or the Lord ’s Supper; or because they observe the Sabbath or Lent.
Spirituality by Self-Crucifixion. One day we realize “self” is our worst enemy, (Jer 17:5; Jer 17:9) and we decide to get rid of self. Self is not going to cancel out self. A “kingdom divided against itself cannot stand,” and self is definitely not divided against self. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 6:11) In, (Rom 6:6) we are Commanded to know the Truth of retroactive positional santifaction, (Satan's system and the old sin nature positionally cut off) and to apply it to experience. By being dead to the Thinking of the old sin nature! But this business of “crucifying self” is a fleshly effort to obtain Spirituality by trying to get rid of “self.” There is a means of overcoming the old sin nature; (Rom 6:16-18) but the old sin nature self is not the means of overcoming the old sin nature self! We need to stay in fellowship and Think with Truth! (John 12:24-26)
Program Spirituality. Many people think they are Spiritual because they perform a certain number of good deeds which are emphasized in a church program. These may be anything from the giving of money, functioning in administration, attending church regularly and participating in a calling program, to coming to prayer meeting or participating in the missionary program. However, the issue is not in the deed performed, but are you filled with God the Holy Spirit and Thinking with the Word of Truth; (John 4:23-24) or are you out of fellowship and thinking with human and satanic thoughts. (Rom 8:5-8)
Spirituality by Self-Improvement. This is trying to be Spiritual by picking myself up by my own bootstraps. I make myself do certain things in order to become Spiritual. I make myself try to love the brethren. The Scripture tells me to forgive as Christ forgave, and to be humble. So I try to work this up. I practice until I get it. This is discipline and may lead to self-improvement; but it is not Spirituality, and it will not lead to Spirituality.
God gave us the Holy Spirit, and He is the only means by which the Christian life can be fulfilled. Every time someone tries to be Spiritual by his own works, he finds himself a complete failure in the Christian life! (Heb 10:26-38)
THE GLORY OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
Do you realize that the Christian way of life is the most thrilling, the most magnificent life possible? It makes no difference what pressures there may be; it makes no difference what problems there may be, or what adverse circumstances are on the horizon. This life is incomparable! Is it wonderful and thrilling to YOU? The only thing greater is Phase Three, when we enter into the presence of the Lord! But here in this life we have a marvelous opportunity. For us the “game’’ is in progress. But the game may be over soon; we may be in the fourth quarter, perhaps even down to the last few seconds. Here is the guaranteed way not to fumble or to lose the game at the last minute, as it were, not to lose the opportunity of winning people to Christ and then leading then to Spiritual maturity, and that is by the New Covenant Spirit-filled life! (2Co 5:20)
Although God has not given us too much time on earth. He has given us the wonderful opportunity of glorifying Him while here. We will have all eternity to glorify Him, to love and praise Him; but is it not gracious of God to permit us to stay here on earth for a few short years for the sole purpose of His Spiritual life in us, representing Him? Now what about those years? Are you going to make them count for Him?
We are so busy scrambling around and scrounging for the things we want, for the things that feed the ego, the things that we think are important in life! We fight for our place in the world and try to get a little power so we can throw our weight around and dangle people like puppets. But listen! The Word of God says that the only thing that counts for you as a believer; is “redeeming the time,” and the only way to begin to redeem the time is to be filled with the Spirit! Second Corinthians 3 sets forth the glory of the Spirit-filled life.
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men. (2Co 3:2)
Every Christian is a letter that all the world can read — an open letter from God to the human race!
Being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2Co 3:3)
The kind of writing mentioned here is not penned with ink; the writing is God's Thoughts in our heart. It is written with the “Spirit of the living God,” Here is the vital, transforming power in the Christian life; here is grace personified. Here is God the Third Person in you, and in me to produce the Spiritual nature and Thinking of Christ; (1Co 2:16; (2Pe 1:4) and to effect in us the New Covenant way of life. It is impossible in any other way!
Some of you are filled with prejudice and tradition. All your life you have heard, “Don’t do this, don’t do that,” and to you that is the whole scope of the Spiritual life. It is not the picture at all! The answer is “Be filled with the Spirit,” and these things then fall into their proper place and perspective. You don’t have to make an issue of them. The Holy Spirit and Bible Truth take care of them. Then you have real life, real vitality — you have the by-products of the Christian life. When God the Holy Spirit controls the life, there is animation; there are works, and many other wonderful results. You often hear, “Let’s get everybody busy; let’s get everyone in the church working.” Don’t ever put people to work without telling them how to go to work. They must first learn how to be filled with the Spirit; then bona fide production will result.
