The Holy Spirit : a series of Bible studies on the person, presence and power of the Holy Spirit online

. (page 5 of 10)
Online LibraryPastorThe Holy Spirit : a series of Bible studies on the person, presence and power of the Holy Spirit → online text (page 5 of 10)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

5. But the Scriptures assure us that all this
is that the believer may have assurance of the
eternal blessedness that is to be his, and so em-
phasis is laid upon the fact, that the Spirit thus
in the soul of the believer is also a seal of the
Christian's adoption into God's family, and


pledge of his future inheritance. So Paul
declares: "Now he that establisheth us with
you in Christ, and anointed us, is God ; who also
sealed us, and gavews the earnest of the Spirit in
our hearts'." 2 Cor. 1:22. And again, "we
who hoped in Christ, having heard the word of
the truth having also believed, ye were sealed
with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an
earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption
of God's own possession, unto the praise of his
glory." Eph. 1:13, 14. In these and similar
passages the Apostle recognizes that the Spirit,
dwelling in the Christian, is a seal, or witness to
the soul's salvation. God has, in giving the
Christian the Spirit, given to him such an im-
press of divine life and character that he is rec-
ognized as belonging to God's kingdom. Here is
the test or evidence of divine proprietorship in
the redeemed soul ; and the indwelling Spirit,
thus stamping the divine likeness upon the
believer's character, gives to him also the pledge
of final redemption and perfect glory. Thus the
work of Christ in redemption is made perfect by
the Spirit abiding forever in the soul. And no
soul has any hope for eternal life to whom the
Spirit has not come and does not in the very
transformation of character into the Christ-


image, thereby, give the seal of divine possession,
and the pledge of eternal glory." Vide ICor.

6. But such a Christian, looking forward by
faith with assurance to the coming glory, to the
victory over sin and death, over the world, the
flesh and the devil and the triumphs of the resur-
rection, realizes his own weakness by nature
while in the flesh, and constantly cries out for
deliverance, for guidance, for wisdom, for
strength, for power, and it is to such an one
conies the assurance, that by this same indwell-
ing Spirit, he shall receive the needed blessings.
Such was the burden of Paul's prayer for Chris-
tians as he declares : "For this cause I bow my
knees unto the Father, from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named, that he would
grant you, according to the riches of his glory,
that ye may be strengthened with power through
his Spirit in the inward man;" Eph. 3:14-16.
The result of this blessing would be that the
Christian thus "strengthened through the Spirit"
would be "rooted and grounded in love" and
would comprehend the measure of the love of
Christ and be "filled with all the fullness of
God." Such were the possibilities which Paul
realized opened before every believer.


7. For this he prayed. For this he taught
othera to pray ; and while he prayed he realized
that no prayer would find "access to God"
except the heart had indited it and so had taught
the saved soul how to present to the Heavenly
throne of grace an acceptable prayer. It is thus
that he intends to teach, that Jew and Gentile
"both have access in one Spirit unto the
Father." Eph. 2:18.

These passages set forth clearly that the
Christian life is anew life; that he is a new crea-
tion. Spiritually he has become the temple of
the Holy Spirit, in whom the Spirit is to dwell
forever, by whose power victory is to be attained
over the carnal nature, by whose leadings he is to
be guided into all truth, to whose witness in the
seal or impress of the divine nature, there is
given a pledge or earnest of the eternal glory
beyond ; by whom here the Christian is strength-
ened and through whose power he attains access
to God. Such is the Christian. Not some
Christians, but all. Without this work- wrought

* O

in the soul of the believer no one is a Christian.
Such a life is a saved life. Such a life is ready
for time or for eternity. Such a life is eternally

" Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and


to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be, world without end.


"Holy Spirit faithful guide
Ever near the Christian's side,
Gently lead us by the hand,
Pilgrims in a deserted land,
Weary souls fore'er rejoice,
While they hear that sweetest voice,
Whispering softly, wanderer, come!
Follow me, I'll guide thee home.

