Moving Day

My family and I just finished a move to St. Joseph, Mo. In seventeen years, my wife and I have moved 17 times. At times, the moves have been a mere few blocks. In other instances, the moves have been across the United States.

Often when people year how many times we have moved, they ask if we are in the military (due to the relocation required). No, we are not US military, though we are in the army of God. Unique circumstances have simply brought about the moves each time.

We have found that many people may have moved only once or twice in their entire lifetime. It may have been a long time ago since they experienced a “Moving Day”. Yet, there will come a time in all of our lives, where we will experience “Moving Day”.

1Th 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

2Co 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

1Co 6:14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

From these verses, it is clear to see that there is indeed a “Moving Day” coming.  It is a day in which we shall leave this earth.  It is a day in which we shall be with the Lord in the heavens.

With each “Moving Day” I have experienced, there have been surprises.  A mirror may be hanging on the wall after the packing is done.  A drawer may not have been emptied.  Something may be dropped and broken.  The weather may pour down rain… or snow.  There is always an unexpected event waiting to occur on “Moving Day”.

When Jesus comes again to lift us from this earth and to Judge all of mankind, there will be no surprises for Him.

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged 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.

Jer 23:24  Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

The Lord can see all things and knows all things, there will be no surprises for Him come “Moving Day”.   In regard to a Christian’s “Moving Day”, we can be certain of no surprises as well.

1Co 15:1-2  Now I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain.

Dan 12:2  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

We make the decisions in our life as to how to behave.  Thus, good or bad, there are no surprises.  We know what decisions we have made in life and who we have chosen to follow.

Jos 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.

Are you prepared for “Moving Day”?  I do not know who ever said it first, but the words “Preparation is the key to the start of any great adventure” hold fast in my mind.  There have been some moves I have engaged in where I was not fully prepared.  Even in small moves, if you are not prepared, the experience is not a pleasant one.  Over time, I have learned that an investment in boxes, tape, and a moving truck are great a great help!   Not waiting until the last second to start packing is also a plus on the preparation side.  It is important to call credit card companies, creditors, post office, water company, gas company, and all others who need to know about your address change.  What happens when you have a lack of preparation is called chaos.  This often results in destruction, anxiety, and unpleasantness.

Spiritually, we need to make certain we are prepared for “Moving Day”.  We need to spend our lives telling folks about our address change.  Letting them know that someday, we are going to spend our eternity with Christ.  Let them know they are going to be moving also and that Christ has room for all who follow Him.

Joh 14:2  In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

Heb 11:16  But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.

If we have made investment in preparation our “Moving Day” experience is going to be great.

Psa 10:17  Jehovah, thou hast heard the desire of the meek: Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear;

2Co 8:12  For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according as a man hath, not according as he hath not.

You don’t want to be unprepared for your own wedding day, your “Moving Day” is just that time!   The time when we move to be with the groom for eternity.

As with not being prepared for a physical move, if we are not prepared for the spiritual move we also will experience destruction, anxiety, and unpleasantness.

2Pe 3:7  but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Are you ready for your “Moving Day”?  Normally, with a physical address change, we know the time in which we are leaving.  However, this is not always the case.  The date and time of the coming of our Lord to move us to heaven is unknown.

2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Luk 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Dear friends, “Moving Day” can be a good or bad experience for us.  However, the experience of our spiritual move can be a joyous one.  We know moving day is coming.  We know we can avoid surprises on that day if we are prepared.  We know that regardless of the day of Christ’s appearing, if we are ready, we will rejoice!

Rev 19:7  Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

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Women Keep Silence

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (I Cor. 14:34,35)

This passage of scripture is frequently linked with First Timothy 2:11, 12 as companion passages. They are not, and should be kept separate in their application. First Corinthians 14 regulates women (and men, vs. 23, 30) when the “whole church be assembled” and when prophets were receiving revelations (vs. 29-33). First Timothy 2 regulates women everywhere and at all times.

