Wholesome Words Home
Doctrinal & Practical Writings

He That Is Spiritual

by Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952)

Chapter 2—The Ministries of the Spirit

L. S. ChaferA Christian is a Christian because he is rightly related to Christ; but "he that is spiritual" is spiritual because he is rightly related to the Spirit, in addition to his relation to Christ in salvation. It therefore follows that any attempt to discover the fact and conditions of true spirituality must be based upon a clear understanding of the Bible revelation concerning the Spirit in His possible relationships to men. It seems to be the latest device of Satan to create confusion concerning the work of the Spirit, and this confusion appears among the most pious and earnest believers. The quality of the believer's life is a tremendous issue before God, and Satan's power is naturally directed against the purpose of God. Satan's ends could be gained in no better way than to promote some statement of truth that misses the vital issues, or establishes positive error, and thus hinders the right understanding of the divinely provided source of blessing. This general confusion on the Bible teachings regarding the Spirit is reflected in our hymnology. Bible expositors are united in deploring the fact that so many hymns on the Spirit are unscriptural. This confusion is also reflected to-day in the unbalanced and unbiblical theories which are held by some sects.

The Changing Relationships

It is not within the purpose of this book to undertake a complete statement of the Bible teachings concerning the Spirit of God, but certain aspects of the whole revelation must be understood and received before the God-provided life and walk in the Spirit can be comprehended or intelligently entered into. The Bible teaching concerning the Spirit may be divided into three general divisions: (1) The Spirit according to the Old Testament; (2) The Spirit according to the Gospels and as far in the Scriptures as The Acts 10:43; (3) The Spirit according to the remainder of The Acts and the Epistles.

I. The Spirit According to the Old Testament.

Here, as in all the Scriptures, the Spirit of God is declared to be a Person, rather than an influence. He is revealed as being equal in deity and attributes with the other Persons of the Godhead. However, though ceaselessly active in all the centuries before the cross, it was not until after that great event that He became an abiding Presence in the hearts of men (John 7:37-39; 14:16, 17). He often came upon people as revealed in the events which are recorded in the Old Testament. He came upon them to accomplish certain objects and left them, when the work was done, as freely as He had come. So far as the record goes, no person in that whole period had any choice, or expected to have any choice, in the sovereign movements of the Spirit. Elisha and David are sometimes thought to be exceptions. It is not at all clear that Elisha's request to Elijah, "let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me," was, in the mind of the young man Elisha, a prayer for the Spirit of God. David did pray that the Spirit should not be taken from him; but this was in connection with his great sin. His prayer was that the Spirit should not depart because of his sin. His confession was before God and the occasion was removed. During the period covered by the Old Testament, the Spirit was related to men in a sovereign way. In the light of subsequent revelation in the New Testament the prayer of David, "and take not thy Holy Spirit from me," cannot reasonably be made now. The Spirit has come to abide.

II. The Spirit According to the Gospels and the Acts to 10:43.

The essential character of the Spirit's relation to men during the period of the Gospels is that of transition, or progression, from the age-long relationships of the Old Testament to the final and abiding relationships in this dispensation of grace.

The early instruction of the disciples had been in the Old Testament, and the statement from Christ that the Spirit might be had by asking (Lk. 11:13) was so new to them that, so far as the record goes, they never asked. This new relationship, suggested by the statement, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him," characterizes a forward step in the progressive relationship of the Spirit with men during the Gospel period.

Just before His death Jesus said: "And 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" (John 14:16, 17). The words, "I will pray," may have suggested to the disciples that they had failed to pray. However, the prayer of the Son of God cannot be unanswered and the Spirit who was "with" them was soon to be "in" them.

After His resurrection and just before His ascension, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said unto them, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). They possessed the indwelling Spirit from that moment; but that relationship was evidently incomplete according to the plan and purpose of God, for He soon "commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me" (Acts 1:4, cf. Lk. 24:49). The "promise of the Father" was of the Spirit, but evidently concerning that yet unexperienced ministry of the Spirit coming them "upon" for power.

