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This is Chafer's difinitive work on the person and relation of the Holy Spirit to the believer.  A must read for spiritual comprehension and growth.
If you would like this plus 8 other Chafer classics in zip file.  click here and leave your email address inthe guest book and we will send you a set.

Lewis Sperry Chafer


by Lewis Sperry Chafer










1.   The Spirit According to the Old Testament

2.   The Spirit According to the Gospels and The Acts to 10:43

The Day of Pentecost

3.   The Spirit According to the Remainder of the Acts and the Epistles



1.   The Ministry of the Spirit in Restraining

2.   The Ministry of the Spirit in Reproving

3.   The Ministry of the Spirit in Regenerating

4.   The Ministry of the Spirit as Indwelling the Believer

a.   According to Revelation

b.   According to Reason

5.   The Ministry of the Spirit in Baptizing

6.   The Ministry of the Spirit in Sealing

7.   The Ministry of the Spirit in Filling





1.   The Spirit Produces Christian Character

a.   Love

2.   The Spirit Produces Christian Service

3.   The Spirit Teaches

4.   The Spirit Promotes Praise and Thanksgiving

5.   The Spirit Leads 

6.   The Spirit Witnesseth With Our Spirit

7.   The Spirit Maketh Intercession for Us




The First Condition of True Spirituality




1.   Christ alone can Cleanse from Sin (John 13:1-11)

2.   Confession is the one Condition of Fellowship, Forgiveness and Cleansing (1 John 1:1 to 2:2)

3.   Self-judgment Saves from Chastisement (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)

4.   Chastisement is the Father=s Correction and Training of His Sinning Child (Hebrews 12:3-15)

5.   An Example of Christian Repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-11)

6.   The Repentance, Confession and Restoration of an Old Testament Saint (Psalm 51:1-19)

7.   The Three-fold Illustrative Parable in the Gospels (Luke 15:1-32)



The Second Condition of True Spirituality








The Third Condition of True Spirituality



1.   The Impossible Heavenly Standard of Life in Contrast to the Standards of the World

2.   The Christian Faces a World-Ruling Foe

3.   The Adamic Nature

The Doctrine of Perfection

The Doctrine of Sanctification

The Doctrine of the Adamic Nature

     From What Source Does Sin Proceed in a Christian?


AOld Man@



The Believer=s Death With Christ

The Summarizing Scripture

II.         The Divine Remedy

Two Theories Contrasted: Eradication, or Divine Control WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?





1.   The Estate of the One Who Needs to Be Saved (a and b)

2.   The Divine Objective and Ideal in Salvation (a and b)

3.   Salvation Is of God Alone (a and b)

4.   God Can Save Only by and Through the Cross (a and b)

5.   Salvation Is by Faith (a and b)




The importance of the subject of this book is beyond estimation.  True spirituality is that quality of life in the child of God which satisfies and glorifies the Father. it brings celestial joy and peace to the believer=s own heart. Upon it all Christian service depends. Since God purposes to work through human means, the fitness of the instrument determines the progress made.

There is general agreement that the daily life of Christians should be improved; but improvement cannot be had other than in God=s way. Merely to exhort an unspiritual Christian is a loss of time and energy. When that Christian becomes spiritual, he will need no exhortation; but himself becomes an exhorter both by precept and example. Christians, as a whole, are satiated with ideals. Their real difficulty is stated in the words: AHow to perform that which is good, I find not.@ The divine way to sufficiency and efficiency must be understood and acted upon, else we fail.

The Bible doctrine concerning the Christian=s nature and daily practice, and the relation of these to the death of Christ, is subject to some disagreement. it is not the primary purpose of this book to correct details of doctrine. The object has been rather to state the outstanding revelation of the divine provision for the overcoming life. May we be delivered from controversy over secondary things in the face of our present failure to Awalk as it becometh saints.@

It is my prayer that this statement of the fact and force of the spiritual life may be helpful to those who are called upon to manifest Christ to a dying world, and who hope to hear the Master say, AWell done.@




THERE IS AN OBVIOUS difference in the character and quality of the daily life of Christians. This difference is acknowledged and defined in the New Testament. There is also a possible improvement in the character and quality of the daily life of many Christians.  This improvement is experienced by all such Christians who fulfill certain conditions. These conditions, too, form an important theme in the Word of God.

The Apostle Paul, by the Spirit, has divided the whole human family into three groups: (1) The Anatural man,@ who is unregenerate, or unchanged spiritually; (2) the Acarnal man,@ who is a Ababe in Christ,@ and walks Aas a man@; and (3) the Aspiritual@ man. These groups are classified by the Apostle according to their ability to understand and receive a certain body of Truth, which is of things Arevealed@ unto us by the Spirit. Men are vitally different one from the other as regards the fact of the new birth and the life of power and blessing; but their classification is made evident by their attitude toward things revealed.

In First Corinthians 2:9 to 3:4 this threefold classification is stated.  The passage opens as follows: ABut as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.@ A distinction is here drawn between those general subject of human knowledge which are received through the eye-gate, the ear-gate, or the Aheart@ (the power to reason), and other subjects which are said to have been Arevealed@ unto us by His Spirit. There is no reference here to any revelation other than that which is already contained in the Scriptures of Truth, and this revelation is boundless, as the passage goes on to state: AFor the Spirit [who reveals] searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.@  Men are classified according to their ability to understand and receive the Adeep things of God.@ Into these Adeep things of God@ no unaided man can go. AFor what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God@ (knows them). An unaided man may enter freely into the things of his fellow man because of Athe spirit of man which is in him.@ He cannot extend his sphere. He cannot know experimentally the things of the animal world below him, and certainly he cannot enter a higher sphere and know experimentally the things of God. Even though man, of himself, cannot know the things of God, the Spirit knows them, and a man may be so related to the Spirit that he too may know them. The passage continues:

ANow we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we may know the things [the Adeep things of God,@ which eye hath not seen, etc.] that are freely given us of God.@ AWe [that is, all saved, excluding none] have received the Spirit which is of God.@ Here is a great potentiality.  Being so vitally related to the Spirit of God as to have Him abiding within, it is possible, because of that fact, to come to know Athe things that are freely given to us of God.@ We could never know them of ourselves: the Spirit knows, He indwells, and He reveals.

This divine revelation is transmitted to us in Awords@ which the Holy Spirit teacheth, as the Apostle goes on to state: AWhich things also we speak, not in the words which man=s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.@ God=s Book is a Book of words and the very words which convey Aman=s wisdom@ are used to convey things which Aeye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man.@ Nevertheless unaided man cannot understand these Adeep things of God,@ though couched in words most familiar to man, except as they are Arevealed@ by the Spirit. Just so, in coming to know these revealed things, progress is made only as one spiritual thing is compared with another spiritual thing. Spiritual things must be communicated by spiritual means. Apart from the Spirit there can be no spiritual understanding.



ABut the natural man receiveth not the things [the revealed or deep things] of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.@ In this passage the natural man is not blamed for his inability. it is simply an accurate statement of the fact of his limitations. The passage also goes on to assign the exact cause of these limitations. We have just been told that revelation is by the Spirit. It therefore follows that the Anatural man@ is helpless to understand things revealed because he has not received Athe Spirit which is of God.@ He has received only Athe spirit of man which is in him.@ Though he may, with Aman=s wisdom,@ be able to read the words, he cannot receive their spiritual meaning. To him the revelation is Afoolishness.@ He cannot Areceive@ it, or Aknow@ it.

The preceding verses of the context (First Corinthians 1:18, 23) have defined a part of the divine revelation which is said to be Afoolishness@ to the Anatural man@: AFor the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.@ ABut we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks [Gentiles] foolishness,@ Much more than the mere historical fact of the death of Christ is here meant. It is the divine unfolding of redemption through grace and includes all the eternal relationships that are made possible thereby. The moral principles and many of the religious teachings of the Bible are within the range of the capacity of the Anatural man.@ From these sources he may eloquently preach; yea, and most seriously, not even knowing that Athe deep things of God@ exist.

Satan, in his counterfeit systems of truth, is said to have Adeep things@ to reveal (Revelation 2:24) and Adoctrines of devils@ (First Timothy 4:1, 2) which things, on the other hand, are as certainly not received by the true child of God; for it is said, AAnd a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers@ (John 10:5). Yet the Adeep things@ of Satan are strangely adapted to the blinded, A natural man@ and are, therefore, received by him. Every modern cult is evidence establishing the truthfulness of this statement.

The unsaved man, though educated with all of Aman=s wisdom,@ and though religious and attentive, is blind to the gospel (Second Corinthians 4:3, 4) and if called upon to formulate a doctrinal statement, will naturally formulate a new theology@ which is so Are-stated@ as to omit the real meaning of the cross with its unfolding of the Adeep things of God.@ The cross, as a substitutionary sacrifice for sin, is Afoolishness@ unto him. His very limitations as a Anatural man@ demand that this shall be so. Human wisdom cannot help him, for Athe world by wisdom knew not God.@ On the other hand, the boundless Adeep things of God@ are to be Afreely@ given to the one who has received Athe Spirit which is of God.@ The true child of God may, therefore, be taught the divine revelation, having received the Spirit. A trained mind, it may be added, will greatly assist; but apart from the presence of the indwelling Teacher, a trained mind avails nothing in coming to know the spiritual meaning of the revealed things of God.

Measureless evil has arisen through the supposition that because a man is well advanced in the Awisdom of this world,@ his opinions are of value in spiritual matters. The Anatural man,@ with all his learning and sincerity, will find nothing but Afoolishness@ in the things which are revealed by the Spirit. The knowledge of science cannot be substituted for the indwelling of, and right relation to, the Holy Spirit of God. Apart from the Spirit there can be no regeneration, and the Adeep things of God@ are unknowable. When an unregenerate teacher openly rejects the vital saving truths of God=s Word, those truths will usually be discredited and discarded by the pupil. This is the colossal blunder of many students in universities and colleges today.

It is too generally assumed that the teacher or preacher who is an authority in some branch or branches of human knowledge is, by virtue of that knowledge, equally capable of discernment in spiritual things. It is not so. An unregenerate person (and who is more assuredly unregenerate than the one who denies the foundation and reality of the new birth?) will always be incapable of receiving and knowing the simplest truths of revelation.  God is not a reality to the natural man. AGod is not in all his thoughts.@ The unsaved man is therefore distressed and burdened to dispose of the supernatural. A baseless theory of evolution is his best answer to the problem of the origin of the universe. To the regenerate man, God is real and there is satisfaction and rest in the confidence that God is Creator and Lord of all.

The ability to receive and know the things of God is not attained through the schools, for many who are unlearned

possess it while many who are learned do not possess it. It is an ability which is born of the indwelling Spirit. For this reason the Spirit has been given to those who are saved that they might know the things which are freely given to them of God. Yet among Christians there are some who are under limitations because of their carnality. They are unable to receive Ameat@ because of carnality, rather than ignorance.

There are no divine classifications among the unsaved, for they are all said to be Anatural@ men. There are, however, two classifications of the saved, and in the text under consideration, the Aspiritual@ man is named before the Acarnal@ man and is thus placed in direct contrast with the unsaved. This is fitting because the Aspiritual@ man is the divine ideal. AHE THAT IS SPIRITUAL@ (First Corinthians 2:15) is the normal, if not the usual, Christian. But there is a Acarnal@ man and he must be considered.


The Apostle proceeds in chapter 3:1-4 with the description of the Acarnal@ man: AAnd I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?@

Some Christians, thus, are said to be Acarnal@ because they can receive only the milk of the Word, in contrast to the strong meat; they yield to envy, strife and divisions, and are walking as men, while the true child of God is expected to Awalk in the Spirit@ (Galatians 5:16), to Awalk in love@ (Ephesians 5:2), and to Akeep the unity of the Spirit@ (Ephesians 4:3). Though saved, the carnal Christians are walking Aaccording to the course of this world.@ They are Acarnal@ because the flesh is dominating them (See Romans 7:14). A different description is found in Romans 8:5-7. There the one referred to is Ain the flesh,@ and so is unsaved; while a Acarnal@ Christian is not Ain the flesh,@ but he has the flesh in him. ABut 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.@

The Acarnal@ man, or Ababe in Christ,@ is not Aable to bear@ the deep things of God. He is only a babe; but even that, it is important to note, is a height of position and reality which can never be compared with the utter incapacity of the Anatural man.@ The Acarnal@ man, being so little occupied with true spiritual meat, yields to envy and strife which lead to divisions among the very believers. No reference is made here to the superficial fact of outward divisions or various organizations.  It is a reference to envy and strife which were working to sunder the priceless fellowship and love of the saints. Different organizations may often tend to class distinctions among the believers, but it is not necessarily so. The sin which is here pointed out is that of the believer who follows human leaders. This sin would not be cured were all the religious organizations instantly swept from the earth, or merged into one. There were present the APaulites,@ the ACephasites,@ the AApollosites@ and the AChristites@ (cf. 1:12). These were not as yet rival organizations, but divisions within the Corinthian church that grew out of envy and strife. History shows that such divisions end in rival organizations. The fact of division was but the outward expression of the deeper sin of loveless, carnal lives. For a Christian to glory in sectarianism is Ababy talk@ at best, and reveals the more serious lack of true Christian love which should flow out to all the saints. Divisions will fade away and their offense will cease when the believers Ahave love one for the other.@

But the Acarnal@ Christian is also characterized by a Awalk@ that is on the same plane as that of the Anatural@ man. AAre ye not carnal, and walk as men (cf. Second Corinthians 10:2-5).  The objectives and affections are centered in the same unspiritual sphere as that of the Anatural@ man. In contrast to such a fleshly walk, we read: AThis I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.@ This is spirituality.