THE CONTEXT: It is important, to observe the context of any passage in order to properly understand it. To fail to realize that the apostle Paul is here regulating men and women speaking under special conditions, i.e., during them exercise of spiritual gifts the assembly of “the whole church,” is to miss the point and give it an improper application. To apply the passage to all women under all conditions leads to several difficulties too important to be ignored. For example, no woman could sing (Col. 3:16) or confess since the passage prohibits vocal utterances and imposes utter silence. This will be considered later.

CHAPTER 12 enumerates spiritual gifts and states their purpose was “to profit withal” (v. 7). CHAPTER 13 shows their duration and the importance of love in which they were to be exercised. CHAPTER 14 regulates the use of gifts though out their duration. Since spiritual gifts have ceased (I Cor. 13:10; James 1:25), it is a misapplication to apply their regulation to circumstances today. This is not true of First Timothy 2:11, 12. Note also that the subject of spiritual gifts permeates First Corinthians 14 – “speak with tongues” (v.l); “psalm, tongue, revelation, interpretation” (v.5); “prophets speak” (v. 29); “anything be revealed” (v.30); “prophesy” (v.31); “women silence … not… speak” (vs 34,35).

The Passage Analyzed

” God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (v. 33). This should not be overlooked. It was confusion resulting from an abuse of spiritual gifts when the church assembled that brought forth Paul’s statement in verse 34.

“As in all the churches (assemblies) of the saints” (v.33). In every assembly of Christians all over the world though out all time under similar conditions, i.e., the exercise of spiritual gifts (v.l) and the whole church be assembled (v.23).

“Let the women keep silence in the churches” (v.34)

1. Women: The King James version says “your women.” That these women were wives is certain from verse 35. They were married women with Christian husbands capable of answering the wives’ questions at home. Paul did not direct this statement to single women for they have no husbands to ask. The statement was not directed to women with unbelieving husbands, or newly converted husbands, since they were not capable of answering questions. It is important that not only the women but also the men are commanded to remain silence under certain conditions. Note verse 27,28, “let him keep silence” and verse 30, “let the first keep silence.” Only two or at the most three were to speak at any one assembly. The others were to remain silence and “discern” (v.29). Obviously God did not command all men everywhere under all conditions to remain silence. Likewise the women (perhaps wives of the prophets and inspired men) who were adding to this confusion when spiritual gifts were being exercised in the assembly of the whole church were to remain silence. They were to remain silence under the conditions stated and if they would leam anything more ask their husbands at home. To be in subjection as the law says (Gen. 3:16, IPet 3:6-7, ITim. 2:11) to their husbands. They were bringing shame upon their husbands by causing confusion. To make the command general and applicable to all men and women under other conditions is to bind where God did not.

2.  Silence: This word in the First Corinthians 14:34 comes from the Greek “sige, sigao” – to keep silence, hold one’s peace, to be kept in silence, be concealed. (TTiayer, p.574.) It is not the same “silence” of First Timothy 2:11. “Silence” in 1 Timothy 2:11 comes from the Greek “hesuchia” and “denotes quietness” (W. E. Vine). Paul is saying shut up and stop causing confusion. The American Standard Version makes a distinction by using “quietness” in 1 Timothy 2:11 and “silence” in 1 Corinthians 14:34 – “sige” – means total muteness. “For it is not permitted unto them to speak” (v.34) The word “speak” is from “laleo” and means “to make vocal utterance to babble, to talk, in N. T. absolutely to exercise the faculty of speech.” (Vine, p. 243) Hence, the women commanded to be silence in this passage were not to utter a sound. If Paul meant all women in every situation then all women in every situation must remain mute. But God commanded women to sing (Col. 3:16) and to teach (2 Tim. 2:2; Titus 2:3-5). They did teach (Luke 2:36-38; Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:16; Acts 18:26; 21:9, 1 Cor. 11:5), and they can teach now as long as they do not violate First Timothy 2:11, 12. The kind of speaking prohibited is that which creates confusion and violates God’s principle of headship.

