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

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of the sun and planets upon the electrical condi-
tions which effect all forms of life, either mental
or physical. We only know that these things
exist and the Bible opens to us the startling,
truth, heretofore but partially realized, that
these conditions which belong to this world, these
material things and these subtle currents, powers
and agencies have been under the organized
direction and control of Satan and his demon
legions for the destruction eternally of mankind ;
that in this conflict has come, by the vicarious atone-
ment of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit seek-
ing to lead men to a voluntary surrender to His
holy purposes, and this warfare is in progress to-
day, waged relentlessly. The victory is assured,
but for us the duty is none the less imperative.
To the nature and importance of this conflict the


Christian Church needs to be thoroughly

It is seen by the above facts, based on the
divine testimony, that from the hour of birth,
during the entire life here of every immortal
soul, Satan operates in every possible way in
antagonism to every holy interest, every pure
purpose, every right desire. He wages relent-
less Avar against the Holy Spirit at every point in
his efforts to save souls. Does the Holy Spirit
seek to awaken the sinner? Satan at once antag-
onizes by producing spiritual blindness, mental
and moral weakness, by passion, by pride, by
false experience, by ignorance of the world, by
false hopes and self-righteousness, by self-decep-
tion. If the sinner overcomes he finds himself
as a saint beset by worldly influences, by indiffer
ence to the cause of Christ, by love of this world,
by corrupting friendships, by self-satisfaction,
by pleasures unholy, entangling alliances, by
church discords, by family feuds, by personal

And so this contest goes on until the hour of
death ushers the soul into the regions of the lost
or the paradise of God. The Church should
strive to understand this terrible contest of evil
with good, of heaven with hell. But the Church


never will fully understand it, nor her victory be
near, until in her membership is a holy Church,
filled with the Holy Spirit and armed for the
conflict by the Word, by faith, by prayer. Then
will the end come. Then will the Lord for
whom we wait appear the second time without
sin unto salvation. Then will the new heavens
and the new earth, in which is no sin, descend
from God.

44 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.




In the New Testament the personal work of the
Holy Spirit is represented to our intellectual con-
ception by means of symbols or emblems recog-
nized by physical senses in the natural world. It
seems to have been the divine thought to help us
to more fully comprehend the nature and charac-
ter of the Holy Spirit's work by using physical
symbols. These symbols are then God's chosen
illustrations from natural things by which to help
us to understand the work of the Holy Spirit and
get a clearer grasp, through the physical senses,
of important spiritual truths. Our minds accus-
tomed to deal with natural facts and material
things can by the means of these divinely desig-
nated symbols more easily comprehend the real
import, and character of the Holy Spirit's mis-
sion on earth. And that they are divinely de-
signated symbols or emblems makes us sure that


we shall not err in the application thus made by
the Holy Spirit himself.

1. The principal means of communicating
thought among men is by the human voice, of
which the tongue is the chief instrument. The
gospel is God's communication to men, and as we
have seen is made efficient by the direct power of
the Holy Spirit. So then, when the apostles at
the beginning of their work, were waiting for the
enduement of power, it was a most fitting sym-
bolism that the Holy Spirit should take the visi-
ble form of tongues resting upon them. And
that the first special gift of the Holy Spirit should
be in enabling them to speak with tongues they
had never learned. So the declaration is " And
there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder,
like as of fire and it sat upon each of them. And
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and be-
gan to speak with other tongues as the Spirit
gave them utterance." Acts2:3<4. This is
then a symbol of the manner in which the Holy
Spirit's power is to be made effective. He is not
the tongue, but his power is to be felt through
tongues speaking in every direction. In other words,
he is to make the tongue of the divinely chosen
messenger efficient in preaching the gospel unto
the uttermost parts of the earth. His power up-


on the apostles and ministry is then the voice of
God speaking to a sinning world.