The second classification of believers in this passage is of the spiritual man. He, too, is proven to be all that he is said to be by one test of his ability to receive and know the divine revelation. AHe that is spiritual discerneth all things.@

The progressive order of this whole context is evident:

First, the divine revelation is now given. It is concerning things which, Aeye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man.@ It is revealed by the Spirit (First Corinthians 2:9, 10).

Second, the revelation is of the Adeep things of God,@ which no man can know. However the Spirit knows them (First Corinthians 2:10). 

Third, believers have received the Spirit who knows, in order that they too may know the deep things of God     (First Corinthians 2:12). 

Fourth, the divine wisdom is hidden in the very words of God=s Book; but the spiritual content of these words is understood only as one is able to compare spiritual things with spiritual (First Corinthians 2:13). 

Fifth, the Anatural man@ cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are only by the Spirit discerned.  He has not received the Spirit which is of God (First Corinthians 2:14).

Sixth, a carnal Christian is born again and possesses the indwelling Spirit; but his carnality hinders the full ministry of the Spirit (First Corinthians 3:1-4).

Seventh, AHE THAT IS SPIRITUAL@ discerneth all things. There is no limitation upon him in the realm of the things of God.  He can Afreely@ receive the divine revelation and he glories in it. He, too, may enter, as any other man, into the subjects which are common to human knowledge. He discerneth all things; yet he is discerned, or understood by no man. How could it be otherwise since he has Athe mind of Christ?@

There are two great spiritual changes which are possible to human experienceCthe change from the Anatural@ man to the saved man, and the change from the Acarnal@ man to the A spiritual@ man. The former is divinely accomplished when there is a real faith in Christ; the latter is accomplished when there is a real adjustment to the Spirit. Experimentally the one who is saved through faith in Christ, may at the same time wholly yield to God and enter at once a life of true surrender.  Doubtless this is often the case. It was thus in the experience of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:4-6). Having recognized Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, he also said, ALord, what wilt thou have me to do?@ There is no evidence that he ever turned from this attitude of yieldedness to Christ. However, it must be remembered that many Christians are carnal. To these the word of God gives clear directions as to the steps to be taken that they may become spiritual. There is then a possible change from the carnal to the spiritual state.

The Aspiritual@ man is the divine ideal in life and ministry, in power with God and man, in unbroken fellowship and blessing.  To discover these realities and the revealed conditions upon which all may be realized is the purpose of the following pages.



A CHRISTIAN IS A CHRISTIAN because he is rightly related to Christ; but Ahe that is spiritual@ is spiritual because he is rightly related to the Spirit, in addition to his relation to Christ in salvation. It therefore follows that any attempt to discover the fact and conditions of true spirituality must be based upon a clear understanding of the Bible revelation concerning the Spirit in His possible relationships to men. It seems to be the latest device of Satan to create confusion concerning the work of the Spirit, and this confusion appears among the most pious and earnest believers. The quality of the believer=s life is a tremendous issue before God, and Satan=s power is naturally directed against the purpose of God. Satan=s ends could be gained in no better way than to promote some statement of truth that misses the vital issues, or establishes positive error, and thus hinders the right understanding of the divinely provided source of blessing. This general confusion on the Bible teachings regarding the Spirit is reflected in our hymnology.  Bible expositors are united in deploring the fact that so many hymns on the Spirit are unscriptural. This confusion is also reflected today in the unbalanced and unbiblical theories which are held by some sects.


It is not within the purpose of this book to undertake a complete statement of the Bible teachings concerning the Spirit of God, but certain aspects of the whole revelation must be understood and received before the God-provided life and walk in the Spirit can be comprehended or intelligently entered into.  The Bible teaching concerning the Spirit may be divided into three general divisions: (1) The Spirit according to the Old Testament; (2) The Spirit according to the Gospels and as far in the Scriptures as The Acts 10:43; (3) The Spirit according to the remainder of The Acts and the Epistles.




Here, as in all the Scriptures, the Spirit of God is declared to be a Person, rather than an influence. He is revealed as being equal in deity and attributes with the other Persons of the Godhead. However, though ceaselessly active in all the centuries before the cross, it was not until after that great event that He became an abiding Presence in the hearts of men (John 7:37-39;

14:16, 17). He often came upon people as revealed in the events which are recorded in the Old Testament. He came upon them to accomplish certain objects and left them, when the work was done, as freely as He had come. So far as the record goes, no person in that whole period had any choice, or expected to have any choice, in the sovereign movements of the Spirit. Elisha and David are sometimes thought to be exceptions. It is not at all clear that Elisha=s request to Elijah, Alet a double portion of thy spirit be upon me,@ was, in the mind of the young man Elisha, a prayer for the Spirit of God. David did pray that the Spirit should not be taken from him; but this was in connection with his great sin. His prayer was that the Spirit should not depart because of his sin. His confession was before God and the occasion was removed. During the period covered by the Old Testament, the Spirit was related to men in a sovereign way. In the light of subsequent revelation in the New Testament the prayer of David, Aand take not thy Holy Spirit from me,@ cannot reasonably be made now. The Spirit has come to abide.



The essential character of the Spirit=s relation to men during the period of the Gospels is that of transition, or progression, from the age-long relationships of the Old Testament to the final and abiding relationships in this dispensation of grace.

The early instruction of the disciples had been in the Old Testament, and the statement from Christ that the Spirit might be had by asking (Luke 11:13) was so new to them that, so far as the record goes, they never asked. This new relationship, suggested by the statement, AHow much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him,@ characterizes a forward step in the progressive relationship of the Spirit with men during the Gospel period.

Just before His death Jesus said: AAnd I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 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@ (John 14:16, 17). The words, AI will pray,@ may have suggested to the disciples that they had failed to pray. However, the prayer of the Son of God cannot be unanswered and the Spirit who was Awith@ them was soon to be Ain@ them.

After His resurrection and just before His ascension, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said unto them, AReceive ye the Holy Spirit@ (John 20:22). They possessed the indwelling Spirit from that moment; but that relationship was evidently incomplete according to the plan and purpose of God, for He soon Acommanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me@ (Acts 1:4, cf. Luke 24:49). The Apromise of the Father@ was of the Spirit, but evidently concerning that yet unexperienced ministry of the Spirit coming Aupon@ them for power.

There was, then, a period, according to the Gospels, when the disciples were without the Spirit as the multitudes of the Old Testament time had been; but they were granted the new privilege of prayer for the presence of the Spirit. Later, the Lord Himself prayed to the Father that the Spirit who was then with them might be in them to abide. He then breathed on them and they received the indwelling Spirit; yet they were commanded not to depart out of Jerusalem. No service could be undertaken and no ministry performed until the Spirit had come upon them for power. AYe shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me.@ This is a revelation of conditions which are abiding.  It is not enough that servants and witnesses have received the Spirit: He must come upon them, or fill them.


At least three distinct things were accomplished on the Day of Pentecost concerning the relationship of the Spirit with men:

(1) The Spirit made His advent into the world here to abide throughout this dispensation. As Christ is now located at the right hand of God, though omnipresent, so the Spirit, though omnipresent, is now locally abiding in the world, in a temple, or habitation, of living stones (Ephesians 2:19-22). The individual believer is also spoken of as a temple of the Spirit (First Corinthians 6:19). The Spirit will not leave the world, or even one stone of that building until the age-long purpose of forming that temple is finished. The Ephesian passage reads thus: ANow therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built [being built, into the temple, cf. verse 21] upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [New Testament prophets, cf. 4:11], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded [are being builded] together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.@  The Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost and that aspect of the meaning of Pentecost will no more be repeated than the incarnation of Christ. There is no occasion to call the Spirit to Acome,@ for He is here.

(2) Again, Pentecost marked the beginning of the formation of a new body, or organism which, in its relation to Christ, is called Athe church which is his body.@ Though the Church had not been mentioned in the Old Testament, Christ had promised that He would Abuild@ it. AUpon this rock I will build my church@ (Matthew 16:18). The Church, as a distinct organism, is not mentioned as in existence until after the advent of the Spirit at Pentecost. It is then stated AAnd the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls@ (Acts 2:41.  While the Greek word for the church does not appear in this text, as it does in 2:47, -- AAnd the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved,@ the unity which is here being formed is none other than the Church. See also Acts 5:14; 11:24.) According to these passages, the Church, which in the Gospels was yet future, is already brought into existence and to it (the believers united to the Lord), are being added Asuch as should be saved.@ It is said that Athe Lord was adding to the church.@ Certainly there is no reference here to a human organization, for no such thing had been formed. It is not a membership created by human voice, for it is the Lord who is adding to this Church. A body had begun to be formed of members who were vitally joined to Christ and indwelt by the Spirit and these very facts of relationship made them an organism and united them by ties which are closer than any human ties. To this organism other members were being Aadded@ as they were saved. That formation and subsequent building of the Achurch which is his body@ is the baptism with the Holy Spirit as it is written: AFor as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body@ (First Corinthians 12:12, 13). Thus the meaning of Pentecost includes, as well, the beginning of the baptizing ministry of the Spirit of God. (See also The Ministry of the Spirit in Baptizing.) This ministry is evidently accomplished whenever a soul is saved.

(3) So, also, at Pentecost the lives that were prepared were filled with the Spirit, or the Spirit came upon them for power as promised. Thus they began the age-long ministry of witnessing.  The mighty effect of this new ministry of the Spirit was especially revealed in the case of Peter. Before, he had cursed and sworn for fear in the presence of a little maid: now he not only fearlessly accuses the rulers of the Nation of being guilty of the murder of the Prince of Life, but the power of his testimony is seen in the salvation of three thousand souls.

Thus the full meaning of Pentecost was revealed in the advent of the Spirit into the world to abide throughout this dispensation; in the baptism of many members into Christ; and the empowering of those whose lives were prepared for the work of witnessing unto Christ.

A careful student of the Scriptures may distinguish yet one further step in the whole transition from the relationships of the Spirit as revealed in the Old Testament to that which is the final relationship in the present dispensation. Much that has been mentioned thus far is made permanent in this age. The last step here mentioned is in regard to the fact that during the well defined period in which the Gospel was preached to Jews only, which was from Pentecost to Peter=s visit to Cornelius, or about eight years, the Spirit, in one case at least, was received through the Jewish rite (Hebrews 6:2) of the laying on of hands (Acts 8:14-17). Though this human rite was continued in a few instances in connection with the filling of the Spirit and for service (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 19:6; First Timothy 4:14; Second Timothy 1:6), the Spirit was to be received, under the final provisions for this age, by believing on Christ for salvation (John 7:37-39).  This final condition for receiving the Spirit began with the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles in Cornelius= house (Acts 10:44. cf. Acts 15:7-9, 14) and has continued throughout the age. There is no record that hands were laid on believers in Cornelius= house. The Spirit Afell upon them@ (this phrase is evidently synonymous with receiving the Spirit) when they believed (Acts 8:18; 10:43, 44; 11:14, 15). The events in Cornelius= house undoubtedly marked the beginning of a new and abiding order.



The final and abiding relationships of the Spirit with men in this age are revealed under seven ministries. Two of these are ministries to the unsaved world; four are ministries to all believers alike; and one is a ministry to all believers who come into right adjustment with God.


These seven ministries are:

First, The Ministry of the Spirit in Restraining. The one passage bearing on this aspect of the Spirit=s work (Second Thessalonians 2:6-8) is not wholly free from disagreement among Bible students.  In the passage, the Apostle has just disclosed the fact that, immediately before the return of Christ in His glory, there will be an apostasy and the Aman of sin@ will be revealed Awho opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.@ He then goes on to state: AAnd now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.@ AThe man of sin@ must appear with all the power of Satan (verse 9); but he will appear at God=s appointed time, -- Athat he may be revealed in his time,@ and this will be as soon as a hindering One be gone out of His place.  Then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy at His coming.

The name of the restrainer, here referred to, is not revealed.  His sovereign power over the earth and all the forces of darkness identifies Him with the Godhead, and since the Spirit is the present active force in this dispensation, it follows that the reference in the passage is to the Spirit of God. Satan might have sufficient power; but hardly would it be exercised against himself. AA house divided against itself cannot stand.@ It is evident that it is the Spirit of God who hinders Satan=s man and Satan=s projects until the divinely appointed time. There is no hint that Satan will withdraw, or be removed out of the way before this Aman of sin@ can be revealed; but there is a sense in which the Spirit will be removed. That particular relationship or Presence which began with the Church and has continued with the Church will naturally cease when the Church is removed.  As the Omnipresent One, the Spirit will remain, but His present ministry and abode in the Church will have been changed. The Spirit was in the world before Pentecost; yet we are told that He came on that day as had been promised. He came in the sense that He took up a new abode in the ChurchCthe body of believersCand a new ministry in the world. This ministry will cease when the Church is gathered out and His abode will be ended when His temple of living stones is removed.  Thus it may be concluded that His going will be but the reversal of Pentecost and will not imply His entire absence from the world. He will rather return to those relationships and ministries which were His before this dispensation began. There are clear assurances of the presence and power of the Spirit in the world after the departure of the Church. The restraining power of the Spirit will be withdrawn and the Church removed at a time known to God, and then will the forces of darkness be permitted to come to their final display and judgment.  An evidence of the Spirit=s power to restrain may be seen in the fact that with all their profanity men do not now swear in the name of the Holy Spirit. There is a restraining power in the world and it is evidently one of the present ministries of the Spirit. Second, The Ministry of the Spirit in Reproving the World of Sin, Righteousness and Judgment.  This ministry, by its very nature, must be a dealing with the individual, rather than with the world as a whole. The passage reads: AAnd when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged@ (John 16:8-11). This passage indicates a threefold ministry.

