WHY do you need the Holy Spirit? HOW do you receive it? How do you KNOW that you have received it?
DID YOU know that five out of six ministers and theological students believe that God acts upon or operates in human lives through the Holy Spirit? Yet almost none of them agrees about what the Holy Spirit is! They disagree about why we need it — about how we receive it — about how we know that we have received it! WHY? This striking paradox was revealed in the famous LOOK magazine series on religions of America. It is time we understood the TRUTH about this vital subject.
Preaching a Counterfeit Spirit
Are you aware of Paul's WARNING that there would be MANY different denominations preaching different doctrines about the Holy Spirit — deceiving the many into receiving spirits different from the Holy Spirit revealed in Scripture. Notice: "But I fear" — Paul was frightened, he knew what was coming — "lest somehow, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, YOUR THOUGHTS should be CORRUPTED from the simplicity and the purity that is toward the Christ" — Christ's doctrine is simple, when we understand it — it is not a theological mystery. Continuing with II Cor. 11:3-4: "For if he" — any false minister masquerading in the name of Christ, pretending to be a preacher of righteousness — "who cometh preacheth ANOTHER JESUS" — the world is filled with the preaching of a DIFFERENT Jesus who was born, who died and rose at a DIFFERENT time than the true Messiah, a different Jesus who dared to abolish His Father's immutable laws — "whom we did not preach" — says Paul — "or ye receive a DIFFERENT SPIRIT, which ye did not receive" — from the preaching of the apostles. Notice that Paul warns about receiving a DIFFERENT SPIRIT and "a DIFFERENT GOSPEL." THIS PROPHETIC WARNING HAS ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED! Professing Christianity is split asunder by hundreds of different denominations preaching different doctrines from those of the inspired Apostles of Jesus Christ. This apostacy from the truth began in apostolic days! By the time Paul wrote this second letter to the Corinthians, such false ministers had already arisen — "ye bear well with him," the false minister who came to Corinth. They listened and entertained the deceiver — and the vast majority of professing Christians have been doing the same ever since that day. Little wonder that we have such DECEPTION. Confusion as to the nature and work of the Holy Spirit spread throughout the apostatizing churches in post-apostolic days. The TRUTH was buried under a rubbish heap of superstition and ignorance. To end this condition, Emperor Constantine called the Nicaean Council in 325 A.D. to force the churches to agree to whatever the majority decided. By majority decision — men voting upon the doctrine of God — it was decreed that God was a trinity and that the Holy Spirit was a Person of the trinity. But the real purpose WHY we need the Holy Spirit was not discussed. It is time we faced facts squarely and look into the Bible to see what God reveals about HIS Holy Spirit.
HOW to Receive the Holy Spirit
There is only ONE Holy Spirit. It comes from God. We need it or we will never gain eternal life. How do we receive it? Open your Bible to Luke 11:13. Here are Jesus' own words: "If ye therefore, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more shall the Father who is from heaven give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Observe that the Holy Spirit is a GIFT. It is called that in Acts 10:45 and 11:17. Then it is not something we were born with, nor is it anything we earn. It is something we need, but which we receive as a GIFT upon asking God for it. But how do we know that God hears us when we ask Him in prayer? Here is the answer: "Whatever we ask we receive of him, because we keep His commandments and DO the things pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of the Son Jesus Christ, and LOVE one another, even as He gave us commandment" (I John 3:22-23). Notice that we must not only believe in Jesus Christ, but we must also do the Father's commandments — that is what LOVE IS. "This is the LOVE of God, that we keep His commandments" (I John 5:3). If we perform these conditions, God will answer us. We can receive His Holy Spirit. Observe how this is again explained in Acts 2:38: "And Peter said unto them: REPENT and be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit." That is how! You begin to keep the commandments by REPENTING — by turning away from your past sins and by directing yourself to lead a new life in comformity with God's revealed Word, the Bible. Then, if you believe and are baptized (immersed), you are unconditionally promised the Holy Spirit. God has bound Himself to perform His part if you first perform yours. To continue: In Acts 5:32 you read: "And we" — the apostles are speaking — "are witnesses of these sayings; also the Holy Spirit, which God hath given to them that OBEY Him."
