Ephesians 5 ~ Part 4 (vs. 18)

eph 5 vs18 part 4

Now we begin a new section in the book of Ephesians:

God’s Design for Relationships

D.) The Believer’s Walk in the World:

God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church,
Eph 5:18-6:9.

  • As to One’s Self and the Church, Be Filled with God’s Spirit, Eph 5:18-21.

 

  • As to One’s Home, Eph 5:22-6:4.
    a) Husbands and Wives, Eph 5:22-33.
    b) Parents and Children, Eph 6:1-4.
  • As to One’s Profession, Employers, and Employees, Eph 6:5-9.

Doctrines and Principles Included in Ephesians 5:18 Study

  • Doctrine of Drinking and Alcoholism, vs. 18.
  • Principles of the Recovery Process for Alcohol Abuse, vs. 18.
  • Principles of Faith and the Faith-Rest Life, vs. 18.
  • Doctrine of God the Holy Spirit, vs. 18.
  • Doctrine of the Filling of the Holy Spirit, vs. 18.
  • Doctrine of the Confession of Sin; The Proof for Rebounding, vs. 18.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Vs. 18

As we noted previously, believers are commanded to live wisely, and wise living is described in three ways in these verses:

  1. It makes good use of time in an evil age that is passing away, vs. 16; cf. 1 Cor 7:31; Gal 1:4.
  2. It seeks to learn God’s will, vs. 17; cf. vs. 10.
  3. It is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, vs. 18.

Doctrine of Drinking and Alcoholism

Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

This verse is the great hinge of this chapter and for that matter our spiritual lives. It first concludes the discussion from vs. 2-17, as the operational power to be able to walk in the love, light, and wisdom of God, and then it is the great operational power for living harmoniously with our earthly family and our work (business) family. It is the great operational power that we must yield to in order to be imitators of God in our spiritual lives, our family lives, and our business lives.

As we will see, this verse is rich in analogy and correlation to what we have previously noted in Chapter 5 and Chapters 1-4, as well as, to the overall spiritual life of the new man in Christ Jesus explained throughout the NT. This is a “hinge” verse in many ways.

This verse includes a negative command and a positive one. The negative is to abstain from getting drunk on wine with which there is a wasted life. The word ASOTIA, which we will note in detail below is translated “debauchery,” (NIV, RSV); “excess,” (KJV); “riot,” (ASV); and “dissipation,” (NASB). All these give the idea of squanderous or licentious living that is wasteful. In this verse, the literal sense seems best, for a drunken man acts abnormally; rather than controlling himself, the wine controls him.

This is the final Imperative command in the series we have seen in this chapter with its μὴ … ἀλλά contrast and leads into a chain of Participles which are all subordinate in the second half of this chapter.

The contrast we will note is not between the wine and the Spirit, but between the two resulting behaviors. This is expressed by the two verbs: being drunk with wine, which leads to dissipation, and being filled by the Spirit, which leads to joy in fellowship and obedience to the commands of the Lord, vs. 19-21. Nevertheless, the contrast is between yielding to sin, (analogized by “drunk with wine”), and yielding to the leading ministry of the Holy Spirit, (analogized by “filled with the Spirit”).

This verse begins with the coordinating Conjunction KAI for “and,” to tie in the previous discussion in Chapter 5 regrading “becoming imitators of God,” with the power and means by which this is accomplished. Having noted that we are to walk in love, light, and wisdom, and know the will of God that is pleasing to Him, we now see the means by which this is accomplished. But before we answer that question, we are first given a command of negation, a prohibition of contrast, utilizing the Negative Participle ME for “do not.”

The prohibition is to not “get drunk,” METHUSKOMAI, μεθύσκομαι that means, “to become drunk or intoxicated.” It comes from the root word METHUO that means, “be drunk or to drink to intoxication.” Figuratively, these words have the sense of to be drunk which is to be so full of something as to lose focus and rationality. It signals the excess of something and its debilitating effect. METHUSKOMAI is used here and in Luke 12:45; 1 Thes 5:7.

1 Thes 5:7, “For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.”

In our passage, it is in the Present, Passive, Imperative that continues the numerous mandates we have seen throughout this chapter. Here it is a mandate of prohibition; what not to do.

This command is linked to what Paul stated in vs. 3-8a, as one of the false gods worshipped at that time went by the name of Dionysus and later Bacchus, who was the god of wine, where drunkenness and sexual immorality where part of the worship ceremonies. Possibly, some of the Gentile Christians continued to follow their former practice, even though to them Dionysus was no longer a “god.”

In fact, many people in the ancient world believed that drunkenness could produce a sort of inspiration or possession by Dionysus. Dionysus’s most active worshipers yielded control of themselves to him and performed sexual acts or acts full of sexual symbolism. In our verse, Paul may be contrasting this behavior with true inspiration by God’s Spirit. People did not think of Dionysus every time someone became drunk; however, drunkenness was commonly associated simply with loss of self-control. It was standard practice in both the late-night banquets of the rich and the taverns of the poor.

“Among all the Greek deities none appealed more vividly to the imagination than Dionysus. Greek tragedy, being a form of worship, saw the ritual cult of the god of wine as one who makes the initiates wise and the ungodly mad. Dionysus was thought to speak most strongly to the sense and to the spirit at the same time. He is always represented as being more nearly akin to man than the great august deities of Olympus. He was thought to be a man-god, or god-man. At their vintage feasts, last year’s cask of wine was opened; and when the new year brought life again to the vines, the bountiful god was greeted with songs of joyful praise. The burial of the wine in the dark tomb of the jars through the winter, and the opening of these jars at the spring festival symbolized the great awakening of man himself, the resurrection of the god’s worshippers to a fuller and more joyous life. The vine was not the only manifestation of the god. Oil and wheat were also his; he was the god of ecstasy, the giver of physical joy and excitement, the god of life, the god of certain laws of Nature, germination and extinction, the external coming into being and the dying away of all things that are, fructification in its widest aspect whether in the bursting of the seed-grain that lies in-treasured in the earth, or in the generation of living creatures. Hence, the prominence given to the phallus in the solemn processions in honor of the god.” (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.)

“It is not improbable that in this verse there is an allusion to the orgies of Dionysus/Bacchus, or to the festivals celebrated in honor of that heathen god. He was “the god of wine,” and, during those festivals, men and women regarded it as an acceptable act of worship to become intoxicated, and with wild songs and cries to run through streets, and fields, and vineyards. To these things the apostle opposes psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, as much more appropriate modes of devotion, and would have the Christian worship stand out in strong contrast with the wild and dissolute habits of the heathen. Plato says, that while those abominable ceremonies in the worship of Dionysus/Bacchus continued, it was difficult to find in all Attica a single sober man.”
(Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.)

It is probable that μεθυω, “to get drunk,” is derived from μετα, “after”, and θυω, “to sacrifice;” for, having completed their sacrifices, they over indulged themselves in wine and all kinds of immorality.

So, we see in the “drunk with wine” prohibition that it was more than just drunkenness that is in view. It encompasses sexual immorality, false worship, false and counterfeit doctrines related to both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, as well as, being a total waste of time, energy, and life, because it was related to false or man made up gods and worship: Satan’s counterfeit to the truth of God and His Word.

Therefore, Paul exhorts the early church believers not to resemble these, but, instead of being filled with wine, to be filled with the Spirit of God. That is, instead of those discoveries of the divine will to which in the drunken priests of Dionysus would articulate, they should be wise indeed, and should understand what the will of the Lord is.

The drink mentioned here to not get drunk with, is “wine” OINOS, οἶνος that means, “wine, fermented grape juice, or fermented juice of other kinds.” Ancient strong drinks were produced from various fruits and honey, and grains were used for beverages. In ancient Greek, it was spelled with a letter that became obsolete by NT times, “w,” and was spelled WOINOS. Here, we see the genesis of our English word.

In the New Testament, this word speaks of:

  • Part of the liquid the Roman soldiers offered Jesus while upon the cross which He rejected, Mat 27:34; Mark 15:23.

Mat 27:34, “They gave Him wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.” Cf. Mark 15:23.

  • It is used for the analogy of the New Man that should not go back to the old ways of doing things, in the analogy of the “new wine and old wineskins,” Mat 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37-38.
  • It is used for our Lord’s first miracle at the wedding at Cana, John 2:23-10; 4:46, when He changed water into wine, which inaugurated and symbolized His ministry.
  • In Rom 14:21 we are to abstain from drinking wine in the presence of someone who may have a drinking problem, so as to not cause a brother to stumble.

Rom 14:21, “It is good not to eat meat, (sacrificed to idols), or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.” After noting the worship ceremonies of the false pagan god Dionysus / Bacchus, wine here should have more meaning to you.

  • Deacons and older women are to not be enslaved to drinking wine, 1 Tim 3:8; Titus 2:3.
  • In Revelation, wine is used as an analogy to the sin and evils of this world, Rev 6:6; 14:8; 17:2; 18:3, 13, and God’s judgment, “wrath,” upon the world during the Tribulation, Rev 14:10; 16:19; 19:15.
  • Finally, in 1 Tim 5:23, wine was recommended for medicinal purposes to Timothy by Paul.

The Scriptures are abundantly clear in firmly warning against the intoxicating power of alcoholic beverages, even though the world at that time was dealing with drinks of 4 to 12 percent alcoholic content, compare to modern chemistry that commonly produces beverages of 40 to 50 percent alcohol. As Paul warns us to not get drunk with wine, the “wine” refers to all fermented drinks. It does not justify becoming inebriated with beer or distilled liquor, and in fact is analogous to all sinful actions; mental, verbal, and overt. See the warning about getting drunk with wine in Prov 23:20-21, 29-35.

The reason given in this passage for the prohibition is that drunkenness is “dissipation,” the Greek Noun ASOTIA that means, “waste-fulness, excess, or dissipation.” Some think that it is from the root of SOZO, “save” and the negative prefix “A,” that can mean being “unsaved.” It is used in Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4, and as an adverb in Luke 15:13 for the “riotous living” of the prodigal son. It carries with it the connotation of rebellion and the unsaved life. So, it can mean, “having no hope of safety, extravagant squandering, dissolute-ness, prodigality, a wild and disorderly lifestyle, and excessive drinking as a lifestyle.”

Originally ASOTIA described something as “incurable” or “hopelessly sick. From that it denoted one who destroys himself by dissipation, (i.e., wastes his life). It hints at willful and deliberate excess, whether in eating, drinking, making money, or other actions, which are all a waste of life, especially in comparison to the yielded life of the believer.

An ASOTOS is a prodigal, one who spends too much, who slides easily under the fatal influence of flatterers and the temptations with which he has surrounded himself, and one who spends freely on his own lusts and appetites. Therefore, an ASOTIA is a dissolute, debauched, wasteful manner of living, and is associated with being foolish or a fool in contrast to the man of love, light, and wisdom, who lives the yielded life inside the will of God.

Luke 21:34, “Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap.”

So, Paul warns against the folly of overindulgence in strong drink, as drunkenness was all too common in the pagan world, and cautions in the NT show that it presented a serious temptation to Christians, even today. The danger of drunkenness lies not only in itself, but in what it may induce.

Gal 5:19-21, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, 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.”

People today feel a need for something, which I think explains the cocktail hour and the bar room. They turn to wine and other hard liquors to fill that need. If they are not children of God, they have no other resource or recourse. However, the child of God is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is to be the experience of the believer. Wine stimulates temporarily: it will energize the flesh, but then it will let you down and lead you in the direction of wastefulness and over indulgence and will finally eventuate in desperation and despair and delirium tremens, (agitation, tremors, and hallucinations caused by alcohol dependence and withdrawal). That is not what you need. If you are wise, you will avoid all such excess.

God is trying to convey that the Spirit gives true expression; the wine, unreliable exhilaration. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, not a receptacle for intoxicating drinks and all that drunkenness leads to.

Eph 5:18 (NLT), “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Eph 5:18 (MSG), “Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him.”

Eph 5:18 (TLB), “Don’t drink too much wine, for many evils lie along that path; be filled instead with the Holy Spirit and controlled by him.”

Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

Prov 4:17-18, “For they (the wicked) eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. 18But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”

Prov 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.”

The Hebrew word for “wine” is the noun YAYIN, ‏יַיִן‎ that means, “wine or even drunkenness.” “Strong drink,” is the Noun SHEKAR, ‏שֵׁכָר that means, “strong drink or an intoxicating drink, usually understood as some kind of beer.” SHEKAR refers to any fermented beverage produced by grain, fruit, or honey. It is derived from the verb SHAKAR that means, “to be drunk.” “Mocker” is LETS, ‏לֵץ‎, which speaks to the controlling nature that drunkenness has over the soul. “brawler,” is the verb HAMAH, ‏הָמָה‎ that means, “to roar or make an uproar.” It is not necessarily someone who gets into a physical fight or wrestling match with another, although that is included too, but it is also someone who gets angry and starts to scream and shout, and / or argue loudly. These are the intoxicating effects of being drunk, high, stoned, or wasted. Combined it indicates an addiction, or at least the mental incapacitation which accompanies heavy drinking.

Then when it says, “and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise,” utilizes the KOL, כֹּל, “all”, SHAGAH, שָׁגָה, “intoxicated” that literally means, “to stray or be in err.” It is an idiom for intoxication or being drunk, where the root meaning tells us that being drunken means we are straying away from our fellowship with God, which means we are sinning and in error of our Christian walk, just as the Greek word for “sin,” HAMARTIA, literally means, “to err or miss the mark.”

Then we have the warning that tells us the person who gets drunk “is not wise,” LO CHAKAM, which goes with the warning we have in Eph 5:15, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.” Therefore, when we are drunk, we are not cycling Bible doctrine through our souls in a right way, we are out of fellowship with God, and we are not filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result, there is no way we can obtain or apply the wisdom of God when we are intoxicated, drunk, high, etc.

Many think they can get drunk or get high on drugs and still cycle doctrine. They are wrong. You may be able to speak about God and doctrine, but you are absolutely out of fellowship at that time and are performing at best human good, which has no intrinsic value. And because you are under the total control of your sin nature, error and deception will inevitably creep into your discussions about God and the Bible while drunk or high.

Waltke notes, “The drunkard lacks consciousness and self-control, and in dissolute madness breaks the bounds of sanctity, morality, and propriety.” (New International Commentary)

The wise person tries to anticipate the consequences of their actions and avoids over-indulgence, recognizing that trouble usually accompanies drunkenness as we have noted in Prov 23:20f.

Drinking alcohol is not forbidden in Scripture, 1 Tim 5:23, as wine and other alcoholic beverages are often linked with pleasure or prosperity in the O.T., Psa 104:15; Prov 3:10; Ecc 10:19, and was a normal part of feasts, as well as being used as a drink offering when worshipping the Lord, Ex 29:40; Lev 23:13; Num 15:5, 7, 10; 28:14.