(1) The Spirit enlightens the unsaved with regard to one sin only: AOf sin, because they believe not on me.@ The full judgment of sin has been taken up and completed at the cross (John 1:29). Hence a lost man must be made aware of the fact that, because of the cross, his present obligation to God is that of accepting God=s provided cure for his sins. In this ministry, the Spirit does not shame the unsaved because of their sins; but He reveals the fact of a Saviour, and One who may be received or rejected.

(2) The Spirit illuminates the unsaved with respect to righteousness and that Abecause I go to my Father, and ye see me no more.@ How can a sinner be made righteous in the eyes of a Holy God? It will not be by any attempted self-improvement.  There is a righteousness for him from God, which is unto all and upon all who believe. It is foreign to the wisdom of this world that a perfect righteousness can be gained by simply believing, and believing on an invisible Person who is at the right hand of God; yet every lost soul must, in some measure, sense this great possibility if he is to be constrained to turn to Christ from self.

(3) So, also, the Spirit, in this threefold ministry, illuminates the unsaved concerning a divine judgment which is already past; for Athe prince of this world is judged.@ By this illumination the unsaved are made to realize that it is not a problem of getting God to be merciful in His judgments of their sins: they are rather to believe that the judgment is wholly past and that they have only to rest in the priceless victory that is won. Every claim of Satan over man because of sin has been broken, and so perfectly that God, who is infinitely holy, can now receive and save sinners. Principalities and powers were triumphed over in the cross (Colossians 2:13-15).

Undoubtedly it is the purpose of God that the Spirit shall use such instrumentalities as He may choose in illuminating the world with respect to sin, righteousness, and judgment. He may use a preacher, a portion of the Scriptures, a Christian=s testimony, or a printed message; but back of all this is the effective operation of the Spirit. Thus the Spirit ministers to the world, actualizing to them otherwise unknowable facts which, taken together, form the central truths of the Gospel of His grace.

Third, The Ministry of the Spirit in Regenerating. This and the three following ministries of the Spirit enter into the salvation of the one who believes on Christ. He is born of the Spirit (John 3:6) and has become a legitimate child of God.  He has Apartaken of the divine nature@ and Christ is begotten in him Athe hope of glory.@ As he is a child of God, he is also an Aheir of God, and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.@ The new divine nature is more deeply implanted in his being than the human nature of his earthly father or mother. This transformation is accomplished when he believes, and is never repeated; for the Bible knows nothing of a second regeneration by the Spirit.


Fourth, The Ministry of the Spirit as Indwelling the Believer.  The fact that the Spirit now indwells every believer is one of the outstanding characteristics of this age. It is one of the most vital contrasts between law and grace. (See also SPIRITUALITY A TRIUMPH OF GRACE ... >Though not under the law=)  It is divinely purposed that under grace the believer=s life is to be lived in the unbroken power of the Spirit. The Christian has but to contemplate his utter helplessness, or consider carefully the emphasis given to this truth in the New Testament to become aware of the greatness of the gift which provides the indwelling Spirit. This gift was considered by the early Christians to be the fundamental fact of the believer=s new estate.  We read in the account of the first preaching of the Gospel to the Jews at Pentecost that the gift of the Spirit was the new fact of surpassing importance. In this same period of Jewish preaching as recorded in Acts 5:32 the Spirit is said to be given to all who obey the Gospel invitation and command. So, also, the transcendent fact of the gift is emphasized in the records of the first preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Pentecost could not be repeated; but there was a very special demonstration of the Spirit in connection with this preaching. This demonstration was evidently given in order to provide against any conclusions to the effect that the Spirit was not given as fully to Gentiles as to Jews. We read: AWhile Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?@ (Acts 10:44-47). In connection with Peter=s explanation to the Jewish believers of his ministry to the Gentiles, we read: AAnd as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as at the beginning.  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?@ (Acts 11: 15-17).  Though there are other issues connected with the filling of the Spirit for power, it is evident that the gift of the Spirit is God=s priceless gift to every one who has been saved. The Biblical importance placed upon this gift far exceeds the importance which Christians usually place upon it.  The fact of the indwelling Spirit is not revealed through any experience whatsoever; nevertheless that fact is the foundation upon which all other ministries to the child of God must depend.  It is impossible for one to enter into the plan and provision for a life of power and blessing and ignore the distinct revelation as to where the Spirit is now as related to the believer. It must be understood and fully believed that the Spirit is now indwelling the true child of God and that He indwells from the moment the believer is saved. (1) The Bible explicitly teaches this, and (2) reason demands it in the light of other revelations:

(a) According to Revelation

The fact that the Spirit indwells the believer is now to be considered without reference to the other ministries of the Spirit.  Any ministry of the Spirit taken alone would be incomplete; but it is of particular importance that the Spirit=s ministry of indwelling be seen by itself. A few passages of Scripture may suffice to indicate the Bible teaching on this important theme.

John 7:37-39, AIn 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. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [inner life] shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.)@ This passage contains the distinct promise that all in this dispensation who believe on Him receive the Spirit when they believe.

Acts 11:17, AForasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?@ This is Peter=s account of the first preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. He states that the Gentiles received the Spirit when they believed as the Jews had done. The one condition was believing on Christ for salvation and the Spirit was received as a vital part of that salvation.

Romans 5:5, ABecause the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit which is given unto us.@

Romans 8:9, ABut 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.@ This is a clear reference to the indwelling Spirit. Not only is the very fact of salvation to be tested by His presence; but every quickening of the Amortal body@ depends on AHis Spirit that dwelleth in you@ (verse 11).


Romans 8:23, AAnd not only they [all creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit.@ There is no reference here to some class of Christians. All Christians have the Afirstfruits of the Spirit.@  First Corinthians 2:12, ANow we have received ... the Spirit which is of God.@ Again the reference is not to a class of believers: all have received the Spirit.

First Corinthians 6:19, 20, AWhat? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God=s.@ This, again, is not a reference to some class of very holy Christians. The context reveals them to be guilty of most serious sin, and the fact of the indwelling Spirit is made the basis of this appeal. They are not told that unless they cease from sin they will lose the Spirit. They are told that they have the Spirit in them and are appealed to on this sole ground to turn to a life of holiness and Purity. There were much deeper realities for these sinning Christians in their relation to the Spirit; but receiving the Spirit was not their problem. He was already indwelling them.

First Corinthians 12:13, AAnd have been all made to drink into one Spirit.@ The same very faulty Corinthian Christians are included in the word Aall@ (see also, verse 7).

Second Corinthians 5:5, AGod, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.@ Again, it is not some Christians, but all.

Galatians 3:2, AThis only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?@ It was by faith and the Spirit has been received by all who have exercised saving faith.

Galatians 4:6, AAnd because ye are sons [not because ye are sanctified], God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.@

First John 3:23, AAnd hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given unto us.@

First John 4:13, AHereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.@

The indwelling Spirit is an Aunction@ and an Aanointing@ for each child of God; for these words are not used concerning a class of believers (First John 2:20, 27).

There are three passages which have seemed to some to confuse the clear teaching of the Scriptures just given and these should be considered.

(1) Acts 5:32, AAnd we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him.@ This is not the daily life obedience of a Christian.  It is an appeal to unsaved men for Athe obedience of faith.@ The passage teaches that the Spirit is given to those who obey God concerning faith in His Son as Saviour. The context is clear.

(2) Acts 8:14-17, has already been considered. It falls within the brief period between Pentecost and the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. The conditions existing at that time should not be taken as the final relationship between the Spirit and all believers throughout this age.

(3) Acts 19:1-6, AAnd it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples [not necessarily Christians], he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed [or, did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? See all versions]? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? and they said, Unto John=s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.@ These Adisciples@ were disciples, or proselytes, of John the Baptist. They knew little of Christ, or of the way of salvation by believing, or of the Holy Spirit. Paul had immediately missed the evidence of the presence of the Spirit in these disciples and so struck at the vital point with the question, AUpon believing did ye receive the Spirit?@ After they heard of salvation through Christ, and believed, the Apostle is said to have Alaid his hands upon them,@ and Athe Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied.@ The laying on of hands, like the signs which followed, is Biblically related to the Spirit as being upon them, or filling them; but should not be confused with the fact that they had received the Spirit when they believed.

There is, therefore, no Scripture which contradicts the clear testimony of the Bible that all believers of this dispensation have the Spirit in them.

(b) According to Reason

A holy life and walk, which must always depend on the enabling power of the Spirit, is as much demanded of one believer as of another. There is not one standard of life for one class of believers, and another standard of life for another class of believers. If there is a child of God who has not the Spirit in him, he must, with all reason, be excused from those responsibilities which anticipate the power and presence of the Spirit.  The fact that God addresses all believers as though they possess the Spirit is sufficient evidence that they have the Spirit.

It may be concluded, then, that all believers have the Spirit.  This does not imply that they have entered into all the possible blessings of a Spirit-filled life. They have the Spirit when they are saved and there is no record that He ever withdraws. His is an abiding presence.

Fifth, The Ministry of the Spirit in Baptizing.  Reference has already been made to this particular ministry of the Spirit as related to the Day of Pentecost. The full Bible teaching of this theme is presented in a very few passages (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; Romans 6:3-4; First Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:12). Of these passages, only one unfolds the meaning: AFor by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit@ (First Corinthians 12:13, cf. Romans 6:3). In no Scripture is this ministry of the Spirit directly related to power or service. it has to do with the forming of the body of Christ out of living members, and when one is united vitally and organically to Christ, he has been Abaptized into one body,@ and has been Amade to drink into one Spirit@ (cf. verse 12). Being a member in the body of Christ, anticipates service; but service is always related to another ministry than the baptism of the Spirit. Since the baptism with the Spirit is the organic placing of the believer into Christ, it is that operation of God which establishes every position and standing of the Christian. No other divine undertaking in salvation is so far reaching in its effect. It is because of this new union to Christ that a Christian can be said to be Ain Christ,@ and being Ain Christ@ he partakes of all that Christ is, - His life, His righteousness, and His glory. The unbeliever, who is Awithout Christ,@ enters completely into this union with Christ the moment he believes. (In two synoptic Gospels the promise of the baptism with the Spirit is accompanied with a promise of a baptism with fire (Matthew 3:11;

Luke 3:16). Just what is meant by a baptism with fire has been the subject of much discussion. ACloven tongues like as of fire@ sat on a few on the Day of Pentecost; but this has not been the experience of all believers. The judgment of the believer=s works at the judgment seat of Christ (First Corinthians 3:9-15; Second Corinthians 5:10) is the only contact with fire which is determined for all who are saved. it is therefore probable that this judgment is the baptism with fire. There is a deep correspondence between the baptism with the Spirit and this baptism with fire. As the baptism with the Spirit provides the saved one with a perfect standing for time and eternity, so the baptism with fire will provide the saved one with a perfect state which will fit him for heaven itself. At the judgment seat of Christ, His eyes of fire (Revelation 1:14) will burn away all the dross and only that which is heavenly will abide.)

The organic relationship to the body of Christ is accomplished as a part of the great divine undertaking in salvation which is performed when saving faith is exercised. There is no indication that this baptizing ministry of the Spirit would be undertaken a second time. A possible distinction as to whether the baptism of the Spirit was accomplished at Pentecost provisionally for all who accept Christ in this dispensation, or whether it is individual when they believe is of no moment in this discussion.  It is important to discover the exact meaning of the word as representing a particular ministry of the Spirit.

Sixth, The Ministry of the Spirit in Sealing.

AAnd grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed

unto the day of redemption@ (Ephesians 4:30, See also, Second Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13). The ministry of the Spirit in sealing evidently represents the Godward aspect of the relationship, -- authority, responsibility, and a final transaction. It is Aunto the day of redemption.@ The Spirit Himself is the seal, and all who have the Spirit are sealed. His presence in the heart is the divine mark. This ministry of the Spirit is also performed when faith is exercised for salvation, and this ministry could not be repeated since the first sealing of any believer is Aunto the day of redemption.@

There are, then, four ministries of the Spirit for the believer which are wrought at the moment he is saved and are never accomplished a second time. He is said to be born, indwelt (or anointed), baptized, and sealed of the Spirit. It may also be added that these four operations of the Spirit in and for the child of God are not related to an experience. The Spirit may actualize all this to the believer after he is saved, and it may then become the occasion for most blessed joy and consolation. These four general ministries which are performed in and for believers alike constitute the AEarnest of the Spirit@ (Second Corinthians 1:22; 5:5), and the AFirstfruits of the Spirit@ (Romans 8:23).

Seventh, The Ministry of the Spirit in Filling.  The fact, extent and conditions of this ministry of the Spirit

constitute the message of this book and will occupy the following chapters. What has gone before has been written that the filling of the Spirit might not be confused with any other of His operations.




BY VARIOUS TERMS the Bible teaches that there are two classes of Christians: those who Aabide in Christ,@ and those who Aabide not@; those who are Awalking in the light,@ and those who Awalk in darkness@; those who Awalk by the Spirit,@ and those who Awalk as men@; those who Awalk in newness of life,@ and those who Awalk after the flesh@; those who have the Spirit Ain@ and Aupon@ them, and those who have the Spirit Ain@ them, but not Aupon@ them; those who are Aspiritual@ and those who are Acarnal@; those who are Afilled with the Spirit,@ and those who are not.  All this has to do with the quality of daily life of saved people, and is in no way a contrast between the saved and the unsaved.  Where there is such an emphasis in the Bible as is indicated by these distinctions there is a corresponding reality. There is, then, the possibility of a great transition for those who are carnal into the reality of true spiritual living. The revelation concerning this possible transition, with all of its experiences and blessings, is taken seriously only by earnest believers who are faithfully seeking a God-honoring daily life. To such there is boundless joy and consolation in this gospel of deliverance, power and victory.

