Wednesday, June 29, 2016
This is a five-part piece that covers a number of topics. This is all five sections together--a long read. For those who prefer to see it broken up for an easier read, I have done so as well...just scroll down to view the "Previous Posts". With lots of Love, Chris!
1. (Heart) Believing
The heart, not the mind, is the vessel we either accept or reject Jesus Christ & His Finished Work through the Cross (all He accomplished for us—including His Righteousness unto every person). For it is with the heart that we believe.
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The mind can’t accept the “logic” of what it means to accept what Christ Jesus accomplished for us: God in the Spirit becoming man; Him sacrificing His own Son because He Loved, valued, & cherished us humans so much (despite our faults & sins); Jesus willfully dying (accepting the sacrifice for us) on a Cross; Him bearing all our fleshly sins, our infirmities, our sicknesses & diseases, and every curse that sin had placed us in; then Him rising from the dead (a no-question death too—after being beaten more than any human, taking all sickness & disease upon Himself with every sin we have ever done, being crucified, stabbed in the side, and placed in a tomb—not life support—for three days), then Him ascending into Heaven, making all people Righteous, and sending the Holy Spirit upon everyone.
This is what Jesus Christ accomplished for us!
But this is just ridiculous to our minds! Not only the question: why would anyone do that for anyone else (let alone me), but also raised from the dead…what kind of non-sense is that? Exactly! Non-sense to the mind. But this is how God amazingly works. Religion caters to the mind, but God caters to our heart. Religion can’t stand the Gospel: the Good News! And it is Good News that I don’t have to analyze it, I just need to accept in my heart what my mind can’t comprehend or accept.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The heart is where the Holy Spirit speaks to each person. It’s not an emotion or a feeling (yes, we can experience those at that time, but not all of us do). This is about the Holy Spirit testifying to us in our heart of the Truth that is the Gospel (the Good News of what Jesus accomplished). This is why the Holy Spirit was sent to be with EVERY person, so that none of us would be without excuse as to not hearing the Truth. He (the Holy Spirit) ministers the truth to us.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
He firstly reproves the world (non-believers) of not believing in Christ Jesus. The “reproving” is Him speaking the Truth to us in an attempt for us to believe in Jesus Christ. And because His Truth is THE Truth, what He speaks does not always align with our “truth”. And so, a person (we), all face the same choice when the Holy Spirit ministers to us THE Truth: to believe what we believe, or believe what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. We have a choice. It is our choice to make.
When we (as a non-believer) chose to believe ourself, we stay in condemnation—we stay in Sin. When we deny Him & believe ourself, we are calling the Holy Spirit a liar. This is the Sin (Blasphemy) against the Holy Spirit—the unforgivable Sin. It is the Sin that sends us into eternal Death (separation from God). It is the Sin that can never be forgiven once we pass from this to the next (die).
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
All other sins have been forgiven us (the sins of the flesh), but the Sin of spirit, God could not take away, because we still have to have a choice. He didn’t die to make us robots. Jesus made the choice to accept our sins, but did not make the choice for us to believe Him. And even knowing that not everyone would come to believe Him, He still died for us.
But when we do choose to accept the testimony of the Holy Spirit upon our heart, we don’t make Him the liar, we make Him True! We believe! Not in our minds (our minds can & do doubt this Reality of the Lord). No. But in our heart.
And in that moment of believing, in that instance, the Holy Spirit takes ahold of our Spirit and Baptizes our fallen-world (Adam-sinned) spirit into the Body of Christ. This is the one baptism being referred to in Ephesians & also in Mark (not to be confused with water Baptism or the Baptism of the Holy Spirit by Jesus).
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.
1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
This washing & immersion (baptizing) of our old spirit into the Spirit of Christ (His Spirit as our own Spirit), is us being Born-Again.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
When we believe with our heart, we are Born Again in our Spirit—made a Holy Spirit (one without fault & made into the Lord’s perfection; once again made in Their Likeness as Adam was). Our new Spirit becomes the same Spirit as Christ’s Spirit was. This is Him living in us—His Spirit as our Spirit. For the Lord, there is only one type of Holy, and this same Holy existed as the perfect Spirit in Christ Jesus that was Christ (the Spirit that Jesus was born with).
2. Baptism in Water, and The Old (Flesh) is Dead
But even though Christ was born in the flesh with a perfect (Holy) Spirit, He still needed to be water baptized as well as receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost). So then, why did Jesus need to be water baptized…for water baptism is the baptism of repentance? What did Jesus have to repent of? His own free-will way of living life.
Jesus, though sinless, was a human like you & me. He had a human free-will like us. He had the choice of living the rest of His life as a human any way He wanted. Just like we have the same choice.
Water baptism is both a sign of repentance (a choosing of turning from one way of living to the Lord’s way of living) and a representation of our flesh having been crucified & raised up with Him in death.