2. When the Spirit came on the day of Pen-
tecost it is said "and suddenly there came from
heaven a sound as of a mighty wind and it filled
all the house where they were sitting." Acts 2: 2.
And when the Master sat in the garden withNico-
demus, he said: "the wind bloweth where it
listeth and thou nearest that voice thereof, but
knoweth not whence it cotneth or whither it go-
eth. So is every one that is born of the Spirit."
John 3 : 8. In the fir^t verse the wind is a strong
wind, in the second it is the gentle breeze, but in
both it is the air in motion which represents the
Holy Spirit. In the latter coming in the work of
regeneration as gently and unrecognized, so

as origin or purpose is concerned, as the zephyr ;
in the former with impetuous power to energize
the Christian worker for the responsible duties
laid upon him. The one is the inspiration to the
new life, the other the inspiration to work, but
both from God, and in both the life of the soul
inbreathed as the air is the by the body inbreath-
ed. Hence the fitness of the wind as the second
symbol or emblem of the Holy Spirit.

3. At the baptism of our blessed Lord it is
said that after his holy baptism " lo, the heavens


were opened unto Him and He saw the Spirit of
God deseeding as a dove and coming upon Him."
Matt. 3 : 16. This emblem was not used at any
other time; nor did the Holy Spirit assume this
form other than in his visible witness to our
Lord's Sonship with the Father. The appropria-
teness of this form at this time and place may be
seen in many ways. The offering of the poor
was a dove. The spirit of the Master was gentle
like a dove. And thus the Holy Spirit as he
abode upon the Son of man and filled him, could
most fittingly represent the character and the
sacrifice of Christ by a dove form. He thus con-
stituted a fitting symbol of the Holy Spirit's in-
fluence upon the holy Christ in his personal traits
of character and in the sacrificial offering he made
for the hu*mblest sinner. Out from the opened
heavens, after he had rendered obedience in the
fulfilling of righteousness, there came to the
Master, descending upon him and to abide with
him as the Son of Man, the Holy Spirit choosing
as the fitting form in which to appear before men
and to their natural vision, a dove the emblem
of peace and the fitting sacrifice for peace be-
tween God and the sinning soul. It is only then
in the Holy Spirit's relationship to the Son of
Man that the svmbol of the dove is chosen 1 1


is not a symbol of his relationship to men, either
as saints or sinners.

4. As we have already seen, the Holy Spirit
in the believer is to be manifested through his
personal power upon the unsaved, the Master
has given as a most fitting symbol of this spiritual
influence thus exerted. On the last day, the
great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, say-
ing, "If any man thirst let him come unto me
and drink. He thatbelieveth on me as the Scrip-
ture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of
living water. But thus spake he of the Spirit
which they that believed on him were to receive."
John 7 : 38, 39. Thus under the symbol of living
water, he himself the fountain source, the Holy
Spirit the water of life and the believer the chan-
nel through which this life is to be communicat-
ed to those who needed and would come to drink,
does he represent the Spirit. There is a deep
significance in the fact that it is living water, a
flowing stream, springingfromthe fountain source
and moving outward and onward to bless the souls
thirsty because of the fever of sin. The symbol
teaches the character of the Christian who is filled
with the Holy Spirit and it carries with it an ob-
ligation to every Christian to be thus a fountain
of life flowing to bless the world in sin. From


such a symbol the Christian feels the need of
true life in contrast with miasma and death in his

5. In Paul's letters we find the following lan-
guage indicating another symbolism: "Ye
. having heard the word of truth, the
gespel of your salvation . . . having also
believed (in Christ) ye were sealed with the Holy
Spirit of promise which is an earnest of our in-
heritance unto the redemption of God's own pos-
session unto the praise of his glory." Eph. 1 : 13,
14. And again: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit
of God in whom ye were sealed unto the day of
redemption." Eph. 4:30. And again : "God
sealed us and gave us the earnest of the
Spirit in our hearts." 2 Cor. 1:22. In these
passages two symbols are used in conjunction. A
seal is the impress of the government by the plac-
ing of the chosen design so as to secure the object
sealed from any antagonism. It bears the author-
ity and the protection of the government for that
upon which it is placed. An earnest is that which
makes the promise secure, the forfeiture which
stands for the promise until the promise is fulfill-
ed. Thus the work of the Holy Spirit in produc-
ing in the believer the likeness to Christ and in
witnessing to his adoption into God's family is


presented to us under the two fold symbol of a
seal and a pledge.