There was, then, a period, according to the Gospels, when the disciples were without the Spirit as the multitudes of the Old Testament time had been; but they were granted the new privilege of prayer for the presence of the Spirit. Later, the Lord Himself prayed to the Father that the Spirit who was then with them might be in them to abide. He then breathed on them and they received the indwelling Spirit; yet they were commanded not to depart out of Jerusalem. No service could be undertaken and no ministry performed until the Spirit had come upon them for power. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me." This is a revelation of conditions which are abiding. It is not enough that servants and witnesses have received the Spirit: He must come upon them, or fill them.

The Day of Pentecost

At least three distinct things were accomplished on the Day of Pentecost concerning the relationship of the Spirit with men:

(1) The Spirit made His advent into the world here to abide throughout this dispensation. As Christ is now located at the right hand of God, though omnipresent, so the Spirit, though omnipresent, is now locally abiding in the world, in a temple, or habitation, of living stones (Eph. 2:19-22). The individual believer is also spoken of as a temple of the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). The Spirit will not leave the world, or even one stone of that building until the age-long purpose of forming that temple is finished. The Ephesian passage reads thus: "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built [being built, into the temple, cf. v. 21] upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [New Testament prophets, cf. 4:11], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded [are being builded] together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

The Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost and that aspect of the meaning of Pentecost will no more be repeated than the incarnation of Christ. There is no occasion to call the Spirit to "come" for He is here.

(2) Again, Pentecost marked the beginning of the formation of a new body, or organism which, in its relation to Christ, is called "the church which is his body." Though the Church had not been mentioned in the Old Testament, Christ had promised that He would "build" it. "Upon this rock I will build my church" (Mt. 16:18). The Church, as a distinct organism, is not mentioned as in existence until after the advent of the Spirit at Pentecost. It is then stated "And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41. While the Greek word for the church does not appear in this text, as it does in 2:47,— "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved," the unity which is here being formed is none other than the Church. See also Acts 5:14; 11:24.) According to these passages, the Church, which in the Gospels was yet future, is already brought into existence and to it (the believers united to the Lord), are being added "such as should be saved." It is said that "the Lord was adding to the church." Certainly there is no reference here to a human organization, for no such thing had been formed. It is not a membership created by human voice, for it is the Lord who is adding to this Church. A body had begun to be formed of members who were vitally joined to Christ and indwelt by the Spirit and these very facts of relationship made them an organism and united them by ties which are closer than any human ties. To this organism other members were being "added" as they were saved. That formation and subsequent building of the "church which is his body" is the baptism with the Holy Spirit as it is written: "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body" (1 Cor. 12:12, 13). Thus the meaning of Pentecost includes, as well, the beginning of the baptizing ministry of the Spirit of God. This ministry is evidently accomplished whenever a soul is saved.

(3) So, also, at Pentecost the lives that were prepared were filled with the Spirit, or the Spirit came upon them for power as promised. Thus they began the age-long ministry of witnessing. The mighty effect of this new ministry of the Spirit was especially revealed in the case of Peter. Before, he had cursed and sworn for fear in the presence of a little maid: now he not only fearlessly accuses the rulers of the Nation of being guilty of the murder of the Prince of Life, but the power of his testimony is seen in the salvation of three thousand souls.

Thus the full meaning of Pentecost was revealed in the advent of the Spirit into the world to abide throughout this dispensation; in the baptism of many members into Christ; and the empowering of those whose lives were prepared for the work of witnessing unto Christ.

A careful student of the Scriptures may distinguish yet one further step in the whole transition from the relationships of the Spirit as revealed in the Old Testament to that which is the final relationship in the present dispensation. Much that has been mentioned thus far is made permanent in this age. The last step here mentioned is in regard to the fact that during the well defined period in which the Gospel was preached to Jews only, which was from Pentecost to Peter's visit to Cornelius, or about eight years, the Spirit, in one case at least, was received through the Jewish rite (Heb. 6:2) of the laying on of hands (Acts 8:14- 17). Though this human rite was continued in a few instances in connection with the filling of the Spirit and for service (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 19:6; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6), the Spirit was to be received, under the final provisions for this age, by believing on Christ for salvation (John 7:37-39).

