Is the Evidence of GENUINENESS in Christianity Really There?

A BIBLE STUDY IN 1 JOHN 3:4-10

As the WORD DETECTIVE, as we all should be, and looking at the evidence in this passage, I’ve found VERSE 9 to be one of the most difficult passages in the Bible to understand and explain.  It is often quoted to teach a child of God that once you become a “born again believer,” you will never sin.  And many honest and sincere people believe this, devoting themselves to the attainment of what is commonly called, “sinless perfection.”

1 John 3:9 (NIV) –

[9] No one who is born of God will continue to sin because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God.

But is this doctrine really taught in the Bible?

The ANSWER is “no” for two reasons:

#1.  There is clear teaching in the Bible.

When you come to a difficult passage to understand and explain the meaning to others, we should seek to interpret it in context with clearer teachings offered in Scripture.  To say this passage teaches a Christian never commits SIN contradicts clear teaching in this same book of the Bible:

#2.  There is the common testimony of the Bible.

In the Bible, we are told of the great Saints, all of whom were imperfect!  The Word of God doesn’t cover up their faults.  It’s made very clear in Scripture that there’s only One spoken of who is SINLESS–Jesus Christ.

For these TWO REASONS, we should say that the Bible doesn’t teach sinless perfection.  But if that is the case, what’s the deal with the words given in 1 John 3:9 mean then?

As a “Word detective” I, of course, wanted to look at this verse in an effort to find the answer to the questions that can and will arise.

GOD’S PROVISION – vs. 4-5 (Amplified Bible)

[4] Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect–being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and will).

[5]  You know that He appeared in visible form and became Man to take away [upon Himself] sins, and in Him, there is no sin [essentially and forever].

I love to use different Bible translations in studying Scripture, helping me answer questions that can arise.  And it goes without saying, Holy Spirit always clarifies the answer.

When Jesus came into the world, He made a perfect provision for our salvation which makes it possible our DELIVERANCE from SIN’S PENALTY…SIN’S POWER, and eventually, SIN’S PRESENCE.

Therefore, Jesus’ SACRIFICE provided us with daily VICTORY over SIN in our life.

The Necessity of His Provision (v. 4).

HUMAN SIN made the CROSS necessary.

God is a JUST God, along with being a LOVING Heavenly Father.  God wanted a restored relationship of His Creation that was lost in the Garden (Genesis Chapter 3).

But He also needed to see the JUSTICE carried out with respect to the violation of His law.  How could these TWO attributes be satisfied simultaneously?

THE CROSS.  It had to be!

God took on flesh in the person of Christ Jesus to do for mankind what we could never do for ourselves–pay the PENALTY for our SIN in such a way to make possible a personal relationship with Himself.  NOW THAT’S REAL LOVE!

In searching the Scriptures, the PENALTY of our sin is so great, that left to pay it on our own, requires an eternity’s worth of suffering, meaning that we would never be able to be set free from sin’s penalty and have a RELATIONSHIP with Abba, Father.

God took on FLESH in the person of Jesus and lived a SINLESS life in order to QUALIFY and represent human race and pay the PENALTY of OUR SIN.  And because He was God in the flesh, He could pay that infinite PENALTY in a finite period of time on the Cross.

He provided FORGIVENESS to the entire human race and proved that sin’s penalty was fully PAID by being raised from the dead, ascending back to heaven leaving an offering of the Holy Spirit to bind the relationship with Himself to all who choose to receive His GIFT of eternal life.

Romans 6:23 (Easy-to-read Version -ERV)

[23] When people sin, they earn what sin pays–death.  But God gives his people a free gift–eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Nature of His Provision (vs. 5, 8) –

  • He came to provide us VICTORY over sin (vs. 5).
  • He came to provide us VICTORY over Satan (vs. 8).

ILLUSTRATION: The Dallas Texans, Not the Cowboys *[See Footnote [i] ]

The first NFL franchise in the state was in 1952–The Dallas Texans.

The Texans had a brief history and existing for only one year, posting a win/loss record of 1-11.  A former member of the team, before he was cut, recalls a story of the team’s equipment manager, Willie Garcia, who had never seen a football game in his life.  “Willie had one wooden leg.  When they kicked the ball into the high grass during practice, no one wanted to go after it because of SNAKES.  Willie would volunteer and said, ‘I’ve got a 50-50 chance the SNAKE will go for the wrong leg.'”