God Demands OBEDIENCE
Notice the stress placed upon OBEDIENCE, upon submission to the Will of God, to the Law of God. Since God expects a submissive, obedient attitude before we receive the Holy Spirit, how plain it is that the Holy Spirit is the spirit of submission and obedience to the Father. It is the spirit of LOVE — a law-abiding spirit. Now notice the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus said: "Surely then by their fruits you shall know them" (Mat. 7:20). You can know if you received the Holy Spirit. You know by the fruits — not by outward appearances and manifestations. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is invisible. Its presence is known only by the attitude and action it produces in a visible human body. That attitude and action we call the fruit. What kind of fruit must we expect? The same kind of fruit that God would produce — because the Holy Spirit comes from God. You know a tree by its fruits. Something is wrong if a tree does not bear its proper fruit. It is undoubtedly a different tree-stock than it appears to be. What kind of fruits would God produce? Would He bear the wild "manifestations" you hear about in many evangelistic rallies? Of course not! Then what is the fruit of the Spirit — the fruit that God is bearing through us?
God Bears Fruit in Us
Here is the answer: "The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, SELF-CONTROL; against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22). The first fruit is LOVE. "The love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given us," says Paul in Romans 5:5. What is the love of God? "LOVE is fulfillment of law" is Paul's answer in Romans 13:10. Love is obedience — obedience to God's law. If you love God you will keep all His commandments — all ten of them as they are magnified in Scripture. That is what we have read in John's writing, isn't it? It is the teaching of the entire Bible. Man must learn to OBEY his Maker! No one who continues to break God's law has received the Spirit of God. That means that professing Christians who do not keep all the ten commandments have never received the Spirit of God — they are still UNCONVERTED — and they never will be converted until they conform to God's spiritual law of LOVE. The other fruits of the Spirit, mentioned by Paul, amplify the attitude of love. Obedience to God is not harsh and cruel and unyielding — it is a joy, it is peaceable and gentle, it is SELF-CONTROL. I know that this is hard to believe. You have probably been taught that you cannot receive the Holy Spirit until you REJECT God's law. That deceptive teaching results from preaching a perverted gospel — a different gospel than Jesus preached. That is the way of Cain who hated his brother Abel. God's law of love has been His message from the beginning of time (I John 3:11-12). But men have refused it!
WHY Do We Need the Holy Spirit?
Man was born without the vital spark that will enable him to live forever. Man is mortal. Man is subject to death. Notice: "But if any hath not Christ's Spirit he is none of His. And if Christ is in you" — living the same life in us now by the Holy Spirit, as He — lived by the Holy Spirit while He was personally on earth — "your body is indeed dead because of sin; but the Spirit is LIFE because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him" — the Father — "that raised Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead shall make dive your MORTAL bodies through His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:10-11). How plain. The Holy Spirit imparts the beginning of eternal life. We inherited mortal life through Adam. We become heirs of eternal life — heirs of God — by the Holy Spirit, which is the LIFE of God. "And the witness is this, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" — not in an immortal soul. Who hath the Son hath the life; who hath not the Son of God hath not the life. These things have I written you," says John, chat ye may know that ye have eternal life" (I John 5:11-12). Eternal life is a gift of God. It is an attribute of the Holy Spirit. It is not the "immortality of the soul." "For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life" — if we already had it, it would not be a gift; it would be inherited — (Romans 6:23). But the Holy Spirit does more than impart to us the possibility of eternal life. It imparts to us the characteristics of God the Father. That portion of the Holy Spirit, which each person receives, may be compared to the germ or sperm of physical life. It transmits His mental and spiritual attributes to us. It elevates us from the plain of human understanding to divine understanding. When we receive the Holy Spirit we can comprehend the thoughts of God — thoughts which we cannot fully grasp otherwise. That is why most people do not know that they are not converted — they cannot grasp what it means to be converted.
The MIND of God
Conversion starts with repentance. Conversion means change. Repentance means a change, from the wrong to the right. It is a change of mind. But that change is not enough. We must have the Spirit of God added in order for that change to be permanent. Our minds need to be developed to become like God's mind. "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). We must have the mind or mental attitude of Jesus Christ. Such an attitude comes only by the addition of spirit — the Holy Spirit — to the natural or soulish mind with which we were born. Here is why: "The mind of the flesh" — with which you were born — "is death" — it produces death, it cannot think clearly; "but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace" — a human mind united with and controlled by spirit from God produces eternal life and peace. But "the mind of the flesh is enmity unto God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be" (Rom. 8:6-7). To put it plainly, we are not fully SANE until we obtain God's mind. Until we receive it we are on a mental plane but little better than brute animals who go by instinct. Few grasp how GREAT the mind of God is — and how GREAT his kindness is in making it possible for us to have His MIND! Now that we understand that the Holy Spirit imparts eternal life and spiritual characteristics of God, we can better understand the NATURE and attributes of the Spirit.