For Jesus, this was a baptism of repentance as John the Baptist was preaching (not of the flesh dying, as He had not yet been crucified). What Jesus did (being water baptized) was the point where He turned away from His life as a Carpenter & turned to a life focused by choice on the Cross. His flesh knew this & did not want to (as evident in His prayers on the Mount of Olives right before His arrest). In a sense, He had to “deny himself”; just as we must “take up our cross”.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
When we lose our life to ourself, we gain His Life through us, out of our Spirit in us. And a greater Life not just meant for only after we pass away, but here on earth now. When we get water baptized, we need to hold true in our hearts both the sign of repentance (the turning to the Lord) as well as the representation of our old flesh (our old man) having been crucified and us being raised up, now living out from our Spirit (our new man). But more than that, in combination as a whole, we have now been made like Him: not only in Spirit, in health (body), in emotional stability (soul), & in mind—having the same authority & freedom from sin (Holiness). For as He is now, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17b).
We experience this likeness of Him when we deny what we have come to know & renew our mind to who we really are & have already been made into. Who we are is exactly like Jesus Christ.
This is the best Good News we can hear! How much more of a free gift can we ever receive than this. This is “almost too-good-to-be-true news”. But this does NOT compute with the mind at all! Not at all! Which is exactly why we must renew ourselves in the spirit (thoughts / rememberances) of our minds.
This renewing is part of our salvation (soteria). We all come from different childhoods, experiences, iniquities, & choices in life that have ingrained our life with the realities of this fallen world. But Christ came to Save (sozo) us from all we were & all that exists in a fallen world state. Where we renew our minds from (with our emotions & our bodies), into His Truth & His Reality is us working out our own salvation (soteria):
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
When Born-Again, we don’t have to stop at just that existence; we have been set free from who we were. We mustn’t come to a standstill. Yes, we can allow ourselves to; but as Romans 10:9-13 includes, “it’s with our mouth that we confess unto salvation.”
Salvation is the Saving force which begins the change in & of us from where we are to the concluding destination of being with the Lord forever. Salvation is a destination that we hold onto for the remainder of our life. This salvation is not only about the now, but about the now & future here on earth with the culmination of Eternal Life.
When we begin to confess to ourselves, and out from ourselves to others, the Truth of what the Lord says about us in His Word, we transform from the brokenness, faults, & iniquities we came from into who we already are in Him. We become saved from our old flesh & spirit (past) into the new flesh & Spirit we have been made to when we accepted Jesus. When we believed in our heart, in that instance, not only was our Spirit made new & Holy, but our flesh was crucified with Christ & we now live a new flesh (the new man).
That as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation [behaviours of] the old man, which is corrupt [destroyed] according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
Our old flesh is dead. Our old ways of life are dead. And because of it, we no longer live by that flesh (which we used to live by); but now live by our Holy Spirit (Christ Spirit) in us, that is us (Galatians 2:20). Who we are is not our flesh & the behaviours of that former flesh; who we are is a Spirit (a Holy Spirit). Yes, we are in this earthly vessel, but who we are stems from our Spirit. We don’t have to try to be what the Lord wants us to be; we already are, and all we need to do is just Be Him in us. Yes, it is as simple as just being who we already are—no, not who we were (in the flesh), but who we are (in the Spirit).
And the best way to “just Be” in the Spirit is to discover what that means. This is done through understanding who Jesus was & how He was. He did not try to be Christ Jesus, He was. Jesus walked His life in the Spirit here on earth just like we are doing now. He had the benefit of being born sinless in the flesh, but we have been made sin-free (Righteous) by Him now…made as Him, like Him now. And when we read about Him in scripture, we can see how He let the Spirit Be Him. He did not struggle trying to be the Spirit in Him, He just was. And we now can do the same.
Often times, we try & “mimic” the life of Jesus out of our own free will ability in the flesh. But all that creates is a set-up to failure. We can never live a sinless life, perfect life, faultless life on this earth—the Law proved that. And because we experience our own imperfections, we put up facades to conceal them to others—closing off & being critical & hypocritical.
This was me. This is what I tried to do—live the life I thought I was supposed to do by living the most “perfect” life I could through acting it out. Yet I failed over & over & over again. I tried to keep up appearances, but it became such a burden, I collapsed under my own weight I carried—to the point of absolute frustration & quit. Living the “moral Christian life” was impossible. I needed to break, and I did. And in that true moment of humility of self, calling out to the Lord, He poured over, in, & through me His Grace! When I expected Him to not be near, to not hear me, He answered me. But He did not answer me with the answer I thought He would: anger & wrath. No, He answered me with Love & Grace.
Now He could build me up on His Truth that I am not the one who needs to “live right”, but that it is Him in me living out of me that makes me live right. When I live an experiential life from Him in me, Him Loving me, me Loving Him (not fearing Him), the Life I experienced fulfilled me & set me free from trying. I could now “just Be” Him in & through me. I began to allow the Spirit in me to start producing His Fruit.
