bs32 Should we seek the Holy Spirit?

bs32 Should we seek the Holy Spirit? examines the question of seeking the Holy Spirit, or do Christians already have Him.

By David Cox

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Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

There are people who say that the Christian must seek the Holy Spirit. In this common concept, the “arrival” of the Holy Spirit is accompanied by certain “evidence” which is normally one or more: speaking in tongues, falling on the floor and rolling back and forth, strong convulsions, a certain losing of control of the body by oneself. While the Bible speaks of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or to say it precisely, that the believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit, this “evidence” does not appear in the Bible. Moreover, this evidence is seen as mental illness or the activity of demons. These “manifestations” are what the mystery religions believed and are not biblical. The presence of the Holy Spirit is only seen in holiness and piety in the life of the person.

The Spirit in the Old Testament

Psalms 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

This is how David felt because of his unconfessed, unrepented of sin. It was a “feeling” for him which was very bad and disagreeable. But we cannot conclude from this that the Spirit will leave people in the New Testament. (Even in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit remained on people. 1 Samuel 16:13… the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.)

The Transition between the OT and NT

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.

Jesus declared that the situation of the Holy Spirit was going to change to a permanent indwelling for all believers. The Scripture fixed this event to happen on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. This day was the event of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and it was to be permanent as Jesus had promised in John 14:17, and it arrived in Acts 2.

The Earnest of the Spirit
When do we Receive the Spirit?

An “earnest” is a down payment on a future deal. The positions on this are (1) we receive the Holy Spirit in the moment that we are saved. The Spirit is given because of the same faith that saves the person. (2) That we are saved, and at some later moment (often much later) we receive the Holy Spirit. The famous Pentecostal seeking of the Spirit to “encounter Him”, and afterward these “manifestations.” In a way, the receiving of the Spirit (this second case) is an achievement of the works of the same person. But Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. The Scripture fixes exactly the time of receiving the Holy Spirit, and this is after hearing the gospel, and in the moment of believing Jesus as your Savior. Moreover, the reception of the Spirit is by means of the same faith that saves a person, the same faith, the same moment of salvation.

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

For Paul, he clearly understood that not having the Holy Spirit within the person, that person is not saved.” On the other hand, those that are saved, they all have the Holy Spirit from the moment of their salvation, and by Him, they walk according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The earnest of the Holy Spirit (that is his indwelling in the body of the believer) is a deposit or down payment on the salvation that God will give him when he dies. All the saved have this down payment (in other words, the Holy Spirit) at the moment of being saved. After believing unto salvation, the person now has the Holy Spirit for all eternity just the same as with salvation. But the idea of a down payment (earnest) is understood to be a tangible thing given in good faith meaning that both parties are confident that the deal will complete itself, however that may be. The down payment is understood that the deal is going to happen, no matter what. Understanding this point, nobody “has to seek the Holy Spirit.It is God’s obligation to give Him to us, not that we are saved. One of two things must be certain: 1) You already have the Spirit from the moment that you are saved, and perhaps the person doesn’t realize it yet. Or, 2) the person does not have the Spirit because he is not saved. In that last case, he should not seek the Holy Spirit but the Savior Jesus Christ. There falls the burden on the Pentecostal position that seeks the Spirit instead of the Savior. Why do they not put their energy into seeking and obeying Jesus Christ? The Bible does not present the Spirit as dying on the Cross or the Spirit as our Savior, but Jesus is our Savior.

To be Saved is to Have the Holy Spirit

2 Corinthians 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

In other words, God has confirmed our salvation, that we really are saved by sealing us with the Holy Spirit. A seal shows ownership, tells what something is (like a label), or guarantees something, like the quality of a product. Would it be possible that a person receives Jesus Christ and years later he receives the Spirit who is the seal of his salvation? Is it not obvious that God seals us the same instant that we believe in Jesus?

