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Doctrine of Walking in the Light

July 21, 2010

Doctrine of Walking in the Light

Introduction
At the moment of salvation, the believer has been rescued from the kingdom of
darkness to the kingdom of light.
Col 1:13, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and
transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
The apostle Paul before King Agrippa mentions God’s will that men turn from
the darkness of Satan’s cosmic system to which they are enslaved to the kingdom
of light (Acts 26:13-18). Faith alone in Christ is the means that God employs to
transfer a human being from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
The “child of light” is now an enemy of the “kingdom of darkness.” The
“child of light” who before salvation was a “child of the darkness” is
commanded to “walk as a child of light” meaning live like the “Light of the
world” who is the Lord Jesus Christ.
So we have been noting for the last 2 classes the manner in which believers are to
walk as a child of the Light.
Eph 4:17-5:21, “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. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and
walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an
offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any
impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among
saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which
are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty,
that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an
inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with
empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the
sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were
formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of
Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and
truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the
unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is
disgraceful even to speak of the things, which are done by them in secret. But
all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything
that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And
arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Therefore be careful how
you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time,
because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the
will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but
be filled with 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.”
Vocabulary
There are 2 Greek words, which talk about the believer’s conduct or lifestyle in
the Greek New Testament: (1) The verb peripateo is related to “self” since it refers
to the believer’s individual lifestyle and conduct before God. (2) The verb stoicheo
is related to “others” since emphasizes the believer’s conduct in relation to others
and emphasizes the concept of unity among believers.
A believer can walk in either of 1 of 2 ways: (1) According to the old Adamicnature
(Rm. 8:4; cf. 1 Co. 3:3; 2 Co. 10:3). (2) By means of the Spirit or the new
Christ-nature (Ga. 5:16).
Paul admonishes believers “to walk (peripateo) worthy of the Lord” (Col.
1:10; 1 Th. 2:12; cf. Eph. 4:1), not “according to the course of this world” (Eph.
2:2).
Believers are to “walk in newness of life” (Rm. 6:4), “by means of divinelove”
and “as children of light” (Eph. 5:2, 8). Paul’s own lifestyle stands as a
model for believers (Phlp. 3:17; cf. 1 Th. 4:1).
Since the time of Jerome, many NT translators have considered stoicheo to be a
synonym of peripateo or poreuomai, “to walk.” This is emphatically not the case
because if this were the case the NT would be alone in this use of stoicheo.
The verb peripateo is related to self, whereas the stoicheo is related to others.
Stoicheo is a verb related to the concept of unity in the body of Christ. Peripateo
emphasizes the spiritual life of the individual believer, whereas stoicheo is related
to individual believer’s relationship and interaction with other members of the
Body of Christ.
Gal 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in agreement (stoicheo)
by the Spirit.”
Gal 6:15-16, “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision,
but a new creation. And those who will walk in agreement (stoicheo) by this
rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”
Ephesians 5:8-9, “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light
in the Lord; walk (peripateo) as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light
consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth).”
The Work of the Holy Spirit
The Spirit will reproduce the life and character of Christ in the believer who
obeys the Spirit’s voice, which is heard through the communication of the Word of
God and who speaks regarding the Father’s will for our lives. This obedience to the
Father’s will produces Christ-like character in the believer and is called the “fruit
of the light” in Ephesians 4:9. That which new Christ nature produces is called the
“fruit of righteousness.” It is synonymous with the “fruit of the Spirit,” which
appears in Galatians 5:22-23.
Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things
there is no law.”
The phrase “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22 emphasizes the Holy Spirit’s
role in reproducing the character of Christ in the believer.
New Christ Nature
The phrase “fruit of the Light” in Ephesians 5:9 emphasizes the role of the
new Christ nature and the mind of Christ in producing Christ-like character in the
believer.
The believer has been given a new nature, which is created in the image of the
Lord Jesus Christ and this new Christ nature gives the believer the capacity to
obey, love and serve God and to live as a “child of the Light.”
2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old
things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Paul commands the Ephesian believers to operate in the new Christ nature.
Eph 4:25, “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been
created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Ephesians 5:8-9, “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light
in the Lord; walk (peripateo) as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light
consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth).”
That which the old Adamic sin nature produces is called the “deeds of
darkness” in Ephesians 5:9.
Every person that is born into the world receives an old sin nature because God
the Father imputed Adam’s sin in the garden to every human being at the moment
of physical birth, thus making every human being physically alive but spiritually
dead.
Rom 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world,
and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinnedwhen
Adam sinned.”
Why did God do this?
Gal 3:22, “But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the
promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
Rom 11:32, “For God has shut up all in (Adam’s) disobedience so that He
may show mercy to all.”
The old Adamic sin nature has no capacity whatsoever to obey, love and serve
God, have fellowship with God or to live as a child of the Light. It can only
produce human good at best, which God rejects according to Isaiah 64:6 and evil.
The old sin nature makes us sinners. Just like fish swim and birds fly, sinners sin.
At the moment of salvation, God has given us a new nature that can never sin.
1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed
abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
The believer is commanded to put on the armor of light, which refers to the
believer applying the mind of Christ and living in the new Christ nature.
Rom 13:12-14, “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. Let us
behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual
promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 4
Christ-like Character
The believer who obeys the Father’s will, which is revealed by the Holy Spirit
through the communication of the Word of God permits the new Christ nature and
the Holy Spirit to reproduce the life and character of Christ in the believer.
So walking as a child of the Light means manifesting the life and character in
your life. Thoughts, words and actions compose a person’s character. The will of
the Father from eternity past is that the believer think like Christ, speak like Christ
and act like Christ. The plan of God from eternity past is that the believer be
conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 8:29, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become
conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among
many brethren.”
