Sealed with the Spirit!

Sealed with the Spirit! Indwelling?

Holy Spirit Indwelling Series – Part 4

As this series has progressed the indwelling of the Holy Spirit has been presented as representative and not the same as the “gift of the Holy Spirit” or being “filled with the Spirit”. This article will focus on the idea of being sealed with the spirit, what it means, and whether or not it is an indwelling as some suppose. In conjunction with examining the terms “seal” or “sealed”, the terms “earnest” and “anointed” will also be discussed.

The terms “seal” or “sealed” in the Old and New Testament are seen approximately 50 times. It is represented in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Indeed, there are three different words for these in the O.T and three for them in the N.T. The terms can signify a mark of identification often associated with a level of authority, a closing up, a protecting, an attachment, and a witnessing or attesting, all depending upon context. As for the extent of context involving the Holy Spirit and these terms, there are relatively few verses to examine.

John 6:26-27 – Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs, but because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled. Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him the Father, even God, hath sealed.

In this text, Jesus had the night before fed a multitude of 5000. After He crossed the sea at night, the multitude sought him again. Asking when he had crossed the sea (He had walked on water part way during the night and then went in a boat with his disciples). Christ’s answer to them was the verses 26-27. He tells them they had a miracle performed in their midst, but were focused on seeking more physical food. Instead, the miracle should have caused them to seek Christ for spiritual nutrition. It was this for which he was sealed/marked. The term sealed here is reference to His ability to perform the miraculous. The miraculous was a mark or sign identifying He was of God. His seal was obvious for all to see, this is important when contemplating the seal and its relationship to the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

This verse not only displays the term sealed, but the other terms of interest: earnest and anointed. Paul starts out his writing to the Corinthians discussing the hardships he and the other disciples had gone through to preach the gospel and even bring it to them. In the verses 21-22, Paul tells the Corinthians he, the disciples with him, and the Corinthians had been established/confirmed in Christ. How had they been confirmed? Mark 16:20 shows the disciples confirmed the word they were sharing by signs (miracles). Hebrews 2:3-4 shows God confirmed the teachings of His Word through miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even Christ identified his miraculous works as that which gave witness to Him (John 5:36, 10:38). That the Corinthians had the miraculous is obvious throughout both letters to them. Next Paul tells the Corinthians God anointed them all. I John 2:27 clearly identifies the anointing of the Holy Spirit as miraculous, for the Christians had inspired truth no one needed to teach them. Finally Paul notes they were sealed with the Spirit – this was just as Christ. They were able to do the miraculous. This gave them a pledge, security, guarantee, earnest in their hearts knowing God will keep His promises (vs. 20).

Ephesians 1:13-14 – In Him you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, – in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The apostle Paul writes this letter to the Church at Ephesus. Like the Corinthians they too had miraculous gifts. In verses 3-6, He tells them the blessing they had because of God’s predetermine plan of adoption for them, ultimately glorified God. In verses 7-12, he establishes the “wisdom and insight” enabling knowledge of their redemption (riddance of sin, deliverance from sin, liberation from sin) by Christ and the sharing of the gospel. All of which came by the hand of God. It was indeed miraculous revelation through the Holy Spirit. Again, this was God’s predetermined plan and glorified Him. Verses 13-14, discuss the conversion of the Ephesians. They heard the gospel, believed it, and following were sealed with the Holy Spirit. To have a greater understanding of this, we must recall what occurred in Acts 2 as studied in the second article in this series. The Jews heard, believed, and based upon that belief repented and were baptized. Following their baptism, hands were laid upon them and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit – the miraculous. They were sealed. This same situation was displayed in Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:5-6. Acts 19 is very important because that was when the Ephesians received the Holy Spirit. They were sealed with it by the laying on of hands. Here in Ephesians Paul equates receiving the miraculous of the Holy Spirit to being sealed. The visible manifestations marked them as followers of God.

In verse 14 the term earnest is used as in 2 Corinthians 1:22. The promise of the Holy Spirit as prophesied from Joel and seen by all was a guarantee of the inheritance of eternal life. It validated the faithfulness of God that man would be heirs to an eternal kingdom. It was a view forward to the redemption of a possession/acquisition. That possession was the miraculous. The Ephesians, all of mankind, would be ridded or liberated from the miraculous. To be clear, the miraculous was given as a guarantee of the inheritance of God until which time it would be removed. This would be done to the glory of God. How so? The miraculous would cease in order to make room for the perfect, the unity of the faith, the Word of God (I Corinthians 13:8-11; Ephesians 4:11-16). The removal of the miraculous replaced with only the Word of God would enable men to grow into mature men on their own (2 Timothy 3:16-17).