Ever present, truest Friend,
Ever near thine aid to lend,
Leave us not in doubt and fear,
Groping on in darkness drear.
When the storms are raging sore
Hearts grow faint and hopes give o'er,
Whispering softly, wanderer, come!
Follow me, I'll guide thee home.

When our days of toil shall cease,
Waiting still for sweet release,
Nothing left but heaven and prayer,
Trusting that our names are there :
Wading deep the dismal flood,
Pleading nought but Jesus' blood,
Whispering softly, wanderer, come:
Follow me, I'll guide thee home."




The analysis made in the previous section is
based upon the order used by the apostle in the
eighth chapter of Paul's epistle to the Roman
Church. The truths we have been considering
are brought out in a most forcible manner in that
chapter and for this reason it should be studied
carefully as an entire section. This eighth chap-
ter of Romans treats of the Spirit's influence upon
the life of the justified soul, and shows in a for-
cible manner what he does for the Christian. The
study of this chapter will then be more than a
recapitulation of the proceeding ; it will be a
study of the apostle's own argument in his own
order and from his own plan and purpose. In
the seventh chapter the apostle had been consider-
ing the conflict between the two natures in the
Christian the carnal or fleshly nature and the
spiritual or regenerated nature. This conflict will
consummate in the victory of the spiritual through


Christ Jesus our Lord, when the Christina hns
been delivered from " this fleshly body of death."
The spiritual nature he considers as the new
nature and as constituting, the real person, and
so, while he recognizes this war in the soul be-
tween the two natures, he boldly announces in
the opening of the eighth chapter "that there is
therefore now no condemnation to them that are
in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life
ia Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin
and death." Rom. 8:1, 2. He then shows that
the Christian is always a person who walks not
after the flesh but after the Spirit. He draws
the dividing line between saint and sinner just
where our blessed Lord himself drew it at the
new birth, or regeneration. He knows no Chris-
tian but one who minds the things of the Spirit.
He recognizes no justification but for the soul in
subjection to the law of God through the life and
peace imparted by the Spirit. And while he re-
cognizes the frailties and sinful propensities of
the carnal nature, he proceeds step by step to
show the regenerated soul how, by and through
the Holy Spirit, he shall overcome sin and at last
come off more than conqueror. This argument
is then the apostle's battle cry by which he en-


courages the Christian to move forward to an
assured victory.

1. He recognizes the reality of the Lord's
promise of an abiding Comforter as the funda-
mental condition of success. " Ye are not in the
flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of
God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not
the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if
Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin ;
but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from
the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ
Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal
bodies through his spirit that dwelleth in you."
Verses 9-11. Here the apostle emphatically re-
cognizes that all reality in the Christian life and
all hope for the Christian in this life, or in the
resurrection, turns upon the other fact that the
Spirit which dwelt in f ulfillness in the Son of Man
dwells also in the believer. The home, the
abiding place of the Spirit, is in the believer.
Thus the evidence of being a Christian as well as
the condition of success, as a Christian, turns
upon whether or not the body has become the
home-place of the Spirit. There seems to be no
appeal from the apostle's emphatic statement
that * if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ he


is none of his." And the Master declared that
this possession was a permanent one.

2. The logic then of the apostle is irresistible,
that if this conflict between the fleshly or carnal
and spiritual natures exists, and the reality of
the Christian life is only assured by the fact of
the Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer, he must
put to death the deeds of the body, and so over-
come sinfulness. " So then, brethren, we are
debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh ;
for if ye live after the flesh ye must die; but if
by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds (or do-
ings) of the body, ye shall live." Verses 12, 13.
This putting to death of the doings of the fleshly
nature is then the first thing wrought in the soul
by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
And the Christian should recognize this truth set
forth here as vital. The whole logic of the Chris-
tian life is the supremacy of the Holy Spirit in
the soul over the influences of sin, from whatever
source they may emanate. Victory over sin is
God's purpose for the Christian ; it must become
his purpose for himself.