In order for the believer to become like Christ in thought, word and action, he
must pick up his cross daily. Picking up one’s cross means setting aside your own
will for the Father’s will. It means exchanging what self wants for what God wants
and making doing the Father’s will your number 1 priority in life.
Picking up one’s Cross means acquiring God’s viewpoint of ourselves, namely
that the following has been crucified with Christ at the Cross: (1) Self (Ga. 2:20).
(2) Flesh (Rm. 6:6, 11; Ga. 5:24). (3) World (Ga. 6:14). (4) Rudiments of the world
(Col. 2:20).
Self: Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who
live, but Christ lives in me; and the {life} which I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Flesh: Gal 5:24, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the
flesh with its passions and desires.”
World: Gal 6:14, “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the
cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to
me, and I to the world.”
Traditions of Men: Col 2:20-23, “If you have died with Christ to the
elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do
you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘do not handle, do not taste, do not
touch!’ (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) — in accordance
with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which
have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and selfabasement
and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against
fleshly indulgence.”
Picking up one’s cross is being willing to experience identification with Christ
in His death on a daily basis, which involves underserved suffering. Picking up
one’s Cross-means we must exchange the following: (1) Pre-salvation
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 5
unregenerate self-life for the post-salvation regenerate Christ-life. (2) Human
viewpoint for divine viewpoint. (3) Human power for divine power (4) Relative
human self-righteousness for absolute divine righteousness (5) Old Adamic nature
for the new Christ-nature.
We are no longer to depend upon our old pre-salvation unregenerate Adamiclife
but rather depend upon our new post-salvation regenerate Christ-life that we
received through regeneration at the moment of salvation.
The believer must pick up his cross in order to experience fellowship with God.
He must deny himself of his flesh, cosmic viewpoint and be willing to undergo
undeserved suffering if he is to experience fellowship and intimacy with God. The
more we experience the power of God in our lives through undeserved suffering
the more intimate we will become with the Lord. The more we experience the
power of God in our lives through undeserved suffering the richer our fellowship
will be with God.
Undeserved suffering is the means that God employs to draw the believer closer
to Himself in order that the believer might experience greater intimacy with the
Lord. The believer must pick up his cross in order to experience greater intimacy
with the Lord (Mt. 16:24-26; Lk. 9:23-27).
Picking up one’s cross means placing as number 1 priority in your life serving God
and others, and which service is to be motivated by love, and thus by serving God
and others, the believer executes the Father’s will.
The believer who puts legitimate human relationships such as mother, father,
brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and children or homes ahead of his relationship
with God is not picking up his cross but rather is living in idolatry and living for
self (Lk. 14:25-35).
Picking up one’s cross involves not permitting human relationships such as
family, husbands, wives and children to come before doing the Father’s will and
serving God’s people (Mt 10:37-39).
In order to pick up our Cross we must apply the Word of the Cross.
1 Cor 1:18, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are
perishing at the present time, but to us who are presently being delivered
(from sin, Satan and his cosmic system) it is the power of God.”
The apostle Paul’s number 1 ambition in life was to pick up his cross and
become like Christ.
Philippians 1:19, “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.”
Philippians 1:20-21, “According to my confident anticipation that I will be
put to shame in nothing but with all courage, as always, even now, Christ will
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 6
be glorified in my body whether by life or by death because as far as I am
concerned to continue living is Christ and to have died is profit.”
Philippians 3:2-3, “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 of Christ Jesus, who have no confidence in the flesh.”
Philippians 3:4, “Although I myself having confidence in the flesh, if
anyone of the same race (i.e., Jewish) claims to have confidence in the flesh
and some claim to have confidence in the flesh, I more.
Philippians 3:5-6, “With respect to circumcision: eighth day, descended
from the nation of Israel, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew
(speaking Jew) from Hebrews (Hebrew speaking parents), legalistically: a
Pharisee, zealously persecuting the church, self-righteously religious: I
conducted myself irreproachably!”
Philippians 3:7, “Nevertheless, what pre-salvation distinctions were assets
for me, these I have come to regard as a liability because of the Christ.”
Philippians 3:8, “Furthermore in fact, yes without a doubt, I continue to
regard each today as a liability because of the incomparable knowledge
pertaining to Christ Jesus, my Lord because of whom I have renounced all of
them, even regarding all of them as piles of excrement in order that I might
gain Christ-likeness.”
Philippians 3:9-10, “So that I might be identified with Him, not by
possessing my own legalistic righteousness, but rather faithful Christ-likeness,
the divine righteousness based upon doctrine that I come to know Him
experientially and the power from His resurrection and the participation in
His sufferings by my becoming like Him with respect to His death.”
Philippians 3:11, “If somehow (by becoming like Him with respect to His
death), I may attain to the exit-resurrection, namely, the one out from the
(spiritually) dead ones.”
Philippians 3:12, “(I am) not (saying) that I have already achieved this, or I
have already been brought to completion, but rather I am sprinting, if (by
sprinting) I also may have captured the prize for which I also have been
captured by Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13, “Brothers, I do not evaluate myself to have captured the
prize, but I am in fact continually concentrating on one thing, namely, by
forgetting the past and by extending myself forward towards the future,
bearing down upon the objective.”
Philippians 3:14, “I am sprinting towards the finish line for the prize,
which is God the Father’s invitation to privilege residing in the Person of
Christ Jesus.”
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 7
Living as children of light involves thinking, speaking and acting like our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ and putting nothing ahead of our relationship with God.
The following passages emphasize thinking, speaking and acting like Christ,
which is tantamount or equivalent to walking or living like children of the Light:
2 Cor 10:3-6, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to
the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely
powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and
every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking
every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish
all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”
Rom 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to
present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is
your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but
be transformed by the renovation of your thought process, so that you may
demonstrate what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and
perfect.”