3.  In the churches; “Church” is from the Greek “ekklesia” meaning “called out” (Vine). Not as one called out but when the “whole church, the assembly of the church.” It does not specify any particular assembly but does specify “when the whole church be assembled.” Unlike First Timothy 2:12, this passage is limited in it’s application to the assembly. The woman can speak at home or in other situations. First Timothy 2:12 does not specify any condition but regulates the woman under every situation. As Paul says of the men in 1 Timothy 2:8 “I want men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands”. When Paul says in verse 9 “likewise in the same way I want women everywhere to dress proper” Then thru verse 10 he tells them the proper way to dress. And in verses 11 and 12 he tells them the proper way to show respect to men.

“Let them be in subjection as also saith the law. (v. 34)

In this verse Paul gives the reason God imposed silence upon certain women under the stated conditions. Their speaking under the stated conditions took them from their rightful places of subjection to men. It has always been God’s plan that woman be in subjection to man (Gen. 3:15; 1 Tim. 2:12) and ruled by man. Though a woman may teach men (Anna, Luke 2:36-38; daughters, Joel 2:28; Priscilla, Acts 18:24-26; Phillip’s daughters, Acts 21:8,9) and speak in an assembly of men and women (Acts 5:1-11; 12:12-16), she may never do either if and when doing so usurps authority over a man or takes her from her rightful place of subjection to men (1 Tim. 2:11,12).

“And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home.”(v.35)

It is obvious from this statement that it was by speaking and asking questions in such a way as to take them out of subjection to man that certain women in Corinth were commanded to remain silence. In the absence of complete revelation (which women today learn by reading) the women at Corinth were seeking information by asking questions at a time when such added to confusion and violated God’s principle of headship “as also saith the law.”

Is Paul here saying a woman cannot ask a question except of her husband and at home? Certainly not for the following reasons:

1.  The context shows the conditions under which she was to refrain from asking questions (remain silence) were “when the whole church be assembled together” (v. 23,26) and when spiritual gifts were being exercised. Any woman today must remain silence under the stated conditions when speaking violates the principles of subjection to man and when it causes confusion in the assembly. Does the verse prohibit a woman asking a question or making comments in Bible classes? Not if she does so in the spirit of quietness and subjection (1 Tim. 2:11,12).

That silence imposed upon women in First Corinthians 14:34 does not apply to Bible class arrangements follows from the fact that the whole church is not assembled together but are divided into separate classes with different teachers teaching different lessons. No collections are taken and the Lord’s supper is not served. If verse 34 is binding then verses 27 and 31 are binding. Since more than one speaks at once in concurrent classes, such would violate the principle of orderliness if they constitute the whole church come together. In the latter case First Corinthians 14:34 is not applicable.

2.  The women commanded to refrain from asking questions were women with husbands capable of answering questions. Every woman does not fit that category. Some have no husbands. Some who do, have alien husbands. Others have husbands not capable of answering questions.

“For it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church.” The expression “in the church,” which is explained in verse 23 shows when it is a shame for her to speak.


The silence imposed upon women in First Corinthians 14:34,35 is binding “when the whole church be assembled together.” She is to refrain from speaking in such a way as to violate the two stated principles: (a) Headship of man, “let them be in subjection as also saith the law.” (b) Orderliness, “God is not the God of confusion but of peace.” “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

Also please notice these verses

These verses are what I call not BUT statements:

It seems to me that the emphasis is on the BUT part of the statement.

1 Cor. 14:20:

Brethren do not be children in your thinking yet in evil be babes. But inyour thinking be mature.

Verse 22:

So then tongues are a sign not to those who believe. But to unbelievers, but prophecy is for a sign not to unbelievers but to those who believe.

Verse 33:

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace as in all the churches of the saints.

John 6:27:

Do not work for the food which perishes but for the food which endures to eternal life which the Son of Man shall give you for on him the Father even God has set his seal.


Therefore be careful how you walk not as unwise men but as wise.

Verse 17:

So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Verse 18:

And do not get drunk with wine for that is dissipation but be filled with the spirit.

1 Cor 14:34 is such a statement.

Let your women keep silence in the churches for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience, also saith the law. Gen 3:16,1 Pet 3:1-6, Eph 5:22-24.

I think from what I have said that you can understand we need to be teaching submission. Not that women cannot speak.

by Johnny Hicks

This article was prepared and submitted by brother Johnny Hicks of the Winston Church of Christ in Winston, Oregon.  Johnny has been an elder/preacher for over 40 years.  For questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact Johnny Hicks directly at (541) 679-8312.