The Germ of Eternal Life
First, notice that the Holy Spirit — the germ by which we are begotten — comes from the Father. God has masculine characteristics. That is why we call Him Father. If He is a Father then He begets us. We are called the "begotten children of God" (I John 3:1). God has the powers of reproduction. He begets us "by His Spirit." Each portion of the Spirit we receive is like a germ or sperm. Peter tells us we are "begotten again, not of corruptible SEED, but of incorruptible, through God's word, which liveth and abideth" (I Peter 1:23). Jesus completes this by saying we must finally be born again — at the resurrection — when we shall be spirit. Now we are only flesh with the Spiritual germ of eternal life in US. Second, notice that an attribute of God's Spirit is perfect character. The germ of eternal life transmits that attribute into us. It is the spirit of obedience — of perfection. Any begotten child of God may sin if Christ is not fully living His life in us through the Holy Spirit. But if Christ abides in us through the Holy Spirit, we have the power to resist practicing sin. When one is born of God, he becomes perfect (I John 3:9-10). Christ is the only human being thus far born of God. He is perfect. If He, so to speak, lives His life in us by means of the Holy Spirit — that is the same as saying we are to live by every WORD of God, for Christ is the WORD personified — Christ is the Bible in action — we have the power of complete SELF-CONTROL — if we yield to His Spirit. We have the power to become like God! Of course! If we are God's children we are to grow up to become LIKE Him. That is true of all nature. It is equally true of Spirit as it is of matter. Notice: "For His invisible attributes since the world's creation are clearly seen, being perceived through the things made, both His everlasting power and divinity" (Rom. 1:20). The physical creation reveals the divine attribute of God to reproduce. Nature reproduces — therefore it reveals that God is a Father. And if He is our Father, if we are begotten of His Seed, the Holy Spirit, we shall become like Him. That is what the world does NOT know!
The Family of God
Since there is a Heavenly Father, and we are His begotten children, then God must be a FAMILY! And the Church of God must be composed of the begotten Family of God. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us alike, that gives the Family and the Church unity. Notice the family relationship in Galatians 4:6-7: "God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba," meaning "the Father." It is the same Spirit by which we are placed or immersed into the Church. "For in one Spirit also were we all baptized into one body" — the Church (I Cor. 12:13). In Hebrews 12:9, the Almighty is called "the Father of spirits." We are ultimately to be composed of spirit — spirit beings on the plane of God, members of the Divine Family (John 3:6). In the resurrection the mortal bodies we now have will "be raised spiritual bodies" (I Cor. 15-42). Notice how often in Scripture we are declared to be heirs of the DIVINE NATURE — of immortal, incorruptible, perfect, all-powerful SPIRIT, possessing the very MIND of God. We are to be full partakers of the "divine nature" (II Peter 1:4). Whenever we become members of God's begotten Family, we receive a portion — a seed or germ — of the Father's Holy Spirit. "On the nations also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 10:45). This gift the apostle John called a seed. These divine life-giving seeds are poured out from the Father in heaven and, like physical life-giving germs or sperms, unite with our minds. Each human mind is like the nucleus of an egg to which the Holy Spirit or seed unites. Just as the egg in a mother's womb must be nourished with life-giving food through the placenta, so we must be nourished by the WORDS of God and prayer. "The words that I have spoken," said Jesus, "ARE SPIRIT AND ARE LIFE' (John 6:63). Those words are the Bible. That is why man must live by every word of God. Just as the physical life-giving nutriments circulate in the mother's uterus, so must the life of God circulate through our minds. We drink in the life-giving words of God from the Bible through reading and studying and meditating. Then, just as the physical poisons are carried through the umbilicus by the bloodstream away from a foetus in the womb, so must we allow our sins to pass from us by asking forgiveness through prayer to God, the shed blood of Christ figuratively bearing our sins away. That is how our spirit-begotten minds grow until we are ready to be born into a new world — The WORLD TOMORROW — at the resurrection! Now do you see the importance of Bible study and prayer?