On our own, there’s always a chance of getting “bit” by the devil.  But because of the CROSS, the FEAR of him should no longer be.

By the PROVISION of the Savior, our lives need not be dominated by SIN and SATAN!

The PRACTICE of the SAVED (vs. 6-7) –

 

John doesn’t say a SAVED PERSON won’t sin.  What he does say is a Christian won’t “keep on sinning.”

The Amplified Bible reads “[deliberately, knowing, and habitually]” commits SIN.

So truly SAVED people DON’T live to do what God says is wrong!

They DO practice RIGHTEOUSNESS (Vs. 7) –

A truly Saved Person, a genuine Christian, lives to do what is right in God’s eyes and not their own.  John says those who are born again DON’T PRACTICE SIN but practice RIGHTEOUSNESS.

SIN in the life of a true believer should be the exception and not the rule.  If you are genuine in your belief, you don’t practice SIN.

So what does the word “PRACTICE” mean? 

The English Oxford Dictionary, Item #3 reads  “a Repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.”  

SAVED people occasionally do wrong, just as the LOST occasionally do right.

The FACT that the SAVED occasionally does what is wrong doesn’t make him any less saved than the FACT that a LOST person who occasionally is found doing something right makes him any less lost.

In Matthew 7:17, Jesus says that a corrupt tree brings forth corrupt fruit and a good tree brings forth good fruit.  Occasionally you might find a good apple off a bad tree, and occasionally you might get a bad apple off a good tree, but normally, the FRUIT of a good tree will be good.

So it is in the life of a child of God.

That’s what John is saying here.  He’s not saying you will never sin if you’re a child of God.  He’s saying that the direction you take should be pointed toward God–doing the things that please Him.

The POWER OF SALVATION (Vs. 9-10) –

[9] Those who are children of God do not continue to sin, for God’s very nature is in them; and because God is their Father, they cannot continue to sin.

[10] Here is the clear difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children; those who do not do what is right or do not love others are not God’s children.  Good News Translation (GNT)

When one is BORN AGAIN…born of the Spirit (1 John 3:6-7)the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his/her life (Romans 8:16; Ephesians 1:13-14).

As a result of the Spirit’s presence, we should have…

A NEW DESIRE (V. 9 b ).

The phrase, “they cannot continue to sin” speaks of the NEW DESIRE on the part of those who are BORN AGAIN.

The apostle Paul put it this way in Romans 7:22 (AMP): 

For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature].

The Bible says that when a person is SAVED…BORN AGAIN, “God writes His law on their heart” (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10).

The CHILD OF GOD has the DESIRE to do what God says is right.  That doesn’t mean we always succeed, but it does mean that is what we want to do!

A Methodist Evangelist named Dr. Morrison taught the Doctrine of Holiness and it was said that he came closer to practicing it than most people do.  Someone once asked Dr. Morrison jokingly, “Dr. Morrison, have you gotten to a place where you cannot sin?”  Dr. Morrison answered, “No, my brother, I have not yet gotten to where I cannot sin, but I have gotten to where I cannot sin and enjoy it.”

That’s to be the testimony of every truly born again child of God.

Learning How To Live In GENUINENESS By Yielding to the Spirit –

“Yielding to” in Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary uses the Greek word “Peitho”; to PERSUADE BY, in contrast to “yielding” to one’s own SINFUL NATURE, something Paul had to grow to learn and as something every ‘GENUINE CHRISTIAN’ likewise needs to grow and learn.

2 Peter 1:3-4

 

An unbeliever has one nature, received a birth; a sinful nature.

But when we TRUST CHRIST, receiving a NEW nature with the Spirit’s presence in our life, a new power is provided for us.  No longer do we need to surrender to our sinful nature, give into temptation and live for sin.  Our DESIRE should be to surrender to the leading of Holy Spirit, resisting temptation and living for God!  That my friends is GENUINENESS!!

A NEW BELIEVER asked a church small group how they were doing in their Christian walk, especially around others.  They replied that it felt like they had a black dog and a white dog inside of them, constantly fighting with each other.  They were asked which dog was winning.  And their REPLY?  “The one I feed the most.”

Looking at your lifestyle right now.  Which one are you feeding the most?

