The Holy Spirit - Faithful Generations

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The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

Every word in the original Scriptures, of which our English Bible is, on the whole, a faithful translation, is divinely inspired or God-breathed (1 Cor. 2. 13; 2 Tim. 3. 15,16; 1 Peter.  I. 10,11; 2 Peter 3. 15,16).  Inspiration applies to what is written, whoever may have been the speaker, writer, or actor.

The Bible is either a Divine Book or it is a fraud.  Penned through the slow progress of sixteen centuries, the combined work of nearly fifty writers drawn from all classes of society - from the king to the peasant, the scholarly and ignorant; written in the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe, many of the writers utterly unknown to each other, yet the Book displaying one master mind, one great moral design, the revelation of one Person.  Who but God could have provided the Bible?

The two Testaments are  inseparably bound together. They are of equal authority.  The Divine mind is reflected in both; one Divine object, even Christ the Son and Lamb of God, is the central figure in the two Revelations.  The books and subjects of the Testaments must stand or fall as a whole.  The writings of Moses and the words of the Lord of Glory are of equal authority (John 5. 46,47), and the testimony of Moses and Malachi of equal value to that of resurrection itself (Luke 16. 31).  The facts of the former Revelation form the text and groundwork of teaching in the New (compare Lev. 16 with Heb. 9; Gen. 16. with Gal. 4. 22-24, &c., &c.) Certain books correspond, as Leviticus with Hebrews, Joshua with Ephesians, &c., &c.  But the fact is that the Testaments together form THE COMPLETED REVELATION of God.  There are about 960 references, more or less direct, in the New to the Old.  The Lord Himself quotes from the Old Testament upwards of 300 times, and from about twenty books.  There are no references in the book of Genesis to other and prior documents.  Genesis is a book of independent revelation.  The whole Bible might be compared to a noble bridge of sixty-six arches, in which man's history is spanned from Creation to Eternity.  Moses the first, and John the last of inspired writers, standing on either end of the bridge, clasp hands and unite in one common testimony to the glory of Christ (compare Gen. 1, 2, with Rev. 21, 22).

The verbal inspiration of the Bible is the basis of our faith, the rock of our souls, our standard of morals, and our authoritative guide all along the way to Heaven's bliss and glory.  If the inspiration of the Bible as a whole, or in part, is denied or explained away; if we are at liberty to choose or reject such portions as we think fit, then all Divine authority is gone, and the door is opened into a wild scene, where the will of man is rampant, and disorder and wickedness reign supreme.  The revelation of God's authority over man is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, but if their inspiration is untrue all certainty is gone.  The Bible in all its books and parts is God's revelation to man; it is either that, or a fraud.  "The Infallible Word" is scarcely a correct expression.  God alone is infallible.  "The Inspired Word" is the right term to use.  Divine faith, not human reason, is the essential in the reading and study of the Bible.

That there are three Persons in the Godhead, of the same nature and co-equal in all respects, is the decided testimony Of Scripture.  That this truth is infinitely beyond the comprehension of the creature is readily granted.  The doctrine of the Trinity is a profound and vital subject, without which Christianity could have no existence.  In the baptismal formula (Matt. 28. 19), in the apostolic benediction (2 Cor. 13. 14), and elsewhere (1 Cor. 12. 4-6; Rev. 1. 4, 5) the Holy Spirit is named in equal association with the Father and with the Son, and although mentioned last in order in the first two references, yet He is named first in the third reference, and second in the fourth passage.  The order, therefore, in which the persons of the Godhead are named in no wise implies inferiority.

The formal title of the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of God," first employed in Genesis 1. 2. He is also termed "the Spirit" in contrast to the term "the flesh," i.e., the moral nature. (Rom. 8).  As to the eternity of His Being, He is spoken of as the "Eternal Spirit" (Heb. 9. 14).  He is essentially a holy Being, hence is termed the "Holy Spirit" (Luke 11. 13), and the "Holy One" (1 John 2. 20).

