A Member of the Trinity:
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 Holy Spirit shares equally, infinitely, and eternally all of the same essence and attributes that the Father and Son share. The Holy Spirit is also 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.
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.”
This third person of the Trinity is given the title “Spirit” primarily, which is the Hebrew Noun RUACH – רוּחַ (roo’-akh), and the Greek Noun PNEUMA – πνεῦμα (pnyoo’-mah) that are translated, “wind, breath, spirit, soul, or life.” Yet, many times it is accompanied with the term “Holy.” Interestingly, only three times in the Hebrew Old Testament, do we have the title “Holy Spirit,” but in the Greek New Testament, we have it over 90 times.
“Holy” is the Hebrew Noun QODESH – קֹדֶשׁ (ko’-desh) meaning, “apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness,” and the Greek Noun HAGIOS – ἅγιος (hag’-ee-os) meaning, “holy, consecrated, unapproachable, perfect, pure, upright.” The term “Holy” indicates for us things pertaining to the third person of Trinity, as He is a separate person within the Godhead, who reflects the attributes of God and enables them in man.
False Understandings as to Who the Holy Spirit is:
Many misconceptions of who or what the Holy Spirit is include that he is just an “influence;” an impersonal influence, power, or energy emanating from God. In other words, they do not think He is a separate person or personality that works personally within our lives. Others believe the Spirit is just a manifestation of God or God the Father and is not an individual or unique person of the Godhead. P.K. Jewett, for example, believes that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit is never used to indicate “a Person distinct from the Father and the Son,” but rather “the divine nature viewed as vital energy,” (“Holy Spirit,” The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible). Some of these misunderstandings have existed during the Church Age because of the title given to Him in the King James Bible, Holy Ghost. He is not a ghost or the ghost of God, but is a “spirit,” as RUACH and PNEUMA indicate. He is a separate person. Likewise, due to the Israelites’ resistance and rejection of Jesus Christ as a member of the Trinity, they account for the Holy Spirit found throughout the Old Testament as just a manifestation of the monotheistic God.
The Person of the Holy Spirit:
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 Co. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Names and titles for God the Holy Spirit. He is called: The Spirit of God in Gen 1:2; Mat 3:16; the Spirit of the Lord, Luke 4:18; the Spirit of Yahweh, Judges 3:10. Isa 61:1; the Spirit of the Lord God, the Spirit of the living God, 2 Cor 3:3; My Spirit, Gen 6:3; the Spirit of our God, 1 Cor 6:11; the eternal Spirit, Heb 9:14; the Spirit of glory, 1 Peter 4:14; the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:2; Spirit, the God, Eph 4:2.
Five titles reveal the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Son; the Spirit of Christ, Rom 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11; the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Phil 1:19; the Spirit of Jesus, Acts 16:7; the Spirit of His Son, Gal 4:6; the Spirit of the Lord, Acts 5:9, 8:39.
There are titles that reveal the nature of His ministry: The Spirit of glory, 1 Peter 4:14; the Spirit of life, the agent of regeneration, Rom 8:2; the Spirit of holiness, Rom 1:4; the Holy Spirit, Mat 1:20 ff’ the Holy one, 1 John 2:20; the Spirit of grace, Heb 10:29; the Spirit of grace and supplication, Zech 12:10; the Spirit of adoption, the one who brings about our adoption into the royal family of God, Rom 8:15; and, the comforter in John 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 and understanding, the Spirit of counsel, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, Isa 11:2. 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.
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. 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.
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 40:73.
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, 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.
- And 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.
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.
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. Cf, 2 Sam 23:1-2; Micah 3:8; Mat 22:43; Acts 1:16; 28:25; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Peters 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 Old Testament times, the Spirit did not permanently indwell every believer as He does in the Church Age. He worked in a few select people primarily to further God’s overall will and plan. Cf. 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 Old Testament saints is called enduement, Luke 24:49; Judges 6:34; Isa 61:10. Enduement means, “clothed” and is like the indwelling of the Spirit in the New Testament, 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 later Israel as a whole.
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, “5for 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 Baptism of the Holy Spirit:
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a unique factor to the Church Age and speaks of the permanent indwelling ministry He has with each believer. It also indicates the sealing of the Holy Spirit that speaks to our eternal security, and therefore assurance of our salvation.
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.”
2 Tim 1:14, “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”
The Baptism of the Spirit enters us into the body of Christ which is the Temple of God, 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.”
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 Sealing of the Holy Spirit:
Three New Testament passages speak of this “sealing ministry of the Spirit;” 2 Cor 1:22, says that God has sealed us and given us the pledge of the Spirit. 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 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 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.” Cf. 1 Cor 7:7.
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. Cf. 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:
The Holy Spirit has a teaching ministry for the Church Age believer to understand Scriptures / Bible Doctrine, John 16:12-15, called 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 thoughts with spiritual words.” Cf. 1 Cor 2:5; Rom 9:1.