___________________________________________________________________________   

FOOTNOTES & CREDITS –

Footnote [i] :  Story printed in the Los Angeles Times, December 18, 1992.

Dictionary used:  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Words.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search, using Bible verses as a reference.

Bible Translations:  Noted in the text.

 

Living Your Life With Intentional Expectation

Intentional-Living

Scripture Study Verses:  Isaiah 29:16 & Ephesians 5:15-16

“INTENTIONAL LIVING” BEGINS WITH “CONVICTION”:

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“CONVICTION” Definition:  “the act or process of convincing,” “the state of being convinced,” or “a fixed or strong belief”.

So then, “BIBLICAL CONVICTION” applied to a true believer, can be said to mean… a person whose convictions are derived from Scripture and whose convictions affect him spiritually.”   *[See footnote [i] ].

My Testimony of Living Under Godly “Conviction”–

Years ago, while trying to live out my Christian life… God was convicting me to a need in my spiritual life.  A need to be a person who does not live by default, but lives by decision.

To be a person who ‘determines’, is a person who STARTS at the beginning –

“I will do what it takes to know God better, to love Him more, so that He can work in and through me to be more Christlike.”  

Once I became aware of God’s plan in my life…not my plan…as prompted by the Holy Spirit, I became determined; determined to live my spiritual life intentionally.

THE CHALLENGE –

I have read somewhere in my studies over the years, that there are…

THREE TYPES OF PEOPLE:

  • Those who make things happen.
  • Those who watch things happen.
  • Those who wonder what happen.

My challenge?  Becoming INTENTIONAL in ALL areas of life.

I believe it was Dr. Randy Carlson of Family Life Radio who once said, “To be intentional is knowingly choose your direction and shake up the routine…or the autopilot of your spiritual life.” 

“SPIRITUAL GROWTH requires an intentional effort on our part, while SPIRITUAL STAGNATION and decline requires no effort at all”  

[See footnote [ii] ].

So if you find yourself in a state of godly conviction, of needing spiritual growth, let me try to help you understand how to be intentional; strengthening your relationship with God.

Living Redemptively–

God has redeemed you not just from SIN and its penalty, but He has also redeemed us from an empty life.

1 Peter 1:18-19 says,

“You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold,  But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”

A FEW STEPS TO LIVING WITH “DECISION”:

THE PROBLEM.  Too many people end there.

“Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)”  (Ephesians 5:15).

*Note:  DETERMINED PEOPLE…strive to make wise decisions based on the Bible’s wise decisions, no matter what your coworkers, your neighbors, or family say.

THE NEED–

To put DETERMINATION on the Front Burnernot the back burner, then turn the flame on high!

stovetop

Being DETERMINED to live decisively–elevate correct priorities.

“He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]”  (Colossians 1:18).

YOUR PRIORITIES should…

  • HONOR GOD
  • HONOR YOUR FAMILY
  • HONOR OTHERS

Being in COVENANT compliance in all areas of your life; to submit to His authority.

One way that The Fear of God can be explained is “To honor God, with the audacity to obey”  [Creflo Dollar sermon notes].  

Not in a “submissive” frame of mind?  If your answer is “no”, then you are living in rebellion.

Isaiah 29:16:

[Oh, your perversity!]  You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be considered of no more account than the clay? Shall the thing that is made say of its maker, He did not make me; or the thing that is formed say of him who formed it, He has no understanding?

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QUIZ TIME:

Who CREATED you?  GOD.

Who has the right to tell you what to do?  GOD.

Setting Aside Our AGENDA and Looking at God’s AGENDA –

Another STEP to look at, is we NEED to recognize that only by God’s grace, we’re even here.  

Surely, we should be so grateful, to allow the Ruler of the earth and heaven to have His way in our own lives.  He deserves that much.  He is LORD whether we want to admit it or not.

Allow Him to not only be the SAVIOR of your life, but the LORD, the boss, the C.O.O. (Chief Operating Officer), or whatever title you might give Him.

BUT…He is the One we need to SUBMIT to, above all others, especially ourselves.  Tell Him you are serious about following Him as LORD.

NEXT STEP…

Increase your time in the Bible and Prayer…

Colossians 3:16 says to…

“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness…”

It makes sense to me, if I wanted to LIVE a life more decisively, seeking to please God, then I needed to know what pleases God.