The fruit of the Spirit is (Agape) Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith / faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Was this an easy change? No! This is why we need renewing of our thinking & of our heart. When we allow the Lord to change our heart (when we soften our heart to Him), we change. We must allow our hearts to be shaped by Him through His Word—for it’s more than hearing the Word, but the knowing of His word that sets us free. And we hear by the Word which then gives us the understanding of living by Faith
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
My son, if thou wilt receive my words,
and hide my commandments with thee;
so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom,
and apply thine heart to understanding;
It’s His Word that that cuts us free from who we became, cuts us free from our soul-ties to our former spirit, penetrates into our bodies to bring healing, and cuts through to our heart.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It is His Word we must hear more than the words of this world. We must let Him & His Word change us—not change our actions, but change our heart. For when we change our heart, our actions change. It’s from our heart that we make the choices in our life. It is our “free-will-generator”. What we do does not define who we are; who we are defines our actions. What is in our heart defines those actions—or more specifically, what we’ve allowed into our heart. For we believe from the heart, and we do the things we believe (whether of the Holy Spirit or our own / former nature).
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
for as he thinketh [reasons out / calculates / reckons / estimates] in his heart, so is he
for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
But we have something (someone) amazing that can & does change our hearts. So even if our hearts aren’t fully aligned with Him, He is greater. We can align our hearts with Him.
1 John 3:20-21
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
We have a Loving Father that sees the whole & complete picture of our lives & the influences or iniquities we’ve had on our lives that cause us to do what we do: He knows all things. And because He does, He knows how to untangle the mess of thoughts, emotions, strongholds, ties, & actions in our lives. He has done this for me in countless ways.
My past growing up in an abusive environment that lacked much of the positive nurturing a child needed, began a life developed in fear & control. And my self-protection was to build walls around me: both in words & in emotions. My child-mind (in my subconscious) tried to control minimize the abuse through control. “If maybe I would say less, the less I’d be in trouble.” But that didn’t work, but that was the only route I could take, because I didn’t know of any other way—I was didn’t have the knowledge (ignorant) of seeking help or advice from others or having the wisdom through experience to know better. I closed off. And I too, had to shut down emotionally to protect myself. I went from a young, open, adventurous, emotion-filled, love-expressing, little boy; to a quiet, shy, timid, boy, anchored in shame (which I didn’t know as shame at the time). This changed my life forever.
This was not how the Lord wanted me. But the Lord knew this would happen to me. So He wrote into my life His Grace (His True Gospel) that I would hear through others to begin to set myself free. By this time, I was 40 years old. My life, my choices, my actions my whole life till then was due to someone elses (this fallen-worlds) affect on my life.
But, Praise be to the Lord, He orchestrated into my life the people I needed: from my to-be wife, to my mom & step dad, to church & the people at church, to pastors & teachers of the Gospel of Grace, to my counselors. He cared so much for me, that He used all He could at His disposal to start my change in life from who I was to who He made me to be!
We all have experiences—alot from childhood—but also from traumatic experiences at any age. This, without always knowing it, affects (shapes) our heart. And as such, our actions in life are affected.
Additionally, we continue to live in a fallen-world that bombards us with things contrary to the Word of God. This is seen in some areas of government, political institutions, education systems, science, media, music, movies, & television. This is why we are instructed to protect ourselves:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil [diabolos]. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
It’s the “wiles of devil” we are protecting ourselves from. This is those things which counter the Word of God. We are not talking about the Devil himself—the Greek word for devil is diabolos; it means:
1. prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely
a. a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer,
2. metaph. applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him
And the Greek word for wiles is methodeia, meaning: cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery.
What we are facing is someone (or an over-arching group of people like a government or organization) that speaks, implements, or enforces a way of life or understanding that “opposes the cause of God”. We have to stand firm against the deceit of slander & false accusations. These are the persecutions we face.
And because we can be deceived (even by others who themselves are deceived), our heart becomes affected. We can easily start believing the lie. Our natural tendency at times is to believe what we experience more through our natural senses (see, hear, feel, taste, & smell) than that which is by Faith (often unseen). But when we do surround ourself with Faith-experiences (like Jesus did with His Twelve Disciples), it begins to break down our “known” into a new Reality: God’s Reality.
Just as our lives (through our heart) get shaped by our experiences, so does our life get shaped by our experiences with the Lord.
O taste and see [experience] that the Lord is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him
When we experience His Goodness, we change, and we change dramatically. This fallen world has caked over us a hardened crust (like porcelain) that has caused us to be who we are by our actions. But the Lord rescued us from that through Christ Jesus. He came to set us free—to break out from the hardened enclosure around us. To be free, to mover free, to live free: free from sin, free from offense, free from ourselves. For we believe we know best, but we don’t!
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes;
but the Lord weigheth the spirits.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes:
but the Lord pondereth the hearts.
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool:
but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
When we do as we have determined in our heart for ourself, it is contrary to the Lord. We walk in our own imagination.
But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
This is why we must submit to Him. This is why we mustn’t believe the stories we tell ourselves in our hearts that excuse (self-justify) our actions.