This final condition for receiving the Spirit began with the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles in Cornelius' house (Acts 10:44. cf. Acts 15:7-9, 14) and has continued throughout the age. There is no record that hands were laid on believers in Cornelius' house. The Spirit "fell upon them" (this phrase is evidently synonymous with receiving the Spirit) when they believed (Acts 8:18; 10:43, 44; 11:14, 15). The events in Cornelius' house undoubtedly marked the beginning of a new and abiding order.

III. The Spirit According to the Remainder of the Acts and the Epistles.

The final and abiding relationships of the Spirit with men in this age are revealed under seven ministries. Two of these are ministries to the unsaved world; four are ministries to all believers alike; and one is a ministry to all believers who come into right adjustment with God.

The Ministries of the Spirit

These seven ministries are:

First, The Ministry of the Spirit in Restraining.
The one passage bearing on this aspect of the Spirit's work (2 Thes. 2:6-8) is not wholly free from disagreement among Bible students. In the passage, the Apostle has just disclosed the fact that, immediately before the return of Christ in His glory, there will be an apostasy and the "man of sin" will be revealed "who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped" He then goes on to state: "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the: way. And then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." "The man of sin" must appear with all the power of Satan (v. 9); but he will appear at God's appointed time,—"that he may be revealed in his time," and this will be as soon as a hindering One be gone out of His place. Then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy at His coming.

The name of the restrainer, here referred to, is not revealed. His sovereign power over the earth and all the forces of darkness identifies Him with the Godhead, and since the Spirit is the present active force in this dispensation, it follows that the reference in the passage is to the Spirit of God. Satan might have sufficient power; but hardly would it be exercised against himself. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." It is evident that it is the Spirit of God who hinders Satan's man and Satan's projects until the divinely appointed time. There is no hint that Satan will withdraw, or be removed out of the way before this "man of sin" can be revealed; but there is a sense in which the Spirit will be removed. That particular relationship or Presence which began with the Church and has continued with the Church will naturally cease when the Church is removed. As the Omnipresent One, the Spirit will remain, but His present ministry and abode in the Church will have been changed. The Spirit was in the world before Pentecost; yet we are told that He came on that day as had been promised. He came in the sense that He took up a new abode in the Church —the body of believers—and a new ministry in the world. This ministry will cease when the Church is gathered out and His abode will be ended when His temple of living stones is removed. Thus it may be concluded that His going will be but the reversal of Pentecost and will not imply His entire absence from the world. He will rather return to those relationships and ministries which were His before this dispensation began. There are clear assurances of the presence and power of the Spirit in the world after the departure of the Church. The restraining power of the Spirit will be withdrawn and the Church removed at a time known to God, and then will the forces of darkness be permitted to come to their final display and judgment.

An evidence of the Spirit's power to restrain may be seen in the fact that with all their profanity men do not now swear in the name of the Holy Spirit. There is a restraining power in the world and it is evidently one of the present ministries of the Spirit.

Second, The Ministry of the Spirit in Reproving the World of Sin, Righteousness and Judgment.
This ministry, by its very nature, must be a dealing with the individual, rather than with the world as a whole. The passage reads: "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" (John 16:8-11). This passage indicates a three-fold ministry.

(1) The Spirit enlightens the unsaved with regard to one sin only: "Of sin, because they believe not on me." The full judgment of sin has been taken up and completed at the cross (John 1:29). Hence a lost man must be made aware of the fact that, because of the cross, his present obligation to God is that of accepting God's provided cure for his sins. In this ministry, the Spirit does not shame the unsaved because of their sins; but He reveals the fact of a Saviour, and One who may be received or rejected.