The transition from the carnal to the spiritual, is treated at length in the Bible. However, it is possible to know the doctrine and not to have entered into its blessings; as it is possible, on the other hand, to have entered in some measure into the experience and not to have known the doctrine. This gospel of deliverance has suffered much from those who have sought to understand its principles by analyzing some personal experience apart from the teaching of the Scriptures. The danger in this error is obvious:

No one experience would ever be a true, or complete representation of the full purpose of God for every Christian; and if it were, nothing short of the infinite wisdom of God could formulate its exact statement. For want of Bible instruction many, when attempting to account for an experience, have coined terms and phrases which are not Biblical and are therefore invariably as faulty as any of the conclusions of the finite mind when attempting to deal with the divine realities. It would be useless to attempt to classify experiences; but when one has found peace, power and blessing through a definite yielding to God and reliance on His strength alone, the Bible clearly assigns the cause to be a larger manifestation of the presence and power of the Spirit. Such an one is Afilled with the Spirit.@


In the Bible, the meaning of the phrase Afilled with the Spirit,@ is disclosed, and the filling of the Spirit is also seen to be the experience of the early Christians. From the Word of God, then, we can hope to arrive at some clear understanding of what is meant by the phrase, the Afilling of the Spirit@; but there is no instruction to be gained from such man-made, unbiblical terms as Asecond blessing,@ Aa second work of grace,@ Athe higher life,@ and various phrases used in the perverted statements of the doctrines of sanctification and perfection. An unlimited field lies before us when we are told that we may be Achanged from glory to glory@ even into the image of Christ, and that by the Spirit (Second Corinthians 3:18). What this transformation may mean to a believer and the exact conditions upon which it may be realized, must be understood, not from the imperfect analysis of experience, but from the exact words of revelation. It is quite possible for any child of God to make full proof of Athat good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God@ for him. And God has promised to work in the believer Aboth to will and to do of his good pleasure.@ By His power the very Avirtues of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light@ and the Amind of Christ@ may be reproduced in the one who is saved. These blessings and the conditions God imposes for their attainment are clearly set forth in the word of God.

The Spirit does not speak from Himself. His purpose is to reveal and glorify Christ (John 16:12-15). The Spirit is made known to us by descriptive titles, such as AThe Holy Spirit,@ or AThe Spirit of God@; but His name is not disclosed. Though He does not reveal Himself, He is, nevertheless, the cause of all true spirituality. His work is to manifest Athe life that is Christ@ so completely that one can say: AFor to me to live is Christ@; but the sufficient power back of this possible out-living of Christ is the in-living Spirit of God, and this is a result of the Spirit=s filling.

Paul had been saved on the Damascus road and there, we may believe, had received the Spirit as the Aearnest@ and the Afirstfruits.@ Later, after having entered into the city, Ananias came to him and placing his hands on him said, ABrother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.@ Two results were to be accomplished: Saul was to receive his sight, and he was to be filled with the Spirit, This, it should be remembered, was no part of his salvation. We are then told that Aimmediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith.@ There is no record of an emotion, or experience, which might be taken as evidence that he had been filled with the Spirit. He was filled, nevertheless, as definitely as he regained his sight. The evidence is conclusive; for the record goes on to say: Aand straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God@ (Acts 9:17-20). There is no evidence that the Apostle was conscious of the Spirit; he was altogether occupied with Christ. Nevertheless, he was Afilled with the Spirit@ and so, in the Spirit=s own time and way, entered into the priceless result of an out-lived Christ. The Spirit is the cause while the experience of the glory and reality of Christ is the effect.

According to the Scriptures, the Spirit-filled believer is the divine ideal, whether it be by example, or precept.

First, as to example: Christ was Afull of the Spirit@ (Luke 4:1); each of the members of one family, Zacharias, Elisabeth and John, were Afilled with the Spirit@ (Luke 1:15, 41, 67); and the disciples and others were filled again and again after their real ministry had begun (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:52. Note, also, all passages where the Spirit is said to have been Aupon@ believers).

Second, as to precept: One direct New Testament command is given: AAnd be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit@ (or, more literally, Abe being kept filled by the Spirit.@ Ephesians 5:18). Here the form of the verb used is somewhat different from that which is used in connection with the other ministries of the Spirit. The Christian has been born, baptized, indwelt, and sealed by the Spirit: he must be getting (being kept) filled by the Spirit. It is the revealed purpose of God that the Spirit shall be constantly ministered unto the Christian: AHe therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit@ (Galatians 3:5). A Christian, to be spiritual, must, then, be filled and kept filled by the Spirit. An experience may or may not accompany the first entrance into the Spirit-filled life; but, even when there is an experience, the Bible knows nothing of a Asecond blessing,@ or Asecond work of grace,@ wherein there will be any less need of the mighty enabling power of God tomorrow than there has been today. One may learn better how to Awalk in the Spirit@; but he will never come to a moment in this life when he will need to walk less by the Spirit. The divine resources for a moment by moment triumph in Christ are limitless; but the utter need of the helpless creature never ceases.

It is important to note that three times in the New Testament the effect of strong drink is put over against the Spirit-filled life (Luke 1:15; Acts 2:12-21; Ephesians 5:18). As strong drink stimulates the physical forces and men are prone to turn to it for help over the difficult places, so the child of God, facing an impossible responsibility of a heavenly walk and service, is directed to the Spirit as the source of all sufficiency. Every moment in a spiritual life is one of unmeasured need and super-human demands, and the supply of enabling power and grace must be as constantly received and employed. AAs thy day, so shall thy strength be.@

To be filled with the Spirit is to have the Spirit fulfilling in us all that God intended Him to do when He placed Him there.  To be filled is not the problem of getting more of the Spirit: it is rather the problem of the Spirit getting more of us. We shall never have More of the Spirit than the anointing which every true Christian has received. On the other hand, the Spirit may have all of the believer and thus be able to manifest in him the life and character of Christ. A spiritual person, then, is one who experiences the divine purpose and plan in his daily life through the power of the indwelling Spirit. The character of that life will be the out-lived Christ. The cause of that life will be the unhindered indwelling Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-21; Second Corinthians 3:18).

The New Testament is clear as to just what the Spirit would produce in a fully adjusted life, and all of this revelation taken together forms the Bible definition of spirituality. These undertakings are distinctly assigned to the Spirit, and are His manifestations in and through the Christian.


There are seven manifestations of the Spirit, and these are said to be experienced only by the Spirit-filled believer; for in the Scriptures, these results are never related to any other ministry of the Spirit than that of filling. The seven manifestations of the Spirit are:



ABut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance@ (self-control, Galatians 5:22, 23).

Compressed into these nine words we have not only the exact statement as to what Christian character is, but a description, as well, of the life that Christ lived while here on the earth. It is also a statement of that manner of life which He would have the Christian experience here and now. These nine words form a Bible definition of what is meant by the phrase, AFor to me to live is Christ.@ Though the world strives at a shadow of what these nine words represent, the reality is foreign to human nature, even when that nature is at its best. These graces, as here presented, are exotics and are never found in human nature unless produced there by the power of God. They are the Afruit of the Spirit.@ Christian character, therefore, is not developed, or Abuilt@ through human attention and energy. The method of attaining unto a character by attention and energy, which is now elaborately explained and constantly recommended by many, is the best the world can do, and that method may have some realization within the sphere of the shadows the world has chosen as its ideals. The child of God is not facing the mere shadows which are the ideals of the world, though in ignorance he might suppose that he is. He is facing the problem of showing Aforth the praises [virtues] of him@ who hath called us Aout of darkness into his marvelous light.@ He will find little encouragement in the Bible to attempt the Abuilding@ of these characteristics of the Infinite. Human nature in its most favorable conditions has never been expected to do this. If the aim were no higher than the standards of the world, it might seem reasonable to try to build a Christian character; but even then, there would be no Scripture to warrant the human struggle. True Christian character is the Afruit of the Spirit.@

The very position of a child of God as a heavenly citizen demands that these nine graces which are the Afruit of the Spirit@ shall be present in his daily life. He is to Awalk worthy@ of the calling wherewith he is called, Awith all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.@ So, also, on the other hand, his priceless fellowship Awith the Father and with his Son@ must depend on the presence of these divine characteristics. There must be some quality of life and character in the Christian with which God can have fellowship.  But if God finds anything like Himself in a human life, He must place it there; for He knows full well that such divine graces can never appear in a life apart from His own power.  Thus if He, by His very nature, demands the heavenly graces as the only possible basis for communion with His Spirit-born child, He is not unreasonable in such a demand, for He does not expect these graces from the flesh, but has made full provision that they may be produced by the Spirit. The fact, however, that He has designed that they shall be the Afruit of the Spirit@ changes the whole human responsibility. It is no longer something for the human strength to attempt, nor is it to be done by the human strength plus the help of the Spirit.  It is not something that man can do, even with help. It is Athe fruit of the Spirit.@ True Christian character is produced in the believer, but not by the believer. Doubtless the Spirit employs every faculty of the believer=s being to realize this priceless quality of life; yet there is nothing in the believer, of himself, which could produce this result. There is not even a spark of these graces within the human nature which might be fanned into a fire. All must be produced in the heart and life by the Spirit. Thus the new problem is naturally that of maintaining such a relationship to the Spirit as shall make it possible for Him to accomplish continually what He came into the heart to do.

What the flesh can, will and must do has been stated in the preceding verses of the passage under consideration: ANow the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions; heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like.@ ABut,@ in contrast to all this, Athe fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance@ (self-control). AThe flesh,@ according to its use in this and similar passages is more than the physical body. The term represents all, -- spirit, soul and bodyCthat the person was before he was saved. From that source there can come no real spiritual Afruit.@ In this very context it is stated that Athe flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.@ (See also AOLD MAN@ ... >In the third passage=.)

There are, then, two principles of life which are open to the child of God: the carnal walk which is by the energy of the flesh, or Aas men,@ and the spiritual walk which is by the energy of the Spirit, or as Christ. This passage in Galatians states:

AThis I say then, Walk in the Spirit [literally, by means of the Spirit], and ye shall not fulfill the lust [desire] of the flesh.@ These two principles are absolutely opposed to each other and therefore cannot be mingled. Walking by means of the Spirit, or Abeing led of the Spirit,@ is not the flesh being helped in some degree by the Spirit. It is said to be a direct accomplishment of the Spirit in spite of the apposition of the flesh.

When walking by the Spirit the results are celestial: AYe shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh@; ASo that ye cannot [when walking by the Spirit] do the things that ye [otherwise] would@; AIf ye are led of the Spirit ye are not under the law@; and AThe fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance@ (self-control).

Such results are priceless. The world looks on to the end of a long process of self-training and self-repression for the realization of the human virtues the sum of which is called Acharacter.@

The Christian may realize at once the heavenly virtues of Christ:

not by trying; but by a right adjustment to the indwelling Spirit.  This is a revelation, quite foreign indeed to man=s habits of thinking and acting, and it is to many a Ahard saying.@ This tremendous possibility, as revealed from God, will not seem reasonable to one who is not yet done with doubt as to the possibility of the supernatural being experienced in every moment of life. Such doubters should not contend that, because to them unreal, the walk by means of the Spirit is not God=s gracious provision for His children. The revelation that true Christian character is directly produced as a fruit of the indwelling Spirit stands on the pages of God=s Word. Clear statements are made and the Bible teaching on this subject is direct and uncomplicated. Not only so, but there are many who are joyous witnesses that it is a reality in their personal experience.

The effects of Christian growth are not included in this immediate victory. It is simply the result of entering into the whole of the present will of God for our lives.

The nine words which define Christian character may be traced through the New Testament and, when so traced, it will be found (1) that they are always presented as being divine characteristics, though they sometimes have a shadow of their reality in the relationships and ideals of the world; (2) they are assuredly expected by God in the believer=s life; and (3) they are always produced only by the Spirit of God. Each of these nine words might profitably be considered at length; but space can be given to one only. What is found to be true of the one word may measure, to some extent, what would be found to be true of all these words.


There is a very real human love; but all Christian love, according to the Scriptures, is distinctly a manifestation of divine love through the human heart. A statement of this is found in Romans 5:5, Abecause the love of God is shed abroad [literally, gushes forth] in our hearts by [produced, or caused by] the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us.@ This is not the working of the human affection; it is rather the direct manifestation of the Alove of God@ passing through the heart of the believer out from the indwelling Spirit. It is the realization of the last petition of the High Priestly prayer of our Lord: AThat the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them@ (John 17:26). It is simply God=s love working in and through the believer. It could not be humanly produced, or even successfully imitated and it, of necessity, goes out to the objects of divine affection and grace, rather than to the objects of human desire. A human heart cannot produce divine love, but it can experience it. To have a heart that feels the compassion of God is to drink of the wine of heaven. In considering this imparted love of God it should be noted:


First, The love of God imparted is not experienced by the unsaved: ABut I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you@ (John 5:42).

Second, The love of God reaches out for the whole world: AFor God so loved the world@ (John 3:16); AThat he by the grace of God should taste death for every man@ (Hebrews 2:9);

AAnd he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world@ (First John 2:2). This is a divine love for the world of lost men. It is God=s affection which knows no bounds. What is sometimes called Athe missionary spirit@ is none other than that compassion, which brought the Son of God from heaven, Agushing forth@ through a human heart. Interest in lost men is not secured by an attempted development of human affections: it is immediately realized in a Christian heart when there is a right relation to the Spirit of God. A desire for the salvation of others is the first thought of many after they are born again.