3. To this end the apostle quickly adds : * ' For
as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these
are sons of God." Verse 14. This leading is
not such as would be secured by a slavish sub-


jection to a tyrannical power, but it is the leading
of a willing surrender to divine love, which has
secured the confidence of the believer. It implies
the willing surrender of the soul to divine con-
trol ; but this surrender carries with it the high-
est use of all the intellectual and moral faculties.
The soul having turned from the bondage of sin
stands forth in the liberty of the sons of God, and
gladly follows the divine direction, thereby obtain-
ing the mastery of the carnal nature and the high-
est possible conformity to the divine will ; no
longer slaves of sin, but sons of God.

4. And so Paul declares : " Ye received not
the spirit of bondage again unto fear ; but ye
received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry:
Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth wit-
ness with our spirit that we are the children of
God." Verses 15, 16. The spirit in the believer,
working his transformation into the likeness of
Christ, is the testimony to his own soul that he
is God's child. This testimony to the adoption
is found in the experience of the believer where-
by he perceives his love for the Christ to whom
he is being conformed, and in the consciousness
of peaceful fellowship, with God. The sense of
harmony, of fellowship and communion, is how-
ever a result of his Christ-likeness, rather than a


co-ordinate experience begotten independently,
or separately. There is nothing in this language
to imply that the witness of the Spirit is other
than a realization of fellowship with Christ, and
of childship with the Father, because of the work
wrought in the soul by the Spirit in mortifying
the deeds of the body and attaining to the high
standard of Christian life exampled in our Lord.
The witness of the Spirit may beget yea, will
beget emotions of love, joy and peace, but these
are the results ; they are not the witnesses them-
selves. The witness of the Spirit is in the desire
to overcome sin. To attain victory over the
carnal nature and in the consciousness that this
work, as it is accomplished, brings the believer
into hallowed fellowship with Christ. Enmity
in the heart is taken away. The conflict is not be-
tween the soul and God, but between the spiritual
and carnal natures in the believer. The enmity
is not between the saint and his heavenly Father,
but between the old and new man. Herein is
found the witness of the Spirit, when the saved
soul can look up and realize and recognize God as
Father. The family relationship is established,
the name has been accepted, and like Thomas he
exclaims: " My Lord and my God." This the
apostle declares is the witness of the Spirit.


5. But the Christian realizes that if he is God's
child, there are implied results growing out of
this relationship. Childship means something.
And so the apostle argues : "If children, then
heirs ; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ ; if
so be that we suffer with him, that we may be
also glorified with him." He then proceeds to
argue that the -whole creation is waiting for the
redemption of the body from the grave ; or in
other words that " the Spirit of him who raised
up Jesus from the dead, will also raise up our
moral bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in
you." And until that glorious work is accom-
plished the whole creation, both material and
spiritual, is waiting. "And not only so but our-
selves also which have the first fruits of tne Spirit,
groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption,
to-wit, tho redemption of our body. Verses

Salvation, then, is something more than being
a member of God's kingdom; it is the pledge,
through the indwelling Spirit, of joint heirship with
Christ to all the glorious inheritance of God. To
be a child of God, is to hold God's pledge of
resurrection from the dead and the entrance into
the full enjoyment of being God's own beloved
children. So then there becomes not only the


soul's redemption from sin through the blood of
the Lord Jesus Christ, but there is also the re-
demption of the body from the grave through the
power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer.
And this redemption of the body is the pledge of
an abundant entrance into all the riches and glory
of God's eternal kingdom.