Christ's Spirit FLOWS THROUGH Our Minds
Not only must the words of God flow into our minds through Bible study, but SPIRIT must flow through our minds. Notice that each converted Christian receives a seed — composed of spirit, not matter — which unites with each separate repentant human mind. That is what begets us. But that spiritual germ must grow like the foetus in a mother's womb. Let "Christ be formed in you," said Paul in Gal. 4:19. And, "we must grow up in everything" — in spiritual — mindedness (Eph. 4:15). How is that seed, now united with our minds, going to grow? By the addition of more spirit — by the "supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:19). Then added to the germ which proceeds from the Father there must be a continual supply of Spirit sent from Jesus Christ so that our minds grow spiritually — till our minds become more and more spiritual and less and less carnal — till we grow to a mature spiritual mind. A foetus in a mother's womb must have physical substance added to the original ovum (egg) and sperm if that new physical life is to develop. So we must be FILLED WITH SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT — "filled with the Spirit" so that our minds grow. The expression "Filled with the spirit" (Eph. 5:18) does not mean to be filled with emotional manifestations (which come from the flesh and not from Spirit). It means that our minds are filled with Spirit from heaven administered through Jesus Christ in His office as High Priest. Some of that Spirit of Christ, flowing through our minds, unites with our Spirit-begotten minds. Notice how Paul explains this in Romans 8:8-9: "But ye are not in the flesh" — we are not motivated by fleshly passions — "but in the Spirit" — motivated and guided by Spirit — "if so be that GOD'S Spirit dwelleth in you." That is the Holy Spirit in the form of a seed from the Father transmitting His characteristics. But notice what Paul adds: "But if any hath not CHRIST'S Spirit he is none of His." That is the Holy Spirit proceeding from Jesus Christ, flowing through out minds so that we may grow spiritually. This is the Holy Spirit in another form, different from the seed from the Father. THIS DIFFERENCE IN MANIFESTATION MOST PEOPLE HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD. The Holy Spirit from Christ is like a current of electricity flowing through a light bulb. We are that bulb. But there could be no light without a filament inside of the bulb. That filament is like the spiritual seed from the Father.
NEVER Begotten Before Pentecost, 31 A.D.
Only since Pentecost, in 31 A.D., when the Holy Spirit promised from the Father was sent (Acts 2), has anyone (except Christ) been begotten of the Father. No one (except Christ) was ever begatten of the Father from the days of Adam to 31 A.D. Being begotten of the Father so that spirit is united with our minds is something entirely new. It is "a new and living way" made possible by Christ's sacrifice (Heb. 10:19, 20). For the first time we pray to the Father. In the Old Testament no one prayed to the Father. No one addressed God as Father. Christ came to declare Who the Father is — to declare that we may be begotten of Him: "God no one hath ever seen; an only begotten" — Christ — "himself God, who is [ascended] unto the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him" (John 1:18, Panin trans.). What Spirit was in the prophets? "The Spirit of Christ" (I Peter 1:11). Christ is one of the members of the God-Kingdom. He was the one who administered the Spirit to Moses, to Abel and to all the faithful of old. His Spirit flowed through them and filled their minds. But that Spirit could not unite with their minds because they were not begotten with seed from the Father. "And these all, witnessed through their faith, received not the promise, God having foreseen something better concerning us, that apart from us they be not made perfect" (Heb. 11:39-40). We have "the earnest of the Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13). We have a minute portion of Spirit united with our minds — just a token of the Spirit with which we will be composed at the resurrection. To be made suddenly immortal at the resurrection we must not only have had Christ's Spirit flowing through us, but we must also have been begotten of the Father. At the resurrection, the Father must beget the prophets and saints of old, whose minds are sleeping in their graves. They will also be made immortal in the twinkling of an eye, since they did have Christ's Spirit flowing through their minds. God expects more of us today because we have Spirit-begotten minds. Under the Old Testament, polygamy was permitted, for example, because the patriarchs often lacked the physical powers of self-control possible only to begotten children of God. Today, we have God's life and power as a very part of our being, enabling us to overcome and master our human nature.