(2) The Spirit illuminates the unsaved with respect to righteousness and that, "because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more." How can a sinner be made righteous in the eyes of a Holy God? It will not be by any attempted self-improvement. There is a righteousness for him from God, which is unto all and upon all who believe. It is foreign to the wisdom of this world that a perfect righteousness can be gained by simply believing and believing on an invisible Person who is at the right hand of God; yet every lost soul must, in some measure, sense this great possibility if he is to be constrained to turn to Christ from self.

(3) So, also, the Spirit, in this three-fold ministry, illuminates the unsaved concerning a divine judgment which is already past; for "the prince of this world is judged." By this illumination the unsaved are made to realize that it is not a problem of getting God to be merciful in His judgments of their sins: they are rather to believe that the judgment is wholly past and that they have only to rest in the priceless victory that is won. Every claim of Satan over man because of sin has been broken, and so perfectly that God, who is infinitely holy, can now receive and save sinners. Principalities and powers were triumphed over in the cross (Col. 2:13-15).

Undoubtedly it is the purpose of God that the Spirit shall use such instrumentalities as He may choose in illuminating the world with respect to sin, righteousness, and judgment. He may use a preacher, a portion of the Scriptures, a Christian's testimony, or a printed message; but back of all this is the effective operation of the Spirit. Thus the Spirit ministers to the world, actualizing to them otherwise unknowable facts which, taken together, form the central truths of the Gospel of His grace.

Third, The Ministry of the Spirit in Regenerating.
This and the three following ministries of the Spirit enter into the salvation of the one who believes on Christ. He is born of the Spirit (John 3:6) and has become a legitimate child of God. He has "partaken of the divine nature" and Christ is begotten in him "the hope of glory." As he is a child of God, he is also an "heir of God, and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ." The new divine nature is more deeply implanted in his being than the human nature of his earthly father or mother. This transformation is accomplished when he believes, and is never repeated; for the Bible knows nothing of a second regeneration by the Spirit.

Fourth, The Ministry of the Spirit as Indwelling the Believer.
The fact that the Spirit now indwells every believer is one of the outstanding characteristics of this age. It is one of the most vital contrasts between law and grace.

It is divinely purposed that under grace the believers' life is to be lived in the unbroken power of the Spirit. The Christian has but to contemplate his utter helplessness, or consider carefully the emphasis given to this truth in the New Testament to become aware of the greatness of the gift which provides the indwelling Spirit. This gift was considered by the early Christians to be the fundamental fact of the believer's new estate. We read in the account of the first preaching of the Gospel to the Jews at Pentecost that the gift of the Spirit was the new fact of surpassing importance. In this same period of Jewish preaching as recorded in Acts 5:32 the Spirit is said to be given to all who obey the Gospel invitation and command. So, also, the transcendent fact of the gift is emphasized in the records of the first preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Pentecost could not be repeated; but there was a very special demonstration of the Spirit in connection with this preaching. This demonstration was evidently given in order to provide against any conclusions to the effect that the Spirit was not given as fully to Gentiles as to Jews. We read: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" (Acts 10:44-47). In connection with Peter's explanation to the Jewish believers of his ministry to the Gentiles, we read: "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:15-17). Though there are other issues connected with the filling of the Spirit for power, it is evident that the gift of the Spirit is God's priceless gift to every one who has been saved. The Biblical importance placed upon this gift far exceeds the importance which Christians usually place upon it.

The fact of the indwelling Spirit is not revealed through any experience whatsoever; nevertheless that fact is the foundation upon which all other ministries to the child of God must depend. It is impossible for one to enter into the plan and provision for a life of power and blessing and ignore the distinct revelation as to where the Spirit is now as related to the believer. It must be understood and fully believed that the Spirit is now indwelling the true child of God and that He indwells from the moment the believer is saved. (1) The Bible explicitly teaches this, and (2) reason demands it in the light of other revelations:

(a) According to Revelation.
The fact that the Spirit indwells the believer is now to be considered without reference to the other ministries of the Spirit. Any ministry of the Spirit taken alone would be incomplete; but it is of particular importance that the Spirit'’s ministry of indwelling be seen by itself. A few passages of Scripture may suffice to indicate the Bible teaching on this important theme.