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. (2Co 3:5)
This refutes the whole concept of tabooism, or any other system of works for Spirituality. We are so prone to think WE did it, or I did it. “I had a revolting habit once, and I dropped it!” I-I-I get the credit. But the Bible says, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider ANYTHING as coming from ourselves.” Now notice: “but our adequacy is of God.” Remember, Jesus Christ is glorified, and at present, He is at the right hand of the Father as the glorified God-Man. His Spiritual life in us represents Him on this earth. (Col 3:1-10) The Father gave us a plan which is given in outline here in, (2Co 3:5) The Christian life is not a “do-it-yourself” project! Our sufficiency, our ability, our power, is of God, and this is grace!
Who also made us adequate as servants of a New Covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, (The Old Covenant condemns the old sin nature self) but the Spirit, (And New Covenant justifies the Spiritual man) gives life. (2Co 3:6)
The word “servants” refers to you, Christian. As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are God’s servant; you are in full-time Christian service. Today it is you who stand in the gap and proclaim, “Come to Jesus Christ and grow to Spiritual maturity.” While Christ was here, He said to humanity, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)
Now, while Jesus is absent, He does not give the invitation personally. He extends it through you! The only way you can say it, the only way you can invite a lost and dying world to Jesus Christ is through the filling of the Spirit and the Teaching of Truth!
Why is it we have so little proclamation of the Word on the part of believers? Because God the Holy Spirit does not control the life. People have not heard of the filling of the Spirit nor how to be filled. They are in bondage to some system of works and are not filled with the Spirit. (How can people do what they do not know how to do?)
“As Spiritually mature believers; we are NOW made adequate servants of the New Covenant, (2Co 3:6) not just servants, but servants WHO CAN DO IT! In other words, we are given the ability to minister by means of God the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament is God’s Word; but we have many Doctrines in the New Covenant Church Age which were never realized in the Old Testament. We need to get oriented. We need to find out what God has for us. We need to find out what the meaning and purpose of our lives is. It’s all here in the New Testament, here for you right now — today!
Every believer is a priest. (1Pe 2:9; Rev 1:6) There was no universal priesthood in the Old Testament. Every New Covenant believer is permanently indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. (1Co 6:19-20) There was no universal indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ; shadows, (Old Covenant) pointing to the Reality. (New Covenant) But after the Reality comes, there is a complete change of plan, and this change of plan involves you as a believer.
“Who also made us adequate as servants of a New Covenant, not of the letter...” The “letter” is the Mosaic Law. This passage is going to show you how the Mosaic Law can be a hindrance to glorifying the Lord. The Law pointed to the Spiritual nature of Christ; the Law has some wonderful functions; it is “holy, righteous and good;” (Rom 7:12) but the Law is not the modus operandi or the way of life for you as a believer. The Mosaic Law will hinder you; it will hold you back. It was a system of freedom for the nation of Israel in the part where the Commandments occur. Apart from that, it is a series of shadows.
“…For the letter kills...” It condemns the old sin nature self! The Mosaic Law slaps us in jail. (Rom 3:9) The Mosaic Law proves that we are sinners and that we need Christ; but the Law cannot give us life or animation or power or stability; nor can it enable us to live the Christian life. Sabbath keeping, shadow worship — all of the activities of the specialized priesthood are out! They are no longer in operation. In our day, through sheer ignorance of the New Covenant, we find many sincere believers still living under the Law. They have ignored the New Covenant Church Age dispensation.
There also seems to be a Truth that many have forgotten: until the canon of Scripture was completed, revelation was progressive. There was much revelation not given in the Old Testament which has now been completed in the New Testament. Now that we have a complete canon of Scripture, (The Bible) all of the progression of Divine revelation is in the Word. The only way to be oriented in our day, the only way to live to honor the Lord is to get the final and complete progression, which is found in Matthew through Revelation. But where are the believers who read or understand the Epistles? Where are the believers who understand the modus operandi of the Christian life? Where are the believers who understand that it is God the Holy Spirit inside the believer who produces, or we do not honor the Lord?
