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Doctrine of God the Holy Spirit

January 16, 2011

Doctrine of God the Holy Spirit
3rd Person of the Trinity
In theology, God the Holy Spirit is identified as the 3rd Person of the Trinity. The word “Trinity” describes God as being one in essence but three coequal, co-infinite, and coeternal Persons. Who are these three Persons? They are God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is in union with each other and all have the same divine nature with specific attributes or characteristics, which can be described. Each member of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is a separate person who possesses these divine attributes individually. There is no member of the Trinity who is lower in rank to another member. Each member of the Trinity has a specific purpose related to the plan of God. The Bible teaches us that each member of the Trinity has their own specific role that is not shared by the others.
God the Father’s role in the Trinity is as the source and planner of all things. God the Son’s role in the Trinity is to carry out the plan of God. God the Holy Spirit reveals the Father’s plan and provides the power to carry it out. Why is it important to understand the doctrine of the Trinity? We must understand the doctrine of the Trinity in order to have a mature relationship with God. Our understanding of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ will be determined by our view of the Trinity. We will be inaccurate in our view as to how to live the Christian life if we do not have an accurate understanding of God the Holy Spirit’s role in the plan of God. We will be inaccurate when praying if we don’t understand the role of each member of the Trinity. We are not able to worship God accurately and are not able to be spiritual if we don’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity. God’s plan demands accuracy in our doctrine. For example: There is only one-way to be saved. Faith alone in Christ alone. There is only one person of the Trinity who we are to believe on in order to be saved. The Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one person of the Trinity who provides us with the power to live the Christian life. The power of God the Holy Spirit. There is only one person of the Trinity we are to pray to. God the Father. Therefore, it is very important that we are accurate in our understanding of the Trinity.
Now, the term “Trinity” is not found in the Scriptures. If this is the case, how do we know that the Bible teaches that God is three Persons but one in essence? The Trinity is clearly taught throughout the Bible when we combine all passages that are related to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible doesn’t always state in one single passage a complex doctrine, especially the Trinity. Remember, we are talking about God who is infinite, we are finite. But God does expect us to understand all that He has revealed about Himself in the Bible. Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, BUT THE THINGS REVEALED BELONG TO US AND TO OUR SONS FOREVER, that we may observe all the doctrines of this law.” If this is the case, then how are we suppose to understand God who is infinite when we are finite?
We can understand what God has revealed about Himself through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit who is our true teacher. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, “For to us (Church Age bels) God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God.” John 16:13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes
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(Pentecost), He (God the Holy Spirit) will guide you into all the truth (doctrine); for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
We can also understand what God has revealed about Himself and accept spiritual truth by means of faith. There are three ways of thinking in which human beings understand things: (1) Experience (2) Human reason (3) Faith.
Faith is the only system of thinking that we can’t take credit for. Experience and human reason relies upon us, but faith relies upon another. We can only understand the infinite spiritual things of God through faith. We have to trust another.
The Trinity is taught in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Remember, that God is three persons who are equal to each other. This is taught in: Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel. The Lord is our God, the LORD IS ONE. The fact that God is three persons is clearly taught in the OT. Isaiah 48:16, “Come (Israel) near to Me, listen to this: from the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God (God the Father) has sent Me (the Lord Jesus Christ), and His Spirit (God the Holy Spirit).” The Hebrew word for God is Elohim, which is a plural word, is not singular. This tells us that God is more than one person. Genesis 1:1, “Elohim created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:26a, “Then Elohim said, ‘Let US make man in OUR image.” The OT uses another Hebrew word for God and that is Jehovah or Yahweh. Devout Jews never pronounced the word because they consider it sacred. They only use four letters JHWH that is called a Tetragrammaton, which means, “four letters.”
Jehovah or Yahweh is the doubling of the verb to be in the Hebrew; therefore, it means “absolute existence.” Generally, Elohim is used the most in the OT when referring to the Trinity and sometimes Jehovah is used. There are other times where both words are used together (Jehovah Elohim) and it is translated, “Lord God.”
Genesis 3:22, “Then the LORD GOD (Jehovah Elohim) said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of US, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” Here, we see the Trinity having a meeting amongst themselves and deciding to kick Adam out of the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 11:7, “come, let US go down and there confuse their (the human race) language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” Here, we have the Trinity discussing among themselves the decision to create many different languages at the tower of Babel.
Isaiah 6:8, “Then I (Isaiah) heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for US? Then I said, ‘Here am I, Send me (Isaiah).” Here, we have the prophet Isaiah recording for us, the Trinity asking amongst themselves, who they should send to warn Israel and Isaiah volunteers. In each of these passages, God is said to be making a decision.
Now, all God’s decisions are made an in an instant. Actually, the Trinity does not have discussions or meetings like human beings would. Why? They already knew in an instant, way back in eternity past what would happen and what they would do. God is omniscient, “all knowing”, therefore, He already has all the facts. His knowledge is eternal and infinite. Each of these passages is using language that we can understand so that we might come to some understanding about the Trinity. God who is infinite and eternal has to stoop down and accommodate our finite minds so that we can understand something about Himself. We are too stupid otherwise.
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The Bible uses passages such as Genesis 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8 to show that there are three “personalities” within the Trinity.
Now, that we know that God is made up of three co-equal, co-eternal and co-infinite Persons, what are they like? What are their characteristics or attributes? If someone went up and asked you, “what is God like?” What would you say? This leads us to the point that God has an essence, which each member of the Trinity equally possesses. What does essence mean? Essence is the nature of a person, what that person is like. God’s essence is made up of attributes. Each member of the Trinity has the same attributes as the other. Therefore, God has one essence. God is three Persons who have the same essence. This brings out the “oneness” of God.
We can only understand God’s essence through His attributes. What are those attributes? Sovereignty: God is the supreme ruler of the universe, He is the King. The sovereignty of God the Father is revealed in Matthew 6:10 when the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The sovereignty of God the Son is found in Matthew 28:18, “‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” God the Holy Spirit’s sovereignty is taught in 1 Corinthians 12:11, “But one and the same spirit works all these things, distributing to each one (Church Age bel) individually just as He (God the Holy Spirit) wills.”
Righteousness: God is perfect holiness, He is sinless. The Lord Jesus Christ declares the Father’s righteousness in John 17:25, “O Righteous Father.” The apostle John writes of the Lord Jesus Christ’s righteousness in 1 John 2:1, “Jesus Christ the righteous.” The name “Holy” itself describes the perfect righteousness of the Spirit.
Justice: God is always perfectly fair, His decisions are perfect. The apostle Paul writes about the Lord Jesus Christ satisfying the justice of God the Father when He died for the sins of the world on the cross. Romans 3:24-26, “being justified as a gift by His (God the Father) grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom (the Lord Jesus Christ) God (God the Father) displayed publicly as a propitiation (“mercy seat”) in His (the Lord Jesus Christ) blood through faith. This (the cross) was to demonstrate His (God the Father’s) righteousness, because in the forbearance of God (God the Father) He (God the Father) passed over the sins previously committed (OT dispensations); for the demonstration, I say, of His (God the Father) righteousness at the present time, that He (God the Father) might be JUST and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Paul writes to Timothy concerning the Son’s justice in 2 Timothy 4:8. God the Holy Spirit’s justice is spoken about in John 16:8-11.
Love: God’s love for us never changes, there are no strings attached. Both the Father and the Son loved us so much that Christ died on the cross for us. Romans 5:8, “But God (the Father) demonstrates His own LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:5b speaks of the love of the Spirit, “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the HOLY SPIRIT who was given to us.”
Eternal life: He is self existing, He has no beginning and no end. The eternal life of both the Father and the Son is written about in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word (the Lord Jesus Christ), and the Word was with God (God the Father), and the Word was God.” The writer of Hebrews 9:14 describes God the Holy Spirit as “eternal.”
Omniscience: God is all knowing, He has perfect knowledge of everything. The Father knows everything even before you ask Him. Matthew 6:8, “Therefore do not be like them (the unbelievers); for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.” The
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omniscience of the Lord Jesus Christ is written about in John 18:4 and 2:25. God the Holy Spirit is described in Isaiah 11:2 as a Spirit of “knowledge.”
Omnipresence: God is everywhere present. God the Father’s omnipresence is written about in Ephesians 4:6, “One God and Father of all who (God the Father) is over all and through all and in all.” The Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples before His ascension into heaven that He would be with them “always” even to the end of the age. David writes in Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Of where can I flee from Thy presence?”
Omnipotence: God is all-powerful, nothing is impossible with God. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks of the Father’s omnipotence in Mark 14:36a, “Abba. Father. All things are possible for Thee.” Colossians 1:16-17 talks about the omnipotence of the Son, “For by Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created by Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) and for Him. And He (the Lord Jesus Christ) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” The apostle Paul writes to the Romans concerning the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
Immutability: God never changes, you can’t improve on perfection. God’s faithfulness comes from His immutability. James writes concerning the Father that there is “no variation, or shifting shadow” (Jam. 1:17). Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” God the Holy Spirit’s faithfulness is found in John 14:16, “And I (the Lord Jesus Christ) will ask the Father, and He (God the Father) will give you another Helper, that He (God the Holy Spirit) may be with you forever.”
Veracity: God is absolute truth, He cannot lie. The Lord Jesus Christ declares the veracity of the Father in John 7:28, “He (God the Father) who sent Me is TRUE.” The Lord Jesus Christ says of Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the TRUTH, and the life.” 1 John 5:7 says, “And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the TRUTH.”
The attributes of God NEVER operate independently of each other, but act in total harmony with each other. The Trinity is three Persons who are separate and distinct from each other, and who act in total harmony to each other. They are never in opposition to each other. God is three distinct Personalities in One.
Each member has a different function or role in relation to the plan of God. God the Father devised the plan. God the Son executes or carries out that plan. God the Holy Spirit reveals that plan.
Now, many times in the Bible it appears that the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit are lower in rank to God the Father because they are showing obedience to the Father’s will. This does not mean that God the Holy Spirit or the Lord Jesus Christ are not equal to the Father, but rather, it is designed to show us how the members of the Trinity operate in relation to the Plan. For instance in Hebrews 10:7, “Then I (the Lord Jesus Christ) said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the roll of the book [OT] it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God (God the Father).'” This passage shows us how the Lord Jesus Christ in His deity was in agreement with God the Father’s plan and that He “willingly” became a human being in order to carry out that plan. What was the Plan? The Plan was for the Lord Jesus Christ to go to the Cross and die for the sins of the world so that salvation would be provided for mankind and to provide a resolution to the Angelic Conflict.
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Passages such as Hebrews 10:7 show how each member of the Trinity has a different role in the Plan of God. Each member of the Trinity is in agreement with that plan. The members of the Trinity are not in competition with each other. The Lord Jesus Christ shows obedience to God the Father’s plan by executing it and going to the cross (John 4:34). God the Holy Spirit shows obedience to the plan by revealing it (John 16:8). God came up with a plan for mankind way back in eternity past, before anything was ever created.
God always knew about that Plan. God has revealed that Plan to us through revelation in the Bible. God has revealed His plan for mankind in a form that man could understand, i.e., through human words. God has stooped down to accommodate our finite minds so that we can understand what that Plan is. God uses human language to communicate that Plan to human beings.
The Plan for mankind is called in theology the “divine decree.” Psalm 148:6b, “He has made a decree which will not pass away.” What is in the decree? The creation of man. Man would be capable of understanding and loving God while having a perfect relationship with Him. Man would have a free will to decide between God’s Plan or Satan’s. Omniscient God knew that man would use that free will to disobey Him. Man’s sin would result in spiritual death or separation from God. Man’s sin and resulting spiritual death would not bring to an end God’s plan. God would provide a plan of salvation to save mankind and restore them to fellowship with Himself.
Now, God’s plan of salvation for man is based solely upon GRACE. God’s policy towards mankind is always GRACE. What is grace? Grace is God accomplishing all the work for man’s salvation. In Grace, God’s gets ALL the credit while man receives the benefits. God does all the work and man can do nothing for himself, but has to rely solely upon God for salvation. Man can only exercise his free will to make a non-meritorious decision to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Non-meritorious means that man can’t take credit for believing.
God’s plan has 3 three parts: (1) Salvation: God the Father sent GTS into the world to provide for our salvation by means of the virgin birth (John 3:16). This took place when God the Holy Spirit put the seed in Mary’s womb so that a human body could be provided for the Second Person of the Trinity (Luke 1:35). The virgin birth resulted in the union of both God and perfect man in one Person forever, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only member of the human race to pay the penalty for man’s sin. The Lord Jesus Christ carried out God the Father’s plan for man’s salvation (John 8:29; Heb. 10:9). God the Holy Spirit sustained the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth (Matt. 12:18; Luke 4:1, 14, 18; John 3:34). The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit enabled the Lord Jesus Christ to hang on the cross while being judged for the sins of the whole world (Heb. 9:14). When the Lord Jesus Christ said in John 19:30, “It is finished,” He was speaking of man’s salvation. You receive salvation and eternal life by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 20:31; Acts 16:31). (2) The Christian way of life: The only way we can live the Christian life after salvation is through Divine Omnipotence and Bible Doctrine in our souls. God’s purpose is to bless us in time not just in eternity (Eph. 1:3). We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). We receive the power to live the Christian life when we Rebound, which is naming and citing your sins to God (1 John 1:9; 1 Cor. 11:31). When we rebound we are now filled with the Spirit which we are commanded to do in Ephesians 5:18. We grow spiritually when we perceive, metabolize and apply Bible Doctrine and utilize God’s power, which He has already provided. (3) Eternity: There are great blessings, which we will receive when we die and go to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
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and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” Because we have finite minds it is hard for us to understand how wonderful these blessings will be. We will never have to suffer again when we are in eternity. Revelation 21:4b, “There shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” There will only be great happiness and joy for us in eternity.
“How does infinite, eternal God describe the Trinity to finite human minds?” The only way we are able to understand truth about the Trinity is if God uses human language to accommodate us. God must stoop down to our level in order to communicate truth about Himself. God uses what are called “anthropopathisms” and “anthropomorphisms” in order to do this. An anthropopathism is ascribing human feelings and emotions to God in order to explain God’s policies, actions and decisions in terms that human beings can understand. An anthropomorphism is ascribing parts of the human body to God in order to explain how God operates.
Now, God the Holy Spirit uses the term “Father” which draws from human experience to describe the First Person of the Trinity’s relationship to the Second. As human beings we understand about father and son relationships. They are apart of our human experience. The Bible calls believers Sons of God, which again speaks of how close of a relationship that believers have with the Father. Believers are apart of God’s Royal Family. The names “Son” and “Holy Spirit” speak of the roles of the other members of the Trinity in the Godhead.
God the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. God the Holy Spirit is a Person not a thing (John 15:26; 16:7; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2). The Holy Spirit is the unseen power of God. He reveals the Plan of God on earth and is the agent for executing the Christian way of life. The Titles of God the Holy Spirit: (1) “Spirit of holiness” (Rom. 1:4) (2) “Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2) (3) “Spirit of knowledge” (Isa. 11:2) (4) “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17).
Titles related to God the Father: (1) “Spirit of God” (2) “Spirit of our God” (Gen. 1:2; Matt. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:11) (3) “Spirit of your Father” (Matt. 10:20).
Titles related to God the Son: (1) “Spirit of Christ” (2) “Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 8:9; Phil. 1:19) (3) “Spirit of His Son” (Gal. 4:6) (4) “Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 5:9).
These titles do speak of an attribute because an attribute would not be designated by a personal pronoun such as “He,” “Him,” and “His.” God the Holy Spirit is a separate and distinct Person in the Godhead. He is called “Lord” in 2 Cor. 3:17 just as God the Father and God the Son are. The Holy Spirit has the attributes of personality: (1) Intellect (1 C. 2:10-13; R. 8:27). (2) Emotion (Eph. 4:30; He. 10:29; Ja. 4:5). (3) Will (1 C. 12:11; Acts 16:6-11). (4) He has a mind, and therefore He thinks, searches and teaches.
God the Holy Spirit restored the earth after the judgment and destruction of the original creation (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; Psa. 104:30). The judgment of Satan and the fallen angels was the reason for the destruction of the earth. The earth was in chaos after the judgment of Satan and the fallen angels. God the Holy Spirit restrains sin in the world today so that the earth won’t return to that former chaos (1 Thess. 2:6-7).
The Spirit performs the actions of personality: (1) Teaches (Jo. 14:26; 16:13-15). (2) Testifies or bears witness (Jo. 15:26). (3) Guides and Leads (R. 8:14). (4) Performs miracles (Acts 8:39). (5) Convinces (Jo. 16:7-8). (6) Restrains (Ge. 6:3; 2 Th. 2:6-7). (7) Commands (Acts 8:29). (8) Intercedes in prayer (R. 8:26). (9) He receives ascriptions of personality. (10) He can be obeyed (Acts 16:6-7). (11) He can be lied to (Acts 5:3). (12) He can be resisted (Acts 7:51).
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(13) He can be blasphemed (Mt. 12:31). (14) He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30). (15) He can be insulted (He. 10:29).
God the Holy Spirit acts as a human spirit so that a spiritually dead person can understand Gospel information (2 Cor. 2:14b). This is called “common grace” and is extended to all of mankind. God the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit at the moment of salvation. This is called “efficacious grace”. God the Holy Spirit makes faith “effective” for salvation (Eph. 2:8). God the Holy Spirit ministry to believers. God the Holy Spirit is the divine author of the Word of God (2 Pet. 1:20-21). God the Holy Spirit teaches the believer through the Word of God (John 14:26; 15:26). God the Holy Spirit converts gnosis knowledge (Eph. 3:19) into full knowledge of epignosis (Eph. 4:13; 2 Pet. 1:8). We cannot live the Christian life without epignosis knowledge. God the Holy Spirit provides for us the unlimited spiritual IQ that we need so that our finite minds can understand the infinite wisdom of God.
God the Holy Spirit accomplishes 4 supernatural works for the believer in the Church Age: (1) “The Baptism of the Spirit” places us in union with Christ making each Church Age believer a member of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 2:9). (2) “The Indwelling of the Spirit” makes the believers body a temple for the indwelling of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Shekinah Glory (Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16). (3) “The Sealing of the Spirit” guarantees the believers eternal security (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). (4) A “Spiritual gift” is given to each believer in order that they may function in the body of Christ and therefore, build it up (1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:11). These 4 blessings for the Church Age believer were given so that they may glorify Christ (John 16:14; Gal. 5:22-23).
The church age believer is totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit in order to attain Christ-likeness and as a result execute the plan of God (Ga. 5:5, 16; Eph. 3; 16-17). He is the believer’s true teacher (John. 14:16-20, 26; 15:26; 16:7-16; 1 Co. 2:10-16; 2 Co. 13:14; Ga. 5:5, 16-25; Eph. 3:16-19; 5:18; 1 Jo. 2:20-27). The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to produce Christ-like character in the believer (Ga. 5:22-23; Phlp. 2:13). He takes the Word and empowers, guides and directs the believer in the process of executing the Father’s plan (Acts 8:29; Rm. 8:14, 26; Phlp. 3:3; 2 Per. 1:21; cf. Heb. 4:12). He calls attention sin in the life of the believer by taking the Word of God and using it to convict him (2 Ti. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12; cf. Jo. 16:7-11; 1 Co. 2:10-16; Eph. 4:30; 1 Th. 5:19). Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the Member of the Trinity Who reveals whether the believer is living in accordance with the doctrines of Christ or not (Jo. 16:7-16; Rm. 8:14).
God the Holy Spirit performs the following post-salvation functions on behalf of the believer: (1) Empowers the believer to execute the plan of God (Jo. 14:16, 26; Ga. 5:16, 25; Eph. 5:18; Phlp. 1:6; 2:13). (2) Reproduces Christ-like character in the believer (Ga. 4:19; 5:5, 16-23). (3) Teaches the believer the doctrines of Christ (Jo. 14:26; 1 Co. 2:10-16; 1 Jo. 2:20, 27). (4) Convicts the believer of sin (Jo. 16:7-11; Rm. 8:4-14; Eph. 4:30; 1 Th. 5:18). (5) Leads the believer in worshipping the Father (Jo. 4:24; Phlp. 3:3; Rm. 8:4-13). (6) Promotes spiritual maturity (Ga. 5:1-5; He. 5:11-6:6). (7) Restrains sin in the world (2 Th. 2:6-7). (8) Regenerates to new life (Tit. 3:5). (9) Applies truth to the believer’s experience (Jo. 14:26; Rm. 8:16; Eph. 6:18). (10) Gives power to the believer’s prayer life (Jo. 15:7; Eph. 6:18; Jude 20). (11) Promotes worship of God (Jo. 4:23-24; Eph. 5:18-21; Phlp. 3:3; Is. 59:1-2). (12) Gives capacity, burden and direction for witnessing (Ac. 1:8; 1 Th. 1:5). (13) Gives capacity for ministry (1 Co. 1:12-14). (14) Provides fellowship for the believer (2 Co. 13:14; Phlp. 2:1).
7 Salvation Ministries of God the Holy Spirit:
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1. Efficacious Grace: Makes faith in Jesus Christ effective for salvation (2 Cor. 6:1-2; Eph. 2:8-9).
2. Regeneration: Creates a human spirit for the purpose of the imputation of eternal life (John 3:1-16; Titus 3:5).
3. Baptism of the Spirit: Places every believer in union with Jesus Christ (John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5; 1 Pet. 3:21).
4. Indwelling: Creates a temple for the indwelling of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16).
5. Filling: Controls the soul of the believer and is the means of executing the Protocol Plan of God (Eph. 5:18).
6. Sealing: Puts His stamp on the believer to guarantee their salvation (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
7. Distribution of Spiritual Gifts: Gives every believer a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:4-11).
4 Ministries given to the believer to glorify Christ (John 16:14; Gal. 5:22-23):
1. The Baptism of the Spirit places us in union with Christ making each CA believer a member of the Body of Christ & a member of the Royal Family of God (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 2:9).
2. The Indwelling of the Spirit makes the believers body a temple for the indwelling of TLJC, the Shekinah Glory (Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16).
3. The Sealing of the Spirit guarantees the believers eternal security (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
4. A Spiritual gift is given to each believer in order that they may function in the body of Christ and therefore, build it up (1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:11).
God the Holy Spirit’s Role in Man’s Salvation:
1. Common Grace: Makes the gospel understandable (John 16:7-11; 2 Cor. 2:14b).
2. Regeneration: Creates a human spirit at the moment of salvation (John 3:1-16).
3. Efficacious Grace: Makes the believer’s faith in Christ effective for salvation (2 Cor. 6:2; Eph. 2:8-9).
God the Holy Spirit’s Post-Salvation Ministry to Believers:
1. Empowers the believer to execute the plan of God (Jo. 14:16, 26; Ga. 5:16, 25; Eph. 5:18; Phlp. 1:6; 2:13).
2. Reproduces Christ-like character in the believer (Ga. 4:19; 5:5, 16-23).
3. Teaches the believer the doctrines of Christ (Jo. 14:26; 1 Co. 2:10-16; 1 Jo. 2:20, 27).
4. Convicts the believer of sin (Jo. 16:7-11; Rm. 8:4-14; Eph. 4:30; 1 Th. 5:18).
5. Leads the believer in worshipping the Father (Jo. 4:24; Phlp. 3:3; Rm. 8:4-13).
6. Promotes spiritual maturity (Ga. 5:1-5; He. 5:11-6:6).
7. Restrains sin in the world (2 Th. 2:6-7).
8. Regenerates to new life (Tit. 3:5).
9. Applies truth to the believer’s experience (Jo. 14:26; Rm. 8:16; Eph. 6:18).
10. Gives power to the believer’s prayer life (Jo. 15:7; Eph. 6:18; Jude 20).
11. Promotes worship of God (Jo. 4:23-24; Eph. 5:18-21; Phlp. 3:3; Is. 59:1-2).
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12. Gives capacity, burden and direction for witnessing (Ac. 1:8; 1 Th. 1:5).
13. Gives capacity for ministry (1 Co. 1:12-14).
14. Provides fellowship for the believer (2 Co. 13:14; Phlp. 2:1).
Common Grace
Common Grace is grace that the entire human receives when God the Holy Spirit makes the Gospel message, which is a spiritual language, understandable to the spiritually dead unbeliever in order that they can make a decision to believe in Christ or reject Him for salvation.
Common Grace is given to everyone in the human race. Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared (the Lord Jesus Christ), bringing salvation to all men.”
The entire human race is born spiritually dead because of Adam’s sin. Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and spiritual death spread through sin, and so spiritual death spread to all men, because all sinned when Adam sinned.” Therefore, God the Father had to send His Son to the Cross for everyone because He made everyone a sinner at physical birth through the imputation of Adam’s sin.
John 3:17, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world (Christ would die in their place), but that the world should be saved through Him (faith alone in Christ alone).”
Imputation is crediting something to someone’s account. God wants everyone to be saved. 1 Timothy 2:4, “God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (Bible Doctrine, the mind of Christ).” Not everyone will be saved because God in His perfect integrity has provided everyone with a free will or volition. You have to make the decision to believe in Jesus Christ, God cannot make the decision for you. People go to the Lake of Fire because they made the decision to go. God didn’t want them in the Lake of Fire; He wants them all in heaven. God didn’t make us robots. You have to make a decision.
The Call of God is simply God’s offer of salvation through faith in Christ. God makes the offer through the presentation of the Gospel. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it (the Gospel) is the power of God for salvation to everyone (anyone can believe in Christ) who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The Gospel is a spiritual message in a spiritual language. God the Holy Spirit translates it for the spiritually dead unbeliever so that they can make a decision for or against Christ. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died for every sin ever committed in the human race-past, present and future and that by believing in Him you can have eternal life.
John 3:18, “He who believes in Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) is not judged. He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the uniquely born Son of God.” John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see eternal life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Acts 16:30-31, “And after he brought them out, he said (the Philippian jailer), ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said (Paul and Silas), ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you (believe) and your household (believe).'”
There is only 1 way to get saved. Faith alone in Christ alone. There is no other person through whom you can get saved. Our ticket to heaven is through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 4:10-12, “let it be known to all of you (rulers of the Jews), and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead (what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good)-by this name this
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man stands before you in good health. He is the ‘stone which was rejected’ by you (the rulers of the Jews), ‘the builders,’ but which became the very corner stone (the most important).’ And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
Our Lord is the only perfect Person who ever lived. He never once committed a mental, verbal or overt sin (John 8:46a; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5). The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Person Whom God the Father will accept. He is the only human being that God the Father was “well-pleased” with (Matt. 17:5; Luke 3:22). He is the only righteous or holy person who ever lived (1 John 2:1). God the Father was not only satisfied with the perfect Person of our Lord but also with His Saving Work on the Cross on our behalf. 1 John 2:2, “And He Himself (the Lord Jesus Christ) is the PROPITIATION for our (personal) sins; and not for ours only (believers), but also for those of the WHOLE WORLD (unlimited atonement).”
Propitiation is a big word used to describe the fact that God the Father is totally satisfied with saving work of our Lord on the Cross. This saving work was for everyone, the whole world. Therefore, because God the Father is totally and completely satisfied with the perfect Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father will accept anyone who has faith in Him. We are saved because of 1 Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. God doesn’t save us because we are nice people. We don’t go to heaven because of anything that we did. We go to heaven because of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. That is grace.
