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The Spiritual Nature Of Man


The Threefold Nature of Man | Present Truth MinistriesIn this lesson we will examine the spiritual nature of man as we seek to understand the relationship man is capable of having with his Creator.

When we think of the creation, our thought usually focus upon the events in the first two chapters of Genesis. However, sometime prior to the creation of the physical heavens and the earth, God created an entirely different realm.

Paul declared in Colossians 1:16 that through Jesus “all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible.” Two different creations are mentioned in this verse. One is the spiritual (invisible) creation in heaven. The other is the physical (visible) creation on earth.

The angels were a part of God’s spiritual creation in heaven. Nehemiah wrote, “Thou alone art the Lord. Thou hast made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host. . . .” (Nehemiah 9:6). In Psalm 33:6 the psalmist declared that the heavenly host of angels was created by the breath of God’s mouth.

Since “God is spirit” (John 4:24), we can conclude that the angels were created as spirit beings in God’s eternal, spiritual image. Following His spiritual creation of “the heaven of heavens,” God created “the earth and all that is on it” (Nehemiah 9:6). While the heavenly creation is spiritual in nature, the earthly creation is physical. The physical creation consists of the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, and all of the plants and animals which fill our planet.

In contrast to the spiritual creation, which consist of “things which are not seen” and are “eternal” in nature (2 Corinthians 4:18), the physical creation consists of “things which are seen” and are “temporal” in nature.

MAN IS A CREATED BEING

God crowned His physical creation with the creation of man, His unique and preeminent creation. In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” To accomplish His task, “the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground” (Genesis 2:7). Into this marvelous, but lifeless physical body, God “breathed . . . the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

God created man with a temporal, physical body similar to the body of an animal. However, man also has a spiritual aspect to his nature that is common with the angels of God. When God breathed life into the physical body of man, that eternal spark of God’s nature formed the spirit within man. The spirit of man bears the mark of God’s eternal, spiritual image.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that “man became a living being” (or a living soul). Sometimes people speak of man as having a soul, but the Bible declares that man is a living soul. As living souls created in the image of God, humans are eternal spirits temporarily inhabiting physical bodies. While some bodies are male and others are female, we all share the spiritual and eternal nature of God!

Many times the Bible describes man as a two part being, or a dichotomy. For example, in describing physical death, Solomon wrote, “The dust [the physical body] will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

James wrote that “the body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26). It is obvious from these verses that man’s nature consists of an “outer man” (like the animals, temporal in nature), and an “inner man” (like the angels, eternal in nature). It is vitally important that we understand our human nature, because as Christians we must learn to focus our attention “not at the things which are seen” (i.e., the flesh and the things of the flesh), “but at the things which are not seen” (i.e., the spirit and the things of the spirit); “for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).

Those who fail to distinguish between the physical and the spiritual devote their lives to the temporal matters of this world. God warns that all in this world will one day “pass away with a roar” (2 Peter 3:10).

MAN IS A THREEFOLD BEING

While it is true that the Bible usually describes man as a dual being (a two-part being, body and spirit), two New Testament passages describe him as a three-part being. The author of Hebrews declared that the Word of God is so sharp that it can pierce even to the division of the soul and the spirit (Hebrews 4:12). A distinction is also drawn between the soul and the spirit in Paul’s prayer that the Thessalonians’ “spirit and soul and body [might] be preserved complete” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

We have no problem distinguishing between the body and the spirit of man, but we have some difficulty in understanding the difference between the soul and the spirit. Since the soul and the spirit are eternally joined together as the “inward man,” the line between the two is very fine. However, as we have seen, the Word of God is capable of distinguishing between the two. As we see some of the differences between the soul and the spirit, we will more fully understand our own spiritual nature.

Let us notice several things from Genesis 2:7

(1) The physical body of man is the outer shell in which the soul and the spirit (the inner, eternal

man) dwell.