How often do I dwell on a fault or an error (either my own fault / error, or that of someone else), then play out a story—usually one that justifies my actions or to-be actions. A story that is usually worst-case scenario that gives me reason to behave, act, or not act in what the Holy Spirit wants me to do. I hold onto unforgiveness or bitterness. And what ends up happening is I either close myself off to the other person or myself. Sometimes I lash out about how I’m affected (in a prideful / self way). None of which is just being in the Spirit. This is falling back into the behaviours & norms that I learned in the old flesh.
This is why we must align our heart to Him—for when we do, we do His Will as our will.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
3. Our "selves" in this World (Changed by Grace)
But this can be difficult as humans in a fallen world as we are surrounded & bombarded by so many things that are contrary to the Lord. All of this affects us in some way. Yes, when we are Born-Again, we no longer live out from & by the fleshly life we used to; but now live in & by the Spirit.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit
Does that mean we are only “Spirit Beings”? No. Our spirit is eternal—whether eternal with the Lord, or apart from the Lord—but we are more than just that spirit. We are: the Spirit (that which Lives forever), in a body (physical senses), with a soul (emotions), a mind (thoughts & memories), a conscious (the discerner of good & evil), & a heart (our free-will / decision generator & where our beliefs rest).
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
We can see in scripture all the different pieces that make up our existence. We exist on this earth with all of these as our reality; but it is Christ (being our own Spirit) that we live from & out of, changing from the Glory of our Spirit to bring that same Glory to our current reality (2 Corinthians 3:18). But in all these areas the Lord (the Holy Spirit) in us begins to renew us in—breaking off the pieces of plaster that have bound us & the cords that try & keep us tied down to the ways of the world: the thinking & believing of the world that says:
· We are sick people trying to be healthy. But Christ made us healthy, bearing all sickness & disease upon Himself.
· We are powerless against the forces of darkness & Satan. But Christ conquered Satan & instilled us with authority that was lost at the Fall—restoring that dominion.
· We have to get rich to be happy or to just live. But our Father is our provider of home, clothes, & food.
· We are sinners. Christ redeemed us & forgave all our sins—He considered us so valuble & worthy to Him that He gave His life for us.
· That I have to do everything on my own. But Christ said to share His yolk & that He does with us…we are never alone or on our own.
· That we must earn favor from God. But we have already been blessed with ALL Spiritual blessings in the here & now.
When we study scripture to see who He has made us as, being Born-Again into His Kingdom, we start to let go of what we held onto as true in our lives before. No longer then do I see myself as wanting, I see myself as having plenty. And this is not a learning-to-be, it’s a learning to know—to know what I already have been made into, and what I have already been given. To now start experiencing the me of now (the new man), forgetting the me of then (the old man).
There’s a saying sometimes credited to Michelangelo regarding his sculptures that reflects what we go through & experience as we realize our True self: David was always there in the marble. I just took away everything that was not David.
This is what the work of the Holy Spirit does with us; we begin the task of removing what does not belong to reveal our True identity: that we are now created (like Adam was), in the likeness of the Lord (Father, Son, & Holy Ghost). This is who we are. And this taking away is the pains we feel as they are our strongholds (the things / beliefs we held onto before) that break. We feel the pain of that “tearing away” at times—not always—but we can. And this is an amazing & joyous part of our life as we are set free to Be as Christ Jesus is! Let’s rejoice with Heaven as we get set free in so many intricate aspects of our Eternal Life! This is the cleansing & washing of regeneration we see happen in our external lives.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1 John 4:17b
because as he [Jesus] is, so are we in this world.
This is how we can look at ourselves & see Christ Jesus, and know that (if we are Born-Again) we Live in the Spirit & our old flesh has been crucified.
2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
It is crucified with Christ. And because of that, we no longer live as the flesh, but we Live as the Spirit. If we are not Born-Again, we are still living in the flesh, and thus live a life unto condemnation—the final outcome of condemnation (not believing in Christ) being eternal Death.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, [for they are Born-Again, and] walk not after [as] the flesh, but after [as] the Spirit.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from Death unto Life.
But if we are Born-Again we now Live from the Spirit (our Holy Spirit) in us. And we enjoy all the benefits thereof. Not only no longer a life that leads to death, but a Life that is restored which the Spirit in us brings that Life into our still-mortal bodies. All of Romans 8 brings to perspective how before we believed on Him, we lived unto the flesh; but after we believed & were Born-Again, our flesh was crucified & we now live by Christ’s Spirit (our Spirit) in us. Here are key aspects to that in Romans 8.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his [not Born-Again]. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [bring His Life to] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
He brings us to Life—to the experiencing of that Life of Faith that Christ died to give us. It’s ours to live now. We don’t have to wait till we get to heaven. Our flesh is dead, we don’t have to fight it. So then why does it feel like I am being tested when I stand in Faith to what the Word says about me? Because my mind, my body, still remembers & holds onto the past it knew as “true”. The “test” is not from God—the test is from this world & the lies we believed. God cannot test us.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Thus, if it’s not God, all we are left with is this fallen world. But when we do face that trial & persevere, we receive “the crown of life” which is His Life free from the stronghold & way of thinking we held onto before. It’s our own sin, the sin living in us, that snares us through our own temptations. These temptations are seen in the everyday choices we make in life: we are either living from the Spirit & make choices accordingly, or we are tempted by our old ways of doing things which were of the flesh. We feel the struggle. We don’t always heed to the Spirit because it is new to us & we have not experienced the results when of the Spirit…we only have a familiarity with our own control of things & the pre-conceived outcomes we have come to accept.