6. From the doctrine of the resurrection and
its consequent blessings, the apostle proceeds to
draw a valuable conclusion for the present. The
Christian realizes his own weakness and the
dangers, conflicts, temptations and perils of his
life, and he seeks for help in these and he realizes
that unless God helps him he must fail ; and so
while the apostle has encouraged him for the
future, he will also encourage him for the present.
And he declares: "And in like manner the
Spirit also helpeth our infirmity." Verse 26.
Thus, while the Christian, in his present estate,
finds himself environed with difficulties, he has
in the indwelling Spirit an omnipotent helper. It
is no mysterious promise then that divine "grace
is sufficient for us" in every emergency. The
Holy Spirit forever abiding with the believer
grants him the aid of the same potent energy by
which all grace and glory has ever been given,
not only in the beginning, but now and evermore


he is our helper ; not more, nor less, than an Al-
mighty helper. This implies that every energy,
every faculty of the believer must be exercised to
overcome sin and weakness and temptation. And
at the point where human endeavor would fail
at the hour of sinking weakness at the time of
possible surrender the soul is lifted, strengthen-
ed, helped by the Almighty Spirit.

7. Beyond this the apostle leads us one step.
All Christian success is conditioned on prayer.
But where is the Christian who has not sometimes
wondered if the things he asked for were the


things he ought to ask for, or to receive ? And
here again the Spirit is our helper. We know
not how to pray as we ought ; but the Spirit him-
self maketh intercession for us with groanings
which cannot be uttered ; and he that searcheth
the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,
because he maketh intercession for the saints ac-
cording to the will of God." Verse 26 and 27.
So then the believer has two intercessors. One
the Lord Jesus, at the throne of mercy. The
other, the Holy Spirit within his own soul. How
can he fail who comes thus in prayer for forgive-
ness, mercy, grace and strength? It is not pos-
sible. God is his eternal deliverer. No wonder
that from such a study the apostle should ask :


" Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's
chosen ones?" If God has justified, if Christ
Jesus has died for us, if the Holy Spirit is the
ever present helper, then surely is it true that no
power is able "to separate us from the love of
God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." The
saved soul, justified freely by his grace, is kept
by the same grace. The whole enginery of per-
dition may be placed in battle array; but he will
come off more than conqueror, because the Holy
Spirit has not only made him spiritually a new
creature, but he has taken up his abode within
him, to abide forever, to enable him to conquer
the old nature, to lead him in the right way, to
witness to his adoption in God's family, to give
him the sure hope of the resurrection, to strength-
en him in every infirmity, to intercede for him
that he may pray for such things as he ought; and
herein is triumphant victory.

"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and
to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is
now, and ever shall be, world without end.


Holy Spirit, infinite !

Shine upon our natures' night,


With thy blessed inward light,
Comforter Divine.

We are sinful ; cleanse us, Lord,
We are faint ; thy strength afford ;
Lost until by thee restored,
Comforter Divine.

In us, for us, intercede,
And with voiceless groaning plead
Our unutterable need,
Comforter Divine.

In us "Abba Father." cry,
Earnest of our bliss on high,
Seal of immorality,
Comforter Divine.

Search for us the depths of God,
Bear us up the starry road,
To the height of thine abode,
Comforter Divine,

Gf. Rawson.




In the last conversation which our Lord held
with his disciples before his death, he insisted
upon the necessity of a vital union between him-
self and the believer or disciple. The relation-
ship between Christ and his disciples was not to
be a mechanical nor a conditional union. It was
not to be a temporary nor optional union. It
was to be as vital as exists between the vine and
the branches. Indeed this is the illustration he
uses and by which he also enforces this truth.
They must possess a common ^life, flowing from
a common source, permeating all parts and pro-
ducing results in conformity to the essential and
inherent nature thus communicated from the
Christ center stem, to the remotest disciple
branch, and so he argues that the branch without
this vitality received from the stem is dead and
of no value, except to be burned, but that with this
vital life communicated and used, fruit will be


borne that will become an evidence of the inter-
nal nature in due season ; so that the fruit borne
by the disciples becomes an evidence of the
divinity of their religion.

Following out this figure used by our blessed
Lord in the light of the truths he also set forth
in that same conversation concerning the Comfor-
ter, we can see that the means by which this life
is imparted from Christ to the disciple is by the
operation of the indwelling Spirit. We need
attempt no solution of any mystery involved ; all
life is a mystery. It comes as the divine gift
through divinely designated channels, and mys-
tery shrouds its impartation, its nature, its opera-
tion. In fact life is a mystery whether it be in
its simplest or most complex forms.