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Unforgivable Sin

Before continuing with the article below, please take the following test to find your innocence or guilt:

Are you dead, having denied God and died unrepentant of a life of sins? Yes or No?

If you answered, “Yes”, you have indeed committed the unforgivable sin. This sin also known as the sin unto death and blasphemy of the holy spirit is 100% the affliction of the dead.

If you answered, “No”, you still have time to commit the unforgivable sin. However, you have not done so to date.

Many people have been concerned they have committed unforgivable sin. Some would call this blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Others would call it the sin unto death. unforgivable sin is something that must be examined closely to allay fear. Unforgivable sin most certainly does deal with the Holy Spirit, but it is not as simple as using a curse word as some fear.

At the core of the discussion is whether or not God is willing to forgive the sins of man. God wishes that none perish (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9). He has set requirements to accept his free offer of forgiveness and that includes repentance – changing your life to one of obeying Him (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Luke 24:45-47). The apostle John stated the following:

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

John’s inspired words make it clear, through Christ “all” sin is forgiven. Important to note, there is a requirement. The individual must walk in the light, that is, he must be obedient to God’s will, which includes repentance.

So if God is willing to forgive all sins, where does the idea of unforgivable sin come into play and how does it relate to the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and committing sin unto death?

In the context of Matthew 12:30-32 and Mark 3:28-29, Jesus is faced with Pharisees (Jewish leaders) who acknowledge Jesus was performing wonders, signs, and miracles, but said He was doing it by the power of demons. They were denying He was doing it by the Spirit and power of God. Jesus then told them: “any sin or blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven”. To many, this sounds like a total contradiction. How can verses say all will be forgiven, but one won’t?

Disconnect occurs by not understanding the term “Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is first: the ultimate refusal to accept the miracles by the power of the Spirit. If men could not be convinced by these miraculous occurrences, nothing would convict them. Hebrews 6:4-6 similarly speaks of individuals who had believed and had been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, but then turned back to the things of the world. These too were guilty of blaspheming the Spirit with their actions. It is said it would be impossible for them to come to repentance. Thus, if the men would not come to repentance because they would not be convicted by the miraculous, they were choosing not to be forgiven by God.

Consider now those who will not change their actions, who will not repent of them:

Hebrews 10:26-27 – For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.

The knowledge of the Truth, the word of God (John 17:17), is the spirit (2 Peter 1:21, I John 5:7). If the Spirit is rejected, there is no forgiveness. So there is not just a single sin leading to unforgiveness. First, rejecting the miracles of the Spirit and second, rejecting the truth of the Spirit, can be classified singularly as blaspheming Him. All deeds willfully practiced against the truth without repentance are unforgiven.

Now the following:

1 John 5:16-17 – If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: not concerning this do I say that he should make request. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

The idea from this verse in the context of believing on and obeying God (having the truth in you) is pray for Christians who are struggling with sin. The prayers will aid the individual in his struggle and through repentance before he dies he will be forgiven. However, when the individual willingly defies God by sin to his death, there is no more hope. Do not pray for that individual. For information on the topic of praying for the dead please see: .

Today, the unforgivable sin, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, sin to death, is when a man rejects God and therefore, His Word to the point of his death. Today, while a man lives, he can change. He can repent. He can do what is right. The scriptures are the inspiration and power of the Holy Spirit leading to life. If man will simply follow the requirements set by God, repent, and obey, he will be forgiven.

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The Holy Spirit Today?

Miraculous Indwelling of the Holy Spirit Today?

Holy Spirit Indwelling Series – Part 6

This is the final article in a series examining the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. To date a non-miraculous literal indwelling has been rejected and left the question: “What benefit would it be anyway?” A representative indwelling of Deity and man demonstrating unity according to God’s purpose stands scripturally acceptable. However, the question yet to be answered is why not a miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit today? The miraculous must be explored so it can be accepted or rejected.