(2) The soul is the real you and me. The Greek word translated soul is psuche. This is the source of our English word “psyche.” The psyche is the thinking part of man, consisting of intellect, emotions, and will. Solomon declared that “as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7). From deep within our souls we choose to live for the outer man (the flesh and the things of the world) or for the inner man (the spirit and the eternal things of God). That basic choice will one day determine where we will spend eternity.

(3) The spirit is the eternal spark of God’s nature which imparts life to the outer body and to the inner soul. The spirit of man is like God’s Spirit in that it is “eternal, immortal, [and] invisible” (1 Timothy 1:17). The spirit of man will be just as much in existence one million years from now as it is today. It will either be with God in His eternal, glorious presence, or it will be separated from God in the eternal darkness of Satan’s kingdom. The focus of all Christianity is upon the spirit and the salvation of man from the eternal darkness of Satan’s kingdom.

MAN LIVES IN A DUAL ENVIRONMENT

As eternal spirits residing in physical bodies, we are in constant contact with two different realms, the physical and the spiritual. Our bodies are surrounded by the material world, making us “world conscious.” The soul is the fountain of all our thoughts, making us “self-conscious.”

The spirit, which sets mankind apart from the animals, gives us the ability to be “Godconscious.” Please note that animals were never given “the breath of God” (cf. Genesis 1:24), so they do not bear the spiritual and eternal image of their Creator as man does.

Paul compared the Christian’s threefold nature to God’s Old Testament temple in 1 Corinthians 3:16. Paul asked the question “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” God’s Holy Spirit at one time resided in the Old Testament temple, but Paul declared that Christians are now the dwelling place of God.

By studying the Old Testament temple, we can more fully appreciate what we have learned thus far in our lesson. The temple was divided into three parts. The outer court was visible to all and could be visited by Jew or Gentile. The Holy Place could be entered only by the priests. Beyond the veil was the Most Holy Place, which was the holy dwelling place of God and could be entered only by the high priest on the Day of Atonement.

The Christian (as the Lord’s New Testament temple) also has three parts to his nature. The body (like the outer court of the temple) is the external part of our nature and is visible to all. Paul exhorts Christians “to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

Within the body resides the soul (our psychological makeup), which includes the intellect, emotions, and will. The Christian has yielded his soul to the Lord in obedience to the great commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). The Christian endeavors to love the Lord with all of his inner, conscious being!

Even deeper than the conscious nature of the soul resides the spirit, which can have contact with the invisible kingdoms of God and Satan. The spirits of Christians have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus and have been united as “one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17). “Christ in you [is] the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

MAN IS A SINFUL BEING

To understand the privilege of being united with Jesus as one spirit, we need to review the history of sin. When Adam was first created, he, like God, was without sin. God placed Adam in a position of authority over the physical creation (Genesis 1:26). In turn, God assumed His position of authority over the man, commanding him not to eat “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and warning him that he would die “in the day” he ate (Genesis 2:15, 17).

As long as man respected this commandment of God, he enjoyed a perfect paradise on earth. His body was not subject to disease or death. His soul was filled with holy thoughts of God. His spirit remained united with his Creator. In the midst of such love and glory, Satan tempted Eve with the question “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). This question directed Eve’s attention to the forbidden tree. Satan applied the pressure of temptation by suggesting that God was depriving her of the wisdom to be like God, “knowing good and evil.”

The woman began to focus the attention of her soul upon the tree as she saw “that the tree was good for food” (an appeal to the lust of the flesh), “that it was a delight to the eyes” (the lust of the eyes), and that it was “desirable to make one wise” (the pride of life). (See Genesis 3:1–6; cf. 1 John 2:16.) Eve’s soul was under satanic attack. Her mind began to contemplate what she could have if she ate of the tree. Emotionally, she became attracted to the forbidden tree. Finally, she yielded her will and made the fatal choice to eat of the forbidden fruit.