Yet, the Bible says that drunkards will not enter the kingdom of God, 1 Cor 6:9-10, Gal 5:21, which is speaking about traits of the unbeliever, because we know that the believer, regardless of his sins, cannot lose his salvation, John 10:28-29; Eph 2:8-9. Therefore, by “drinking,” you are not going to lose your salvation, it will not put you in hell, it is not sinful, and it is good under certain circumstances. But for those who had or have personal problems with drinking, it will cause you many difficulties.

As Paul stated in:

1 Cor 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”

1 Cor 10:23, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”

Therefore, drunkenness is forbidden and condemned in Scripture, and is described as a sin. For the believer, it indicates immoral degeneracy under the category of chemical sinning. Our passage emphatically prohibits drunkenness and the lifestyle of the drunk, as well as drug addiction.

Drunkenness is listed as one of the works of the flesh in Gal 5:21. That means it is the result of the undisciplined, indiscriminate use of alcohol. Jesus warned his followers not to be drunk in Luke 21:34.

Paul told the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 5:11, to “not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but cannot control his or her drinking.” This refers to people who will not face

up to or will not even try to overcome drinking problems, not people who are working on and overcoming their problems. In a similar fashion, no one who abuses alcohol should be ordained in the ministry of Jesus Christ, 1 Tim 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7. If a minister drinks, it should be in moderation.

God criticizes those who are “heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,” Isa 5:11, 22, (as we may call them Chug-a-lugers, or Beercules), as excessive drinkers are committing evil, Prov 23:20-21, Isa 28:1-8, and those who “linger over wine” and spend a great deal of time in drinking, will find all kinds of woe, sorrow, and trouble, Prov 23:29-35.

Isa 5:11, “Woe to those who rise up early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, and who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them.”                                               

Isa 5:22, “Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine and champions of mixed drinks.”

Excessive habitual use of alcohol by the believer is detrimental to your body, soul, and your spiritual life:

  • The presence of large amounts of alcohol in the body changes the character and the personality of the drinker. One of the most serious problems of being a drunk is irreversible mental deterioration.
  • It destroys your spiritual life, your relationship with other people, your physical health, and many other things.
  • Being drunk, you cannot execute God’s plan for your life, making you a loser believer.
  • You become involved in immoral degeneracy and cannot be distinguished from an unbeliever.

Even though people use alcohol to get a high, it is actually a depressant and is chemically related to the ether used to put people to sleep. It dulls one’s reactions and even one’s conscience. As a depressant, alcohol cooperates with the various characteristics of the sin nature to lower standards of resistance in all categories of sin. When you are drunk, your integrity, judgment, and honor are gone.

God uses several Bible characters to condemn drunkenness and show some of the problems it can create:

  • Noah, Gen 9:20-23; Lot, Gen 19:32-36;
  • The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Lev 10:1-11;
  • Nabal, 1 Sam 25:36-39;
  • David getting Uriah drunk, 2 Sam 11:13;
  • Absalom waiting for Amnon to get drunk to kill him, 2 Sam 13:28;
  • Belshazzar receiving the writing on the wall after getting drunk, Dan 5:2;
  • Leaders are warned not to get drunk, Prov 31:3-4; and
  • The entire Northern Kingdom headed by Ephraim being drunkards received God’s discipline, Isa 28:1.

Excessive use of alcohol is detrimental to body, to soul, and to the spiritual life of the believer. The reason is that the presence of large amounts of alcohol in the body changes the character and the personality of the drinker. Excessive use of alcohol leads to crime, suicide, divorce, traffic accidents, economic and industrial losses, loss of health, poverty, national disaster, and for the believer it destroys your spiritual life.

Alcohol is a depressant which lowers inhibitions, dulls reflexes, destroys common sense, hampers good judgment and stimulates mental attitude sins. Drunk drivers kill, drunk lovers abuse, drunk leaders lose integrity, and drunken women are seduced.

Cumulative Risks Alcoholism

The Washington Post quoted an article in Pediatrics by Northwestern University professor Linda Teplin and her colleagues, who studied the violent side effects of alcohol abuse in young people, showed just how detrimental alcohol is in leading people to making even further bad decisions and committing violent crimes. The percentage of young people who had alcohol disorders and committed homicide was far greater than those who committed murder and were drug dealers, or those who were gang members, as the chart below depicts.

Drunkenness is the function of human volition in the excessive use of alcoholic beverage, resulting in a state of intoxication or inebriation. It results in loss of control over both physical and mental function. Intoxication may be defined as maladaptive behavior due to recent ingestion of alcohol. Maladaptive behavior includes fighting, impaired judgment, and interference with social or occupational functions.

Drunkenness produces more than impulsive behavior and social tragedy; it also produces many diseases. Excessive alcohol affects the brain in many ways, including cerebral hemorrhage and delirium tremens. And “chug-a-lugging” is a sure way to kill yourself by anoxia, (inadequate oxygen reaching your brain or body tissue). It also attacks the liver, and one may suffer paralysis of the eyes, an unbalanced walk, and even coma can occur. All in all, it lowers resistance to sin, increases the desire to lie, destroys brain tissue, attacks the heart muscle, causes high blood pressure, and destroys the liver.

The Bible gives no encouragement and no excuse for excessive drinking. While drinking in moderation is permitted, there are many believers who cannot do so. For the believer who cannot or will not drink in moderation, he should avoid the use of alcohol except in medication. When in doubt, abstain; for too much alcohol is toxic and detrimental to both the body and the soul.

1 Thes 5:6-8, “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, and be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

2 Tim 4:5, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

As a depressant, alcohol cooperates with the various characteristics of the sin nature to lower standards of resistance in all categories of sin. Therefore, the drunkard is affected in body and soul by habitual and excessive use of alcohol. One of the most serious problems of being a drunkard is irreversible mental deterioration.

Excessive and habitual use of alcohol by the Christian destroys his spiritual life, his relationship with other people, his health, and many other things. The Christian drunkard becomes involved in Christian immoral degeneracy and cannot be distinguished from his unbeliever counterpart.

Drinking and Alcoholism: (Parts of the following outline and definitions are taken and adapted from the Mayo Clinic website.)

Alcoholism is a chronic and often progressive condition that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect that results in physical dependence, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. If you have alcoholism, you cannot consistently predict how much you will drink, how long you will drink, or what consequences will occur from your drinking. There are two types of excessive drinkers: those that drink large amounts in a short period of time, and those that drink constantly for days, both are considered alcoholics.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism, you may:

  1. Be unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  2. Feel a strong need or compulsion to drink.
  3. Develop tolerance to alcohol so that you need more to feel its effects.
  4. Drink alone or hide your drinking.
  5. Experience physical withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating and shaking, when you do not drink.
  6. Not remember conversations or commitments, sometimes referred to as a “black out.”
  7. Make a ritual of having drinks at certain times and become annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned.
  8. Be irritable when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol is not available.
  9. Keep alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in your car.
  10. Gulp drinks, order doubles or become drunk intentionally to feel good, or drink to feel “normal.”
  11. Have legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances due to drinking.
  12. Lose interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring you pleasure.

There is also another classification called “problem drinking.” It is possible to have a problem with alcohol, even when it has not progressed to the point of alcoholism. This may not be classified as alcoholism, but would also be counter to God’s Word and the mandates to not be a drunkard. Problem drinking means you drink too much at times, causing repeated problems in your life, although you are not completely dependent on alcohol. This would include, “binge drinking.”

Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks in a row, or a female downs at least four drinks in a row. It can lead to the same health risks and social problems associated with alcoholism. The more you drink, the greater the risks. Binge drinking, which often occurs with teenagers and young adults, may lead to faster development of alcoholism.

If you have alcoholism or you have a problem with alcohol, you may not be able to cut back or quit without help. Denying that you have a problem is usually part of alcoholism and other types of excessive drinking.

If you have ever wondered whether your drinking crosses the line into problem drinking or alcoholism, ask yourself these questions:

  1. If you are a man, do you ever have five or more drinks in a day?
  2. If you are a woman, do you ever have four or more drinks in a day?
  3. Do you ever need a drink to get you started in the morning?
  4. Do you feel guilty about your drinking?
  5. Do you think you need to cut back on how much you drink?
  6. Are you annoyed when other people comment on or criticize your drinking habits?

If you answer yes to even one of these questions, you may have a problem with alcohol.

As we continue this series we will note the recovery aspects of alcoholism and persistent drunkenness. Yet, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we should always have as our motivation, 1 Cor 9:23, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”

1 Cor 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”

Principles of the Recovery Process for Alcohol Abuse.

The Volitional Responsibility in Regard to Alcohol and Alcoholism:

Recovery from any sin can only begin when we recognize the genesis of the problem. The genesis of alcohol abuse is the Sin Nature’s influence and dominance over our soul. This means the genesis is a volitional issue.

Alcoholism is influenced by genetic, psychological, social, and environmental factors that have an impact on how it affects our body and behavior. The process of becoming addicted to alcohol occurs gradually, although some people have an abnormal response to alcohol from the time they start drinking. Over time, drinking too much may change the normal balance of chemicals and nerve tracks in your brain associated with the experience of pleasure, judgment, and the ability to exercise control over your behavior. This may result in your craving alcohol to restore good feelings or remove negative ones.

Nevertheless, alcoholism stems from the individual’s volition. It is a volitional responsibility. It starts by choosing to drink in excess where over time it can lead to chemical, physical, mental, or habitual dependence. At that point, it may seem like it is a not a volitional issue, yet the volition is still the determiner to whether you will continue to drink or not.

Therefore, alcoholic dependence as a syndrome is the result of habitual drunkenness, but not the origin or cause. The cause or origin is always volition. Alcoholic dependency is alcohol controlling your life. It is not a disease that forces a person to drink, but a sin or a series of sins, the perpetuation of the sin of drunkenness. It results in disease, but is not the source of disease.

The means of alcoholism is the individual’s function under the Law of Volitional Responsibility. Under the law of volitional responsibility, the believer inflicts on himself unbearable suffering through a series of bad decisions from a position of weakness. Those bad decisions come from the carnal norms and standards located in the conscience of the soul.

Alcoholism is defined as a diseased condition due to excessive use of alcohol, although due to its cause of many physical ailments, which we have noted above, this may be an appropriate classification. The problem with this definition is that it ignores the reality that no one ever takes a drink apart from their own volition. People drink or do drugs because they want to do it, just as all sin is a result of human volition. The Greek word ASOTIA in Eph 5:18, which is translated dissipation, means a wild and disorderly lifestyle, excessive drinking as a lifestyle. An alcoholic is a person who drinks alcohol habitually and excessively. Therefore, alcoholism is part of Christian immoral degeneracy, and its effects on the body and the soul are a part of the Law of Volitional Responsibility.

Alcoholic addiction begins with a series of bad decisions from a position of weakness, the carnal norms and standards of the conscience. Many believers do not make good decisions from a position of strength because they do not have enough Bible doctrine in their soul to have developed doctrinal norms and standards. If you do not have metabolized Bible doctrine in your soul, you are going to make bad decisions.

Because alcohol blurs effective insight into the way alcoholics look on things, it is often impossible for others to reach them about what their drinking is doing until they “hit the bottom” or are confronted with a serious problem. They are so dependent on alcohol to function or feel well that they feel there is nothing abnormal about their drinking, and they delude themselves, (lie to themselves), that they do not have a drinking problem. Many feel this way because they are not derelicts or “Skid Row” types.

Yet, volition is the key to understanding the problem of alcoholism, or any chemical sin. It is a matter of volition; you wanted to keep on drinking and you do, or you do not want to keep on drinking and you stop drinking. It is a matter of self-determination. Becoming a Christian alcoholic is a matter of your own volition. Alcoholism is created by your own volition. Alcoholism is created by individual self-determination. When alcohol takes over, the believer is no longer in control; the alcoholic beverage has now taken control, which means the Old Sin Nature has taken control of your soul. The believer’s volition is in control as long as he or she uses that volition to either abstain or drink in moderation.

Therefore, the problem is, drunkenness is the means of becoming an alcoholic. Drunkenness is a sin; therefore, sin is the source of alcoholism. It is not a disease but a sin, or a series of sins perpetuated on a continual basis. If it were a disease:

It is the only “disease” acquired and continued by an act of the free will.

It is the only “disease” that is habit forming.

It is the only “disease” that comes in a bottle.

It is the only “disease” promoting crime and brutality.

It is the only “disease” playing a major part in more than half of fatal highway accidents.

It is the only “disease” that is bought in grocery stores, drug stores, and well-marked retail outlets.

It is a “disease” that provides the government revenues such as Washington D.C., New York, and Hollywood.

To imply that alcoholism is simply a sickness in itself is to ignore its origin in the volition of the soul and its effects under the Law of Volitional Responsibility. Unfortunately, if you keep on drinking, disease results from it. Diseases of all kinds result from perpetual overindulgence and unrestrained use of alcohol. Your life depends upon how you use your volition.

Avoidance and Recovery from Alcoholism:

An alcoholic uses his volition to start drinking until he suffers compulsion. Compulsion is a warning to quit now, abstain, and stay on the wagon for the rest of your life. Since alcoholism originates in the volition of the soul as a sin, it can only be cured by the use of that same volition in the soul. For the believer, the start of recovery is the Rebound technique, followed by a willingness to choose abstinence. Abstinence requires the use of the same volition that started the habitual drinking to the point of alcoholic dependence.

There are two initial solutions to alcoholism offered by Scripture.

  1. For the unbeliever, the initial solution is to believe on the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. For the believer, the initial solution is the use of the first Problem Solving Device, Rebound, 1 John 1:9.

Then there are two approaches to not becoming an alcoholic or to overcome alcoholism.

  1. Moderation: the function of human volition in keeping within reasonable and proper limits by avoiding extremes or excessive use of alcoholic beverage. There is no moderation in the use of drugs.
  2. Abstinence: the function of human volition in voluntary self-restraint, refraining from imbibing in alcoholic beverages or taking drugs. Abstinence is not only commendable but a problem-solving device of human volition related to both alcohol and drugs.

Thousands of alcoholics are helped to stop drinking every year. The chances of recovery are good if alcohol abuse or alcoholism is treated in its early or middle stages. Unfortunately, most alcoholics do not receive treatment. Over 90 percent of them will die as a result of their alcoholism. Most of them will not die directly as a result of alcohol’s ravages to the organs of their body, but to accidents caused by their drinking.

Proper treatment for the alcoholic must be more than a drying-out period and an interlude between binges of drinking. Treatment should include a well-designed program to get the alcoholic back on his feet and started in a new life of sobriety. He must learn how to cope with life and problems without alcohol. If alcoholics continue drinking, most will continue to deteriorate emotionally and physically.

Many alcoholics who recognize they have a problem have great guilt and embarrassment because of their condition. It is very difficult for them to admit they are different from others who can drink and enjoy a little alcohol. It is difficult to give up something that seems so essential to coping and feeling better in their lives.

Alcoholics, like all humans, vary in what moves and motivates them. Relatively few alcoholics stop drinking by themselves. If they do, it is usually related to some personal shock caused by their drinking. But, the vast majority of alcoholics simply do not face the reality of their condition and cannot permanently stop drinking without help. Long-term or late-stage alcoholics need professional treatment. Quitting “cold turkey” for these people could cause withdrawal symptoms that could be life-threatening.