Never speak of the Holy Spirit as an influence, as an abstract power, or in the neuter gender.  Yet, of course, He does influence, but He is a Divine Person, and that great fact should ever be insisted upon.  He is a Divine Person, and is termed God (Acts 5. 3,4). and Lord (2 Thess. 3. 5; also margin of 2 Cor. 3. 18).  The personality of the Holy Spirit is abundantly proved by the acts and services ascribed to Him - acts and attributes characteristic of a person.  He abides, dwells, teaches (John 14), comes, goes, leads, is grieved.  He controls the movements of God's servants (Acts 13. 2; 15. 28; 16. 6). He helps our infirmities and makes intercession in us and for us (Rom. 8. 26).  From such a mass of evidence as Scripture furnishes we are led to the irresistible conclusion that the Holy Spirit is a Divine, Independent Person, yet acts in conjunction with the Father and the Son in the physically and morally ruined worlds.

In the first mention of the Spirit He is witnessed brooding over the ruined creation (Gen. 1. 2).  He garnished the Heavens (Job 26. 13).  He effects the new birth (John 3. 5).  He is a witness to believers (Heb. 10. 15), also a witness in believers (Rom. 8. 15-19).  He is the seal and earnest to Christians, but in them (Eph. 1. 13, 14), the former referring to what we are, i.e., belonging to God, and the latter to what we are about to have, ie., the inheritance.  His masterpiece on earth is the formation of the mystical body of Christ (1 Cor. 12. 13), which He livingly animates by His presence, and acts through its various members (1 Cor. 12).  He indwells the body of each believer (1 Cor. 6. 19), and also permanently dwells in the Church (1 Cor. 3. 16; Eph. 2. 22).  He is inseparably connected with the life, walk, service, worship, and comfort of believers (Rom. 8; Gal. 5).  The Spirit was sent by the Father (John 14) as the power in leading into communion, and by the Son as the power for efficient testimony (15).  The Holy Ghost came down when Christ was glorified (John 7. 39).  He came at Pentecost, filled the house (Acts. 2. 2), and filled each of the 120 waiting disciples (verse 4) The presence of Christ with His own is conditional upon being gathered to His Name (Matt. 18. 20); whereas the presence of the Holy Ghost in the Church is absolutely unfettered by conditions (John 14. 16; 1 Cor. 3).  "He shall not speak of Himself" (John 16. 13) reads, "He shall not speak from Himself" (R.V.) He does speak of Himself (Rom. 8), thank God for it, but He comes and acts as sent from the Father and from the Son.

The Spirit's relation to individual believers is taught in Acts 2. 3; 4. 8; 7. 55; 8.29-39; Romans 8. 2-9; Galatians 6. 8; Revelation 1. 10, which are only a sample of many.  The Spirit's relation to disciples generally is unfolded in John 7. 39; 14. 16; Romans 8; Ephesians 2. 4. The Spirit's relation to the world is revealed in John 16. 8-1 1, and elsewhere.

"Filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2. 4) is not synonymous with "full of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 6. 3).  The former was for special work and testimony as Bezaleel (Exod. 35. 31), the chief artificer of the tabernacle, the one hundred and twenty praying and waiting disciples (Acts 2. 4), Peter (Acts 4. 8), and Paul (Acts 13. 9), &c.  Persons may be filled with the Spirit more than once (see Acts 2. 4; 4. 3 1).

Prayer now for the descent or outpouring of the Holy Ghost is certainly a contradiction of the fact that the Spirit came according to promise, and is on the earth, but in the Church.  The feast of Pentecost has no significance whatever if the Holy Ghost has not come.  That ancient and national Jewish feast (Lev. 23. 15-21; Deut. 16.9-12) pointed onto the exact period of Acts 2. Scripture never supposes two Divine persons on the earth at the same time, hence, said the Lord, "If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you" (John 16. 7).

The baptism of all believers in this Dispensation, from Pentecost (Acts 2) till the Rapture (1 Thess. 4), in the power of the Spirit has been effected once, never to be repeated.  "A fresh baptism of the Spirit" is utterly unknown in Scripture history and teaching, and is a denial of the fact that it is an already accomplished thing.  Christ exalted is the Baptiser (1 Cor. 12. 13, RN.). God seals individuals (2 Cor. 1. 21,22).