Eph 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only
such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so
that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Philippians 1:27a, “Single-mindedly, continue conducting yourselves (as
citizens of heaven) in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Philippians 2:1, “Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ and
there is, if there is any motivation from divine-love, and there is, if there is any
fellowship through the Spirit and there is, if there is any compassionate
affections and there is.”
Philippians 2:2, “Consummate this happiness of mine, namely that all of
you may continue thinking the same by all of you possessing the same divinelove,
united in soul.”
Philippians 2:3, “All of you continue thinking the one thing. Never
(thinking) according to inordinate ambition nor according to self-deception
but with humility. All of you continue regarding each other as better than
yourselves. Each stop being occupied with your own interests but rather the
interests of others.”
Philippians 2:14, “Continue performing all activities without murmurs
resulting from doubts.
Philippians 2:15-16, “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 continue appearing as luminaries in the cosmos by all of you
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 8
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.
Philippians 3:14, “I am sprinting towards the finish line for the prize,
which is God the Father’s invitation to privilege residing in the Person of
Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:15, “Therefore, as many as are mature, let us consistently
think this. Nevertheless, if-and let us assume it is true for the sake of
argument anyone of you are thinking otherwise at the present time then God
the Holy Spirit as a rule will reveal this for your benefit.”
Philippians 3:16, “In any case, having progressed this far, let us continue to
live in agreement according to the same code of conduct.”
Philippians 4:1-2, “Therefore, my divinely loved and extremely missed
brothers, my pride and joy, in the manner spoken of, continue to persevere
because of the Lord divinely loved ones. I beg Euodia and Syntyche to make it
a habit to think the same because of the Lord.”
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers whatever things exist eternally in a state
of being true in character.”
Philippians 4:8, “whatever things exist eternally in a state of being noble in
character.”
Philippians 4:8, “whatever things exist eternally in a state of being
righteous in character.”
Philippians 4:8, “whatever things exist eternally in a state of being pure in
character.”
Philippians 4:8, “whatever things exist eternally in a state of being lovely in
character.”
Philippians 4:8, “whatever things exist eternally in a state of being
admirable in character.”
Philippians 4:8, “if-and let us assume for the sake of argument there exists
eternally anything in a state of being virtuous in character…and we agree that
there is.”
Philippians 4:8, “and if-and let us assume for the sake of argument there
exists eternally anything in a state of being praiseworthy in character…and
we agree that there is, then from now on, make it a habit of contemplating
these things.”
Philippians 4:9, “Concerning which things, all of you both learned through
instruction, yes-and all of you accepted as well, all of you both heard, yes- and
all of you observed as well in my presence, from now on make it a habit of
practicing these things and as a result God the Holy Spirit who produces a
peace that is divine in nature, will as a spiritual truth be among all of you.”
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 9
Col 3:1-8, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking
the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your
mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have
died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life,
is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore
consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity,
passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of
these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,
and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you
also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech
from your mouth.”
Col 3:9-17, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with
its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true
knowledge according to the image of the One who created him — a renewal in
which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and
uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and
in all. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a
heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with
one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against
anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these
things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ
rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be
thankful. 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.”
Eph 4:1-3, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a
manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all
humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in
love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Col 1:9-12, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not
ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of
His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 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; strengthened with
all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all
steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has
qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
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Col 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with
salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
1 Tim 4:12, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in
speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who
believe.”
So the believer is commanded to live as a child of light in Ephesians 5:8 and not
to conduct himself as he did as a child of the darkness, which he was before
salvation.
The believer who is in fellowship with God will manifest the character of Christ
in his life, which is called the “fruit of the Light” in Ephesians 5:9, whereas the
believer who is out of fellowship with God manifests the characteristics of the old
Adamic sin nature, which are called the “deeds of darkness” in Ephesians 5:11.
A believer who is walking as a child of the Light is a believer who is in
fellowship with God and is permitting the Holy Spirit to reproduce the life and
character of Christ, which is called in Scripture: “Fruit, fruit of the Spirit, fruit of
the Light, fruit of righteousness.”
John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I
in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things
there is no law.”
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.”
Spirit Influenced
The believer who obeys the Father’s will, which is revealed to the believer by
the Holy Spirit through the communication of the Word of God permits the new
Christ nature to function and the Holy Spirit to reproduce the life and character of
Christ in his life.
This is why Paul issues the following command in Ephesians 5:18: “And do
not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”
(NASU)
In Ephesians 5:18 the apostle Paul is writing to believers who were located in
the city of Ephesus, which was located in the Roman province of Asia and which is
now known as Turkey.
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
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 11
5:18 alludes to their former pagan practice and 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 make it a
habit of permitting themselves to be influenced by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 can be divided into 2 sections: (1) Negative: prohibition (2)
Positive: command.
The prohibition begins with the connective use of the conjunction kai, “and.”
“Not” is the negative particle me.
“Get drunk” is the 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.” The passive form, which we have here in Ephesians 5:18
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) and
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.”
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;}.”
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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.”
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 who was also called Bacchus or in
Rome. 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 where Ephesus was
located. 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 and the Ephesian believers 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 and is of
course, a part of our hedonistic western culture. So it is important to keep in mind
the pagan background of the Ephesians when we view this passage because it helps
us to understand why Paul issues this prohibition to the believers in Ephesus.
Paul knew their sin nature trends before salvation because he knew the city of
Ephesus was famous for their pagan practices. So the apostle Paul by employing
this verb methuskomai in Ephesians 5:18 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.”
The verb is in the present imperative form and this form in prohibitions can
have 1 of 2 senses: (1) Cessation of Activity in Progress (Progressive): “Stop
continuing.” (2) General Precept (Customary)
The context of the book indicates that this is a general precept since there is
nothing in the book that would indicate that the Ephesian believers were making it
a habit of getting drunk.