The Holy Spirit is our seal (guarantee) that we are the possession of God (that we are saved), because we are holy as God is holy. Observe that this is the case with EVERY BELIEVER. 1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (Leviticus 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.) The seal or mark that somebody belongs to God, that he is saved, is his holy life. “Manifestations” as in mystical things do not indicate that the person is saved, but only holiness can testify to our salvation. (Matthew 7:22-24)

The Guarantee that we are Saved.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Note that the words “we are saved” is not exactly the situation. Yes, we are saved, but at the same time, our rescue in the day of judgment hasn’t yet come to be, so our salvation is “a hope” that our rescue will be completed in judgment day, and we will not suffer the wrath of God. What counts is that day, what will happen. The earnest is like a wedding ring, when two young people promise to marry each other. The guy will give his girl a promise ring that he will marry her on that day. God says that we will rescue us from the wrath of God (this is His promise), and the down payment or guarantee that God will fulfill it is the Holy Spirit indwelling us. How is it possible that a person could be saved and not have the guarantee of God, the Holy Spirit?

The Explanation of Luke 11:13

Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?  

The point of what Jesus says is to illuminate the good character of God, (Matthew 7:11 is parallel to our verse here, and has “good gifts” in place of the “Holy Spirit”) not to condition that the Spirit has to be sought before He is given. We do not have to beg God for something good, but rather as a good father, he gives it to us with joy. God is not stingy with His good Spirit, but He gives Him with bountifulness and freely. Of His will, he concedes us the Spirit. The New Testament does not have examples (outside of the very transition in Acts) of Christians receiving the Spirit after their salvation or with spectacular evidence. The point is not that you have to have more of the Holy Spirit, but you have to yield more of your life to God.

 The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

The Holy Spirit can only dwell with the believer. Even with the believer, there are times he walks in sin and out of the presence of God, and he doesn’t have the joy of the Spirit (we think of David in Psalm 51:11 cited in the beginning of this tract), and this is that he doesn’t perceive His presence because of his sin. When the Holy Spirit is strong in us, or the presence of the Spirit is strong within a person, he has victory over sin. He is victorious in cleansing his life, even though yes, before his death, he still has sin. But he fights a great fight against sin in his own life.

There are Consequences of the Indwelling Spirit in us.

1) The person is born again; the person is saved. John 3:1-8. He is a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2) He testifies to us that we are saved.
Romans 8:15… but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs… What is this testimony? As the Spirit of God is holy, we are likewise holy. A person notes his victory over sin.
3) We are members or part of the body of Christ, (the universal church). 1 Corinthians 12:13. The person that doesn’t integrate himself into a church, a community of believers, to participate with them in worshipping God, has something wrong with him.
4) The Spirit in us makes our spiritual situation clear. 1 Corinthians 2:12that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God”. He values spiritual things.
5) The Spirit gives us spiritual gifts, that are abilities to use in the service of God. 1 Corinthians 12:11. We cannot understand any Christian that is saved and doesn’t serve God in a community of faith. He simply doesn’t understand his salvation.
6) The Spirit gives us strength where we cannot in our own strength succeed. Romans 8:26-27. The mark of the Holy Spirit is that He empowers us for service in the work of God.
7) The Spirit makes one walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and guides us by the Spirit (Romans 8:14). The Christian life constantly lived for Christ is the Holy Spirit working within the life of the Christian.
8) The Spirit produces “the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23.
9) He convinces us of sin (John 16:8) and is saddened when we sin (Ephesians 4:30). This is that God “cleanses us of sin” (1 John 1:9).

The Sequence of Events

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

So then, there is a sequence of events. This “abundance” of the Holy Spirit was to “arrive,” or be poured out, on the believers when Jesus was glorified, in other words, taken back up into heaven after His resurrection. This would put the time at Pentecost, 50 days after the resurrection.

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

We would notice that there is no verse saying abide in the Spirit. But to please God we must “abide in Christ.”

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bs32 Should we seek the Holy Spirit?