Grace means that we don’t earn or deserve salvation. Grace means that God did all the work and receives all the credit for our salvation. Our part is to believe which is non-meritorious meaning that we have no merit before God.
Efficacious Grace
Efficacious Grace is one of the 40 Things that a believer receives at the moment they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ when God the Holy Spirit makes a person’s faith in Christ effective for salvation.
When a person hears the Gospel message, God the Holy Spirit makes it understandable, which is called Common Grace. He has to make it understandable to the unbeliever because the Gospel is a spiritual message but the unbeliever is spiritually dead. He needs help to understand the things of God. The Gospel is spiritualese. The unbeliever needs a Translator. Once the Holy Spirit translates the Gospel for the unbeliever like an interpreter of a foreign language. The unbeliever then has to make a decision once he understands what he has heard. God has given everyone a soul and in that soul he has placed a volition or free will. The free will or volition is the light switch in your soul. The person who believes in Christ for salvation flicks on the light switch and now walks in the light while the person who doesn’t believe in Christ remains in the darkness. If a person makes the decision to believe in Christ that person is not saved yet… I repeat they are not saved yet… God the Holy Spirit has to do 1 more thing, which is our subject… God the Holy Spirit has to make a person’s faith in Christ effective for salvation. This is called Efficacious Grace.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2, “And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain-for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation (the day that you believed in Christ) I (God the Holy Spirit) helped you,’ behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation.'”
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Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved in the past completely, through the instrumentality of the Faith (in Christ), with the present result that you are in a state of salvation which goes on forever, and this (the grace & the faith) is not of yourselves, it (the grace & the faith) is the gift of God; not as a result of human works, that no one should boast (before God)” (corrected translation).
A person’s faith in Christ does not save them until God the Holy Spirit does something with that person’s faith. Efficacious Grace is a big word for when the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit takes a spiritually dead person’s faith in Christ for salvation and makes it effective or valid for salvation.
The best way to describe efficacious grace is through the drowning man analogy. A person who is drowning cries out for help, don’t they? Of course, they do. A drowning person cries out for help because they are helpless. A drowning person cries out to another person for help because they cannot save themselves. A person’s faith in Christ is like a drowning person’s cry for help. A person’s faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is a cry to God for help. God the Holy Spirit hears the person’s decision to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation and then proceeds to save that person like a lifeguard who saves a person from drowning… A person is not saved from drowning until the lifeguard pulls them out of the water. In the same way, a person is not saved until God the Holy Spirit makes a person’s faith in Christ effective for salvation. A drowning man is not saved by simply crying out for help and neither is a person saved by simply having faith in Christ. Someone has to hear and then pull a drowning man out of the water to be saved, right? Well, God the Holy Spirit has to hear our faith in Christ and then He has to save us. God the Holy Spirit is our spiritual lifeguard Who makes our faith in Christ effective for salvation. We are saved from drowning in the Lake of Fire forever and ever when God the Holy Spirit, our spiritual lifeguard takes our cry for help, faith alone in Christ alone and makes it effective for salvation which is analogous to being pulled out of the water.
Regeneration
Regeneration takes place at the moment of salvation when the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit in the believer in order that they may receive the imputation of eternal life enabling the believer to live with God forever. It is 1 of the 40 things that the believer receives at salvation.
Regeneration is our spiritual birth. It is a theological word for being born-again. Every person born into this world that has human life is born spiritually dead. Every baby that is born into this world is physically alive but spiritually dead. Every baby that is born into this world receives the imputation of Adam’s original sin in the garden making them spiritually dead. When Adam sinned, the entire human race sinned (Rom. 5:12). God imputed Adam’s sin to every person born into the world in order that He might show grace and mercy to everyone (Rom. 11:32).
So that when a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ when they hear the Gospel communicated to them, God creates a human spirit in them in order that they may become spiritually alive. When you become born-again or regenerated, you have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life. Our human spirit enables us to understand the things of God (1 Cor. 2:10-14). Unbelievers can’t understand the things of God because they don’t have this human spirit. Only the believer in fellowship with God can understand the things of God. When we are born-again we also receive the imputation of eternal life. Eternal life enables the believer to live with God forever.
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Eternal life has no beginning and no end and is the life of God. So when we become born-again, we have the life of God, which enables us to live with Him forever and ever. No one can have a relationship with God without being born-again or regenerated.
Regeneration is a part of God’s grace policy directed toward us. Grace means that we don’t earn or deserve to be born again. It is a gift from God. We can’t take credit for the fact that we have been born again since it is entirely the work of the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit. Regeneration or being born again is our entrance into the Plan of God and a fantastic life full of blessing.
There are several passages that support this doctrine.
John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him (Faith alone in Christ alone), to them He (God) gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name (His Person), who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh (old sin nature), nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 3:1-8, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night, and said to Him (the Lord Jesus Christ), ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water (Acceptance of the Gospel message) and the Spirit (God the Holy Spirit in Common Grace making the Gospel understandable and then making the person’s faith effective for salvation in Efficacious Grace), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh (old sin nature) is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (human spirit). Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going, so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Titus 3:5, “He (God the Holy Spirit) saved us, not on the basis of deeds (human works) which we have done in (human power) righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
1 Peter 1:3, “Worthy of praise and glorification is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His great mercy (grace in action) has caused us to be born again to a living confidence through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
1 Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable (the old sin nature passed down from your human father) but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.”
1 John 5:1, “Whoever believes that Jesus (emphasizing His humanity) is the Christ (the Messiah, the Savior of the world) is born of God.”
Eternal life is the life of God, and has no beginning and no end. The imputation of eternal life is a real imputation and all imputations of life are real imputations. A real imputation has a home or target. The human spirit that God the Holy Spirit created at the moment of faith in Christ is the home or target for the imputation of eternal life. God the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit at the moment of salvation. Just as God prepared the soul as the target or home for human life, so also He prepares the human spirit as the target or home for eternal life. Both, the soul and the human spirit were created by an act of God. Both, the soul and the human spirit cannot be destroyed. The imputation of human life to the soul is unchangeable and forever. The imputation of eternal
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life to the human spirit is also unchangeable and forever. Both of these imputations are permanent. God cannot undo what He Himself has done. No life, whether human or eternal, can ever be separated from the home or target to which it is imputed. There is 2 requirements must be met if we are to have an eternal relationship with God, and both are imputed at the moment of salvation: (1) We must have His righteousness. (2) We must have His life. Ever since we believed in Christ, we possess 2 kinds of life. We will live forever with God because we have His life, eternal life. Without eternal life we would not have the capacity for blessing in eternity. Eternal life is God’s life and is an attribute of His Divine Essence.
Eternal life guarantees: (1) We will live with God forever. (2) We will receive a resurrection body. Eternal life is like a treasure chest. There are blessings for time in this treasure chest. God gave us eternal life so that we can withdraw from the treasure chest of blessings in time. Eternal life was imputed to us so that we can enjoy blessings. We receive these blessings by growing to spiritual maturity through positive volition to Bible Doctrine.
Romans 5:17, “For if by the transgression of the one (Adam’s original sin), the (spiritual) death ruled through that one (Adam-and it did), much more (a fortiori principle) they who receive in life this surplus from the grace of God (the blessings of time to the spiritually mature believer) and the gift of the righteousness of God (imputed at salvation), much more they shall rule through the One, Jesus Christ.”
Baptism of the Spirit
During the dispensation of the church age when a person exercises faith alone in Christ alone, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit places that person in a eternal union with Christ, thus identifying the believer positionally with Christ in His death and resurrection. This results in making the believer a permanent member of the royal family of god, a new spiritual species and eternally secure (Mark 16:16; John 7:37-39; 14:20; Acts 1:5; 2:1-4; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-28; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:11-13; 1 Pet. 3:21).
Vocabulary: Bapto (verb): “to dip, to dye, to stain, to wet, to moisten”; Baptizo (verb): “to put or place into something, to identify”; Baptisma (noun): “identification”; Baptismos (noun): “the ritual washing of cups, utensils, bowls.”
Bapto is seldom found in the NT but is found extensively in Classical and Hellenistic writings. Homer, Aeschylus, Euripides, Aristotle, Sophocles, Euripides, Epictectus, Aristophanes, all used the verb bapto. It is used 16 times in the LXX and is found once in Luke 16:24, twice in John 13:26, and once in Revelation 19:13. It has many diverse meanings and usages during the Classical and Hellenistic periods. Bapto is never used to put an object into a fluid to remain there permanently or for an unlimited amount of time. Nor is it used to draw up anything out of a liquid, which it had not first put into it. There are 2 categorical usages from which there are several modifications. Primary and Secondary usages: (1) Primary usage: “to dip.” Bapto in its primary usage expresses a sharply defined action. It demands a movement, which carries its object momentarily, within a fluid element. Examples:“if any one should dip into wax” (Aristotle, On the Soul, 3.12) and “He dipped a vessel into water” (Constantine, Epigr of Hermolaus). From this primary
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usage, bapto can mean, “to wet, to moisten, to wash, to plunge.” In the 9th book of the Odyssey, Homer uses the word to compare the hissing sound of Cyclops punctured eye with the sound cold water makes when a blacksmith plunges (bapto) a red hot iron into it (Od. 9, 392). (1) Secondary usage: “to dye” Examples: “When it drops upon the garments they are dyed” (Hippocrates). Bapto in its secondary usage expresses a condition or quality of color to be secured. Bapto in its secondary usage demands a condition, which is met by flowing, pouring, or sprinkling. From this secondary usage, bapto can mean, “to stain, to smear, to paint, to temper, to impregnate, to make gold or inlay with gold.” In the 9th book of the Odyssey, Homer uses the word to compare the hissing sound of Cyclops punctured eye with the sound cold water makes when a blacksmith plunges (bapto) a red hot iron into it (Od. 9, 392).
Out of bapto’s secondary usage grew baptizo. Homer, Aristotle, Plutarch, Polybius, Epictectus, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Strabo, Josephus and Philo all used baptizo. It is only found 4 times in the LXX and many times in the NT. Baptizo has many diverse meanings and usages in the Classical and Hellenistic periods.
Baptizo’s primary usage can also be called its literal usage and its secondary usage can also be called its metaphorical or figurative usage. Baptizo is the intensified form of bapto. The suffix -izo introduces a causative notion to bapto. Baptizo refers to that which literally “causes a thoroughly complete change of condition or permanent change of condition.” The literal usage refers to an object’s thoroughly changed condition that has been brought about by the object being introduced into some new circumstance. Baptizo in its primary or literal usage refers to placing an object in any fluid that could change the object’s condition without respect to time. After the object’s condition has been changed, the enveloping fluid has no further power to effect additional change on the object. In the literal or physical sense baptizo refers to that which is destructive for persons and for things and this is why it is not found in classical writings of ritual bathes.
Literal usage: “to immerse, to plunge, to submerge, to wash, to make clean by dipping in water, to bath oneself, to drown, to perish, to sink a ship, to sink in the mud.” Example 1: “We all, therefore, changed our position to the higher parts of the ship, so that we might raise up the baptized part of the ship” (Achilles Tatius 3.1). Example 2: “Alexander, falling upon the stormy season, and trusting, commonly, to fortune, pressed on before the flood went out, and through the entire day the army marched baptized up to the waist” (Strabo, 14.3.9). Baptizo developed a secondary or metaphorical usage from this primary or literal usage. In its secondary or metaphorical usage, baptizo referred to being placed into an element that could effect a thoroughly changed or permanently changed condition without regard to time. It refers to a condition that results from baptism and to the cause of that condition, regardless of the way in which the condition is affected. Metaphorical usage: “to overwhelm, to inflict great and abounding calamities on someone, to be overwhelmed with faults, desires, sicknesses, magical arts, to sink into sleep, intoxication, impotence, to flood a city with crowds, to be soaked in wine, to be over one’s head and ears in debt, to be in
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deep water, i.e., trouble, to draw wine by dipping a cup in a bowl.”
Paul took the metaphorical or figurative usage of baptizo and developed yet another usage, which is identification. When Paul uses baptizo in relation to the Baptism of the Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:13 and Eph. 4:5, he is talking about “the act of identifying one thing with another resulting in a permanent change of condition.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines the verb identify, “to cause to be or become identical, to conceive as united (as in spirit, outlook, or principle).” Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the noun identification, “a process by which a person ascribes to himself the qualities or characteristics of another person.” Baptizo is found in 1 Cor. 12:13 and Eph. 4:5 and means “to be placed in eternal union with Christ by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation resulting in permanent change of condition.” The Greek author and soldier, Xenophon in his work Anabasis describes a ritual identification used by Greek and barbarian soldiers before going into battle when they placed (baptizo) the points of their swords and spears in a bowl of blood, which symbolized or represented the blood of their enemy.
There are 2 identifications in the NT as related to baptizo: (1) Ritual (2) Real. Ritual identification is the act of immersing or submerging oneself in water in the ritualistic sense such as Pre-Canon Christian water baptism, Baptism of Jesus, Baptism of John. Real identification is the act of identifying one thing with another as in the Baptism of the Spirit, Baptism of Moses, Baptism of Fire, Baptism of the Cross. Depending upon the context of the passage then, baptizo can refer to a ritual identification or real identification. The passages which speak of the Baptism of the Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:13 and Eph. 4:5 speak of real identification.
Not found in classical writings or the LXX. and is unique to the NT, baptisma meant “the identification of one thing with another resulting in a change” It was used for both real and ritual identification. Used with reference to John’s Baptism (Mark 1:4; 11:30; Luke 3:3; 7:29; 20:4; Acts 1:22; 10:37; 13:24; 18:25; 19:3-4). Used with reference to the Baptism of the Cross (Mark 10:38-39). Used with reference to Retroactive Positional Truth (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12). Used with reference to the Baptism of the Spirit (Eph. 4:5; 1 Pet. 3:21). It was used for both real and ritual identification.
There are 7 Baptisms in the Word of God: (1) Baptism of John (2) Baptism of Jesus (3) Christian Water Baptism in the Pre-Canon Period of the Church Age (4) Baptism of Moses (5) Baptism of the Cross (6) Baptism of Fire (7) Baptism of the Spirit. There are 3 ritual identifications in the Bible: (1) Baptism of John (2) Baptism of Jesus (3) Christian Water Baptism. There are 4 real identifications in the Bible: (1) Baptism of Moses (2) Baptism of the Cross (3) Baptism of Fire (4) Baptism of the Spirit.
Ritual baptisms use water as a teaching tool to picture by ritual a real identification. The first ritual identification is the Baptism of John (Matt. 3:1-10; John 1:25-33). Water represented the kingdom of God. Believer was submerged (usually
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Jordan River). Identified with the kingdom through their faith in Christ. Coming out of the water was a picture of resurrection. Identified with the King forever in a resurrection body.
The second ritual identification is the Baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:13-17). Jesus told John the Baptist to baptize Him. This baptism represented our Lord’s identification with the Father’s plan, will, and purpose for His next 3 years. John submerging the Lord under the water of the Jordan River indicated our Lord’s Positive Volition to the Father’s plan for the next 3 yrs. When the Lord came out of the water that was a picture of resurrection.
The third ritual identification is Christian Baptism. Water baptism of the believer in the Pre-Canon Period of NT (Acts 8:36-38; 16:33). Used to teach the Baptism of the Sprit before the canon of Scripture was completed. Ritual for the Pre-Canon period of Church Age until the Canon was completed in 96 A.D. Ritual water baptism ended along with all “temporary” spiritual gifts in 96 A.D. 2 Rituals ordained for the Pre-Canon Period of Church Age: (1) The Lord’s table (2) Water Baptism.
Believers submerged under water indicating identification with Christ in His death and burial (Retroactive Positional Truth: we look back at the Lord’s death and burial). Coming out of the water meant the believer was identified with Christ in His Resurrection, Ascension and Session (Current Positional Truth: believer is “currently” seated at the right hand of Father with Christ.) It represented that you are a: (1) New Spiritual Species. (2) Member of the Royal Family of God. (3) Member of the body of Christ.
Real Baptisms are actual identifications. The Baptism of Moses (1 Cor. 10:2): 2 Million Jews were identified with Moses. No one got wet except the Egyptians. Moses identified himself with the Lord.
The Baptism of the Cup or the Cross (Mark 10:38-39) refers to the identification of our sins with Christ. The Baptism of Fire (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16) refers to: All unbelievers who survive the Tribulation are identified with fire at 2nd Advent. They are put into the Fire of Torments. This is a real identification with fire. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5; 1 Pet. 3:21): (1) A real identification. (2) Invisible.
God the Holy Spirit places the Church Age believer in union with Christ at the moment of salvation resulting in a permanent change of condition for the believer. The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit performs the action. One of 7 Salvation Ministries of God the Holy Spirit at salvation. Connects the Hypostatic Union with the Church Age. Forms the Royal Family of God. Creates a New Spiritual Species. First occurred on the day of Pentecost 30 A.D. in fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy.
Prophesy of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33): God the Father tells John the Baptist that the Lord Jesus Christ will be responsible for the Baptism of the Spirit (John 1:33). John the Baptist places a clear distinction between water baptism and the Baptism of the Spirit (Mark 1:8; Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16). The Baptism of the Spirit is for believers and the Baptism of Fire is for the unbeliever (Luke 3:16). Prophesy
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of our Lord (John 7:37-39): The Baptism of the Spirit is described as “rivers of living water” (John 7:38), The Baptism of the Spirit had not yet taken place when our Lord made this prophesy (John 7:39), The reception of the Baptism of the Spirit is contingent upon believing in Christ (John 7:38), The giving of the Spirit was contingent upon our Lord’s glorification (John 7:39).
The last day of the great feast refers to the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, which lasted 8 days (Lev. 23:36), and was considered the climax to the Feast. Seven days symbolized Israel’s wandering the desert and the 8th day was a solemn day of rest depicting the eternal state of the believer in Christ. There was a ceremony during the 8th day in which water was drawn from the Pool of Siloam and then poured out, commemorating God’s provision for Israel in the desert. Our Lord was interpreting the meaning of this ceremony, which depicted the Baptism of the Spirit. The phrase “from His innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” refers to the soul of the believer who receives eternal life (John 4:14; 1 Cor. 10:4). “Shall flow” is the Greek verb rheo, “to gush, overflow,” and was used in the ancient world of gushing or overflowing rivers. Our Lord uses it figuratively of the soul of the believer who has received eternal life.
John 14:16: Our Lord promises to the send the Spirit for the 1st time in the Upper Room Discourse. Our Lord promises the disciples that He will send them “another” (allon) “Helper” (parakletos) to assist them while in the devil’s world. Parakletos means “one who is called or sent for to assist another.” God the Holy Spirit would act in this capacity for believers during the Church Age dispensation. John 14:20: In that day refers to the Day of Pentecost when the apostles would be placed in union with Christ by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit. “You in Me” is our Lord’s prophesy concerning the Baptism of the Spirit, which is something they had never read in the Scriptures before because it was never known to Old Testament saints. It is exclusive to the Church Age. The phrase “in Me” (en emoi) is a locative of sphere meaning that the apostles will be in the sphere of Christ as a dot within a circle. John 14:26: God the Father sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in the name of our Lord. At that time it was still future to our Lord’s thinking. God the Holy Spirit is our True Teacher of Bible Doctrine. God the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance all that our Lord said during this night before He was to go to the Cross. The phrase “in My Name” refers to the fact God the Holy Spirit is our Lord’s officially designated representative to the Church. John 14:16 states that the Father sent the Spirit because the Son asked Him. God the Holy Spirit would instruct the Church. God the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance all that our Lord had spoken to them.
Acts 1:5: Our Lord distinguishes water baptism and the baptism of the Spirit. This prophecy took place on the day of our Lord’s Ascension and Session. Not many days turned out to be 10 days. Ten days after our Lord’s Ascension, the Baptism of the Spirit
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took place and the Church Age began. Luke states in Acts 1:3 that our Lord appeared to His disciples over a period of 40 days. Pentecost means 50th and designated among the Jews the 50th day after Passover. Our Lord was crucified on the Passover, rose 3 days later, ascended into heaven on the 40th day after Passover and then sent the Spirit 10 days later on Pentecost. The Baptism of the Spirit could not take place until our Lord was glorified which was about to take place after He finished saying these things to His apostles. Our Lord had to go away.
Acts 1:8: Our Lord repeats His promise to the apostles of sending them the Holy Spirit. Our Lord gives the apostles the promise of a Person (God the Holy Spirit), a power (the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit) and a program (missionary activity to the Jews, the Samaritans and the entire world). Throughout the dispensation of the Church believers would have available to them 100% divine power to execute the Plan of God. The Baptism of the Spirit makes this possible.
The Baptism of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost in June of 30 A.D. was a fulfillment of the prophecies made by John the Baptist and our Lord during the Church Age. The Baptism of the Spirit also took place among the Gentiles as well as the Jews as is recorded by Luke in Acts 10:34-38, 19:1-7, thus making it universal in scope in the Church Age (Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:13). Pentecost means 50th and was the 2nd national festival in Israel and took place 50 days after the Passover Sabbath (Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:25-21; Num. 28:26-31; Deut. 16:9-12). It was designated the Feast of Weeks which celebrated the wheat harvest in Israel and was a one day feast of celebration. It was originally the festival of the first fruits of the grain harvest (Ex. 23:16; Lev. 23:17-22; Num. 28:26-31). It was called the Feast of Weeks because it came after a period of 7 weeks of harvesting that began with the offering of the first barley sheaf during the Passover celebration and ended with the wheat harvest.
Pentecost took place 50 days after the Feasts of First fruits, which spoke of our Lord’s resurrection. It was celebrated in Israel as the anniversary of the giving of the Mosaic Law at Mount Sinai in 1441 B.C., which was the beginning of the dispensation of the Law. The dispensation of grace began on the Day of Pentecost 30 A.D. with the Baptism of the Spirit. So God is setting a contrast between the Law and Grace. Pentecost was looked upon in Judaism as one of the three great pilgrim festivals in Judaism along with Passover preceding it and Tabernacles some 4 months later. Because it was a great festival in Israel, there were many pilgrims from around the Roman Empire in Jerusalem at this time who spoke many different languages.
Fire (Acts 2:1-4): Luke states that the tongues were like fire, which would be of great significance to Jew in the 1st century. Fire in the Old Testament was a symbol of God’s presence in Israel. The Lord spoke to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:2-5), the pillar of fire guided Israel by night through the wilderness (Ex. 13:21), the consuming fire on Mount Sinai (Ex. 24:17) and the fire that hovered over the wilderness Tabernacle (Ex. 40:38). Luke states the Baptism of the Spirit was like tongues of fire,
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or as tongues of fire, which denotes the fact that it wasn’t fire or tongues or some ecstatic experience. The word translated as in the New American Standard is the comparative particle hosei, which means “as,” or “like.” The sign of the fire was for the benefit of the disciples to give them the confidence that the Lord was indeed present among them and to speak the Gospel boldly. Filling of the Spirit vs. Baptism of the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4): “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit” refers to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which our Lord promised in Acts 1:5, 8 and John the Baptist prophesied in Mark 1:8. This was not the Filling of the Spirit which is commanded of the believer in Eph. 5:18. The Filling of the Spirit can be lost through personal sin which when we name and cite to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, restores us to fellowship. The Filling of the Spirit has to do with the believer’s fellowship with God in time. The Baptism of the Spirit speaks of our eternal union and identification with Christ. The Baptism of the Spirit is permanent and cannot be lost due to the personal sins of the believer, which have already been paid for at the Cross.
The Baptism of the Spirit is unique to the Church Age. The Baptism of the Spirit never took place before the day of Pentecost in June of 30 A.D. and will not take place after the Rapture. The completion of the Royal Family of God at the Rapture will mark the end of the Baptism of the Spirit. The Baptism of the Spirit distinguishes the Church Age from other dispensations. There was no Church before the Baptism of the Spirit.
The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Ephesians 4:5 states dogmatically that there is only 1 Baptism. Both passages teach that there is 1 Spirit, God the Holy Spirit and therefore, only 1 Baptism. 1 Corinthians 1:10-17: Paul in 1 Cor. 1:10-17 addresses the problem of divisions in the Corinthian church and he specifically mentions water baptism. Some believers made water baptism an issue, which resulted in divisions among believers in the church of Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10). He asks them the rhetorical question, “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Cor. 1:13). Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 that water baptism was a non-essential and he emphasizes the fact that Christ sent him to preach the Gospel and not to baptize with water (1 Cor. 1:17). The apostle emphasizes the importance of having the same mind, which refers to being unified in their doctrine (1 Cor. 1:10). The Corinthians were occupied with non-essentials such as tongues and water baptism and not with Bible Doctrine, which is the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). They place more emphasis on people than on God. They were occupied with people and not with God.
The Corinthians were involved in creature credit and not Creator credit. There is one Baptism (Ephesians 4:3-6): This passage teaches the unity there is among the members of the Trinity and that there is unity among believers as a result of the Baptism of the Spirit. Believers are not united experientially because of Negative Volition towards Bible Doctrine, but there is unity in the Church because of what God the Holy Spirit has done for every believer at the moment of salvation. All believers are unified through the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit at salvation when He places every Church Age believer in union with Christ. Verse 4 states that there is 1 Body, the Body of Christ, and all Church Age believers in Christ. 1 Spirit, God the Holy Spirit.
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There is only 1 Hope or confident expectation of the Rapture. Verse 5 states that there is only 1 Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ There is only 1 Faith or Doctrine, the Christian faith, Bible doctrine. There is only 1 Baptism, the Baptism of the Spirit, that which is performed by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit, thus destroying the idea that water baptism is responsible for the believers eternal union with Christ. Lastly, there is only 1 Father, God the Father, thus destroying the blasphemous statement that there is a universal fatherhood of God. The Father is the Originator or the Author of the plan of God and the Baptism of the Spirit.
This passage dogmatically states that there is 1 Spirit, God the Holy Spirit and therefore, only 1 Baptism. The only Baptism that God recognizes is that which He performs for God only deals with members of the human race through His policy of grace. Grace excludes all human works. Grace is God doing all the work for man and man reaping the benefits by appropriating it through faith.
The Instrumental of Personal Agency: The 1st half of verse 13 identifies the sole Person responsible for the Baptism of the Spirit. The exegesis of 1 Corinthians 12:13 begins with the post-positive conjunction gar plus the conjunction kai. These two words when used together have an emphatic usage and are used to make a point of doctrine. They are used here to introduce and emphasize the mechanics for forming the body of Christ mentioned in the preceding verse. Kai gar should be translated “in fact,” or “point of doctrine.” It introduces an emphatic statement, which dogmatically excludes water baptism.
Next, we have the preposition en plus the instrumental of personal agency pneumati, “Spirit,” preceded by the cardinal number heni. Pneumati, which is from the noun pneuma and refers to God the Holy Spirit. The cardinal number heni, which is from heis and means “one.” The preposition en with the instrumental of personal agency should be translated, “by means of one Person, God the Holy Spirit.” God the Holy Spirit is the personal agency used to form the Body of Christ. The instrumental of personal agency of pneuma says that a Divine Person is responsible for the formation of the Body of Christ. The instrumental of personal agency totally excludes and rejects human works of any kind. The instrumental of personal agency along with the cardinal number hen states that the only baptism of value in the plan of God is that which is performed by God the Holy Spirit.