In fact, in Ephesians 1:15 Paul states that the Ephesians already “have love for
all the saints,” thus the Ephesian believers were already permitting themselves to
be fully influenced by the Spirit since they could not operate in the love of God if
they were getting drunk.
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Here we have a present prohibition, which has the force of a general precept.
This kind of prohibition really makes no comment about whether the action is
going on or not.
So Paul is saying with the present imperative of prohibition: “Do not permit
yourselves to get into the habit of being drunk.”
The passive voice of this verb in Ephesians 5:18 is significant in that it is a rare
permissive passive, which implies consent, permission, or cause of the action of
the verb on the part of the subject and it indicates that the Ephesian believers are
told here not to “permit” or “allow” themselves get drunk.
“With wine” is 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.”
Eph 5:18a, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation.”
(NASU)
“For that” is composed of the preposition en plus the instrumental of cause,
which is singular relative pronoun ho.
The preposition en plus the instrumental of cause is used to indicate the basis
for the Ephesian believers are to obey the prohibition and not to get drunk,
therefore, we can translate the prepositional phrase en ho, “because that.”
“Is” is the 3rd person singular present active indicative form of the verb eimi,
which is estin.
The word for “dissipation” is the nominative feminine singular noun asotia.
The noun asotia is a predicate nominative and 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 used to make a statement of a general, timeless fact
and says here in Ephesians 5:18 that as a general timeless fact, getting drunk with
wine is stupidity!
This is a stative active voice indicating that the subject exists in a state of nonsensical
behavior or stupidity as a result of drunkenness and this is a declarative
indicative indicating a dogmatic statement of fact.
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So the 1st half of Ephesians 5:18 reads as follows: “And do not permit
yourselves to get into the habit of being drunk with wine because that is
stupidity.”
Eph 5:18b, “but be filled with the Spirit.” (NASU)
“But” is the strong adversative conjunction alla, which we will translate “but
rather” in order to bring out the force of the word.
“Be filled” is the 2nd person plural present passive imperative form, which is
plerousthe.
In the Greek New Testament, pleroo can have the following meanings: (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) passive of time, to be fulfilled, come
to an end, be fully arrived (12) of prophecy, to receive fulfillment.
Here in Ephesians 5:18 the word means, “to be fully influenced” since the
English word “influence” accurately, conveys the meaning of pleroo here in
Ephesians 5:18.
The word conveys the believer’s relationship to the Holy Spirit who is a person.
The word “influence” conveys this more than the words “possessed, controlled,” or
“filled.” “Filled” would be used of liquids, which we don’t have here. “Possessed”
denotes ownership, which is not the sense here. “Controlled” has the connotation
of someone doing something against your will, which is not the meaning of pleroo
here in Ephesians 5:18.
The verb pleroo in Ephesians 5:18 in the passive voice means, “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.
Once again we have the permissive passive voice, which 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 fully
influenced by the Holy Spirit.
Now, we have the present imperative form of the verb pleroo here in Ephesians
5:18 where Paul is issuing a command.
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The present imperative form in commands has the following senses: (1)
Ingressive-progressive: Begin and continue (2) Customary: Continue (3) Iterative:
Repeated action, do it again and again
We do not have an ingressive-progressive sense here since that would imply
that the Ephesian believers were not permitting the Holy Spirit to influence them,
but that is not true since they were already operating in the love of God, which is
impossible without the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit. This sense here is not
iterative involving a repeated act, although Paul does want them to repeatedly
permit themselves to be fully influenced by the Spirit, rather, the force here is
customary.
The force of the customary present imperative is simply continue and is a
command for action to be continued, action that may or may not have already been
going on. It is often a character building command to the effect of “make this your
habit,” “train yourself in this,” etc.
The command in Ephesians 5:18 is a character building command meaning that
Paul wants to build the character of Christ in the Ephesians. He wants them to
“make it their habit” to permit themselves to be fully influenced by the Spirit
because that will build the character of Christ in them, which is the Father’s will.
Corrected translation thus far of Ephesians 5:18, “And do not permit
yourselves to get into the habit of getting drunk with wine because that is
stupidity but rather, make it a habit to permit yourselves to be fully
influenced.”
“With the Spirit” is composed of the preposition en plus the neuter singular
instrumental form of the noun pneuma, which is pneumati.
Pneuma refers to God the Holy Spirit here in Ephesians 5:18.
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.
Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be
filled with the Spirit.”
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.
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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 Ephesian believers are to make it a habit to permit themselves to be fully
influenced “by means of” the Spirit, who is the believer’s true Teacher and Mentor.
Ephesians 5:18, “And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of
being drunk with wine because that is stupidity, but rather permit yourselves
on a habitual basis to be fully influenced by means of the Spirit.”
The apostle Paul 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-influenced 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, or under the influence of 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 or 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, since the Spirit already permanently indwells you (Rm. 8:11; 1 Cor.
3:16) but rather the issue is 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.
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The believer must make a conscious decision to acknowledge any known sins
to the Father and then immediately apply the Word of God to his thought process,
which is inspired by the Spirit.
Rebound or acknowledging your sins simply restores you to fellowship with
God but in order to maintain that fellowship with God we must immediately apply
the Word of God to our thought process, which in turn produces words and actions
that are according to the Word of God since thought precedes action.
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 and is not an emotion.
At the moment of salvation every believer is filled with the Spirit, but he loses
it through committing personal sin, yet it is recovered by acknowledging any
known sin to the Father (1 Jn. 1:9). Every believer in the church age is commanded
to permit the Holy Spirit to 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 influence his soul. It is a dynamic whereas the indwelling of
the Spirit is static meaning it never changes and 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 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 influenced 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 or more accurately
influenced by the Spirit.