This is often a difficult task when we come into direct conflict with the Spirit. We know we need to submit to the Spirit, but we don’t always feel we have the strength or ability. Or aren’t willing to take that “risk”…or as we like to say, “leap of faith”. It’s hard to overcome the sin that so easily deceived & entangled us. This sin can still dwell in us just like Paul had to face. He knew it wasn’t him (as the Spirit) doing it, but that it was still sin dwelling in him that caused the conflict. He hated it! I hate it when I see it happen in me!
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Sin still dwells in the body of our flesh—that is in the memory of what the flesh was. Sin worked in the old flesh which still has memories of that time. Although that old flesh (old man) is dead, the new flesh (new man) still recalls the old ways. It’s as though the old is plugged into life support & our process is to make sure that life support gets & stays unplugged. We can’t “mortify” our members if we still keep it plugged into life support.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
When we unplug it, it begins to decay to a point where the sin in those members decay with it.
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
What mortifies the flesh (body) to sin? The Spirit. What gives life-support to sin? The Law.
1 Corinthians 15:56
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
This is why Paul so adamantly preached Grace. He was from the Law (a Pharisee or Pharisees). He knew more about the Law than anyone, yet he came to understand the fullness of what the Law does & did, and what the fullness of Christ & Grace brought. Paul’s letter to Galatia was written as a chastisement to them for not living completely in the Grace of Christ. He even called out Peter for falling back into the Law with the Jews (Galatians 2:11-16).
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
The Law appeals to the flesh because it puts the flesh in control. But what the Law proved was that it was impossible to keep the Law—impossible. So much so, that it should bring you to repentance saying, “I need a Saviour to rescue me from this impossibility.” And that’s exactly what Christ did: He fulfilled the entire Law as well as the Prophets. And on the Cross, He exclaimed “It is finished”.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Christ never came to make us live a life of the Law. He came to live that life for us & set us free from living it. For freedoms sake He came to set us free.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [the Law]. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised [in your heart to the Law], Christ shall profit you nothing.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Christ is our freedom & easy yoke to live to Love, not live to obey the Law. God’s only command to us is to believe on Jesus Christ & to Love as well. And Christ’s only commandment to us was to obey His teaching & Agape Love everyone—to live in the Spirit, because Agape Love (God’s kind of Love) can only be out from His Spirit in us. And when we Agape Love, we in turn don’t sin (break the Law).
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
1 John 3:23-24
And this is his [God’s] commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
The Law demonstrated God’s way of Love to us. This is how much He Loves us, that knowing we could not, out of our own heart & ability, Love the way He does, He came to Love that way for us. And He died to seal in that Love to be in us. He sealed us (our Spirit) with the Holy Spirit. We have that Holiness in us that is His Holiness. We are like Him. We can Agape Love just like He does. Love is what we see in Him; and Love is what others can see in us. For God is Love.
1 John 4:7-17
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
We can Love, because we dwell in Him (Love) and He (Love) in us. Our new Nature is Love. When we Live by who we are in the Spirit, out comes Love. But we need help with this. This is why Jesus promised a Helper for us, the Holy Spirit. So, even though our own Spirit is made Holy (into a Holy Spirit) as Christ Jesus’s Spirit was, God’s provision is abundance. He provided the Holy Spirit for Jesus (who Himself was perfect). So likewise, we have that same Gift for us, because Jesus has sent Him to us.
4. Holy Spirit and Fire (Changing)
I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you as orphans: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
One aspect mentioned here is that, talking with the Disciples, Jesus says the Holy Spirit has been with them. Before Christ came, we saw that the Holy Spirit came upon people for periods of time, not always with them permanently. This can be seen clearly with King Saul when he disobeyed God & the Holy Spirit left him (1 Samuel 16:14). This is too why King David cried out to the Lord not to remove the Holy Spirit from him as he witnessed first-hand with Saul (Psalms 51:11). But when Jesus came, the Holy Spirit was with the Disciples—but not yet in them as He had been with Jesus.
A side-note: John the Baptist was born filled with the Holy Spirit. He is the only one pre-Jesus to have that occur though the Gift of the Lord. Jesus was not even born filled with the Holy Spirit. Yes, His own Spirit was Holy (as is ours upon being Born-Again). For John the Baptist, this was unique, for the Lord called him for a purpose & equipped him for the task. God equips those He calls.
And the Father equipped Jesus as well by providing Him the Holy Spirit. And he promised, through Jesus Christ, that we too will be blessed by the Holy Spirit and fire. It’s a dual blessing of baptism.
Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
Why the fire? Because the fire burns up anything that does not belong to the Gospel of Grace. This is the wood, hay, & stubble that gets burned up when tested. The ways of this world test the Gospel of Christ, and this fire that is Christ will destroy what doesn’t belong. What is left after the fire is that which is the Truth: a life of Faith. Christ, His Grace, His Faith, that is our foundation to build into our lives (Hebrews 6:1-3). And the only way to maintain that True Foundation is to remove the impurities & things that do not hold up. It feels tough when we experience that test which fights against our life in Christ—it feels as though we’ve been scathed by the fire, when we have actually been saved (restored) by that fire.
1 Corinthians 3:9-15
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1 Peter 1:5-7
[We] are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold trials: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
That fire is the removal process (renewing of the mind) that we go through—that the Lord wants us to go through. No, He’s not the one testing us; it is our old self, the Law / Legalistic values we hold, the doctrines we’ve learned, etc are the ones that test our life of Faith of which we do live by. And when those non-Faith things run up against Christ’s fire, it gets burned up—it get’s removed from our life. And when it does get removed, we get set free from it (saved) & then live that aspect of our life in Faith. But if we, after it’s been burned (removed / destroyed) build it up again, it just gets burned up again & again. This creates the frustration of “living a Christian life” that we feel. We then (no pun intended) get burned-out with Christianity. Not because it’s hard, but because we keep piling up wood, hay, & stubble to the fire & feel the heat (struggle) from it. We never set ourselves free because we keep fighting the fire that will never go out.
Paul warned about building back the Law / Legalistic way he used to live by. Because if he did, he’d make himself a transgressor against the Faith of Christ Jesus.
We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
His fire is a cleansing tool for us. This fire Jesus baptizes us with is a wonderful Gift we need to embrace. It truly sets us free. It gives us that means & ability to become free! And the Holy Spirit is the power (Help) we need to make that happen. He not only is that needed Help, but also the Comforter that ministers to us in those moments we seem to be in the fire. He gives us understanding to what we are experiencing, feeling, & emotionally go through. He is our Counselor that will listen to us as thoughts race through our heads with questions, our blame (finger-pointing at others, ourselves, or even the Lord), guilt, shame, anger, fear, frustration & agitation. He brings meaning & Truth to the situation—and it is often that revelation of Truth that sets us free from our thoughts, feelings, & emotions.
The group that was gathered at Pentecost experienced this baptism by Jesus Christ. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit was that of “cloven tongues of fire” symbolizing what John the Baptist prophesized (Luke 3:16)—that being, “The Holy Spirit and fire”. And this Baptizing has not stopped—it is for all who ask the Father.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
And He has given us the Holy Spirit! To all people everywhere. He poured out the Holy Spirit upon the whole earth. At Creation, the Holy Spirit “moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). And now, because of what Christ accomplished, we have Him back on this earth—not just hovering, but side-by-side with every person on the face of the earth! He Truly is a personal God to each & every person. He’s not just “hovering out of reach” where we have to call Him down to be with us. No! He is with every person. He speaks to every person. He never leaves us ever, no matter if we’ve left Him or not even come to Him.
this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
And this is what Jesus prayed about (John 14:16-19). Jesus’ prayers always come true. We have the Holy Spirit with each of us because He speaks to each of us. To a non-believer, He speaks the Truth of Jesus Christ to them. He speaks to everyone that we have all been made Righteous in Christ Jesus. And He speaks to all people that Satan has been Judged.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
[Reprove the world] of sin, because they believe not on me;
[Reprove the world] of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
[Reprove the world] of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
“Of sin, because they believe not on me.” This is crucial: the Holy Spirit is not convicting us of our sins—those of the flesh—for all our fleshly sins have been forgiven. The only sin being addressed is the Sin of not believing on Christ Jesus. When we believe, then this Sin is taken care of & there is no other sin to address. No other sin we commit is held against us. The Holy Spirit never points out our sins, He points out our Righteousness. Christ came to set us free from sin & condemnation.
1 John 3:19-24
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
And as a believer, He doesn’t address any sin. Instead, He gently just speaks to us to remind us that we have Him to help us do all things through a belief in Him.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
“Of Righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no longer.” The Holy Spirit reminds us of our Right-Standing with God . We are Righteous because Christ Jesus accomplished all He did on earth. And because all is accomplished, He has gone to Heaven to sit at the Right Hand of His Father. He is resting in His Completed Work.
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
“Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” Satan has been found guilty & has been defeated. His fate is set, his authority stripped, & his eternal demise established. He was cast out from Heaven, conquered by Jesus Christ, and placed beneath us (no longer having authority over us). No longer can he go before God & accuse anyone—he has been removed (cast down) from Heaven.
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
And there was war in heaven (Matthew 11:12): Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth (Luke 10:18), and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
His short time is the time he has until the Lord comes again. Satan has been judged—the Lord made their decision (judgment) & what is done can never be undone. Satan is nothing but a liar & a deceiver upon this earth. But he does not have any more authority over us that we don’t allow. But our Righteousness through Christ Jesus far overcomes him!