There are various religions today which lay claim to the miraculous. They are characterized by “faith healings”, “tongues”, direct guidance in teaching and persecution, and direct operation to comfort, strengthen, and energize the believer. Indeed, these occurrences are embraced in part or full by the Charismatic, Pentecostal, Christian, and denominational faiths. Even those bodies which outwardly reject the miraculous have embraced some of the above characteristics. Such a conflict occurs because a lack of study and improper teaching in regard to the nature of such claims. In this article, rather than focus on the specific miraculous characteristics claimed by man, the duration of the miraculous will be examined. If the miraculous is possible today, then why not have a miraculous indwelling? If however, the miraculous is not possible today, then a miraculous indwelling is out of the question.

That the miraculous was present in the Old Testament is without dispute. Moses, Elijah, and Elisha stand out as having been given the ability to conduct such actions. In the nature of miraculous inspiration, visions, revelations, and prophesying were demonstrated by many in past ages. The New Testament opens with the gospels where beginning with John the baptizer the direct operation of the Holy Spirit is seen in inspired speech. With Christ’s first miracle in Cana there came a flood of the miraculous. The twelve, the seventy sent out, they demonstrated the miraculous. Then came the day of Pentecost discussed in the second article in this series. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Joel prophesied of that day. Peter declared the miraculous. The promised gifts of the Spirit were distributed to the obedient by the laying on of the hands of the apostles as demonstrated throughout the book of Acts. It is a very detailed and recorded fact, men and women of the past demonstrated the miraculous through miracles and inspiration. Still, is the miraculous possible today?

To understand whether the miraculous is possible today, the purpose of miracles in past ages must be examined. The first reason for the miraculous is edification (John 20:30-31, Ephesians 3:3-7). When God wanted to reveal something in the past which would help man mature, there was direct interaction by Him to convey the information. The people of the first century and before did not have all of the Word of God with them. Without the revelation through the miraculous to edify him, man still would not have God’s Word today. God’s word is all man needs (2 Peter 1:3). It is sufficient to mature man (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Yet, in ages since Christ, men have declared the miraculous and revelation of more information from God. The faiths of Islam and Mormonism are prominent examples of such declarations. Jude 1:3 establishes the Word of God was once for all delivered in the first century. The apostle Paul told the Galatians (Galatians 1:6-9) whoever or whatever would preach something contrary to the word he preached should be cursed. With the word received in full, there is no need for the miraculous today to edify. Yet, it could be argued by the wisdom of man such events could be helpful today.

The second reason for the miraculous is confirmation of the Word (Matthew 12:24-28, Mark 16:20, John 5:36, 10:38). If a man appears claiming to be the son of God and he has a group of guys with him declaring men need to listen and obey, there will be some skepticism. The miraculous was given to demonstrate Christ indeed had authority to declare words with authority. Even then, he faced great skepticism reaching forward to today. Today the Word of God is received and has been confirmed. What need is there of the miraculous for confirmation? The answer is there is no need for the miraculous to confirm today. As with the first reason for miracles, it could be argued by man’s wisdom further confirmation could be helpful.

The third reason for the miraculous is to glorify God (John 9:3, John 11:40-42). Numerous occurrences of the miraculous glorified God by showing His compassion (Mark 1:41 – Leper; Luke 7:12-14 – Widow’s son; Matthew 20:29-34 – Two Blind Men; Matthew 14:14 – Healed sick of Multitude). The Word of God continues to glorify God and demonstrate His compassion. Still, once again, it could be argued by man’s wisdom the miraculous would continue to glorify God by showing His compassion today.

The original needs the miraculous addressed were met. The Hebrew writer discussing the words of the prophet Jeremiah in Hebrews 8:13 discussed the fact that when something is old (or had fulfilled its purpose) it vanishes away. Though the context is of the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ, similar logic can certainly be applied to the miraculous. If it has fulfilled its purpose, why should it continue to endure? However, this really does not answer the question: “Is the miraculous possible today? Therefore, further examination must be engaged upon.