Being influenced by means of the Spirit is directly related to the believer’s
mental attitude whereas walking by the Spirit is directly related to how the believer
conducts himself. The believer who is applying the Word of God is influenced by
means of the Spirit, therefore, the filling of the Spirit is directly related to being a
doer of the Word of God (Jm. 1:22-25).
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). The Spirit’s job is
to manifest Christ, to mediate the presence of Christ in the believer, to make the
mind of Christ understandable to the believer. Therefore, the believer who is
influenced by means of the Spirit is a doer of the Word since He is obeying the
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Spirit’s voice who speaks to the believer through the communication of the Word
of God, which is the mind of Christ.
Heb 3:7, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR
HIS VOICE.”
Rev 2:7, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is
in the Paradise of God.’”
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 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)
and 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 believer who obeys the Father’s will, which is revealed by the
Holy Spirit through the communication of the Word of God will be influenced by
means of the Spirit and will also permit the Holy Spirit to reproduce the life and
character of Christ in the believer and will therefore, have the capacity to walk as a
child of the Light.
Disobedience hinders this post-salvation ministry of the Holy Spirit and grieves
the Spirit as well. Grieving the Holy Spirit is a sin that is directed towards His
Person.
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 4:30, “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.”
Now, we must note that you cannot 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. 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.
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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.
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 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. 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 Christlike
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.
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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 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).
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.
1 Thess 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 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 since 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.
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Now 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 preincarnate
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.
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.”
Now, 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
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 22
in our soul when we are in fellowship. Not only are we 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 life and
character of Christ. When we are out of fellowship, the light of Christ, which refers
to the life and character of the Person of Christ, cannot be manifested in our
physical bodies.
Remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said:
John 8:12, “Therefore, Jesus addressed them again, saying, ‘I am the light
of the world (kosmos). The one who makes it a habit of obeying me (as a
lifestyle) shall no never walk in the darkness, but will possess the light of life.”
Just as the physical body is designed to manifest a personality so the body of
Christ is designed to manifest the Person 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 more accurately “influenced” 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.
Now 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.
1 Thess 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
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.
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
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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!
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.
The apostle in Galatians chapter 5 contrast the characteristics of the old sin
nature, which he calls “the flesh” with the characteristics that are produced by the
Holy Spirit, which he calls “the fruit of the Spirit.”
Christ-like Love
As a child of light, the believer must love like the Lord Jesus Christ who is the
“Light of the world.”
“Love” is the noun agape, which has the following characteristics: (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 selfcentered
(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).
We have a responsibility to love one another (Jn. 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 gave us the perfect example to follow in regards to loving
each other.
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John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one
another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all
men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Holiness
As children of the Light we must also walk according to the perfect standards of
the Light, i.e. Christ, that is, we must walk according to God’s holiness.
We must remember the statement made by the apostle John in 1 John 1:5 that
“God is light” meaning God is the absolute perfection of character, i.e. holy.
1 John 1:1, “Who has always existed from eternity past, who we have
heard, who we have witnessed with our eyes, who we observed, even our
hands touched concerning the Word who is the life (of God).”
1 John 1:2, “that is, this One who is the life (of God) was revealed (by the
Holy Spirit) and we have witnessed and we testify and we are proclaiming
(from God) at this particular time for the benefit of all of you this One who is
the eternal life (of God), who indeed by virtue of His divine nature has always
existed face to face with the Father and was revealed (by the Holy Spirit) for
the benefit of all of us.”
1 John 1:3, “Who, we have witnessed and we have heard, we also are
proclaiming (from God) at this particular time for the benefit of all of you in
order that all of you without exception might also continue to experience
fellowship and this fellowship is as an eternal spiritual truth with the Father
and with His Son, Jesus who is the Christ.”
1 John 1:1-3 is a refutation of Cerinthian Gnosticism.
1 John 1:5, “Now, this is, as an eternal spiritual truth, the proclamation,
which we have heard issue forth from Him and we are imparting at this
particular time for the benefit of all of you that the (Triune) God is, as an
eternal spiritual truth, light. In fact, there is, as an eternal spiritual truth,
absolutely no darkness inherent in Him, none.”
The apostle John’s statement that “God is light” in 1 John 1:5 is designed to
refute Gnostic teaching and in particular the Syrian form of Gnosticism, which
taught that evil originated from the essence of God.
As language of accommodation, the apostle John under the inspiration of God
the Holy Spirit is employing a figure of speech here in 1 John 1:5 called an
anthropopathism by stating that God is light.
An anthropopathism is language of accommodation through which infinite God
reveals Himself to the finite man. An anthropopathism is a figure of speech and is
used to ascribe human passions, actions or attributes to God.
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Here in 1 John 1:5, God is figured by an inanimate thing, namely, light. The
apostle John under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit is ascribing to God the
characteristic of light in order to explain to the human frame of reference the
perfect character of God. By employing this figure of light, infinite God is
explaining or revealing Himself to finite man regarding His perfect eternal
character. He is condescending by ascribing the characteristics of light to Himself
in order that finite man can understand something about Himself.
The apostle John employs the figure of light here in 1 John 1:5 to describe the
holiness of God, which is His absolute perfection of character.
Lev 11:44a, “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves
therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”
As light is the antithesis to darkness, so God is the antithesis to sin and the
author of sin, Satan.
The most obvious characteristic of light is that it reveals thus John employs this
figure in relation to sin and the believer’s fellowship with God. As physical light
reveals so the absolute perfection of God’s character reveals their imperfections,
i.e. sin.
In the context of 1 John 1:5 John employs this figure of light in order to convey
to his readers that the absolute perfection of God’s character reveals sin in their
lives. By ascribing the figure of light to God John is implying that you cannot hide
sin with God and have fellowship with Him at the same time.