The best way to learn what makes my Heavenly Father smile (pleasing Him)…is to read and study His Word.

Some need to increase some, while others need to just plain start.  That’s okay.  START!

  • READ 5-10 minutes a day.  It doesn’t have to be an hour.
  • CHOOSE a time that works best for you, and stick to it!  

Since retirement, I choose the morning.  The issue isn’t when you do it, but the fact that you do it.

It’s best to be consistent on the time.  If you are not in the habit of daily reading the Bible, then start off small.  But START!  Don’t procrastinate any longer.

Dr. Charles R. Swindoll says, “The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of JOY.  Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind–jump in.”

And if you are in the habit, then bump it up a little.  PRAY while you are reading the Bible. as the Holy Spirit prompts your spirit into responding to what you’re reading, and then, just do it!

NEXT…Daily Renew Your Walk with God –

I have to make this decision every day, before anything else I do.  Setting aside a special time [before my bible reading] to meet with Him, to tell Him I LOVE Him and His Word.

Renewing Your Covenant Promise…(Daniel 9:4):

And I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession and said, O Lord, the great and awesome God,  Who keeps covenant, mercy, and loving-kindness with those who love Him and keep His commandments.

EXPECT GOD TO MOVE…

If you might be thinking at this point of study, that the RESULTS of living by DECISION is brought about by your own effort, you’re missing the point.

In fact, it is only by God’s Grace that He decides to move and work in yours and my life.

The STEPS presented in this blog are not an attempt to jump through a bunch of spiritual hoops, trying to please God with our spirituality.

The ideas, the concepts, the steps, are only tools that I use to gain insight into God’s LOVE & CARE, not because we’ve done everything just right, but because He is honored in doing them.

God Sees the BENEFITS it brings us…

So, He blesses the efforts, because it brings HIM glory, not us.

We put forth the EFFORT because it pleases Him and blesses us!

BUT…let me point something out here.  Even if God did nothing in your life because of your decisive efforts to become closer to Him, have you really lost anything?  I don’t think so.

Your clearer view of correct priorities will help you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself and your family.  God honors that.

God Brings the RESULTS, not us.

We do these things, trusting God will be pleased to mold us and to be more like Him.  And by the way, before you start thinking, that it’s easy for The WORD Detective…I was in the working world most of my Christian life.  These principles have worked for me and still working for me, whenever I put them into practice, no matter what situation.

Living By DECISION Instead of DEFAULT!

JESUS is our example, for He did nothing by default and was decisive about everything.

Nothing shows that better than Luke 9:51:

“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem”  (NIV).

The King James Version says that “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”

4021b34d6feda5c5bac210ace5682ca1JESUS was decisive here, but more than that, is found in the first part of that verse:

“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven…”

He knew what was coming up.

He knew that going to Jerusalem would bring about DEATH.

BUT the book of Hebrews, 12:2, tells us that Jesus went to Jerusalem and faced the cross, rejecting its shame, for the JOY set before Him.

Huh? The “JOY”?

How could the thought of being tried illegally in secret be joyous?

How can knowing that He would hang on a cross for hours and hours, suffering in the most agonizing way of capital punishment cause JESUS to see JOY?

ANSWER:  Because He saw beyond Jerusalem.

He saw the result–Pardon, Forgiveness, Freedom, Opportunity for you and I to know Father God on a personal level.

He knew what would be needed to be done before time!  And, He decided that He would do it.  That my friends, is being “intentional”!

JESUS waited for just the right time, and then He came to make it happen!!

In comparison to what JESUS has done for us, is it really too much to ask ourselves that we spend a bit of time each day to deepen our relationship with the One who made that RELATIONSHIP possible?

Believe me, it isn’t easy.  But God works and makes it worth it.

Making A Bold Decision of Commitment to Live Decisively–

In study this past week, I came across a Bible verse that brings out the heart of this blog’s message:

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him…”  (2 Chronicles 16:9).

If you’ve been LIVING a life on autopilot, of “default”; a failure to fulfill an obligation as a result from ignoring the conviction presented by Abba, Father, you are going to have to make a choice.  You don’t have it all figured out right now, but you need to decide to be determined with a decisive effort to deepen and strengthen your walk with God, so it affects every area of your life…24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

And I guarantee that if you make the effort, God will change your life as He has changed mine. Believe me, He wants to do that for you.