The Praying Ministry of the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit also plays a key role in our prayer life. Not only is His empowerment and enablement needed for effective prayer of the believer, but His supernatural ability to translate our prayers to the 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.”
So far, we have noted who the Holy Spirit is and what His function within the Godhead is towards mankind. We have noted:
He is a Member of the Trinity. 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. He shares the essence of God equally, infinitely, and eternally with the Father and the Son.
False Understandings as to who the Holy Spirit is. He is not just an influence but a separate and unique person of the Trinity in which we have a personal relationship with.
The Person of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God.
The Holy Spirit’s Work in Creation.
The Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the Old Testament.
The Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the New Testament, Church Age. Including:
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Acts 1:1-8, “5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Cf. 1 Thess 4:8; Titus 5:3-7.
The Sealing of the Holy Spirit: He seals us and is our pledge of eternal life and inheritance.
The Gifting of the Holy Spirit: He gives each believer a spiritual gift at salvation.
The Teaching Ministry of the Holy Spirit: We learn God’s Word by means of the Grace Apparatus for Perception, the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, also part of His Common Grace ministry.
The Praying Ministry of the Holy Spirit: He intercedes in our prayer life.
Now continuing in the “Ministry of the Holy Spirit for the Church Age,” we have another important topic that I have classified under its own heading. But remember this is unique to the Church Age and part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the Church Age believer.
The Filling of the Holy Spirit:
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 – ἀσωτία (as-o-tee’-ah) 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 (FHS). The Greek word for “filled” is the Present, Passive, Imperative form of the Greek verb PLEROO – πληρόω (play-ro’-o) that is a command to “keep on being filled.”
PLEROO has four meanings:
To fill up a deficiency. The FHS fills up our deficiency of power to execute the spiritual life. We are deficient of Bible 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.
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 1:10 ff; James 3:17-18.
John 15:1-5, 8, 16, “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 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 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 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.
“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,” which 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 – νίπτω (nip’-to) in the Greek, (i.e., are saved), now they only needed “to wash,” LOUO – λούωin (loo’-o) 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 5:18-21, “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 cannot.
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 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. 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 cannot produce Divine Good.
The Holy Spirit in the Millennium:
During the Millennial reign of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ here on earth, God the Holy Spirit will have a unique ministry for believers of that Age. Believers in the Millennium will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit just as believers of the current Church Age are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Ezek 36:27; 37:14, using the Hebrew verb NATHAN – נָתַן (naw-than’) for “put” My Spirit in them.
Ezek 37:14, “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,” declares the LORD.’”
They will also have the filling of the Holy Spirit as we do today, Isa 32:15; 44:3; Zech 12:10; Joel 2:28-29, using three different Hebrew verbs for “pour out,” in regard to the Holy Spirit:
ARAH – עָרוֹת (aw-raw’),
YATSAQ – יָצַק (yaw-tsak’), and
SHAPHAK – שָׁפַך (shaw-fak’), respectfully.
Joel 2:28-29 is a very critical passage, because it describes the filling of the Spirit in terms of ecstatics by the emphasis of “pouring out” the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit in the Millennium produces an ecstatic experience, one of great exhilaration and excite, that is not “emotional revolt of the soul,” but emotional response to the ruling King, Jesus Christ, through the enablement of the Holy Spirit’s filling power within them. This is a part of appreciation of Christ, while He is present on the earth. But in the Church Age, the Filling of the Spirit is never said to produce any emotion, (it produces the character of Christ minus emotion). Ecstatics and emotion are not bona fide functions in the Church Age, they are in the Millennium.
The Universal Convicting Ministry of the Holy Spirit:
Rom 10:13, “For ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED’.”
Because man is born spiritually dead, he cannot be effective at two points in his life as an unbeliever:
- At the point of hearing the Gospel message,
- At the point of believing the Gospel message.
First the Problem: Real Spiritual Death in Man:
Real spiritual death is the condition of all mankind, at the moment of physical birth, when God imputes to each one of us Adam’s original sin. As a real imputation, Adam’s original sin is imputed to the genetically-formed Old Sin Nature in the cell structure of the body of every new born baby. At the same time, God creates human life and imputes it to the soul, at the point of physical birth. Therefore, every baby is born dichotomous, having a body and soul being physically alive, yet having no human spirit and being spiritually dead.
Therefore, being born physically alive with human life in the soul, the new born also realizes spiritual death where there is no spiritual life. That means that the new born cannot have a personal relation with God, and it cannot understand anything related to the spiritual life, including Bible doctrine and the gospel.
Three Basic Characteristics of Real Spiritual Death:
Total depravity, including the trend toward both moral and immoral degeneration. A person will eventually become either morally or immorally degenerate apart from two categories of restraint.