God’s holiness, i.e. His absolute perfection of character won’t permit it.
Ps 66:18, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”
The holiness of God is a term refers to the aggregate of perfect features or
attributes and traits that form the nature of God the Father, God the Son and God
the Holy Spirit.
The figure of light used by John to describe God refers to the fact that God is
totally separated from all sin and evil.
Ps 5:4, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil
dwells with You.”
God’s holiness expresses His purity of His character or moral perfection and
excellence. The application for John’s readers is that the absolute and innate
holiness or perfect character of God means that God can have nothing to do with
sin or sinners. He is totally separate from sin and sinners unless a way can be found
to constitute them holy and that way has been provided based upon the merits of
the impeccable Person and Finished Work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.
The believer cannot experience fellowship with God unless he is as holy as
God. This is accomplished positionally at the moment of salvation when the
believer received the new Christ nature, which is perfectly holy and cannot sin
because it is created in the image of Christ who is holy and is impeccable.
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Eph 4:24, “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been
created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
God wants us to experience that which is true of us positionally, namely that we
are as holy as God. The believer who lives according to the standards of God’s
holiness, will experience fellowship with God but the believer who lives in his old
sin nature and according to the lies of the cosmic system of Satan will not
experiencing fellowship with God.
The believer is commanded to be holy as God is holy.
1 Peter 1:14-16, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former
lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called
you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU
SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
God the Holy Spirit would not issue this command to the believer to be as holy
as He is unless the believer had the power or capacity to be holy as Him and this
capacity God has given to every believer when He gave the believer a new nature
at the moment of salvation through regeneration.
After salvation, the believer can experience the holiness of God by remaining in
fellowship, which is accomplished by applying the Word of God and having no
unacknowledged sin in the stream of consciousness.
Experiencing the holiness of God is contingent upon the believer
acknowledging his sins and obeying the Word of Truth.
This proclamation that God is light will help them to maintain their fellowship
with God since it will teach them that God does not tolerate sin and therefore sin
must be acknowledge to the Father (1 Jn. 1:9).
1 John 1:9, “If any of us does acknowledge our (personal) sins, He is
faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins with the result that He purifies us
from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:6, “If, any of us enters into making the claim that we have been
experiencing fellowship with Him and yet we have been living in the darkness
(of the cosmic system of Satan), then we, as an eternal spiritual truth, lie to
ourselves and furthermore, we, as an eternal spiritual truth, unequivocally do
not obey the truth.”
1 John was written to believers who were located in Ephesus and who were
being exposed to Gnostic teaching and in particular antinomian Gnostic teaching.
Gnosticism is a system of false teachings that existed during the early centuries of
Christianity. Its name came from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis. The
Gnostics believed that knowledge was the way to salvation. For this reason, several
writers of the New Testament condemned Gnosticism as false and heretical.
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Gnosticism was the product of the combination of Greek philosophy and
Christianity. Its central teaching was that spirit is entirely good and matter is
entirely evil.
From this unbiblical dualism emerged 5 important errors: (1) Man’s body,
which is matter, is therefore evil. It is to be contrasted with God, who is spirit and
therefore good. (2) Salvation is the escape from the body, achieved not by faith
alone in Christ alone but by special knowledge (the Greek word gnosis,
“knowledge,” hence Gnosticism). (3) Christ’s true humanity was denied in 2 ways:
(1) Some taught that Christ only appeared to have a body, a view called Docetism,
from the Greek dokeo, “to seem,” and (2) Others taught that the deity of Christ
joined the man Jesus at His baptism and left Him before He died, a view called
Cerinthianism, after its most prominent spokesman, Cerinthus. This view is the
background of much of 1 John (see 1:1; 2:22; 4:2-3). (4) Since the body was
considered evil, it was to be treated harshly. This ascetic form of Gnosticism is the
background of part of the letter to the Colossians (2:21-23). (5) Paradoxically, this
dualism also led to licentiousness. The reasoning was that, since matter-and not the
breaking of God’s law (1 Jn. 3:4)-was considered evil, breaking this law of no
moral consequence.
1 John 1:6, “If, any of us enters into making the claim that we have been
experiencing fellowship with Him and yet we have been living in the darkness
(of the cosmic system of Satan), then we, as an eternal spiritual truth, lie to
ourselves and furthermore, we, as an eternal spiritual truth, unequivocally do
not obey the truth.”
In 1 John 1:6, John is presenting to his readers, who were believers, a
hypothetical situation that could potentially take place after salvation among his
readers in order to teach them a critical spiritual principle regarding fellowship
with God.
1 John 1:6 reflects the antinomian Gnostic teaching that John’s readers were
being exposed to whereas 1 John 1:7 reflects John’s apostolic teaching.
1 John 1:6 presents a hypothetical situation that could take place among John’s
readers if they adhere to the Gnostic teaching.
The apostle John is employing a metaphor here in 1 John 1:6 where the
metaphor of “living in the darkness” represents not living in the presence of God
and thus not having fellowship with Him because of not living according to the
holiness of God, which is tantamount to living according to the cosmic system of
Satan.
The believer who lives in the darkness is disobedient to the Spirit who speaks to
the believer regarding the Father’s will through the communication of the Word of
God and has fallen for the lies of Satan’s cosmic system. God has no choice but to
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deliver the believer over to the lies of Satan’s cosmic system if he rejects the Spirit
of truth.
This principle is of course applicable to the unbeliever and is taught by Paul in
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12.
John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires
of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in
the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks
from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Rom 1:25, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped
and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.
Amen.”
If the believer is not living in God’s presence and thus out of fellowship with
God, the believer is not executing the command to be holy since you cannot come
into the presence of God and have fellowship with Him if you are not as holy as
God. The believer who is out of fellowship is not obeying the command in 1 Peter
1:14-16.