Ephesians 4:30 – And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption.

Simply put, the Holy Spirit went to great lengths, in demonstrating the power of God. Through His Miraculous works the Word was confirmed, the Church edified, and God was glorified. The seal of the Spirit was evident among the first century Church. Yet, this was all done in bringing man to the written Word of God. To turn away from the Christian walk to the things of the World would certainly grieve the Spirit of God.

From the 4 verses above discussing the seal of the Spirit, we again arrive at the miraculous as we did with the “gift of the Spirit” and the “filling of the Spirit”. Since the approach has been taken that the miraculous is no longer present today, these certainly could not be the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Again, in our final lesson we will expand upon when the miraculous ended. Before closing this article, there remains a question about sealing which many people tie to the Holy Spirit and indwelling. Consider the following verses:

2 Timothy 2:19 – But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Revelation 7:4 – And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

Revelation 14:1 – Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

The question is: What about Revelation and those who have been sealed that the Lord knows? First off, understand there is a great deal of figurative language in the book of Revelation. How does the lord know a person? In his address to the 7 churches of Asia at the start of the book of Revelation, what does the Lord continually say? “I know your works”. Jesus said:

Mat 10:32-33 – “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven”.

God doesn’t need a forehead barcode system to figure out who the faithful are. A man’s works say it all (John 14:15). Second, in regard to numbers and the book of Revelation, be assured, God’s cutoff line isn’t 144,000. In fact, it can be recalled that Abraham’s descendants (Christians) would be as innumerable as sand on the seashore. Revelation 7:9 confirms as much. The seal of a Christian in this modern time is his deeds, works, or wedding clothes. We dress ourselves for success or failure and that is a seal that will be evident for all to see.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 – For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

The next article in this series will assume man has a literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In that case, what exactly would be its purpose?

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Filled with the Holy Spirit

Being Filled with the Holy Spirit and Indwelling

Holy Spirit Indwelling Series Part 3

The previous two articles focused on Biblical associations with the topic of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In the first article, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was demonstrated to be non-miraculous representation of the Christian’s obedience to God’s will and not a literal indwelling. In the second, it was demonstrated a literal indwelling is not what the term “gift of the Holy Spirit” means. Rather the term “gift” in conjunction with the Holy Spirit focuses on the miraculous imparted by the laying on of the hands of the apostles which is in opposition to a non-miraculous indwelling. This third article will aim to show the term “filled with the Holy Spirit” is also not a literal indwelling.

Two understandings of the term “filled with the Holy Spirit” will nullify the assertion that filling is a literal non-miraculous indwelling. First, if it can be shown the term is merely representative of someone walking according to truth and righteousness (as per example in the first article) the assertion is nullified; second, if the term can be demonstrated to mean the miraculous the assertion will be nullified. It is my conviction the term “filled with the Holy Spirit” or “full of the Holy Spirit” is a term representing the miraculous as the Bible uses it.

The Old Testament must first be examined for this term. In Exodus, Moses was told to build a tabernacle. He was informed by God Bezalel (Exodus 31:2-3) and Aholiab (Exodus 35:35) had been filled with the Holy Spirit. What this meant was they were given miraculous knowledge and abilities to perform the task. This was not something they learned overtime, but rather it was given directly by God. Deuteronomy 34:9 is another Old Testament example showing someone full of the Spirit of God. Moses laid hands upon Joshua and imparted wisdom to him directly. Unlearned wisdom directly given is miraculous. Micah 3:8 demonstrates Micah full of power by the spirit to prophecy. This would be the miraculous. Obviously, these incidences are not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Now, the New Testament examples of filling shall be examined. Luke 1:15, Zacharias is told by an angel his Son John (the Baptizer) would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. To attempt to portray this as not being miraculous John 10:41 is pointed out saying “John indeed did no sign”. However, as with Bezalel and Aholiab the miraculous does not have to be a sign. The miraculous confirmed by John 10:41 was “all things whatsoever John spake of this man were true” in reference to Christ. In other words, John had inspired knowledge given by the Holy Spirit from the womb. No indwelling here.