But you need to be INTENTIONAL about being “INTENTIONAL” about that!

Expecting God’s PROMISE…(Romans 4:18-22 READ)

Abraham is called “the father of us all”  (Rom. 4:16).

From the standpoint of FAITH, Abraham was certainly the epitome of a man with ‘biblical conviction.’

When all odds were stacked against him, and even though at times he tried to give God a hand by taking matters into his own hands, he was DECISIVE in holding on to the PROMISES of God.

It’s up to you.  To decide today to start Living With Intentional Expectation! 

Ephesians 5:15-16:

“Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise–sensible, intelligent people;  Making the very most of the time–buying up each opportunity–because the days are evil.”

**NOTE:  If you feel liking sharing with other readers, a new decision of walking intentionally in your life, please do so in the comment section of this BLOG.

 


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Footnote [i] : Bible.org. – Mark #6 by J. Hampton Keathley, III ;  Footnote [ii] : from C. S. Lewis – Screwtape Letters.

Scripture quoted from the AMPLIFIED BIBLE, except where noted.

Photo Credits by Google Images Search.

 

 

Letting The Holy Spirit Have More of You!

ACTS 8:14-17 Amplified Bible:

[14] Now when the apostles (special messengers) at Jerusalem heard that [the country of] Samaria had accepted and welcomed the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,  [15] And they came down and prayed for them that the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit;  [16] For He had not yet fallen upon any of them, but they had only been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  [17] Then [the apostles] laid their hands on them one by one, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

For years, as a believer in Christ, I struggled understanding the four verses listed above.  And then one day, the “scales” were removed from my eyes [See “Taking the Red Pill”], and I began to understand.  Slowly at first, but then one Sunday morning, it happened.  Not all at once…but a Holy Spirit moment, the realizing empowerment took a hold of my heart.

EMPOWERMENT:

In Acts 8:15, 17, 19; Acts 10:47; Acts 19:12; all refer to the EMPOWERING operation of the Holy Spirit.

Now being saved, baptized and trained in doctrinal values of the Baptist denomination, this idea of EMPOWERMENT ran against everything I’d previously been taught by all the well-meaning church leaders.  I knew what Scripture had to say about receiving the Holy Spirit, even underlining them with side notes in my Bible.  Here are the well-known three proofs:

“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, save or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink”  (1 Cor. 12:13 NIV).

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ”  (Romans 8:9).

“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory”  (Eph. 1:13-14).

The apostle Paul clearly taught that we RECEIVE the Holy Spirit at the moment we receive JESUS as Savior.  The above three passages make it clear, the HOLY SPIRIT is received the moment of SALVATION.

“Could there be more?”  – The Inward Justifying and Sanctifying Work of Holy Spirit…

In Acts 8:15  however, depicts the inward justifying and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.  Further, it does not mean, getting more of the Spirit, rather it is a matter of letting the Holy Spirit have more of you!

“And they came down and prayed for them that the Samaritans might RECEIVE the Holy Spirit.”

[ILLUSTRATION – “A Woman Named Norena” – (See Footnote [i]):

Just Getting By…

The story is told of an elderly woman named Norena, who lived in southern Florida.  When a hurricane hit that area, her home was of many that was damaged severely.

Norena received an insurance settlement, and the repair work began.  However, when the money ran out, so did the contractor, leaving an unfinished home with no electricity.

Norena lived in her dark unfinished home–without POWER–for fifteen (15) years.  The astonishing part of this story, the hurricane wasn’t Katrina but Andrew–a hurricane which struck in 1992.

She had no HEAT, no AIR CONDITIONING while the humidity clung to 100%.  She didn’t have one hot shower.  Without money to finish the repairs, Norena just got by with a small lamp and a single burner.  Her neighbors didn’t seem to notice the absence of POWER in her home.

Acting on a tip, one day, the mayor of the Miami-Dade area got involved.  It only took a few hours of work by an electrical contractor, Kent Crook, to return POWER to Norena’s house.

CBS News reported, Norena planned to let the water get really hot, then take her first “bubble bath” in a decade and a half.

“It’s hard to describe having [the electricity]…to switch on”, Norena told the reporters.  “It’s overwhelming!”