Among the trees in the garden, two trees were of vital importance. The tree of life gave man access to life (Genesis 3:22). This tree was a symbol of man’s total dependence upon God. As long as man trusted and obeyed God, he could eat of this tree and live forever. The other tree (the tree of knowledge of good and evil) gave man freedom of will. By eating from this tree, man could choose to trust self and to declare his independence from God’s will. Adam and Eve made that fatal choice. The tragic result was that sin and death entered our world.

God had warned Adam that he would surely die in the day that he ate of the forbidden tree (Genesis 2:17). This is “the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:2). Even though Adam and Eve continued to live physically for hundreds of years after their sin, in the very day they ate of the forbidden tree they died spiritually. Spiritual death is the separation of man’s spirit from God’s Holy Spirit because of sin. Sin contaminates the spirit of man and makes it impossible for God’s Holy Spirit to dwell within man (Isaiah 59:2).

God’s eyes are so holy that He cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13), and His holy nature demands that He separate Himself from all sin. When man’s spirit becomes separated from God’s Spirit of life, he becomes a walking corpse, “dead in . . . trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Such was the condition of Adam and Eve following their sin in the Garden of Eden. They remained physically alive in the world, but they were spiritually dead to God.

All mankind inherits the physical consequences of Adam’s sin (disease, pain, physical death, etc.). However, the spiritual consequences of sin (eternal separation from God) can be experienced only through one’s personal participation in the guilt of sin (cf. Ezekiel 18:20). God’s Word declares that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

MAN WITHOUT CHRIST:

  1. The intellect becomes focused upon “the things of the flesh” (Romans 8:5–8) and “the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
  2. The emotions reflect “an evil, unbelieving heart” (Hebrews 3:12), dominated by the sordid “deeds of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19–21), “indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (Ephesians 2:3).
  3. The will is devoted to self and sin, “doing whatever is right in his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 12:8), and “like sheep . . . gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6).
  4.  The spirit is “dead in trespasses and sins,” indwelt by “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1, 2). It is “separate from Christ, . . . having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

CONCLUSION

The life lived outside of Christ is lived in rebellion to God and is devoted to enjoying “the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). Satan does offer pleasures to those who will live for self and sin, but God warns that such pleasures will pass and the day of accounting will come (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

The important lesson to learn from a study of man’s spiritual nature is that we have been created in such a way that either God or Satan will find a welcome dwelling place within our spirits. Let us set aside lifestyles that serve self and Satan, and allow God to dwell in us.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2021 in Holy Spirit

 

Who Is The Holy Spirit?


the ALPHA course: Week #7: Who Is the Holy Spirit & What ...

Who is the Holy Spirit? Notice that our question is not “What is the Holy Spirit?” but rather “Who is the Holy Spirit?” Some religious people think of the Holy Spirit as a lifeless entity or an inanimate influence, but the Word of God describes Him as a person—a divine member of the Godhead.

HIS DESCRIPTIVE CHARACTERISTICS
In John 14:16 Jesus told His disciples, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” This verse describes the Holy Spirit as a divine Helper, dispatched from heaven to earth for the express purpose of providing eternal companionship to the disciples of Jesus.

Not only did Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit as a “Helper,” but He further described Him as a “Teacher.” In John 14:26 Jesus promised His apostles, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (Emphasis mine.)

A true disciple must depend upon the Spirit’s instruction, help, and strength to live a Christian life to the glory of God. Jesus identified the Holy Spirit as a Teacher and Helper, and He always used the personal pronouns “He” and “Him” in reference to the Spirit.

As our “Helper” and “Teacher,” the Holy Spirit has a mind (Romans 8:27), a will (1 Corinthians 12:11), and emotions (cf. Romans 15:30; Ephesians 4:30). We find that on many occasions He spoke directly to the early disciples. He told the prophets and teachers of Antioch, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Later, the Holy Spirit forbade Paul to speak the Word in Asia (Acts 16:6, 7).

As one with a personality, the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed (Matthew 12:31, 32), lied to (Acts 5:3), grieved (Ephesians 4:30), insulted (Hebrews 10:29), and resisted (Acts 7:51). Such activities only affect people, so we must conclude that the Holy Spirit is more a “person” than a “thing.”