Water baptism is rejected by God because it has no spiritual value. It is merely a ritual designed to teach believers a spiritual reality or Truth. Some of the Corinthian believers were boasting over the fact that they were baptized by Peter and some Apollos, but Paul says here that there is only 1Person that they need to be concerned with and that is God the Holy Spirit. A member of the Godhead, the 3rd Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit performs the Baptism of the Spirit and not a member of the human race. “In fact, by means of one Person, God the Holy Spirit”
Union with Christ: Then, we have then nominative 1st person plural personal pronoun hemeis, “we,” plus the adjective pantes which is from pas, “all” and then ebaptisthemen, which is the aorist passive indicative from baptizo, “to be placed into an eternal union with Christ resulting in identification with Him.”
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Ebaptisthemen here means, “to identify a person with another person resulting in a change of condition or state of the person that is acted upon.” Ebaptisthemen refers here to the act of God the Holy Spirit placing the Church Age believer in union with the Unique Person of Christ at the moment of salvation resulting in the believer’s identification with Christ. This union is eternal in nature. This eternal union results in a change of condition in the believer. He or she is now a New Spiritual Species. He or she is now a member of the Royal Family of God. The believer is now a son of God (Gal. 3:26). The personal pronoun hemeis refers to every Church Age believer including Paul. The adjective pantes is a reference to all believers throughout the Church Age. Pantes refers here to anyone who has believed in Jesus Christ for salvation in the Church Age regardless of social, racial, sexual or economic status. Pantes refutes those who are dividing the church at Corinth over water baptism. All Church Age believers are beneficiaries of the Baptism of the Spirit. Thus, there is unity among believers by what God the Holy Spirit has done and not what believers do. “In fact, by means of one Person, God the Holy Spirit, we were all placed.”
One Body: The passive voice of the verb states that all born again believers in the Church are acted upon by the Person of God the Holy Spirit thus excluding all human works. The aorist tense refers to the action has having been attained. The aorist tense states the fact of the action or event without regard to its duration. The constative aorist tense contemplates the action in its entirety. The constative aorist states this is the standard procedure of God the Holy Spirit throughout the Church Age in forming the Body of Christ. The indicative mood is declarative stating dogmatically a point of doctrine. Then, we have a preposition eis plus the accusative singular neuter noun soma, “body,” which is preceded by the cardinal number hen, “one.” The preposition eis with the accusative is translated “into.” The noun soma is used here to describe metaphorically the church as a functional living organism whose Head is Christ. The Word of God states by analogy that every believer is a member of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27). Just as our physical bodies have many members so is the case with the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). Just as each member of our physical body is designed to function with each other so is the case with the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:14-26). Christ is the Head of the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18). The cardinal number hen excludes water baptism and emphasizes sole act of God the Holy Spirit upon the believer at salvation. “In fact, by means of one Person, God the Holy Spirit, we were all placed into one body”
No Distinctions in the Body of Christ: The particle eite sets up a contrast and is translated “whether.” We have 2 proper nouns Ioudaioi, and Hellenes contrasted by the particle eite, “or.” Ioudaioi is from the noun Ioudaios, “Jews.” Hellenes is from the noun Hellen and is translated “Greeks.” The entire Roman Empire at the time in Paul’s day was Hellenized meaning that Greek culture and thought permeated it. Hellenes is a reference to the entire Gentile world or non-Jews. Paul places the entire human race under 2 categories with this phrase. “In
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fact, by means of one Person, God the Holy Spirit, we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks”
Next, Paul places the social status of the entire human race under 2 categories. We have the particle eite translated “whether,” plus plural noun douloi from doulos, “slaves,” then eite again but this time it is translated “or,” and then the nominative plural adjective eleutheroi from eleutheros, “freemen.” “In fact, by means of one Person, God the Holy Spirit, we were all placed into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or freemen.” There are no racial or social distinctions among believers in the Church Age. The Body of Christ is comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, slaves or freemen. There are also no sexual distinctions in the Body of Christ (Gal. 3:28). Prejudice among believers has no place in the Body of Christ.
The Cause: Now we have the part of the verse 13, which identifies the Cause for the Baptism of the Spirit. We begin with the connective conjunction kai translated “and,” connecting the preceding statement with the one to follow and then we have plural adjective pantes from pas, “all.” All racial and social classes within the Body of Christ are in view.
Next, we have the verb epotisthemen which is the aorist passive indicative from potizo, “to cause another to drink, to give to drink,” and is used here with the accusative of the thing which is pneuma. The Greek physician Hippocrates who lived approximately 460-357 B.C. and is called the Father of Medicine uses potizo in work Aphorisms. Aristotle uses the word in his work Physics and Plato uses it in his dialogue between Phaedrus and Socrates where the charioteer of the gods puts up his horses at the stall, and gives them ambrosia to eat and nectar to drink. The LXX uses potizo to translate the Hebrew word shaqah, “to cause another to drink or be watered.” God the Holy Spirit causes the believer to be placed in union with Christ at the moment they make the non-meritorious decision to believe in Christ. Paul specifically employs this word in a figurative sense to communicate to the Corinthians that God the Holy Spirit is the Cause of Baptism. The apostle Paul uses potizo in the figurative sense to describe the Baptism of the Spirit through the non-meritorious human function of drinking.
Figurative Language: The apostle Paul employs figurative language or in a metaphorical sense to describe the Baptism of the Spirit. He uses epotisthemen metaphorically. Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines a metaphor as “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them such as drowning in money.” The Bible uses many different types and symbols to teach Truth. God the Holy Spirit is described at the baptism of Jesus as a “dove.” Oil, fire, wind, and water are also used as symbols in the Bible to describe the presence or a function of God the Holy Spirit. Paul use of potizo implies that God the Holy Spirit is like water. The Baptism of the Spirit is like the non-meritorious human function of drinking water. Drinking as a non-meritorious
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function: Paul’s figurative use of the potizo brings out the non-meritorious aspect on the part of believer’s who have been placed in union with Christ by God the Holy Spirit. Paul uses a non-meritorious human function to describe the Baptism of the Spirit. Just as drinking is a non-meritorious function so is the Baptism of the Spirit. The use of this word potizo in the passive voice gives the Creator credit. The Baptism of the Spirit excludes all human works, thus water baptism.
Grace: The Baptism of the Spirit is based upon grace is which is the policy of God’s justice in blessing mankind. God does all the work in grace and man does nothing but reap the benefits of God’s action. Grace excludes any human works. The passive voice is the grace voice stating that all Church Age believers are acted upon by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. The Baptism of the Spirit is a result of an action performed by a Divine Person, God the Holy Spirit, the 3rd Person of the Trinity. Potizo in the passive voice emphasizes the fact that the Church Age believer is acted upon by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit. The omnipotence of the 3rd Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit causes the Church Age believer to be baptized into the Body of Christ. Potizo in the passive voice excludes any other baptism other than the one performed by God the Holy Spirit at our salvation. Potizo in the passive voice states that this action performed by God the Holy Spirit at the moment of our salvation occurred without the believer’s consent. The aorist tense states the fact of the action or event without regard to its duration. The aorist tense states the action as having been attained. The aorist tense is constative contemplating the action in its entirety gathering it up into a single whole. The constative aorist tense states all born-again believers throughout the Church Age receive the Baptism of the Spirit. The constative aorist tense is used here by Paul to state the standard procedural function of God the Holy Spirit throughout the Church Age on behalf of born-again believers. Every Church Age believer has been made to receive the Baptism of the Spirit, they were not asked. The indicative mood is declarative stating a dogmatic statement of fact. Epotisthemen can be translated “were made to drink of.”
Inculcation: The accusative of thing which is pneuma is once again preceded by the cardinal number hen, “one.” The repeated use of hen is done for inculcation. Paul is driving the point home to the Corinthians that there is no plurality of baptisms. He doesn’t want to hear anymore of divisions among them. He resolves this problem in Corinth with repetition of Bible Doctrine. Unity among believers comes through cognition of Bible Doctrine, which is a result of repetition in communicating Bible Doctrine. “In fact, by means of one Person, God the Holy Spirit, we were all placed into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or freemen, and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
Galatians 3:27: Post-positive explanatory conjunction gar, “for.” Gar introduces an explanation into the divine side of salvation. Verse 26 states the human side of salvation-faith in Christ. Two things have to take place in order for us to become a
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son of God. The first part is covered in verse 26 and gar introduces the 2nd part. Hosoi is a nominative masculine plural subject from a correlative relative pronoun hosos, “as many as.” Hosoi refers to all believers throughout the Church Age who are sons of God through faith in Christ. Ebaptisthete is the aorist passive indicative from the verb baptizo, “to put or place into, to baptize” The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit places every Church Age believer into union with the Person of Christ resulting in the believer’s permanent identification with Christ. The passive voice states that the believer receives the action from God the Holy Spirit. The passive voice states that God the Holy Spirit does all the work and the believer reaps the benefits. The passive voice also totally excludes all human works, merit and ability. The aorist tense is a constative aorist contemplating an action in its entirety and regardless of its extent of duration, gathers it into a single whole. The constative aorist tense gathers up into a single whole what God the Holy Spirit does for every believer throughout the Church Age. The indicative mood is declarative stating a dogmatic statement of fact. Then we have the preposition eis plus the accusative of direct object Christon from Christos, “Christ.” The preposition eis with the accusative case is translated here “into.”
Christon as the direct object receives the action of the verb ebaptisthete, “to place into, to baptize.” “For as many as were placed into union with Christ”
New Spiritual Species: Enedusasthe is the aorist middle indicative from the verb enduo plus the accusative of the person, which is Christon. Enduo in the literal sense means, “to put on something,” such as clothes or it could mean, “to draw on something.” Paul uses enduo here in the figurative sense with the accusative of the person. When used with the accusative of the person in the figurative sense it refers to “taking on the nature of someone else.” Here in Gal. 3:27, it means “to taking on the nature of Christ,” which is synonymous with the New Spiritual Species or the New Self or the New Man (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). For Paul, the new man, the new spiritual species are identical. Paul refers here to that new spiritual species or the new man. Paul also refers to the new nature that we receive at the moment of salvation in Gal. 6:15; 2 Cor. 5:17a. This new nature that we receive at salvation cannot sin. This New Nature is the alternative to living in the Old Sin Nature. Only the believer’s failure to Rebound (1 John 1:9) prevents them from utilizing this New Nature. Every Church Age believer starts off their Christian life by living in the New Nature. Once they sin, they are no longer living in the New Nature, but are now living in the Old Sin Nature which we received from the imputation of Adam’s sin at physical birth. We receive the New Nature at the New Birth or at Regeneration. The believer is no longer in bondage to the Old Sin Nature but can now choose to live in the New Nature, which cannot sin. The New Nature has been created specifically for the utilization of 100% divine power or omnipotence. This is totally unique to the Church Age. The
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Baptism of the Spirit results in the Church Age believer receiving a New Nature, the nature of Christ. “For as many as were placed into union with Christ, have taken on the nature of Christ.”
Baptismal Regeneration is taught by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, some Pentecostal sects (notably the anti-trinitarian United Pentecostal Church and other “Jesus Only” groups), and pseudo-christian cult groups such as the Mormons. Baptismal Regeneration is also the doctrinal stance of many teachers and preachers within the Restoration Movement, sometimes called Campbellism (from its founder, Alexander Campbell), whose members are mainly found in churches called Churches of Christ or Independent Christian Churches.
Proponents of baptismal regeneration argue that water baptism is an essential part of salvation because, in their view, it is in the act or ceremony of water baptism that we are born again.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit was defined by John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, as being a distinctive part of the ministry of Christ. He contrasted the baptism of water with the baptism in the Spirit. Mat 3:11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Mark 1:8 “I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Luke 3:16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. John 1:32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. John 1:33 “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
The initial outpouring came on the day of Pentecost, and there were other outpourings in the books of Acts. Some of these outpourings came to those who had been baptized in water, and some came to those who had not yet been baptized in water. Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. Acts 10:45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. Acts 10:47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit
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just as we have?” Acts 11:15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Acts 11:16 “Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Acts 19:4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
In Romans 6, it is obvious that the context is being placed into Christ and the passage dwells on the believer’s identification with Christ, with His death, and with His resurrection. In this passage, the believer is not baptized into water, but into the death of Christ. Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Rom 6:2 Certainly not. How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Rom 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Rom 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” Notice Galatians–Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Col 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; Col 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Col 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, Col 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. How does one baptize in water “without hands.?”…
Notice what Peter says as he states that it is not water that is used in baptism, it is the Spirit who is poured out and washes us in regenerating power. 1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 1 Pet 3:19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 1 Pet 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 1 Pet 3:21 There is also an antitype
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which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
It is also significant that Jesus never performed water baptism on anyone. If water baptism was essential to salvation, why wasn’t the Lord practicing it. John 3:22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. John 4:1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John John 4:2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples).
Indwelling of the Spirit
Every Church Age believer is indwelt by the 3rd member of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16). The main purpose for the Indwelling of God the Holy Spirit is to provide a temple for the Indwelling of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Shekinah Glory.
In the Old Testament, He dwelt in the Tabernacle in Israel. Or in a cloud or a pillar of fire. But here in the Church Age, He indwells the body of every believer. The body of the Church Age believer is now a temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16). The Indwelling of God the Holy Spirit provides a base of operations for the use of Divine Omnipotence. We execute the Protocol Plan of God by using Divine Omnipotence.
God the Holy Spirit provides a base whereby His power is available so that we can use it to execute the Protocol Plan of God for our lives. We can’t execute the Protocol Plan of God apart from the Divine Omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit.
The Filling of the Spirit is temporary for we can lose the Filling of the Spirit through sinning. We regain it by using 1 John 1:9. We never lose the Indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. The Indwelling of God the Holy Spirit is permanent in the New Testament. The teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit is very important because without it we would never be able to understand Bible Doctrine, which is the mind of Christ. God the Holy Spirit teaches us about the mind of Christ. God the Holy Spirit is our true Teacher. God the Holy Spirit is our Mentor (John 14:26; 16:12-14; 1 Cor. 2:9-16; 1 John 2:27).
The Indwelling of God the Holy Spirit provides a guarantee of 2 categories of spirituality: (1) The Filling of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18) (2) Walking by means of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16).
The Filling of the Spirit is when God the Holy Spirit is controlling your soul and not the old sin nature. The Filling of the Spirit enables God the Holy Spirit to teach you Bible Doctrine. The Filling of the Spirit enables us to execute the Protocol Plan of God. You cannot produce Divine Good apart from the Filling of the Spirit. Walking by means of the Spirit is when the Church Age believer is living in his Palace and living under the Protocol Plan of God for their life. This is when the Church Age believer is utilizing the Divine Omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit to live the Christian way of life. You cannot live the Christian way of life without the Divine Omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit. The Christian way of life is a supernatural way of life, which demands a supernatural means of execution. Just as a car must run on gas so must a Christian live by means of Divine Omnipotence.
Sealing of the Spirit
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At the moment of salvation, God the Holy Spirit puts His invisible stamp on the believer, which guarantees salvation. The Sealing of the Spirit is the 4th ministry of God the Holy Spirit at salvation. It emphasizes our eternal security, which we have in Christ. The Sealing Ministry of God the Holy Spirit is a mark of Royalty. It signifies that we are members of the Royal Family of God.
At the moment you believed in Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit put His signature guarantee on you. Just as Sunkist puts its stamp on its oranges, God the Holy Spirit puts His stamp on you. The Greek word for “sealed” is sphagizo, which means, “to mark with a seal as a means of identification.” In the ancient world, seals: (1) Guaranteed transactions (2) Indicated ownership (3) Authenticated invoices (4) Contracts (5) Laws (6) Orders.
God the Holy Spirit puts His mark on us at the moment of salvation. This mark not only denotes ownership but also carries with it the protection of the owner. God not only owns us at the moment of salvation, but He is our protection. This Sealing ministry of God the Holy Spirit is important because it guarantees our salvation.
1 Corinthians 1:21-22a, “Now he, who establishes us with you in Christ (Baptism of the Spirit) and anointed us (Indwelling of the Spirit), is God, who has also sealed us.”
Ephesians 1:13, “In whom also, when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation (common grace); In whom also, when you believed (efficacious grace), you were sealed by means of the Holy Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 1:22, “Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts (right lobes) as the guarantee.”
Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
A cattle rancher puts the mark on his cattle in order to show that he owns them. The cattle rancher brands his cattle in order to show his ownership of the cattle. He also does it for the cattle’s protection. If the cattle stray from the rest of the herd, he can be easily identified by the branding mark. In the same way, God the Holy Spirit brands us at the moment we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. This brand is invisible and is seen by God who is invisible. This means that we can never get lost. It means that God knows His own… It means that once saved you are saved forever. So if you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ you can rest assured and be confident that you are going to heaven because God the Holy Spirit branded us making us His forever. He will never ever leave you or forsake, never…
Filling of the Spirit
The filling of the Spirit is unique to the church age. It is the mental state of the believer who does not have any unacknowledged sins in the stream of consciousness and is applying the Word to his thought process. It is not an emotion. It is one of the seven salvation ministries of the Holy Spirit. At the moment of salvation every believer is filled with the Spirit, but he loses it through committing personal sin. It is recovered by acknowledging any known sin to the Father in the name or, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 1:9). Every believer in the church age is commanded to permit the Holy Spirit to control and influence his soul (Eph. 5:18). The filling of the Spirit takes place in the soul of the believer when he allows God the Holy Spirit to control and influence his soul. It is a dynamic whereas the indwelling of the Spirit is static meaning it never changes. It is eternal. The filling of the Spirit is the operational power of God the Holy Spirit, which empowers the believer to execute the will of God the Father. The filling of the
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Spirit enables the believer to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ meaning to become like Him experientially in His death and resurrection. It enables the believer to become like Jesus Christ in thought; word and action or in other words, it gives the believer the ability to acquire the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is necessary for the believer to allow himself to be controlled by the Spirit in order that he may walk by the Spirit. Walking by the Spirit is actively choosing to conduct oneself by means of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit and walking by the Spirit are 2 sides of the same coin. You cannot walk by the Spirit unless you are filled with the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is directly related to the believer’s mental attitude whereas walking by the Spirit directly related to how the believer conducts himself.
The filling of the Spirit is directly related to being a doer of the Word of God. The believer who is applying the Word of God is influenced by means of the Spirit. The Spirit takes the doctrines of Christ, i.e., the Word of God and makes them understandable to the believer. The Spirit does not act independently of the mind of Christ, i.e., the Word of God (Jn. 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 2:10-16). Therefore, the believer who is controlled or influenced by means of the Spirit is a doer of the Word. The Spirit of God and the Word of God work in concert with one another on behalf of the believer who has no acknowledged sin in his stream of consciousness and is applying the Word of God to his thought process.
The filling of the Spirit is the only means of the spirituality in the church age. Spirituality is the filling of the Spirit. It is an absolute meaning that you are either filled with the Spirit or the believer is living in carnality or in other words, the old sin nature. The filling of the Spirit is the only means of having fellowship with God (Jn. 4:23-24). It is the only means by which the Holy Spirit produces Christ-like character in the believer. The filling of the Spirit is the only means by which the believer can execute the plan of God. The filling of the Spirit is a power option meaning that the believer has to choose whether or not to allow God the Holy Spirit to fully influence and control his soul.
The vocabulary for the doctrine of the filling of the Spirit is based on several words in the Greek New Testament. The first we will note is the verb pleroo, which is employed by Paul in Ephesians 5:18. In both secular and Biblical Greek, the verb pleroo carries the idea of attaining a standard of measurement or reaching the saturation point or level of containment. The idea of totality or fullness is always present. Thus, the word means “to fill something completely,” or “to complete a measure.” It is derived from the root ple-, “full, fullness.”
The verb pleroo ordinarily is used in the LXX to translate the Hebrew melo’, “to fill.” There are over 120 instances of the word if one includes the apocryphal material. As in classical Greek, pleroo denotes the action of “filling” something such as the land or the sea (Ge. 1:22, 28; 9:1, 7). The word is used in a temporal sense of days that are “fulfilled,” or in other words, the period of something comes to its end (Ge. 25:24; 29:21; Le. 8:33; 12:4). Pleroo can be used in almost an adverbial capacity to denote something as “ultimate, total” (Da. 8:23). The idea of fulfillment comes through when the word of the Lord is “fulfilled,” that is, what the Lord said has come to pass (1 K. 2:27 [LXX 3 K. 2:27]; 2 Ch. 36:22). In another sense pleroo means “to satisfy,” as in the fulfillment of desires, appetites (Ecc. 6:7; cf. of God’s wrath, Is. 13:3; Ezek. 7:19).
The verb pleroo appears approximately 86 times in the NT. It is used as a technical term for the fulfillment of Scripture and also a designation of the fulfillment of time in an eschatological sense. Pleroo is used in the NT in the sense of filling with something, always with a strong element of exclusiveness or totality. The verb pleroo can have the following meanings: (1) to fill
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up a deficiency, (2) to be fully possessed by something, (3) to be fully influenced by something, (4) to be filled by something, (5) to be controlled by something.
The word literally means in Acts 2:2 “to fill something completely.” Non-literally it means “to fill with a content,” and passively “to be filled with” something. Pleroo can imply in some contexts that a man is completely controlled and stamped by the powers, which fill him. There is in the term a strong element of exclusiveness or totality. Delling has compiled the following list of meanings for the word (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament volume 6, pages 290-297): (1) To fill with a content, (2) To fulfill a demand or claim, (3) To fill up completely a specific measure, (4) To complete, to fulfill, (5) To complete. The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon lists the following (pages 517-518): (1) To make full, to fill, to fill up; to fill to the full; to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally; to fill, diffuse throughout one’s soul, (2) To render full, i.e. to complete; to fill up to the top; to perfect, consummate; to make complete in every particular; to render perfect; to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out; to carry into effect, bring to realization; realize; to perform, to execute; to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish; to fulfill. The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised has compiled the following (page 329): (1) To fill, make full, fill up, (2) To fill up a deficiency, (3) To pervade, (4) To pervade with an influence, to influence fully, possess fully, (5) To complete, perfect, (6) To bring to an end, (7) To perform fully, discharge, (8) To consummate, (9) To realize, accomplish, fulfill, (10) To set forth fully, (11) To be fulfilled, come to an end, be fully arrived, (12) To receive fulfillment.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, “pleroo denotes (1) “to make full, to fill to the full”; in the passive voice, “to be filled, made full”; it is used (1) of things: a net, (Matt. 13:48); a building, (John 12:3; Acts 2:2); a city, (Acts 5:28); needs, (Phil. 4:19), KJV “supply,” RV, “fulfill”; metaphorically, of valleys, (Luke 3:5); figuratively, of a measure of iniquity, (Matt. 23:32); (2) of persons: (a) of the members of the church, the body of Christ, as filled by Him, (Eph. 1:23) (“all things in all the members”); (4:10); in (3:19), of their being filled “into” (eis), RV, “unto,” KJV, “with” (all the fullness of God); of their being “made full” in Him, (Col. 2:10) (RV, for KJV, “complete”); (b) of Christ Himself: with wisdom, in the days of His flesh, (Luke 2:40); with joy, in His return to the Father, (Acts 2:28); (c) of believers: with the Spirit, (Eph. 5:18); with joy, (Acts 13:52; 2 Tim. 1:4); with joy and peace, (Rom. 15:13), [from these are to be distinguished those passages which speak of joy as being fulfilled or completed, which come under FULFILL, (John 3:29; 15:11) (RV); (16:24) (RV); (Phil. 2:2; 1 John 1:4 (RV); (2 John 12) (RV)]; with knowledge, (Rom. 15:14); with comfort, (2 Cor. 7:4); with the fruits of righteousness, (Phil. 1:11) (Gk. “fruit”); with the knowledge of God’s will, (Col. 1:9); with abundance through material supplies by fellow believers, (Phil. 4:18); (d) of the hearts of believers as the seat of emotion and volition, (John 16:6) (sorrow); (Acts 5:3) (deceitfulness); (e) of the unregenerate who refuse recognition of God, (Rom. 1:29); (II), “to accomplish, complete, fulfill.”
The 2nd word that pertains to the doctrine of the filling of the Spirit is the adjective pleres is found in Greek literature from Aeschylus in the 5th century onwards. It generally means “filled, full of.” The context indicates shades of meaning such as “infected by, polluted by, satisfied, satiated” in the sense of “filled with.” Other shades of meaning, particularly when used with wine, include “full bodied, of persistent flavor.” Just as a person can be full of pain, joy, love and virtue, he can also be said to be filled with God (pleres theou; Pollux Onomasticon, 1, 15). They can be possessed and inspired by God. The Pythian priestess was said to be filled by the spirit of God when she uttered an oracle (Origen, Contra Cels. 7, 3). This is to be distinguished from the
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thought that God permeates the universe and fills it. In the LXX pleres is used in the sense of “complete” or a “payment made in full.”
The adjective pleres appears 17 times in the NT. It is used to mean “filled with something,” such as the Holy Spirit “permeated” Christ. It also conveys the meaning of “maturity.” The word is used in a transferred sense to denote “rich fullness.” It is used in Matthew 14:20, 15:37, Mark 6:43, 8:19 of baskets being “full” of fragments of food. The word is used of a full ear of corn in Mark 4:28. It is used of the Lord Jesus Christ being “fully” under the direction of the Holy Spirit in Luke 4:1. Pleres is used of someone full of disease in Luke 5:12. The word is used of the Lord Jesus Christ again in John 1:14 where He is said to be “full” of grace and truth. It is employed in Acts 6:3, 5, 8, 7:55 and 11:24 of men such as Stephen who are full of the Spirit, faith, and power. A believer is said to be “full” of good deeds in Acts 9:36. Paul calls Elymas the magician as one who is “full” of subtlety and mischief in Acts 13:10. It is used of individuals who are “full” of wrath in Acts 19:28. John uses for those believers who will receive a “full” reward in 2 John 8.
The third word that pertains to this doctrine is the verb pletho (also, spelled pimplemi). In classical Greek pletho is also spelled pimplemi in certain verb forms. Depending on the context it can refer to such things as a “full moon, a swollen (full) stream,” or a “full assembly.” It can also mean, “to satisfy (in a good sense), glut, fill or discharge an office, to have enough of something, and for females, “become pregnant.” Pletho appears frequently in the LXX. It usually translates the Hebrew verb male’, “to fill.” Genesis 6:11 states that at the time of Noah, “the earth was filled with violence.” The Psalmist said his heart was “filled” with trouble (Ps. 88:3 [LXX 87:3]). It can mean overflow with abundance in Psalm 65:11 [LXX 66:11]). The verb pletho is found 25 times in the NT. It retains the basic meaning that it had in classical literature and that of “to fill, or complete.” Luke employs the word more than any NT writer. Many times the thought behind the word is “filled” in the sense of possessing or dominated by something, such as the Spirit, wonder, envy or indignation (Acts 3:10; 5:17; 13:45; 19:29). It is also used as a time related concept meaning “completed, finished.”
The last word in our vocabulary study of this doctrine is the noun pneuma, which is derived from the root pneu-, “breath, wind.” The noun pneuma denotes the result of the result of the dynamic movement of air or air set in motion. It was considered by the Greeks as a special substance and with an underlying stress on its inherent power. When it first occurred (no proven instances before the pre-Socratic school) it therefore meant wind or breath, but it increasingly took on the functions of related concepts, so that by the Hellenistic period it was a term of some importance, though still with a somewhat materialistic connotation. The air that men breathe was considered to be the bearer of life (thus to discontinue breath means to die, Aeschylus (Pers. 507). From the 5th century onward Greek physicians developed a physiology based on this and soon drew a distinction between man’s inward, innate pneuma and the air he breathed.