John 7:37-39, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying. 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 [inner life] shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.)" This passage contains the distinct promise that all in this dispensation who believe on Him receive the Spirit when they believe.

Acts 11:17, "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" This is Peter's account of the first preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. He states that the Gentiles received the Spirit when they believed as the Jews had done. The one condition was believing on Christ for salvation and the Spirit was received as a vital part of that salvation.

Rom. 5:5, "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit which is given unto us."

Rom. 8:9, "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." This is a clear reference to the indwelling Spirit. Not only is the very fact of salvation to be tested by His presence; but every quickening of the "mortal body" depends on "His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (v. 11).

Rom. 8:23, "And not only they [all creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit." There is no reference here to some class of Christians. All Christians have the "firstfruits of the Spirit."

1 Cor. 2:12, "Now we have received ... the Spirit which is of God." Again the reference is not to a class of believers: all have received the Spirit.

1 Cor. 6:19, 20, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." This, again, is not a reference to some class of very holy Christians. The context reveals them to be guilty of most serious sin, and the fact of the indwelling Spirit is made the basis of this appeal. They are not told that unless they cease from sin they will lose the Spirit. They are told that they have the Spirit in them and are appealed to on this sole ground to turn to a life of holiness and purity. There were much deeper realities for these sinning Christians in their relation to the Spirit; but receiving the Spirit was not their problem. He was already indwelling them.

1 Cor. 12:13, "And have been all made to drink into one Spirit." The same very faulty Corinthian Christians are included in the word "all" (see also, v. 7).

2 Cor. 5:5, "God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." Again, it is not some Christians, but all.

Gal. 3:2, "This only would I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" It was by faith and the Spirit has been received by all who have exercised saving faith.

Gal. 4:6, "And because ye are sons [not because ye are sanctified], God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."

1 John 3:24, "And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given unto us."

1 John 4:13, "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

The indwelling Spirit is an "unction" and an "anointing" for each child of God; for these words are not used concerning a class of believers (1 John 2:20, 27).

There are three passages which have seemed to some to confuse the clear teaching of the Scriptures just given and these should be considered.

(1) Acts 5:32, "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him." This is not the daily life obedience of a Christian. It is an appeal to unsaved men for "the obedience of faith." The passage teaches that the Spirit is given to those who obey God concerning faith in His Son as Saviour. The context is clear.

(2) Acts 8:14-17, has already been considered. It falls within the brief period between Pentecost and the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. The conditions existing at that time should not be taken as the final relationship between the Spirit and all believers throughout this age.

(3) Acts 19:1-6, "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples [not necessarily Christians], he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed [or, did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?]? "And they said unto him. We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit. And he said unto them. Unto what then were ye baptized? and they said. Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." These "disciples" were disciples, or proselytes, of John the Baptist. They knew little of Christ, or of the way of salvation by believing, or of the Holy Spirit. Paul had immediately missed the evidence of the presence of the Spirit in these disciples and so struck at the vital point with the question, "Upon believing did ye receive the Spirit?" After they heard of salvation through Christ, and believed, the Apostle is said to have "laid his hands upon them," and "the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied." The laying on of hands, like the signs which followed, is Biblically related to the Spirit as being upon them, or filling them; but should not be confused with the fact that they had received the Spirit when they believed.

There is, therefore, no Scripture which contradicts the clear testimony of the Bible that all believers of this dispensation have the Spirit in them.

According to Reason.
A holy life and walk, which must always depend on the enabling power of the Spirit, is as much demanded of one believer as of another. There is not one standard of life for one class of believers, and another standard of life for another class of believers. If there is a child of God who has not the Spirit in him, he must, with all reason, be excused from those responsibilities which anticipate the power and presence of the Spirit. The fact that God addresses all believers as though they possess the Spirit is sufficient evidence that they have the Spirit.

It may be concluded, then, that all believers have the Spirit. This does not imply that they have entered into all the possible blessings of a Spirit-filled life. They have the Spirit when they are saved and there is no record that He ever withdraws. His is an abiding presence.