Organizations like AA and their 12-step program, and others, have very successful programs that lead to recovery from alcoholism. These programs provide their members with tools and support that they can use to help them recover from addictions – be it alcohol, or other drugs or negative behaviors. Another program called the “4-Point Program®” is designed to help overcome the problems with abusing alcohol and quit drinking. It includes:

  • Building and Maintaining Motivation – Help you to identify and keep up with your reasons to quit. Why do you want to stop drinking – what will keep you focused on that goal?
  • Coping with Urges – Dealing with urges and cravings is important to your recovery. You must learn how to cope with urges to drink alcohol in order to maintain abstinence.
  • Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors – People frequently turn to using drugs to either escape from or avoid addressing problems. You need to learn the problem-solving tools to help you manage the various challenges along the way.
  • Living a Balanced Life – When you abuse alcohol, your life frequently falls out of balance – you may find yourself opting to drink rather than go to work or school. You may find that things you once enjoyed are not fun anymore. You need to learn the skills necessary to balance both short and long-term goals, and the pleasures and needs that were once out of balance due to alcohol or drug abuse.

In the Christian way of life, this means you need the “Balance of Residency” in your life, which is: The filling of God the Holy Spirit, plus maximum Bible Doctrine in your Soul ready for application.

Therefore, each of these steps, in conjunction with the application of God’s Word, can lead you to full recovery and spiritual advancement once again.

As with any recovery from sin, it begins with recognizing what you have done or are doing is a sin, and then turning to God for forgiveness and cleansing of that sin. This is the process called “Rebound,” as noted in 1 John 1:9, which is the first of the 11 Problem Solving Devices, (PSD), found in God’s Word.

The 11 Problem Solving Devices:

  1. Rebound – Psa 32:5b; 1 John 1:9.
  2. Filling of the Holy Spirit – John 14:26; 16:12-14; Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16.
  3. Doctrinal Orientation – Heb 11:1; 1 Thes 4:13.
  4. Faith Rest Drill – Psa 37:4-5; Rom 4:20; 2 Cor 8:9; Heb 4:1-3.
  5. Grace Orientation – Eph 3:20; 2 Cor 12:9.
  6. Authority Orientation – Rom 13:1-7; Titus 3:1-2; 1 Peter 2:13-3:6; 2 Cor 10:8; Eph 5:22-24, 33b-6:9; Col 3:18-25.
  7. Personal Sense of Destiny – Eph 3:16; Phil 4:9; Rom 9:23.
  8. Personal Love for God the Father – 1 John 4:19; Rom 5:5; 8:28; 1 Cor 2:9.
  9. Impersonal Unconditional Love for Mankind – John 15:15; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14.
  10. Sharing the Perfect Happiness of God – John 15:11; Prov 3:13; 1 John 1:4.
  11. Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ – Eph 3:17; 1 Peter 1:8.

Filling of the Holy Spirit

Rebound is the grace function for the believer which accomplishes the following results:

  1. Restoration to fellowship with God and others.
  2. Recovery of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Reentry into God’s Power System.
  4. Recovery from cosmic influence, i.e., grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit.

Rebound is the most basic mode of operation for spiritual victory over the Old Sin Nature in the Christian life, and the most important function of the priesthood outside of God’s Power System, (i.e., the filling of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God resident within the soul). Rebound is the basis for executing all the mandates of God related to “yieldedness,” as found in Rom 6:13; 12:1, that is the first step on the road to recovery from drunkenness and alcoholism. Rebound is a part of God’s logistical grace provision for the execution of the Christian way of life. Without this grace provision, the believer in phase two of God’s plan could not exploit his positional victory over the Old Sin Nature, which was provided by the baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequent retroactive positional truth. Apart from Rebound, there can be no function for the believer in God’s Power System. Rebound is recovery of fellowship with God or reentry into God’s Power System for the continuation of the Christian way of life, as noted in 1 John 1:3-10. Rebound is the first Problem Solving Device provided by God for the execution of the Plan of God for your life. The filling of the Holy Spirit, (PSD #2), the empowerer and enabler for the spiritual life, can only be recovered after sinning through the Rebound technique.

Five Aspects of Rebound and Recovery:

  • Name it1 John 1:9. God’s Word tells us to “confess” our Sin to God the Father. It never tells us to feel sorry for our sins or even to plead for the forgiveness of our sins, we simply name them to God and faith rest in His Word that says we are “forgiven for those sins and cleansed from all unrighteousness.” He does all the work, we just apply His Word in faith.
  • Isolate itHeb 12:15, “See to it that no one come short of the grace of God, that no root of bitterness sprouting up cause trouble, (self-induced misery), and through it many, (other believers), are contaminated.” Isolation means to leave the sin you confessed to God with God, and not let it fester in your thoughts. If you let the sin fester, you may react in a negative way towards that sin or the reason that you committed that sin in the first place, which can lead to further sins like bitterness and revenge. For example, if you face injustice, you must not react and remain in the status of victimization. The seed of bitterness is planted by unjust treatment. Once you are forgiven of your sins, the danger is not over, because you can get right back out of fellowship by becoming bitter toward others. Isolation means that once you confess your sins to God the Father, you leave it with Him and not allow that sin, or the reason for that sin, to lead you to future sins as a result of anger, bitterness, vengeance, etc. Confess the sin and move on.
  • Forget it, Phil 3:13, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, (Spiritual Maturity and Evidence Testing); but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”

If you are still bitter, hateful, complaining, vindictive, and have malice in your soul because you have been victimized, then you are so far out of line with the plan of God you are not even in the ballgame. The believer must never handicap himself with regard to spiritual momentum. This is what we do when we do not forget those things which are behind and dwell on our past failures. Recalling past failures can only cause guilt reaction, denial, projection, dissociation, multiple personality disorder, etc. The greatest problem is self-absorption related to guilt. Victimization always sets it off. Therefore, once you confess your sin(s) to God, you need to forget the sin, in terms of not continuing to dwell on it, and realize that you now have a clean slate with God, guilt free, to go forward in your fellowship and spiritual walk with him. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

  • Keep movingPhil 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Once you have confessed yours sins, you move forward in God’s plan for your life. You do not look back in guilt or shame, other than as an object lesson of life and of mistakes you made that should not be repeated again. Moving forward means the advancement of your spiritual life, Rom 12:1-3.
  • Stay on the playing field2 John 8-9, “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” Now that you have a clean slate with God, keep it that way by saying “no” to sin temptations by applying God’s Word to your life, and thereby remaining filled with the Holy Spirit.

As noted above, rebound is the grace function to the believer which accomplishes: Restoration to fellowship; Recovery of the filling of the Holy Spirit; Reentry into the God’s Power System; and Recovery from cosmic influence. It is the first step on the road to recovery from any sinful lifestyle including drunkenness and alcoholism.

Remember, there are four battles fought in the soul, and the believer must be filled with the Spirit to be a winner in these battles.

  1. The battle of sin, versus the Filling of the Spirit.
  2. The battle between the outside pressures of prosperity and adversity, versus the Problem-Solving Devices.
  3. The battle of false doctrine in the soul, versus Divine norms and standards in the soul.
  4. The battle of maladaptive defense mechanisms (e.g., alcohol and drug abuse), versus the Problem-Solving Devices.

We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word to be victorious in these battles. This cannot be accomplished without first naming your sins to God, “Rebounding,” to receive His experiential cleansing. God is perfect and we must operate in His perfection to be victorious overcomers in this life.

You must recognize the reality of the problem before you can understand the function of the Divine solution. Recognizing the reality of the problem means taking the responsibility for your own sins and not blaming them on someone else. When you start blaming other people for what you are, you are a fool. When you have a problem, you do not run to someone else for them to fix it or to get them to gang up against your enemy. When you recognize the reality of the problem yourself, you examine yourself for culpability. Only then can you start to recover! Once you take responsibility for your own sins, then you follow the instructions of 1 John 1:9 and carry on with your spiritual life. There is no problem in the Christian life you cannot personally handle from application of Bible doctrine. But this requires knowledge of doctrine and spiritual growth to the point of spiritual self-esteem. This is the first step to the road of recovery and victory. Step 2 is the faith rest life. 

Principles of the Recovery Process for Alcohol Abuse,
(or any sins in our lives).

The Faith Rest Life

After rebounding, 1 John 1:9; Mat 6:12; 1 Cor 11:31; Psa 32:5; 38:18; Prov 28:13, which results in the Filling of God the Holy Spirit, (PSD #1 and 2), the next phase in recovery from any sinful lifestyle like drunkenness and Alcoholism, is putting your faith in God and Jesus Christ to work. This is called the “Faith Rest Drill,” (PSD # 3).

The faith rest life is a plan designed by God to stabilize your soul mentality when the pressure and adversities of life come upon you. Knowing that God is in absolute control of every circumstance in your life, you therefore respond to adversity with Bible Doctrine rather than react to it with emotion and sin. Reaction is when your emotions take control of your soul. It is when your emotions overwhelm your soul or thinking process and cause you to fall apart and lose control. On the other hand, response requires clear thinking. Response is thought, not emotion, and requires courage and spiritual strength to come to a good doctrinal conclusion and decision about your situation that you then apply or walk in.

“Faith” is the Greek Noun PISTIS and the Verb PISTEUO that means, “faith, trust, trustworthiness, reliability, confidence, assurance, conviction, or belief,” and sometimes it is used for God’s Word – Bible doctrine, cf. Acts 6:7; 14:22, 27; 24:24; Rom 1:12; 10:8; Gal 1:23; 3:5; Eph 4:5; 1 Tim 4:1, 6; 2 Tim 2:18; Titus 1:4; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:3, 20; Rev 2:13.

Heb 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

PISTIS corresponds to the Hebrew term ’EMUNAH, that means, “fidelity and faithfulness.” The related verb form ’AMAN describes a faithful attitude toward another; it is especially used to denote a relationship with God, Gen 15:6; Ex 14:31; 2 Chron 20:20. Faith is also expressed by the Hebrew verb BATACH that means, “to rely on or put confidence in,” as well as by the verb CHASAH, “to seek refuge in.” In both cases God is often the object in whom trust/ confidence/refuge is placed or sought.

Our English definition of faith from “The American Heritage Dictionary” includes: “A confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. It is a belief that does not rest on logical proof, (rationalism), or material evidence, (empiricism). It is loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance. It is trust in God and in the doctrines expressed in Scripture.”

Faith is not a passive resignation to life like fate; rather, it is confidence that God will fulfill His promises and will carry out His salvation plan just as it is expressed in the covenant relationship.

Habakkuk 2:4, “Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.” Cf. Rom 1:16-17.

According to the Bible, faith is:

  • Trust in Jesus’ ability and willingness to meet both physical and spiritual needs, e.g., Mat 8:10; 9:2, 29; 15:28; Mark 10:52; Luke 7:50; 17:19.
  • The life made possible by the Spirit in the hearts of believers. e.g., Gal 2:20; Rom 1:8; 2 Cor 5:7; Eph 1:15; Col 1:4; 1 Thes 1:3; 3:5; 1 Tim 6:12.
  • The strength of the believer grounded and established by God, Acts 16:5; Rom 4:20; Col 1:23. Therefore, the believer can:

a) Stand fast in the faith, 1 Cor 16:13.

b) Be full of faith, Acts 6:5; 11:24.

c) Be on the road to deeper faith, 2 Cor 10:15; 2 Thes 1:3.

  • It contrasts fear, Deut 31:8; Psa 56:11; 1 Peter 5:7; Mark 5:36, “But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.”
  • It is a conviction that God can fulfill the promises He has made. It is centered in Jesus Christ, the manifestation of God’s salvation plan.
  • It is the normative expression of the Christian, being obedient towards God and His Word, Rom 16:26. Therefore, we are to:

a) Live the life of faith, Gal 2:20.

b) Walk in faith, 2 Cor 5:7.

c) Offer prayer in faith, James 5:15.

d) Produce the work of faith, 1 Thes 1:3.

e) Fight the battle of faith, 1 Tim 6:12.

f) Obtain the outcome of faith, the salvation of our souls, 1 Peter 1:9.

  • Faith is a quality that marks God’s people, even from ancient times. In the great portrait gallery of faith, Heb chapter 11, the writer gives a lengthy series on the old covenant models of faith. These saints believed God’s promises in spite of the apparent hopelessness of their circumstances. Without seeing the realization of the promises, they lived and died believing that the promised Messiah would one day come, and He did, albeit not in their lifetimes. Nevertheless, faith characterized their lives. They realized that “without faith it is impossible to please (God),” Heb 11:6.
  • James cautioned against a “faith” that rests upon an intellectual assent to the truth but lacks a life yielded and obedient to God, cf. James 2:18, 20, 26.
  • The basis of faith is the Word of God, and His action in history; thus, faith is directed at God Himself. This concerns not only the subjective dimension of faith but the objective dimension as well.
  • God and Jesus Christ are the objects of our faith. This is central to the life lived by faith, John 14:1. Jesus is rightly called the “author, (leader, pacesetter), and finisher, (perfecter), of our faith,” Heb 12:2.
  • There is victory in faith, 1 John 5:4‑5; Rom 4:17-21. Having a faithful relationship with God and His Word is greater than any pressure or disaster in life. It is more important than anything in life, whether failures, successes, pressures, or prosperity. With faith in God, we have victory over the things of this life.

1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

Therefore, with faith we trust in God and His Word to empower and enable us to overcome any prosperity, problems, pressures, difficulties, adversities, or disasters in life. Rather than turning to pseudo “fixers” like drugs and alcohol to overcome our problems, when we trust in God and His Word, our problems are overcome.

The Faith Rest Drill:

The Faith-Rest Drill is that Problem-Solving Device used by believers, in all dispensations for carrying and using the shield of faith, to protect and defend your soul from the adversities and pressures of life.

Eph 6:16, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”

1 Thes 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

It is designed by God for every believer to deal with every adversity and problem of suffering in this life, but to do so from your own soul filled and empowered with the Word of God and the filling of the Holy Spirit, not from someone else’s human viewpoint counseling.

The beginning of the Faith-Rest Drill is to learn God’s Word so that it becomes a reality in your life. It is the reality of Bible doctrine circulating in your very own stream of consciousness. Then when you know something about God and His Word, you can apply it to your situations. It begins with learning and applying the various promises that God has made to you. Then in faith, you believe God when He makes promises to you, such as Prov 3:5-6; Psa 37:4-5; 1 Peter 5:7. You begin by reaching out to God with your faith and claiming these promises.

Psa 3:5-6, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about.”

Psa 37:4-5, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxieties on Him; for He cares for you.”

Psa 4:8, “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep; for You Lord only make me to dwell in safety.”

Psa 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of all of them.”

Prov 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Psa 55:22, “Cast all your burdens upon the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

Psa 56:11, “In God I put my trust. I will not be afraid of what man can do to me.”

Deut 31:8, “And the Lord, He it is who goes before you; He will not fail you or forsake you. Fear not, neither be confused.”