In Aristotle this pneuma was the formative power, which produced the mature individual and then, in the case of man, became the instrument whereby the soul controlled the body. Already, therefore, it was approaching the meaning held by psuche, the distinction being that the latter was a purely functional term, while pneuma was regarded as a substance.
In Stoic philosophy, however, pneuma took over the function of psuche in relation to the senses and to thought and speech. Some Stoic philosophers even came to identify it with nous, the specifically human power of intellect. Stoicism also regarded it as an elemental principle, which gave coherence to the different entities in creation, while at the same time differentiating them one from another. There is no instance of the concept of a pneuma hagion (Holy Spirit) in secular Greek.
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Hermann Kleinknecht lists the following meanings for pneuma (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament volume 6, pages 335-339): (1) Wind: the breath of wind in its movement as a blowing force and also according to its distinctive invisibly rarefied materiality as an element. (2) Breath: the breath which, again both process and matter, is either inhaled or exhaled in breathing, or medically, in distinction from aer as outside air, the “gas” or “flatulence” which circulates inside the organism. (3) Life: breath may be discerned only in movement, and it is also a sign, condition and agent of life, which seems to be especially tied up with breathing. (4) Soul: takes on the meaning of psuche, “soul” and by virtue of its related character as the breath or principle of life. (5) Spirit: metaphorically of the blowing of the wind or breathing express corresponding experiences of mental or spiritual activity and a transferred sense of any kind of breath or spirit which blows in interpersonal relations or from the invisible world of the divine. (6) Inspiration: a breath, which inspires, stirs, enthuses and fills. (7) Speech: technical term for lofty speech in ancient rhetoric and literary aesthetics and denotes the expressive and captivating flow of the orator or poet from whom the onrushing “breath” or poetry or address comes forth neither physically, spiritually, nor technically. (8) Power: Used by the Stoics of a cosmic and universal power or substance and used linguistically for the being and manifestation of deity itself. (9) God: transcendentally spiritualized, and hypostatised and personified as an independent, personally living and active cosmological and soteriological Spirit or God, whether of supreme or lower rank. (10) Demonic spirits: supernatural spirits or intermediaries, whether good or evil which inhabit the air they do good or harm by means of the demonic magical power which emanates from them and with which the magician or prophet must fill himself or his object if he is to be able to carry out his practices, whose supreme goal is the deifying and immortality of the initiate.
In the LXX the Hebrew equivalent of pneuma is almost always ruach and only 3 times does pneuma render neshamah, “breath.” Furthermore, as far as LXX translations of ruach are concerned, pneuma predominates, for the 377 instances of ruach in the Masoretic Text, 264 are translated by pneuma, the next most frequent rendering being anemos, “wind,” used 49 times. The idea behind ruach is the extraordinary fact that something as intangible as air should move; at the same time it is not so much the movement per se which excites attention, but rather the energy manifested by such movement. The basic meaning of ruach, therefore, is more or less that of “blowing.” Thus, both the Greek term pneuma and the Hebrew term ruach demonstrate the same diversity in meaning. Depending upon the context ruach oftentimes denotes human life which is composed of both body and soul which is generated by God through breathing (neshamah) into man’s nostrils to give him this soul life (Is. 57:16). The basic idea of ruach is “air in motion,” from air, which cannot come between a crocodile’s scales (Jb. 41:16) to the blast of a storm (Is. 25:4; Hab. 1:11). In living beings the ruach is their breath, whether of animals (Gn. 7:15; Ps. 104:25, 29), men (Is. 42:5; Ez. 37:5), or both (Gn. 7:22-23); whether inhaled (Jer. 2:24) or on the lips (Is. 11:4; cf. Job 9:18; contrast dead idols, Jer. 10:14; 51:17). God creates it: “the ruach “Spirit” of God (from God) is in my nostrils” (Job. 27:3).
Also, ruach comes to denote the entire immaterial consciousness of man (Is. 26:9; Prv. 16:32; Dn. 5:20; Ps. 32:2). Man is said to have a ruach as well as a nephesh, “soul.” The ruach is contained with its bodily nidneh, “sheath” (metaphor for the body) (Dn. 7:15; Zech. 12:1). At death the body returns to the dust of the ground, but the immaterial spirit returns to God Who gave it (Gen. 3:19; Ecc. 12:7). In this regard ruach and nephesh, here meaning distinctly “soul,” tend to overlap (Jb. 7:11; Is. 26:9; cf. Ex. 6:9 with Nm. 21:4). Ruach may at times designate a supernatural, angelic being (1 Sm. 16:23).
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The noun pneuma appears 388 times in the NT. The following is a comprehensive list of the word’s usage in the NT: (1) Title for the 3rd Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit (Mt. 1:18; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 1:15; Jn. 1:32; 7:39; 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:13; Act. 1:2; Rm. 5:5; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Cor. 6:6; Gal. 5:5; Eph. 1:13; Phlp. 1:19; 1 Th. 1:15; 4:8; 2 Tm. 1:14; 1 Jn. 5:7; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:1, 6, 13, 22). (2) The believer’s human spirit (Rm. 1:9; 8:16; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 14:15-16; 16:18; 2 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 6:18; Phlp. 4:23; 1 Th. 5:23; 2 Tm. 4:22; Phlm. 25; Heb. 4:12; 12:9; Ja. 2:26). (3) Humanity of Christ’s human spirit (Lk. 1:80; 23:46; Jn. 11:33; 13:21; 19:30; Rv. 22:6). (4) Fallen Angels (Mt. 10:1; Mk. 1:27; Lk. 4:33; Acts 5:16; 1 Tm. 4:1; 1 Pt. 3:19; Rv. 16:13). (5) Elect Angels (Heb. 1:7, 14; Rev. 1:4). (6) Regeneration, salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit (John 3:1-16; Titus 3:5). (7) Baptism of the Spirit, salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit (Jn. 7:39; Acts 1:5, 8; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:2, 14; Eph. 4:4; 1 Th. 4:8; 1 Pet. 1:11-12). (8) Indwelling of the Spirit, salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16). (9) Filling of the Spirit, salvation and post-salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit and the enabling divine power to live the spiritual life (Lk. 4:1; Jn. 4:24; Acts 2:4, 38; 10:44; Eph. 5:18; 6:19; Gal. 5:16, 25; Phlp. 1:19, 27; 3:3; Col. 2:5; 1 Pt. 1:22; Heb. 9:14; Jude 20; Rev. 1:10). (10) Sealing of the Spirit, salvation ministry of Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). (11) Adoption, as a ministry of the Holy Spirit (Rm. 8:15). (12) Spiritual Gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-11). (13) Sanctification, salvation and post-salvation ministry of the Spirit (2 Th. 2:13). (14) Intercessory, post-salvation ministry of the Spirit (Rm. 8:26). (15) Fruit (production of divine good) of the Spirit (Rm. 5:5; Gal. 5:22; 1 Th. 1:6). Quenching the Holy Spirit by the believer out of fellowship with God (1 Th. 5:19). (16) Grieving the Holy Spirit by the believer out of fellowship with God (Eph. 4:30). (17) Blasphemy against the Spirit (Matt. 12:14-32) (18) Resistance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51), (19) Lying to God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3), (20) Divine viewpoint (Rm. 8:6; Eph. 1:17; 2 Tm. 1:7; 1 Jn. 4:6), (21) Lifestyle of believer in fellowship with God (Eph. 1:17). (22) The omnipotence of the Word of God as a spiritual weapon (Eph. 6:17). (23) Satan (Eph. 2:2). (23) Breathing of the believer’s soul who is in fellowship with God (Eph. 4:23). (24) Discerning ministry of God the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Jn. 3:24; 5:6). (25) Mentorship of the Holy Spirit, post-salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit (Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:13). (26) Cosmic viewpoint (Rm. 11:8; 1 Cor. 2:12; 1 Jn. 4:1). (27) Wind as a meteorological phenomenon (John 3:8) (28) Breath which sustains human life (2 Thes. 2:8; Rev. 11:11; 13:15), (29) Ghost, apparition (Lk. 24:39). (30) Attribute of the Triune God (Jn. 4:24; 1 Jn. 5:6; Rev. 5:6). (31) Inspiration, ministry or operation of the Spirit enabling the regenerate human beings to produce Scripture (1 Pet. 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 22:6). (32) Fellowship with the Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14).
The following is a list of Scripture references to the filling of the Spirit: (1) “And He (the Lord Jesus Christ) will be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:15) (2) “And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41) (3) “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:67) (4) “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1) (5) “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in the filling of the Spirit and doctrine” (John 4:24) (6) “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4) (7) “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8) (8) “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31) (9) “Full of the Spirit” (Acts 6:3) (10) “And they chose Stephen, a man full of doctrine and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) (11) “And be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17) (12) “And full of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:24) (13) “Filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:9) (14) “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52)
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(15) “by means of the Spirit” (Jn. 4:24). (16) “newness of the Spirit” (Rm. 7:6). (17) “the Spirit of life” (Rm. 8:1). (18) “those who are according to the Spirit” (Rm. 8:5). (19) “who are being led by the Spirit” (Rm. 8:14). (20) “by the power of the Spirit” (Rm. 15:13). (21) “by means of the power of the Spirit (Rm. 15:18-19). (22) “in demonstration of the Spirit and power” (1 Co. 2:4). (23) “the Spirit gives life” (2 Co. 3:6). (24) “Epistles of Christ ministered by the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:3) (25) “led by the Spirit” (Ga. 5:17-18). (26) “live by means of the Spirit” (Ga. 5:25). (27) “keep on being filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). (28) “by means of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phlp. 1:19). (29) “by mean of one Spirit” (Phlp. 1:17). (30) “fellowship through the Spirit” (Phlp. 2:1). (31) “sanctification through the Spirit” (2 Th. 2:13). (32) “through the eternal Spirit” (He. 9:14). (33) “they may live by means of the Spirit” (1 Pe. 4:6). (34) “by means of the Spirit” (1 Jo. 3:24). (35) “praying by means of the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). (36) “in fellowship with the Spirit” (Rev. 1:10).
When discussing the doctrine of the filling of the Spirit we must of course, note the Person and Work of God the Holy Spirit who is the Third Person of the Trinity. He is a Person not a thing (John 15:26; 16:7; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2). The Holy Spirit is the unseen power of God. He reveals the Plan of God on earth and is the agent for executing the Christian way of life. The Titles of God the Holy Spirit: (1) “Spirit of holiness” (Rom. 1:4) (2) “Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2) (3) “Spirit of knowledge” (Isa. 11:2) (4) “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17) (5) Titles related to God the Father: (1) “Spirit of God” (2) “Spirit of our God” (Gen. 1:2; Matt. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:11) (3) “Spirit of your Father” (Matt. 10:20) (4) Titles related to God the Son: (1) “Spirit of Christ” (2) “Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 8:9; Phil. 1:19) (3) “Spirit of His Son” (Gal. 4:6) (4) “Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 5:9).
These titles do speak of an attribute because an attribute would not be designated by a personal pronoun such as “He,” “Him,” and “His.” God the Holy Spirit is a separate and distinct Person in the Godhead. He is called “Lord” in 2 Cor. 3:17 just as God the Father and God the Son are. The Holy Spirit has the attributes of personality: (1) Intellect (1 C. 2:10-13; R. 8:27). (2) Emotion (Eph. 4:30; He. 10:29; Ja. 4:5). (3) Will (1 C. 12:11; Acts 16:6-11). (4) He has a mind, and therefore He thinks, searches and teaches.
The Spirit performs the actions of personality: (1) Teaches (Jo. 14:26; 16:13-15). (2) Testifies or bears witness (Jo. 15:26). (3) Guides and Leads (R. 8:14). (4) Performs miracles (Acts 8:39). (5) Convinces (Jo. 16:7-8). (6) Restrains (Ge. 6:3; 2 Th. 2:6-7). (7) Commands (Acts 8:29). (8) Intercedes in prayer (R. 8:26). (9) He receives ascriptions of personality. (10) He can be obeyed (Acts 16:6-7). (11) He can be lied to (Acts 5:3). (12) He can be resisted (Acts 7:51). (13) He can be blasphemed (Mt. 12:31). (14) He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30). (15) He can be insulted (He. 10:29).
The Greek word pneuma is a neuter gender word and would normally require a neuter gender pronoun according to the rule of Greek grammar called concord. However, because the Holy Spirit is a person, the NT writers sometimes used a masculine pronoun in place of a neuter pronoun for the neuter pronoun pneuma. Masculine pronouns are used of the Spirit in John 15:26; 16:7, 8, 13 and 14.
God the Holy Spirit is related to the apostles as a distinct and separate person who thought about what was best and related that to the apostles who were in accord with the Spirit (Acts 15:28). He is related to the Lord Jesus as a distinct and separate person (Jo. 16:14). He is related to the other persons of the Godhead so as to indicate personality (2 C. 13:14). He is distinguished from His own power as a person (Lk. 1:35; 4:14; Ac. 10:38; R. 15:13; 1 C. 2:4).
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God the Holy Spirit has the same divine attributes as both God the Father and God the Son: (1) Sovereignty (1 Cor. 12:11) (2) Righteousness (Spirit: Psa. 51:11) (3) Justice (: Neh. 9:20a; John 16:8-11) (4) Love (Rom. 5:5; 15:30) (5) Eternal life (Heb. 9:14) (6) Omnipotence (Rom. 15:13) (7) Omniscience (Isa. 11:2) (8) Omnipresence (Psa. 139:7) (9) Immutability (John 14:16; 1 John 5:7) (10) Veracity (John 14:17; 1 John 5:7).
His deity is demonstrated by His Works: (1) Creation (Ge. 1:2; Ps. 104:30). (2) Inspiration of Scripture (2 Ti. 3:16; 2 P. 1:21). (3) Regeneration, illumination and sanctification (Jo. 3:5-8; Tit. 3:5; R. 8:11; Eph. 3:16-19). (4).
Understanding the uniqueness of this dispensation as the dispensation of the Spirit is crucial for our ability to correctly interpret the teaching of the NT on the Spirit and His ministry for today. The church age is often referred to as the dispensation or the age of the Spirit because of His distinctive ministry during this time. This truth needs to be stressed because the Holy Spirit is God’s special gift and means of power to experience the Christ-life. God the Holy Spirit the believer’s 2nd Great Divine Provision. The 1st Great Divine Provision is the Word of God.
The church age dispensation is an extension of the dispensation of the hypostatic union because the church age believer is in union with Jesus Christ. The church age is a Christocentric dispensation. The dispensation of the hypostatic union extended from the birth of Christ to His death, resurrection, ascension and session (the era of the New Testament Gospels; B.C. 4-30 A.D.). The church age began on the day of Pentecost in June of 32 A.D. and terminates at the Rapture, which is imminent.
God the Holy Spirit principle duty during the church age is to mediate the presence of Christ. He is given to manifest the Person, Work and Life of the Lord Jesus Christ during this dispensation. He is also to make the believer aware of all He is to him and enables him to experience the life of Christ (Jo. 16:13-15; Eph. 3:16-19; Ga. 5:16-25). The Holy Spirit is the believer’s mentor and enabler during this dispensation. The basis for the gift of the Spirit is the glorification of Christ. He proceeds from the Father through the Son to believers because Jesus has accomplished their justification (Jo. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15). John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7-15 all focus on how the Enabler: (1) Is sent in the name of Christ (2) Brings to remembrance what Christ taught the disciples (3) Bears witness of Him (4) Is sent by the Savior Himself (5) Does not speak on His own initiative (6) Glorifies the Savior (7) Takes of the teachings of Christ and discloses them to the believer.
God the Holy Spirit convicts and reveals Jesus Christ to men (Jo. 16:8-11). He restrains sin in the world (2 Th. 2:6-7). God the Holy Spirit empowers and reproduces the character of Christ in those who submit to Him by faith (Ga. 4:19; 5:5; 5:16-23). He promotes spiritual maturity (Ga. 5:1-5; He. 5:11-6:6). The Spirit also teaches by giving understanding in the Word (1 C. 2:9-16; Jo. 16:11-15). The Holy Spirit applies truth to the believer’s experience (Jo. 14:26; Eph. 6:18). He gives divine omnipotence to the believer’s prayer life (Jude 20; Jo. 15:7; Ps. 66:18). He promotes meaningful worship (Jo. 4:23-24; Eph. 5:18-21; Is. 59:1-2). He gives capacity, burden and direction for witnessing (Act. 1:8; 1 Th. 1:5). God the Holy Spirit gives capacity for ministry (1 Co. 1:12-14; 1 P. 4:10).
The 7 Salvation Ministries of the Holy Spirit as follows: (1) Efficacious Grace: Makes faith in Jesus Christ effective for salvation (2 Cor. 6:1-2; Eph. 2:8-9). (2) Regeneration: Creates a human spirit at the moment of salvation for the purpose of the imputation of eternal life (John 3:1-16; Titus 3:5). (3) Baptism of the Spirit: Places every believer in union with Christ (Gal. 3:26-28; Eph. 4:6; 1 Cor. 12:13). (4) Indwelling of the Spirit: Creates a temple for the indwelling of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16). (5) Filling of the Spirit:
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Influences the soul of the believer and is the means of executing the Plan of God (Eph. 5:18). (6) Sealing of the Spirit: Puts His stamp on the believer to guarantee their salvation (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). (7) Distribution of Spiritual Gifts: Gives every believer a spiritual gift to (1 Cor. 12:4-11).
The believer must be aware of the fact that there is a distinction between the Indwelling of the Spirit and the Filling of the Spirit. The former occurs at the moment of salvation and is permanent meaning it cannot be lost (Rm. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16). The Filling of the Spirit also occurs at the moment of salvation. The Filling of the Spirit can be lost through any mental, verbal or overt sin by the believer. The Indwelling of the Spirit is the principle of victory over the old sin nature. The Filling of the Spirit is the function of victory over the old sin nature. The word principle means that the Indwelling is the reason or the basis for our victory over the old sin nature. The word function refers to how we are to operate to gain a moment-by-moment victory in our lives over the old sin nature. The filling of the Spirit is dynamic, whereas the indwelling is static.
In Acts the filling of the Spirit is clearly seen as God’s enablement for service and for witness and proclamation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Act. 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52). In Ephesians the filling of the Spirit produces true worship and service to God (Eph. 5:18-6:9). The church age believer is commanded to be filled with the Spirit on a continual basis (Eph. 5:18), but he is also commanded to walk by the Spirit (Ga. 5:16).
The filling has to do with the mental attitude of the believer whereas walking has to do with his conduct. The believer cannot walk by the Spirit unless he is filled with the Spirit. “Filled” in Ephesians 5:18 is in the passive voice while “walk” in Galatians 5:16 is in the active voice. The idea of “filled” meaning “influence” and the passive voice suggest the concept of submission to the Spirit. The believer is to volitionally continue to release control of his life to the Spirit. He is allowed to take control and make Christ at home in the believer’s life (Eph. 3:16-17).
In the filling of the Spirit we give up the right to run our lives, thus we submit to His authority. The filling of the Spirit is very much parallel with Romans 6:12-13. The active voice plus the basic meaning of the word “walk” places stress on actively choosing to conduct oneself by trusting in the Spirit. Both, the filling and walking by the Spirit are two sides of the same coin, and each has a different focus.
There is no divine production in the believer’s life if he is not filled with the Spirit or if he is filled with the Spirit, he must also walk by the Spirit. This denotes the concept of application of the Word, which enables the Spirit to perform His work in the believer (R. 7:15-18; 8:3). The believer cannot please God without being filled and walking by the Spirit (R. 8:5-8) and there is no spiritual growth without the believer applying both (Jo. 16:7-15; 1 C. 2:6-3:3; Ga. 3:1-3; Eph. 3:16-19). He cannot glorify God without being filled with the Spirit and walking by the Spirit and are powerless as well. There is no joy or peace without either taking place in the believer’s life (Ga. 5:22). The filling of the Spirit is the mental state of the believer who does not have any unacknowledged sins in the stream of consciousness and is applying the Word to his thought process. It is a spiritual state where the Holy Spirit is free to fulfill all that He came to do in the heart and life of believers. The believer cannot be filled with the Spirit and thus walk by the Spirit if he does not acknowledge any known sins (1 Jo. 1:5-10). The filling of the Spirit is the only means of having fellowship with God. Spirituality is the filling of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is an absolute meaning you are either in fellowship or you are not.
Rebound is technical nomenclature conceived by Colonel R.B. Thieme, Jr, pastor of Berachah Church in Houston, Texas. It describes the acknowledgement of personal sins by the
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believer in the name of the Lord Jesus who paid for those sins at Calvary. It is taught in many passages. The most familiar is 1 John 1:9. Rebound is essential to being filled with the Spirit. Rebound restores the Filling of the Spirit. There is no Filling of the Spirit without Rebound. Rebound + the Filling of the Spirit = Spirituality (winner). Sin – Rebound = Carnality (loser) Rebound is a problem-solving device for the sins of the believer and is a descriptive term. It is a technique. Rebound is simply admitting your sins to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9). God designs it so that the believer can bounce back from sin. Rebound is the only means to recover the Filling of the Spirit. It deals with the believer’s problem with sin. Rebound restores the believer’s fellowship with God in time. It is a function of the believer’s Royal Priesthood. Rebound is to be performed in the privacy of the believer’s royal priesthood. It functions when the believer is living in their old sin nature and out of fellowship with God. Rebound is citing or pointing to what the Lord Jesus Christ did at the Cross. It is for the believer only and not the unbeliever. Rebound is a decision that the believer has to make in order to be restored to fellowship with God.
The filling of the Spirit protects the believer’s soul from the attacks of Satan and the kingdom of darkness (Eph. 6:10-18). The battleground for this spiritual warfare is in the believer’s soul (Rom. 7:23; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Gal. 5:17). God has provided the believer the power to overcome his spiritual adversary, Satan and the kingdom of darkness (cf. 1 John 2:12-17; 1 John 4:4). The Spirit and the Word are the invisible weapons that the church age believer as a privileged citizen of heaven has been given to fight this spiritual warfare against the kingdom of darkness. The soul is composed of: (1) Self-Consciousness (2) Conscience (3) Mentality (4) Emotion (5) Volition.
Volition is the issue in the angelic conflict. Humanity was created to resolve the angelic conflict through the function of volition. Therefore, the believer’s soul is under attack constantly from the cosmic system of Satan and his invisible army of demons and fallen angels as well as the old sin nature. If the believer is not filled with the Spirit he is open to Satanic deception from the cosmic system as well as sin nature control. The only protection for the believer’s soul is to be filled with the Spirit and applying the Word of God.
Blasphemy Against the Spirit
There are 2 types of sin committed by the unbeliever against God the Holy Spirit: (1) “Blasphemy” against the Spirit (Matt. 12:14-32) (2) “Resistance” of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). There are 3 sins by the believer against the Holy Spirit: (1) “Lying” to God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3) (2) “Grieving” the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) (3) “Quenching” the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19).
Blasphemy of the Spirit is taught in Matthew 12:22-32, “Then a demon-possessed man {who was} blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” But when the Pharisees heard {this} they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast {them} out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong {man?} And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather
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with Me scatters. Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the {age} to come. There is confusion as to whether or not the blasphemy of the Spirit can take place in our day and age or is it exclusive to the 1st Advent of Christ.”
Some great theologians such as Lewis Sperry Chafer write that this sin only takes place during the 1st Advent of Christ when He was physically present on earth. Chafer in effect states, and many follow his interpretation of this passage, that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit was unique to Christ’s 1st Advent and was the attributing the miracles of Christ to the devil rather than the Holy Spirit, thus defaming the perfect integrity of the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ. I know many great Bible teachers who when you ask them, “What is the unpardonable sin?” they usually reply, “It is blaspheming the Holy Spirit” or “It is the sin of attributing to the devil the works of the Holy Spirit and could only take place during the 1st Advent of Christ.”
First of all may I believe this interpretation was in response to the false claim by some that you can commit a sin that cannot be forgiven. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven except for the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior over a lifetime. People go the eternal Lake of Fire because they choose to and not because of their sins since the penalty for the entire human race-past, present and future was paid for by the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union. The unbeliever’s sins are never mentioned at the Great White Throne Judgment of Unbelievers, but rather their own inferior human works performed in self-righteous arrogance. This is according to Revelation 20:11-15. Rev 20:11-12, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is {the book} of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”
So the Scriptures emphatically teach that the only sin that can’t be forgiven and that sends a person to the eternal Lake of Fire is the rejection of Jesus Christ as one’s own personal Savior. The sin of rejecting Christ as Savior is the reason why people will end up in the eternal Lake of Fire forever and ever. This is not the will of God but rather the will of God is that all men be saved. The attitude toward the entire human race is that He desires all to believe in His Son Jesus Christ. John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” 1 Tim 2:4, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Pet 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Secondly, as I noted earlier many expositors state that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit was unique to Christ’s 1st Advent and was the attributing the miracles of Christ to the devil rather than the Holy Spirit, thus defaming the perfect integrity of the Spirit’s witness of Christ. When I say unique I mean that at no time in history have these conditions ever existed where Christ was on the earth performing miracles by means of the Spirit. These expositors are missing the point and the principle, which our Lord is relating in this passage. It is the rejection of the Spirit’s witness at the point of hearing the Gospel for salvation that is blasphemous and unpardonable and not simply attributing the miracles of Christ to the devil. To say that the blasphemy of the Spirit only took place during the 1st Advent of Christ is diminishing the rejection of the Spirit’s
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witness concerning Christ in subsequent dispensations such as the church age. In other words it is just as much blasphemous today to reject the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ during this dispensation as it was during the 1st Advent! To say that the blasphemy of the Spirit was attributing Christ’s miracles to the devil is putting undo emphasis on the rejection of the miracles rather than their rejection of the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ as their Messiah.
Remember the miracles of Christ were to demonstrate that He was the Jewish Messiah since the Jews require a sin according to 1 Corinthians 1:22. The Jews rejection of Christ’s miracles then revealed an even deeper problem and that was their negative attitude toward the Spirit’s witness concerning Him. The Spirit witnessed that Christ was the Messiah by performing the miracles for the humanity of Christ. The Spirit employed miracles to convict the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. He doesn’t operate that way today because Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father. He no longer employs miracles to witness to the unbeliever that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah since the Lord no longer resides on planet earth but at the right hand of the Father.
So blaspheming the Spirit is not a particular act of sin but rather a negative attitude towards the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ that extends over a lifetime. It cannot be forgiven because it is the rejection of the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ in common grace over a lifetime. If you reject the Spirit’s repeated attempts over a lifetime to witness that Jesus is the Christ then you will go to the Lake of Fire. I say it is the rejection of the Spirit’s witness of Christ over a lifetime because there were many times before we became born-again and saved that we rejected the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ in common grace. God is patient, He will offer the Gospel to the unbeliever throughout their lifetime as we noted in 2 Peter 3:9. We have all been hostile towards God before salvation, were we not? Col 1:19-21, “For it was the {Father’s} good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, {I say} whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, {engaged} in evil deeds.” So we have all rejected Christ before salvation and then changed our attitude at some point and trusted in Him as Savior.
