Tag Archives: holy spirit

Practicing Righteousness

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 John 3:7)

Every genuine Christian knows that part of the salvation gift is the promise of being made “unblameable in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 3:13). We sometimes have trouble, however, with the concept of present-tense holiness in our everyday lifestyles.

John speaks of the abiding Christian who “sinneth not” (1 John 3:6). Indeed, such a Christian “doth not commit sin” (1 John 3:9) because, John notes, the “seed” of God “remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Furthermore, “whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” (1 John 5:18).

It’s accurate to translate those passages with the “continuing” implication of the Greek structure (i.e. “does not continue in [the practice of] sin,” etc.). However, the emphasis is on an obvious, continuous, clearly embraced lifestyle of righteous living!

The visible transformation from a worldly conformity (Romans 12:2) begins with a desire for “the sincere milk of [God’s] word” (1 Peter 2:2), fashioning ourselves after God’s holiness “in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:14-15).

Neither are we to let sin reign in our bodies, but we are to yield ourselves as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12-13). Since we are “risen with Christ,” we are to “mortify” the fleshly appetites, “put off” emotional outbursts that reflect an ungodly nature, and “put on” godly attributes so that whatsoever we do is done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:1-17). HMM III

The Power of Spiritual Control

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“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:17-18)

Two factors need to be identified with these verses. First, the preceding context confines the primary application to behavior, just as the following context relates the behavior to the fellowship of believers. Secondly, the imagery stresses control of that behavior by the Holy Spirit, contrasting drunken behavior with filled behavior.

The filling is not synonymous with the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-14) since all twice-born are so baptized but not all are filled. Nor is it equal with or subsequent to speaking in tongues since some specifically identified as being filled with the Holy Spirit (John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Jesus) never spoke in tongues. Some individuals (Paul, Peter, Stephen) were filled on different occasions. Apparently, the filling produces a temporary effect like alcohol does. The effect of the filling of the Holy Spirit enhances or encourages a God-like behavior in contrast to the Satan-like behavior stimulated by alcohol.

Some passages equate power with this filling (Acts 1:8; Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5), and others equate it to wisdom (Colossians 1:9-11; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 3:15-17). However, the immediate context lists four evidences of the Holy Spirit’s control: songs of praise together, personal singing and private melody to God in our hearts, thanksgiving, and voluntary submission to one another in the Lord (Ephesians 5:19-21).

Since the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to the saints (Ephesians 4:7-11) for the purpose of building the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-16), it stands to reason that the Holy Spirit’s control would be designed to enhance and stimulate the ministry of believers to each other and their personal joy and awareness of the goodness of God. HMM III

The Power of Spiritual Tools

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“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:7)

The grace that is given (charis) is a distribution by the Holy Spirit of gifts (charisma) to every believer (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Seventeen gifts are listed in Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-10, and Ephesians 4:11, all of them intended by the Holy Spirit to minister to the church and enhance its unity (Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:12). Three reasons are cited for these gifts.

The Perfecting of the Saints

This “perfecting” describes a process of making something useful or suitable that is not yet adequate. James and John mended their nets (Matthew 4:21). Paul prayed that he might supply that which was lacking (1 Thessalonians 3:10). The gifts of the Holy Spirit mend that which is lacking in the saints. The

Work of the Ministry

This is a joint effort of service (2 Corinthians 6:1) that recognizes the public visibility of that service (2 Corinthians 4:1-2) and steadfastly displays those gifts so that the “ministry be not blamed” (2 Corinthians 6:3).

The Edifying of the Body of Christ

The building process focuses the use of the gifts on the enrichment and betterment of the local assembly of believers (1 Corinthians 14:5, 12, 26). The goal is to bring all saints to a state of doctrinal unity (the faith) so that our maturity can be compared to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Eliminating susceptibility to “every wind of doctrine,” growing into Him in all things, and building the “body fitly joined together . . . according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:14-16). HMM III

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