The Holy Spirit is our reminder in that & more. For in all three cases from John 16:7-11, the Holy Spirit testifies of the Truth that is Christ Jesus, all He accomplished & gifted to us, and the Truth to believe in Him.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
He speaks the Truth of all things to all people; helping everyone through what they are experiencing. This is why we need to desire Him more. For the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) wants so much to be an overwhelming (powerful) force in our lives. And He has both the ability & desire to be that integral part of our lives! He doesn’t just want to be with us, He wants to fill us—to be in us as that overflowing Spirit of Life.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
5. (Full) of Him
Being full of the Holy Spirit brings us ability which we would & could not experience before. And it was not only Jesus that was filled, but many others—from the group gathered at Pentecost (Acts 4:2), to the accounts of Peter (Acts 4:8), the seven chosen to oversee the widows (Acts 6:3) which included Stephen being full (Acts 7:55), Paul (Acts 13:9), groups of disciples (Acts 13:52), and others (Acts 4:31).
Jesus Christ first gave the Disciples the Holy Spirit before ascending into Heaven, and instructing them to wait until it came upon all people as witnessed at Pentecost by the group gathered.
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
When we ask & allow the Holy Spirit to come into us, we become more than just a Born-Again Holy Spirit, we receive, through us, a unique power that allows us to be far greater in His calling than ever. We witness that in Peter’s transformation from one who denied Jesus to a child, to someone who spoke boldly spoke to a crowd of 3,000. This is the boldness the group prayed about & received after Peter & John testified about their persecution.
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
This boldness, this power, this changing ability, I have seen in my own life. I was Born-Again & water baptized in a pool soon after at the age of 16. Yet, because I did not understand about their being more than that, it wasn’t until I was 40 years old that I accepted & received the Holy Spirit in me.
I can look back on my life & see the Holy Spirit with me. He spoke to me & I would hear Him in many ways through a unique inner feeling that was real to me. At times, it would be a feeling of, “I can’t leave the house right now to go to work”. It didn’t make sense to me. Thoughts of why would cross my mind…from “did I forget something” to “is something bad going to happen if I leave now”. I would not know why, but I would just obey. Hardly was it that I forgot something. Most times it was just an instruction to wait. And after a time, that feeling would change to one of, “now it is ok to leave”. And I’d be on my way.
I can’t explain why—all I know it wasn’t me, so I give credit to the Lord (Holy Spirit). For it may have been to avoid an accident, or my drive would interrupt someone else’s path to protect them. I may not ever know. But I praise the Lord.
The Holy Spirit also revealed to me times He would speak through my actions as a young child—before I was Born-Again. I would often minister to my mom through kind gestures of picking flowers or finding interesting crystallized rocks. This spoke to her as only a mom could understand. And when I did it, I did not know it was the Lord ministering to my mom though me.
Let’s not dismiss the actions of a child as just their innocence or love—for it can be their innocence & innate love that the Holy Spirit is speaking through. That beautiful unquestioning simplicity & innocent, worry-free youth frees a child to hear the Holy Spirit. This is the type of relationship the Lord wants us to have with Him.
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
So how did I, as an adult, receive the Holy Spirit in me? I had to humble myself as like a child. This wasn’t a forced behavior or emotional change, this was just letting go of my pride (self-control), and just accepting as true what the Lord promised me. Becoming like a child was to unconditionally trust Him.
A child has an inherent trust to a parent. They don’t have to try & trust a parent, they are just born (created) that way. We lose that trust over time as parents aren’t perfect. But that trust extends to more than just a parent, the Lord designed that unwavering trust to be placed in a True Father—one that is perfect & can be trusted in all things. One whom is always good; He does not manipulate, punish, abuse, abandon, get angry, yells, nor threatens us. This Father is Love (1 John 4:16). And since God is Love:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love [God] suffers long and is kind; Love [God] does not envy; Love [God] does not parade itself [Himself], is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its [His] own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love [God] never fails.
We don’t have parents that good. We ourselves aren’t that perfect either. That is why we get jaded in areas of trust. Trust goes from being natural, to trust “being earned”. And sadly, we do that to our Father in Heaven…we expect Him to “earn our trust”. This is why we must let go of our misconceptions of trust as an adult & just trust as a child does—unconditionally and with vulnerability. Vulnerability lets other into our live in relationships; and do we open up our lives (our heart) to Him when we make ourselves vulnerable through the letting go of control.
When I approached the Lord for receiving in me the Holy Spirit, I had to let go of my fear. I had a dad on earth that I did not trust, and that distrust was directed to God. This was very hard for me to do. I was scared!
The Lord, about 8 years prior, ministered to me on receiving the Holy Spirit, but I walled off & rejected it. My religious mind could not accept it. The seeds scattered by friends in my life at that time fell on hardened soil (a hardened heart). But the Lord knew that, and some seeds must’ve remained. For when the time came where I had softened my heart enough, I accepted it. And I fed my heart with as much seed & water as I could: sermons, testimonies, & digging into the Truth myself. So, one day, after listening to some sermons on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit & Speaking in Tongues, I put aside my flesh (fasted), and alone in my loft, sought the Lord. This was the night of May 28th.