After reading this story, I thought to myself, “How many Christian true believers have been living their entire lives without ever knowing what it is like to have the overwhelming POWER of the Holy Spirit operating within them?”  JUST GETTING BY!

In my own personal testimony, I believe that some of us have had that POWER turned off for so long, we would not even recognize it if it came back to us!  In my case, the POWER was turned on almost 9 years ago.

Giving only a little to JESUS–

Most of us only give Christ a little space of our lives.  D.L. Moody once said,  “What could God accomplish with a man or woman who has fully surrendered his or her will to God?”

NO SET FORMULA FOR RECEIVING AND GROWING IN THE INFILLING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT:

There are some PRINCIPLES to look at, but basically, it is the same as growing in-depth of relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is no set FORMULA!  Only GUIDELINES.  God is sovereign!

The principle represents our human attempt at cooperation in God’s purposes and SUBMISSION to God’s will.  GROWING in having the Holy Spirit upon for POWER…is simply a matter of being in LOVE with Jesus; asking for the equipping of the Holy Spirit,  receiving in FAITH, and then stepping out in OBEDIENCE.

PRINCIPLE ONE –THIRST – John 7:37-39:

EXTREME THIRST
EXTREME THIRST

It is “thirst” that leads us to Jesus, who gives the LIVING WATER, the Spirit of God.

“Now on the final and most important day of the Feast. Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice,  If any man is THIRSTY, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me as the Scripture has said,  From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs of living water.  But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were afterward to receive.  For the [Holy] Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor)” ~ Amplified Bible.

This is, first of all,a THIRST for intimacy with God – Psalm 63:1.

Second, it is a THIRST that arises with deep-seated awareness in our own inadequacy to do the works of God in our own strength.  Jesus perfectly describes our condition when He said,  “…apart from Me, you can do nothing!”

PRINCIPLE TWO – EXPECT – Ephesians 3:20:

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”  ~ NIV Bible.

For many of us, “our God is too small”–our expectations of the Christian life are too small.  We’ve limited God by our FEARS, WORLDVIEWS, LACK OF KNOWLEDGE, etc..

EXPECTANCY is an expression of “untrammeled” [Not derived of freedom of action or expression; not restricted or hampered-[ii]] faith in God, which prepares us to RECEIVE to do all that He has for us.

PRINCIPLE THREE – REPENTANCE – Acts 2:38:

“…REPENT (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the (gift) of the Holy Spirit” ~ Amplified Bible.

That one is already BAPTIZED and GROWING in Christ is already assumed.  What the apostle Peter has emphasized here is REPENTANCE and CONFESSION should be an ongoing part of the Christian life.

SIN blocks our relationship with God, so REPENTANCE is basic criteria to spiritual growth.  Being sensitive to sin is what counts.

Please be careful here.  One doesn’t have to be perfect to have a high level of SANCTIFICATION; to receive the Holy Spirit “UPON” them for EMPOWERMENT.  There isn’t precondition for a “second blessing.”  If there were such a criterion for receiving the INFILLING, then none of us would qualify.  This is given as a FREE GIFT of God’s grace to all in Christ, who in obedience RECEIVE.

The GIFT IS AVAILABLE THE MOMENT WE ARE IN CHRIST.

No Neglect…

Having affirmed…no precondition, we must be careful not to neglect the inward work of the Holy Spirit.  God is very PATIENT, but if a person persists in disobedience, God may and often does, withdraws the Spirit’s EMPOWERING.  Saul is but one example in the Bible (1 Samuel 13:8-14).

Peter, after denying Jesus, went out and wept bitterly.  Later on the beach, he accepted Jesus’ recommissioning in the question and command,

“Do you love me?  …feed my sheep.”

PRINCIPLE FOURASK! – Luke 11:9-13:

If a person is in Christ, he already has the Holy Spirit within him.  BUT…to have the Holy Spirit “upon” for POWER, which is what it means to be baptized or filled with the Spirit, one must appropriate it–ASK!

Asking in PRAYER..

The important thing is to ask in prayer.  Doesn’t matter what words you use; no neat formulas.  What does matter is the intent of the heart.

Many find it helpful to have hands laid upon then.  This has a good Biblical precedent (Acts 9:17, 19:6), which gave me support in my faith when receiving Holy Spirit’s INFILLING; the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in an unknown tongue.