Therefore, the blasphemy of the Spirit is an attitude that extends over a lifetime that rejects what the Holy Spirit has to say about Jesus Christ and can occur in any dispensation. The blasphemy of the Spirit is a lifelong, antagonistic and hostile mental attitude towards the Holy Spirit’s witness regarding the Person and Work of Christ at the point of hearing the Gospel for salvation and is not merely attributing the miracles of Christ to the devil. If you reject Christ as Savior, you are rejecting in effect the witness of the Spirit and thus calling the Spirit a liar. The blasphemy of the Spirit is a lifelong negative attitude towards the Spirit’s work in common grace. The problem was not that the Pharisees rejected the miracles and attributed His miracles to the kingdom of darkness but rather the problem was their negative attitude toward Christ. It is not attributing the miracles to the kingdom of darkness that cannot be forgiven but rather the lifelong rejection of the Spirit’s trustworthy witness concerning Christ at the point of hearing the Gospel for salvation. This is why the Lord said that the blasphemy of the Spirit cannot be forgiven.
Thirdly, is it any more blasphemous to reject Christ then as it is today? Is it any more blasphemous to reject the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ then as it is today? Of course not! Therefore, we can conclude that the blasphemy against the Spirit is not unique to the dispensation of the hypostatic union or 1st Advent of Christ since individuals are rejecting the Holy Spirit’s witness of Christ at the point of hearing the Gospel for salvation even today in our day and age, thus it can and does occur in every dispensation of history! The reason why the
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Lord said that rejection of the Spirit’s witness concerning Himself is blasphemous, and not the rejection of Himself, is because the Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity who convicts the unbeliever in common grace. The Holy Spirit in common grace bears witness to the unbeliever that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Common grace refers to that aspect of God’s grace policy, which is directed towards the entire human race, without exception. God the Holy Spirit convicts the unbeliever that he is a sinner and needs a Savior. This principle is mentioned by the Lord in His Upper Room Discourse. John 16:7-11, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”
The Holy Spirit in common grace takes the Gospel message and makes it understandable to the unbeliever so that they can either make the non-meritorious decision to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior or reject Him. What is the gospel? Corrected translation of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Now I declare to all of you, brothers, the gospel which I myself proclaimed to all of you, which also you accepted, in which also you stand eternally secure, by which (Gospel), you are being delivered [from the power of both the old sin nature and the cosmic system], if and let us assume for the sake of argument you are adhering to the Word which I proclaimed to all of you unless, if and let us assume for the sake of argument, you did not believed in the Gospel. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
It is the Holy Spirit, who takes the Gospel information that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried and was raised on the 3rd day according to the Scriptures. When this is presented, then it is simple case of believing this information regarding the Lord Jesus. Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” We have to possess some information regarding Christ in order to believe in Him. You can’t believe in someone you have no knowledge of. Therefore, it is essential that we present the Gospel accurately and concisely to the unbeliever because the Gospel is the power of God for salvation. Rom 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The Holy Spirit takes whatever truth that is communicated to the unbeliever and makes it understandable so that they can make a decision for or against Christ as their Savior. The unbeliever cannot understand the gospel message of Jesus Christ unless the Holy Spirit enables him. A spiritually dead person cannot understand the things of God without the aid of the Holy Spirit in common grace.
A spiritually dead person needs help at salvation. The Holy Spirit in common grace has to make spiritual information understandable to the spiritually dead person so that they can make a decision to either accept Christ as Savior or reject Him. 2 Cor 6:1-2, “And working together {with Him} we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain–for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION.” This process takes place over a lifetime until the unbeliever accepts Christ or they die. There are no more opportunities after death. Heb 9:27, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this {comes} judgment.”
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Now look at Matthew 12:31-32, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the {age} to come.” The word for “blasphemy” in Matthew 12:31 is the noun blasphemia. It too is a compound word composed of the following: (1) Verb blapto, “to hurt, injure.” (2) Noun pheme, “speech, report.” Thus, the word literally means “injurious speech” or “evil speech or report.” The classical meaning is “evil speech, profane speech, defamation,” or “slander.” It is a word used to denote the strongest form of mockery or slander. In reference to the Greek pantheon of gods, blasphemia is the misrepresentation of their true nature or power. It is used consistently in the LXX for the defamation of the character and nature of God. The word appears 20 times in the NT and refers to slander, defamation of character. Thus, by rejecting the witness of the Holy Spirit concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, the unbeliever is in fact blaspheming or defaming the character of the Spirit.
The term “Holy” describes the Spirit’s perfect character and integrity. The unbeliever is in effect calling the Spirit a liar by rejecting His witness that they are a sinner and need a Savior and Jesus Christ is that Savior. The Pharisees rejection of the Holy Spirit’s witness regarding Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and Savior of the world was a defamation of the character and integrity of God the Holy Spirit. This is why our Lord calls the Pharisees rejection of Him as the Messiah as blaspheming the Spirit.
Also, I want you to notice the tense of the verb for the phrase “it shall not be forgiven” in verses 31 and 31. The future tense of the verb aphiemi indicates the Pharisees’ sin would be judged at a future day meaning the Great White Throne Judgment mentioned in Revelation 20:11-15. In both cases the future tense of the verb aphiemi is indicating clearly that the sin that the Pharisees were committing at that particular moment of attributing Christ’s miracles to the devil rather than the Spirit was not the sin that was unpardonable. If the so-called unpardonable sin were taking place at that moment, the Lord would have used the present tense meaning that the sin of the Pharisees of blaspheming the Spirit was not forgiven at that moment. The future tense of the verb leaves room for repentance or a change of attitude by the Pharisees, which took place among many of them according to John 12:42 and Acts 15:5. The only solution for this negative attitude towards the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ was for the Pharisees to repent or change one’s mind by believing in Him. Their hostile and antagonistic attitude needed to be changed. It is not a particular act that was the problem of the Pharisees but rather their blasphemous attitude, which was the root of their blasphemous actions. Attitude precedes action. This is why the Jews are told to repent or what it really says is that they were to change their minds about Christ. Matt 3:2, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mark 1:14-15, “Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
The word for “repent” in each of these passages is the compound verb metanoeo, which is composed of 2 words: (1) Preposition meta, “change.” (2) Verb noeo, “to exercise the mind.” The cognate noun of the verb noeo is nous, “mind, attitude.” So literally this compound verb metanoeo in all of these passages means “to change your attitude,” or “to change your mind.”
The Pharisees had to change their attitude towards the Spirit’s witness concerning the Lord Jesus. When it says the kingdom of God is at hand it refers to the fact that their Jewish Messiah,
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the King Himself was in their midst and that they needed to change their attitude regarding Him. The King and His kingdom cannot be separated…they could have had the kingdom if the nation accepted as Messiah, but of course, they did not. They needed to stop thinking of Jesus of Nazareth as the carpenter’s son, a mere man and a threat to their ministry and to turn to Him as their Lord and Savior. Yet, many of the Jews rejected the Spirit’s witness regarding the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the promised Messiah…that He was the Son of God. His miracles were signs to the Jewish nation that He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah, yet they attributed His miracles to the Enemy, Satan. The Lord rebuked the Pharisees regarding their stubbornness in rejecting Him as Messiah even though He gave them many signs that He was the Messiah. John 12:37-42, “But though He had performed so many signs before them, {yet} they were not believing in Him. {This was} to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?”For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM. These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing {Him} for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue.”
I want to address one more important principle regarding this passage in Matthew 12:32. Note the phrase in Matthew 12:32: “either in this age or in the age to come.” It is very important for it indicates the time element involved in this eternal condemnation for blaspheming the Spirit. This phrase clearly indicates that the rejection of Spirit’s witness regarding the Person and Work of Christ will not be forgiven during the dispensation of the hypostatic union and in the future. Thus implying that it not only took place during the 1st Advent of Christ but it will take place in future dispensations such as the church age, tribulation and millennial reign of Christ! The translation “in the age to come” is a misleading translation. A more accurate translation would be “in the future.” Why? The usual word for “age” is aion, but it is not used here. The phrase “in the age to come” is a prepositional phrase composed of the following: (1) Preposition en, “in.” (2) Dative masculine singular definite article to, “the.” (3) Dative masculine singular present active participle form of the verb mello, which is mellonti, “future.”
The articular participle to mellonti is used substantively meaning “the future.” This is what we call a locative of time or as some grammarians call a dative of time. It indicates when the action of the main verb will take place. So in the context of Matthew 12:32 the dative or locative of time indicates that the blasphemy of the Spirit will not be forgiven in the future as well as during the 1st Advent of Christ. Thus implying that it is not unique to the 1st Advent of Christ but rather can take place in every dispensation after it.
Resisting the Spirit
The 2nd sin that is committed against the Holy Spirit that we will notes is that of resisting the Holy Spirit. It is found in Acts 6:7-15, “The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. The pivotal figure in this passage is the 1st martyr of the church, namely Stephen who was a deacon. Stephen was one of 7 men chosen
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from among the Hellenistic or Greek speaking Jews in the early church to supervise the daily distribution of food to those in need.” Luke named him first in the list in Acts 6:5 and he rapidly stood out according to Acts 6:8 by the grace and power he demonstrated because he was continually under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He received his power because he was filled with the Spirit. His name in the Greek is stephanos. The early church was predominately Jewish rather than Gentile. There was a great deal of growing pains for the church because many of these Jewish believers had a difficult time making the transition of being under the Mosaic Law to being under grace.
Stephen was instrumental in helping to make this transition come about and it cost him his life. His trial before the Council indicates that he knew his Old Testament for he gives a summary history of the Jews nation from Abraham to Christ. He evidently was quite a theologian for he dynamically defended the Christian faith against its enemies. Acts 6:9, “But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, {including} both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.”
The Greek Word in the New Testament for “Freedman” is Libertinos, “Libertines.” This Greek word Libertinos is Luke’s transliteration of the Latin libertinus, which in turn appears in the old English versions as “libertine.” The loanword means people who have been manumitted or release from slavery. They were an international group of Jewish followers of the Mosaic Law. We know that they were international because Luke tells us that they came from throughout the various provinces in the Roman Empire. Stephen was witnessing to these Hellenistic or Greek speaking Jews. They are called the Synagogue of the Freedman. These individuals secretly instigated a persecution against Stephen whom they were not able to refute because of his tremendous wisdom and knowledge of the Scriptures. Acts 6:9 states that they were composed of men from Cyrene, Alexandria in Egypt and Cilicia and Asia. Acts 6:10-11, “But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and {against} God.”
Here we have makings of a conspiracy against Stephen. His ministry was so powerful that his opponents resorted to plotting a conspiracy against him and eventually violence. Acts 6:12, “And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.” The Council refers to the Sanhedrin. Stephen’s principle antagonists were the same individuals who condemned our Lord to the Cross, namely the Jewish Sanhedrin. They were the leaders of the Jewish nation. Jewish tradition states that they existed continually since the council of 70 elders in the time of Moses (Nm. 11:16). The Sanhedrin consisted of 70 members and the high priest as president. Only the high priest could preside over the Sanhedrin. Next in rank to the high priest were the chief priests, whose presence and power in the Sanhedrin were due to their office in the temple. They were uniformly members of the Sadduccean aristocracy, which solidified them into a powerful party. Next came the elders, who were the lay members or who didn’t hold a high office in the Sanhedrin. They came from the most influential families in Jerusalem. These individuals were mainly Sadduccees who didn’t believe in a literal resurrection like the Pharisees. The powers of the Sanhedrin were not limited merely to religious affairs while the Romans controlled civil matters in Jerusalem. On the contrary, the Romans allowed the Jewish Sanhedrin the same large control of internal affairs that they granted other subject peoples. As a result the Sanhedrin exercised jurisdiction over all matters on which smaller Jewish courts could not reach a decision except those matters that the Roman governor directly controlled. The court not only
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administered civil matters according to Jewish law but also dealt with criminal justice, keeping its own police force and making arrests. All Jews everywhere fell under the Sanhedrin’s authority.
In this passage in Acts, Stephen is put on trial before this court. Acts 6:13-14, “They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” Notice that these individuals resort to the same tactics that they used against our Lord throughout His 6 trials before human courts. These strident proponents for keeping the Mosaic Law were breaking the commandment not to bear false witness. Exod 20:16, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” They claimed to be the keepers and protectors of the Law and yet they were the biggest Lawbreakers. The false charges brought up against Stephen are similar to those brought up against the Lord. Matt 26:59-61, “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find {any} even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, “This man stated, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.”
As in the case of our Lord, the false charges brought up against Stephen were not total fabrications, but rather subtle misrepresentations of what was intended. Acts 6:15, “And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.” Luke states that Stephen’s face or countenance became like the face of an angel. What does he mean by that? Simply that Stephen was filled with the Spirit. Acts 6:3, 5 states that this characterized Stephen’s life. Because he was filled with the Spirit or under the influence and guidance of the Spirit, he possessed courage, confidence and contentment. He possessed courage, which is the ability to think and apply doctrine under pressure. Stephen possessed confidence because he knew the Scriptures. He was empowered and was receiving guidance from the Spirit. Stephen had contentment because he was doing the Lord’s will. Acts 7:1, “The high priest said, “Are these things so?”
Stephen is about to give a summary history of the Jewish people all the way to the moment that he was speaking before the Council. He doesn’t even acknowledge the charges or seek to defend himself, but rather seeks to give a masterful dissertation on the history of Israel. His dissertation before the Sanhedrin indicates he fabulous knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. Stephen mentions the names of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph and the 12 patriarchs of the Jewish race. He also mentions Moses and birth of Israel as a nation in 1441 B.C. He speaks of David, the greatest king of Israel and Solomon his son the wisest man of the ancient world. Finally, He mentions the One who all these individuals look forward to in faith, namely the Lord Jesus Christ the object of the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon.
In Stephen’s discourse there are 3 ideas that run like cords through its fabric: There is progress and change in God’s program. The blessings of God are not limited to the land of Israel and the temple area. Israel in its past always evidenced a pattern of opposition to God’s plans and His men. Those whom Stephen is addressing here are inflexible and religious. In God’s workings with the nation of Israel from Abraham, the first Jew to Solomon there was innovation and change. The point is clear: If God changed so many things in Israel’s history, who is to say that the Law and the temple area were permanent?
Remember what our Lord said to the Samaritan woman at the well concerning the temple and Jerusalem. John 4:21-24, “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when
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neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” So Stephen tries to communicate the principle in this discourse that God’s program changes, there is a progression of revelation to it.
It is also important to understand the attitude of the Jews here because before the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the 3 pillars of Jewish society were the following: (1) Land (2) Law (3) Temple. The Jews put undo emphasis upon these 3 things. All 3 were God-given, yet they worshipped these blessings rather than the One who gave them these great blessings. This has application for us here in the United States today. Christians today are constantly tempted to assert that our nation and our great possessions are God-given rather than acknowledge our total and absolute dependence upon God.
Under the 2nd point some of the greatest blessings bestowed upon the Jews were apart from the temple and the land. Stephen gives 4 examples: (1) Israel’s patriarchs and leaders were all blessed outside the land. (2) Abraham in Mesopotamia. (3) Joseph found favor while in Egypt and Moses while in the desert of Midian. (4) The Law was given outside the land of Israel and the tabernacles was built in the desert.
Under the 3rd point, Israel has a history of rebelling against God and His leaders that He has delegated authority to. Abraham went to Haran when he shouldn’t have and Joseph was sold by his jealous brothers into slavery. Moses was rejected by the Exodus generation. What is very interesting here and I’m sure did not escape Stephen’s hostile audience was that both Joseph and Moses were not accepted until their 2nd appearances. The parallel with Christ could not have escaped Stephen’s audience.
Stephen’s speech fulfilled a prophecy that our Lord gave to His disciples which is recorded in Luke 21:10, “Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put {some} of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
“Stiff-necked” is the Greek noun sklerotrachelos. This word only appears here in the NT. In classical Greek and the LXX, the term vividly describes one whose jaws and neck are rigid from angrily resisting argument or counsel. It describes someone who is obstinate. Exod 33:5, “For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, “You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.”‘ Deut 9:6, “Know, then, {it is} not because of your righteousness {that} the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people.”
The phrase “uncircumcised in heart and ears” refers to the fact that they were unregenerate or in other words, not born-again and saved. The born again believer is circumcised in Christ,
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Paul states this to the church at Colossae in: Colossians 2:11, “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” The Jew was driven from the land because of his uncircumcised heart as God declares through Moses in Leviticus 26:40-42, “If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me-I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies-or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.”
God is concerned about the condition of your heart. To reject the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ upon hearing the Gospel is to have an uncircumcised heart before God. The Greek word for “resisting” is 2nd person plural present active indicative form of the verb antipipto. It appears only once in the NT, here in Acts 7:51. Antipipto is a compound verb composed of the following: (1) Preposition anti, “against, opposite.” (2) Verb pipto, “to fall.” Literally, the word means “to fall against,” or “to fall in a contrary direction.” It expresses determined and active resistance to the Holy Spirit’s work in common grace.
“Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.” This statement by Stephen is reminiscent of Lord’s condemnation of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:29-38. Matt 23:29-35, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, “If we had been {living} in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in {shedding} the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure {of the guilt} of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall {the guilt of} all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.”
Acts 7:52, “you who received the law as ordained by angels, and {yet} did not keep it. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they {began} gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” The reason why the Sanhedrin covered their ears when Stephen said this is because they remembered what the Lord Jesus said to the high priest Caiaphas and before the entire Sanhedrin. Matt 26:62-64, “The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it {yourself;} nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”
Also, what is interesting about Stephen’s martyrdom is that Saul of Tarsus (aka the apostle Paul) meets Stephen. This is the first time and the last time they would meet on planet earth. Both are in the presence of the Lord at this time. Stephen was a tremendous witness to Saul in
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death. It was Stephen who prepared Saul for the appearance of the Lord on that dusty road to Damascus. The Lord never wastes the blood of His saints!
They went on stoning Stephen as he called on {the Lord} and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.” Stephen again manifests his Christ-like attitude in death. His words echo that of our Lord’s at the Cross of Calvary 2000 years ago. Luke 23:34, “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.” Interestingly enough, the leaders of the Jewish nation were resisting the Spirit by putting to death Stephen who was filled with the Spirit. Stephen was witnessing to these unregenerate Jews by means of the power of the Spirit. They rejected the Spirit’s ministry in common grace.
Also, notice that Stephen wasn’t a pastor or evangelist but rather a deacon serving his brethren, laying down his life for them just as our Lord did at the Cross. John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Stephen was a tremendous witness to Saul in death. It was Stephen who prepared Saul for the appearance of the Lord on that dusty road to Damascus. The Lord never wastes the blood of His saints! For Israel, it meant condemnation. This was their 3rd murder. They permitted John the Baptist to be killed and demanded that Jesus be put to death and now the blood of Stephen was on their heads. The Jews sinned against God the Father who sent John (Mt. 21:33-46). They sinned against the Son of God when they asked Pilate to have Him condemned to the Cross (Mt. 21:33-46). Finally, when they stoned Stephen, Israel sinned against the Holy Spirit who was working in and through Stephen and the apostles (Mt. 10:1-8; Acts 7:51).
Judgment finally came to the unregenerate members of the nation of Israel, when Titus and the Roman legions destroyed the city of David in 70 A.D. Those who died without being born-again and saved would never be forgiven the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The nations rejection of the Spirit’s witness concerning the Person and Work of Christ would never be forgiven at the Great White Throne Judgment. Resisting the Holy Spirit is in effect blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The sin of rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior is the rejection of the Spirit’s witness concerning Him. The Jews did not reject Stephen but in reality they had rejected the Spirit’s witness and thus would receive their just condemnation at the Great White Throne Judgment.
Lying to the Spirit
The only place where lying against the Holy Spirit is mentioned is in the book of Acts. A married couple committed it during the early 1st century church. During the pre-canon period of the church age. The account of their sin against the Holy Spirit is noted in Acts 5:1-11. The book of Acts documents the transition period from the dispensation of the Mosaic Law to the mystery dispensation called the church age. Believers in the Old Testament dispensations were governed by the Law but during the church age, believers are governed by the Holy Spirit. This is never more evident as in this passage in Acts regarding the sin of Ananais and Sapphira.
Acts 4:33-35, “And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.” This passage refers to the fact that the apostles were evangelizing their fellow Jewish countrymen in Israel. The church had just multiplied overnight to 3,000 persons on the day of Pentecost according to Acts 2:41 and more were being added by the day according to Acts 2:47, thus many needs were arising that needed to be met. Their fellow Jewish countryman and the synagogues would not aid
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those who were identifying themselves with Jesus Christ who was just recently crucified just a few months before on the 14th day of Nisan, which is the Passover. So the church had to rely upon each other to meet each other’s needs. Their giving here is the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This is not communism that we see here in this passage where believers are selling their property to aid others. Communism is not only involuntary but tyranny itself. The selling of property here by the disciples was voluntary and motivated properly by their love for the Lord and a product of the Holy Spirit’s ministry. This extraordinary generosity that is expressed here by the early church was a result of the fruit of the Spirit and not performed by human power. Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is virtue-love, contentment, soul prosperity, patient-endurance, integrity, generosity, faithfulness, humility, discipline, against such things there is no law.”
Furthermore according to Acts 2:42, the early church was continually devoted to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship. One of the doctrines the Lord taught the apostles was giving. This the apostles passed onto to the rest of the church.
We must note that the Greek in Acts 4:34 does not mean that everyone sold his property at once. Rather, from time to time, as need would arise, someone would sell a piece of property…not all their property at once…please note that…They would sell off a piece of property off as needs would arise. So this was not a mass selling of all one’s property. There are 2 words in the Greek that clearly indicate this: (1) Nominative masculine plural present active participle form of the verb poleo, “to sell.” (2) 3rd person plural imperfect active indicative form of the verb phero, “to bring.”
The historical present of the participle poleo is used to describe a past event in narrative literature, which we have here, since Luke is narrating this event that took place early in the church’s history. The reason for the use of the historical present is normally to portray an event vividly, as though the reader were in the midst of the scene as it unfolds.
The key is the imperfect tense of the verb phero. It is what we call an iterative imperfect tense. The imperfect is frequently used for repeated action in past time. It describes an action that occurred at different time intervals in the past. There are two types of iterative imperfect: (1) Iterative proper, in which the imperfect indicates repeated action by the same agent (2) Distributive, in which the imperfect is used for individual acts of multiple agents. Here we have a distributive iterative imperfect tense used for individual acts of multiple agents. The distributive iterative imperfect tense of the verb phero indicates that at different time intervals in the early 1st century church individual acts of giving were performed by multiple individuals in the church. So this was done from time to time as needs would arise. This was not a mass selling of all one’s property as some suggest. This was not communism! What the disciples were doing was not imposed by law, rule, regulation or requirement, as is the case with communism but rather the beautiful outcome of a Spirit-filled life.
Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Barnabas is a central figure in the early church before Paul came on the scene. He was an associate of Paul. In fact, it was Barnabas who sponsored Paul. If you recall, the early church was suspicious of Paul because of his previous persecutions of the church. Everyone was frightened of him. But Barnabas demonstrating his leadership qualities, namely, his compassion, removed the disciples distrust in Paul. He secured the admission of the former persecutor to their fellowship. He was called Barnabas as a testimony to his eloquence. The literal meaning of his name is “son of prophecy.” He was a Levite meaning he was
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descended from the priestly tribe of Levi. He was from the island of Cyprus and a cousin of the evangelist Mark. This account here in the book of Acts is the first time that we encounter him on the pages of Scripture.
We now come to the central characters of our study this evening, namely Ananias and his wife Sapphira. Here we also have Satan infiltrating the church and influencing these 2 believers to lie to the Holy Spirit. Remember what Peter said: 1 Pet 5:8, “Be of sober {spirit} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Well, Satan is about to devour this married couple. They were not alert meaning that they were not of sober spirit or in other word, under the influence of the Spirit’s mentorship. Remember, that the early church had multiplied in the face of opposition from without. It never has been harmed or hindered from without but it has been perpetually harmed and its work hindered by perils from within. Satan could not destroy the church with opposition from without so he did what he has always done to churches, he seeks to divide from within. Satan knows the following principle and knows it well: Mark 3:25, “”If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” He seeks to cause church members to live in their old sin nature to live for self. Satan causes personality conflicts, which in turn divide a church from within. He brings individuals into a local assembly that are legalistic and self-righteous in the hopes of dividing it. Gal 2:4, “But {it was} because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.”
So here in Acts 5 we have Satan influencing 2 members of the early 1st century church and getting them involved in the sin of hypocrisy in the attempts to divide it. The Scriptures state that the church was unified. Acts 4:32, “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one {of them} claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” So here we have Satan looking to divine his enemy the church. The name “Ananias” means “God is gracious.” Ananias was certainly not gracious in fact he was grieving the Holy Spirit by not allowing the Spirit to produce the fruit of the Spirit in his life, which will result in generosity. The name “Sapphira” means “beautiful.” Sapphira did not live up to her name for she was ugly in her soul. The phrase “kept back” is the 3rd person singular aorist middle indicative form of the verb nosphizomai, “to misappropriate funds for one’s own benefit.” This is an intensive middle emphasizing the part taking here by Ananias meaning that he kept back some of the money for himself. Ananias with his wife’s full knowledge misappropriated the money from the land they sold for their own benefit. They only brought a portion of the money they received from the sale of the land. They wanted to enjoy the acclaim of the church, as Barnabas did, without making a genuine sacrifice.
Now you might say what is wrong with them keeping some of the money back for themselves? There is nothing wrong with it. There was no regulation in the church that men should give, or that they should give at all. This was not a requirement for fellowship or for service. So what was their great sin? One must discover the nature of the sin by what Peter said both to Ananias and Sapphira. The problem with these 2 individuals is that they were involved in hypocrisy. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was the sin of pretending that part of what they gave was all. It was the sin of attempting to appear what they really were not, of endeavoring to make it appear that they had done what they really had not. They were lying. Ananias and Sapphira could have retained the proceeds from the sale of the property, of course, but in collusion with each other they had lied, saying they had given all the money when actually they had given only a portion of the money. They deliberately attempted to deceive the apostles and the rest of the
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church into thinking that they were giving all the money. You see, they were wanted the approbation of the entire church since as we read in Acts 4:36-37 that Barnabas had sold some of his property and gave all the money to the aid of the church. These 2 did not do that since they only gave a portion of the money while all the time deceiving everyone into thinking that they gave it all. The terrible nature of the sin is not that of refusing to give, not that of only giving part, but that of attempting to make men believe that they had given it all, when they had only given part, and so that of lying to God.
The word for “hypocrite” in the Greek New Testament is the noun hupokrites. Our English word hypocrite is a transliteration from the Greek word. It is a compound word based on the verb krino, “to judge.” Hupokrites primarily denotes “one who answers”; then, “a stage-actor”. It was a custom for Greek and Roman actors to speak in large masks with mechanical devices for augmenting the force of the voice. Hence the word became used metaphorically of ” a hypocrite.” The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was the sin of acting the part of gracious givers when in fact they were not. So the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was lying to the Holy Spirit and this sin was manifested in their hypocrisy before the congregation. One thing is for sure, they did not deceive God the Holy Spirit.