Zacharias wife was filled with the Holy Spirit in Luke 1:41-45. It was manifested by miraculous speech of the Holy Spirit. Next Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit in Luke 1:67 and prophesied. Note: These folks in the Old Testament and New Testament were filled with the Holy Spirit, doing the miraculous, and this was before the day of Pentecost. If indwelling were said to be the filling of the Holy Spirit then it began before then. Of course, this point is moot, for indwelling is not the same as filling.

Luke 4:1 shows Jesus full of the Spirit and being led by that Spirit into the wilderness, the Spirit directly operating upon Christ qualifies this as a miraculous occurrence. Examining the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:4, filling will be seen along with miraculous utterance. Next, Acts 4:8 and 31 will show the same thing, the miraculous. In Acts 6:3-5, men were being chosen to serve the widows. They were specifically to be men “full of the Spirit”. That this is not just a reputation of Godly behavior is obvious, because their good reputation was a separate quality. Their miraculous endowments were visible characteristics that separated them apart as obedient to God (Acts 5:32) and therefore identified them as trustworthy to the people. Later, Stephen, one of those selected men, following performing miraculous signs and wonders, would deliver an inspired speech to the Sanhedrin. That miraculous speech is identified as a filling of the Holy Spirit in Acts 7:55. It is argued the reason Stephen was able to do the miraculous was the apostles laid their hands upon him. There is no doubt this occurred. I would actually suggest this was done upon Stephen’s prior unrecorded conversion. The laying on of the hands of the selected men in Acts 6:6 was merely a ceremonial thing much like was done to Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:3. The miraculous filling observed in these verses eliminates indwelling.

Continuing, Paul was filled with the Spirit in Acts 9:17-18 and spoke the inspired speech of God’s Word. Acts 11:23-24 identify Barnabas as full of the Holy Spirit exhorting the Christians. I submit his speech was inspired to aid the Christians and he did not speak of his own accord. Other examples in Acts 13:9 and 13:52-14:1 also show inspired speech of the Holy Spirit by Paul and the disciples respectively. It is understood some of these may be considered borderline examples, however, consider the possibility is present for the miraculous. Most like examples examined are very clear filling was miraculous. What is certain is none of the verses examined refute the concept of filling involving the miraculous influence of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 is the final verse in scripture using the term “filled with the spirit”. This verse is frequently explained to be a representative state of behaving in a Godly manner. This would again refute a literal indwelling; however, it is not my belief this would be an appropriate interpretation. Rather, the Ephesians who had miraculous gifts were told to engage them (those with gifts did have control over them I Corinthians 14:27-32). This does not take away from the example of Christians today to sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs, but it was unique in the setting of the miraculous of the first century. Christians today have learned these whereas those of the first century had the miraculous inspiration to do so. For further discussion on the topic being “filled with the Spirit” and specifically Ephesians 5:18, please consider Franklin Camp’s work, “The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption” pp. 186-200.

The examination of the terms “filled with the Holy Spirit” or “Full” in the Old Testament and New Testament overwhelmingly demonstrate the miraculous in those ages. This completely shuts down the idea this term is the same as a non-miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Through three articles, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit has been shown not to be literal, not the Gift of the Spirit, and not being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Thus far the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is being approached as if it were non-miraculous. Most people approach the indwelling in this manner. However, there are some who do believe the indwelling to be miraculous. Some believe that ability comes from baptism, which was refuted in the second article. Others believe the Holy Spirit simply needs to be prayed for to receive an indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the ability to do miracles. However, this too is quashed in the second article as it was shown gifts were only enabled through the laying on of the apostles’ hands. Where such a false notion comes from is Luke 11:13. In this passage, Jesus encourages his disciples to pray for the Holy Spirit. Why? They prayed for the Holy Spirit so they could receive Him. Did they receive Him and if so when? The answer is yes! They received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. No other reference in scripture is made to praying for the Holy Spirit because instruction was for the disciples before Pentecost and their prayer was answered. For man to pray for the Holy Spirit today is not scriptural because the Spirit has come and performed His work. In the final article of this series, it will be shown miracles have ceased by the hand of man altogether giving further confirmation the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not miraculous. However, the next article in this series will focus on the sealing of the Holy Spirit and whether or not that is His indwelling.

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The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Is the Gift of the Holy Spirit the Beginning of His Indwelling?