Roland Hill once said, as he watched a child on a rocking horse going back and forth, back and forth: “Oh, this reminds me of so many Christians — so much motion, but not going anywhere.’’ Any believer who operates on his emotions is going nowhere! In the verses which follow, we have a contrast between the Holy Spirit inside and the operation of the Mosaic Law on the outside.
The Contrasts of Glory.
But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was. (2Co 3:7)
This verse says a lot! First of all, the Mosaic Law was glorious. Secondly, Moses, as a result of receiving the Law, was filled with animation: his countenance was changed, and his face was radiant. (Exo 34:33-35) Moses would go up into the mountain; he would talk with the Lord; the Lord would give him the Law, after which his face would shine, and he would be animated and stimulated. He would come down the mountain and stand before the children of Israel, and they could see his face shining brightly. They could hear the animation in his voice as he would give them that section of the Law. Then, as soon as he finished talking to them, he put a veil over his face. The reason for this was that the glory faded out. He did not want the children of Israel to see the fading of the Law. It was a passing glory. It was not a glory that could go on from “glory to glory.” Now, there is a glory that does not fade. There is a glory that gets brighter and brighter. It is the glory of the indwelling Spirit controlling the life.
“How will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? (Literally, ‘be much more glorious’)” (2Co 3:8) If the Mosaic Law was glorious, how much more the glory of the Reality of the the New Covenant; with the Temple of God the Holy Spirit in us! Christ, His Thinking and Spiritual Virtue ruling as a Theocracy in us! (Luk 17:21) Everything in the Mosaic Law was only a shadow pointing to Christ and the Spiritual life; (The Levitical offerings, the Temple, the articles of sacred furniture, the activities of the priesthood, the Feasts, etc.). The Reality has come, and now a Person of the Trinity, a member of the God- head, the Holy Spirit, indwells us to produce a glory in us; the glory of the Person of Jesus Christ! (2Co 3:18)
When God the Holy Spirit controls the Thinking of our life. He produces the very Spiritual life of Christ; and as a result, we have the glory of Christ — unfading glory! Remember, it was Christ who fulfilled the Law. Now we start where the Law left off. We start with the glory that was produced in the life and the nature of Christ. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:4) The love, the joy, the peace and the self-control — OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE “against such there is no Law.” (Gal 5:22-23) Why? Because it is not license; it is not Lawlessness — it is a higher glory!
Do you realize that as an individual believer in Jesus Christ you have a higher glory? You have a glory that will not fade away, that does not need a veil over your face. It is that which is produced by the COMPLETED EDIFICATION COMPLEX; TEMPLE; SPIRITUAL LIFE IN US; BY THE POWER OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT! (1Co 3:10-16) Not only does He produce the Spiritual Virtue of Christ, (Gal 5:22-23) He produces the ability to Spiritually Understand and Think with the Word of God! (1Co 2:10-16) Our Understanding of the Word, our prayer life, our worship, and our witnessing for Jesus Christ depend upon the Holy Spirit’s controlling of our life.
A SUPERNATURAL LIFE DEMANDS A SUPERNATURAL WAY TO LIVE IT!
The tragedy is those people who teach in the flesh, (By the false power of the old sin nature; 1Co 4:20) people who say, “Before you can be saved, you have to give up something!” Or, “You have to repent of your sins”! Listen! God the Holy Spirit gives you the ability to make the issue clear, as you function under the “grace apparatus for perception” (Operation Z — the daily intake of the Mind of Christ in the filling of the Spirit, the transfer by faith into the human spirit, and the cycling up to the right lobe where there is frame of reference from previously learned Truth.) When you talk to people about giving up sin, let me remind you that Christ paid for those sins. The issue is not sin or giving up sins. The issue is receiving the Person of Jesus Christ. If we could get every unsaved person in the world to stop sinning, they would be no closer to heaven! The solution is Jesus Christ. It is a positive solution: “...Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...” (Acts 16:31)
So many people have been led to think that before they can be saved, they must feel sorry for their sins, or that they must promise God they will never sin again. But the Bible says, BELIEVE, BELIEVE, BELIEVE! Our sins were all paid for at the cross. Now it is simply a matter of receiving Christ as Savior through faith not giving up something! You do not give up something that Christ bore on the cross; you take on the solution. “So that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” (John 3:15) We cannot operate for Christ apart from the ministry of the Spirit in and through us.
