Foundational Doctrine Series
The Filling of God the Holy Spirit is the operational ministry of the Holy Spirit for empowerment and enablement 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.
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 thoughts with spiritual words.”
The main verse concerning the filling of the Holy Spirit for the Church Age is Eph 5:18.
Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”
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.”
The “filling” of the Holy Spirit is distinct in Scripture from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As the indwelling is permanent, the filling is not as indicated by Eph 5:18, which clearly distinguishes between operating in sin, (“being drunk with wine which is a waste of life”), and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The word “dissipation”, is the Greek noun ASOTIA that means, “an unsaved, wastefulness, abandoned or dissolute life.” It refers to a disorderly or excessive lifestyle of dependence on the wrong solutions to the problems of life. It compares the life we lived prior to our salvation with the unique life of the Church Age where the believer is empowered by the Holy Spirit. This verse tells us we can be empowered the way we were prior to salvation, by our sin nature and the weakness of our flesh, (even though we are currently saved), or by the Holy Spirit.
To function in holiness, as God is holy, we must have the Filling of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for “filled” is the Present, Passive, Imperative form of the Greek verb PLEROO that is a command to “keep on being filled.” PLEROO has four meanings.
1. 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.
2. To fully possess. The believer must be fully possessed by the Holy Spirit to execute God’s Plan. This kind of possession does not me we lose all control of our thinking and faculties, but it means to be full occupied by Him and His holiness and righteousness. That is, we can not have one foot in sin and one in holiness, we must function 100% in holiness to execute God’s Plan for our lives.
3. 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.
4. To fill with a certain quality. The FHS along with Bible Doctrine is the highest quality with which the believer can be filled.
Of these definitions, influence is the most important in that we allow Him to influence our thoughts and actions by means of the Word of God resident within our soul. It means to have fellowship or rapport with the Holy Spirit in your daily walk, which we will discuss further below.
The believer is Filled with the Holy Spirit when two synonymous conditions occur – the Holy Spirit influences the soul of the believer, and the believer resides in the Plan of God. 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. It is the only means of having fellowship with God, John 4:23-24, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.”
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.”
Being Filled with the Spirit is the only means by which the Holy Spirit produces the Christ-like nature and character in the believer. Indeed, 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.
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.
Gal 5:22-25, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
As verse 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.
John 15:1-5, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing…8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. …16“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”
Rom 7:4-6, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”
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 someway 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 of, 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.
Heb 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
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 can not 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 can not have fellowship with God.
7but 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” that means we do not have sin upon our soul which is God’s desire. The second half of this verse then 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. The believer continues to sin after their 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.
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.” As a result of the confession of your sins, your known and unknown sins are forgiven and you are cleansed from all the “unrighteousness”, (unholiness), that you committed (sins), and regain fellowship with God, which includes the Filling of the Holy Spirit.
These 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 think 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 say “I, even I, need to do this.”
Now that someone has confessed their known sins to God the Father, they have a “cleansed” soul, which means the garbage of sin is wiped clean in their souls. This is analogous to John 13:5-11 when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. They already took a bath, NIPTO in the Greek, (i.e., are saved), now they only needed to wash, LOUO in the Greek, their feet, (i.e., confession of sins.)
Having a cleansed soul experientially results in being in the Light of God which also result 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..
Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
How can a believer truly perform Eph 5:19-21 when he has sin upon his soul and be pleasing to God?
How can he be Filled with the Spirit, have Fellowship with God, Walk in the Light of God, or Abide in Him when he has sin in his life? The answer is, he can not. But in grace God provided a washing / cleansing for post salvation believers to live the unique life of the Church Age being “Filled with the Holy Spirit.”
It is recommended to confess your sins as soon as you realize you have sinned, and to start off your prayers by rebounding, if necessary, to ensure the Filling of the Holy Spirit to produce Divine Good to the maximum. There is no limit to the number of times you can rebound in a day or your life.
The Filling of the Holy Spirit is temporary, depending on whether you walk with Christ or not. 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 can not 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. Since being in fellowship with God demands obedience to God’s Word, (and the Holy Spirit inspired God’s Word and speaks actively to the believer through the Word), they are also experiencing sanctification and walking in the light, i.e. living according to God’s holy standards.
Every believer has a series of four mandates regarding the Holy Spirit, two positive, two negative:
“Be filled with the Holy Spirit,” Eph 5:18.
“Keep walking by means of the Holy Spirit,” Gal 5:16.
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit,” Eph 4:30.
“Do not quench the Holy Spirit,” 1 Thes 5:19.
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” we are out of fellowship with Him and we can not produce Divine Good.