2 Cor 12:9, “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

But the Faith-Rest Life has far greater implications than just mixing the promises of God with our faith, as there are three spheres of operation involved in the function of the Faith-Rest Life: Faith Mechanics, Faith Functions, and Faith Execution.

  • The first sphere of the Faith-Rest Life is Faith Mechanics that has two stages, Heb 4:1-3a.

Heb 4:1-3, “Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. 2For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3For we who have believed enter that rest, …”

1.) As we noted above, stage one of Faith Mechanics is mixing the promises of God with your faith. That means that you learn the promises of God from His Word and then trust upon them as you face whatever circumstances you are in. You recall what God’s promises are and you rely upon them in your situation.

Mixing the promises of God with faith is designed to stabilize the mentality of the believer under pressure, confusion, adversity, stress, and disaster. Claiming promises is the way new believers and young believers, who have not yet grown up spiritually, can function under the Faith-Rest Life. In time of stress, the believer begins by claiming promises of God and mixing those promises with a weak faith. As the believer grows spiritually, his faith increases.

As a result of stage one of the Faith-Rest Mechanics, you begin to prevent the outside pressures of life from penetrating into the soul. Faith claims the promises of God; faith applies the promises of God; faith takes control of the situation. The increase of the Faith-Rest Life means the increase of control over your soul and your spiritual life.

Abraham used the first stage mechanics, Rom 4:20-21, “Yet, he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, being fully persuaded that what God had promised, God was able to execute.”

When stage one of the faith-rest mechanics is fully operational, the believer fulfills 2 Cor 5:7, “We walk by faith (the Faith-Rest Life) and not by sight (human viewpoint).” This is the utilization of Divine promises in the Bible.

The blessing that comes from claiming God’s promises and utilizing Bible doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness is the basis of entering into this rest. This is a rest of great tranquility of soul in the midst of the greatest adversities in life. This is also a rest of being able to deal with stress from Bible doctrine resident in your own stream of consciousness.

2.) Stage two is called coming to the Doctrinal Rationales that lead to Doctrinal Conclusions that can be applied to your experience. The second stage of the Faith-Rest Mechanics requires a much stronger faith and a greater understanding of the Word of God. It requires a true scale of values in which Bible doctrine has the number one priority in your life. The word of God, communicated by the spiritual gift of your Pastor-Teacher, must have first place in your scale of values if you are ever going to grow up spiritually and live the Faith-Rest Life.

As such, you need cognition of the whole range of Bible doctrine, which gives the Faith-Rest Life an option to meet the stress and pressures of life. Cognition of doctrine results in the development of a stronger faith.

Rom 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing, (positive volition to the intake of God’s Word), and hearing by the word of Christ, (the teaching of the mind of Jesus Christ).

The Word of God is the thinking of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor 2:16. Through the Word, your faith becomes strong and can be developed. Therefore, in this stage, we have the development of a stronger faith through the perception of Bible doctrine. With this perception of Bible doctrine, your faith becomes strong enough to do more than just claim a promise from God.

In the second stage, you begin to claim doctrinal rationales, as your stronger faith now applies doctrinal rationales to experience. This means that you learn more than just the promises of God, you now learn the various aspects about God, who He is and how He operates, from His Word and apply that knowledge in faith to your situation.

Some principles for doctrinal rationales include:

  • The essence of God rationale; knowing who God is, you can apply any or all of His essence to your situation, e.g., God is Omniscience, all-knowing; therefore, He knows your problem and what you need to overcome it.
  • The plan of God rationale; God has a plan for human history and specifically for your life; therefore, He will provide for your needs, because He wants you to continue to walk in His service.
  • The policy of God rationale; God is perfect, absolute righteous, and just; therefore, we too must walk in righteousness doing a right thing in a right way. When we do, God will defeat our enemies.
  • The a-fortiori rationale; if God can do the greater, He will do the lesser; therefore, God has saved me from my sins; therefore, He will save me from the temptations of my Old Sin Nature, and my enemies.

Rom 8:31-32, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

Jer 29:11, “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’.”

Therefore, the Faith-Rest mechanics of stage two are as follows: faith applies a doctrinal rationale; faith reaches doctrinal conclusions about God and how God’s Word applies to your situation, and then faith takes control of the situation.

The Faith-Rest Drill has the power to avoid reaction to every injustice, every act of unfairness, and every wrong that has ever been committed against you. It has the power to avoid reaction to all injustices against you, by putting them in the hands of the supreme court of heaven, through faith. The doctrinal rationales result in not only Sharing the Perfect Happiness of God, a Personal Sense of Destiny, and Occupation with the Person of Christ, but also magnificent spiritual strength to survive any adversity.

1 Cor 2:5, “That your faith should not stand on the wisdom of man, but on the power of God.”

2 Cor 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.”

2 Cor 5:7, “Therefore, we walk by faith and not be sight.”

The Faith-Rest Life has the power to avoid reaction to every injustice, every act of unfairness, every wrong that has ever been committed against you, (child abuse, physical abuse, injustices, etc.). It has the power to avoid reaction to all injustices in life by putting them through faith in the hands of the supreme court of heaven.

Psalm 130:5-7, “I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope. 6My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. 7O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption.”

The word “hope” in vs. 7, is the Hebrew Verb YACHAL that means, “to wait for, patiently wait, waiting with endurance, hope (confidence expectation), and trust.” This is a key understanding of stage two; Doctrinal Rationales being turned into Doctrinal Conclusions to be applied. The Word YACHAL was originally used for making rope. In the process of making rope, you first start with just a little strand, which is easy to break, but as this little strand is woven in with other strands, it becomes a rope which cannot be broken. Hence, this word meant to be a strand twisted into a great rope, and therefore made strong, and it came to mean, “trust.” Those who wait on the Lord are “those who keep on trusting the Lord.” When you combine the promises of God, with the greater truths of His Word in Doctrinal Rationale, you will arrive at YACHAL with Doctrinal Conclusions and have great trust in the Lord and His Word that becomes a gigantic, powerful rope which nothing can break.

Micah 7:7, “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait, (YACHAL), for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”

Psa 119:43, “And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I wait for Your ordinances.”

Psa 119:74, “May those who fear You see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in Your word.”

Psa 119:81, “My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word.”

Psa 119:114, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.”

Psa 119:147, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words.” Cf. Psa 33:18; 130:5; Lam 3:21, 24; Isa 51:5.

The next phase in recovery from any sinful lifestyle like drunkenness and Alcoholism, is putting your faith in God and Jesus Christ to work. This is called the “Faith Rest Drill,” (PSD # 3), which leads to the Faith Rest Life.

Heb 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

faith rest drill 1

The Faith Rest Drill:

The Faith-Rest Drill is that Problem-Solving Device used by believers in all dispensations for carrying and using the shield of faith to protect and defend your soul from the adversities and pressures of life.

But the Faith-Rest Life has far greater implications than just mixing the promises of God with our faith, as there are three spheres of operation involved in the function of the Faith-Rest Life: Faith Mechanics, Faith Functions, and Faith Execution.

  • The first sphere of the Faith-Rest Life is Faith Mechanics that has two stages, Heb 4:1-3a.

a) As we noted above, stage one of Faith Mechanics is mixing the promises of God with your faith. That means that you learn the promises of God from His Word and then trust upon them as you face whatever circumstances you are in. You recall what God’s promises are and you rely upon them in your situation.

b) Stage two is called coming to the Doctrinal Rationales that lead to Doctrinal Conclusions that can be applied to your experience. The second stage of the Faith-Rest Mechanics requires a much stronger faith and a greater understanding of the Word of God. It requires a true scale of values in which Bible doctrine has the number one priority in your life. The word of God, communicated by the spiritual gift of your Pastor-Teacher, must have first place in your scale of values if you are ever going to grow up spiritually and live the Faith-Rest Life.

Psa 130:5-7, “I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope. 6My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. 7O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption.”

The word “hope” in vs. 7, is the Hebrew Verb YACHAL that means, “to wait for, patiently wait, waiting with endurance, hope (confidence expectation), and trust.” This is a key understanding of stage two; Doctrinal Rationales being turned into Doctrinal Conclusions to be applied. The Word YACHAL was originally used for making rope. In the process of making rope, you first start with just a little strand, which is easy to break, but as this little strand is woven in with other strands, it becomes a rope which cannot be broken. Hence, this word meant to be a strand twisted into a great rope, and therefore made strong, and it came to mean “trust.” Those who wait on the Lord are “those who keep on trusting the Lord.” When you combine the promises of God with the greater truths of His Word in Doctrinal Rationale, you will arrive at YACHAL with Doctrinal Conclusions and have great trust in the Lord and His Word that becomes a gigantic, powerful rope which nothing can break.

Micah 7:7, “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait, (YACHAL), for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”

Psa 119:43, “And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I wait for Your ordinances.”

Psa 119:74, “May those who fear You see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in Your word,”

Psa 119:81, “My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word.”

Psa 119:114, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.”

Psa 119:147, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words.”

Cf. Psa 33:18; 130:5; Lam 3:21, 24; Isa 51:5.

  • The second sphere of the Faith-Rest Life is Faith Function. There are two categories of Faith Function.

a) The first category of Faith Function is the Plaintiff Function before the Supreme Court of heaven as a victim of injustice, real or imagined. This is when you take your problems to God and ask for Him to deal with them or resolve them in some way.

Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your cares, (anxieties, stresses), upon Him, because He cares for you.”

You put your problems with people and circumstances into the Lord’s hands and trust in Him to resolve them. This means appealing to the Supreme Court of heaven and avoiding any reactionary sin on your part by: complaining, vilification, denial, projection, self-justification, blaspheming, gossip, slander, maligning, judging of others, malice.

We should never react to unfairness or injustice in our life and try to solve our problems in vengeance without God. If we do, we become spiritual losers.

Instead, we are to turn our problems over to God, seek His Word for solutions, and wait on God and His timing to receive the right action to take, if any at all.

When you take something to the supreme court of heaven through the function of the Faith-Rest Life, you must leave it there, and not take it back for your own revenge. Unfortunately, many people want to protect their self-image and perceived honor. Their self-image is more precious to them than the reality or facts of the case. Believers will do anything to protect their self-image. Therefore, instead of turning things over to the Supreme Court of heaven and trusting in God, they take matters into their own hands, which typically leads to sin. This is one of the great manifestations of scar tissue in the soul.

The great mistake is taking your case to the Supreme Court of heaven and simultaneously to take the case out of the hands of God by trying to do something about it yourself.  When you do, you become liable for triple compound Divine discipline.

  1. You are judged by the Supreme Court of heaven for your own sin; some verbal or overt sin.
  2. You are judged for the mental attitude sin.
  3. Judging belongs to the Supreme Court of heaven, not to you. If you judge others, every sin mentioned, whether true or not, is put on you, and your judgement of them will fall upon you.

Mat 7:1-2, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

Therefore, it is imperative that we turn it over to God and then faith-rest in God, that He will deal with the issue one way or another, whether we see the results or not.

b) The second category of Faith Function is Faith Correlation with other Problem-Solving Devices. This is the key to why the Faith-Rest Drill should be applied within your soul. It is defined as the harmonious combination, coordination, and interaction of the functions of the PSD’s on the defense line of the soul to achieve inner contentment, peace, and happiness regardless of the situation you are facing. For example, if you have sinned, that is a problem, and you are out of fellowship with God. Therefore, you are to apply PSD #1, confession of sin, which leads to PSD # 2, regaining fellowship with God through the filling of the Holy Spirit. Now you engage in the spiritual life once again, and can be rightly oriented towards God’s Word and claim promises, as well as come to doctrinal rationales regarding your situation. Then you can be grace oriented towards others, PSD #5, and know that you have a destiny in God’s plan for your life, PSD #7. In addition, you can apply any of the other PSDs to your situation, so that you have stability of soul and a Relaxed Mental Attitude (RMA) as you trust in God and have strength to refute temptations to sin, Psa 16:11; 146:5; Prov 3:13; John 15:11; Phil 4:6-7, 11; 1 Tim 6:6-8; Heb 13:5-6; 1 Peter 1:3-9.

Psa 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

  • The third sphere of the Faith-Rest Life is Faith Execution. This means that you know and understand the first and second spheres of the Faith-Rest Life, and now apply them. But in order to apply them, you must have:

a) True humility and the avoidance of self-absorption. Humility is authority orientation, grace orientation, objectivity, and teachability. It is the antithesis of arrogance, which transfers reality from self-centeredness and self-absorption to grace orientation and doctrinal orientation, James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:5; Numbers 12:3. Humility is the quality or status of being humble; a modest sense of one’s importance in life, Rom 12:2-3; Prov 29:23; Luke 14:11.

Prov 11:2, “When arrogance comes, then comes dishonor; but with the humble is wisdom.”

b) A heart of yieldedness to God the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, (see above doctrine on Yieldedness).

c) Christian professionalism; accurate comprehension and use of God’s Word and the Problem-Solving Devices. It is the academic understanding and mechanics of the Plan of God. It is cognition of the spiritual skills and how they combine to provide spiritual power and production of Divine good. Professionalism means learning and accepting the whole realm of doctrine.

d) Integrity; the spiritual strength to apply God’s Word and the PSDs to make the right choices; good decisions from a position of strength in the application of the Faith-Rest Life. Integrity is the use of spiritual power from metabolized Bible doctrine to execute God’s will for your life. While professionalism develops the ability to conceptualize Bible doctrine, integrity or spiritual strength from doctrine executes these things in glorifying God. Professionalism without integrity is arrogance. Integrity without professional-ism is emotionalism. The application of metabolized Bible doctrine to stress conditions demands the coordination of professionalism and integrity on the foundation of humility.

The Faith Rest Life

The Faith-Rest Life has far greater implications than just mixing the promises of God with our faith, as there are three spheres of operation involved in the function of the Faith-Rest Life: Faith Mechanics, Faith Functions, and Faith Execution.

  • The second sphere of the Faith-Rest Life is Faith Function. There are two categories of Faith Function.

a.) The first category of Faith Function is the Plaintiff Function before the Supreme Court of heaven as a victim of injustice, real or imagined. This is when you take your problems to God and ask for Him to deal with them or resolve them in some way.

Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your cares, (anxieties, stresses), upon Him, because He cares for you.”

You put your problems with people and circumstances into the Lord’s hands and trust in Him to resolve them. This means appealing to the Supreme Court of heaven and avoiding any reactionary sin on your part by: complaining, vilification, denial, projection, self-justification, blaspheming, gossip, slander, maligning, judging of others, malice.

We should never react to unfairness or injustice in our life and try to solve our problems in vengeance without God. If we do, we become spiritual losers. Instead, we are to turn our problems over to God, seek His Word for solutions, and wait on God and His timing to receive the right action to take, if any at all.

When you take something to the supreme court of heaven through the function of the Faith-Rest Life, you must leave it there, and not take it back for your own revenge. Unfortunately, many people want to protect their self-image and perceived honor. Their self-image is more precious to them than the reality or facts of the case. Believers will do anything to protect their self-image. Therefore, instead of turning things over to the Supreme Court of heaven and trusting in God, they take matters into their own hands, which typically leads to sin. This is one of the great manifestations of scar tissue in the soul.