Luke is making a parallel between Ananias and Sapphira’s sin and Achan’s sin, which appears in Joshua 7. Luke’s use of the verb nosphizomai here in Acts 5:2, which in the LXX heads the account in Joshua 7:1-26 of Achan’s misappropriation of part of what had been dedicated to God. His use of the verb here implies that Luke meant to draw a parallel between the sin of Achan as the Israelites began their conquest of Canaan and the sin of Ananias and Sapphira as the church began its mission. Both incidents came under the immediate and drastic judgment of God and teaching a sobering lesson and this is very likely how the early church saw it as well. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back {some} of the price of the land? The word for “filled” is the 3rd person singular aorist active indicative form of the verb pleroo. The same verb that we noted in Ephesians 5:18 where Paul gives the following command to the believers in Ephesus: “And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of being drunk with wine because that is non-sensical behavior, but rather permit yourselves on a habitual basis to be influenced (pleroo) by means of the Spirit.”
Here in Acts 5:3 we have the same pleroo being employed by the writer Luke, but this time we have Satan influencing Ananais and Sapphira to lie to the Holy Spirit as a result of their hypocrisy. The Holy Spirit was not influencing, guiding or empowering these 2 to give to the church but rather Satan was influencing and the motivator behind this sin. They were not under the influence of the Spirit but under the influence of Satan. Throughout history Satan has been influencing believers to act against God. He motivated David to take a census of the nation of Israel independently from God. 1 Chr 21:1, “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.” He also is influencing Peter to stop the Lord from doing the Father’s will and going to the Cross. Matt 16:23, “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back {some} of the price of the land? The phrase “to lie” is the aorist middle infinitive form of the verb pseudomai. It means, “to communicate what is false, with the evident purpose of misleading.”
The middle voice is important because it effects the translation and therefore, the understanding of what went on this particular situation with Ananias and Sapphira. This is what
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we call a causative direct middle voice. The subject has something done for or to himself or herself. The cause here is volitional meaning that Ananias of his own volition committing the act of lying to the Holy Spirit, but the causative direct middle suggests that the prompting lay elsewhere and only that consent or permission or toleration was wrung from the subject. So what the causative direct middle indicates is that Ananias of his own volitional lied to the Holy Spirit but that he was prompted or influence by Satan to do so! Instead of resisting Satan and submitting to the Holy Spirit, Ananias and Sapphira gave in to Satan and lied to the Holy Spirit. Notice how Peter says that Ananias lied to God here in verse 4 and in verse 3 Peter says he lied to the Holy Spirit, thus affirming the Personality of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is a Person as this passages clearly demonstrates and not a force. You cannot lie to a force but you can lie to a Person. This sin proceeds from the heart that is not under the influence of the Spirit but under the influence of Satan and the cosmic system and the old sin nature.
Ananias and Sapphira committed this act of sin because they received this thought from Satan and acted upon it. This is very important because it brings out the principle that the Satan and the kingdom of darkness are involved in thought projection. Paul calls thought projections from the kingdom of darkness “flaming missiles.” Eph 6:16, “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil {one.}.” Satan was projecting thoughts at Ananias and Sapphira. He was feeding their arrogance and they acted, thus they were still responsible for their actions. They chose to listen to Satan. If you are not under the influence of the Spirit it will bear out in your actions. The Lord noted the principle concerning the heart that is not under the Spirit’s guidance and direction. Matt 15:18-20, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” Gen 8:21, “The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.” Jer 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Acts 5:5, “And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.” The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. What has taken place is dying discipline. As Peter wrote later in his life, judgment begins “with the royal family of God.” 1 Pet 4:17a, “For {it is} time for judgment to begin with the household of God.” Here we also have a classic case of the sin unto death mentioned by the apostle John. I Jn 5:16, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not {leading} to death, he shall ask and {God} will for him give life to those who commit sin not {leading} to death. There is a sin {leading} to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.” This discipline was severe because it was an example to the church, just as Achan was an example for the nation of Israel during the dispensation of the Law.
There elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. “And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price. Then Peter {said} to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out {as well}.” The word for “test” here is the verb peirazo. In early Greek literature peirazo meant, “to attempt, to try.” At times it could mean, “to test or try the quality or character of someone or
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something.” In contexts of “testing” God or Christ, peirazo denotes the human efforts to “prove” God, which are actually signs of unbelief. God is not to be doubted because of His perfect integrity and veracity. Unbelief doubts His perfect integrity. Ananias and Sapphira tested the Spirit to see how much they could get away with before He judges. The word here means that they were presuming on God the Holy Spirit. They were presuming on Him to see if He will perform His Word, or to stretch Him to the limits.
Acts 5:10, “And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.” The word for “fear” here is the noun phobos. This word appears in verse 5 and here in verse 11 in order to emphasis the impact that their deaths made on the early church. Phobos was used often in classical literature for “sudden and violent fear, fright, panic.” Throughout the classical period the word was used not only for “terror” and “headlong flight” but “fear” or “apprehension,” whatever the cause. It was commonly used for fear of death. The word was sometimes used in the positive sense of “respect, awe,” or “reverence,” especially toward human authority or the gods. In the LXX phobos usually translates the Hebrew root yir`ah, “to fear, to be afraid.” In the LXX the word means “terror” when it relates to the enemies of Yahweh. It means “reverence, respect” when used in relation to the believer’s relationship to the Lord. Phobos occurs 47 times in the NT. It is used in a subjective sense meaning “fear, dread, terror.” It is also used in an objective sense meaning, that which strikes terror. Phobos is used of fears, apprehensions, and feelings of anxiety. It is also means reverence, respect when directed toward God. This same usage is employed when directed toward legitimate authority, the rank of a person or his dignity. Here in our passage in Acts 5 we have the church demonstrating reverence and respect for the Lord as a result of the death of both Ananias and Sapphira.
Now, you might of asked the question that I have asked, which is Ananias and Sapphira were not the only Christians to have lied to the Holy Spirit, why did God put these 2 to death? Quite simply, the church was in her infancy and as we have noted there was a great transition-taking place from the dispensation of the Mosaic Law to the mystery dispensation, we call the church. The Holy Spirit was instrumental in this transition. In fact, He was orchestrating it. The fact that these 2 individuals were put to death for their lying to the Holy Spirit was to demonstrate that God was at work in this group called the church! They didn’t commit a sin that was any more grievous than what believers commit today. Believers in our day and age give with improper motivation and have approbation lust just like these 2 did, but the Holy Spirit was placing His mark upon the church. The fact that these 2 were disciplined manifested before all Jerusalem both unbelievers and believers, that God was indeed working in this new group, which we know as the church and that indeed a new dispensation was underway.
So by disciplining this couple, the Spirit revealed His displeasure with sin and it marked off the church as distinct from Israel for such discipline was not a work in Israel. Remember, God disciplines His children and not those who are not His. This principle is taught in Hebrews 12. The fact that Ananais and Sapphira, 2 believers in the Lord Jesus Christ received dying discipline was a clear indication that God was working actively in the church as He was during the dispensation of Israel and in particular the Exodus generation where 2 million born-again believers received dying discipline from the Lord. The Lord judges sin severely at the beginning of a new dispensation. At the beginning of the dispensation of the Law, the Lord severely disciplined believers in the 1st Client Nation to God, Israel. Just after the tabernacle was erected, God killed Nadab and Abihu for not following the proper protocol in worshipping Him in the
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Tabernacle. This is found in Leviticus 10. The Lord also killed Achan for disobeying orders after Israel had entered the Promised Land (Josh. 7). While God was certainly not responsible for their sins, He did use these judgments as warnings to the His people, and even to us (1 Co. 10:11-12). 1 Cor 10:11-12, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” So by severely disciplining Ananais and Sapphira the Lord by means of the Holy Spirit was actively governing this new group in Jerusalem called the church.
Grieving the Spirit
Grieving the Holy Spirit is a sin that is directed towards His Person and we have noted earlier in our study of the filling of the Spirit in point 4 that God the Holy Spirit is a Person and not a force. Grieving the Holy Spirit is directed towards His Person and takes place in the life of the believer when his thoughts, words and actions are in accordance with the cosmic system of Satan and the old sin nature.
Ephesians 4:17-32, “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in {the likeness of} God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE OF YOU WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND YET DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have {something} to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such {a word} as is good for edification according to the need {of the moment} so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
It is clear from the context that the lust patterns of the old sin nature are offensive to the Holy Spirit. The fact that Paul employs the adjective hagios, “Holy,” clearly indicates that sin grieves the Spirit since His holiness or integrity is violated by sin.
Sin is violates the perfect integrity of the Spirit who is our true teacher and mentor. In both the preceding and following contexts, the apostle Paul is encouraging believers in Ephesus to put off the old sinful patterns and to replace them with patterns of righteousness. He wants them to put off the old pre-salvation Adamic nature and put on the new post-salvation Christ-nature. The new Christ-nature received at the moment of salvation produces the righteousness of God whereas the old Adamic-nature can only produce human self-righteousness. So it is clear that
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living in our old Adamic-natures offends the perfect integrity of the Spirit. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
The phrase “do not grieve” is composed of 2 words in the original language: (1) Negative particle me (2) 2nd person plural present active imperative form of the verb lupeo, which is lupeite. The verb lupeo in classical and LXX usage was a general term for “sorrow,” encompassing various expressions of grief. Lupeo means, “to cause pain, sorrow, grief, distress” to someone. It may refer to outward mourning or simply to sad feelings. It is commonly used to designate heaviness of heart. In the papyri its use ranges from grief over the loss of a loved one to sadness over the loss of a cloak. The verb lupeo appears 26 times in the NT. In the New Testament it is used for all its variations. It denotes deep sorrow such as in the case of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:37). It was used for the disciples reaction to our Lord’s death in Matthew 17:23 and John 16:20. Here it denotes sorrow over sin by the Holy Spirit.
We must note that you cannot literally grieve the Holy Spirit. This is what we call in theology an anthropopathism. The negative mandate here in Ephesians 4:30 and the one issued in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 to not quench the Spirit’s power are Anthropopathisms. An anthropopathism is language of accommodation through which infinite God reveals Himself to the finite man. Anthropopathism is derived from the Greek: (1) Anthropos, “man.” (2) Pathos, “an inner function of the soul with overt manifestations.” Anthropopathisms ascribe to God human characteristics, which He does not have, in order to explain God’s policy or viewpoint to us in terms of human attitudes. The Bible ascribes the following human emotions to God that He does not possess in order to convey His attitude towards man in terms that man can understand. The following is a brief list of Anthropopathisms found in the Word of God. Examples of Anthropopathisms: (1) God hates (Rm. 9:13). (2) Harbors jealousy (Ex. 20:5a; 34:14; Deut. 4:24; 6:15a). (3) Changes His mind (Gn. 6:6). (4) Vents violent anger (Jer. 4:8; 12:13; 25:37; 51:45; Ezek. 5:15). These qualities are incompatible with God’s essence, but such statements are descriptive and gain the attention of the reader.
In Ephesians 4:30 the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit employs an anthropathism, ascribing the human emotion of grieving to the Holy Spirit, which He does not possess in order to communicate the Spirit’s attitude towards us when we live in our old sin natures. He is using language of accommodation to communicate the Spirit’s attitude toward us when we sin. So here in Ephesians 4:30 Paul is issuing a prohibition to not grieve the Holy Spirit. This prohibition is expressed by the negative particle me, and the present imperative form of the verb lupeo, which together means “do not grieve.” The particle me negates the verb lupeo, thus making this a prohibition. So Paul employs the negative me here with the imperative mood of the verb lupeo in order to prohibit or forbid the Ephesian believers from grieving the Holy Spirit. Here the context clearly indicates that the prohibition makes no comment as to whether the Ephesian believers were grieving the Holy Spirit or not but rather Paul is simply expressing his desire that they do not et into the habit of grieving the Holy Spirit, which is a result of conducting oneself according to the lust patterns of the old sin nature. There is no indication in the entire Ephesian epistle that the Ephesians were living in their old sin nature or committing this particular act of sin. There is no implication whatsoever.
By issuing this prohibition, Paul is performing preventative maintenance. He is warning them ahead of time not to conduct themselves according to their old sin nature, which results in grieving the Holy Spirit. Paul is not telling the Ephesian believers to cease from this act that they were in already in the process of committing, but rather it is a prohibition designed to let the Holy Spirit perform His function of forming Christ-like character in the Ephesian believers. Gal
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4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until the character of Christ is formed in all of you.” He is not implying that they were already involved in this sin of grieving the Holy Spirit but rather he is expressing a general precept. This is a customary present tense used to express habitual action. The customary present tense of this prohibition expresses the idea Paul does not want the Ephesian believers to get into the habit of grieving the Holy Spirit. It denotes a general precept in order that the Spirit can continue building Christ-like character building in the Ephesian believers.
The corrected translation of Ephesians 4:30 is as follows: “Do not make it a habit to grieve the Holy Spirit by means of whom all of you have been sealed for the day of redemption.” Please note that I say that Paul does not want the Ephesian believers to get into the habit of sinning. No believer can stop sinning altogether. As long as we have an old sin nature and live in the devil’s world we will be tempted to sin and we will sin. The Bible states that we are deceiving ourselves if we say we can stop sinning altogether while we still have an old sin nature and live in the devil’s world.
Grieving the Holy Spirit deals with the issue of known sin. All sin is rebellion but the issue here in Ephesian 4:30 is known sin. Or sin that we harbor in our hearts and aware of, but don’t confess. We cannot confess or acknowledge to the Father a sin we are not cognizant of or aware of. Known sin in the life of a believer in an anthropopathic sense grieves, pains, or offends the heart of the Holy Spirit or it violates His holiness or integrity. The Spirit is holy and thus abhors sin. You must understand that the Holy Spirit desires to guide us and empower to do the Father’s will. He longs to transform us into the character of Christ. When He cannot, He is grieved because He is offended by sin, particularly by the sins of self-reliance and rebellion, which hinder His purpose in indwelling us. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we are not applying the Word of God to our thought process. We grieve the Holy Spirit when are conduct…our words and actions are contrary to the Word of God. Grieving the Spirit is when the believer does not think, speak or act in accordance with the mandates found in the Word of God, which is the mind of Christ.
There are several things that cause the believer to grieve the Holy Spirit. The first of which is legalism, which is man operating in the energy of his own resources, namely, his soul and his flesh. Legalism is seeking to do good deeds or religious works and then thinking this somehow merits God’s favor or gains His approbation. In legalism, man’s faith is in his own abilities. The 2nd thing that grieves the Spirit is license, which is the believer’s abuse of his freedom in Christ for self-centered reasons in the pursuit of their liberty. Galatians 5:1-15, Romans 14-14 and 1 Corinthians 8 deal with this licentious lifestyle. There are also 3 powers which are vying to control our souls: (1) Cosmic system (Rm. 12:2). (2) Flesh (Ga. 5:16-17). (3) Devil (Eph. 6:10-18).
There are also 4 problems which hinders the Spirit’s work in producing Christ-like character in the believer: (1) Ignorance of God’s Word (Rm. 6:1f). (2) Bias: preconceived ideas from one’s background that blocks out the truth of Scripture (Mk. 7:6-13). (3) Unbelief or an attitude of self-dependence (Jer. 17:5; cf. Gal. 3:3, 5; with 5:1-5). (4) Rationalization: rationalizing our sins rather than confessing them (Ps. 32:3-5; 51; 6, 10, 16). The desire for position, approbation, possessions, wealth, power, and pleasure are all lust patterns, which grieve the Spirit. They are products of Satan’s cosmic system and the old sin nature. They are all lies that people believe. We cannot find true happiness, significance and security in life by seeking pleasure, power, praise, position and wealth. These things became an idol in our souls and hinder the Spirit’s work in our lives, which is to produce the character of Christ in our lives. There is a whole in each of
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our hearts that only God can fill. There are a number of negative results that take place when we grieve the Holy Spirit.
Grieving the Spirit results in loss of fellowship. When the Spirit is grieved our prayer life is hindered (Ps. 66:18). So also is our witnessing (Acts 1:8) and our Bible study (1 Co. 2:10-16; Eph. 3:16f). So in other words all the Spirit’s dynamic ministries are affected when we grieve the Spirit. We waste our spiritual, mental and physical resources when we grieve the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Grieving the Spirit on a habitual basis affects our health, integrity, human relationships and society as a whole. A lifestyle of always grieving the Spirit will result in divine discipline and eventually dying discipline. It will result in the loss of testimony in the Lord, which dishonors the Lord (cf. 1 Pe. 3:15-17; 4:15-16). A lifestyle of grieving the Spirit results in the loss of rewards (1 Jn. 2:28-3:3; cf. 1 Co. 3:11-15; 2 Co. 5:10).
Quenching the Spirit
In the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:19, the prohibition to not quench the Spirit is a part of a series of exhortations which concludes Paul’s message to the Thessalonians. In 1 Thessalonians 1:2-9 Paul praises the Thessalonians for their spiritual walk and witness. But he also challenges them throughout the rest of the epistle to continue to live obediently, orderly and in harmony with one another and with those in leadership. These praises and challenges are given in the light of the rapture, which is the imminent return of the Lord mentioned in every chapter of 1 Thessalonians. Paul does not employ the adjective hagios, “Holy” in the prohibition of 1 Thessalonians 5:19 because he is not emphasizing the effect that sin has upon the Person of the Spirit and thus our fellowship with Him, but rather it emphasizes the negative impact that sin has upon His various post-salvation functions that He performs on behalf of the believer.
Grieving the Spirit emphasizes the negative impact sin has on our relationship with the Person of the Holy Spirit, namely, our fellowship with Him while quenching the Spirit emphasizes the negative impact it has upon the Spirit’s work in our lives, which is to manifest the character of Christ in our lives. Let us begin reading at 1 Thessalonians 5:12, “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything {carefully;} hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
1Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.” The phrase “do not quench” is composed of 2 words in the Greek: (1) Negative particle me. (2) 2nd person plural present active imperative form of the verb sbennumi, which is sbennute. The verb sbennumi has the following meanings in classical literature and the LXX: (1) Of fire: “to quench, to be extinguished, to go out.” (2) Of
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fluids: “to suck dry, to dry up.” (3) Of men, plants, and cities: “to die, perish.” (4) Of foods in cooking: “to steam.” (5) “to still, to damp down, to restrain, to rest, to lie down, to abate.” (6) Of emotions and moods: “to still, to calm.” (7) “to suppress, to restrain, to fade, to die out, to disappear” of the influence of personality.
The verb appears 8 times in the Greek New Testament where it is always used in relation to fire, either in a literal or metaphoric sense. Here in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 we have the metaphoric usage of the verb. The English translations use the word “quench” to translate the word. This is a poor choice. The English word “quench” has the connotation in our day and age that is related to thirst. We are not talking about quenching the Spirit’s thirst here. The term sbennumi in the Greek New Testament is always used of extinguishing a light or fire. In using the word here in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Paul pictured the Spirit of God as fire. One of the figures that are used for the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is fire. John the Baptist is reported as having explicitly linked the coming of the Spirit with fire. Luke 3:16, “John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming ho is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The “tongues of fire” that rested over the heads of the disciples on the Day of Pentecost was sign of the Spirit’s presence in the church. The Baptism of the Spirit thus was linked with fire. Acts 2:1-4, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
In the Old Testament, fire was a symbol of the Lord’s presence and the instrument of His power, either in the way of approval or judgment. The Lord pre-incarnate Christ appeared in the burning bush to Moses in Exodus 3:2-5, which we call in theology, a theophany. Exod 3:2, “The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.” The Exodus generation was guided at night by a pillar of fire. Exod 14:24, “At the morning watch, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.”
Fire was also equated with the Lord’s judgment. Num 11:1-3, “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard {it}, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed {some} of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them.” God is compared to fire not only because of His perfect integrity but also on account of His anger towards sin. Heb 12:29, “for our God is a consuming fire.”
What does Fire produce? Light of course. Light enables us to see where we are going. In the same way that the pillar of fire provided light and guided the Exodus generation through the darkness of the desert so the Spirit provides light for the church age believer’s soul in order to guide him through the darkness of the cosmic system. When we sin, we are extinguishing the light that the Spirit provides in our soul when we are in fellowship. 1 John 1:5-7, “And this is the promise which we have heard from Him and proclaim to all of you that God is light and there is no darkness in Him, none. If we should say that we keep on having fellowship with Him and we should keep on walking in the darkness, we lie, and do not practice the
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doctrine. But if we should keep on walking in the light as He always exists in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son purifies us from all sin.” Job 29:3, “When His lamp shone upon my head by His light I walked through darkness (of the cosmic system).” Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation Whom I will respect.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “In fact, all of you are sons of light and son of the day. We are never of darkness or of night. So then we should never sleep as the rest but we should keep on being alert and keep on being sober-minded.”
Not only are depriving ourselves the guidance and direction of the Spirit when we sin but we are also hindering the Spirit’s work of manifesting the light of Christ in our physical bodies while we live in the midst of the darkness of the cosmic system of Satan. The light of Christ is the Person of Christ or more accurately, the character of Christ. When we are out of fellowship, the light of Christ, which refers to the character of the Person of Christ, cannot be manifested in our physical bodies. Remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said in John 8:12, “Therefore, Jesus addressed them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world (kosmos). The one who keeps on obeying me (as a lifestyle) shall no never walk in the darkness, but will possess the light of life.”
The Spirit’s job during the church age is always to manifest the light of Christ through the body of Christ. The responsibility of us as members of the body of Christ is to manifest the Person of Christ. The Spirit enables us to, but this is hindered and brought to a complete stop when we sin and are out of fellowship. Paul exhorts the Roman believers to put on the armor of light. Rom 13:12, “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” When we are filled or under the influence of the Spirit, we can discern the lies from the cosmic system of Satan. Eph 5:13, “But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.”
So the church’s function as the body of Christ is to manifest the Person of Christ or in other words, the Light of Christ. This is why Paul desired that Christ would be manifested in his physical body in Philippians 1:21. Philippians 1:19-21, “In fact, I know without a doubt that this (situation) will result for my benefit in (soul) prosperity through your supportive prayer by means of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. According to my confident anticipation that I will be put to shame in nothing but with all courage, as always, even now, Christ will be glorified in my body whether by life or by death because as far as I am concerned to keep on living is Christ and to have died is profit.” This is why Paul exhorts the Philippians in the following manner: Philippians 2:14-16, “Keep on performing all activities without murmurs resulting from doubts so that you might demonstrate yourselves to be uncensurable and uncontaminated, students of God (the Holy Spirit), virtuous in the midst of a corrupt and depraved generation. Among whom you yourselves keep on appearing as luminaries in the cosmos by all of you continuing to exhibit the Word of life as a boast for me on the day of Christ because I have not run in vain, nor have I worked diligently in vain.”
We know it is impossible for mortal man to extinguish the Holy Spirit of God so there must be a figure being employed here by the apostle Paul. The verb sbennumi is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 in a figurative or metaphorical sense of “hindering” the Spirit’s work in our lives. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary lists the following definitions for the verb hinder: (1) To cause delay, interruption, or difficulty in; check, retard, hamper (2) To prevent from doing, acting, or happening (3) To be an obstacle or impediment.
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The verb “hinder” emphasizes causing harmful or annoying delay or interference with progress. When we sin and get out of fellowship, we are hindering the activity of the Spirit in our lives. What is that activity? Well we know one of His activities is to provide light for our souls meaning guidance and direction in doing the will of God as we live in the darkness of the cosmic system of Satan. The other activity that the Spirit is performing in our lives after salvation as we noted in Paul’s use of the figure of fire and light is that He produces Christ-like character in us. When we sin and get out of fellowship we are in effect hindering the Spirit’s work of manifesting the Light or the virtuous character of Christ in our physical bodies! Remember what Paul said in Galatians 4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until the character of Christ is formed in all of you.”
The fruit of the Spirit is the production of Christ-like character. Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is virtue-love, contentment, soul prosperity, patient-endurance, integrity, generosity, faithfulness, humility, discipline, against such things there is no law.” Fruit bearing talks about building Christ-like character. Eph 5:9, “(for the fruit of the Light {consists} in all goodness and righteousness and truth).” Phil 1:11, “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which {comes} through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Col 1:10, “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please {Him} in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Heb 12:11, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” James 3:18, “And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
The Father is glorified when we develop more of the character of Christ in our lives. John 15:8, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and {so} prove to be My disciples.” When we sin and get of fellowship, this activity of the Spirit of fruit bearing is hindered or prevented from continuing.”
If we paraphrase Webster’s definitions of the verb hinder and relate them to the Spirit’s work in our lives, we could say the following: (1) Sin causes a delay or an interruption of the Spirit’s work in producing Christ-like character in the believer. (2) Sin hampers the Spirit’s work of producing Christ-like character in the believer. (3) Sin prevents the Spirit from producing Christ-like character in the believer. (4) Sin is an obstacle or an impediment to the Spirit’s work of producing Christ-like character in the believer. (5) Sin causes harmful and annoying delay or interference to the Spirit’s work in producing Christ-like character in the believer. (6) Sin interferes with the progress of the Spirit’s work of producing Christ-like character in the believer.
The negative particle me negates the verb sbennumi and is used to here to express a prohibition. Now the present imperative can express 2 different concepts: (1) Cessation of Activity in Progress: cessation of an act already in progress. (2) General Precept: Makes no comment about whether the action is going on or not. There is no indication throughout the entire epistle that the Thessalonians were already living in their old sin nature or committing this particular act of sin. There is no implication whatsoever. As in Ephesians 4:30, Paul is performing preventative maintenance by issuing this prohibition. Paul He is warning them ahead of time not to hinder the Spirit’s work in their lives. He is not implying that they were already involved in this sin of hindering the Holy Spirit but rather he is expressing a general precept. This is a customary present tense used to express habitual action. Paul does not want the Thessalonians to get into the habit of hindering the Spirit’s work in their lives.
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1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not make it a habit of hindering the Spirit.” We are hindering the Spirit’s efforts to bring us to Christ-likeness when we sin and get out of fellowship. In hindering the Spirit the stress is upon rendering inoperative the various post-salvation functions of the Spirit. Post-Salvation Ministries of the Holy Spirit: (1) enabling power (Acts 1:8; Rm. 15:13, 19; Ga. 5:16; Eph. 3:16). (2) Mentorship or Guidance (Jn. 14:26, 15:26; 16:13-15; Rm. 8:14; 1 Co. 2:10-16). (3) Fellowship (2 Co. 13:14; Phlp. 2:1). All of these post-salvation ministries are essential in developing Christ-like character in our lives as believers.
Quenching or more accurately hindering the Spirit looks at the effect of sin upon the Spirit but from the standpoint of His work that He is sent to perform in our lives. Philippians 1:6, “And I am confident of this very same thing that He (God the Holy Spirit) who began a good work in all of you will completely finish it up to the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my virtuously loved ones, in the same manner that all of you have consistently obeyed, not only when in my presence, but now, much more in my absence, you yourselves keep on executing your own spiritual life by means of respect (for God) and with trembling. Since God (the Holy Spirit) is the One producing in all of you not only the determination but also the (resultant) production for the attainment of the grace purpose (of God the Father in eternity past).”