The key passages in determining the answer to this question were briefly acknowledged in the fourth article of this series. These passages are I Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 4.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 – Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

This passage written by the apostle Paul discusses the miraculous. The context is a discussion of the need to have love. Love in Paul’s conclusion will outlast the miraculous, faith, and hope. Important to this article is how long miracles will last. Paul’s states the miraculous shall cease and be done away. He calls the knowledge and prophesies only a part of the “perfect” which was to come. The Greek word “perfect” in this text means mature, finished, or complete. The item which would be complete and they as individuals only had a part at that time was the Word. James 1:25 calls the Word the perfect/complete law of liberty. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 mentioned previously, establishes the Word makes a man perfect or complete. 1 Peter 2:2 and the Corinthian’s passage echoes this by making the comparison of growing up from childhood. When the Word was fully delivered to them, confirmed, and written down for all (it certainly was by the second century) the miracles would no longer be needed.

Ephesians 4:11-16 – And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.

In this letter to the Ephesians Paul again discusses the miraculous. He notes the miraculous was there until they had unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son causing them to be perfect/complete/mature men. How can anyone have unity of the Faith? They would have unity because through inspiration it was written down so all could read, hear, and know it. Again like the other passages and specifically the Corinthians passage, the growth from immature to mature by having the Word is mentioned. It is the written Word of God which would sustain the growth of man without need of the miraculous.

A final critical factor in determining the end of the age of the miraculous has already been mentioned. In the second article of this series, discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it was established that the miraculous was only passed on through the laying on of the hands of the apostles. Acts 8:14-17 demonstrates clearly the apostles were responsible for the imparting of the miraculous. The apostle John was the last apostle living. History has him dying in the late first century or early second century. At this point there was no way to pass the miraculous forward. Those who had the miraculous even if they had it their whole lives would not have been able to carry it past the beginning of the third century at the most.

Yes, there are those individuals and groups which declare the miraculous today, but the stories do not match scriptural examples of the miraculous. They also do not accord with the scriptural account of the ending of the miraculous. Some of these folks are straight charlatans, others simply mislead. Whatever they are, they do not have the miraculous today. Some scholars claim the miraculous ended as early as 70 AD. Others see it possibly having extended through to the middle of the second century. At either rate, the miraculous by the authority of scripture is gone. In regard to our topic of a miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit today, if the miraculous is gone, then there is no such indwelling today.

This concludes a six part series on the Holy Spirit. Is there an indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Yes! It is the same as the indwelling of Father, Christ, and the Word in man. It is the same as man indwelling all of the same. It is a representative unity according to Truth. It is not the gift of the Holy Spirit, the filling of the Holy Spirit, the seal of the Holy Spirit, or the miraculous in any way. The indwelling is not literal, for there is no scriptural basis or benefit to such an indwelling. The abiding of the Holy Spirit is a blessing which awaits all men who would humble themselves to God’s will. May each individual repent of the world and strive to dwell in the truth.

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Literal Indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

Benefit of a Literal Indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit Indwelling Series – Part 5

Going against the illustrations presented in the four previous articles which argued against a literal non-miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit in favor of a representative indwelling, this article will focus on examining “what if”. What if there was a non-miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit as some believe today? What purpose would the indwelling serve? Some kind and earnest Christians establish the indwelling of the Spirit is a sign of righteousness, provides faith and conviction, gives knowledge and wisdom, guides decision making, intercedes prayer, and much more. There are basic steps to determine if such a function is literal non-miraculous indwelling. Studying part of the Godhead is not an area which should be left to “I think” or speculation. In this article, the above functions will be examined by the scriptures and it shall be seen what is affirmed or must be discarded.

The initial article in this series proposed the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was a non-miraculous representational indwelling. It was described as a relationship in which man, adhering to the impact of God’s creation and Word, decided to come into obedience to God. At this point, man dwelled in God, God in man, man in the word, the word in man, etc. Man was not said to be literally in God, nor God in man, but there was unity of existence according to God’s word which made them one. Some men propose the Holy Spirit is literally in a man, because the Spirit must perform functions necessary for man. It is important to recognize if the Holy Spirit influences a man in anyway directly, the interaction would be miraculous. To clarify the term “directly”, understand anything which would cause man to do something outside of his own will or be endowed with information he did not come to on his own is the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Because the occurrence is beyond natural (supernatural), it is by definition miraculous. Natural means interacting with a man’s spirituality today are elements of God’s created environment (Romans 1:18-25) and the written Word of God. If any proposed characteristics of the Holy Spirit’s assumed literal non-miraculous indwelling are shown to be miraculous or contrary to the Word of God, then the characteristic cannot stand. This is the first step to use in testing a function to see if it is an indwelling.