The NATURE of Spirit
Spiritual qualities and entities seem so unreal to most people. And no wonder. Spiritual things are invisible, not discerned by the senses until revealed IN WRITING in the Bible! When we speak of the Holy Spirit, many cannot picture in their minds what it is. Yet the Bible makes clear the nature of the Holy Spirit. Spirit may be compared to matter in many ways, as we already noted in Romans 1:20. Matter exists in three states — solid, liquid, gas. In a similar way, spirit apparently exists in three states. Notice, "God is spirit" (John 4:24). The God-family is composed of spirit. The Father and the Son, who are already composed of spirit, have definite shape. Whatever holds its shape we call solid. Prom one end of the Bible to the other we are told about the shape and the parts of each member in the God-family. The Father and the Son each have a head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, arms, fingers, a torso, legs, feet, plus inward parts. Man is in the image of God. Man is matter, but God is spirit. Both matter and spirit exist in various forms and with different appearances. Living matter reproduces itself — so does spirit. That is why God is reproducing after HIS kind. Spirit, unlike living matter, is immortal — it cannot be cut to pieces or broken so as to be destroyed. It is also capable of infinite work — never running down because of friction and dissipation. We can be like that, too, if we yield to God. In another state, spirit is said to be poured out — like droplets of water — and to join with each individual separate mind upon repentance and a total change of heart. Spirit also flows through the mind, back and forth from heaven to earth, and out from us in good works.
Even though the Father and the Son are in definite locations with respect to each other, hence comparable to solid matter, spirit proceeds from them and fills the entire universe much like the breath of air fills everything on earth. Note David's words that God's Spirit permeates everything (Pslam 139:7-11). Spirit is God's life; air contains the life-giving oxygen of man. Notice how similar the comparison is. This spirit of the God-family serves a different function than the spirit germs or seed that beget us as members of God's Family. The divine Spirit that fills the entire universe is the channel by which the Father and the Son create, The Spirit of God transformed the creative energy of Father and Son into the physical world we see around us. Man has no such attribute or power born into him. But man may form tools which transform man's physical energy into visible objects, light, heat, and numerous other physical manifestations. Man is put here on earth to learn to develop tools for limited creative work — to train himself for the ETERNAL GOAL — becoming part of the God-family, which means control of the creative Spirit of God. That is what it means to become converted and to be put into the Church of God by receiving His Spirit. Certainly all the difficulties of life are worth it — when you compare the tremendous reward of responsibility that awaits us!
God Not a Trinity
How plain that God is a Family — a Kingdom, not a limited trinity. The doctrine of the trinity was foisted upon the world beginning with the council of Nicaea. It is merely a continuation of the pagan Babylonish trinity of father, mother and child, except that in this instance the apostate churches substituted the Holy Spirit for the mother (Semiramis) and called it a "person." The verse in I John 5:7: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. and these three are one" — this verse is NOT INSPIRED — it was not written by the apostle John! It is not found in any of the old manuscripts of the inspired Greek, and was not found in the manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate until the eighth century after Christ. You can find this proved in any of the Commentaries. This verse is a deliberate hoax, foisted upon a deceived world by a devil-inspired writer centuries after the inspired John wrote the book. This verse is left out in ALL translations today. The verse in Matthew 28:19 is often misinterpreted to refer to a trinity. Notice that disciples are to be baptized "into" — the inspired original Greek is "into," not "in" — "the NAME of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Does this verse say that all three are Persons? NO! Don't we give names to many things that are not persons, Of course we do. Everything, whether person, place or thing, bears a name. What is the NAME into which converts are to be baptized? What is the name all converts bear as a result of being baptized in water in the name or by the authority of Jesus Christ, and as a result of being begotten by the Holy Spirit? The name is GOD. We are called the "sons of God" or God's — sons, just as human beings bear the names Johnson, Robertson, and Jackson, meaning originally the sons of John, Robert and of Jack. GOD is the family name of the divine Kingdom. It is the Father "from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is NAMED" (Eph. 3:15). The Father's name is GOD in English. Notice: "I manifested Thy name to the men," said Jesus to the disciples. "Holy Father, keep them in thy name" (John 17:6, 11) What is the NAME of the Church, which is made up of the disciples of Jesus? "The Church of GOD" (I Cor. 1:2, and many other places). Jesus is called God in John 1:1 and in other texts. And since the Holy Spirit is that of which the Father and Son are composed, it too is GOD. It is not angelic spirit, but divine or God Spirit. Instead of teaching the trinity, Matthew 28:19 teaches that God is a growing Family into which we may be baptized or immersed or placed. God is a Family, a Kingdom, not a trinity. The Father in Heaven wants you to become a member of His divine Family. You can be His Son if you surrender your whole life to Him, believe all that is in The Bible, and believe Christ is your Saviour and obey Him. This knowledge has now reached you. What are you going to do about it?