When we are quenching the Spirit, we are denying ourselves the Spirit’s omnipotence, which is essential in developing Christ-like character in us, which is the Father’s, will for our lives. Rom 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Eph 3:14-16, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” This enabling power of the Spirit provides the believer with divine omnipotence necessary to do the Father’s will. Remember, a Perfect plan designed by a perfect God demands perfect power. When we are disobedient to the Word of God and thus sin, we render inoperative the power of the Spirit in our lives, which power is designed to enable us to do the Father’s will. What is the Father’s will? That we bear fruit which as we noted is developing the character of Christ in our lives.
Quenching the Spirit not only deals with the rendering inoperative the omnipotence of the Spirit in our lives but also it refers to depriving ourselves of the mentorship of the Spirit. Rom 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” John 16:13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” The mentorship of the Spirit deals with the post-salvation ministry of the Spirit where He guides and instructs the believer into doing the will of God. The Spirit teaches and guides the believer in doing the will of God through the communication of the Word of God. Quenching the Spirit also involves loss of fellowship with God. 2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” Phlp. 2:1, “Therefore, if…and there is, any encouragement in Christ, if…and there is, any motivation from virtue-love, if…and there is, any fellowship through the Spirit, if…and there is, any compassionate affections.”
The Holy Spirit provides us the opportunity to have fellowship with both the Father and the Son as well as Himself. He provides the access to this fellowship. When we sin we are denying ourselves fellowship with the Trinity. When we are hindering the Spirit we are conducting
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ourselves contrary to the will of the Father. Quenching the Spirit means that our thoughts, words and actions are contrary to the will of God. It means that we are obstructing the Spirit’s influence or work in our lives. We are not walking in agreement with the Spirit. We are working independently from Him. In the same way that grieving the Spirit prevents Him from influencing us so quenching or more accurately, hindering the Spirit does not permit the Spirit to influence our thoughts, words and actions. The Spirit is trying to conform our thoughts, words and actions to the image of His Son.
The Results of the Filling of the Spirit
The results of being filled by means of the Spirit are many. First of all the believer can now produce divine good of intrinsic value (Gal. 5:22-23; John 15:1-8; 1 Cor. 3:11-14). Christ is magnified in the inner life of the believer (2 Cor. 3:3; Phil. 1:20-21). Christ is “glorified” in the believer’s human body (John 7:39 cf. 16:14; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). The believer is able to imitate God (Eph. 5:1-2). Christ “formed” in you, which is a reference to Spiritual Self-Esteem (Gal. 4:19). Christ “dwelling in the right lobe” of the believer which is a reference to spiritual independence (Eph. 3:16-17). Christ being “exalted” in the body of the believer which is a reference to spiritual maturity (Phil. 2:1-2). God the Holy Spirit controls the believer’s soul (Gal. 5:16). The believer’s new nature becomes operational (Rom. 13:14; 2 Cor. 5:17a; Gal. 3:27; 6:15; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; 2 Pet. 1:4). Divine power is operational (Eph. 3:16, 20; Phil. 3:10-11; Col. 1:11). Execution of the Plan of God. Bible Doctrine is circulating in the believer’s soul. The unique spiritual life for the church age is operational. The believer bears fruit (Gal. 5:22-23; John 15:1-8). The believer can now truly worship God (John 4:24). He has adjusted to the justice of God. The believer can produce “good” works, which can please God and will receive rewards at the Bema Seat Evaluation (1 Cor. 3:11-14). The believer is spiritual and in fellowship with God (1 Cor. 2:11-14). He has the ability to glorify God and become an Invisible Hero. The believer’s soul is protected from Satanic influence. His soul is protected against false doctrine. The believer’s soul is protected against legalism and the emotional complex of sins. His soul is protected against self-righteousness, self-deception, and self-absorption. The believer’s soul is protected against the arrogance complex of sins.
The Results of not being filled with the Spirit
The believer is either “grieving” the Spirit (Eph. 4:30), or “quenching” the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). The old sin nature controls the believer’s soul (Gal. 5:16). Believer can only perform “dead” works, which cannot please God. Human power is functioning. The plan of God cannot be executed. The believer’s spiritual life is not operational and the new nature is not operational. There can be no utilization of divine power. The believer has not adjusted to the justice of God. He cannot grow spiritually. The circulation of Bible Doctrine in the soul of the believer has been cut off. The believer is carnal and out of fellowship with God. He has no ability to glorify God. The believer’s soul is open to Satanic influence because it is left unprotected to false doctrine. He soul is open to the emotional complex of sins. The believer’s soul is open to legalism. He soul is open to self-righteousness, self-deception and self-absorption. The believer’s soul is susceptible to the arrogance complex of sins. He becomes a casualty in the Angelic Conflict.
The Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)
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The Spirit is able to produce Christ-like character in the believer when he is filled with the Spirit. The Greek word for “fruit” is the word karpos, which is in the singular. The “fruit” of the Spirit is 9-fold. There are 9 different manifestations of the Fruit of the Spirit and not 9 “fruits” of the Spirit. God the Holy Spirit produces fruit in the believer. It is not the fruit of the believer, but the fruit of the Spirit.
The characteristics which are related to self: (1) Agape, “virtue-love” (2) Chara), “contentment” (3) Eirene, “soul prosperity.” Characteristics which are related to people: (1) Makrothumia, “Patient-endurance” (2) Chrestotes, “Integrity” (3) Agathosune, “Generosity” Characteristics which are related to God: (1) Pistis, “Faithfulness” (2) Praotes, “Humility” (3) Enkrateia, “Discipline”
Exegesis of Ephesians 5:18
The apostle Paul who wrote the Ephesian epistle spends a large amount of time in Ephesus. Ephesus was 1 of the 7 churches of Asia mentioned by the apostle John in the book Acts. Not only did Paul spend a lot of time there but John did as well. Ephesus was the gateway to Asia. Asia is now what is known as Turkey. The city of Ephesus was located on the western part of Turkey. It was situated at the mouth of the Cayster River. It was the entrance for shipping from the West and the point of departure for the caravans between the Ionian coast and the East. The highway led from Ephesus across central Asia Minor through the Cilician Gates to Antioch, and from there across Syria to the Euphrates valley, Persian and India. It had a large harbor. The city of Ephesus had been founded by colonists from Athens in the 11th century B.C. They displaced the original inhabitants and began a Greek civilization on the Ionian coast. The strategic location of the city favored its growth and it became a military prize for both the naval states of Greece and those who dominated Asia Minor thereafter, the Lydians and the Persians. Alexander the Great received the homage of the Ephesian rulers in 334 B.C. In 188 B.C. the Romans took it from Antiochus the Great and then in turn gave it to the king of Pergumum. The Romans got it back again and incorporated it into the province of Asia. Ephesus became the chief city of the province. It was home to one of the 7 wonders of the world…the Temple of Artemis or Diana of the Ephesians. There was a great marble street in Ephesus, the Arkadiane. There was also the Odieon Theater, which served the city as a council chamber. A great library was located in the city and of course the great agora or marketplace. Carved into the great sidewalk leading to the building on the marble street is the mark of a bare foot, the ancient sign of direction to a house of prostitution-a reminder that Ephesus was a port city with many visitors and sailors. There was a stadium constructed during the reign of Nero. South of the stadium was the theater, set in the side of a mountain which was the scene of a riot when the apostle Paul was accused of ruining the business of the silversmiths in Ephesus who made a substantial prophet in relation to the worship of Artemis in Acts 19:23-24. The silversmith’s union in the city, which made quite a profit from making idols of the fertility goddess Artemis, were enraged at Paul and his teaching against worshipping idols. The business community did not like Christianity because it cut into their profits. But the riot was dispersed by the town clerk and he rebuked them for their conduct. Paul went to Macedonia but returned at a later date. Asia and in particular Ephesus was a fruitful field for evangelism. In 3 years the entire region of Asia Minor heard the Christian message. Churches were founded in almost every city and town…large and small.
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The city of Ephesus was steeped in paganistic worship as noted by Doctor Luke in Acts 19. This pagan worship entailed alcohol and sex and Paul in Ephesians 5:18 alludes to their former pagan practice. He tells the Ephesians not to permit themselves to get involved with drunkenness, which was a part of their former pagan worship of the Greek Dionysus. In order to avoid this they are to permit themselves to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. So it is important to keep in mind the pagan background of the Ephesians when we view this passage.
Ephesians 5:18 can be divided into 2 sections: (1) Negative: prohibition (2) Positive: command. Ephesians 5:18 begins with the connective use of the conjunction kai, “and.” Then we the negative particle me, “not,” and with this 2nd person plural present passive imperative form of the verb methuskomai, which is methuskesthe. Muthuskomai is the passive form of methusko and is related to methuo, “to drink to intoxication.” Both the active and passive forms appear in classical and LXX Greek, but only the passive appears in the NT. The passive form appears in the writings of Herodotus and Xenophon. The passive form means “to get drunk, to become intoxicated.” It is an inceptive or ingressive verb marking the process of entering into the state of being drunk with wine or intoxication. The word only appears 3 times in the NT (Lk. 12:45; Eph. 5:18; 1 Th. 5:7). All three passages warn about the dangers of drunkenness.
There was a problem with drunkenness in the ancient world just as there is a problem with drunkenness today in the 21st century. There were actually believers that were getting drunk at the Lord’s Table! 1 Cor 11:20-21, “Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.” The Scriptures warn against drunkenness many times. Prov 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” Prov 23:20-21, “Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, {or} with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe {one} with rags.” Prov 23:29-35, “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things and your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. They struck me, {but} I did not become ill; they beat me, {but} I did not know {it.} When shall I awake? I will seek another drink.” Rom 13:13, “Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.” 1 Cor 5:11, “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler– not even to eat with such a one.” 1 Pet 4:3-4, “For the time already past is sufficient {for} {you} to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In {all} this, they are surprised that you do not run with {them} into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign {you;}.” Gal 5:19-21, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
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The Christians of the early church lived in the Roman Empire and spoke Koine or the common Greek and were raised as pagans worshipping the Greek and Roman pantheon of gods. One of these gods was called Dionysus. He was also called Bacchus or in Rome, Liber. Dionysus was the god of fruitfulness and vegetation, especially known as a god of wine and ecstasy. The worship of Dionysus flourished long in Asia Minor. As we have already noted Ephesus was located on the western coast of Asia Minor or what is now Turkey. The worship of Dionysus flourished particularly well in Phrygia and Lydia. The cult of Dionysus was closely associated with that of numerous Asiatic deities. The followers of Dionysus included spirits of fertility, such as the satyrs and in his ritual the male phallus was prominent. As the god of the vine, Dionysus or Bacchus, he was thought to communicate his power to his devotees through the intoxicating influence of wine, stimulating them to orgiastic excesses, wild dancing and music, and sexual promiscuity. They worshipped booze and sex. The Ephesians were very much exposed to this cult and it was apart of their pagan background. The worship of booze and sex is still around here in the 21st century. It is a part of our hedonistic western culture.
So the apostle Paul by employing this verb methuskomai is addressing the area of weakness of their old sin natures. This verb in the passive voice means “to get drunk, or intoxicated with alcohol.” Now, the present tense of this verb methuskomai is an iterative present and along with the negative particle me it is describing an action that is to repeatedly or consistently not to take place. It is often found with the imperative mood since an action is urged to be done. The passive voice of this verb in Ephesians 5:18 is significant in that it is a rare permissive passive. The permissive passive implies consent, permission, or cause of the action of the verb on the part of the subject. It indicates that the Ephesians are not to permit or allow themselves to be involved in drunkenness or continuing their pagan practices of getting drunk. The permissive passive is rare and is usually found with imperatives. Here we have an imperative of command and with the present tense. The present imperative and the negative particle me denotes a prohibition that is to be continuously, repeatedly or consistently obeyed. Then we have a dative of material, which is the masculine singular form of the noun oinos, which is oino, “with wine.” The dative substantive denotes the material that is used to accomplish the action of the verb of methuskomai or quite simply wine is what will get the Ephesian believers drunk. So the corrected translation of Ephesians 5:18 thus far, reads as follows: “And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of being drunk with wine.”
Next, we have the preposition en plus the instrumental of cause, which is singular relative pronoun ho. We can translate the prepositional phrase en ho, “because that.” The preposition en plus the instrumental of cause is used to indicate the basis for the Ephesian believers to obey the prohibition and not to get drunk. This prepositional phrase is followed by 3rd person singular present active indicative form of the verb eimi, which is estin, “is.” The word for “dissipation” is the nominative feminine singular noun asotia. The noun asotia refers to behavior, which shows lack of concern or thought for the consequences of an action, thus it means senseless deeds. In some languages asotia in Ephesian 5:18 may be rendered as ‘what one does without being able to think about it,’ or ‘what one does when the mind is absent.’ We would say that it is “non-sensical behavior.” Or we could simply say “a waste,” or “stupidity.” This is a gnomic present. The present tense may be used to make a statement of a general, timeless fact. Drunkenness is being in a state of non-thinking or non-sensical behavior. It does not say that something is happening, but that something does happen. It expresses a general timeless fact! This is a stative active voice indicating that the subject exists in a state of non-sensical behavior or stupidity. This is a declarative indicative indicating a dogmatic statement of fact. So the 1st half of Ephesians 5:18
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reads as follows: “And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of being drunk with wine because that is non-sensical behavior.”
Then we have the strong adversative conjunction alla, “but rather.” Next, we have the verb pleroo, which is found in the 2nd person plural present passive imperative form, which is plerousthe. In both secular and Biblical Greek, the verb pleroo carries the idea of attaining a standard of measurement or reaching the saturation point or level of containment. The idea of totality or fullness is always present. Thus, the word means “to fill something completely,” or “to complete a measure.” It is derived from the root ple-, “full, fullness.”
The verb is found from Aeschylus onwards. Pleroo could also mean, “to pay in full,” a recompense (Aesch. Sept. c. Theb. 477). It is common in the papyri both for “to satisfy” someone financially and “to pay off” the remainder. The verb could be used of a span of time in the active sense meaning “to complete,” and passively “to run its course.” It could be used of fulfilling one’s promises and passively, “to come to fulfillment,” of an oracular saying. The verb pleroo ordinarily is used in the LXX to translate the Hebrew melo’, “to fill.” There are over 120 instances of the word if one includes the apocryphal material. As in classical Greek, pleroo denotes the action of “filling” something such as the land or the sea (Ge. 1:22, 28; 9:1, 7). The word is used in a temporal sense of days that are “fulfilled,” or in other words, the period of something comes to its end (Ge. 25:24; 29:21; Le. 8:33; 12:4). Pleroo can be used in almost an adverbial capacity to denote something as “ultimate, total” (Da. 8:23).
The verb pleroo appears approximately 86 times in the NT. It is used as a technical term for the fulfillment of Scripture and also a designation of the fulfillment of time in an eschatological sense. Pleroo is used in the NT in the sense of filling with something, always with a strong element of exclusiveness or totality. In Ephesians 5:18, the word has the following senses: (1) To fill up a deficiency. (2) To be fully possessed by something. (3) To be fully influenced by something. (4) To be filled by something. (5) To be controlled by something.
Once again we have the permissive passive voice. The permissive passive implies consent, permission, or cause of the action of the verb on the part of the subject. It indicates that the apostle Paul wants the Ephesians to permit themselves to be influenced by the Holy Spirit. We have another imperative of command and with the present tense. The present imperative denotes that the command of the action is to be an ongoing process. This is an iterative present describing an action that is to repeatedly or continuously take place. So in other words, the apostle Paul is commanding the Ephesians to repeatedly or on a habitual basis permit themselves to be influenced by God the Holy Spirit. The iterative present does not imply that we are to perpetually permit ourselves to be filled with the Spirit but rather we should repeatedly or on a habitual basis permit ourselves to be influenced, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This implies that the believer will sin at times as noted in 1 John 1:8-10. So we should translate plerousthe, “Permit yourselves on a habitual basis to be influenced.”
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the word influence: (1) capacity or power of persons or things to produce effects on others by intangible or indirect means. (2) action or process of producing effects on others by intangible or indirect means. (3) a person or thing that exerts influence. If we were to paraphrase Webster’s definition of the word, we would say that Paul wants the Ephesian believers to permit the omnipotence (intangible means) of the Holy Spirit (Person) to produce Christ-like character (effects) in them.
Then we have the preposition en plus the neuter singular instrumental form of the noun pneuma, which is pneumati. The Greek term pneuma is derived from the root pneu-, “breath, wind.” The verbal noun pneuma denotes the dynamic movement of air. It was considered by the
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Greeks as a special substance and with an underlying stress on its inherent power. The air that men breathe was considered to be the bearer of life (thus to discontinue breath means to die, Aeschylus (Pers. 507). The Stoic philosophers in obvious dependence upon Plato, they used pneuma to denote inspiration, regarding it as a material substance, which filled a man and enabled him to prophesy. There is no instance of the concept of a pneuma hagion (Holy Spirit) in secular Greek. In the Greek world pneuma is always regarded as a thing, never as a person.
In the LXX the Hebrew equivalent of pneuma is almost always ruach and only 3 times does pneuma render neshamah, “breath.” The idea behind ruach is the extraordinary fact that something as intangible as air should move; at the same time it is not so much the movement per se which excites attention, but rather the energy manifested by such movement. The basic meaning of ruach, therefore, is more or less that of “blowing.”
The noun pneuma appears 388 times in the NT. The following is a comprehensive list of the word’s usage in the NT: (1) Title for the 3rd Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit (Mt. 1:18; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 1:15; Jn. 1:32; 7:39; 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:13; Act. 1:2; Rm. 5:5; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Cor. 6:6; Gal. 5:5; Eph. 1:13; Phlp. 1:19; 1 Th. 1:15; 4:8; 2 Tm. 1:14; 1 Jn. 5:7; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:1, 6, 13, 22). (2) The believer’s human spirit (Rm. 1:9; 8:16; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 14:15-16; 16:18; 2 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 6:18; Phlp. 4:23; 1 Th. 5:23; 2 Tm. 4:22; Phlm. 25; Heb. 4:12; 12:9; Ja. 2:26). (3) Humanity of Christ’s human spirit (Lk. 1:80; 23:46; Jn. 11:33; 13:21; 19:30; Rv. 22:6). (4) Fallen Angels (Mt. 10:1; Mk. 1:27; Lk. 4:33; Acts 5:16; 1 Tm. 4:1; 1 Pt. 3:19; Rv. 16:13). (5) Elect Angels (Heb. 1:7, 14; Rev. 1:4). (6) Regeneration, salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit (John 3:1-16; Titus 3:5). (7) Baptism of the Spirit, salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit (Jn. 7:39; Acts 1:5, 8; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:2, 14; Eph. 4:4; 1 Th. 4:8; 1 Pet. 1:11-12). (8) Indwelling of the Spirit, salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16). (9) Filling of the Spirit, salvation and post-salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit and the enabling divine power to live the spiritual life (Lk. 4:1; Jn. 4:24; Acts 2:4, 38; 10:44; Eph. 5:18; 6:19; Gal. 5:16, 25; Phlp. 1:19, 27; 3:3; Col. 2:5; 1 Pt. 1:22; Heb. 9:14; Jude 20; Rev. 1:10). (10) Sealing of the Spirit, salvation ministry of Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). (11) Adoption, as a ministry of the Holy Spirit (Rm. 8:15). (12) Spiritual Gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-11). (13) Sanctification, salvation and post-salvation ministry of the Spirit (2 Th. 2:13). (14) Intercessory, post-salvation ministry of the Spirit (Rm. 8:26). (15) Fruit (production of divine good) of the Spirit (Rm. 5:5; Gal. 5:22; 1 Th. 1:6). Quenching the Holy Spirit by the believer out of fellowship with God (1 Th. 5:19). (16) Grieving the Holy Spirit by the believer out of fellowship with God (Eph. 4:30). (17) Blasphemy against the Spirit (Matt. 12:14-32) (18) Resistance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51), (19) Lying to God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3), (20) Divine viewpoint (Rm. 8:6; Eph. 1:17; 2 Tm. 1:7; 1 Jn. 4:6), (21) Lifestyle of believer in fellowship with God (Eph. 1:17). (22) The omnipotence of the Word of God as a spiritual weapon (Eph. 6:17). (23) Satan (Eph. 2:2). (23) Breathing of the believer’s soul who is in fellowship with God (Eph. 4:23). (24) Discerning ministry of God the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Jn. 3:24; 5:6). (25) Mentorship of the Holy Spirit, post-salvation ministry or operation of the Spirit (Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:13). (26) Cosmic viewpoint (Rm. 11:8; 1 Cor. 2:12; 1 Jn. 4:1). (27) Wind as a meteorological phenomenon (John 3:8) (28) Breath which sustains human life (2 Thes. 2:8; Rev. 11:11; 13:15), (29) Ghost, apparition (Lk. 24:39). (30) Attribute of the Triune God (Jn. 4:24; 1 Jn. 5:6; Rev. 5:6). (31) Inspiration, ministry or operation of the Spirit enabling the regenerate human beings to produce Scripture (1 Pet. 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 22:6). (32) Fellowship with the Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14).
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Now, if we look at the New American Standard translation it appears that Paul is talking about content rather than means as I have translated it. So how do we understand the word pleroo with regard to pneuma, “Spirit.” Is the Holy Spirit the content with which one is filled, or the means by which one is filled? Some understand the Spirit as the content with which one is filled with water like a glass, but grammatically this is not the case. It is better to understand the Spirit as the means by which one is filled, not the content. The Greek is an inflectional language that uses various cases that determine how a word is being used in a clause or sentence. And it is a rule of Greek grammar that a verb may be used with more than one case to distinguish certain ideas or to make ideas clear. In the Greek text, “with the Spirit” represents the preposition en plus the noun pneuma in the instrumental dative case. If we were to interpret this construction as referring to the Spirit as the content with which one is filled would be grammatically suspect. Why? Normally a verb of filling takes a noun in the genitive case to express the idea of content and not the dative instrumental. We don’t have a genitive of content here but rather an instrumental case. For example, the noun in the genitive case refers to material, the content of the filling, as when the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume when Mary anointed the feet of our Lord in John 12:3. With the accusative case the noun in the accusative refers to the thing filled as when grief fills the heart in John 16:6. But when the noun is in the instrumental case it refers to the agent or instrument that causes the filling. The instrumental case indicates the means by which the action of the verb is accomplished. Therefore, the prepositional phrase en pneumati indicates that the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit is the means by which the church age believer is to continually allow himself to be fully influenced, possessed or controlled by the Spirit. So the corrected translation of Ephesians 5:18 is as follows: “And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of being drunk with wine because that is non-sensical behavior, but rather permit yourselves on a habitual basis to be influenced by means of the Spirit.”
The apostle Paul is using a contrast in Ephesians 5:18. He is contrasting the mental state of someone who is under the influence of alcohol and drunk with that of one who is under the influence of the Spirit. The issue crystal clear: to be drunk with wine means to be brought under the influence of wine. Visible characteristics begin to take place as a person comes under the influence of alcohol. In contrast, to be filled with the Spirit is to be fully influenced by the Spirit so the Spirit-controlled believer does things that are unnatural for him under the influence of the Spirit even as the drunken individual does things that are unnatural for him under the influence of the spirits. The comparison is a matter of influence or control. A drunken person is controlled by alcohol, which he has consumed. Because of this he thinks in ways normally unnatural to him. Or he conducts himself in ways that are opposite of his norms and standards. Likewise, the believer who is under the influence of the Spirit acts in ways that are unnatural to him. In other words, the believer under the influence of the Spirit is going to act in ways that are contrary to his old Adamic-life. The issue is not getting the Spirit within you, but rather of allowing the indwelling Spirit to take charge and move into every area of your life. So to be fully influenced by means of the Spirit means that the believer must voluntarily surrender his old Adamic-life in exchange for the new Christ-life. The believer must make a conscious decision to acknowledge any known sins to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus and then immediately apply the Word of God to his thought process.
Spiritual Gifts
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Every Church Age believer receives at least 1 spiritual gift at the moment of salvation (1 Cor. 12:11). The believer’s spiritual gift is a direct result of the grace work of all 3 members of the Trinity. Grace is the expression of the integrity of God, which was attacked by Satan in eternity past and which is being vindicated throughout human history and in particular during the rebuttal phase of Satan’s appeal trial when Church Age believer can become witnesses for the Prosecution (God).
The sovereignty of God the Holy Spirit provides our spiritual gift. God the Holy Spirit is the source of the believer’s spiritual gift. The distribution of spiritual gifts was authorized by the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of His strategic victory over Satan at the cross during the dispensation of the hypostatic union, however, the actual appointment of the believer’s spiritual gift is made by God the Holy Spirit as per 1 Cor. 12:11.
One of the 40 things that every believer receives at the moment of salvation is a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are assignments of position within the body of Christ. Identification of one’s spiritual gift is a direct result of spiritual growth which can only be achieved through learning and applying the Word of God, which in turn enables the Holy Spirit to identify your spiritual gift and to produce divine good that is pleasing to God and will be rewarded.
The purpose of the Church Age believer’s spiritual gift is 3-fold: (1) To serve the Lord. (2) To serve other members of the body of Christ. (3) Glorify God through the production of divine good. The proper function of the believer’s spiritual gift, therefore, is dependent upon operating in the love of God.
It cannot function properly nor will the believer gain maximum production from his spiritual gift without first living in the love of God, which was demonstrated at the Cross by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The proper function of the believer’s spiritual gift demands strict adherence to the Royal Family Honor Code and proper motivation from divine-love. The spiritual gifts within the body of Christ are as diverse as the members of our physical body (1 Cor. 12:4-11). The gift involves a special ability in a particular field. We cannot take credit for our spiritual gift because the source of our spiritual gift is the grace of God, which is the expression of His perfect integrity.
There are 2 categories of spiritual gifts: (1) Temporary: Functioned only during the pre-canon period of the Church Age (1 Cor. 13:8, 10). (2) Permanent: Function during the pre and post-canon period of the Church Age.
The believer’s spiritual gift is only operational through the Filling of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18) and remaining in fellowship with God. The believer’s spiritual gift functions through the believer’s royal priesthood.
Romans 11:29, “In fact, the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Romans 12:1-6, “Therefore, I challenge all of you, fellow believers, by the mercies of God (grace in action), to present your (physical bodies) a living sacrifice, set apart, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. Stop conforming yourselves to this (present) world system (3 arrogance skills), but rather keep on being transformed by the renovation of your thought for the purpose of all of you demonstrating what the will of God is, the virtuous and acceptable and mature status quo. Indeed, I say through the grace which has been given to me, to everyone who is among you, stop thinking in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think, but think in terms of sanity for the purpose of being rational without illusion as God has assigned to each one a standard of thinking from doctrine. For just as we have many members in one body, yet all members do not possess the same function. Thus, we, the many, are one body in Christ, and even individual
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members of each other. Yet, all of us possess diverse gifts according to the grace having been given to us, whether prophecy according to the proportion of doctrine or administration through service, or those who teach through instruction, or those comfort through encouragement, those who share with generosity, those who lead with diligence, those who exhibit mercy with cheerfulness.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-11, “Now, there are diversities of gifts, yet the same Spirit and there are diversities of administrations, but the same Lord and diversities of operations but the same God, Who is operating all things through all. But to each individual is given the manifestation of the Spirit for those who profit. For in fact, one through the Spirit is given a word of wisdom and to another a word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit and to another one faithfulness by means of the same Spirit and to another gifts of healings by means of the same Spirit and another operations of miracles and to another prophecy and to another distinguishing of spirits, and to a different one diversities of languages and to another interpretation of languages. But one and the same Spirit operates all these things, distributing to each individual his own (gift) just as He (God the Holy Spirit) wills.”