Third, The love of God abhors the present world system.  ALove not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world@ (First John 2:15, 16). Such purified love will always be the experience of the one in whom the love of God is imparted.

Fourth, The love of God is toward His Spirit-born children.  AMuch more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life@ (Romans 5:9, 10); AChrist also loved the church, and gave himself for it@ (Ephesians 5:25). He loves His own even though they are wandering away, as is revealed in the return of the Aprodigal son.@ AIf we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us@ (First John 4:12). By this divine compassion the Christian proves his reality before the world: AA new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another@ (John 13:34, 35). Such divine love is also the test of our brotherhood in Christ: AHereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world=s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?@ (First John 3:16, 17); AWe know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren@ (First John 3:14).

Fifth, The love of God is without end: AHaving loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end@ (eternally, John 13:1). The love of God in the believer is said to Asuffer long@ and then is kind.

Sixth, The love of God is toward Israel: AYea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love@ (Jeremiah 31:3). So the Spirit-filled believer will learn to rejoice in the great prophecies and purposes of God for that people with whom He is in everlasting covenants, and for whom He has an everlasting love.

Seventh, The love of God is sacrificial: AFor ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich@ (Second Corinthians 8:9). Such an attitude on the part of the Son of God toward the eternal riches must, if reproduced in the Christian, affect largely his attitude toward earthly riches.

Not only is the love of God sacrificial as to heavenly riches; it is sacrificial as to life itself. AHereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.@ It therefore follows: AAnd we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren@ (First John 3:16, 17). The Apostle Paul testified: AI say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh@ (Romans 9:1-3). The Apostle knew full well that there was no occasion for him to be accursed since his Lord had been made a curse for all; but he could still be willing to be made a curse. Such an experience is the direct outworking in a human life of the divine love which gave Jesus to die under the curse and judgments of the sin of the world. When this divine compassion for lost men is reproduced in the believer, it becomes the true and sufficient dynamic for soul-saving work.

Thus the mighty heart of God may be manifested in a human life, and this one word Alove,@ together with the other eight words which indicate the fruit of the Spirit, is a representation of true Christian character. The other eight words, when traced in the Scriptures, will also prove to be divine graces which are realized in the human heart only as they are imparted. AMy joy shall be in you.@ AMy peace I give unto you.@

These divine graces are not produced in every Christian=s heart. They are produced in those who are Aby the Spirit walking.@



Here again, turning from human reason to Bible doctrine, we discover Christian service to be a direct exercise of the energy of the Spirit through the believer. AFrom within him shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit@ (John 7:38, 39, R.V.). Human energy could never produce Aliving waters,@ and certainly not in Arivers.@ This statement is keyed to the Infinite. The human, at best, could be no more than the channel, or instrument, for the divine outflow.

The very service of the Christian, like his salvation, has been designed in the eternal plan and purpose of God: AFor we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them@ (Ephesians 2:10). According to this passage, God hath before ordained a very special service for each individual to perform, and the doing of these particular and individual ministries constitutes Agood works@ according to the divine estimates. Any service other than that which was foreordained for the individual, though valuable in itself, cannot be called Agood works@ because it is not the personal outworking of the will of God. The discovery and realization of Agood works@ is not experienced by all believers, but only by those who have presented their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God; who are not Aconformed to this world,@ but are Atransformed@ (transfigured) by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1, 2).

Christian service, according to the New Testament, is the exercise of a Agift.@ The Bible use of the word Agift@ should not be confused with the world=s conception of a Agifted person.@ The thought of the world concerning a gifted person is of one who by physical birth, is especially able to accomplish certain things. Such natural ability the Spirit will doubtless employ; but a Agift,@ in the Bible use of the word, is a direct undertaking, or manifestation, of the Spirit working through the believer. It is the Spirit of God doing something, and using the believer to accomplish it; rather than the believer doing something, and calling on God for help in the task. it is the Awork of the Lord@ in which we are to Aabound.@ According to the Word, the Spirit produces Christian service as He produces the graces of Christ in and through the believer. Every faculty of the human instrument will be employed in the work. That human instrument will know what it is to be weary and worn in the service. Human energy, however, could never produce the divine results which are anticipated, and the Scriptures jealously contend that true Christian service is a direct Amanifestation of the Spirit@: ANow there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.@ Though no two Christians are doing the same service, the Spirit produces the energy and accomplishes the individual and particular work in each. AAnd there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh [energizes] all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every [Christian] man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh [are wrought by] that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will@ (First Corinthians 12:4-11).

A Agift,@ then, is a Amanifestation of the Spirit,@ or service divinely produced by the Spirit, and Aas he will.@ Thus it is clear that there can be no exercise of a gift through an unyielded life.

It is probable that the Agifts@ enumerated in the Bible were the outstanding manifestations of the Spirit according to the conditions and time when the record was written. Some have proved abiding to the present hour. Other manifestations of the Spirit have evidently ceased. This is not due to failing piety after the first generation of Christians. There is no evidence of a decrease of piety. Those manifestations of the Spirit which have ceased were doubtless related to the introduction rather than the continuation of the work of the Spirit in this age. This is not without precedent: When Christ was born, a star was seen in the East, the voices of the angelic host were heard and most unusual conditions obtained. The star did not continue to shine. The angel voices were not always heard. So it was at the advent of the Spirit and the introduction of His new work in the world. That these early manifestations have ceased according to the purpose of God, has been the belief of the most devout saints of all past generations. Yet in these last days when Satan is employing every available issue to confuse and divide the Christian body, to divert their energy and prevent their testimony, there are those who demand a return to Pentecostal manifestations as the only realization of the full ministry of the Spirit. Such professing Christians are bold to condemn the spirituality of saints of all generations who have not accepted their teachings. They are evidently lacking in the knowledge and regard for those gifts which in the Scriptures are said to be of primary importance in contrast to lesser gifts. Whatever is done to revive Pentecostal manifestations should be done in view of all that is taught in First Corinthians 14. If God is calling His people to a renewal of all the early manifestations of the Spirit, why is it confined to a little sect, when there are tens of thousands outside that group who are yielded and ready to do His will but are never led into such manifestations? If Satan is using the fact of these early manifestations of the Spirit as an occasion to confuse and divide Christians, all his supernatural power will be displayed and his most subtle deceptions will be imposed to produce what might seem to be the work of God.  Many who have been delivered from these APentecostal@ beliefs and manifestations have since found the more vital things of the Spirit and are deeply concerned for those whom they deem to be yet blinded and self-satisfied in error.

Christian service is not always essential to spirituality. If it is His will for us, we are just as spiritual when resting, playing, ill or infirm as when we are active in service. Our one concern is to know and do His will; but normally, true spirituality is expressed and exercised in the ministries committed to believers and which can be accomplished only by the imparted power of God.

The ministry of restoration is limited to spiritual believers only, according to Galatians 6:1: ABrethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.@ How many heartaches would be avoided if this plain instruction were heeded!

The exact service and individual responsibility of the Christian will never be the same in any two lives and so, in a very real way, no two manifestations of the Spirit will be exactly the same. There is an individual service Aforeordained@ for each child of God, and there are particular Arivers of living water@ to flow from each inner life.

Any Christian may enter into his own Agood works,@ since the enabling Spirit is already indwelling him; but only those who are yielded to God do enter in; for it is service according to His will. How little this great fact is appreciated! How often Christians are exhorted to expend more energy and employ all their natural powers with the hope that they may render Christian service! There is evidently a more effectual way to secure the Aabiding fruit@ in Christian lives. In the Scriptures we read that the Areasonable service,@ even the Agood and acceptable and perfect will of God,@ is rendered when the child of God presents his whole body to God. Such yielded believers need little exhortation, for the Spirit is mighty through them, and He will employ every available faculty and resource of their lives.  Other Christians who are unyielded are little changed by human appeal. Brazen courage enough to force one into fleshly undertakings is not the condition of true Christian service. The one issue is that of a yielded heart and life through which the indwelling Spirit will certainly manifest His mighty power.

Spirituality is not gained by service: it is unto service. When one is truly spiritual, all effort is diverted from self struggle to real service. Spirituality is a work of God for His child: service is a work of the child for his God, which can be accomplished only in the power of the indwelling Spirit.




The teaching manifestation of the Spirit in the believer is described by Christ in John 16:12-15: AI have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of [from] himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine and shall show it unto you.@

Here is a promise that the child of God may enter the highest realm of knowable truth as revealed in the Word of God. AAll things that the Father hath@ are included in the things of Christ and Athings to come,@ and these form the boundless field into which the believer may be led by the divine Teacher. This storehouse of divine reality will no doubt engage our minds and hearts for ever; but Christians may be even now entering and progressing in these realms of truth and grace. ANow we have received ... the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God@ (First Corinthians 2:12). ABut the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him@ (First John 2:27).

Beyond all the range of human knowledge there are things Awhich eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man; ... but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.@ However, such truth is revealed by the Spirit only to spiritual Christians. To some who were truly saved the Apostle wrote: AAnd I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able@ (First Corinthians 3:1, 2). This is a sad disclosure of the state of some believers. Though born again and possessing the Spirit, their carnality of life precludes them from understanding, or progressing in, the Adeep things of God.@ Some, regardless of educational qualifications, go to the Scriptures of Truth as Athose that find great spoil.@ His Word, to them, is Asweeter also than honey and the honey comb.@ To others, regardless of educational qualifications, there is no discovery and revelation of Truth. The Bible is read by these as a duty, if read at all. This is a tragedy in the realm of infinite issues. It is not alone the question of personal pleasure and profit in the marvels of divine Truth: it involves the realities of knowledge, or ignorance; obedience, or disobedience for want of understanding; power, or weakness; helpfulness, or hurtfulness in the life and testimony of the one who, because of the indwelling Spirit, might be coming to know and to impart to others something of the boundless Truth of God. No amount of human education can correct this defect. The root trouble is carnality, and when this is cured, the Aeyes of the heart@ will be enlightened, and the inflow of sanctifying Truth will be continuous and unbroken. AHe that is spiritual discerneth all things. A

Christian growth and the deeper knowledge of the Truth are to be distinguished from spirituality. It is possible to be filled with the Spirit when immature in growth, experience and understanding. Christian growth is largely conditioned on the study of the Word, prayer, and service; while spirituality does not wait on these things, but is conditioned upon immediate adjustments to the Spirit. Since the Spirit is always our Teacher, it is imperative that we always remain teachable. We should be willing humbly to hear His voice through any and every instrument.



Immediately following the injunction of Ephesians 5:18 to be Afilled with the Spirit,@ there is given a description of the normal results of such a filling: ASpeaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.@ All things are working together for good to the child of God, and it is reasonable that he should give thanks always for all things. This can be done through the Spirit who knows the Aall things@ of God. The living creatures in the divine Presence cease not to cry, AHoly! Holy! Holy!@ It is equally becoming the heavenly citizen that he render unbroken and endless praise and thanksgiving to God.

It follows, then, that thanksgiving for all things and praise unto God are the direct products of the Spirit in the one whom He fills. These great realities are foreign to the finite heart at its best. Not all Christians experience them; but all Christians may experience them as certainly as the power has been provided through the indwelling Spirit. The value of this particular manifestation of the Spirit can scarcely be known by the human mind. Praise and thanksgiving are distinctly addressed to God.  We cannot know what their full outflow may mean to Him, or what His loss may be when this manifestation is not realized in the believer=s life. AHallelujah!@ APraise ye the Lord!@ ARejoice ever more!@



Since the whole discussion concerning the believer=s life in the Spirit, according to the Epistle to the Romans, is consummated in the beginning of the eighth chapter, that which follows in the chapter should be considered as being true only of those who have been adjusted to the larger life and walk in the Spirit.  Three distinct manifestations of the Spirit are found in this portion of the Scriptures, and these serve to complete the whole revelation as to the exact work of the Spirit in and through the one whom He fills.

In Romans 8:14 it is stated: AFor as many as are led of the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.@ This, it may be concluded, is the normal Christian experience according to the plan and purpose of God. It is equally true that some Christians are abnormal to the extent that they are not constantly led of the Spirit; for it is said also in Galatians 5:18, ABut if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.@ The walk in the Spirit, or the life that is led of the Spirit, is one of the great new realities of this age of grace; yet some believers are so far removed from this blessing that their daily lives are shaped and adapted to the order and relationships of the past dispensation.  It is one of the supreme glories of this age that the child of God and citizen of heaven may live a superhuman life, in harmony with his heavenly calling, by an unbroken walk in the Spirit.  The leading of the Spirit is not experienced by all in whom the Spirit dwells; for such leading must depend on a willingness to go where He, in His infinite wisdom, would have us go. (See also KNOWING THE WILL OF GOD)



In Romans 8:16 it is stated, AThe Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.@ The primary meaning of this Scripture is that the Spirit witnesseth with our spirits unto God. It is also clear that He witnesseth to our spirits concerning all that we have in our sonship relation to God. The witnessing work of the Spirit is mentioned again in Galatians 4:6. AAnd because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.@ Not only does He actualize this relationship unto us, but He would actualize every great fact which we have taken by faith. AThat he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God@ (Ephesians 3:16-19). AAnd they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?@ The supreme passion of the Apostle Paul was stated in five words: AThat I may know him.@

By this particular manifestation of the Spirit, unseen things become blessedly real. There is such a thing as Aever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth.@ Truth must become real to us. We may know by faith that we are forgiven and justified forever: it is quite another thing to have a heart experience wherein all is as real as it is true. We may believe in our security and coming glory: it is different to feel its power in the heart. We may believe in Athings to come@ through the exact teaching of the Word: it is a precious experience to have it made actual to us by the Spirit that Athe Lord is at hand,@ and that our eternal glory with Him may be but a moment removed. Such heart experience is provided in the boundless grace of God for each of His children; but only those who abide in Him can know this ecstasy of life.