HIS DIVINE NATURE

While the Holy Spirit is a person, He is more than “just a person,” because He shares the characteristics of deity with the Godhead. He is “the eternal Spirit” (Hebrews 9:14), who “searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). He is all-powerful (Luke 1:35; Romans 15:19) and ever-present (Psalm 139:7–10). These are all characteristics of God. When Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, Peter accused him of lying to God Himself (Acts 5:3, 4).

The Holy Spirit is a person of the Godhead, sharing the divine nature with the Father and the Son. The fact that three persons make up the divine nature has caused some to conclude falsely that three distinct Gods make up the Godhead.

While it is true that the Father is fully divine, we are not to conclude that the Son and the Holy Spirit are any less divine. The Son submitted to the Father’s authority in coming to this earth (cf. Philippians 2:5–8), and the Holy Spirit was sent to earth by the authority, or in the name, of Jesus (John 14:26).

Nevertheless, the facts that Jesus submitted to the Father’s will and that the Spirit submitted to Jesus (as suggested by the smaller circles) do not make the Son or the Spirit any less divine in their nature than God the Father. In other words, Jesus was still God as He lived in the flesh (Matthew 1:23), and the Holy Spirit remains God (fully divine in nature) as He does His work on earth (cf. Acts 5:3, 4).

The Father’s authority is greater than the Son’s, and the Son’s is greater than the Spirit’s; yet each person of the Godhead is equally divine in His nature. Each member of the Godhead is equally divine in His nature Their existence and works are so interrelated that they cannot be separated from each other. While three members make up the Godhead and each of these members has assumed unique roles in the past, distinctions must be made between the three (cf. Matthew 3:16, 17; Luke 1:35; John 15:26).

For example, it was Jesus who lived upon this earth as a man and who died upon the cross for our sins. This was His distinctive role. However, as Jesus lived in the flesh, He was in the Father, and the Father was in Him (cf. John 14:10, 11). Jesus referred to the interrelationship He had with His Father by declaring, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

HIS DISTINCTIVE ROLE
The role of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament church is also a distinctive role in that He is the representative of the Godhead in the Christian Age. Such an interrelationship exists between the Spirit and the other two members of the Godhead that Jesus declared that through the indwelling Spirit we would “know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20).

All three members of the Godhead function in perfect harmony to make up the one eternal God. No divine member can separate Himself from the other two members and continue to function as the one true God. Where one member is, the other two members are.

The only exception to this truth is the death of Jesus upon the cross. As Jesus carried our sins to the cross, the Father looked upon His perfect Son as sin itself! At that moment, Jesus, “who knew no sin,” was made “to be sin on our behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The result of that terrible moment in history was that the Father and the Spirit were forced to withdraw their holy presence from Jesus. “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, . . . ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’” (Matthew 27:46). For this one and only time in eternity, a fractured relationship existed between the three members of the Godhead.

CONCLUSION
As we conclude, let us notice some practical lessons which should encourage us all. The fact that the Holy Spirit is a person rather than an impersonal influence should give us a greater appreciation of the interest that all heaven has in our eternal salvation.

The Holy Spirit abides in the Christian. This should be of great encouragement to us in our battle against the spiritual hosts of wickedness. The Holy Spirit’s love for us and His intercession for us in prayer should encourage us to pray with greater frequency and confidence.

The Holy Spirit is given only to those who obey God (Acts 5:32); thus all non-Christians should repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, so that they, too, can receive the Holy Spirit as God’s gift of salvation (Acts 2:38).

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2021 in Holy Spirit

 

The Creation Of the New Man


Among God’s creatures, man is unique. Like the animals of the field, he possesses a physical body; and like the angels of heaven, he has an eternal spirit. Man’s spirit was created for love and fellowship with his Creator, but unforgiven sin erects a spiritual barrier between man’s spirit and God’s Holy Spirit.