The next step in testing a function to see if it is an indwelling is ask if the task is accomplished by the Holy Spirit through means of the Word or someone/something else? If the task can be accomplished in these means than what would the purpose of a literal non-miraculous indwelling be?

The third step in testing a proposed function of the Holy Spirit is to determine if the text used is being misinterpreted or not. As Peter wrote in his second letter “some things [are] had to understand”. Understanding something greater than man (God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Jesus) is not always a simple task. Christians endeavor as did the Bereans (Acts 17:11) to come to appropriate conclusions. That being said it is time to examine some of the functions applied to the Holy Spirit.

Is the literal indwelling of the Spirit necessary to identify the Christian as righteous? Discussed in the fourth article was the idea man literally needs an indwelling Spirit as a visible mark to God to identify him as a Christian. Indeed, this would be non-miraculous. However, unless scripture is misinterpreted to come to this conclusion, the idea cannot agree with scripture. It is man’s deeds which are characteristic of the Word of God which identify man as faithful and by which he is judged (James 2:14-26, I Peter 1:17, Colossians 3:25). The fruit of the inspired Word which was given by the Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) demonstrates whether or not a man dwells with the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Consequently, a literal indwelling to identify a Christian as righteous is not scriptural.

Is the literal indwelling of the Spirit necessary to have faith and be convicted? In the first century Church, man was inundated with the miraculous works of the Holy Spirit. There was no doubt about what it meant to have the Spirit of God because having the Spirit was a visible known aspect. The discussion about personal or direct literal indwelling arrived with the restoration and the spread of Calvinistic doctrine. It increased with the coming of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic faith. What does the Calvinist believe which has caused confusion about the Holy Spirit and how man dwells with Him? The Calvinist believes man is totally depraved from birth. He is a sinner, filthy, and disobedient by nature. It is taught without the direct operation of the Holy Spirit to bring man to believe, he cannot have faith. The Spirit is said to lead man and convict him of God. The man will not continue in the Faith unless continually prompted directly by the Spirit. According to the Calvinist way of thinking, man left to his own choice would stray away from God and not return. Of course, if the Holy Spirit has to operate in this fashion without the control of man, this is miraculous. This belief is generated in part by Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”. However, to interpret this scripture in such a fashion is a terrible mistake. Properly, man follows the spirit figuratively by being obedient to the Spirit inspired Word. The Bible also tells us “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). This is how the crowd on the day of Pentecost came to faith by conviction from the Words of God (Acts 2:37 – they “heard”, Hebrews 4:12). Faith is something man develops, not something he is led to without the Word. Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “…seek and you shall find…” not “be led regardless of your will and you shall find”. If we are without choice led, there is no need to seek. If the direct operation of the Holy Spirit were indeed a characteristic of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for faith, then man would have a God of partiality, endowing whom he wishes to the Faith. Scripture clearly establishes God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11) and teaches in opposition to man showing partiality (James 2:1, 9). Considering the evidence, a literal indwelling necessary for a Christian to have faith or conviction is not scriptural.