Such a promise is recorded in Romans 8:26 and refers to a particular form of prayer. Intercession must be considered as being limited to that ministry wherein one stands between God and his fellow man. It is simply praying for others. Under those conditions, we know not what to pray for, but the Spirit helpeth our infirmities. Prayer on behalf of others is doubtless the greatest ministry committed to the child of God and a ministry for which he is, and always will be, least prepared within himself. We may become familiar with the truth we preach; but the field of intercession is new, unknown and unknowable. A few Christians have entered this boundless ministry of prayer. Not all have entered; but all Christians may enter.


It may be said in conclusion, that a spiritual Christian is a Spirit-filled Christian in whom the unhindered Spirit is manifesting Christ by producing a true Christian character, which is the Afruit of the Spirit@; by energizing true Christian service through the exercise of a Agift of the Spirit@; by personal instruction in the Word of God; by inspiring true praise and thanksgiving; by leading the believer in an unbroken Awalk in the Spirit@; by actualizing into celestial heart-ecstasy that which has been taken by faith concerning the positions and possessions in Christ; and by inclining, illuminating and empowering the believer in the prayer of intercession.

True spirituality is a seven-fold manifestation of the Spirit in and through the one whom He fills. It is a divine output of the life, rather than a mere cessation of things which are called Aworldly.@ True spirituality does not consist in what one does not do, it is rather what one does. It is not suppression: it is expression. It is not holding in self: it is living out Christ. The unregenerate would not be saved if he should cease sinning: he would not be born of God. The Christian would not be spiritual if he should abstain from worldliness: he would possess none of the manifestations of the Spirit.

The world and Aworldly@ Christians turn to so-called Aworldly@ things because they discover in them an anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty heart and life. The anesthetic, which is often quite innocent in itself, is not so serious a matter as the empty heart and life. Little is gained toward true spirituality when would-be soul doctors have succeeded in persuading the afflicted to get on without the anesthetic. if these instructors do not present the reality of consolation and filling for heart and life which God has provided, the condition will not be improved.  How misleading is the theory that to be spiritual one must abandon play, diversion and helpful amusement! Such a conception of spirituality is born of a morbid human conscience. It is foreign to the Word of God. It is a device of Satan to make the blessings of God seem abhorrent to young people who are overflowing with physical life and energy. It is to be regretted that there are those who in blindness are so emphasizing the negatives of the Truth that the impression is created that spirituality is opposed to joy, liberty and naturalness of expression in thought and life in the Spirit. Spirituality is not a pious pose. It is not a AThou shall not@: it is AThou shalt.@ It flings open the doors into the eternal blessedness, energies and resources of God.  It is a serious thing to remove the element of relaxation and play from any life. We cannot be normal physically, mentally or spiritually if we neglect this vital factor in human life. God has provided that our joy shall be full.

It is also to be noted that one of the characteristics of true spirituality is that it supersedes lesser desires and issues. The Biblical, as well as practical, cure for Aworldliness@ among Christians is so to fill the heart and life with the eternal blessings of God that there will be a joyous preoccupation and absent-mindedness to unspiritual things. A dead leaf that may have clung to the twig through the external raging storms of Winter, will silently fall to the ground when the new flow of sap from within has begun in the Spring. The leaf falls because there is a new manifestation of life pressing from within outward. A dead leaf cannot remain where a new bud is springing, nor can worldliness remain where the blessings of the Spirit are flowing.  We are not called upon to preach against Adead leaves.@ We have a message of the imperishable Spring. It is of the outflow of the limitless life of God. When by the Spirit ye are walking ye cannot do the things that ye otherwise would.

It is the Spirit=s work to produce in the believer a life which is heavenly in character. This life is inimitable; yet it is commonly supposed that spirituality consists in struggling to observe a particular set of rules, or the imitation of a heavenly ideal.  Spirituality is not gained by struggling: it is to be claimed. It is not imitation of a heavenly ideal: it is the impartation of the divine power which alone can realize the ideal. AThe letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.@ The written Word reveals the character of the spiritual life and exhorts to its fulfillment; but it as faithfully reveals that the life can be lived only by the in-wrought power of God. We are to Aserve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.@ There is little blessing for any Christian until he abandons the principle of living by rules and learns to walk by the Spirit in God-ordained liberty and in fresh and unbroken fellowship with his Lord. The divine precepts will then be kept by the power of God.


In First Corinthians 9:20, 21 the Apostle classifies men in three divisions in view of their relation to the authority of God. He speaks of some who were Aunder the law@: some who are Awithout law@: and himselfCa representative of all believersCas neither Aunder the law@ (a Jewish position), nor Awithout law@ (a Gentile position); but Aunder the law to Christ,@ which phrase is better translated, Ainlawed to Christ.@ The Epistles abound with many and varied expressions of this latter relationship: Athe law of love@; Aso fulfill the law of Christ@; Aif we keep his commandments@; Astand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage@; Athe law [the yoke of bondage] was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.@ The believer=s relation to the divine authority will be found in the fact that he is Ainlawed to Christ.@

The Bible presents at least three separate and complete rules for daily living.

First, The Law of Moses

Every aspect of the life of an Israelite was anticipated in the law with the statutes and the ordinances. Those governing principles were in effect over Israel, and Israel only, from Moses to Christ (John 1:17).


Second, The Law of the Kingdom

The law of the kingdom incorporates and anticipates the principles of government in the kingdom when it shall be set up in the earth. The body of truth containing this aspect of law is found in the Prophets of the Old Testament, in the preaching of John the Baptist, and in the early teachings of Christ. It is always pure law in character; but in much finer detail. The law of Moses condemned adultery; but the law of the kingdom condemns the slightest glance of the eye. The law of Moses condemned murder; but the law of the kingdom condemns a thought of anger. While the law of Moses is a separate system from the law of the kingdom, they are alike in the one particular that they represent only pure law.

Third, The Teachings of Grace

There is a divine counsel for life which is addressed to saved people of this dispensation. It is the teachings of grace. Grace teachings represent a complete system for living which covers every possible contingency in the believer=s life and which is independent and separate from every other system for living which is found in the Bible. It presents heavenly standards because it is addressed to born-again heavenly people. There is much in common between these three complete and separate bodies of truth and this fact has led some to suppose that the various commands and injunctions found in all these governing codes were to be combined into one vast obligation resting upon the believer. To combine these systems, and to apply them all to the believer of this age, is to present obligations which are in themselves, at some points, contradictory and confusing, and to ignore the vital distinctions between law and grace.

Grace not only presents the divine way of saving and keeping unworthy sinners: it also teaches those who are saved how they should live. AFor the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared ... teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world [age]; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works@ (Titus 2:11-14). Grace teachings which anticipate all the walk and warfare of the believer will be found in portions of the Gospels and The Acts and throughout the Epistles of the New Testament. It is a complete system and requires no additions from the law. It incorporates many of the principles which were in the law, but these are always so restated as to be in exact harmony with the position and liberty of the one who is Ainlawed to Christ.@

No Christian is under the law as a rule of life. How often this is stated in the New Testament! It is equally true that no Christian is Awithout law.@ This too is the constant theme of the Epistles. Discussions on these themes would cease if all believers understood what it means to be Ainlawed to Christ.@ To be Ainlawed to Christ@ is to be under the teachings of grace with their provisions for victory. It is not difficult to dismiss the law as a rule of life when we discover that there has been provided another complete system which is in exact harmony with the positions in grace.

There are two aspects of the teachings of grace which are fundamental:

First, they anticipate a manner and quality of life which is superhuman. These standards are none other than Athe life which is Christ.@ In view of the present heavenly position of the redeemed, there could be no less required of them. The Mosaic law, or the law of the kingdom, though complete in themselves as governing principles, and though perfectly fulfilling the mission assigned to them, never aimed at the reproduction of the Christ-life. Their standards, though holy, just and good, are of the earth. In the demands of the lam, there is no consideration of the most vital activities which are anticipated under graceC prayer, a life of faith, and soul-winning service. The teachings of grace are heavenly and are as far removed from the law as heaven is higher than the earth. The teachings of grace, though presenting a much more difficult standard of living than any law, do not anticipate that the believer will attempt them in his own strength. That would plunge him still deeper into the principle of law with its utter and hopeless failures. Christ is to be perfectly manifested under grace. To this end the most minute details of heavenly conduct are given; but never apart from another and equally age-characterizing fact:

Second, the new life which is Ainlawed to Christ@ is to be lived by the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit. As has been seen, no help was ever provided under the law. Sin had dominion over law-observers and the law condemned them. Under grace it is provided that Asin shall not have dominion over you.@ AIf ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.@ This fact that the enablement for daily life is provided in one case and is not provided in the other is the final and most important distinction between law and grace.

Though not under the law as a rule of life, a Spirit-filled Christian is, however, in a position wherein he cannot do the things which he otherwise would (Galatians 5:17). This again is due to the fact that he is Ainlawed to Christ.@ Being in the power and control of the Spirit, he cannot do the things which he otherwise would do because of the transformed desires of a heart which the Spirit has filled. The power of God is working in such a believer, Aboth to will and to do of his good pleasure.@ So, also, the Apostle prays for the Hebrews: ANow the God of peace ... make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ@ (Hebrews 13:20, 21). The Spirit-filled Christians are the only persons in the world who know the blessings of true liberty.  Liberty means perfect freedom to do as one is prompted by his own deepest desires. Apart from the energizing power of the Spirit, this liberty may easily become the occasion for the manifestations of the flesh. AFor, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another@ (Galatians 5:13). Under grace, the normal Christian is to be Spirit-filled. Thus it is divinely intended and provided that every heart-desire of the child of God shall be prompted by the indwelling Spirit. This is the divine provision for prevailing prayer: AIf ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you@ (John 15:7). Under these definite conditions, the fullest liberty can be granted. It is thus designed that the Spirit-filled Christian is to be free to do in perfect liberty all that his heart prompts him to do; for, when Spirit-filled, he pleases only Ato will and to do of his good pleasure.@ This is Afulfilling the law of Christ.@ It also fulfills, supersedes, and surpasses all that is contained in any other law. A Acarnal@ Christian is a violation of all the divine plan and provisions of grace. He is under grace by position only, for he is not yielded to the will and power of God. He is in a state upon which no divine favor can rest, and he is falling short of the marvels of divine grace.

It should never be concluded that the life in grace is circumscribed and narrow. This is the view which is taken by both the Anatural man@ to whom the things of the Spirit are only Afoolishness,@ and the Acarnal@ man who Acannot bear@ spiritual things.  Neither the Anatural man@ nor the Acarnal@ man should ever be expected to understand the triumph of the spiritual life in grace.  The glory of these divine realities have too long been confuse and distorted by the opinions of such men.

To be Ainlawed to Christ@ is to enter the door into the things which are infinite. It is like the exit of the grub from the dark confinements of the chrysalis state into the glorious sun-kissed, world-wide, heaven-high freedom of the butterfly. The butterfly needs no law to prohibit him from returning to the former state; but sadly indeed do we discover that there is the presence in us of the flesh which must be kept in all subjection by the power of God. For this victory our God is sufficient.

We are told to stand fast in the blessed liberty in Christ. Our liberty consists not only in the freedom from the law, but also in the fact of the quickening and enabling power of the Spirit.  Apart from whole dependence upon God we shall be entangled in fleshly efforts which is a return to the principles and requirements of the law. How important is the injunction, ABe filled with the Spirit@! How great is the contrast between human nothingness and divine sufficiencyCthe one just as real as the other!

It is possible to be born of the Spirit, baptized with the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, and sealed with the Spirit and yet to be without the filling of the Spirit. The first four of these ministries are already perfectly accomplished in every believer from the moment he is saved; for they depend upon the faithfulness of the Father to His child. The last of these ministries, the filling of the Spirit, has not been experienced by every Christian; for it depends on the faithfulness of the child to his Father.

Spirituality is not gained in answer to prevailing prayer; for there is little Scripture to warrant the believer to be praying for the filling of the Spirit. It is the normal work of the Spirit to fill the one who is rightly adjusted to God. The Christian will always be filled while he is making the work of the Spirit possible in his life.

{In a review of the first edition of this book, which appeared in The Princeton Theological Review for April, 1919, the reviewer, Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield, D.D., objects to this statement, and to all similar teachings in this book. This teaching, he points out, Asubjects the gracious working of God to human determination.@ Is this teaching Biblical?

The Scripture gives unquestionable emphasis to the sovereignty of God. God has perfectly determined what will be, and His determined purpose will be realized; for it is impossible that God should ever be surprised or disappointed. So, also, there is equal emphasis in the Scriptures upon the fact that lying between these two undiminished aspects of His sovereigntyCHis eternal purpose and its perfect realizationCHe has permitted sufficient latitude for some exercise of the human will. In so doing, His determined ends are in no way jeopardized.  There is difficulty here, but what, in Scripture, is difficult for the finite mind to harmonize, is doubtless harmonized in the mind of God.