Paul described this condition as being “dead in . . .trespasses and sins.” To be dead in sin is to be a slave to “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1, 2; Romans 6:17).

The invisible barrier of sin separating man’s spirit from God’s Holy Spirit may be removed only through the blood of Jesus. Sin is such a serious offense to our holy God that “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). Man’s only hope for salvation must come through “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

THE PREPARATION OF THE HEART

The soul is prepared for cleansing by the blood of Jesus when the Holy Spirit begins to work upon the sinner’s heart through the Word of God. As God’s Word is received “in humility” (James 1:21), the results are powerful: The sinner undergoes a great change of disposition, heart, and spirit! Through His message of truth, the Holy Spirit awakens the sinner to a new faith that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10:17).

His heart is convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8) as he is moved to godly sorrow and sincere repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). This powerful working of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God leads to the decision to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

The Holy Spirit will not come crashing into the sinner’s heart in a miraculous, “better-felt-than-told,” direct operation. He will not create “an irresistible force” to save the sinner against the sinner’s own will. God does not work upon sinful hearts in such forceful and mysterious ways; the devil will have his way with those souls who are waiting for such experiences.

The only contact the unforgiven sinner has with his Creator is through the teachings of God’s Word of Truth. Christianity is a taught religion, and souls must be willing to learn from Jesus (Matthew 11:29). Those who eagerly receive His Word of Truth will allow the Holy Spirit to begin God’s work in their lives, and the morning star of faith will arise in their hearts (2 Peter 1:19).

THE EDUCATION OF THE MIND

The Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). Just as one cannot separate the work of a sword fighter from the effects of his sword, so one cannot separate the Holy Spirit from His Word of Truth. We are warned that, through his lies, he can blind “the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). God knows the influence that Satan and his hosts of evil can have upon our hearts.

He warns, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). For us to rely solely on the feelings and inner impressions of our hearts is to commit spiritual suicide!  The only way we can know if the thoughts of our hearts are true is to test them with God’s Word. God’s Word is the only standard we can trust “to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Let us use it to test the teachings of men and the inner feelings and impressions of our hearts as well (1 John 4:1). How vital it is to our spiritual health that we be sincere and dedicated students of God’s Word!

Differing Views

Before we go deeper into the subject of the Holy Spirit, we need to look at the question of how the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Three popular views are given in answer to that question:

View #1 is that the Holy Spirit works directly, that His work is separate from the Word of God. The danger of this view is obvious. Those who hold it depend heavily upon personal feelings, impulses, impressions, and experiences as the primary basis of guidance and direction from the Holy Spirit. We have already addressed the danger of this misdirected trust.

View #2 is that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian only through the Word of God. This view is based upon the assumption that the Word of INTELLECT,  EMOTIONS, WILL, SOUL, SPIRIT

GOD’S WORD: “the Sword of the Spirit”

(Ephesians 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; Acts 20:20; James 1:21)

Whatever the Holy Spirit accomplishes, He does so through His revealed Word of Truth. The Scriptures listed on the chart at the bottom of this page powerfully illustrate this.

It should be obvious to the sincere Bible student that the Holy Spirit always works in harmony and in conjunction with His Word of Truth.

Just as a sword and the sword fighter function as one during the battle, so the Holy Spirit and the Word of Truth function as one in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:17). This does not mean that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are the same, but it does mean that the Spirit will not accomplish any work in our lives until we are willing to yield our hearts in faith and obedience to God’s message of truth. It also means that faith in Jesus as the Son of God is impossible where the truth of God’s Word has never been proclaimed.

Many people today are trusting God to lead them by their own impulses and feelings. They claim that they are saved because they “can feel it deep within.” Great danger exists in this practice, because Satan—as an evil spirit—also has worked in the minds of those.