We have thus in the symbols or emblems by
which the Holy Spirit in his various offices is re-
presented to us, first, the tongues parting asun-
der to indicate the Holy Spirit in the endueing of the
ministry to proclaim the gospel. Second, in the
breeze and rushing wind to represent his power
in regeneration and then in sanctification or the
impulse of the divine life in the soul. Third. In
Christ's character and sacrifice by the dove.
Fourth. In representing Christian influence by
living water. Fifth. In representing the secur-
ity of the believer and in the final fulfilment of
God's promises to him by the seal and pledge.

It will be proper hers to consider another
statement made in connection with the work of
the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist in setting
forth the blessings of the Messiah's advent says:
"And even now is the axe laid unto the root of
the trees. Every tree therefore that bringeth not
forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the
fire. I indeed baptize you in water unto repent-
ance; but he that cometh after me is mightier
than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He
shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.
Whose fan is in his hand and he will thoroughly
cleanse his threshing floor and he will gather his


wheat into his garner ; but the chaff he will burn
up with unquenchable fire." Matt. 3:10-12.
There is no reason apparent here for using fire as
a symbol of the Holy Spirit when in every other
passage in God's Word it is used in an entirely
different way. Where fire is used in a literal
sense in the holy Scriptures it invaribly sets forth
God's divine judgments upon sin. Where it is
used in figurative sense it represents the process
by which evil is removed from the soul or puri-
fication by the consuming of the evil. Hence fire
is used to destroy sin. The Holy Spirit to impart
righteousness ; the fire to bring death and destruc-
tion to evil ; th Holy Spirit to bring life and bles-
sing to good. It may be noticed here that no
sound principle of interpretation admits of repre-
senting the same truth under a literal and a figura-
tive form in the same connection. This then
shows that the Holy Spirit and fire are used in
the passage quoted not as synonyms but as op-
posites both literal, working in harmony. The
one, the baptism to the blessings of life ; the
other, the baptism to the condemnation of death ;
the one culminating for the believer in heaven and
eternal glory ; the other culminating to the unbe.-
liever in hell and eternal desolation. Thus to
.the ungodly "our God is a consuming fire; but


to the believer he is the God of our salvation."
It is true that the fire of judgment and condemna-
tion is from God and also that holiness and salva-
tion are from God ; but they are distinct and sep-
arate. By these two processes the Holy Spirit
and fire, the work of separating good from evil,
will go on until the world has been redeemed from
sin, and the new heavens and new earth have come
from God and he shall dwell with them forever
and be their God, then shall \ve see and under-
stand all truth in the light of eternal glory and
shall no longer need symbols to illustrate them
then our intellectual powers will be unclouded by
sin and physical infirmities and the knowledge
and investigation of truth will no longer come in
the form of earthly emblems or temporal sym-

" 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.