I finished the last sermon, and holding true Luke 11:13, I asked the Lord to fill me and also to speak in Tongues. It was extremely scary for me (which was a fear in the flesh). I was asking the Lord for something I didn’t fully understand. I was having to give up control; something the flesh does not like doing. I did not know what to expect. I was afraid of the unknown.
But the Lord keeps His promises and holds true to His on Word. He cut through my fear, my feelings, & my emotions, and delivered into me a Filling that was unmistakably Him! Unmistakable, because I could in no way duplicate the experience on my own or by any earthly means myself.
Everyone will have different & unique experiences. This is just my account (not a representation of God’s only way of doing things, but a single account of God’s innumerable, special, & personal ways in which He moves & reveals His presence!
I was so overwhelmed by the event, that I did not have the energy to stay standing. I laid on the floor & felt His Spirit, His Holy Ghost, fill me up! It was as a balloon filling with water to the point that it feels as it is about to burst. But it doesn’t bust. I didn’t burst; it just pressed on the inside of me outwards a pressure never felt before. And out flowed His Words—His Tongue! A moment swelled up in a Joy from my core, from my heart, was truly the Joy of the Spirit in me. Crying in Joy I laid there, arms & legs outspread from His filling in me. I laid there for about an hour. And with my eyes closed, I could see in the Spirit, Jesus standing next to me as I lay on the floor. His feet just in arms-length from me—so real, I literally moved my arm out to try & touch Him. He personally came to baptize me in the Holy Ghost. He is still and will always be that personal of a God, Father, & Friend! And they: the Father, Son, & Holy Ghost have never ever ever left me.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
His Spirit, His presence, His Love will be with us—He will never abandon us as orphans (John 14:16-19).
And from that day on, my life has never been the same. Do I walk perpetually in the feeling I got that night of His filling? No. But I don’t require that to know He is in me. But if I do feel that sensation again, I don’t refuse it, but embrace it. But how did I see my life change? He, the Holy Spirit, became my teacher & brought out of the scripture all that which was about the Good News—the Gospel of Jesus & all that that meant!
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Scripture became new to me. The meaning went from condemnation to seeing a Loving God (not a condemning one). Those filters of anger & pain towards God I had began to go away; and I started seeing Him as my Father who Loved me! I now had a compassion for Him & a desire to want to learn & study about this “new” (new-to-me) Father I had never experienced before. I started to head towards Him from being so distant from Him for so long. The Holy Spirit opened me up to a Love I never felt, nor experienced before. His closeness to me. His language in me of Tongues that flowed out.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
But boy, speaking in Tongues was hard for my flesh to accept. Maybe it was years of hearing the world make fun of it, or just the fact it wasn’t my flesh producing it that caused such confusion in my mind: doubts about the validity of it, and even feeling like I can’t let anyone know.
But the Holy Spirit persevered through all my doubts & confusion. And out flowed such beauty. It was not gibberish, but I could tell that it had the fluidity of language. At times, it was just distinct & unique. Other times it sounded like an Asian language, or a Middle Eastern language, or an African language. In all cases, it had variety. I would dwell on someone or something to pray on, and the tone, language, & even pitch of it would change. It was though the language was specific to the cause—the prayer language was perfect for whatever I was focused on praying about.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
I just need to let the Holy Spirit do the talking—whether in a Spirit-Language, or in another language on this earth that I may have no personal ability to speak. And this we can do. Just start saying a few words and let (let go of self) and let the Spirit through you & me speak. And when we let Him, whether in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Korean, Spanish, Greek, Mandarin, or any other known or unknown language, we pray a perfect prayer.
Jesus only spoke the words of the Holy Spirit, even though He was speaking in Aramaic, or Greek, or Hebrew. This is why scripture refers to Jesus as, “and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying…” (Matthew 5:2). It does not say He spoke, but that He opened His mouth. It wasn’t Jesus Himself as a human speaking; the Holy Spirit spoke out from Him. This is how we speak through the Spirit as well. We form the words in our mouth physically, but it not out of our own mind & capability that we speak from. In a sense, we let the Holy Spirit use our vocal chords to speak through.
This same phrase, “opened his mouth” is also seen with Philip (Acts 8:35), Peter (Acts 10:34), & Paul (Acts 18:14); demonstrating how the Holy Spirit does provide us with the words to say in the moments we need to say them.
And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
Let us let the Holy Spirit be, not only with us, but in us. Let Him flow out from us. Let Him be the words to say to others & to ourselves. This is is such a beautiful thing to be a part of—Him in me, & I in Him—a co-existence. He never wants me to go out & do by myself for Him; He wants us to be with Him & Him with us in the doing of all things. His strength & ability to do so is without diminishment. The Holy Spirit is ours to accept—not for the taking—but for the receiving. All we have to do is ask. That’s all I did.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Oh how wonderful He is!