Fifth, The Ministry of the Spirit in Baptizing.
Reference has already been made to this particular ministry of the Spirit as related to the Day of Pentecost. The full Bible teaching of this theme is presented in a very few passages (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12). Of these passages, only one unfolds the meaning: "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" (1 Cor. 12:13, cf Rom. 6:3). In no Scripture is this ministry of the Spirit directly related to power or service. It has to do with the forming of the body of Christ out of living members, and when one is united vitally and organically to Christ, he has been "baptized into one body," and has been "made to drink into one Spirit" (cf v. 12). Being a member in the body of Christ, anticipates service; but service is always related to another ministry than the baptism of the Spirit. Since the baptism with the Spirit is the organic placing of the believer into Christ, it is that operation of God which establishes every position and standing of the Christian. No other divine undertaking in salvation is so far reaching in its effect. It is because of this new union to Christ that a Christian can be said to be "in Christ," and being "in Christ" he partakes of all that Christ is,—His life. His righteousness, and His glory. The unbeliever, who is "without Christ," enters completely into this union with Christ the moment he believes.
(Note: In two synoptic Gospels the promise of the baptism with the Spirit is accompanied with a promise of a baptism with fire (Mt. 3:11; Luke 3:16). Just what is meant by a baptism with fire has been the subject of much discussion. "Cloven tongues like as of fire" sat on a few on the Day of Pentecost; but this has not been the experience of all believers. The judgment of the believer's works at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:9-15; 2 Cor. 5:10) is the only contact with fire which is determined for all who are saved. It is therefore probable that this judgment is the baptism with fire. There is a deep correspondence between the baptism with the Spirit and this baptism with fire. As the baptism with the Spirit provides the saved one with a perfect standing for time and eternity, so the baptism with fire will provide the saved one with a perfect state which will fit him for heaven itself. At the judgment seat of Christ, His eyes of fire (Rev. 1:14) will burn away all the dross and only that which is heavenly will abide.)

The organic relationship to the body of Christ is accomplished as a part of the great divine undertaking in salvation which is performed when saving faith is exercised. There is no indication that this baptizing ministry of the Spirit would be undertaken a second time. A possible distinction as to whether the baptism of the Spirit was accomplished at Pentecost provisionally for all who accept Christ in this dispensation, or whether it is individual when they believe is of no moment in this discussion. It is important to discover the exact meaning of the word as representing a particular ministry of the Spirit.

Sixth, The Ministry of the Spirit in Sealing.
"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30, See also, 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13). The ministry of the Spirit in sealing evidently represents the Godward aspect of the relationship,—authority, responsibility, and a final transaction. It is "unto the day of redemption." The Spirit Himself is the seal, and all who have the Spirit are sealed. His presence in the heart is the divine mark. This ministry of the Spirit is also performed when faith is exercised for salvation, and this ministry could not be repeated since the first sealing of any believer is "unto the day of redemption."

There are, then, four ministries of the Spirit for the believer which are wrought at the moment he is saved and are never accomplished a second time. He is said to be born, indwelt (or anointed), baptized, and sealed of the Spirit. It may also be added that these four operations of the Spirit in and for the child of God are not related to an experience. The Spirit may actualize all this to the believer after he is saved, and it may then become the occasion for most blessed joy and consolation. These four general ministries which are performed in and for believers alike constitute the "Earnest of the Spirit" (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5), and the "Firstfruits of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:23).

Seventh, The Ministry of the Spirit in Filling.
The fact, extent and conditions of this ministry of the Spirit constitute the message of this book and will occupy the following chapters. What has gone before has been written that the filling of the Spirit might not be confused with any other of His operations.

From He That Is Spiritual by Lewis Sperry Chafer. New edition, rev. and enl. Philadelphia: Sunday School Times Company, ©1918.


>> More He That Is Spiritual


about | contact us | terms of use | store
Copyright ©1996-2021 WholesomeWords.org • All rights reserved.
"...to the glory of God."