Regeneration is more strictly a theological than
a biblical term, used to designate the change
wrought in the spiritual nature of the sinner
when he becomes a member of the kingdom of
grace. In our studies two things have been made
clear : One is that the sinner can antagonize the
Holy Spirit's influences and be finally lost. The
other is that the Holy Spirit was promised to
abide with the believer who has received him.
There are, however, several passages in the New
Testament which recognize in some way a possi-
ble apostasy, and it is necessary here to the com-
pletion of this work to consider these in order
and find the import of them with special refer-
ence to the work of the Holy Spirit upon the

In that conversation our Lord held with the
Pharisees in which he so solemnly warned them
against blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, after


they had asked him for a sign, he opens before
them the condemnation of greater sins because
of greater light in revelation and then he says :
"But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of
the man, passeth through waterless places, seek-
ing rest, and findeth it not. Then he saith, I
will return into my house whence I came out ;
and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept
and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with
himself seven other spirits more evil than him-
self, and they enter in and dwell there : and the
last state of that man becometh worse than the
first." Matt. 12:43-45. It must be remem-
bered here, that the Master had set forth the na-
ture, and danger of the unpardonable sin, and
then he shows them that heart work, resulting
in holy living, is the essential condition of bless-
ings in his kingdom. These two must go to-
gether. First the heart must be made clean;
then the new life in Christ" must be received and
then this must result in good fruit, or else there
is no salvation received. So when they ask for a
sign, he first declares that they have already the
promise of greater signs than those of old re-
ceived and yet had boon condemned, and then he
proceeds to show them that in his kingdom,
merely intellectual enlightenment is not enough ;


nor will external reformation be enough ; nor will
correct formalism be enough ; there must be the
reception into the soul of a power stronger than
the perfected forces of perdition so as to be able
to resist every attack, and this greater power was
to be the Holy Spirit. If this were not done, no
matter how* great the intellectual light; no mat-
ter how great the outward reformation : no mat-
ter how severe the formal religious life, the time
will come when the spirit of evil gone out, be-
cause of this partial work, will return and take a
new possession, and the last state will be worse
than the first, because the first spirit of evil has
perfected his forces and with this sevenfold ad-
dition to his power the soul has passed under his
absolute dominion. The safety of the soul lies
then, not in the conviction of intellect; not in
reformation of life ; not in formal religion, but
in the reception of Christ's Holy Spirit. Thus
the house is not simply empty of sin, swept and
garnished, but it is filled with the power of the
Divine life and from this will flow forth the
others as results.

It is very important that this thought be em-
phasized. There should be borne home to the
heart of both saint and sinner that there is a
positive as well as negative side to the life in


Christ Jesus. While God declares and teaches
us to recognize that the sinner is by nature and
practice spiritually dead, he also teaches us that
mentally and morally as well as physically ho is
alive, albeit, that life is weakness and in dying,
dies. But the Holy Spirit moves upon that
which is already, to beget that life which is to
be. It was so in the beginning. The Holy
Spirit did not create matter, but he moved upon
the created to impart life, order and beauty, .so
now in regeneration of the soul he moves upon
that which is, that there may be new life im-
parted; not simply new energy, nor new direc-
tion, but absolutely new life. But to every such
movement of the Holy Spirit, man must as an
intelligent and moral being respond ; before the
Spirit can or will carry the work on to its com-
pletion. God ever deals with the soul by
recognizing man's responsibility to use every
power possessed and to call these into active re-
sponse to the Holy Spirit's influences. The Spirit
stands ready always to perfect his own work.
Oh that there were always full response.

It is with this light derived from the teaching
of our blessed Lord that we turn now to the
teachings of the apostles. The writer of the
epistle to the Hebrews, after urging Christians


to constant advance in the Christian life, shows
the wisdom of this from a negative argument.
He says: "For as touching those who were
once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and
tasted the good word of God ; and the powers of
the age to come, and then fell away, it is impos-
sible to renew them again unto repentance ; see-
ing they crucify to themselves the Son of God
afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the
land which hath drunk the rain that cometh oft
upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them
for whose sakes it is also tilled, receiveth bless-
ing from God: But if it beareth thorns and
thistles, it is rejected, and nigh unto a curse ;
whose end is to be burned." Heb. 6: 48.
Here the apostle's illustration is the same sub-
stantially as that used by the Lord in the context
of the passage quoted above. It shows clearly
that the apostles recognized a real reception of
the divine life into good soil which will bring
forth good fruits.