Though it is revealed that God must impart the moving, enabling grace whereby one may believe unto salvation (John 6:44, cf. 12:32), or whereby one may yield unto a spiritual life (Philippians 2:13), it is as clearly revealed that, within His sovereign purpose and power, God has everywhere conditioned both salvation and the spiritual life upon these human conditions. Both believing and yielding are presented as injunctions. The fact that ANo man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him@ is invariably true; yet it is equally true that some resourcefulness of the human will, though it be divinely enabled, is appealed to by the words, ABelieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.@ So, again: AThis is the will of God, even your sanctification,@ is a revelation which is invariably true; yet it is equally true that the believer=s will is appealed to when he is besought to Ayield himself unto God.@ One aspect of this truth without the other will lead, in the one case, to fatalism, wherein there is no place for petition in prayer, no motive for the wooing of God=s love, no ground for condemnation, no occasion for evangelistic appeal, and no meaning to very much Scripture: in the other case, it will lead to the dethroning of God. Though the will be moved upon by the enabling power of God, spirituality, according to God=s Word, is made to depend upon that divinely-enabled human choice; Romans 12:1, 2;

Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 4:30; First Thessalonians 5:19 and First John 1:9 being sufficient evidence. Men are said to be Acondemned@ Abecause they have not believed@ (John 3:18), and sin will reign in the Christian=s life unless the appeal is heeded: ALet not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.@ To state that spirituality is made possible, on the human side, by well-defined human acts and attitudes may seem Aa quite terrible expression@ (to quote the reviewer) as viewed by an arbitrary theological theory; however, it is evidently Biblical.

The same reviewer objects to the teaching that there is any sudden change possible from the carnal state to the spiritual state. To quote:

AHe who believes in Jesus Christ is under grace, and his whole course, in its process and in its issue alike, is determined by grace, and therefore, having been predestined to be conformed to the image of God=s Son, he is surely being conformed to that image, God Himself seeing to it that he is not only called and justified but also glorified. You may find Christians at every stage of this process, for it is a process through which all must pass; but you will find none who will not in God=s own good time and way pass through every stage of it. There are not two kinds of Christians, although there are Christians at every conceivable stage of advancement towards the one goal to which all are bound and at which all shall arrive.@

Doubtless there are varying degrees of carnality as there are varying degrees of spirituality, but the positive denial of the statement that there are two well-defined classes of believersCAcarnal@ and Aspiritual@Cwould be better supported by conclusive exposition of a large body of Scripture in which this two-fold classification of Christians seems to be taught.

In this reviewer=s mind, the change from carnality to spirituality is evidently confused with Christian growth. Christian growth is undoubtedly a process of development under the determined purpose of God which will end, with the certainty of the Infinite, in a complete likeness to Christ; but spirituality is the present state of blessing and power of the believer who, at the same time, may be very immature.  A Christian can and should be spiritual from the moment he is saved.  Spirituality, which is the unhindered manifestations of the Spirit in life, is provided to the full for all believers who Aconfess@ their sins, Ayield@ to God, and Awalk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.@ When these conditions are complied with, the results are immediate; for no process is indicated. Jacob, an Old Testament type, was completely changed in one night.

Christian experience bears unfailing testimony to two outstanding

facts: (1) There is an abrupt change from the carnal to the spiritual

when the Biblical conditions are met. And (2) there is an abrupt loss

of spiritual blessing whenever there has been a yielding to sin.}

So, also, spirituality, or the filling of the Spirit, does not depend upon patient waiting. The disciples waited ten days for the advent of the Spirit into the world, and He came as they were taught to expect. They were not waiting for their own personal filling alone; but rather for the whole new ministry of the Spirit to begin, as it did on the Day of Pentecost. When He came, all who were prepared in heart and life were instantly filled with the Spirit and no believer has had occasion to wait for the Spirit since that day.

Neither prayer nor waiting, therefore, are conditions of spirituality.

Of the three Biblical conditions upon which a Christian may be spiritual, or Spirit-filled, two are directly connected with the issue of sin in the believer=s daily life, and one with the yielding of the will to God. These three conditions are now to be considered.

AOur blest Redeemer, ere He breathed

His tender last farewell,

A Guide, a Comforter, bequeathed

With us to dwell.


And every virtue we possess,

And every victory won,

And every thought of holiness,

Are His alone.@




CHRISTIANS ARE APPOINTED to live every moment of their lives with the Holy Spirit of God. Life for them is a moment by moment vital union with One who is infinitely holy. Sin, therefore, in a Christian, is the very opposite of any true manifestation of the Spirit in the life.


Sin destroys spirituality. It is necessarily so; for where sin is tolerated in the believer=s daily life, the Spirit, who indwells him, must then turn from His blessed ministry through him, to a pleading ministry to him. The Bible does not teach that the Spirit withdraws because of sin in the one whom He indwells:

He is rather grieved by the sin.

A child of God lives either with a grieved or an ungrieved Spirit. It may reasonably be questioned, in the light of God=s Word, whether the saved person, having received the Spirit, ever lives by the dictates of his conscience. The standards of human conscience must give way to a standard of moral judgment which is infinitely higher. A Christian=s manner of life either grieves or does not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. The Apostle Paul writes of the fact that his conscience bore Him witness in the Holy Spirit, and it is quite probable that the Spirit uses the conscience as a human faculty; but He as certainly imparts to it the new standard of the infinite holiness of God. The injunction to the one in whom the Spirit dwells is, AAnd grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption@ (Ephesians 4:30).

A true spiritual life must depend then, to a large degree, upon the right understanding and adjustment concerning the issues of sin in the believer=s daily life. About this God has spoken explicitly, and it will be found that the Bible teaching on the subject of the sins of Christians is twofold: (1) God has provided that the sin of His child may be prevented (See Chapter 6), and (2) He has also provided that the effect of sin, if it has been committed, may be cured. It is imperative that this two-fold classification of the purpose of God in dealing with sin in His children be recognized.


Having sinned, what must a Christian do? What is the divine condition for the cure of the havoc of sin in the spirituality of the believer? No attempt should be made here to name sins which hinder the Spirit. He is grieved by any, and all, sin, and He is abundantly able to convince the one in whom He dwells of the particular sin, or sins, which grieve Him. So, also, it is an issue only of known sin; for no person can deal intelligently with unknown sin. This first condition of true spirituality is centered upon definite matters. It is sin that has, by the grieving of the Spirit, become a distinct issue; for the term Agrieving the Spirit@ refers as much to the heart experience of the one in whom He dwells as to the personal attitude of the Spirit toward sin.  The issue is, therefore, a well-defined wrong, about which the child of God has been made conscious by the Spirit. Such known sin must be dealt with according to the exact direction of the Word of God.

Should spiritual darkness be experienced apart from the consciousness of any particular sin having been committed, it is the privilege of the Christian to pray for a clearer understanding.  Physical conditions very often enter into the mental state and when this is true it is most misleading to suppose that a morbid or unhappy state of mind is necessarily a result of sin. If one is conscious of the fact that he is depleted in nerve strength, or is physically depressed, allowance should be made for that fact.

In the Bible, the divine offer and condition for the cure of sin in an unsaved person is crystallized into one word, Abelieve@; for the forgiveness of sin with the unsaved is only offered as an indivisible part of the whole divine work of salvation. The saving work of God includes many mighty undertakings other than the forgiveness of sin, and salvation depends only upon believing. It is not possible to separate some one issue from the whole work of His saving grace, such as forgiveness, and claim this apart from the indivisible whole. It is, therefore, a grievous error to direct an unsaved person to seek forgiveness of his sins as a separate issue. A sinner minus his sins would not be a Christian; for salvation is more than subtraction: it is addition.  AI give unto them eternal life.@ Thus the sin question with the unsaved will be cured as a part of, but never separate from, the whole divine work of salvation, and this salvation depends upon believing.

In like manner, also, in the Bible, the divine offer and condition of cure for the effects of sin in the Christian=s life is crystallized into one word, Aconfess.@ The vital meaning of this one word and its bearing on the question of the cure of sin in a child of God is an important, though much neglected, doctrine of the Word of God. The way back to blessing for a sinning saint is the same, whether before the cross, or after the cross, and the Bible teaching on the restoration of a believer is contained in seven major passages.



The fact that the sins of Christians must be cleansed by Christ alone is revealed in John 13:1-11. The passage is at the very beginning of the Upper Room Conversation. A few hours before, Christ had given His farewell address to the nation Israel; but in the upper room He is speaking His farewell words to His disciples, not as Jews, but as those who are Aclean every whit.  Of them He also said, ANow ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.@ In this conversation He is anticipating the new conditions and relationships which were to obtain after His cross (John 16:4). It is important to note that His first teaching concerning a Christian=s present relationship to God was concerning the cleansing of defilement, thus signifying its importance in the divine estimation. The way of salvation has been revealed in the preceding chapters of this Gospel; but beginning with chapter thirteen, He is speaking to those who are saved, and speaking to them of the divine cleansing from their defilement.

He arose from supper, laid aside His outer garments, girded Himself with a towel (the insignia of a servant), poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples= feet. This is a miniature of a much larger undertaking, when He arose from the fellowship with His Father in heaven and laid aside the garments of His glory and humbled Himself, taking the form of a servant and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, in order that we might be washed with the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5). In the larger undertaking there is the whole cleansing: in the other there is a partial cleansing which is typified by the cleansing of the feet only of the one who is otherwise Aclean every whit.@

This twofold cleansing was also typified by the prescribed cleansing for the Old Testament priest. When he entered his ministry he was given a ceremonial bath, which was of his whole body, once for all (Exodus 29:4). Yet he was required to bathe his hands and feet at the brazen laver before every ministry and service (Exodus 30:17-21). So the New Testament believer, though once for all cleansed as to his salvation, must also be cleansed from every defilement, and Christ alone can make him clean.


First John 1:1 to 2:2 is the second major passage concerning the Father=s dealing with His children who have sinned. John, the expert witness with regard to the blessedness of unbroken communion and fellowship with the Father and with His Son, writes these things that we also may have fellowship. AGod is light,@ or perfect holiness. If we should say that we have fellowship with Him and are, nevertheless, walking in darkness (sin), we lie and do not the truth. On the other hand, if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Sinless perfection is not demanded by this passage. It is not a command for the Christian to become the light, or what God alone is: it is rather that there may be an immediate adjustment to the light which God has shed into the life by the Spirit. He has required of us confession.  When He convinces us of sin, or is grieved by sin, that sin is to be dealt with at once. The passage goes on to state that there is only one condition for the cure of the effect of sin in the believer=s life: AIf we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness@ (verse 9). It is not mercy and kindness: He is faithful and just to forgive, and it is all granted on the one condition of confession. He is Afaithful@ to His child; for we are dealing always and only with our Father (2:2). He is Ajust@ because the atoning blood has been shed to cover the condemning power of every sin (John 5:24). Thus in perfect righteousness the Father=s forgiveness is exercised toward His child.

Divine forgiveness is never an act of leniency. God can righteously forgive only when the full satisfaction of His holiness has been met. The root meaning of the word forgive, in the Scriptures, is remission. It represents the divine act of separating the sin from the sinner. Human forgiveness is merely a lifting of the penalty: divine forgiveness is exercised only when the penalty, according to the terms of His infinite righteousness, has first been executed on the sinner, or his Substitute. This was true in the Old Testament: AThe priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him@ (Leviticus 4:35). The forgiveness was possible with God, only when there had been a full atonement for sin. So in the New Testament, or after the sacrifice has been made at the cross for us, we are told that the blood of Christ has become the sufficient atonement for our sins. AThis is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins@ (Matthew 26:28). All divine forgiveness whether toward the unsaved or the saved, is now based on the shed blood of Christ. His blood answers the last demand of a holy God. When we were saved He forgave us Aall trespasses@ (Colossians 2:13). This is judicial forgiveness and means the removal of the grounds of condemnation forever.  There is still parental forgiveness to be exercised toward the sinning child. It is not exercised in order to rescue the child from destruction and condemnation; but it is exercised in order to restore him from a state wherein he is out of fellowship, into the full blessing of communion with the Father and with His Son. It is wholly within the family circle and the restoration is unto the full enjoyment of those blessings. It is not restoration to sonship, -- of that the Bible knows nothing. It is restoration to fellowship.

The defilement of a Christian may be forgiven and cleansed on the one condition of a confession which is prompted by true heart-repentance. We are not forgiven our sins because we ask to be forgiven. It is when we confess our sins that we are forgiven. It will not do to substitute prayer for confession, though prayer may be the means of expressing a true sorrow for sin.  Multitudes are praying for forgiveness who have made no confession of their sin. There is no Scripture for the child of God under grace which justifies such a substitution.

The truth embodied in this passage cannot apply to unsaved people. They are forgiven as a part of their whole salvation when they believe. The child of God is forgiven when he makes a full confession.


The third major passage related to the cure of the effects of sin in the believer=s life is found (without reference to the important context) in First Corinthians 11:31, 32: AFor if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.@ The important additional revelation gained from this passage, is in the order it discloses. The Father is here seen to be waiting for the self-judgment, or confession, of His sinning child; but if the child will not judge himself by a full confession of his sin, then the Father must judge him.  When the child is thus judged by the Father, he is chastened.

This, it should be noted, is with a definite purpose in view:

AThat we should not be condemned with the world.@ There may be chastisement for the child of God; but there can be no condemnation. His wonderful grace as a Father is seen in His willingness to wait until His child has judged himself; but as a righteous Father, He cannot pass over the unconfessed sin of His child. If self-judgment is neglected, He must administer chastisement.


The central passage in the Bible on chastisement is found in Hebrews 12:3-15 and should be included as one of the major passages upon the cure of the effect of sin in a Christian=s life.  By this Scripture we understand that chastisement is the Father=s correction of every child; for He has said, Awhom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,@ and, in chastisement, AGod dealeth with you as with sons.@ Such correction as is accomplished by chastisement has in view Athat we might be partakers of his holiness.@ (See also KNOWING THE WILL OF GOD ... >On the divine side=) Chastisement is more than correction and punishment. The meaning of the word includes training and development. It therefore may be administered by the Father for the teaching, refining and training of the child.