Holy Spirit Indwelling Series Part 2

The first lesson in this series examined whether or not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is literal or representational. It was the conclusion of the article the Holy Spirit does not literally indwell anyone, but the term refers to a Christian putting on a Christ like life which matches the Bible given by the Spirit. It is this which allows the individual to indwell all of the Godhead and the Word and vice versa. However, Christians who take the view the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a literal one also often consider the term “gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38 to refer to the beginning of that indwelling. It is this professed belief upon which this article will focus.

Acts 2 begins with the Holy Spirit miraculously being poured out upon the apostles (the Holy Spirit Baptism). Visibly tongues of fire rest upon each of them and then they begin speaking in various languages – occurrences which were miraculous. Following, the apostle Peter explains the occurrence was exactly what the prophet Joel had prophesied. The language Joel used was regarding miraculous occurrences: Sons and daughters prophesying, young and old seeing visions and dreams, wonders in the sky and on earth. The people were amazed by the occurrences before their very eyes at the hands of the Apostles. The prophecy by Joel was the Spirit was to be poured “upon all mankind”. Because of this language, many individuals believe every single individual was to receive God’s Spirit. This is not the case whether one believes in a literal indwelling or not. All mankind is a reference to male and female, rich and poor, Jew or gentile, all those would offer themselves up as servants to the debt they could not pay (Christ’s redemption of mankind from their sins.). The breadth of the term “all mankind” is validated in Acts 2:18, 21, and Romans 1:16.

Peter continues in Acts 2 by proclaiming the miraculous resurrection and ascension of Christ. He convicts His audience of the crucifixion of Jesus. Their reply was “what shall we do?” Peter states the following:

Acts 2:38 – And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The first portions of Peter’s statement are fairly simple. The men were to change their lives from sinful ones to ones of obedience to God (Acts 17:30). They were to be immersed in water as is the New Testament pattern (Acts 8:13, 36, 9:18, 10:47, 16:15, 33… etc.). The second portion of the statement is where the need for focus lies. These people were told if they repented and were baptized they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If the miraculous was going on all around a man because of the Holy Spirit, he was told of this day by Joel’s prophecy of the miraculous by the Holy Spirit, and then he was told he would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit would he expect a non-miraculous non-visible gift such as a literal indwelling? The gift of the Holy Spirit was indeed being given to those who obeyed God (Acts 5:32). The three main beliefs are that this gift was the Holy Spirit himself (literal indwelling), salvation, or miraculous gifts. Doubt upon a literal indwelling was cast in the first article and speaking in regard to this verse the direct object in the Greek is “gift” not the Holy Spirit as a gift. Salvation was indeed available on the day of Pentecost. However, consider first that the promise of the Holy Spirit references the miraculous giving of the gospel and the miraculous around the Gospel (Acts 1:8, Galatians 3). Second, consider salvation occurs at baptism (I Peter 3:21) not after. Finally, consider the only two verses using the terms “gift of the Holy Spirit” are Acts 2:38 and Acts 10:45. Acts 10:45 describes the gift as having been poured out and in direct reference to Acts 2. The manifestation was the miraculous. These points again make it highly unlikely “salvation” was the “gift” being given.

Next in analysis consider the terms “gift” and “Holy Spirit” which are used in conjunction six times in the New Testament:

Acts 8:19-20 – saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said unto him, Thy silver perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of God with money. – Miraculous Context

Acts 10:45-46 – And they of the circumcision that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. – Miraculous Context

Acts 11:17 – If then God gave unto them the like gift as he did also unto us, when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God? – Miraculous Context

Ephesians 3:7 – whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of that grace of God which was given me according to the working of his power. – Miraculous Context

Ephesians 4:8 – Wherefore he saith, When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, And gave gifts unto men. – Miraculous Context

Acts 2:38Miraculous Context.