Living in the darkness here in 1 John 1:6 refers to living in sin meaning not
conforming one’s thoughts, words and actions to the perfect holiness of God,
which is accomplished by applying God’s Word, which is the equivalent to
obeying the Spirit.
In 1 John 1:6, the apostle John states if the believer claims that he has been
experiencing fellowship with God and yet has been living in the darkness of the
cosmic system, then he is as an eternal spiritual truth, lying to himself since his
conduct is not consistent with the holiness of God.
Whatever is not according to the Word of truth is a lie.
John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no
one comes to the Father but through Me.”
John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
The doctrine of the Gnostics was a lie from the cosmic system of Satan because
it contradicted the apostolic teaching that originated from the Lord Jesus Christ,
who communicated to the apostles that which He knows first hand about the
holiness of God since He Himself is God and is co-equal, co-infinite and co-eternal
with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the apostolic teaching is truth since
it originates from God and any doctrine that contradicts this teaching should be
considered a lie from the cosmic system of Satan and should be avoided.
The believer lies to himself if he claims that he can experience fellowship with
God and yet live according to the lies of the cosmic system of Satan since God is
truth and holy and can have not have fellowship with those who don’t conform to
His holiness, which is accomplished by obeying the Spirit of truth who expresses
perfectly the holiness of God through the Word of God.
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Lying to oneself is self-deception and self-deception is arrogance. Arrogance is
the antithesis to humility and it originated with Satan in eternity past. Lying to
oneself and self-deception and arrogance all originate with Satan who is the father
of lies.
Lying to oneself is a distorted view of oneself that is a result of disobedience to
the Father’s will.
Ezekiel 28:12-19 states that Satan was created perfect in wisdom and this he
received from God who created him perfect in wisdom and beauty. But he became
arrogant and failed to acknowledge that God had created him perfect in wisdom
and beauty thus Satan would not give his Creator the credit.
Lying to oneself resulting in self-deception is therefore not looking at oneself
from the divine perspective, which is found in the Word of God. It is a distorted
view of oneself, which is the failure to adhere to the divine viewpoint regarding
oneself.
The believer is commanded to acquire God’s viewpoint of himself.
Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that
which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
This is true humility whereas arrogance rejects God’s viewpoint of oneself.
Lying to oneself and its resultant self-deception is the direct result of not
conforming one’s attitude and conduct to the holiness of God, which is
accomplished by obeying the Father’s will that is communicated to the believer by
the Holy Spirit through the communication of the Word of God.
The believer who claims that he can experience fellowship with a holy God and
at the same living according to the cosmic system of Satan is lying to himself
because Satan and God are at war with each other.
Light and darkness are symbolic of this distinction. The kingdom of darkness
cannot have fellowship with the kingdom of light (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-18).
1 John 1:6, “If, any of us enters into making the claim that we have been
experiencing fellowship with Him and yet we have been living in the darkness
(of the cosmic system of Satan), then we, as an eternal spiritual truth, lie to
ourselves and furthermore, we, as an eternal spiritual truth, unequivocally do
not obey the truth.”
1 John 1:6 begins the first in a series of 6 3rd class conditional statements (1 Jn.
1:6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 2:1), which semantically present a present general condition that
can be categorized as a 5th class condition.
Conditional sentences contain a protasis, which is the premise and an apodasis,
which is the conclusion. Each of these 3rd class (5th class) conditional clauses
consist of 3 pairs that can be divided into 2: (1) Negative statement in the apodasis
(1 Jn. 1:6, 8, 10). (2) Positive statement in the apodasis (1 Jn. 1:7, 9; 2:1).
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The negative statements 1 John 1:6, 8 and 10 reflect the implications of
following the Gnostic teaching whereas the positive statements in 1 John 1:7, 9 and
2:1 reflect the implications of following the apostolic teaching.
1 John 1:6 presents a hypothetical situation that could potentially take place
among John’s readers if they adhere to the Gnostic teaching.
1 John 1:6 reflects the antinomian Gnostic teaching that John’s readers were
being exposed to whereas 1 John 1:7 reflects John’s apostolic teaching.
The apostle John continues with light metaphor here in verse 6 where the
metaphor of “living in the darkness” represents not living in the presence of God
and thus not having fellowship with Him because of living according to the lies of
the cosmic system of Satan.
The believer who lives in the darkness is disobedient to the Spirit who speaks to
the believer regarding the Father’s will through the communication of the Word of
God and has fallen for the lies of Satan’s cosmic system.
Living in the darkness here in 1 John 1:6 refers to living in sin meaning not
conforming one’s thoughts, words and actions to the perfect holiness of God,
which is accomplished by applying God’s Word, which is the equivalent to
obeying the Spirit.
In 1 John 1:6, the apostle John states if the believer claims that he has been
experiencing fellowship with God and yet has been living in the darkness of the
cosmic system, then he is as an eternal spiritual truth, lying to himself since his
conduct is not consistent with the holiness of God.
Whatever is not according to the Word of truth is a lie. The doctrine of the
Gnostics was a lie from the cosmic system of Satan because it contradicted the
apostolic teaching that originated from the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the
apostolic teaching is truth since it originates from God and any doctrine that
contradicts this teaching should be considered a lie from the cosmic system of
Satan and should be avoided (Rm. 16:17-18; 2 Jn. 7-11).
“Obey” is the transitive verb poieo, which is employed with the articular
accusative construction ten aletheian, “the truth,” which refers to the Word of
God.
The believer who is out of fellowship is as an eternal spiritual truth
unequivocally not “obeying” the truth that is found in the Word of God.