For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness (After Salvation leading them to Spiritual maturity) abound in glory. (2Co 3:9)
Here is Experiential righteousness that only the Holy Spirit can produce. Here is the result of the filling of the Spirit, and it is marvelous in its scope. Notice that it is not an ecstatic or an emotion — it is a righteousness. The great miracle of our day is the righteousness which the Holy Spirit produces — not the emotional reaction. Many people judge what they call “real preaching” by the emotions it stirs within. Whether I am really preaching or not, is not the point. The point is, is God the Holy Spirit controlling my life, and is He preaching the Word through me? (John 6:63; John 14:24)
This passage is extremely important and very basic. How I would love to see Christian parents take their children as soon as they are saved and begin to teach them these things immediately! Start with the Doctrines, Spiritual Thoughts, and or Principles which give the power for living the Christian life and producing for the Lord. Teach them that only the Holy Spirit can produce the Virtue that counts in the Christian life! (Php 3:3) This is where we begin training up a child in the way he should go. (Prov 22:6) He will know how to execute the do’s and don’ts in the Christian life, and he will have the power to do so. He won’t grow up with the impression that the Christian life is a dreary prison of don’t, don’t, don’t, with no ability to perform it. To realize that the Christian life is an exciting, stimulating experience, that the very Virtue of the wonderful Person of the Lord Jesus Christ is produced in the believer is every child’s prerogative.
For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. (2Co 3:10)
Although the Law has glory, the glory of the ministry of the New Covenant Spiritual life, (To make Spiritually mature Theocracies) so far exceeds the temporary glory of the Law, it is as though the Law has no glory.
For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. (2Co 3:11)
The Mosaic Law has been done away as the procedure of the believer in the New Covenant Age. (Heb 13:20) Although it still teaches the believer many wonderful Doctrines about the Person of Christ by way of typology and illustration, it is not our way of life. It was given specifically to Israel and to no one else. (2Co 3:12-14) “Seeing then, (In view of the glory of the Spirit-filled life) that we have such hope, (The hope-absolute confidence of glorifying God by reaching Spiritual maturity; but notice it is a hope; it is not a REALITY unless you meet the Biblical conditions of the filling of the Spirit and Thinking with Truth; John 4:24) We use...” Elegant speech? Rhetoric? Swelling words which will tickle your ears and cause you to say, “My, he is a wonderful Speaker) No! “We use BOLDNES and PLAINNESS of speech.” This is a very interesting little side light. People often say that a man is a great preacher because of his eloquence or his unusual vocabulary. But the objective is to communicate. In the Old Testament, Divine Thinking was communicated through training aids, such as types, holy days, ritual, offerings, etc. But with the glorification of Christ, Truth must now be communicated apart from types and shadows; it must be accomplished by the Literal, Grammatical, Historical, Etymological, Contextual, Exegetical, Hermeneutical Interpretation of the Word of God! So Paul emphasizes simplicity, (Literally) of speech so that no one will miss this tremendous Doctrine.
The Removal of the Veils.
And are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. (2Co 3:13)
Paul’s function is the exact opposite of Moses! Moses put a veil over his face so the people could not see the fading glory. Paul uses clarity of speech so the glory of the New Covenant Spirit-filled life can be revealed. The veil over Moses’ face was a literal veil; but between, (2Co 3:13-14) there is a quick transition. The discussion of the literal veil which Moses put over his face is illustrative of a veil which the Jews have over their hearts today. Though not a literal veil, it is nevertheless real. As Moses had a veil over his face, so the Jews have a veil over their hearts and or their minds.
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the Old Covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. (2Co 3:14)
Although the Jews still read the Old Testament, they are incapable of comprehending it because of the veil which is over their minds. The veil is their rejection of Jesus Christ. Negative volition produces scar tissue on the left bank of the soul, and this is the reason the Old Testament is unintelligible to them. When grace is rejected, legalism and religion are used in place of REALITY. (Matt 7:21-23) Since the Jews substituted a system of Salvation by works, (Rom 9:30-33; Gal 2:16) the Old Testament is an enigma to them because they have not received Christ as Lord and Savior.
“Because it is removed in Christ.” The veil is removed by a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ; only then can their darkened minds receive the Truth of the Old Testament. By application, anyone can understand the Bible who will believe in Christ, for then he will have the indwelling Holy Spirit to give him light.