 

 

In every Biblical instance the terms “gift” and “Holy Spirit” are used in conjunction, we see the miraculous. It must be made clear, however, this article is written with full belief the miraculous ended with the first century. It is also a firm belief not everyone who was baptized received the miraculous. Only those who the apostles laid hands upon received the gift of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost which Joel pointed toward, the apostles were present to lay hands on individuals so they might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Others in Biblical recordings who were baptized did not receive such a gift (Acts 8:14-17). The only way the gift of the Holy Spirit was imparted was through the hands of the apostles, none other could accomplish such a task. For an individual to pull a literal indwelling out of this text is out of context. It is often stated the indwelling comes from baptism, but the Acts 8:14-17 text also shows this is an erroneous belief. The individuals in the text were baptized and did not receive the Holy Spirit until hands were laid upon them (Note: That text was not referring to an indwelling anyway, but the miraculous. Yet, nothing had been told the individuals about any kind of indwelling of the Spirit either. Which if a supposed indwelling was imparted at baptism, they would have known about it).

As stated in the first article, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is unity with God by obeying His will. It is not miraculous, it is not literal. The gift of the Holy Spirit as discussed in Acts 2:38 was a miraculous endowment upon Christians of the first century by the hands of the apostles. The gift of the Holy Spirit is not the same as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, however, it is clear that one who did not dwell in Christ (obedience) would not have the miraculous as well (Acts 5:32). For further explanation regarding Acts 2:38 and the “gift of the Holy Spirit” please reference the works of Guy N. Woods (Questions and Answers Open Forum pp. 54-59) and Franklin Camp (The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption pp. 130-141).

This article focused upon the term “gift of the Holy Spirit” and whether or not it related to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The next article in this series will focus upon what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit and whether it is another term for indwelling.

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Holy Spirit: Literal or Representational Indwelling?

Holy Spirit Indwelling Series Part 1

There are varying understandings of what is meant by the term “indwelling of the Holy Spirit”. This series of articles aims at examining the assertions of men and applications of scripture to determine the meaning of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit literal or representational? Is the gift of the Holy Spirit the beginning of His indwelling? What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to be sealed with the Holy Spirit? What exactly does the indwelling accomplish for a man? These questions and more will all be carefully answered by gradually moving through this series.

Here is a statement of the Apostle Paul, validating the existence of the topic of study, but in itself not a full explanation of what the Spirit indwelling is or does:

Romans 8:9“But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

Next, for fun consider this apparently opposing statement of Paul using the same exact word, “dwelleth”:

Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not.”

These statements are a bit of a teaser for this article and will be returned to before its end. At present, consider the following statements:

  • Full of Energy – Representative of moving about without tiredness.
  • Full of laughter – Representative of being cheerful or humorous
  • Full of light – Representative of someone who is optimistic
  • Full of wisdom – Representative of someone intelligent / knowledgeable
  • Full of the Spirit – Representative of someone walking according to truth and righteousness

Today, when the above are said, they are seen as representing different personality traits. In the first century, and mistakenly today, the last statement “Full of the Spirit” is viewed differently at times. This will be examined in a later article in this series. For now, observe how these statements are widely regarded as representational and not literal filling someone up with energy, laughter, light, wisdom, and Spirit.

Revelation 1:10 records the writing of the apostle John, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…” The question to be asked is: Was John literally in a spirit? Or was this a representation of his state of mind? I John 4:6 also written by John states: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he who is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” The context is the discernment between true and false teaching. The spirits here are not literal spirits that man is to be looking to find. They are representational rather of bodies of teaching. 2 Timothy 1:7 states: “For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.” Has God given man four literal spirits that are literally roaming around inside of him? No, these are representations of man’s state of being. Romans 7:17 states: “So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me”. Is sin literally living inside of Paul? Or is it the representational propensity to give into unrighteous desires that Paul is talking about. Finally, Colossians 1:19 states: “For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell;” Can qualities literally dwell or is the text saying Christ was representational of qualities? In all of the verses mentioned in this paragraph, there is a representation of qualities. There is no literal dwelling, abiding, or living in a person of these qualities.

The terms abide and dwell are the same word at times in the Greek and used interchangeably depending upon the translation give a picture of how God and the Holy Spirit dwell within His Church and man representatively. John 6:48-58 – presents a discussion where Christ states in vs. 56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.” Putting aside the doctrines of consubstantiation and transubstantiation, Christ said he would dwell or abide in those who did as he stated. How exactly was He going to do that? Literally? On the other side of the statement is the abiding or dwelling of the individual in Christ. How is that going to happen? Literally? Consider the following passages:

John 8:31Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples;

John 14:19-21 – Yet a little while, and the world beholdeth me no more; but ye behold me: because I live, ye shall live also. In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him.

John 15:4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me.