ACTIVITY ACCOMPLISHED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT BY THE WORD OF GOD

  1. Convicts of sin John 16:7, 8 Acts 2:37
  2. The new birth John 3:8 1 Peter 1:23–25
  3. Imparts life 2 Corinthians 3:6 James 1:18
  4. Washes 1 Corinthians 6:11 Ephesians 5:26
  5. Sanctifies 2 Thessalonians 2:13 John 17:17
  6. Indwells Christians Romans 8:11 Colossians 3:16
  7. Imparts truth 1 John 5:7 John 17:17
  8. Source of power Romans 15:13 Hebrews 1:3
  9. Salvation Titus 3:5 James 1:21

God dwells in us as a representative of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Those who hold this view believe that the Word of God, not the personal Holy Spirit, dwells in them. At one time I agreed with this idea. Supporters of this view often quote the words of Jesus in John 6:63: “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

Did Jesus mean that His words are literally the Holy Spirit, or was He declaring that His words are the spiritual words of life? Could it be that Jesus was simply teaching that separate from His Word of Truth there is no spiritual life?

View #3 is that the Holy Spirit personally abides in the Christian in conjunction with and alongside the Word of God. The words of Jesus from John 14:23 illustrate this view: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would take up His personal dwelling only within those who love and obey His words. If the Spirit is active in Christians’ lives, we can be assured that the Word of God has been taught and obeyed and that it is respected as the only authority. A careful examination of the Scriptures will lead us to this conclusion.

In the first half of John 6:63 Jesus declared this truth: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; . . .” In other words, where the Spirit of God is personally present, spiritual, eternal life exists. Where He is not present, there is spiritual death. One can memorize the Word of God; but if faith and obedience do not exist in his heart, the Holy Spirit will not be present, and there will be no life.

Divine Promises

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel prophesied regarding the New Covenant of our Lord: “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). This prophecy involved a twofold promise: (1) God first would give His New Covenant people a new spirit. (2) God would put His own Spirit into His children.

Before a sinner can receive the Spirit of God, he must first undergo a change of heart and spirit. This change is brought about through God’s Word as it convicts the sinner of sin and leads him to repentance. During His ministry Jesus told His disciples, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). The Holy Spirit through the living Word of God had changed and renewed the hearts and the spirits of Jesus’ disciples. Their sinful spirits had been melted into penitent attitudes so that they were His willing and submissive disciples. Ezekiel promised a second blessing, the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself. This promise could be given only after Jesus had been glorified (John 7:39).

No divine promise is greater than the promise of Ezekiel 36:26, 27. The living and powerful Word of God creates a penitent and submissive attitude toward Him, thus preparing the disciple’s heart and spirit for the reception of the Holy Spirit Himself. Repentance and baptism into Christ (Galatians 3:27) result in forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

The new creature experiences the new birth of water and the Spirit of which Jesus spoke in John 3:5: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

On the Day of Pentecost “those who had received his [Peter’s] word were baptized” (Acts 2:41). These converts first received the Word, which produced faith in Jesus and a penitent attitude toward sin. Then they were baptized. If the Holy Spirit dwells only through the Word of God, then we are forced to the conclusion that He began to dwell in the people on Pentecost when they received the Word, before they were ever baptized. This is impossible, because “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is promised only to those who repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Peter affirmed that God gives the Holy Spirit “to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). We must conclude that while “receiving the Word” is vital, it is not the same thing as “receiving the Spirit.” The Spirit is the second blessing God promised through Ezekiel.

Divisive Extremes

If we claim to have the Spirit while ignoring the Word, we take an extreme position which rejects the authority of the Word and results in a subjective religion focused upon one’s own feel (Ephesians 1:3). Water baptism is the only means through which the sinner may come “into Christ” (Galatians 3:27) and enjoy the spiritual blessings in Him.

New Testament baptism must be by immersion. Paul declared that we “have been buried with Him [Jesus] through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). To be “buried . . . through baptism” and “raised . . . [to] walk in newness of life,” one must be immersed.

Any other definition of baptism, such as sprinkling or pouring, does not fit the symbol Paul taught, but is a tradition of men. In Romans 6:17, 18, Paul expressed his thanks to God that these brethren had been “obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which [they] were committed, and having been freed from sin, [they] became slaves of righteousness.”