1 Corinthians 12:27-28, “Now, you are the body of Christ and individual members. In fact, God the Holy Spirit has appointed in the assembly, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, diversities of languages.”
1 Corinthians 14:12, “So also all of you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts for the edification of the assembly, keep on advancing in order that you may keep on prospering.”
God the Holy Spirit is the source of the Church Age believer’s spiritual gift. The believer’s spiritual gift is also a result of God the Holy Spirit’s work, which takes place from regeneration to resurrection.
Distribution of spiritual gifts was authorized by the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of His strategic victory in the Great Power Demonstration of the Hypostatic Union, however, the actual appointment of the believer’s spiritual gift is made by God the Holy Spirit as per 1 Cor. 12:11.
God the Holy Spirit who has all knowledge knows what spiritual gift best suits you. His 5th salvation (Filling of the Spirit) ministry determines how we as Christ’s ambassadors are to operate during our lives on earth.
The 7th salvation ministry is the means of expressing the believer’s divine-love which is composed of the motivational virtue of personal love for God the Father and occupation with Christ as well as the functional virtue of impersonal unconditional self-sacrificial divine-love.
Every Church Age believer receives at least 1 spiritual gift at the moment of salvation (1 Cor. 12:11). 7 Salvation Ministries of God the Holy Spirit during the Church Age: (1) Efficacious Grace: Makes faith in Jesus Christ effective for salvation (2 Cor. 6:1-2; Eph. 2:8-9). (2) Regeneration: Creates a human spirit for the purpose of the imputation of eternal life (John 3:1-16; Titus 3:5). (3) Baptism of the Spirit: Places every believer in union with Jesus Christ (John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5; 1 Pet. 3:21). (4) Indwelling: Creates a temple for the indwelling of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16). (5) Filling: Takes place when the believer applies the Word of God, which enables the Holy Spirit influence and guide the believer in doing the will of the Father (Eph. 5:18). (6) Sealing: Puts His stamp on the believer to guarantee their salvation (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). (7) Distribution of spiritual Gifts: Gives every believer a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:4-11).
4 Ministries given to the believer to glorify Christ (John 16:14; Gal. 5:22-23): (1) The Baptism of the Spirit places us in union with Christ making each Church Age believer a member
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of the Body of Christ and a member of the Royal Family of God (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 2:9). (2) The Indwelling of the Spirit makes the believers body a temple for the indwelling of Christ, the Shekinah Glory (Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16). (3) The Sealing of the Spirit guarantees the believers eternal security (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). (4) A spiritual gift is given to each believer in order that they may function in the body of Christ and therefore, build it up (1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:11).
There are 2 categories of spiritual gifts: (1) Temporary: Functioned only during the pre-canon period of the Church Age (1 Cor. 13:8, 10). (2) Permanent: Function during the pre and post-canon period of the Church Age.
The following gifts were temporary and had disappeared by 96 A.D.: (1) Apostleship (2) Prophecy (3) Miracles (4) Tongues (5) Interpretation of Tongues (6) Knowledge and Wisdom (8) Discerning spirits (9) Temporary gift of faith. The following gifts are permanent: (1) Pastor-teacher (2) Evangelist (3) Administrations (4) Helps (5) Exhortation (6) Mercy.
The believer’s spiritual gift has been designed to function within a local assembly in order to benefit other members of the Body of Christ, which compose the Royal Family of God. The Church Age believer’s spiritual gift is designed to benefit the body of Christ and specifically the local assembly in which his pastor-teacher presides over.
1 Corinthians 12:7 states spiritual gifts are given to members of the body of Christ “for the common good.”
At the moment of salvation, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit places the Church Age believer in a eternal union with Christ, thus identifying the believer with Christ and making them a permanent member of the Royal Family of God, a New Spiritual Species and Eternally secure (Mark 16:16; John 7:37-39; 14:20; Acts 1:5; 2:1-4; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-28; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:11-13; 1 Pet. 3:21).
1 Corinthians 12:13, “In fact, by means of one Person, God the Holy Spirit, we were all placed into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or freemen, and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
Galatians 3:27, “For as many as were placed into union with Christ, have taken on the nature of Christ.”
Every believer has been given a pastor-teacher for the communication of the mystery doctrine of the Church Age. Paul describes the pastor-teacher as joint within the body of Christ who supplies the necessary doctrine which ability to move and function in their spiritual gift. The local assembly or local church has been divinely authorized in the Church Age as the classroom for learning doctrine (Col. 2:7; Heb. 10:25). It is thus the place in which the believer is to exercise his spiritual gift because it is where the body of Christ meets to be supplied spiritual food by pastor-teacher.
Ephesians 4:16, “From whom (the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head), the whole body (the Church) keeps on being joined and held together through every joint (Pastor-Teacher) which amply supplies (Bible Doctrine as spiritual food) according to the divine power at work in proportion to the capacity of each individual part (individual believer), making for itself the (spiritual) growth of the body for the building up of itself in the sphere of divine-love.”
Paul uses the Haphe or Joint Metaphor to illustrate the fact that every believer is dependent upon a member of the body of Christ who has the communication gift of pastor-teacher which is to supply him with the necessary spiritual food, i.e., Bible doctrine (Matt. 4:4).
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Paul states this in Ephesians 4:11-12, “And He (the Lord Jesus Christ) gave the apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists, and the Pastor-Teachers, for the face to face training of the sanctified ones for the work of the ministry, for the ultimate goal of building up the body of Christ.”
Colossians 2:19, “And not holding fast to the head (Christ), from whom the entire body (the Church), being supplied and held together by the joints (haphe), metaphor for the pastor-teacher) and ligaments, grows with the (spiritual) growth which is from God.”
The pastor-teacher’s spiritual gift cannot function without a congregation to communicate doctrine to. The local assembly cannot function without the communication gift of pastor-teacher just as our bodies cannot function and move without joints and ligaments. This means that each believer’s spiritual gift is designed to benefit other members of the body of Christ. Paul once again uses an analogy of the physical body to illustrate this principle.
Each member of the physical body cannot do without the other members (1 Cor. 12:12-27). This means that your spiritual gift cannot function apart from your pastor-teacher and it certainly cannot function apart from the local assembly, which every believer has been called to. Hebrews 10:25 states emphatically that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves.
One must be motivated in order to accomplish anything in life. The same holds true in Christian service. One must be properly motivated in order to perform Christian service that is acceptable to God. Motivation is that which prompts a person to act in a certain way, the goal of one’s actions. Christian service if it is to be acceptable to God must be motivated by our love for who and what God is, what He has done for us and the manner in which He loved us at the Cross. Rom 5:6-8, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died as a Substitute for all of us.”
We noted earlier that in order for our service to be accepted by God, we must be in fellowship and obedient to the Word of God, which in turn enables the believer to perform the will of God. This is the 1st step because serving God runs deeper than this first step. Why should we serve God by being obedient to His will? Love!
Christian service if it is to be acceptable to God must be the response in the soul that is characterized by love for who and what God is, what He has done for us and the manner in which He loved us at the Cross. The believer who serves God with proper motivation will do so out of a heart of love and appreciation for God loving him in the manner in which He did at the Cross.
Since God the Father loved us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son and the Son loved us so much that He was willing to become a member of the human race and die for our sins on the Cross, it is only right that we should reciprocate in turn by serving God willingly, out of a heart of love and appreciation for Him loving us in the manner in which He did at the Cross.
Christian service is based upon the principle of reciprocal love, meaning that Christian service is the response by the believer to God self-sacrificially loving him in the manner in which He did at the Cross and reciprocating by self-sacrificially loving God in return and in the same manner.
The manner in which God loved us was through self-sacrifice. We as believers are to serve God by sacrificing our will and desires in order to fulfill the will and desire of God. John 12:25-26, “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life
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eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
Christian service is the response of the believer’s whole being to the manner in which God loved him at the Cross. The believer must first learn who God is and how He loves us in order to love God the way that He wants to be loved in return and how He wants us to love others. Matt 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Once the believer has learned how to love by imitating God, he then in turn can love himself and others. The believer must first love God before he can love himself and others, and consequently, the believer must first love God before he can serve God and others.
God’s love was expressed at the Cross-when He sacrificed His Son. The believer is to imitate God’s love by loving God and others sacrificially, thus, service on behalf of God and men must be based upon the self-sacrificial love of God, which serves as our motivation for Christian service and is to be directed toward both God and man. This is called in the Greek New Testament, agape love.
Christian service must be based upon the principle of agape (a)gavph), “divine-love,” which has 2 directions: (1) Vertical: Self-sacrificial love for God as motivation for Christian service. (2) Horizontal: Self-sacrificial love for all mankind in order to function in Christian service.
Mark 12:28-31, “One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘What commandment is the foremost of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’”
The believer who knows God can love and serve God the way that God wants to be loved and served, whereas the believer who does not know God cannot love and serve Him as He wants to be loved and served. We cannot love and serve God and others the way that God wants us to, unless we first learn how God loved and served us.
1 John 3:16-18, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
1 John 4:7-21, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love, which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we 2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 72
may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
The love of God in which we are to operate to others is described in other passages. Rom 13:10, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” 1 Cor 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”
Rom. 13:8-11, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
The immediate demonstrative pronoun houtos (ou(~to$) points out what precedes it, namely verses 8-10 and in particular verse 8 where Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit commands the Roman believers to love one another. The fact that the immediate demonstrative pronoun houtos is in the accusative case indicates that we have an absolute ellipsis of the finite verb where the verb is omitted in order to emphasize the preceding concept of loving one’s neighbor. The 1st person plural aorist active subjunctive form of the verb poieo (poievw) is omitted in order to emphasize the importance of the Biblical concept of loving one’s neighbor. This is a hortatory or volitive subjunctive used to urge the Roman believers to unite with Paul in loving their neighbor, which Paul has already decided to do. The aorist tense is ingressive indicating Paul’s desire that the Roman believers begin obeying the command to love their neighbor. The active voice signifies that the Roman believers as the subject are urged to unite with Paul in fulfilling the command to love each other.
Corrected translation of Romans 13:11, “Now, let us begin to do this (love each other), comprehending the significance of the time, that it is already the hour to awaken from your sleep for now our deliverance (from the devil’s world) is nearer than when we had believed (in Christ for salvation).”
Paul describes this love in verse 10 as doing no wrong to one’s neighbor. Paul wants the Roman believers spend their precious time on earth loving one another as the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated during His 1st Advent. The emphasis is upon the imminent return of the Lord at the rapture. As His servants, we want to be found faithful when He returns. Those who fulfill the divine mandate to love their neighbor will be found faithful.
“Love” is the noun agape (a)gavph). Agape rarely appears in classical Greek. The Greek New Testament writers elevated the word’s meaning by defining it as an attribute of God, thus God is its source. Agape originates in the essence of God, thus it designates the love of God or we could
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say is “divine-love.” In the New Testament agape expresses a love that wills to initiate a relationship and show kindness and self-sacrifice toward an object regardless if the object is responsive or not, whether attractive or obnoxious, rather it is an expression of the nature and character of one who loves. The Christian who operates in the love of God expresses the character and nature of God.
Characteristics of Agape, “divine-love”: (1) Loyal (John 21:7, 15-16, 20; Rom. 8:35, 39; Eph. 5:28). (2) Self-sacrificial (John 3:16; 15:13; Gal. 2:20). (3) Eternal (John 17:26). (4) Kind (1 Cor. 13:4). (5) Not self-centered (bragging, jealous) (1 Cor. 13:4). (6) Immutable (Rm. 8:39). (7) Unconditional (Rm. 8:35, 39). (8) Compassionate (1 John 3:16-17). (9) Merciful (1 John 3:16-17). (10) Righteous and Just (Rm. 13:8-10). (11) Thoughtful and Considerate (Rm. 13:8-10). (12) Truthful or Honest (1 Cor. 13:6). (13) Enduring (1 Cor. 13:7). (14) Confident in the Future (1 Cor. 13:7). (15) Forgiving (Eph. 4:32-5:2).
The following is a list of why we should love one another: (1) We are God’s children (Eph. 5:1). (2) We are brethren (Rm. 15:14). (3) We are members of one another (1 Cor. 12:25). (4) We are taught by God to love one another (1 Thess. 4:9). (5) God loves us (1 John 4:7). (6) It is the expression and fulfillment of God’s will (Mt. 22:35-40). (7) We want to glorify Him (1 Pet. 4:10-11).
Obedience to the following prohibitions will enable us to fulfill the mandate to love one another as the Lord loved us: (1) Do Not Judge One Another (Rm. 14:13) (2) Do Not have Lawsuits With One Another (1 Cor. 6:7) (3) Do Not Bite and Devour One Another (Gal. 5:15) (4) Do Not Challenge and Envy One Another (Gal. 5:26) (5) Do Not Speak Evil or Complain Against One Another (Jam. 4:11; 5:9) (6) Do Not Seek Glory from One Another (Jn. 5:44)
Obedience to the following commands will enable us to fulfill the mandate to love one another as the Lord loved us: (1) Devoted to One Another (Rm. 12:10) (2) The Same Mind Toward One Another (Rm. 12:16) (3) Build One Another Up (Rm. 14:19) (4) Accept One Another (Rm. 15:7) (5) Wait For One Another (1 Cor. 11:33) (6) Tolerate One Another (Eph. 4:2) (7) Kind, Tender-hearted and Forgiving to One Another (Eph. 4:32) (8) Speak to One Another with Spiritual Songs (Eph. 5:19) (9) Be Subject to One Another (Eph. 5:21) (10) Regard One Another as More Important than Yourself (Phlp. 2:3) (11) Bear with One Another (Col. 3:13) (12) Comfort One Another (1 Thess. 4:18) (13) Encourage One Another (1 Thess. 5:11) (14) Stimulate One Another to the Performance of Divine Good (Heb. 10:24) (15) Pray for One Another (Jam. 5:16) (16) Hospitable to One Another (1 Pet. 4:9) (17) Serve One Another (1 Pet. 4:10) (18) Humble toward One Another (1 Pet. 5:5).
We have a responsibility to love one another according to John 15:12, 17. Loving and caring for one another is not an option for the Christian. It is a mandate. It is solid proof of our love for the Lord and our fellowship with Him. The Lord Jesus Christ set the example in loving each other. John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”
The Lord provides us with the perfect human example in every way, manner, degree, extent, and purpose. Although He was undiminished deity, He left heaven’s glory and became a servant in the form of humanity, and He went to the cross to bear the shame of our sin and guilt. He did all this with a specific goal in mind—to bring men to God and heal their lives (1 Pet. 2:21) and so it must be with us. God has left us here to serve each other. Love is the means of serving one another according to Galatians 5:13-26.
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The omnipotence of the Holy Spirit is means that the believer is to employ in order to carry out the mandate from the Lord to love one another and only the believer who is in fellowship and applying the Word of God can utilize this means.
The Objectives in Loving One Another: (1) For a testimony to the world of the reality of God’s love in Christ: John 13:35: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (2) For loves continues to increase: (a) Increase: “and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you” (1 Thess. 3:12); and (b) Intensity and Spiritual Source: “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Pet. 1:22). “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). (3) For ministry and service to others: Ultimately, ministry and service summarize all the One Another injunctions that follow as expressions of God’s love for others.
2nd Great Divine Provision
The 2 Great Divine Provisions of the Word of God and the Spirit of God are the only means, which God the Father has provided every believer in order to love and serve Him and by loving and serving Him, the believer accomplishes His will. The Spirit of God through the communication of the Word of God not only instructs the believer as to how to love and serve the Father and accomplishes His will but He also through the Word, provides the capacity to serve the Father. The Spirit of God through the communication of the Word of God is the means by which God the Father wants to be served and have His will accomplished in our lives.
Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my divinely loved ones, in the same manner that all of you have consistently obeyed, not only when in my presence, but now, much more in my absence, you yourselves continue executing your own spiritual life by means of respect (for God) and with trembling. Since God (the Holy Spirit) is the One producing in all of you not only the determination but also the (resultant) production for the attainment of the grace purpose (of God the Father in eternity past).”
Philippians 3:1-3, “From now on, my brothers, all of you begin rejoicing and continue doing so because of the Lord: writing these same things for all of you is in fact never bothersome for me but safe for all of you. Beware of those dogs, beware of those evil workers, beware of the mutilation because we are the circumcision, those who are serving (God the Father) by means of the Spirit of God, who are priding themselves in the nature and doctrine of Christ Jesus, who have no confidence in the flesh.”
John 4:23-24, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father by means of the Spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship by means of the Spirit and truth.”
Rom 7:6, “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”
Serving God by means of the Spirit is accomplished by applying the Word of God, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, John 16:13-16 states that the Spirit’s ministry during the church age is to take the doctrines of Christ and make them understandable to us so that we can apply them. To be filled by means of the Spirit and letting the Word of Christ richly
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dwell in your heart are synonymous terms in that they both produce the same results and this is because when you apply the Word of God, you are utilizing the Spirit who inspired by the Spirit of God.
Ephesians 5:18 emphasizes the Spirit’s importance to our relationship with God. Eph 5:18-21, “And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of being drunk with wine because that is non-sensical behavior, but rather permit yourselves on a habitual basis to be influenced by means of the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
Colossians 3:16 emphasizes the Word of God’s importance. Col 3:16-17, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Notice that being filled by means of the Spirit and letting the word of Christ richly dwell in our hearts produces the same results.
The importance of the Word of God is expressed throughout the Scriptures. Matt 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.” Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
The Word of God provides encouragement to the believer. Romans 15:4-5, “For whatever stands written was written for our instruction so that through the endurance and through the encouragement which is derived from the Scriptures, we might possess confidence. Now may the God of confidence and encouragement provide all of you with the same mind toward each other according to Christ Jesus.”
Paul tells Timothy the following in 2 Timothy 2:1: “You therefore, my son, from this moment on permit yourself to be empowered by means of the grace which resides in the doctrine of Christ Jesus.”
The Lord Jesus Christ in His Upper Room Discourse describes the Spirit’s ministry during the church age. John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” John 15:26, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, {that is} the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.” John 16:13-15, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose {it} to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose {it} to you.”
Paul teaches the importance of the Spirit’s ministry in our lives as believers in 1 Cor 2:9-11, “but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT
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HEARD, AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. For to us God revealed {them} through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the {thoughts} of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the {thoughts} of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”
Several passages state that the believer is to give heed to what the Spirit is saying to the churches because of this spiritual principle that the Spirit takes the doctrines of Christ and makes them understandable to the believer. The Spirit speaks to the church through the communication of the Word of God. Acts 21:11, “This is what the Holy Spirit says.”‘ Acts 28:25, “”The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers.” 1 Cor 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Tim 4:1, “ But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” Heb 3:7, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE.” Rev 2:11, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 2:17, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 2:7a, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 3:6, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Rev 3:13, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Rev 3:22, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Inspiration of Scripture
The doctrine of inspiration contends that, God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human authors of Scripture, that without destroying their individuality, their literary style, their personal interests, their vocabulary, and God’s complete and connected thought towards man was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture.
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines the word inspiration as “a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him to receive and communicate sacred revelation. The action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.” They define the word inspire, “to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration,” which brings us to our definition of the Doctrine of Inspiration. The original languages of Scripture contain the very words of God, and therefore, bear the “authority” of divine authorship. Therefore, there are 3 reasonable suppositions: (1) Since God is a Person, perfect, eternal, infinite and just, He will always have a message to give and He will always reveal it so it could be understood by any believer. You don’t need a high I.Q. God the Holy Spirit (God the Holy Spirit) teaches you. (2) The Divine Record and Revelation will be given in accurate terms: Accuracy & Inerrancy (3) the text of this record will be preserved in its purity by God Himself and will therefore be indestructible. God sees to that. Conclusion: The Bible in its original languages is the exact record, the mind and will of God. Inspiration guarantees: (1) the accuracy of Satan’s lies and the way that they were phrased. (2) The way people committed their sins. (3) Anything that is not related to the Plan of God and outside the Plan of God is recorded for a purpose and for a reason.
2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed (theopneustos) and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Peter 1:20-21, “But know this first of
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all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made an act of human will, but men moved (phero) by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Acts 28:25, “And when they (the unbelieving Jews in Rome) did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, ‘The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers.” Hebrews 3:7, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘today if you hear His voice.’” 2 Samuel 23:2, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me (David), and His Word was on my tongue.” Isaiah 59:21, “And as for Me, this is My covenant with them, says the Lord: ‘My Spirit which is upon you (Isaiah), and My Words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,’ says the Lord, ‘from now and forever.’” Mark 12:36, “David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘the Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies beneath My feet’” Acts 2:4, “And they (the disciples) were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” Acts 16:6, “And they passed through Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the Word in Asia.” Acts 21:4, “And after looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem.” Acts 21:11, “And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, ‘This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world (cosmic system), but the Spirit Who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” 1 Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:8, “For to one is given the Word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the Word of knowledge according to the same Spirit.” Ephesians 3:4-5, “As a result of the public reading of this epistle you ought to be able to understand my technical knowledge about the Mystery of the Christ, which (mystery) in other generations was not made known to mankind as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by means of the Spirit.” 1 Peter 1:12, “It was to them (Old Testament prophets) that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by means of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-things into which angels long to look.” Revelation 2:7, “He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The Greek noun theopneustos, “God-breathed,” which is found in 2 Tim. 3:16 entails the principle of inspiration and involves both the inhale and exhale. God the Holy Spirit provided the inhale of the contents of the Bible, and the human authors exhaled it in writing. In the inhale, God the Holy Spirit communicated to human authors, like Paul, God’s complete and coherent message (2 Sam. 23:2, 3; Isa. 59:21; Jer. 1:9; Matt. 22:42-44; Mark 12:36; Acts 4:24-25; 28:25). In the exhale, the human writers of the Bible so wrote that without waiving their human intelligence, their vocabulary, their personal feelings, their literary style, their personality or individuality, God’s complete message to man was permanently recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture. The original languages of Scripture contain the very words of God, and therefore, bear the authority of divine authorship. The Bible in its original languages is the exact record, the mind and will of God.
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The Bible is plenary meaning the entire text is equally from God but not necessarily equally important. For example, the Mosaic Law is in the Bible but was not written directly for Church Age believers. The Mosaic Law was for Israel. Church Age believers have been given Mystery Doctrine. We have been given another set of instructions to live by in this dispensation. Our written instructions are in the NT epistles. The Jews had the Ritual Plan of God found in the Torah written by Moses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Church Age believers have been given the Plan of God for the Church Age found in the NT epistles.
The Bible originates from God in eternity past (Prov. 8:22-31). The Bible is the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). God the Holy Spirit is the Divine Author of the Bible (Acts 28:25; Heb. 3:7). The origin of the Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” “All Scripture is inspired by God” is the New American Standard translation from the Greek, pasa graphe theopneustos. Pasa is a nominative singular feminine adjective meaning “all” or “every.” It is modifying the noun graphe, “Scripture.” Therefore, the phrase pasa graphe can mean “all Scripture,” or “every Scripture.” Graphe is a nominative singular feminine noun. The nominative case is the “naming” case used to show the subject of a sentence or clause. Graphe is therefore the subject of the clause. Pasa when used with a noun in the singular and without the definite article emphasizes the individual members of a class that is denoted by the noun. Pasa is used here without a definite article and with the singular noun graphe. Therefore, the adjective pasa is modifying the noun graphe and is emphasizing the canon of Scripture that was completed up to the time that Paul wrote 2 Timothy.
Theopneustos is a nominative singular feminine adjective used to modify the noun graphe, “Scriptures,” and is a hapax legomenon. A hapax legomenon is a word that occurs once in a body of writing. Theopneustos occurs only once in the NT. Theopneustos is a compound word derived from the words theos, “God,” and pneo, “breathe, breathe into.” Translation: “God-breathed.”
The NAS translation of this word is absolutely terrible. Theopneustos is not a verb though the NAS translates it as such. There is no verb in the Greek. When the verb is omitted, this is called an ellipsis. An ellipsis is a figure of speech used by the writer to draw the reader’s attention to something. It used to emphasize something. The apostle Paul uses an ellipsis here to emphasize the divine authorship of the Scriptures. Pasa graphe theopneustos should therefore be translated “all Scripture, God-breathed.” This passage dogmatically and emphatically states that Scriptures are divinely inspired. They originate from God the Holy Spirit.
The Human Agents of Scripture, 2 Peter 1:20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
Men are used as agents by God to communicate Truth. God uses men to communicate Divine Truth to men. “Moved” is the NAS translation of the word pheromenoi. Pheromenoi is the nominative masculine plural present middle participle of the verb phero. Phero means, “to move, to bear, to lead, to carry, to bring, to bring forth.” Phero in 2 Peter 1:21 specifically means, “to move,” and speaks of God the Holy Spirit moving men to speak. God the Holy Spirit “moved” men to produce the Scriptures. Men were the willing agents used by God to produce the Scriptures. Therefore, the things that the human writers of Scripture wrote about were the things of God and not man. We have an historical present tense here describing a past event (the writing of Scripture) viewed as a present reality. The Scriptures were produced in the past and are still
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with us today. This is a permissive middle meaning that men permitted themselves to be used by God the Holy Spirit to produce the Scriptures. The permissive middle says that men were the willing agents used by God to produce the Scriptures. The participle is instrumental indicating the means by which the action of the main verb is accomplished. The participle indicates simultaneous action with the main verb in the sentence. The main verb in the sentence is elalesan, which is from the verb laleo, “to speak, to say.” The instrumental participle says that the means by which the Scriptures were produced was God the Holy Spirit inspiring men. The Bible reveals His will, purpose and plan. Men were used by God to communicate Truth. God uses men to communicate Divine Truth to men. God the Holy Spirit moved men to produce the Scriptures in writing. Men were the willing agents used by God to produce the Scriptures. The Bible is not a result of the thoughts of men. The Bible is not a result of men’s imagination or ideas or philosophies. The human writers of Scripture wrote about the things of God and not man. The Scriptures are Divine Viewpoint and not human viewpoint. The Bible uses human agencies and human language.
The Bible is the Word of the Lord and not of men (Ex. 9:20; Num. 14:20; Isa. 16:13; Jer. 1:4; Hos. 1:1; Joel 1:1; Jonah 1:1; Micah 1:1; Zeph. 1:1; Hag. 2:10; Zech. 1:1; Mal. 1:1). The Word of God is divine omnipotence because it originates from God (Heb. 4:12). The Word of God is God’s message to us (1 Thess. 2:13). The Word of God will exist forever (1 Pet. 1:25). Creation exists because of the Word of God (2 Pet. 3:5). Creation is sustained by the Word of God (Heb. 1:3). The Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union as the God-Man is the Word of God (John 1:1-2; Rev. 19:13).
2 Tim. 3:16-17 reveals that there are 4 categories of benefits from the Scriptures: (1) Doctrine: The Bible is the Mind of Christ, and therefore, divine viewpoint. (2) Reproof: The Bible tells us where we fail when we hear it. (3) Correction: The Bible tells us how to correct and solve our problems. (4) Instruction in righteousness: Involves the entire scope of the Gospel and demonstrates how God can take a sinner and make him righteous through the work of Christ. 2 Tim. 3:17 says that the Scriptures contain all that we need to