Romans 8:9But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

2 Timothy 3:14But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.

1 John 4:15-16Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him.

In the above passages there are many purposeful representational dwellings from the sides of Man, the Father, Jesus, the Spirit, the Word, things learned, and love. The audiences were Jews, apostles, Romans, Timothy, and Christians. They were being told to abide or dwell in unity within the will of God. All of the language is representational. It is also reverse. There is therefore a reverse indwelling. For man to literally abide in all of the things mentioned is not even common sense. The passages were given to tell man that if he does the things which God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) has established God and man will be representatively of one mind.

I Cor. 3:16-17 states “Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, and such are ye.” This statement is often read to establish that the human body houses the Holy Spirit. However, to do so literally is a poor misinterpretation of scripture. The discussion of I Corinthians 3 focuses on building something. The building is the Church. The materials are the souls of man. The temple of God is the Church. The Spirit lives representatively in it because the Church represents those obedient to the Word of God given by the Spirit of God to man. When man does not obey, he essentially tries to destroy the temple of God. He is straw, wood, hay, and God will destroy Him. Only those who are obedient to God and are united with God in His Church will be allowed to remain (Isaiah 59:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 1:8). This verse in no sense advocates a literal dwelling of the Spirit of God within an individual.

Wrapping up loose ends, Romans 7:18, mentioned at the beginning of this article remains to be discussed. In this verse Paul says nothing good dwells within his flesh. What about the Spirit! Does that not dwell within him? Isn’t that what Romans 8:9 said? Yes, it did. It was also seen this was representative. The point Paul is trying to get across in the verses surrounding and including Romans 7:18 is that striving after the flesh, worldly things, results only in sin. Good does not come from a worldly focus. It is when we match our lives with His will that we are representative of His Spirit. That is the indwelling of the Spirit. Man dwelling in the Spirit, the Spirit dwelling in man, relationships of unity, abiding, and dwelling. Paul was not making a contradictory statement.

This article presents the belief that the indwelling of the Spirit of God is completely representational based upon man’s obedience to the Word of God. The next article will further examine the belief of a literal indwelling of the Spirit, whether or not it has any relationship with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and when the indwelling is supposed to begin.

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Wallpaper

As I type this article, I am suffering from the cumulative effect of having stayed up very late for the past several evenings. What have I been doing, you may ask, to keep me up so late? Mary Lynn and I re-wallpapered the living room this past week and we have been moving around furniture and rearranging how we live to prepare for some new living room furniture that we will be getting this coming week. The only major piece of furniture that I can recall ever having purchased in our married life is the blue couch that is now sitting in our office and so it has been a long wait for us to have such things. This was also the very first home redecorating project that we have undertaken together in the first 15 years of marriage. (I can already hear the men saying, What a blessing! and hear the women saying, What a shame!) So we are both duly exhausted from having completed this project this past week and we still have much work to do in rearranging the sleeping quarters for the boys and getting Eddie out of his baby bed and Austin into his own room and etcetera.

However, looking back at the project, it seems that it has been a good experience and I thought I would share a few lessons learned. First, you’ve got to remove the old before you can put on the new. We spent several hours simply taking off the old wallpaper before we even thought about putting up the new wallpaper. In addition to that, we appropriately prepared the surface of the wall so that the new wallpaper would stick better. God told Jeremiah: See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant (Jeremiah 1:10). Jeremiah had to root out, pull down, and destroy before he could build and plant. There’s a principle that’s true for wallpaper and godly living both!

Second, a healthy dose of patience goes a long way toward hanging wallpaper. When that stuff gets wet, it’s heavy and it also goes wherever it touches initially. Then you’ve got to peel it off again and retry until you get it right. This involved several different communication strategies between Mary Lynn and I several of which sent us in various different directions initially, but after the first five sheets were hung, we were able to develop a nice rhythm to putting the stuff up. Life is like that too. New things tend to frustrate us and cause us to rethink our situation, but with a little patience we can soon develop a successful rhythm. James said, But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:4).

Finally, a good straight edge can solve a number of difficult problems. We measured, cut, hung, and cut some more and we needed a good straight edge for each step involved in the process. Of course, a straight edge is nothing more than a correct standard. God gives us the correct standard in His word and it is up to us to measure and cut our lives along that standard so that our lives turn out right and we don’t make a bigger mess than when we started. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Who’d of thought that hanging wallpaper could be so spiritual?

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