The “teaching” Paul was referring to in verse 17 was his gospel message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Romans obeyed a “form” (or pattern) of this teaching by being buried by baptism into His death to be raised to walk in newness of life. At that point they were “freed from sin” and became “slaves of righteousness.”

Deliverance from sin involves two major problems: Our sins need to be forgiven, and the old nature of sin must be conquered. Through baptism into the death of Jesus (Romans 6:3), the sinner shows his trust in the power of Jesus to take care of both problems. He trusts Jesus’ blood to wash away his sins (Acts 22:16), and he trusts God’s power to break Satan’s stronghold over his life and free him from sin (Romans 6:7).

Paul wrote that through Jesus’ death, “our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with” (Romans 6:6). The message of the gospel is that when Jesus died, He nailed our old sinful selves to the cross so that Satan’s rule in our lives could be broken: “For sin shall not be master over you” (Romans 6:14).

God has dealt with the twofold dilemma of our sin through Jesus’ death. His blood frees us from our sins, and His death frees us from our bondage to self and sin. In baptism we enter the death of Jesus to be raised to a new life of faith, “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

On the other hand, if we claim to have the Word only and not the personal Spirit Himself, we contradict many passages which teach that the Holy Spirit dwells in the child of God. Unity in the brotherhood is possible even though we may not understand how the Spirit dwells in us. We must all agree that the Holy Spirit does work powerfully in the lives of those who have been saved! With that basic faith, let us “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), as we continue to study God’s Word, trusting it to lead us to sound doctrinal conclusions on this important subject.

THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL

The teachings of God’s Word, received into a humble heart, create a spiritual awakening within the sinner. As the sinner opens his heart to God’s Word, he comes to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He is convicted of the sin in his life, and he makes a decision to repent and to be baptized, trusting only the blood of Jesus to wash away his sins. At this point, though the sinner has faith in Jesus and is penitent of his sins, the barrier of sin which separates him from God has yet to be dissolved. That spiritual barrier may be removed only as he is baptized in water for the forgiveness of his sins. The Holy Spirit clearly ties the initial forgiveness of our sins to water baptism. Jesus shed His blood “for forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Baptism is also “for the forgiveness of . . . sins” (Acts 2:38). How can this be true? Paul answered that question for us.

In Romans 1:16 he wrote, “The gospel, . . . is the power of God for salvation.” In 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, he defined the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He further taught that God’s wrath will one day be poured out upon “those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). This raises a puzzling question. If the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, how does one obey such a message? Paul answered that question in Romans 6 as he discussed water baptism. In verse 3 he asked, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” Paul declared that water baptism is “into Christ Jesus.”

All spiritual blessings, including salvation from sin (2 Timothy 3:15), are found in Christ Jesus

CONCLUSION

If you have never been buried with your Lord by baptism into His death, it is vitally important that you do so immediately! Through repentance and baptism, God will forgive your sins and give you the gift of His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 5:32). Many false teachers advocate that baptism is not necessary for forgiveness of sins, but the New Testament teaches the opposite.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2021 in Holy Spirit

 

Many (!) lessons dealing with subject of Holy Spirit


Lesson Title Journal Name
Chapter 5 – Who Is the Holy Spirit? “Becoming a Faithful Christian”
If We Must Be Led By the Spirit To Be Saved, How Can We Be Guided By the Holy Spirit Today? “Contemporary Religious Questions”
Great Teachings of the Bible – How the Holy Spirit Converts “Great Teachings of the Bible”
What Does the Bible Teach About the Holy Spirit? “What Does the Bible Teach?”
What Christians Believe About the Holy Spirit Basic Beliefs
What the Holy Spirit Does for a Christian – Ephesians 1:11-14 Ephesians
Don’t Grieve the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 4:29-32 Ephesians
The Work of the Holy Spirit – John 16:5-15 John
The Promise of the Holy Spirit – John 7:37-40 John
The Holy Spirit, 1 – John 16 John
The Holy Spirit, 2 – John 16:7-14 John
The Holy Spirit’s Comfort John
The Conviction The Holy Spirit Brings John
The Holy Spirit’s Guidance John
Who, on Earth, Is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
The Emblems of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
Being Filled with the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
Baptism with the Holy Spirit and with Fire The Holy Spirit
Why Study the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit
Who Is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian Today The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit and Tongues The Holy Spirit
Who Is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit
Jesus’ Teaching About the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit and Revelation The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit in Conversion The Holy Spirit
Baptism in the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
Gifts of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
Miracles and the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
Tongue-Speaking and the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit and Christians The Holy Spirit
How Does the New Testament Refer to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit
 