None the less is it true concerning spiritual
life. The important truth for us to consider
now, is, what is the fruit of this spiritual life
which becomes the primary test of real disciple-
ship? Two results are secured by fruit, viz.,
nourishment and increase, or food and seed. In
nature the food finds its divine purpose in the
sustenance of the seed, or in maintaining and
secureing the perpetuation and development of
the seed in its future life.

It ia only a secondary purpose of fruit that it


ever contributes to the sustenance of other life
than its own. This analysis will help us now to
clasify the results as they are found in the devel-
opment of the spiritual life found in the Chris-
tian, or to determine the nature and character of
the fruit of the Spirit. We are not now to
study the nature of the stem, nor need of the
branch. We are not to enquire as to its ability
to endure the various vicissitudes of climate,
weather, storm, frost, heat, or drought. We are
not even to consider the form of leaf, with which
it is outwardly adorned. Thesje we have already
considered when we studied the divine life of the
Son of Man, and what the Holy Spirit does for
the sinner in regeneration, and for the saint in
justification. We come now to inquire for such
results growing therefrom as tend to the perpet-
uation of this spiritual life in the soul and to
secure its nourishment and growth when the
seed having died that it may live again, sinks to
the earth to await the operation of God's
appointed means to bring it forth again. In other
words we come now to enquire what are the
spiritual characteristics given to the soul by the
Holy Spirit, which will endure the shock of
death and constitute the eternal glory of the


What elements of spiritual life are brought
forth by the Holy Spirit which will endure, and
which will form a basis of the eternal glory
toward which the soul looks as one result of the
redemption in Christ Jesus and upon which it
can eternally secure development?

If, in the bringing forth of these fruits, other
souls are nourished or blessed, so much the bet-
ter. Nay, we may be sure that part of the result
of bringing forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit will
be that we shall be enabled to bless others.
Richly developed Christian character is the
surest means of imparting spiritual nourishment
to other souls, but let us not mistake the effect
for the cause. Let us not mistake the blessings
which may flow from fruit bearing, with fruit
bearing itself . We may go a step further; and
see that soul-saving will be a necessary result
of strong, rich, Christian development. That
no true, earnest, spiritual Christian can fail
to lead souls to Christ and eternal life ; but
let it be ever fixed in the mind that devel-
oped Christian graces in the disciple, and not
souls saved is the fruit of the Spirit and
the evidence of vital union between the Savior
and the believer. This becomes apparent when
we examine the teachings of the apostles. Paul


puts the works of the flesh andthe fruit of the
Spirit in sharp contrast when he says: "Now
the works of the flesh are manifested which are
these, fornication, uncleannesslasciviousness, idol-
atry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths,
factions, divisions, heresies, envyings, drunken-
ness, revelings, and such like. But the fruit of
the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, tem-
perance : against such there is no law." Gal.

This is not the enumeration of so many differ-
ent kinds of fruit, but of the different character-
istics of the one common result of the indwelling
Spirit and so, taken as a whole, constitutes the
fruit of the Spirit.

It requires no long argument to show that
these characteristics developed in the soul are not
natural but spiritual. Hence there devolves
upon the Christian the twofold responsibility of
recognizing first that these characteristics are
begotten by the Holy Spirit and secondarily that
he is as a disciple to seek their development,
using such means as may be granted by the
Spirit to make them to abound more and more.

Nor can any one fail to recognize the blessed
state of that soul in which these characteristics


abound. It is a heavenly state. This passage
quoted above is a comprehensive grouping of the
results of the Spirit's work* that are set forth
singly in various other passages and are worthy
of consideration here. Paul in the various con-

1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10

Online LibraryPastorThe Holy Spirit : a series of Bible studies on the person, presence and power of the Holy Spirit → online text (page 5 of 10)