Light is given us in God=s revelation as to what general form His chastisement may take. It is reasonable to conclude that the Father deals individually with His children and that His ways are manifold.

In First Corinthians 11:30 we read concerning the judgments of the Father because of sin in His children: AFor this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.@ Weakness, sickliness and even death may then be included within those means which the Father may employ with His unyielding child.  It must not be concluded that all weakness, sickliness and death among believers is a chastisement from God. The passage teaches that chastisement may take these particular forms.

In John 15:1-17 there is teaching concerning the importance of abiding in Christ. This is but another term meaning the life of true spirituality. In this Scripture some of the results of not abiding in Christ are disclosed. The branch that does not bear fruit is lifted up out of its place. It does not cease to be a branch; but is evidently taken from this relationship to be Awith the Lord.@ This statement corresponds with the statement that Amany sleep.@ Failure to abide in Christ results, also, in loss of effectiveness in prayer, loss of power in fruit-bearing and service, and loss of joy and fellowship in the Lord. (See also CHRIST THE PATTERN)

The very weight of the hand of God may be exceedingly

heavy. David describes his experience when he Akept silence@

or refused to acknowledge his sin: AWhen I kept silence, my

bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day

and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned

into the drought of summer. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgression unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found@ (Psalm 32:3-6).

The weight of the hand of God is like an unceasing ache of the soul. It is none other than a grieved Spirit; but His loving hand may be still heavier in correction if we fail to say as did David:

AI acknowledge my sin unto thee.@ (See also Chapter 4.)


In Second Corinthians 7:8-11 an example of true sorrow for sin on the part of a Christian is recorded. The Apostle, in his first letter to the Corinthians, has been used of the Spirit to convince them of sin, and in this fifth major passage we are given an account of their sorrow for sin and the effect of this sorrow in their lives. Much light is here given on the transforming effect of repentance and confession in a Christian=s life. The passage follows: AFor though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold the self-same thing, that ye sorrowed with a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!@

Such is the transforming power and abiding effect of true repentance and confession in the life of a believer.


As recorded in Psalm 51, David is the outstanding example of true repentance and confession on the part of an Old Testament saint. In the Scriptures his sin is laid bare and with it his broken and contrite heart. He was saved (howbeit under the Old Testament relationships); for he prayed, ARestore unto me the joy of thy salvation.@ He did not pray, restore unto me my salvation. He knew that his salvation, which depended only on the faithfulness of God, had not failed. He was pleading for a return of the joy which had been lost through sin. He had lost his testimony as well. Anticipating his restoration he said, AThen will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.@

Being saved, even though of the Old Testament order, David=s way back to God was by way of confession. There are portions of this major passage which, although true of an Old Testament saint, could not be rightly applied to a Christian in this new dispensation of Grace. We need never pray, AAnd take not thy Holy Spirit from me@; for He has come to abide. So, also, we need not plead for forgiveness and restoration. Since the blood has been shed on the cross, the blessings of forgiveness and cleansing are instantly bestowed through the faithfulness and justice of God upon the believer who makes a full confession.


The last of the seven major passages bearing on the cure of the effects of sin upon the spiritual life of a saint, whether of the Old Testament, or the New, is found in Luke 15:1-32. This portion of the Scriptures contains one parable in three parts. It is of a lost sheep, a lost piece of silver, and a lost son. Though three incidents are told, there is but one underlying purpose.  The particular value of this passage, in the present connection, is in its revelation of the divine compassion as seen in the restoration of a sinning saint. It is the unveiling of the Father=s heart. The emphasis falls upon the shepherd, rather than upon the sheep; upon the woman, rather than upon the lost piece of silver; and upon the father, rather than upon either son.

In considering this passage, it must be borne in mind that what is here recorded is under the conditions which obtained before the cross. It, therefore, has to do primarily with Israel.  They were the covenant people of the Old Testament, Athe sheep of his pasture,@ and their position as such was unchanged until the new covenant was made in His blood. Being covenant people, they could return to the blessings of their covenant, if those blessings had been lost through sin, on the grounds of repentance and confession. This, according to the Scriptures and as has been seen, is true of all covenant people. Israel=s covenants are not the same in character as Athe new covenant made in his blood@; but the terms of restoration into the blessings of the covenant are the same in the one case as in the other. The fact of the covenant abides through the faithfulness of God; but the blessings of the covenant may be lost through the unfaithfulness of the saint. The blessing is regained, too, not by forming another covenant, but by restoration into the unchanging privileges of the original covenant.

The threefold parable is about Israelites and was addressed to them. Whatever application there may be in the parable to Christians under the new covenant is possible only on the ground of the fact that the way of restoration by repentance and confession is common to both covenants. In the parable, therefore, we have a picture of the heart of God toward any and all of His covenant people when they sin.

The parable opens thus: AThen drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.@ Here is the key to all that follows. APublicans and sinners@ were not Gentiles. Publicans were Israelites under the covenant Amade unto the fathers@ who had turned traitor to their nation to the extent of becoming tax-gatherers for Rome. ASinners@ were Israelites under the same covenant who had failed to present the sacrifices for sin as prescribed by the law of Moses. An Israelite was counted Ablameless@ before the law when he had provided the required offerings. Thus Paul could say of himself concerning his former position as a Jew under the law: ATouching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.@ The Apostle is not claiming sinless perfection: he is testifying to the fact that he had always been faithful in providing the sacrifices prescribed in the law of Moses. The Pharisees and scribes were Israelites who gave their whole lives to the exact fulfillment of the law of Moses. Paul was a Pharisee, Aan Hebrew of the Hebrews.@ These men were not Christians and should not be judged as such. There is little in common here with Christians. These Israelites were blameless through the animal sacrifices which anticipated the death of Christ. Christians are blameless through faith in the blood of Christ which has already been shed. One is a justification by works, on the human side; the other is a justification by faith concerning a finished work of God.

The Pharisees and scribes murmured when they saw that Jesus received publicans and sinners and ate with them. He, therefore, spoke this parable unto them. The parable is explicitly addressed to murmuring Pharisees and scribes rather than to everybody, anywhere. And there can be little understanding of the truth contained in it unless the plain purpose for which it is told is kept in mind.

In turning to an interpretation of the parable, some consideration must be given to the well-nigh universal impression that this parable is a picture of salvation. While it is a blessed picture of the heart of God, it most evidently had to do with restoration rather than regeneration.

The first division of the parable is of a man who had an hundred sheep. AWhat man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?@ This is not a picture of ninety-nine sheep and one goat: it is of one hundred sheep, and Asheep,@ according to the Scriptures, are always covenant people. Israelites were sheep, so, also, are the Christians of this dispensation. Jesus, when speaking of those to be saved through His death, said to the Jews: AOther sheep I have which are not of this fold@ (John 10:16).

Another important distinction should be noted in this parable:

The sheep, the piece of silver and the son were Alost@; but they were lost in such a way as that they needed to be Afound.@ This is hardly the same as being lost in such a way as needing to be saved. The Biblical use of the word Alost@ has at least these two widely different meanings. AThe Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost@; but in all three parts of this parable, it is seeking and finding, rather than seeking and saving. The word Asaved,@ it should be observed, does not once appear in this parable. Should this parable be accepted as a teaching in regard to salvation, there is no escaping the error of Auniversalism@; for this Shepherd seeks until He finds that which is lost. The passage, on the other hand, presents a blessed unfolding of the heart of God toward His wandering child who needs to be found rather than to be saved. ANinety and nine@ who are safe in the fold to one that is lost is a poor picture of the proportions which have always existed between the saved and unsaved. Were the parable to teach the salvation of a sinner, far better would it have been had it presented Aninety and nine@ who were lost to one that was safe in the fold. The parable continues:

AAnd when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.@

The sinner here referred to can be none other than one of the covenant sinners of the first verse of the passage and concerning whom the parable was told. He, being a covenant person, is here pictured by the Spirit as returning on the grounds of repentance, rather than being saved on the grounds of saving faith. So, again, we could hardly find any class of persons within the church corresponding to the Aninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.@ Such a case was possible, nevertheless, under the law of Moses, the Apostle Paul being a good example. The very Pharisees and scribes to whom the parable was addressed were of that class. Within the outward demands of the law of Moses, they needed no repentance.

Repentance, which means a change of mind, is a vital element in our present salvation; but it is now included in the one act of believing; for fully one hundred and fifty passages in the New Testament condition our present salvation on believing, or its synonym, faith. The Gospel by John, written especially that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ and that believing we might have life through His name, does not once use the word Arepentance.@ The unsaved today are saved through believing, which evidently includes such repentance as can be produced by those who are Adead in trespasses and sins.@ Repentance means a change of mind and no one can believe on Christ as his Saviour and not have changed his mind with respect to his sin, his lost condition and the placing of his saving trust in the One who is Amighty to save.@

The second division of the parable is of the woman and the lost piece of silver. It is the same story of seeking and finding that which was lost. The special emphasis in this division of the parable falls on the joy of the one who finds. It is the joy of the One in whose presence the angels are. The story, again, is of a repenting sinner, rather than of a believing sinner.

The third division of the parable is of AA certain      man.@ This story is evidently told to reveal the heart of the father.  Incidentally he had two sons, and one of them was a Apublican and sinner, and the other a APharisee and scribe.@ One left the blessings of his father=s house (but did not cease to be a son): the other murmured when the sinner was restored.

No greater depths of degradation could be pictured to a Jewish mind than to be found in a field feeding swine. Here we have the Lord declaring, in the terms of His own time and people, that a wandering son may return by confession, even from the lowest depths of sin. It was there, in that field with the swine, that the son Acame to himself@ and purposed to return to his father with a confession, which is only the normal expression of a true heart-repentance. There is no mention of regeneration. Nothing is said of faith, apart from which no soul could hope to be saved into sonship. He was a son and returned to his father as a son. The sentiment, that an unsaved person, when turning to Christ, is Areturning home@ as is sometimes expressed in sermons and gospel songs, is foreign to the teachings of the Word of God. Sons, who have wandered away, may return home, and, being lost in the state of wandering, may be found. This could not apply to one who has never been a child of God. Such are certainly lost but need rather to be saved. In this dispensation, unsaved people may turn to God, but they do not return to God.

When the returning son was a great way off the father saw him and had compassion on him and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. The father saw him because he was looking that way. He had not ceased to look since the hour the son departed. Such is the picture of the Father=s heart, expressed, as well, in the searching both by the shepherd and by the woman.

All righteousness would require that this returning boy be punished most severely. Had he not dishonored the father=s name? Had he not squandered his father=s substance? Had he not brought himself to ruin? But he was not punished. The fact that he was not punished unfolds to us of this dispensation the blessed truth that, because of the work of Christ on the cross, the Father can and will receive His child without punishment.  The terms of restoration are only a broken-hearted confession.

The guilt of the sin has fallen on Another in our stead.

The confession of this son was first toward heaven and then to his father. This is the true order of all confession. It must be first to God and then to those who would be wronged by the withholding of our confession. 

Great is the power of a broken-hearted confession. No one would believe that the wandering son, after having been restored, and after resting again in the comforts of that fellowship and home, would immediately ask his father for more of his goods that he might return to the life of sin. Such action would be wholly inconsistent with the heart-broken confession he has made.  True confession is real and transforming in its power (see Second Corinthians 7:11).

He was a son during all the days of his absence from home.  Had he died in the field with the swine, he would have died as a son. So far as this illustrates the estate of a sinning Christian, it may be concluded from this and all the Scriptures on this subject, that an imperfect Christian, such as we all are, would be received into the heavenly home at death, though he suffers loss of all rewards and much joy, and though, when he meets his Lord face to face he is called upon there to make his hitherto neglected confession.

From these seven major passages it may be concluded that the cure of the effects of sin on the spiritual life of a child of God is promised to the one who in repentance of heart makes a genuine confession of his sin.

Sin is always sin in the sight of God. It is no less sin because it is committed by a Christian, nor can it be cured in any case other than through the redemption which is in Christ. It is because the redemption-price has already been paid in the precious blood of Christ that God can save sinners who only believe and restore saints who only confess. Not one degree of the punishment that fell upon our Substitute can ever fall on saint or sinner. Since Christ bore it all for us, believing or confessing is all that can righteously be demanded. Until confession is made by the one who has sinned, he is contending for that which is evil and thus is at disagreement with the Father. ATwo cannot walk together except they be agreed.@ God cannot agree with sin. The child can agree with the Father and this is true repentance which is expressed in true confession. Repentance is a change of mind. By it we turn from sin unto God.

The blessing does not depend upon sinless perfection: it is a matter of not grieving the Spirit. It is not an issue concerning unknown sin: it is an attitude of heart that is willing always instantly to confess every known sin. AIf we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.@ The Christian who fully confesses all known sin will have removed one, if not all, of the hindrances to the fullest manifestation of the Spirit.

AAnd grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed

unto the day of redemption@ (Ephesians 4:30).




AQUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT@ (First Thessalonians 5:19) is another explicit command to the believer concerning his relation to the One who indwells him.


The Spirit is Aquenched@ by any unyieldedness to the revealed will of God. It is simply saying Ano@ to God, and so is closely related to matters of the divine appointments for service; though the Spirit may be Aquenched@ as well, by any resistance of the providence of God in the life.

The word Aquench,@ when related to the Spirit, does not imply that He is extinguished, or that He withdraws: it is rather the act of resisting the Spirit. The Spirit does not remove His presence. He has come to abide.

According to the Scriptures, the believer=s responsibility in realizing true spirituality is again crystallized into one crucial word, Ayield.@ ABut yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God@ (Romans 6:13). Such an attitude of heart toward the will of God becomes those who Aare alive from the dead,