To obey means, “to comply with or follow the commands, prohibitions, and
instructions of another, to respond conformably in action to another, to submit
something.”
If we paraphrase these definitions, and apply them to our present context, and
give them a spiritual application we would say that the believer who claims to
experience fellowship with a holy God and yet is living in the darkness of the
cosmic system, lies to himself is not complying with, following the commands and
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 31
prohibitions of, responding conformably in action to, submitting to the Word of
God, which is absolute truth.
The Father’s will for the believer is that he obeys the Word of God, the
doctrines of the Christian faith.
1 Peter 1:22-23, “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, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but
imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”
Experiencing fellowship with God, sanctification, the holiness of God, which is
equivalent to living in the new Christ nature demands obedience to the Word of
Truth. The Father’s will for every believer’s life is conformity to the image of the
Lord Jesus Christ (Rm. 8:28-29). This cannot be accomplished experientially in the
believer’s life if he does not conformed to the mind of Christ.
2 Cor 10:5, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up
against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the
obedience of Christ.”
Faith is characterized by obedience to the Word of God.
Heb 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a
place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not
knowing where he was going.”
Obedience to the Word of God demonstrates the believer’s love for the Lord
(John 14:21-23) and the believer’s trust in the Lord.
Those who are disobedient are not operating in faith and do not love the Lord.
Obedience to the Word of God is motivated by the believer’s love for the Lord.
The believer who responds to Christ’s love and self-sacrifice on the cross to his
own life will be motivated to obey the Lord. Obedience is simply the response of
the believer to the love God that He has demonstrated towards all mankind through
His Son Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith
in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
The believer’s obedience to the Word of Truth demonstrates the believer’s
respect for the Lord.
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).”
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Obedience to the Word of truth is equivalent to obeying the voice of the Holy
Spirit who speaks to the believer concerning the will of the Father through the
communication of the mind of Christ, which is the Word of God.
The believer who is disobedient to the Word of truth will not experience
fellowship with God but on the other hand, the believer who is obedient to the
Word of truth will experience fellowship with God. Therefore, spirituality and
fellowship with God are an absolute because you are either obeying the Word of
truth or you are not.
1 John 1:7, “On the other hand, if any of us does live in the light (in the
presence of God by living according to the standards of God’s holiness) just as
He Himself is, as an eternal spiritual truth, in essence that light, then, we, as
an eternal spiritual truth, do experience fellowship with one another and the
blood of Jesus (His substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross) His Son as an
eternal spiritual truth purifies us from every (personal) sin (that we commit).”
Here in 1 John 1:7, John continues with the metaphor where the expression en
to photi peripatomen, “does live in the light” refers to the believer who is living in
the presence of God whose character is represented by the figure of light in 1 John
1:5. This expression refers to the believer who is experiencing fellowship with God
and by implication is living according to the standards of God’s holiness, i.e. the
absolute perfection of His character.
This expression refers to the believer who is obedient to the Father’s will,
which is revealed to the believer by the Holy Spirit through the communication of
the Word of God. It refers to the believer whose conduct is consistent with the
holiness of God, i.e. character of God.
“In the light” is composed of the preposition en, “in” and the locative of sphere
to photi, “the light.”
The locative of sphere indicates the sphere in which one lives. This
prepositional phrase refers to the believer whose sphere of existence is light, which
in metaphorical terms refers to the living in the presence of God, thus experiencing
fellowship with God and by implication living in conformity with the holiness of
God, which is equivalent to experiencing fellowship with God. The believer who is
living in the light is living according to the standards or the code of conduct set by
the kingdom of God.
The expression ean en to photi peripatomen, “if any of us does live in the
light” refers to the believer who obeys the Father’s will, which is communicated to
the believer by the Holy Spirit through the communication of the Word of God.
This obedience to the Father’s will results in the believer living in the new
Christ nature, which is the indwelling holiness of God (cf. Eph. 4:24) and it also
results in the believer experiencing fellowship with the Trinity.
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Furthermore, this obedience will permit the Holy Spirit to reproduce the
character and life of Christ in the believer. This reproduction of the character of
Christ in the obedient believer by the Holy Spirit will as a result reproduce the
holiness of God in the believer since Christ is holy.
The believer who loves his fellow believer in the same manner that the Lord
Jesus Christ loved him will experience fellowship with God, the holiness of God
and is living as a child of the Light whereas the believer does not love his fellow
believer is living according to the standards of the cosmic system of Satan.
1 John 1:7, “On the other hand, if any of us does live in the light just as He
Himself is, as an eternal spiritual truth, in essence that light, then, we, as an
eternal spiritual truth, do experience fellowship with one another and the
blood of Jesus His Son as an eternal spiritual truth purifies us from every
(personal) sin (that we commit).”
As we noted earlier, 1 John 1:6 reflects the antinomian Gnostic teaching and 1
John 1:7 reflects the apostolic teaching. John is contrasting the two.
John is contrasting the implications of following the Gnostic teaching with the
implications of adhering to his apostolic teaching, which originates from the Lord
Jesus Christ, the God-Man.
As John stated in 1 John 1:5, God is light meaning that He is holy or in other
words, He is the absolute perfection of character, thus sin and evil do not originate
with God as Syrian form of Gnosticism taught.
Here in 1 John 1:7, John continues with the metaphor of light where the
expression en to photi peripatomen, “does live in the light” refers to the believer
who is living in the presence of God whose character is represented by the figure
of light in 1 John 1:5.
This expression refers to the believer who is experiencing fellowship with God
and by implication is living according to the standards of God’s holiness, i.e. the
absolute perfection of His character.
This expression refers to the believer who is obedient to the Father’s will,
which is revealed to the believer by the Holy Spirit through the communication of
the Word of God. It refers to the believer whose conduct is consistent with the
holiness of God, i.e. character of God.