The great mistake is taking your case to the Supreme Court of heaven and simultaneously to take the case out of the hands of God by trying to do something about it yourself.  When you do, you become liable for triple compound Divine discipline.

  • You are judged by the Supreme Court of heaven for your own sin; some verbal or overt sin.
  • You are judged for the mental attitude sin.
  • Judging belongs to the Supreme Court of heaven, not to you. If you judge others, every sin mentioned, whether true or not, is put on you, and your judgement of them will fall upon you.

Mat 7:1-2, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

Therefore, it is imperative that we turn it over to God and then faith-rest in God, that He will deal with the issue one way or another, whether we see the results or not.

b.) The second category of Faith Function is Faith Correlation with other Problem-Solving Devices. This is the key to why the Faith-Rest Drill should be applied within your soul. It is defined as the harmonious combination, coordination, and interaction of the functions of the PSD’s on the defense line of the soul to achieve inner contentment, peace, and happiness regardless of the situation you are facing. For example, if you have sinned, that is a problem, and you are out of fellowship with God. Therefore, you are to apply PSD #1, confession of sin, which leads to PSD # 2, regaining fellowship with God through the filling of the Holy Spirit. Now you engage in the spiritual life once again, and can be rightly oriented towards God’s Word and claim promises, as well as come to doctrinal rationales regarding your situation. Then you can be grace oriented towards others, PSD #5, and know that you have a destiny in God’s plan for your lives, PSD #7. In addition, you can apply any of the other PSDs to your situation, so that you have stability of soul and a Relaxed Mental Attitude (RMA) as you trust in God and have strength to refute temptations to sin, Psa 16:11; 146:5; Prov 3:13; John 15:11; Phil 4:6-7, 11; 1 Tim 6:6-8; Heb 13:5-6; 1 Peter 1:3-9.

Psa 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

  • The third sphere of the Faith-Rest Life is Faith Execution. This means that you know and understand the first and second spheres of the Faith-Rest Life, and now apply them. But in order to apply them, you must have:

a.) True humility and the avoidance of self-absorption. Humility is authority orientation, grace orientation, objectivity, and teachability. It is the antithesis of arrogance, which transfers reality from self-centeredness and self-absorption to grace orientation and doctrinal orientation, James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:5; Num 12:3. Humility is the quality or status of being humble; a modest sense of one’s importance in life, Rom 12:2-3; Prov 29:23; Luke 14:11.

Prov 11:2, “When arrogance comes, then comes dishonor; but with the humble is wisdom.”

b.) A heart of yieldedness to God the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, (see above doctrine on Yieldedness).

c.) Christian professionalism; accurate comprehension and use of God’s Word and the Problem-Solving Devices. It is the academic understanding and mechanics of the Plan of God. It is cognition of the spiritual skills and how they combine to provide spiritual power and production of Divine good. Professionalism means learning and accepting the whole realm of doctrine.

d.) Integrity, the spiritual strength to apply God’s Word and the PSDs to make the right choices; good decisions from a position of strength in the application of the Faith-Rest Life. Integrity is the use of spiritual power from metabolized Bible doctrine to execute God’s will for your life. While professionalism develops the ability to conceptualize Bible doctrine, integrity or spiritual strength from doctrine executes these things in glorifying God. Professionalism without integrity is arrogance. Integrity without professionalism is emotionalism. The application of metabolized Bible doctrine to stress conditions demands the coordination of professionalism and integrity on the foundation of humility.

Mat 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

“God gives the birds their food, but he doesn’t throw it into their nests.” We are to use the mind and body God has given us, but we are to do it in co-operation with Him. Our trust should not be in self-effort or man, and certainly not in government. God has given us His Word and His Spirit. With those two power options, we have the ability to live the faith-rest life in co-operation with Him, to be overcomers who produce Divine good. Therefore, with God and His Word resident within your soul, you can overcome any addiction or temptations to sin. But unfortunately, when you do not trust in God, you give over to temptation and sin that can lead to addiction. That is why you cannot afford to be distracted from living the Faith-Rest Life.

  • Distractions to the Execution of the Faith-Rest Life. There are several humanistic distractions to the believer from living the Faith-Rest Life, which include:

a.)  Self-absorption from the function of the arrogance complex of sins.

b.) The heart being overrun and put out of action from lack of use of the Eleven Problem Solving Device, to act as an instant reaction force to prevent the outside pressures of adversity becoming the inside pressures of stress in your soul.

c.)  The dominance of the soul by the emotional complex of sins.

d.)  The activation of the demand syndrome, in which we expect our wishes, (often our lust pattern of the sin nature), to be met and gratified.

e.)  Failure to take the responsibility for your own decisions. Therefore, you assign the blame for your bad decisions from a position of weakness to other people or other circumstances.

f.)  Loss of reality through denial and taking your own flaws and projecting them on other people and then blaming them for your problems.

g.) Rejection of authority and constant lust for change. The lust for change through human ability rejects both the grace provision and the grace policy of God, and ignores the two power options of the Plan of God, (the filling of the Spirit and cognition of Bible doctrine). Cf. 1 Peter 5:5-9.

Concluding Principles:

Fear sees the problem; faith sees the solution. You do not solve problems with a problem, (i.e., drunkenness, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.). Believers occupied with the problem inevitably end up trying to solve a problem with a problem. Believers who go to the Problem-Solving Devices end up solving the problem.

You solve problems with a Divine solution. Divine solutions are the only solution; human solutions are no solutions. The decisions we make today determine our future tomorrow. Making decisions in arrogance is reaction.

No victory won in arrogance is a victory won. We do not need to be right; we need to be right with the Supreme Court of heaven.

God makes war against the arrogant believer, Rev 2:16. Humble believers are blessed by God.

Prov 28:25, “An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.”

Prov 29:23, “A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.”

God is infinitely greater than His creatures. Therefore, God’s knowledge is infinitely greater than human knowledge. This fact escapes those who are preoccupied with self.

Therefore, you are to trust in God and His Word, utilizing the faith-rest drill of the Faith-Rest Life, for all of your problems, thereby avoiding the self-arrogance of self-problem solving, which leads to all kinds of sins, including drunkenness and drug abuse. Instead, you need to learn the Faith-Rest Life God has designed for you, so that you can recover from drunkenness, alcoholism, or drug abuse, and avoid falling back into their trap, thereby walking in God’s righteousness for your life for true healing and recovery, for true inner peace, happiness, and contentment.

God is perfect. Perfect God can only create a perfect plan. This perfect plan is designed for imperfect believers. The Faith-Rest Drill is a perfect Problem-Solving Device, but you must use the whole drill, James 2:21-26; 3:13-18.

Then we have, “but be filled with the Spirit.”

This phrase begins with the strong adversative contrasting Conjunction ALLA that means, “but, yet, or rather.” It sets up the contrast and distinction between being, “drunk with wine,” and being, “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Then we have, “be filled,” which is the Present, Passive, Imperative of PLEROO, πληρόω that means, “Fill, make full, supply fully, or complete.” In both secular and Biblical Greek, PLEROO the idea of totality or fullness is always present. Thus, the word means “to fill something completely.” We have noted this word in Eph 1:23; 3:19; 4:10.

Eph 1:23, “Which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Eph 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

Eph 4:10, “He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.”

PLEROO has four meanings in regard to being filled with the Holy Spirit, (FHS).

  • To fill up a deficiency. The FHS fills up our deficiency of power to execute the spiritual life. We are deficient of Bile doctrine at salvation and the Spirit works within us to fill our soul with God’s Word.
  • To fully possess. The believer must be fully possessed by the Holy Spirit to execute God’s Plan. This kind of possession does not mean we lose all control of our thinking and faculties, but it means to be fully occupied by Him and His holiness and righteousness. That is, we cannot have one foot in sin and one in holiness, we must function 100% in holiness to execute God’s Plan for our lives.
  • To fully influence. The believer is fully influenced by the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit and Bible Doctrine so that he can have capacity for blessing.
  • To fill with a certain quality. The FHS along with Bible Doctrine is the highest quality with which the believer can be filled.

Then we have the object by which we are to be filled, “with the Spirit” which is the Dative case of EN PNEUMA, ἐν πνεῦμα.

EN is the most widely used preposition in the New Testament. There are four basic functions in Greek when EN occurs with the Dative case, as it does here, 1) To denote location, 2) To designate a state or condition, 3) Temporal, to designate time, and 4) Used instrumentally to indicate manner or means, as it is used in this verse, and can be translated, “by or with.” Therefore, we are filled, by or with, God the Holy Spirit speaking of His total and complete influence over our souls.

PNEUMA can mean, “wind, breath, spirit, soul, self, disposition, spiritual state, a spirit (angelic or demonic), and the Spirit (the Holy Spirit).” Here it means God the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, this is a command to receive the total and complete influence of God the Holy Spirit over our souls in contrast to our emotions, arrogance, Old Sin Nature, and/or sin being in control.

Paul equates sobriety with being wise and the yielded heart that lives inside the will of God, which is achieved by being filled with the Spirit that results in praise overflowing from the heart, which we will see in vs. 19. As we noted in the first half of this passage, Paul exhorts the early church believers not to resemble the drunken false god worshippers of the pagan Gentile world. Instead of being filled with wine, believers are to be filled with the Spirit of God. That is, instead of the discoveries of the false god’s “divine will,” in their bacchanalian rituals to which the drunken priests of Dionysus/Bacchus would articulate, the believer should be wise and understand what the will of the Lord is by being filled with God the Holy Spirit.

So., we have our contrast and analogy: the filling of the Spirit produces spirituality; the filling of spirits produces drunkenness. When a person is drunk, wine controls, or literally the Old Sin Nature controls the soul. Yet, when a person is filled with the Spirit, God the Holy Spirit controls the soul.

Before we address what it means to be “filled with the Holy Spirit,” we first need to know who the Holy Spirit is.

God the Holy Spirit

  • Who is God the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and is just as much God as is God the Father and God the Son. The word “Trinity” is an English derivation from the Latin “Trinitos.” The word is found nowhere in the Scriptures, it was coined by a 3rd century AD theologian by the name of Tertullian. He used this to describe the relationship of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Up to that point there was no clear understanding in the church of the doctrine of the Trinity. It is a technical theological word that designates God as one in essence but three in person; but three co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal persons. The Holy Spirit shares equally, infinitely and eternally all of the same essence and attributes that the Father and Son share. The Holy Spirit is ONE with the Father and Son as God, but is a separate person with a separate personality, Cf. Isa 48:12, 16; Psa 139:7-10; Mat 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; John 1:33; Luke 1:35; 3:21-22; Eph 2:18; Rom 8:2; Heb 9:14.

Deut 6:4, “Hear O’ Israel, The Lord is God, The Lord is one.” YHWH ELOHENU, YHWH ECHAD

Mat 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

The attributes that make up the essence of God, including the Holy Spirit, include: Sovereignty, Righteous, Justice, Love, Eternal Life, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Immutable, Veracity. God is holy, perfect, merciful, kind, integrity, caring, infinite, immense, spirit, light, self-existent, faithful, good, unity, one, etc.

The Deity of God the Holy Spirit is emphasized by the fact that He is identified with Yahweh in Acts 28:25, which quotes Isa 6:1-13. Also, Heb 10:15-17 cf. Jer 31:31-34. Titles of deity are used for the Holy Spirit. He is called Spirit of God, Spirit of Jesus, and Spirit of Yahweh. The Holy Spirit is also associated with God the Father and God the Son on equal terms in Mat 28:19, the baptism formula which equates the three as one in essence.

He also has personality. He has the attributes of personality in terms of intellect and will, 1 Cor 2:10ff; Isa 11:2. The Holy Spirit performs action of personality. He guides believers, Rom 8:14. He commands, Acts 8:29 (Philip). He witnesses, John 15:26. He is the one who intercedes for the believer, Rom 8:26. He proceeds from God the Father throughout all eternity.

This third person of the Trinity is given the title “Spirit” primarily, which is the Hebrew Noun RUACH, רוּחַ and Greek Noun PNUEMA, πνεῦμα that are translated, “wind, breath, spirit, soul, or life.” Yet, many times it is accompanied with the term “Holy.” “Holy” is the Hebrew Noun QODESH, קֹדֶשׁ‎ meaning, “apartness, holiness, sacredness, or separateness,” and the Greek Noun HAGIOS, ἅγιος meaning, “holy, consecrated, unapproachable, perfect, pure, or upright.” The term “Holy” indicates for us things pertaining to the third person of the Trinity, as He is a separate person within the Godhead who reflects the attributes of God and enables them in man. Interestingly only three times in the Hebrew Old Test. do we have the title “Holy Spirit,” but in the Greek New Testament we have it over 90 times.

Psa 51:11, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the Church Age believer enjoys was not a reality for Old Testament saints. Only a few O.T. saints were indwelt by the Spirit like David, (which we call the enduement of the Holy Spirit), because those who were, could lose the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Isa 63:10-11, “But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. 11Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them.” God put His Holy Spirit not only on Moses and the 70 elders, Num 11:17, but also filled others such as Bezalel and Oholiab, Ex 31:3, 6; 35:30-35.

  • The Person of the Holy Spirit.

a.) Scripture is quite clear that the Holy Spirit is a separate and unique person of the Trinity. He possesses and exhibits the attributes of a person in that He has intelligence. He knows and searches the things of God, 1 Cor 2:10-11; He possesses a mind, Rom 8:27; and He is able to teach people, 1 Cor 2:13. He shows feelings. He can be grieved by the sinful actions of believers, Eph 4:30. And He has a will, as seen in the distribution of spiritual gifts to the body of Christ, 1 Cor 12:11. He also directs the activities of Christians, Acts 16:6-11. Since genuine personality possesses intelligence, feelings, and will, and since we see in Scripture that the Holy Spirit has these attributes, He must be a Person.

b.) In addition, He exhibits the actions of a person as He guides us into truth by hearing, speaking, and showing, John 16.13; He convicts of sin, John 16:8; He performs miracles, Acts 8:39; and intercedes on our behalf, Rom 8:26. These are activities which an influence or personification could not do, but which Scripture shows the Holy Spirit can do.

c.) He also receives ascriptions which would be given only to a person, in that He is someone    to be obeyed, Acts 10:19-21; He can be lied to, Acts 5.3; He can be resisted, Acts 7.51; He can be grieved, Eph 4:30; He can be blasphemed, Mat 12.31; He can be insulted, Heb 10.29. To think of acting and reacting to an influence in these ways is quite odd.

d.) As a person, the Holy Spirit relates to other persons including; the apostles, Acts 15:28; to Jesus; John 16:14; to the other members of the Trinity as equal to them, Mat 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14. The Holy Spirit, even though a spirit being, is as real a Person as the Father, or the Son, or as we are.

  • The Holy Spirit is God.

Not only is the Spirit a Person, but He is a unique Person, for He is God. Proofs of personality are not necessarily proofs of Deity; but proofs of Deity are also proofs of His personality. If God is a Person, and if the Spirit is also God, then He is a Person also.

  a.) Names and titles for God the Holy Spirit. He is called:

    1) The Spirit of God, Gen 1:2; Mat 3:16.