Is the literal indwelling of the Spirit necessary to have knowledge or wisdom in what God commands? James 1:5 states: “But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Colossians 1:9 also presents: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray and make request for you, that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” Finally, 2 Timothy 2:7 proclaims: “Consider what I say; for the Lord shall give thee understanding in all things”. For many the thinking stops here, wisdom and understanding given at a moment’s call. However, such a granting would be the miraculous. So if the text turns out not to be miraculous, how is it that knowledge and wisdom comes? 2 Timothy 2:15 tells the reader: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” From this verse, it is seen study is commanded of the servant of God which gives knowledge. In the Ephesians 5:17, Paul instructs the people, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Paul is telling the Ephesians they can understand… not maybe the Holy Spirit will give you understanding (wisdom). 1 Corinthians 1:21 declares: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Preaching brings knowledge and wisdom. 1 Peter 2:2 makes it very plain from where wisdom and knowledge come: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” In regard to the Word of God, the scriptures, the Bible, makes it quite clear the Holy Spirit does not need to literally indwell man for him to have knowledge or wisdom: 2 Peter 1:3 states: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” Everything for life and godliness! How? The true knowledge of Him! John 17:17“Sanctify them in truth, thy Word is truth.” The work of the Spirit is done in regard to giving man the knowledge and wisdom he needs. Praying for knowledge and wisdom to come is the same as the prophets reminding God of His promise to Abraham. We have been promised these things, but they will come only if we walk according to His will which means study. The scriptures show a literal indwelling is not necessary for a Christian to gain knowledge and wisdom.

Does a literal indwelling of the Spirit help my decision making? The easy answer would again be 2 Peter 1:3 pointing to the word as a man’s guide. It seems obvious, but there are countless times heard where someone has said, “The Spirit laid it on my heart to (insert words here).” The Lord’s servant should be characterized by patience (Galatians 5:22). He should consider the costs of any action (Luke 14:28-31). Time after time, stories are told of someone circling their finger in the air with eyes closed and then sticking their finger on a Bible verse looking for direction. This isn’t how God expects man to mature. 2 Timothy 3:16-17“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness that the man of god may be complete, equipped for every good work.” For the Holy Spirit to direct a man in His decisions outside of the Word would again be the miraculous and it would not coincide with scriptural teaching.

Is the literal indwelling of the Spirit necessary for His intercession of man’s prayers? The question itself is misleading. It assumes the Holy Spirit intercedes. Intercession means to do something on behalf of someone. This idea the Spirit does this is taken from Romans 8:26-27. The passage states the following:

“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.”

It is important to note outside of these verses every single instance of groaning in the Old Testament and the New Testament save one which references animals is done by man. It is my full conviction the spirit spoken of in these verses is man’s. Consider the times when man aches and pains so much in the heart he simply has no words. The times when his grief over sin or guilt or frustration or loss is so heavy his vocabulary could never do it justice. Consider the prayers of David, so lovely, intense, and expressive. Are these the prayers man typically is used to hearing? Sadly they are not. Most men simply cannot express such depth. Fortunately, we have someone who searches and knows our hearts and our conscience (Psalm 44:21, 139:23, Jeremiah 17:10, John 2:25, I John 3:20). That someone hears the groaning of man’s spirit. That someone is God. Now without a doubt, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and the Father are God. So saying God searches the hearts, does not rule out the Holy Spirit being a second “spirit” in the Romans verses and the one interceding. However a read through the remainder of Romans 8 will find the text is completely about Jesus. The reader will also find in vs. 34 Christ is named as the intercessor for man. Context calls for the intercessor of vs. 27 to be the same. It can be shown from other verses such as I Timothy 2:1 that Christians too can intercede for one another. However, the fact that there can be multiple intercessors does not change the context of Romans 8. This all applies to the question regarding the necessity of the literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit because it shows a literal indwelling is not a necessity for intercession. Additionally, the idea would possibly never have even occurred if not for the likely misinterpretation of Romans 8 in the recent centuries.

There are a number of other topics which are said to be functions of a literal indwelling Holy Spirit today. However, they can all be dealt with by similar steps. Does the function require direct operation upon man to accomplish? If so it is miraculous, not a literal non-miraculous indwelling. Is the task accomplished by the Holy Spirit through means of the Word or someone/something else? If so then a non-miraculous literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit isn’t necessary. Is the concept based on scriptural misinterpretation? If so then it must be dismissed. Following these steps a man can eliminate all notions of a non-miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 – prove all things; hold fast that which is good;

The next and final article will focus on the idea of a miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit existing today. It is the intention of this series of articles to demonstrate that only representational non-miraculous reverse indwelling (man in God, God in man, etc.) exists today. The purpose is not to say there is no indwelling at all but rather to ascertain what it means when scripture discusses abiding or dwelling.

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