But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2Co 3:15-16)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Co 3:17)
“Lord” is “kurios” in the Greek — a title for Deity. The Holy Spirit is God! The One who indwells every believer is just as much God as the Father and Son. He is coequal and coeternal. “Where the Spirit is,” that is, inside every believer, “there is not license but liberty (Freedom).” This does not mean:
Free from the Law, O happy condition,
Sin as you please, for there is remission.
It does mean there is freedom to serve, honor and glorify the Lord. Because the Holy Spirit indwells, there is potential freedom to produce the Virtue and Thinking of Christ, to make your life count! The Law does not give freedom to the sin nature; the Law restricts the POSSIBILITY FOR THE SIN NATURE TO EVERY BE HOLY! (Gal 2:16) But here is perfect freedom. Why? Because we have the means of execution inside us!
I want to emphasize again, nothing good in the Christian life has its source in old sin nature human energy or ability. All Divine Virtue and Thinking in the New Covenant Spiritual life is produced by God the Holy Spirit! (2Co 3:18) If it is produced apart from the filling of the Spirit, it is absolutely USELESS! (1Co 3:16-20) What a shock there will be for some believers when they stand expectantly before the Judgment Seat of Christ, waiting to receive their reward for all the wonderful things they thought they did on earth as Christians! But see what is coming up — truck after truck — and a freight train behind — full of all they did. Then the works are all dumped out, and what is in them? “Wood, hay and straw”! (Human old sin nature thinking and works) What a tragedy it will be to see tons and tons of wood, hay and straw all burn up because they knew nothing about the filling of the Spirit and Truth! If there is any “gold, silver and precious stones’ in your Christian life, it is produced by one means only — God the Holy Spirit! (1Co 3:11-15)
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, (The Virtue and Thinking) from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2Co 3:18)
Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? Have you received Him as your Lord and Savior? Are you born again into the family of God? If so, you are included in this “we.” Every believer today has an “unveiled face.” He has the ability, “in fellowship” to read the Word of God with Spiritual Understanding. (1Co 2:11-13) The blindness and darkness which characterize the unbeliever are lifted upon trusting Christ as Savior, for the Holy Spirit indwells at the moment, to give Spiritual Understanding. “Beholding” describes the believer’s intake of Truth which is based on the filling of the Spirit. Hence, the result of being filled with the Spirit includes learning Bible Truth. (John 14:26; John 16:12-15; (1Co 2:9-14; Jas 1:21-25)
The “glass” or “mirror” is not your emotional pattern, or what you have heard from tradition; it is not a set of taboos, which is a substitute for good, hard Bible study. It is the Word of God. (Jas 1:22-25) You and I, as believers, are “to habitually behold” (Literally). We need to spend time every day in the Word. We cannot get enough! (Prov 2:1-5) We cannot, as some have suggested, get Spiritual indigestion from too much of the Word. If God the Holy Spirit fills your life, you will not get too much. If He does not, you will get indigestion all right, but it will be because you cannot understand what you are reading!
“But we all... Are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory...” What we see in the Bible is the glory of the Lord — the matchless grace of God, as well as His perfect Divine nature. Truth is the Thinking and glory of God! Then follows an amazing thing — WE ARE CHANGED! We are not suddenly or momentarily changed — we are constantly changed. Now what does this mean? The Thinking and Virtue love of God becomes our Thinking and Virtue love! By means of two factors presented in this verse: the filling of the Spirit and Truth in the right lobe. When the Holy Spirit controls the life, when we get into the Word and Think with the Mind of Christ, we are changed! (John 17:17)
How are we changed? “Into the SAME image” the image of the Lord Jesus Christ! There are certain things the Lord did not do when He was here on earth, but not because someone kept saying, “Don’t, don’t, don’t.” He did not do these things in the flesh, (Human nature and thinking; John 12:49; John 14:24) because God the Holy Spirit controlled His life. His life was characterized, not by the working up of emotion or ecstatics, but by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
These characteristics were produced by the Holy Spirit in Him to show believers how that it can be done. And we are changed into the same image by the same means by God the Holy Spirit. The reflected and transient glory of Moses came from the Law; but the perpetual and transparent glory of the Spirit-filled believer comes from Bible Truth and the filling of the Spirit!
...Not by might nor by power, (The old sin nature) but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. (Zec 4:6)