    2) The Spirit of the Lord, Luke 4:18.

    3) The Spirit of Yahweh, Judges 3:10; Isa 61:1.

    4) The Spirit of the Lord God, the Spirit of the living God, 2 Cor 3:3.

    5) My Spirit, Gen 6:3.

    6) The Spirit of our God, 1 Cor 6:11.

    7) The eternal Spirit, Heb 9:14.

    8) The Spirit of glory, 1 Peter 4:14.

    9) The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:2.

   10) The Spirit, Eph 4:3.

  b.) Five titles reveal the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Son:

    1) The Spirit of Jesus Christ, Phil 1:19.

    2) The Spirit of Jesus, Acts 16:7.

    3) The Spirit of Christ, Rom 8:91 Peter 1:11.

    4) The Spirit of His Son, Gal 4:6.

    5) The Spirit of the Lord, Acts 5:9; 8:39.

  c.) There are titles that reveal the nature of His ministry:

    1) The Spirit of glory, 1 Peter 4:14.

    2) The Spirit of life, the agent of regeneration, Rom 8:2.

    3) The Spirit of holiness, Rom 1:4.

    4) The Holy Spirit, Mat 1:20ff, the Holy one, 1 John 2:20.

    5) The Spirit of grace, Heb 10:29.

    6) The Spirit of grace and supplication, Zech 12:10.

   7) The Spirit of adoption, the one who brings about our adoption into the royal family of God, Rom 8:15.

  8) The Helper/Comforter in John 14-15, which indicates His role as nourishing, guiding, strengthening, and assuring the believer in his spiritual life.

It is through the Holy Spirit that God reveals His Word, 1 Peter 1:20-21. He is called the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord, Isa 11:2.

Isa 11:2, “And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”

In John 15:26. He is called the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Word according to 1 Cor 2:12-16.

Deut 6:4, “Hear O’ Israel, The Lord is God, The Lord is one.” YHWH ELOHENU, YHWH ECHAD

The Attributes of God, including the Holy Spirit, include: Sovereignty, Righteous, Justice, Love, Eternal Life, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Immutable, and Veracity. He is holy, perfect, merciful, kind, integrity, caring, infinite, immense, spirit, light, self-existent, faithful, good, unity, one, etc.

Outline of the Holy Spirit

1.) Who is the Holy Spirit?
2.) The Person of the Holy Spirit.
3.) The Holy Spirit is God.
4.) The Holy Spirit’s Work in Creation.

Seven verses speak of various aspects of the Spirit’s work in Creation. They are: Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; 27:3; 33:4; Psa 33:6; 104:30; and Isa 40:13. The Spirit was involved in:

  • The general planning of the universe, Isa 40:12-14.
  • He was active in the creation of the stars of heaven, Job 26:13; Psa 33:6.
  • He participated in the Restoration of the earth, Gen 1:2. The word “moving” (NASB), found elsewhere only in Deut 32:11, means “hovers” or “flutters;” and Jer 23:9, “tremble or shake”, means that the Spirit hovered over and cared for the un-fashioned and uninhabited earth.
  • He worked in creating the animals, Psa 104:30.
  • He worked in the creation of man, Gen 2:7; Job 27:3; 33:4.

Thus, the range of His activity included all the basic facets of Creation.

5.) The Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the Old Testament.

There are approximately 100 references to the Spirit of God in the Old Testament which give evidence of His working during that period. In General:

  • The Holy Spirit worked in the lives of the Prophets and Writers of the Old Testament Scripture, as He also did for the New Testament writers. 2 Sam 23:1-2; Micah 3:8; Mat 22:43; Acts 1:16; 28:25; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:11, 21.

1 Peters 1:21, “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

2 Tim 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

  • The Holy Spirit’s ministry to people in Old Testament times was not the same as it has been since the Day of Pentecost. In OT times, the Spirit did not permanently indwell every believer as He does in the Church Age. For those He temporarily empowered, it is called the “enduement” of the Holy Spirit. He worked in a few select people primarily to further God’s overall will and plan. Gen 41:38; Deut 34:9; Num 11:16-25; 27:18; Judges 3:9-10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Sam 16:13; 1 Chron 28:12.
  • In theology, the work of the Spirit in OT saints is called enduement from the Greek word ENDUO that means, “dress, clothe, or put on,” Luke 24:49.

Luke 24:49, “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

The Hebrew equivalent is LABESH (lavesh), Judges 6:34; cf. Isa 61:10.

Judges 6:34, “So the Spirit of the LORD came upon (clothed) Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.”

Enduement means “clothed” and is like the indwelling of the Spirit in the NT, but it was not a guaranteed permanency, as it is to all Church Age believers. In other words, they could lose the indwelling ministry, either because God’s plan was complete or due to perpetual carnality, Psa 51:11.

Psa 51:11, “Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”

So, the Holy Spirit was highly active in the Old Testament times enabling some in their ministries while also caring for the people, and Israel as a whole.

6.) The Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the New Testament, Church Age.

In the New Testament, we see a much different ministry of the Holy Spirit, as He permanently indwells every believer for the function and execution of the unique spiritual life of the Church Age. A number of passages clearly teach that the Spirit is given to all believers rather than selectively to some, John 7:37; Acts 11:16-17; Rom 5:5; 1 Cor 2:12; 2 Cor 5:5.

Jesus’ final words to the disciples before His crucifixion included the promise of the sending of the Holy Spirit to enable and empower the Church Age believer, John 14:26; 16:12-14.

John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

John 16:12, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

After our Lord’s resurrection, He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:1-8.

Acts 1:5, “For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Cf. 1 Thes 4:8; Titus 5:3-7.

The ministry or work of the Holy Spirit for the Church Age believer includes:

  • Efficacious Grace and Regeneration which are the same in all dispensations. The Holy Spirit makes the Gospel a spiritual reality to the unbeliever in every age.

Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” Cf., 1 Peter 1:23.

This is defined as the ministry of the Holy Spirit at salvation in creating a human spirit in the believer, which causes him to become instantly trichotomous: body, soul, and now having a human spirit. This is the second birth, John 3:3-8. Yet, God the Holy Spirit does more for us at salvation than for believers of any other dispensation.

1) He makes our faith effectual, the ministry of efficacious grace.

2) He creates a human spirit for the imputation of eternal life, the ministry of regeneration.

3) He enters us into God’s Power System (GPS) for the power to execute the Plan of God, which is the ministry of the filling of the Holy Spirit, (The system of spirituality for Old Testament saints was not related to the Holy Spirit but to the faith-rest drill.)

4) Every believer is filled with the Spirit at the point of salvation (because we are entered into GPS) and loses the filling of the Spirit at the point of post-salvation sinning or carnality.

  • The Holy Spirit indwells every believer at the moment of salvation, 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor 6:16. This was prophesied in John 14:20; Acts 1:5, and fulfilled in Acts 2:4 on the Day of Pentecost; this is the permanent indwelling of God the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. He indwells us to provide a temple for the indwelling and residence of the Shekinah glory, (the Lord Jesus Christ), and God the Father, Eph 2:21-22. Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and cannot lose that indwelling.

1 Cor 3:16, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

2 Tim 1:14, “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

As a temple of God, we are to walk in God’s holiness. As we do, we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, 2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

  • The Baptism of the Holy Spirit: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a unique factor to the Church Age and speaks of God the Holy Spirit taking each one of us at the moment of faith in Christ and entering us into union with the person of Christ. This is the basis for being created a “New Man,” a new spiritual species, in Christ. By this, we become members of the Royal Family of God.

1 Cor 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” Cf. Gal 3:26-28.

The Baptism of the Spirit enters us into the body of Christ which is the Temple of God. He enters us into union with Christ as a guarantee of our escrow blessings.

1 Cor 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

  • The Sealing of the Holy Spirit: Like indwelling, sealing takes place at the moment of our salvation. Therefore, the Spirit is given to us and we are sealed in Him when we believe. Three New Testament passages speak of this “sealing ministry of the Spirit:

1) 2 Cor 1:22, says that God has sealed us and given us the pledge of the Spirit.

2) Eph 1:13 adds that we were sealed with the Spirit when we believed, and again, that the Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance.

Eph 1:13-14, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

3) Eph 4:30 states we were sealed by or with the Spirit until the day of redemption, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

The sealing ministry of the Spirit is a signature guarantee. It is a signature guarantee of four things:

1) Efficacious grace, the Holy Spirit takes the faith of the spiritually dead person and makes it effective for salvation.

2) The guarantee of eternal life and eternal security, and therefore the assurance of our salvation and our fellowship and walk with God here on earth.

3) The guarantee of eternal inheritance.

4) The guarantee of your very own Portfolio of Invisible Assets, which God the Father prepared for each one of us in eternity past.

  • The Gifting of the Holy Spirit: At the moment of our salvation, the Holy Spirit also gives us a “spiritual gift,” Heb 2:4, “God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”

The Gifting of the Holy Spirit is the sovereign distribution of a spiritual gift by the Holy Spirit at salvation, 1 Cor 12:11, through which we execute God’s Plan for our lives. The word for spiritual gifts (CHARISMA), is related to the word for grace, and means something that is due to the grace of God. A spiritual gift is a God-given ability for service to others or to God Himself, and it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to give us our gift and enable/empower it during our walk here on earth, Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:1-18; Heb 2:4. Jesus Christ is also an agent in the giving of our spiritual gifts, Eph 4:8, 11.

  • The Teaching Ministry of the Holy Spirit: This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit after our salvation, where He has a teaching ministry for the Church Age believer to understand Scriptures / Bible Doctrine, John 16:12-15. We call this the Grace Apparatus for Perception, (GAP), Rom 9:1; 1 Cor 2:5, 12-16; 1 Peter 1:12.

1 Peter 1:12, “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.”

1 Cor 2:13, “Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.”

  • The Praying Ministry of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit also plays a key role in our prayer life after salvation. He empowers and enables the believer’s prayers to God the Father so that they are effective. It is His supernatural ability to translate our prayers to the language and ears of God the Father. This is also called His Intercessory ministry, as He intercedes on our behalf and helps us in our prayer life.

Rom 8:26, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Eph 6:18, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”

Next, we will note the “Filling Ministry of the Holy Spirit.”

Specifically related to our verse, Eph 5:18, here we will discuss the “filling of God the Holy Spirit,” as one of His unique ministries to the believer in the Church Age. In sequence, “filling” comes before His teaching and praying ministries, as His filling is absolutely necessary for either of those two ministries to function.

The command to “be filled” with the Spirit is from the Present, Passive, Imperative of the verb PLEROO, literally, “keep on being filled with the Spirit,” In other words, it is optional. It is Passive, denoting that we receive the action that God has to accomplish in us. It is Present, meaning it is to be an ongoing action. It is Imperative because it is a command for us to follow habitually. Also, the command is plural, so it applies to all Christians and not just to a select few.

In the Bible, filled means, “influenced or controlled by.” As we noted in the exegesis of this passage, PLEROO has four meanings in regard to being, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” (FHS).

To fill up a deficiency. The FHS fills up our deficiency of power to execute the spiritual life. We are deficient of Bile doctrine at salvation and the Spirit works within us to fill our soul with God’s Word.

To fully possessThe believer must be fully possessed by the Holy Spirit to execute God’s Plan. This kind of possession does not mean we lose all control of our thinking and faculties, but it means to be fully occupied by Him and His holiness and righteousness. That is, we cannot have one foot in sin and one in holiness, we must function 100% in holiness to execute God’s Plan for our lives.

To fully influence. The believer is fully influenced by the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit and Bible Doctrine so that he can have capacity for blessing.

To fill with a certain quality. The FHS along with Bible Doctrine is the highest quality with which the believer can be filled.

The Filling of God the Holy Spirit is the operational ministry of the Holy Spirit for empowerment and enablement of the soul of the Church Age believer to execute God’s Plan for their life. Through the Filling of the Spirit, we are empowered and enabled to execute the unique spiritual life of the Church Age believer. Therefore, to be “filled with the Spirit” means to be constantly controlled or influenced by the Spirit in our mind, emotions, and will.

The filling of the Holy Spirit, first occurs at the moment of salvation, but it is not a permanent thing, as noted by our verse that we can either be “drunk (filled) with wine, or be filled by the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, “filling” is a temporary or experiential thing, (as opposed to a permanent or positional thing like His indwelling), and is lost when we enter into sin, e.g., drunkenness. Yet, in grace, if we lose the filling of the Holy Spirit, it can be regained through the confession of our sins to God the Father, 1 John 1:5-9, with its resultant experiential cleansing, as we will note below.

As such, the Filling of the Spirit is an absolute, meaning that the believer is either permitting himself to be fully influenced by the Spirit or they are being fully influenced by the Old Sin Nature and Satan’s cosmic system.

The believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, when two synonymous conditions occur: The Holy Spirit fully influences the soul of the believer, as noted in the verb PLEROO, and the believer resides in the Plan of God, which combined is synonymous to yielding to the Holy Spirit, walking by means of the Spirit, having fellowship with the Spirit, etc.

Confession of sins, 1 John 1:9, “rebounding,” is the basis for executing all the mandates of God related to the word “yieldedness,” as found in Rom 6:13 and 12:1. “Yielding” is not dedication to Christian service, but complying with the mandates of God’s Power System, to execute and fulfill the spiritual life. “Filling” is related to yieldedness. When I am willing to allow the Spirit to do what He wishes, it is up to Him to do or not to do with me whatever is His pleasure.

Acts 15:52 noted one of the first episodes of Church Age believers being filled with the Holy Spirit, “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

Being filled with the Spirit is the only means by which the Holy Spirit produces the Christ-like nature and character in the believer. It is the only means by which the believer can execute the Plan of God. Spirituality is the result of the filling of the Holy Spirit.

What Does It Mean to be Filled with the Spirit?

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, as we noted in vs. 1-17, (love, light, wisdom).

We are given the analogy of being filled with the Spirit in contrast to the man who is drinking, which is the reason Paul uses it here, cf. Acts 2:13-18. The man who is drinking is possessed by the wine. You can tell that a man is drunk. In contrast, it is the Holy Spirit who should be the One to possess the believer. It is a Divine intoxication that is to fill that need. This is not an excessive emotionalism, but that which furnishes the dynamic for living and for accomplishing something for God. When we are filled by the Holy Spirit, it means that we are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, instead of continuing in drunkenness, we are to go on being filled with the Spirit. We might have expected Paul to plead for abstinence as over against intemperance. But he takes a more startling and positive line. He urges us to draw on the reinvigorating resources of the Holy Spirit, which was the case on the day of Pentecost when the effect of such an experience was mistaken for drunkenness, Acts 2:13-18.

The walk of the believer and his being filled with the Spirit are closely related. Paul says a believer is to walk “carefully” or “circumspectly,” (KJV), and “be filled with the Spirit.” This filling is a constant renewal of the believer’s life for strength and action, as indicated in our verse by the use of the present tense. The Spirit-filled believer not only walks wisely, but his Christian character is evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit, Cf. Gal 5:22-23.