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Posted by on August 23, 2021 in Holy Spirit

 

Why Study The Holy Spirit?


Holy Spirit Wallpapers (60+ images)

Of all the subjects to study from the Word of God, the Holy Spirit is one of the most important and one of the most difficult. We cannot  visualize Him. Most of us have some mental image of Jesus as a man. Likewise, when we think of the Father, some picture probably comes to mind; but how are we to visualize the Holy Spirit? Our inability to conjure up a mental image of the Holy Spirit makes it difficult for us to study this subject. Why study the Holy Spirit?

First, a study of the Holy Spirit will help us to understand our own spiritual nature. The Bible teaches that we have been created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). Since God is spirit (John 4:24), and since we have been created in His image, we are spiritual beings. As spiritual beings, the only way we can understand our own spiritual nature is by coming to understand something about the Holy Spirit of our God.

Second, a study of the Holy Spirit will help us to know God Himself. In John 17:3 Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” We come to know God only as we grow in our understanding of His Holy Spirit. Studying the Holy Spirit is essential in coming to know  Jesus, that we may have eternal life through Him.

Third, a study of the Holy Spirit is vital to living the Christian life. In Romans 8 Paul discussed the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s children. He declared that the Spirit dwells within those “who are in Christ Jesus,” setting us “free from the law of sin and of death” and imparting “life to [our] mortal bodies” (vv. 1, 2, 11). Through the presence of the Spirit we are empowered to put “to death the deeds of the body” (v. 13), and to call upon God as “Abba! Father!” (vv. 14–17).

When we pray, the Holy Spirit functions as an intercessor, searching our hearts and communicating to the Father “with groanings too deep for words” (v. 26). The Holy Spirit plays all of these vital roles in the hearts of God’s children as He helps them to lead victorious lives in Jesus.

Fourth, our study of the Holy Spirit will help us to avoid doctrinal error. Our study is further complicated by the prevalent misinformation and misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit. Some sincere, religious people attribute any emotional experience to the workings of the Holy Spirit.

Some believe the Holy Spirit has to operate mysteriously upon one’s heart before he can be saved and become a child of God. Others think of the Holy Spirit as an impersonal influence (such as electricity) without any personal attributes or characteristics. With confusion so rampant in the religious world, it is no surprise that many Christians  have avoided the subject of the Holy Spirit!

The fact that the King James Version, in its translation, refers to this third member of the Godhead as the “Holy Ghost” may add to the confusion of some Bible students.

CONCLUSION
Avoiding the subject of the Holy Spirit is not the answer to our confusion. Neglecting what the Word of God says on any topic will leave us open to vicious satanic attacks. Satan relies upon people’s ignorance to lead them into all kinds of false teachings, superstitions, and sinful practices.

To battle the darkness of Satan’s kingdom, Christians must rely upon the light of God’s Word (Psalm 119:105). Equipped with the Word, Christians can study the subject of the Holy Spirit with the prayerful attitude of the psalmist: “O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling places” (Psalm 43:3).

Let us enter our study with this same humble attitude as we search God’s Word for understanding concerning His Holy Spirit. With the eternal light of God’s truth, we will carefully examine the false doctrines, superstitions, and subjective experiences of religious people.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2021 in Holy Spirit

 
 
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