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THE INDWELLING SPIRIT.

by J. Edward Boyd

Reprint from the July 1920 Word & Work

“Know ye not,” wrote Paul to the Corinthians, “that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” And again, “Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God?” Least of all would we expect to find such expressions here, in a letter addressed to that church, whose spiritual condition was so low that elsewhere he characterizes them as carnal, walking after the manner of men. Rather would we expect him to tell them, because of their jealousy and strife and sin, that they were not Christians, and did not have the Spirit in them. But notwithstanding their folly and their failure, they had been “washed— sanctified—justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our Lord;” and to such God gives the Holy Spirit.

It was needful to remind them, in this very forceful language, that the Spirit was even then in them, that there might be a strong inducement and encouragement to turn away from their evil course and glorify God in the body. If you are a Christian then, redeemed by His blood, no matter what your shortcomings are or what your failures have been, the Holy Spirit dwells in you; and of this you may be sure, because the word of God says so. Do not dishonor Him (for the Spirit is a person, not merely an “influence”) by continuing in sin, or even by denying His presence.

That every true believer has dwelling within him the Spirit as a special gift is evident from many statements of scripture. “Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” declared Peter on the day of Pentecost. If there should be a question whether he here meant that the Holy Spirit is Himself the promised gift, or that it is something of which He is the giver, two considerations should greatly help us to find the answer. First: the Spirit is indeed a giver, but a giver of many gifts; “the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healings, miracles, prophecy, discernings of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues.” (1 Cor. 4:11). But Peter used the singular—“gift”—with the definite article—“the gift” Is there any special thing of which the Spirit is the giver which is so designated? Second: the Spirit is elsewhere spoken of as Himself a gift to Christians. Said Jesus, (Luke 11:13), “ . . . how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” Said Peter, when before the council, (Acts 5:32),“ .... and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” In Paul’s writings we read, (Rom. 5:5) “ . . . through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us.” [An examination of the context shows that he is speaking of those who are “justified by faith” (v. 1), and for whom Christ died, (v. 8), and not of any special class of the saved]. Again, (Gal. 4:6), “And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying,  Abba, Father.” And (1 Thess. 4:8), “Therefore he that rejecteth, rejecteth not man, but God, who giveth His Holy Spirit unto you.” If this truth needed to be clinched by additional quotations, it would surely be found in Rom. 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”

From these expressions it is clear that the Holy Spirit is a gift; that He is given to all the saved, to all sons of God, “even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him;” and that it is not only a privilege, but a necessity, that He abide within. Otherwise, we are “in the flesh,” “none of His,” unable to please God —a fearful condition indeed. Let us with deep thankfulness recognize this precious truth that “God has given His Holy Spirit, unto us,” and rejoice for His wonderful provision for us.

Remember, also, the exhortation, “Be filled with the Spirit.” It is as though by reason of our indifference the supply might run low, whereas it needs to be again and again replenished. The apostles on the day of Pentecost “were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:4) ; but that one instance did not seem sufficient for all time, for we read again the same expression relating to a subsequent occasion. (Acts 4:31). Indeed, we do not expect the same gifts—such as tongues; but the exhortation, “Be filled with the Spirit,” (Eph. 5:18) surely means the same Spirit, and is as certainly applicable to Christians in general as is the first part of the verse, “And be not drunken with wine;” or as are those exhortations immediately following, in the same sentence, concerning singing, giving thanks, and subjecting ourselves to one another. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit,” this Spirit has been given to us, and with this Spirit we should be filled. How? It came as a response to prayer (Acts 4:31), even as the Lord Jesus had said, “ . . . to them that ask Him.” Let us pray.

 

Bro. J. Edward Boyd was a preacher of the Gospel and taught Bible and Greek at Southeastern Christian College in the 50s and 60s. 




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10