Therefore, the filling of the Spirit and walking by the Spirit are two 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. A person’s conduct is governed by their mental attitude, Mark 7:22-23. 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 since the Spirit inspired the Scriptures. 2 Peter 1:20-21. Read James 1:22-25.

Being “filled,” is directly related to the Word of God. To obey the Word of God is to obey the Holy Spirit since He inspired the Word of God and He speaks actively to you, the believer, through the Bible regarding the Father’s will for your life.

The commands to “be filled with the Spirit,” in Eph 5:18 and “letting the Word of Christ richly dwell in your soul,” in Col 3:16 are synonymous since each bears the same results: fellowship with the Father. The commands are synonymous, because the Holy Spirit speaks to the believer through the communication of the Word of God regarding the Father’s character and nature. The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures, 2 Tim 3:16; makes them understandable to the believer, John 16:13-16; guides the believer in the correct application of the Word of God, and reproduces the character of Christ in the believer who obeys the Word of God, Gal 5:22-23. None of this is possible if we have sin upon our soul. That is why the first step towards all of these things is to confess your sins for forgiveness and the purification of the soul from sin and getting back in line with the holy character and nature of God, (as commanded in 1 John 1:9).

Thus, a believer, rather than controlling himself, is controlled by the Holy Spirit. We could also say that the Holy Spirit is the “Agent” of the filling, Gal 5:16, (“Walk by the Spirit”), and Christ is the Content of the filling, Col 3:15, (“Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts). Thus, in this relationship, as a believer is yielded to the Lord and controlled by Him, he increasingly manifests the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23. The Spirit’s indwelling, John 7:37-39; 14:17; Rom 5:5; 8:9; 1 Cor 2:12; 6:19-20; 1 John 3:24; 4:13, sealing, 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30, and baptism, 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27, all occur at the time of regeneration and thus are not commanded. However, we are commanded to be filled constantly with the Holy Spirit. Each Christian has all the Spirit, but the command here is that the Spirit have all of you.

Why Do I Need to be Filled with the Holy Spirit?

There are several reasons given in Scripture, including to have fellowship with God, but as far as the Spirit’s ministry to the believer in the Church Age is concerned, it is to produce what the Bible calls “The Fruit of the Spirit” in Gal 5:22, which we also call, “Divine Good Production,” that brings maximum glorification to God.

As vs. 25 indicates, we have physical and soul life from the moment of our birth by means of the Holy Spirit, and we have spiritual life by means of God the Holy Spirit from the day of our salvation. Therefore, since we live by the Spirit, Gal 5:25 also exhorts us to “walk” by the Spirit, which means to live our lives under the empowering and enabling ministry of God the Holy Spirit. When we do, we then produce “the fruit of the Spirit.”

This ministry of the Holy Spirit is the third prong in regard to the Trinity to lead us to produce Divine Good, as in John 15:1-5, 8, 16; Rom 7:4-6; Eph 5:9-11; Col 1:10ff; James 3:17-18.

Believers need an attitude adjustment, but they do not need the spirits that come from a bottle; they need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that they might radiate the joy of the Lord. The apostle John says that one of the reasons he wrote his gospel and epistles was so that “your joy may be made full,” John 15:11. This fullness of joy is achieved through our fellowship with the Father and with Jesus Christ, 1 John 1:3-4. Therefore, we ought to have a good time and have fun as we walk in the Spirit. Not the kind of pseudo fun that comes from drunkenness, but the joy that comes from the Lord. That kind of joy comes through the filling of the Holy Spirit, as we will see in Eph 5:19-21.

Hence, the Holy Spirit is the means by which believers are also filled with Christ and discover God’s will for their life, as we have noted in the parallel passage, Col 3:16, where Paul states, “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.”

How Am I Filled with the Holy Spirit?

The Filling of the Holy Spirit is the result of applying in faith what God’s Word tells us in 1 John 1:5-10. There, the believer is told to confess their known sins to God the Father. This means that we first must recognize that we have sinned or offended God in some way, according to His Word, and then confess those sins to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We also call this “The Rebound Technique.” This is not just a ritualistic action that we partake in, but a change of mind/heart regarding the fact that we were operating in sin, by recognizing in humility that we were wrong, and then approaching the Throne of Grace in confidence, Heb 4:16, by naming those sins to God the Father, in obedience to His Word as stated in 1 John 1:9.

1 John 1:5-10 does not tell us to feel bad or guilty about our sins, although you might have those feelings, but it only instructs us to name our sins to God.

1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”  First, we see that God does not have a relationship with “darkness” which represents sin. Therefore, if we are living in sin, we cannot have an experiential relationship with God.

6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Secondly, if we “walk in darkness,” which means we sin and keep walking in it, we cannot have fellowship with God.

comparison7But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” This tells us to “walk in the light,” just as Eph 5:8-9 does, which means we do not have sin upon our soul, which is God’s desire. Notice the similar language between Eph 5:8-9 and 1 John 1:5-7. In Eph 5:8“we were formerly darkness, but now we are light in the Lord.”

This is another proof that 1 John is speaking to believers only. And the use of “walk” in both passages speaks to our volitional responsibility to either “walk in darkness,” i.e., sin, or to “walk in light,” i.e., filled with the Holy Spirit, as Ephesians progresses to in vs. 18.

Therefore, the confession of our sins to restore fellowship with God and walk in the light, is also the means of being filled with the Holy Spirit in Eph 5:18, and to walk in love, light, and wisdom as noted in Eph 5:1-17.

In addition, the Greek word for “fellowship,” in 1 John 1:6-7, is the Noun KOINONIA. In Eph 5:11 we are warned to not have “fellowship” (KJV) with darkness, translated “participate” in the NASB. The Greek word in Eph 5:11 is, the Verb SUNKOINONEO, made up of the prefix SUN meaning, “together with,” and KOINONIA.

Therefore, if we are not to have fellowship with darkness in Eph 5:11, it means we are to have “fellowship” with God instead, by being filled with the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18.

So, there is a direct link between the passages of Eph 5:8-18 and 1 John 1:5-9 that tells us to confess our sins for forgiveness and cleansing, 1 John 1:9, that results in the filling of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18.

Given the multiple connections between these two passages, “walk, light, fellowship,” etc., there is overwhelming evidence to see the connection between 1 John 1:9 and Eph 5:18, and it does not get much plainer or simpler than that.

In addition, Jesus noted in John 13:5-10, during His discourse with Peter, that we only need to wash our feet, (the Greek NIPTO, in the Aorist, Middle for an overview of the action of cleansing from our daily walk), because we have already been bathed, (LOUO in the Perfect, Passive for a one-time act).

You see, there is the washing (LOUO) of regeneration at the moment of our salvation for our Positional Sanctification, cf. Titus 3:5, (LOUO), and there is a cleansing, 1 John 1:9, (KATHAIZO – cleansing, Aorist tense), for our Experiential Sanctification that causes us to have fellowship with God, the Filling of the Holy Spirit, and to be able to walk by means of the Holy Spirit to produce Divine Good Production.

All begins with the confession of our sins, and none is possible without the confession of our sins. The second half of 1 John 1:7, tells us of the object of this whole passage “the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” John uses the 1st person plural pronoun in this passage over and over again, which means he is including himself in this. John was absolutely saved at the time of writing this book under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, so this is not a passage for the unbeliever, but for the believer, as also noted above in the comparison with Eph 5:8-9. Unfortunately, we believers continue to sin after our salvation. This passage is the remedy for our post salvation sins, so that we can walk in the light of God and have fellowship with Him. As such, the filling of the Holy Spirit is only temporary, because once saved we still have a Sin Nature and we will sin and fall out of fellowship with God. To regain fellowship, we utilize 1 John 1:9 and are again filled with or influenced by the Holy Spirit.

9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This tells us to name our known sins to God the Father in prayer. It does not tell us to feel guilty or bad about our sins, even though we may. It also tells us, when we confess the sins we know about, we are “cleansed from all unrighteousness,” which means we received cleansing of our unknown sins too. Therefore, as a result of the confession of your sins, your known and unknown sins are forgiven experientially, and you are cleansed from all the “unrighteousness,” (unholiness), that you committed, (sins), and as a result you regain fellowship with God, which includes the Filling of the Holy Spirit.

Unknown sins are the sins we have committed that we are either unaware that we committed, or those that we did not know we committed, because we have not yet learned enough doctrine to know all the kinds of sins we can commit. So, in the grace of God, and based on the Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins, we are forgiven “experientially” of all the sins we committed, the known and unknown ones, since we last confessed our sins to the Father.

10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” This addresses the hypocritical believers, who thinks that they either do not sin after their salvation, or do not need to confess their sins. Remember, John wrote this through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and he says “I, even I, need to do this.”

Once someone has confessed their known sins to God the Father, they receive “cleansing” of their soul, which means the garbage of sin is wiped clean in their souls, and they now have the filling of the Holy Spirit and fellowship with God experientially. This is analogous to John 13:5-11 when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. They already took a bath, (LOUO in the Greek), i.e., are saved, now they only needed to wash their feet, (NIPTO in the Greek), i.e., confession of sins, to have fellows with Jesus Christ, cf. John 13:8b, “If you do not wash, (NIPTO), you have no part with Me.” Having a cleansed soul experientially results in walking in the Light of God, which also results in fellowship with God, which also means being filled with the Holy Spirit of Eph 5:18; given the connection of terminology and relationship in all the verses noted above.

Confession of Sin for the Believer is a Long-Standing Doctrine of the Church.

What Did Jesus Say About Confession of Sin?

In Mat 6:9-13, the Lord clearly taught the necessity for the confession of our sins. This is our Lord’s “template” prayer as it were, as He instructed in 9, “Pray, then, in this way.” It has been misnomered as “the Lord’s Prayer.” In verse 12 our Lord said, “And forgive us our debts.” Our “debts” refers to the sins we commit, post salvation. The point in this template for prayer is that the believer’s post salvation/conversion sins are forgiven. He is clearly teaching the confession of sins for the believer, (not for salvation), and uses the same Greek word for forgiveness, APHIEMI as does John in 1 John 1:9. Keep in mind that our sins were paid for at the Cross once and for all time, and the confession of your sins in 1 John 1:9 is a reminder of that fact.

Jesus also illustrates confession of sin and the extraordinary forgiveness of God in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. In vs. 18, the prodigal son says, “I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight.” The confession of this son was first toward heaven and then to his father. This is the true order of all confession. It must be first to God and then to those who would be wronged by the withholding of our confession.

Why does the son need to confess his sins? Until confession is made by the one who has sinned, he is contending for that which is evil and thus is in disagreement with the Father. Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” God cannot agree with sin. The child can agree with the Father, and this is true repentance which is expressed in true confession.

So, this is the son’s prayer of the confession of his sins, (i.e., rebound). If this passage is speaking of the unbeliever who repents for salvation, then you must also say that in order to be saved we must confess our sins for salvation, as some wrongly say 1 John 1:9 does. However, there is only one command for the unsaved, namely believe on the Lord Jesus, John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31.

Therefore, instantly, when a complete confession is made, regardless of additional words the penitent one would present, the restoration to fellowship with God is achieved and we are filled with the Spirit. The blessing does not depend upon sinless perfection; it is a matter of not grieving the Spirit. It is not an issue concerning unknown sin; it is an attitude of heart that is willing always instantly to confess every known sin.

As we noted above, later, in the Upper Room in the night before Jesus went to the Cross, as He was instructing His disciples and preparing them for the Church Age, He washed their feet. Remember that our Lord told Peter and the other disciples in the Upper Room on the Passover night in which he was betrayed in John 13:10-11, “Jesus said to him (Peter), “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’”

Although this passage was clearly instructing them to serve one another, there is a lesson within the lesson. Here our Lord used two distinct words, LOUO for “bathed” and NIPTO for “wash.” This is the distinction. The unbeliever needs a bath, that is, to be cleansed from all their sins. That occurs when he accepts Christ as His Savior. Yet, the believer needs only to wash his feet. Why? Well, even though he has salvation, he still has a sin nature, and he still sins on a daily basis. When we sin, we are picking up the filth of our Old Sin Nature and Satan’s Cosmic System. To be cleansed of the filth and garbage, the believer needs to only wash his feet. The unbeliever first needs a LOUO for the cleansing of his body – Salvation, but clearly the believer needs a NIPTO for the cleansing of the filth picked up in his daily walk – post-salvation / post-conversion.

This is the same picture, and same lesson as taught in Mat 6. The Lord washes the dirt we pick up during our daily walk off our feet, (our sins), after we have been cleansed due to confessing our sins to the Father. We in turn are to wash each other’s feet, i.e., forgive each other. This is in line with our Lord’s “template” for prayer, and we are able to do both because of the Union/Position we have in Christ based on His completed work upon the Cross.

What Does the Old Testament Say About Confession of Sins?

The confession of sins for forgiveness is not a doctrine exclusive to the Church Age and New Testament, or to any other Age for that matter. It is a universal doctrine. Numerous passages in the Old Testament point to the believer to confess their sins to God. Here are a few.

The Law taught confession of sinLev 5:5, “So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.” Lev 16:21; 26:40; Num 5:7. These are precursors for the confession of sin for the Church Age believer.

David acknowledged confession of sin in Psa 32:3, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.”

Psa 32:5, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”, and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.”

Psa 38:18, “For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.”

In Psa 51, David is again rebounding and speaking of the consequences. Please read at least verses 1-4.

David, a believer, confesses his post salvation sins and God forgives Him of those sins, just as in 1 John 1:9 for the believer of the Church Age.

Solomon states in Prov 28:13, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses, (rebounds) and forsakes them (recovers) will find compassion.”

In the dedication of the temple in 2 Chron 6; 1 Kings 8:47, Solomon again applies the doctrine of confession of sin as a prophetic supplication.

Daniel uses confession of sin in Dan 9:4-5, and especially vs. 18-20. Notice Daniel states in 18, “not on any merits of our own.” There we see that confession of sin is a non-meritorious act of faith, just as believing in Jesus Christ is a non-meritorious act of faith.

Isaiah used confession of sin in Isa 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” In fact, Isaiah noted that unconfessed sin was a hindrance to the spiritual life in Isa 59, cf. Psa 66:18; John 9:31. Doing the will of God is to obey His Word, including 1 John 1:9.

Nehemiah used confession of sin in Neh 1:6-7; 9:33-35. Cf. Job 1:5.

Ezra used confession of sin in Ezra 9:5-15; 10:1.

What Does the New Testament Say?

  • The primary context is 1 John 1:5-2:2. The primary issue here is, “is this written to believers or unbelievers.” To answer that question, please note that the “we” in 1 John 1:9 does not refer to unbelievers but to believers. John the Apostle was writing to the Church of Ephesus. To understand this, I present the writings of Dr. Daniel Wallace, Professor of NT Greek, Dallas Theological Seminary, the author of “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics”, one of the greatest Greek grammarians and scholars of our day, who notes on pg. 689, regarding 1 John 1:9“This verse is frequently seen to be a more probable future condition. As such, it is sometimes viewed as referring to unbelievers who have not yet confessed their sins (though the “we” is problematic). More likely, it is a present general condition in which the subject is distributive, (“if any of us”).”

