The Spirit of life is the Holy Spirit, because of no other spirit could it be said that such is the Spirit of life.
The residence of the Holy Spirit in Christian hearts is not for the purpose of making them sons of God, but in consequence of their already being so.
Despite this, the continued indwelling of the Spirit is of such vast consequence that true sonship cannot exist without it (Romans 8:9).
Moreover, even the resurrection of the believer at last is dependent upon this same Spirit, as indicated in Romans 8:11.
This verse categorically defines the person who is “in the flesh.”
He is the man, any man, who does not have the Spirit of Christ.
It’s really that simple!
Man, by the very nature of his creation, is free only to the extent of being able to choose between good and evil, between God and Satan.
There are not ten thousand ways, but only two. Jesus called them the narrow way and the broad way (Matthew 7:13,14).
But that glorious right of decision makes all the difference. It is the most priceless endowment of life on earth.
Not even Satan can demur or countermand the soul’s high order to re-enthrone the Christ within!
To every man there openeth A high Way and a low; And every man decideth The way his soul shall go.
The ability to establish an acceptable pattern of behavior in the sight of God is therefore dependent, first of all, upon a person’s decision.
The importance of God’s Spirit in the hearts of Christians is of the very first magnitude, and a more particular attention to what the word of the Lord reveals concerning this truth is appropriate.
THE INDWELLING SPIRIT
Not merely here (Romans 8:9), but throughout the New Testament, the fact of the indwelling Spirit of God is emphasized.
The first promise of the gospel is that believers in Christ who repent and are baptized for the remission of sins shall “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38f), and for this reason he is called “The Holy Spirit of Promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
To the Corinthians, Paul spoke of “the Holy Spirit which is in you” and declared that “the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1 Corinthians 6:19; 3:16), To the Galatians, likewise, he said, “God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts” (Galatians 4:6); and the Saviour himself said of the Holy Spirit to his disciples that “he dwelleth with you, and he shall be in you” (John 14:17).
The degree of impartation of this glorious gift is only a portion but marvelously sufficient.
Paul called this partial infusion of the Holy Spirit “the earnest of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:13,14)
The limited nature of this impartation should ever be remembered.
The Holy Spirit within Christians is not a full measure of prophetic, healing, and discerning power, such as that enjoyed by the apostles of Christ.
No true Christian, by virtue of his possessing the Spirit, should ever consider himself free to discard the sacred scriptures and “feel” his way to glory; and yet one gets the impression that some feel that way about it.
When does one receive the indwelling Spirit?
The Scriptures are very plain with reference to this:
- (1) It occurs “after that ye heard the word of truth” (Ephesians 1:13)
- (2) It comes after people have believed in Christ (Ephesians 1:13)
- (3) the indwelling begins after believers have become sons of God and as a consequence of their being so (Galatians 4:6)
- (4) the blessed Spirit is promised as a gift contingent upon and following the believer’s repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38f)
In the light of these sacred teachings, reference to how the life of the Spirit is achieved.
It is nothing less than being in Christ.
It may be accepted as absolutely certain therefore, that the Holy Spirit never enters a believer for the purpose of making him a son of God, and he, in fact, never enters any person whomsoever except those who decide to serve God and obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Specifically it should be observed that certain things are not said to be the fruit of the Spirit. Such things as miracles, gifts of prophecy, and speaking in tongues are not included.
The Holy Spirit is not a spirit of contradicting the scriptures, nor of noise and confusion, nor of dreams and illusions, nor of strife and sectarianism, nor of pride and envy, nor of unfaithfulness and division.
There are many misconceptions regarding the Holy Spirit in Christians’ lives, perhaps more than with regard to any other major doctrine of the Bible.
Some of these are:
- (1) that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a commandment of God; on the other hand, it is not a commandment at all but a promise.
- (2) that the Holy Spirit is promised to all believers; on the contrary, he is promised to all believers who repent and are baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38f)
- (3) that the Holy Spirit baptism was promised to all Christians; but this promise was to the apostles alone (Luke 24:49:)
- (4) that the Holy Spirit is imparted to make people sinless; yet Peter sinned after he had received even the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- (5) that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a subjective experience within men’s hearts.
- To the contrary, it was a visible and outward manifestation of God’s power, as exemplified by the two New Testament examples of it at Pentecost and at the house of Cornelius.
- (6) that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is followed by speaking in tongues.
- Thile it is true that the apostles did speak in tongues on Pentecost, after the power of the Spirit came upon them, the kind of tongues manifested there was nothing like the incoherent, unintelligible jabberings of the so-called “tongues” affected today.
- (7) that the Holy Spirit must work directly upon an unbeliever before he can obey God; but this is wrong if any other type of work is expected beyond the preaching of God’s word, there being absolutely no New Testament example of any conversion in which the convert did not first hear the word of God preached and then upon believing it, obey it.