A careful study of this passage will show that
the apostle is holding in contrast the soul in
which the work of regeneration is an accomp-
lished fact, and in which the life of the Holy
Spirit has been fully imparted, with a soul in


which there has been a near approach to them,
but which has fallen short of the actual accomp-
lishment. A difference is to be noted between
the soul which has received the Holy Spirit, in
whom he dwells, to whom he imparts divine life
and power on the one hand ; and the soul en-
lightened, tasting of the heavenly gift or the
word, partaking of the Spirit's influence, and
finally turning away from all these to go back to
sin and final perdition, on the other hand. Hu-
man experience corroborates this most serious
teaching of the word of God. It may not be
ours to often note the boundary line that marks
the division between salvation and sin, but such
a line most surely exists. On the one side there
may be enlightened conception of divine truth, a
high appreciation of divine things, respect for
Christ ; a realization of the Holy Spirit's power
and influence, and yet a final turning away from
God and his offers of eternal salvation.

The same writer still later uses equally em-
phatic language when he says : " For if we sin
wilfully after that we have received the knovvU
edge of the truth, there remaincth no more a
sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expecta-
tion of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which
shall devour the adversaries. A man that hath


set at naught Moses' law dieth without compas-
sion on the word of two or three witnesses ; of
how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he
be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot
the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of
the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an
unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the
Spirit of grace? For we know him that said,
Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense.
And again. The Lord shall judge his people.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the
living God." Heb. 10 : 27-31. Here again the
apostle recognizes a knowledge of the truth as
possible without salvation. And that a soul may
have been led to know his duty, to comprehend
the necessity for salvation through the blood of
Christ, to have been in some degree moved by
the Spirit almost even to surrender of soul, and
yet to have wilfully sinned by treading under
foot the Son of God, and his blood, by despising
the work of the Holy Spirit ; and he affirms that
for such an one there is no salvation possible, but
a fearful looking for of judgment. These words
carry a terrible word of warning to the soul that
knows his duty and will not do it ; and to the
soul that in the full light of the Word, and under
the influence of the Holy Spirit turns by force of


will away from God to go into sin. Calvary and
Pentecost are wonderful purchases for a sinning
race. God holds them sacred. He expects men
to hold them sacred, and the soul that turns un-
der the light of divine truth away from Calvary
and Pentecost turns from God's final offer of
salvation, and turns to eternal woe.

The Apostle Peter puts in contrast the word of
God given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit with
the teachings of corrupt and false prophets.
His description of these false teachers is one of
the most vivid pictures of the corrupting power
of devilish purpose upon sinful men that has ever
been made : And he lifts a warning voice to
these professing Christians who listen and give
heed to, these corrupt teachings and shows them
the terrible result of so doing.

He says of such as may be led to follow these
false and corrupt teachers : *' For if, after they
have escaped the defilements of the world through
the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ, they are again entangled therein and
overcome, the last state is become worse with
them than the first. For it were better for them
'not to have known the way of righteousness,
than, after knowing it, to turn back from the
holy commandment delivered unto them. It has


happened unto them according to the true prov-
erb. The dog is turned to his own vomit again ;
and, the sow that was washed to her wallowing
in the mire." 2 Peter 2: 20-22. Here again


the apostle by his own illustration shows that he
recognizes the difference between regeneration
and reformation ; between receiving the divine
life and knowing the truth. He uses strong
figures. They are dogs, not sons. They are
washed sows, not saved children. They are un-
clean in nature, not regenerated. They may have
had knowledge, and external cleansing, and have
understood duty, but the internal nature unchanged
asserts itself and the last condition is worse than
the first. We have already in the chapter on
sins against the Holy Spirit shown the different

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Online LibraryPastorThe Holy Spirit : a series of Bible studies on the person, presence and power of the Holy Spirit → online text (page 9 of 10)