Then in footnote 35 on the following page he states, “To see “we” in 1 John 1:9 as referring to unbelievers would be to take the pronominal referent to mean, “you, but not me.” Such is not impossible, of course, but it is highly unlikely and apparently otherwise unexampled in the N.T.”

Therefore, one of, if not the greatest Greek scholars of our day, is stating that the “we” in 1 John 1:9 does not refer to unbelievers, because it has to include John the Apostle. Therefore, 1 John 1:9 is a prayer for believers only. Please see the end of this paper for more on this with a piece from Pastor Bill Wenstrom.

  • Other passages regarding confession of sin for the believer includes Mat 6:12, (which we noted above), cf. James 5:13f.
  • Also note that the first and third of the six basic Doctrines of the Bible in Heb 6:1, have something to do with all of this. In that book, the writer also warns against the misinterpretation or application of the basic doctrines or even simply forgetting them, n Heb 5:11-14. So, in two of the first three “basic doctrines,” we have application for 1 John 1:9, “repentance from dead works,” which is first achieved by being saved, but those believers who walk in sin also have dead works, John 15:1-6, compared with 1 Cor 3:10-15; and “washings,” which relates to John 13 when our Lord washed the feet of the disciples.
  • Just after giving instructions for the Communion Supper, Paul notes in 1 Cor 11:28-32, “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.”

Examining and judging are both acts of self-reflection, using the Greek words DOKIMAZO and DIAKRINO. First, we are commanded to look introspectively to see if we have sin upon our soul or not, and then to make a judgment upon ourselves; are we guilty of sin or are we not guilty of sin? Who is Paul talking to here? Believers! 1 Cor 11:33. The context here is, we need to examine ourselves to see if we have any sins that we have committed, especially before partaking of the communion supper, the most solemn act of our worship of Jesus Christ during the Church Age. So, we must judge whether we have sin or not. When it says, “judge yourself rightly,” it means acknowledge that you do or do not have sin. And because of prior teachings of the Old Testament regarding the confession of sin and Jesus’ statement in Mat 6:12a, etc., the known conclusion was to confess it to God. When you do, you avoid God’s Divine discipline, as also taught in the Old Testament. Because of the abuse of confession of sins for the believer, John much later had to write to the church at Ephesus to clear this up. That is why we have 1 John 1:9.

What Do Our Early Church Fathers Say About Confession of Sin?

In the Epistle of Barnabas 19:12, it states, “Thou shalt not make a schism, but thou shalt pacify those that contend by bringing them together. Thou shalt confess thy sins. Thou shalt not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light.” (Brn 19:12 APE).

Ignatius of Antioch was Among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. “Moreover, it is in accordance with reason that we should return to soberness of conduct, and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God.” (ISI 9:1 APE)

“Soberness of conduct” reminds us of Eph 5:18, “do not get drunk with wine for that is a waste of life.”  Then it goes on to say, “But be filled with the Spirit.”

The Shepherd of Hermas also called just “The Shepherd” is a Christian literary work of the 1st or 2nd century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus. The Shepherd had great authority in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It was bound with the New Testament in the Codex Sinaiticus, and it was listed between the Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of Paul in the stichometrical list of the Codex Claromontanus. It pays special attention to the Church, calling the faithful to repent of the sins that have harmed it.

Hermas Similitude 9 23:4, “If our God and Lord, who rules over all things, and has power over all His creation, does not remember evil against those who confess their sins, but is merciful, does man, who is corruptible and full of sins, remember evil against a fellowman, as if he were able to destroy or to save him? (HSI 23:4 APE) I, the angel of repentance, say unto you, As many of you as are of this way of thinking, lay it aside, and repent, and the Lord will heal your former sins, if you purify yourselves from this demon; but if not, you will be delivered over to him for death.” (HSI 23:5 APE)

“Remember evil against a fellowman,” reminds us of Mat 6:12b, “as we also have forgiven our debtors.” That continues into vs. 14-15, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

“Lay it aside, and repent, and the Lord will heal your former sins,” reminds us of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The Late L.S. Chafer, Co-Founder of Dallas Theological Seminary.

In his Systematic Theology, Chafer states that we never pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit, because it happens when, “He (God the Father) awaits the requisite human adjustments, He is waiting for the believer to yield all to him,” (page 222, bottom of the page.) (Brackets mine)

On Page 240 at the bottom of the page and the top of page 241, we see that indeed Chafer taught confession of sins resulted in the filling / fellowship of the Holy Spirit, but making it clear that we do not ask for the filling, we just adjust to God’s justice through the non-meritorious act of faith in confession of our sins, and thereby avoid the Father’s discipline, as he notes 1 Cor 11:31-32, which is another way of saying confess your sins, with the terms “examine and judge yourself rightly.” To confess your sins, you must first examine your soul and judge if you have sinned or not. Then you can name them to God.

“However, if the sinning child of God will not thus judge himself by a full confession, it becomes necessary for the Father, being the perfect disciplinarian that He is, to bring His child into judgment. This is the force of the Apostle’s words: “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” The voluntary act of self-judgment satisfies every divine demand and no judgment from the Father will be imposed. It is only when the Christian withholds his confession and by so much assumes the attitude of self-justification concerning his sin, or through love of it refuses to be adjusted to the holy will of God, that the Father must bring him into the place of correction. It will be recognized again that the issue is not one of sustaining union with the Father, which union, like sonship, when once established can never be broken; it is rather the issue respecting communion and fellowship. Accordingly, it is asked: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). God cannot walk in the dark with the believer, nor can fellowship be experienced when the believer is calling black white and white black. The Christian must agree with God that white is white and black is black. Having come into agreement with God, there remains no obstacle to hinder and fellowship is restored by the gracious forgiving and cleansing from God.”

In L.S. Chafer’s Systematic Theology, (Volume 5, page 148, at the bottom of the page), he explains the Lord’s washings of the disciple’s feet in the Upper Room, distinguishing the difference between “bathing” and “washing” and then concludes at the bottom of the page, “For the Christian, (believer’s only here), there is cure for sin constantly and instantly on a basis of faith in Christ’s blood, which cure is secured by confession of sin.”

In Chafer’s Systematic Theology, (Volume 6, page 238-240), regarding 1 John 1:5-2:2, he notes the right application of 1 John 1:9. “John is the experienced witness in regard to an unbroken fellowship with the Father and with the Son, as indicated by the first verses of 1 John. In the first chapter of this epistle, a message is brought forward directly from Christ’s earthly ministry which does not appear in any Gospel record. The message has to do with maintaining communion with the Father and with the Son. In contemplating such a relationship, it should be remembered that “God is light,” which phrase refers to moral or holy perfection, and it’s with such a One that the believer is to have fellowship. The bringing of the Christian into communion with God is not achieved by lowering that which pertains to God; it is rather gained by lifting the believer up to the level upon which communion with God is possible. For one to say that he has fellowship with God, while at the same time he is walking in darkness, is to lie and to do not the truth; but if the Christian walks in the light as God is in the light, it is to experience fellowship with God, the fellowship which is the normal experience of all who are saved. Such fellowship is not a special concession from God, but is rather that which is provided for all who are rightly related to God. All this immeasurable blessing is conditioned on “walking in the light.” To walk in the light is not to become the light, which would be sinless perfection; it is to be adjusted to the light. When the searchlight, which God is, reveals needed changes in one’s life before God, then in order to walk in the light, one must adapt one’s self to the will of God thus revealed. When thus adapted, the blood of Jesus Christ goes on continuously cleansing from all sin. Fellowship does not depend upon an impossible sinless perfection, but on the willing compliance with all that God desires and makes known. Thus confession, which is the outward expression of an inward repentance, becomes the one condition upon which the child of God who has been injured by sin may be restored to unbroken fellowship again. Not only will that restoration be absolute to the extent of infinity, but the divine grace that forgives and cleanses is accomplished on a basis which is righteous to the degree of infinity. Since it is God’s own child that has sinned to whom He is bound with eternal ties, He is “faithful” to those relationships; and since Christ has met all the righteous judgments against the sin which is in question, He is “just” to cleanse and forgive. It was thus in the Old Testament order, and it must ever be thus wherever God the Holy One deals with human sin. The Israelite brought his sacrifice, and it was after the priest offered the sacrifice that the comer therewith was forgiven. Leviticus 4:35 declares: “And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace-offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.” Great emphasis is placed on the fact that the one condition to be met for restoration of a believer to fellowship with God is confession of sin. Too often prayer for forgiveness is substituted; but prayer for forgiveness is not an adjustment to the Light which God is. Prayer for forgiveness really assumes that God Himself needs to be changed in His attitude toward the one who has sinned.”

Chafer goes on to say on page 249-250, “The cure of the effects of sin on the spiritual life of a child of God is promised to the one who in repentance of heart makes a genuine confession of his sin. Sin is always sin in the sight of God. It is no less sin because it is committed by a Christian, nor can it be cured in any case other than through the redemption which is in Christ. It is because the redemption-price has already been paid in the precious blood of Christ that God can save sinners who only believe and restore saints who only confess. Not one degree of the punishment that fell upon our Substitute can ever fall on saint or sinner. Since Christ bore it all for us, believing or confessing is all that can righteously be demanded. Until confession is made by the one who has sinned, he is contending for that which is evil, and thus is in disagreement with the Father. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” God cannot agree with sin. The child can agree with the Father, and this is true repentance which is expressed in true confession. Again, let it be said: repentance is a change of mind. By it those who have sinned turn unto God from sin. The blessing does not depend upon sinless perfection; it is a matter of not grieving the Spirit. It is not an issue concerning unknown sin; it is an attitude of heart that is willing always instantly to confess every known sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Christian who fully confesses all known sin will have removed one—if not all—of the hindrances to the fullest manifestation of the Spirit. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption,” (Eph. 4:30).

From the foregoing discussion, it may be determined that one of the conditions upon which the believer may be Spirit-filled is met when that which grieves the Holy Spirit is removed by complete confession, which confession is the expression of a contrite heart. The secret by which this aspect of responsibility may best be maintained is to keep short accounts with God. Let the first impression of spiritual depression be a signal to ascertain at once the cause and as readily to apply the remedy–confession to God.”

He also concludes: “Thus in the briefest and most vital manner three great responsibilities—the three which condition spirituality—are gathered up in three words, namely, confess, yield, and walk.”

Therefore, in relation to 1 John 1:9, it is not a passage for unbelievers but for Christians. We look back to the Cross of Christ when we recognize we have sinned and confess them knowing they are forgiven.

The Late R.B. Thieme Jr. Regarding the Confession of Sins:

In his book “Rebound Revisited” He notes the following, “The apostle Paul, above all men, completely understood the importance of rebound, i.e. naming sins privately to God the Father. When rebound is neglected, carnality is perpetuated and the spiritual life self-destructs. Without rebound, the filling of the Holy Spirit is grieved and quenched; the Christian way of life disintegrates.”

He goes on to say, “Rebound is the divine solution for recovering fellowship with God and defeating fear in life. Just as faith in Christ for salvation is accomplished in the status of spiritual death, so rebound for the recovery of the filling of the Holy Spirit is accomplished in the status of carnality. In each case God does all the work. That is grace…. Our responsibility is to simply acknowledge sins to God. We never earn or deserve the wonderful recovery of fellowship God provides for us.”

In his book “Rebound and Keep Moving,” he states:

“WHY REBOUND? If all sins were blotted out at the cross, why is sin still an issue? If all sins are already forgiven, why must you rebound? The penalty for sin is removed once and for all at the cross, but repercussions of personal sin in the life of a believer must be confronted. When a believer sins, the initial repercussions are loss of fellowship with God and loss of the filling of the Holy Spirit, the empowerment for the Christian life. No member of the Trinity can fellowship with a believer having sin in his life. Sin destroys our temporal fellowship with the Lord, but cannot jeopardize our eternal relationship with Him. Rebound, confessing or naming our known sins to God the Father, is the only means compatible with grace for restoration of fellowship with God and recovery of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Rebound is our access to intimacy with the Lord, the gateway to divine power in our life, our license to serve the Lord.”

Regarding the Filling of the Holy Spirit in Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled [PLEROO] with the Spirit.” He states, “In the imperative mood the Greek verb PLEROO designates a divine mandate, a command that involves our choice. God would not mandate a status we already possess. We must choose to be or not to be filled with the Spirit. PLEROO means “to fill up a deficiency, to fully influence, to fill with a certain quality.” No believer has the ability to obey God’s mandates through human power. The Holy Spirit fills up this deficiency by giving us the power to live the Christian way of life. But why, if we are filled with the Spirit at salvation, is this command necessary? The reason is our old nemesis, the sin nature. The filling of the Spirit is lost when we sin. In carnality, we are no longer controlled by the Holy Spirit, but by the sin nature. How can we escape this control? REBOUND!”

“Rebound is for believers only. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, confession is utterly useless. Judas Iscariot confessed his sins, felt sorry for his sins, and even made restitution (Matt. 27:3-4). He did everything except believe in Christ. His confession was futile. He was lost and died an unbeliever.”

Concerning the misuse of 1 John 1:9, he states, “Often those with legalistic tendencies become upset because they think rebound is a license to sin. Some believers who fail may use rebound for exactly that purpose. But rebound restores the believer to a position where he can live his spiritual life and serve God, not excuse or rationalize sin. No believer can be in God’s plan apart from the divine power which comes only through the filling of the Holy Spirit. Rebound is the only way to recover from sin and regain the filling of the Holy Spirit.”

Conclusion:

The Filling of the Holy Spirit is temporary, depending on whether or not you first confess any known sins to God the Father, and second, you continue to faithfully walk in the love, light, and wisdom of Christ. But remember that regardless of whether we are filled with the Spirit or not, we are always indwelt by the Holy Spirit, (eternal salvation and security), which we cannot lose, John 10:27-30. The Filling of the Spirit and fellowship with God are not mutually exclusive. They are inextricably related. In fact, experiencing one’s sanctification, walking in the light, and abiding in Christ or His Word, are also inextricably tied to each other. They all speak of experiencing fellowship with God from different perspectives. Thus, when a believer confesses their sins, they are not only restored to fellowship with God, but they are filled with the Spirit. Being “in fellowship with God” demands obedience to His Word. When we are, we also experience sanctification and walk in the light, i.e. live according to God’s holy standards. Therefore, to Produce Divine Good, we must be “Filled with the Holy Spirit” and “keep walking by means of the Spirit.” But if we “grieve or quench” the Spirit, we are out of fellowship with Him and we cannot produce Divine Good.

The confession of every known sin and the maintaining of the principle of reliance upon the Spirit in the daily walk depend on the action of the human will, but it is equally true and far more consequential that the human will be empowered by the Holy Spirit, else it does not act to God’s glory.” (Chafer’s Systematic Theology.)

Therefore, it is impossible to please God, Eph 5:10, unless we are Filled with the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18b, which is only achieved through the grace provision of 1 John 1:9.

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