One may ask to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit, not once but many times, and as often as needed, and I’ve personally done so on many occasions.

PRINCIPLE FIVE – RECEIVE in FAITH – (Gal. 3:13-14; 1 John 5:14-15):

RECEIVING THE INFILLING with the Holy Spirit is not subject to our emotions or our experience.  Rather, it is founded in the PROMISES of God received in FAITH.

Pail asked the congregation located in Galatia,  “To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons].  And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba (Father)! Father!”  (Gal. 4:5 AMP).  

And furthermore, in Galatians 3:14,  “To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit.”

The Key to Appropriating What God Has Clearly Promised Us…

IS IN JESUS!  (Mark 11:22-24; 1 John 5:14-15).

These PROMISES listed in the above verses, gives us the CONFIDENCE to ask for and in faith RECEIVE the infilling of God’s Spirit.  We come to know it’s God’s will and intention… that we are made useful in His kingdom, equipped to witness to Jesus Christ.

Thus, in FAITH, we ASK for it, we TRUST and BELIEVE that we have indeed RECEIVED.  Experience will follow what we have appropriated in faith.

The emphases upon APPROPRIATING in faith, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, is it is Biblical; fully respects the SOVEREIGNTY of God and avoids all gimmicks and manipulations of tarrying meetings and the pressuring by people to speak in tongues, so marred by our joyful reception of God’s free gift.

PRINCIPAL SIX – OBEY the Holy Spirit – (Acts 5:32; John 14:15-17):

This last step is the crucial one and the essence of our whole relationship with JESUS.  We are called to OBEDIENCE to the Holy Spirit by receiving in faith…that FAITH must be made ACTIVE and ALIVE!  The way that this happens is through obedience to Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is calling us to obedience and while obeying, that’s when we EXPERIENCE the POWER or see the evidences that we have been EMPOWERED.

AN ILLUSTRATION:

Agitating Dirty Socks
Agitating Dirty Socks

The Holy Spirit, being Holy…His nature doesn’t allow Him to live in a dirty environment.

Does anyone know what that piece in the middle of my washer is called?  The part in the middle that moves back and forth and shakes the clothes back and forth?  I’ll just refer to it as an “Agitator.”

What is the purpose of the “Agitator”?  As far as I have learned [our washing machine and dryer is right next to my study/computer room], its sole purpose is to cause havoc for the dirty clothes; it’s there to SHAKE, SEPARATE, the clothes from all the dirt, grime, and money that may be in or on the clothes.

That said, as soon as we are SAVED, Holy Spirit moves into our hearts…but He doesn’t have our heart to Himself…there’s still a lot of things in there…the main one being our own selfish desires…even though we’ve been saved from our past sins, there still remains some things of the world we still cling on to.

ThesE “THINGS” have a way of attaching themselves to us as DIRT.  So, the Holy Spirit begins to gently and lovingly…AGITATE, to SHAKE…to CONVICT us to the things that need to leave our heart.

You see, God wants us to be FILLED with His Spirit…and only when we come to a place in our lives, is He willing to remove ALL the dirt…can we truly be FILLED with His Spirit.

Until then, many times in our spiritual life, it feels like we are in a washing machine…and the Holy spirit constantly, because He loves us so much, agitating within us, convicting us of sin.

What is the TRUTH?

The truth is God’s will for all to be FILLED with the Spirit…but it is your choice…it’s up to you…TOTAL SURRENDER!

If your DESIRE is to have a casual, nominal Christian lifestyle, in place of surrendering all…seeking to receive will not be your desire.  This is one of the major reasons why many individuals in the body of Christ don’t see the need of surrendering all.

The topic in this BLOG discussion, is often a controversial one because… the ministries of the Holy Spirit are often confused in the receiving/indwelling of the Spirit, occurring at the moment of salvation.

THE FILLING of the Holy Spirit is an ongoing process in the Christian life.  It certainly has been for me.

The Holy Spirit becomes our permanent possession the moment we believe.  To RECEIVE the baptism or infilling with the Holy Spirit is just the beginning…you will not arrived at its end of the journey, but you have only begun!

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

[i]  “Norena” story from UPI.com>TopNews

[ii]  Oxford Dictionaries.

 

PHOTO CREDITS:

Photo Pin for Bloggers.

 

Bible References:

Amplified Bible and New International Version Bible.