- The laws of Divine Establishment that motivate a certain category of virtue in unbelievers.
- Regeneration that motivates an even greater virtue in believers who learn Bible doctrine.
Total separation from God.
Total helplessness to establish a relationship with God. God must contact us, just as He did with our original parents in the garden.
The problem of dichotomy means that having only a soul and body, we cannot comprehend spiritual phenomena. And as you know, it takes the spiritual to under the spiritual phenomena of God’s Word taught to us by God the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 2:13. Because all mankind is in the status of spiritual death, the work of salvation must be the work of God on behalf of each one of us. That work begins with dealing with our spiritual death.
All Three Persons in the Godhead are Involved in Establishing our Relationship with God:
God the Father is the author of the fantastic salvation plan for the human race, which called for Him to impute and judge all our sins in Christ on the Cross, 2 Cor 5:21.
2 Cor 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
God the Son received that imputation and was judged for our sins. His shout of “TETELESTAI” – τετέλεσται on the Cross, John 19:30, proved that salvation was completed on the Cross.
God the Holy Spirit performs several functions for the spiritually dead human race.
- His first ministry is the pre-salvation clarification of the gospel, classified theologically as the doctrine of Common Grace.
- Where there is positive response, God the Holy Spirit takes the faith of the spiritually dead person and makes it effective for salvation, the doctrine of Efficacious Grace.
Common Grace Ministry of the Holy Spirit: Gen 6:3; John 16:8-11; Eph 1:13
Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, (Common Grace) the gospel of your salvation, (content of Common Grace), —having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
At the point of Gospel hearing, the unbeliever is spiritually dead. He is totally helpless and cannot have a relationship with God. He has no human spirit to understand the spiritual things of God and cannot understand spiritual phenomena, 1 Cor 2:14.
1 Cor 2:14, “But a natural (soulish) man (unbeliever) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
So, in evangelism and personal witnessing, God the Holy Spirit, as the sovereign executive, acts in the place of our human spirit so that the unbeliever can understand the Gospel message. That is the Common Grace ministry of the Holy Spirit to all unbelievers.
It is “common” because all (every member of the human race) receives the empowerment to understand the gospel by the Holy Spirit, when they hear it.
It is “grace” because God the Holy Spirit does all the work of making it understandable, especially because we do not earn or deserve that empowerment, yet God does it for us out of love, righteousness, and justice.
In addition, the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit for every Church Age believer post salvation is another aspect of Common Grace, in that He teaches all believers God’s Word through the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP), when applying non-meritorious positive volition to learn the Word of God.
Efficacious Grace Ministry of the Holy Spirit: Eph 1:13; 2:8-9
Eph 1:13, “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 (Efficacious Grace).”
At the point of faith (positive volition) in Christ, (His work upon the Cross for the forgiveness of your sins; death, resurrection, and ascension), the unbeliever has made a non-meritorious decision to believe in Christ. Because this faith comes from someone who is spiritually dead, God the Holy Spirit must make the faith effectual for salvation; this is the doctrine of Efficacious Grace.
Without this ministry of the Holy Spirit, there is no validity in the faith of an unbeliever. There is nothing valid in what an unbeliever does or thinks, as far as relationship with God is concerned. But the Holy Spirit makes this faith effectual in every case!
From the human viewpoint, we simply believe in Christ for salvation. From the Divine viewpoint, the very second we believe, God the Holy Spirit makes that faith effectual; He carries us into salvation.
Eph 1:13b, “…you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, (Efficacious Grace).”
2 Cor 1:22, “Who (God the Father) also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” Cf. 2 Cor 5:5; Eph 1:14.
Four Meanings of the Sealing / Pledge / Signature Guarantee of the Holy Spirit:
- The sealing of the Holy Spirit is a guarantee of the validity of Common and Efficacious grace. It is real and actual, and something that cannot be taken away.
- It is a guarantee of eternal salvation.
- It is a guarantee of eternal security. Cf. John 10:28-30.
- It is the guarantee of your very own Portfolio of Invisible Assets, which include your escrow blessings for time and eternity.
Three Grace Functions of Divine Sovereignty in Evangelism:
- The ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the gospel understandable, lucid, comprehensible, and perspicuous.
- The invitation of God the Father and God the Son to believe in Jesus Christ, classified as the Divine call. The Divine call is having been given the ability to understand the Gospel.
- The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit in making faith in Jesus Christ effective for eternal salvation.
2 Thes 2:14, “It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Therefore, the spiritually dead person can listen to the Gospel and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. But these decisions are powerless to provide salvation apart from the work of God. Common and efficacious grace emphasizes the total helplessness of the spiritually dead person. No matter what a spiritually dead person can do, it is not salvation. Salvation is accomplished by faith alone in Jesus Christ, the one thing that God the Holy Spirit can make effective, Eph 2:8-9, (read 1-22).
Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Jesus’ Prophecy Concerning the Common and Efficacious Grace Ministry of the Holy Spirit, John 16:7-11.
John 16:8, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
- John 16:9, “Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.”
The only sin for which Christ was not judged on the Cross was rejection of Himself. In the presentation of the Gospel, personal sin is not an issue in regard to changing someone’s behaviors or making up for their sins, because all personal sins were judged on the Cross, 2 Cor 5:14-15, 19; 1 Tim 2:6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Heb 2:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:2.
Since Christ was our substitute and judged for our sins on the Cross, “sin” in John 16:9 refers specifically to one sin only: The sin of unbelief, the refusal to believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior; also called the unpardonable sin, John 3:18, 36; cf. Mat 12:31; Act 7:51, a.k.a., blaspheming and resisting the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, personal sin is not an issue for salvation in regard to changing your behavior away from sin in order to be saved, or to make amends for your sins through good works, or even to confess your sins for salvation. Personal sin is never an issue in the gospel, other than the fact that Jesus paid for them all, once and for all time, “TETELESTAI.”
A spiritually dead person is incapable of doing anything for salvation, or adding anything to the completed work of Christ. If you add anything to faith, e.g., works, confession of sin, etc., then there is no salvation. It is faith alone in Christ alone that brings you salvation. You must remember this when communicating the Gospel as an ambassador for Christ. Hence, the issue is faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- John 16:10, “And concerning righteousness, because I go to My Father and you no longer see Me.”
As God, Jesus Christ is infinite, perfect, eternal, and immutable righteousness. As true humanity, Jesus Christ was able to sin, but never did. This rendered Him impeccable, as He lived His entire life without ever sinning. Therefore, in Deity and humanity, Jesus Christ was and remained absolutely perfect and righteous. It was the perfect righteousness of the humanity of Christ that was acceptable to God the Father for the sacrifice of our sins. Jesus presented His perfection to the Father after His work on the Cross was completed, and it was accepted by the Father, cf. John 20:17; Eph 5:2; Heb 9:26 f; 10:5-23; 1 Peter 1:2.
Spiritually dead mankind cannot produce a righteousness which is satisfactory to God, nor the equivalent of God’s righteousness. The “convicting” or convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit in Common Grace deals with the fact that there is a barrier between God and man, (sin leading to relative unrighteousness), and that barrier was removed by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross. As a result of our non-meritorious faith in the work of Christ upon the Cross, we are saved. We then receive the imputation of God’s perfect righteousness, which qualifies us for entrance into heaven. So, through the righteousness of Christ, we receive the imputation of God’s righteousness for eternal life.
Therefore, the second part of the “convicting ministry” of the Holy Spirit is to convict every member of the human race of the fact that we are all sinners, and therefore unrighteous in and of ourselves, Rom 3:10, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE.” Cf. Rev 5:2-5. And that only Jesus Christ is and was righteous enough to pay for our sins, where through faith in Him, we gain God’s perfect righteousness and eternal life.
- John 16:11, “And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”
Satan is the ruler of this world, John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2.
Prior to human history, both Satan and all fallen angels were tried, judged, found guilty, and a sentence was passed. The sentence passed on them is recorded briefly in Mat 25:41, “Then He said also to those on his left hand, ‘depart from Me, you accursed ones, into eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels’.”
This sentence was appealed by Satan, with the result that mankind was created, and human history was invented by God as the environment for Satan’s appeal trial. Like angelic creatures, mankind was given free will to demonstrate to Satan and all fallen angels the validity of God’s judgment on them. The human being who rejects Jesus Christ as Savior, following the pattern of fallen angels in rejecting Christ, will share in the condemnation and eternal judgment of Satan and the fallen angels, Rev 20:10-15.
John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the Person of the only begotten born Son of God.”
Rev 20:15, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”
The Book of Life is a registry of everyone who has believed in Christ.
So, the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit in regard to vs. 11, is to reveal the impending judgment of Satan and the fallen angels and all unbelievers, in the hope that it will lead man to believe upon Christ to avoid that judgment.
The “Convicting Ministry” of God the Holy Spirit, under Common and Efficacious Grace, is the personal inter-working of the Holy Spirit to the body and soul of the unbeliever to bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ crucified to reality for every member of the human race. In Common Grace, He causes unbelieving man to understand the Gospel message as the Spirit convicts him of:
1) His personal sins that were paid for at the Cross.
2) His unrighteousness and inability to save himself, yet there is One who is righteous enough to save him, Jesus Christ.
3) The eternal judgment that awaits Satan and the fallen angels and all who follow in their footsteps by rejecting Christ as their Savior.
Then in the Efficacious Grace ministry of the Holy Spirit for all unbelievers who do come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, He makes their faith effective for their salvation, giving them eternal life.