Theology: The Holy Spirit – THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN THE FILLING OF THE BELIEVER

DOCTRINE DEFINED

 

Chafer in his major themes mentions, “The filling of the Spirit may be defined as a spiritual state where the Holy Spirit is fulfilling all that He came to do in the heart and life of the individual believer. It is not a matter of acquiring more of the Spirit, but rather of the Spirit of God acquiring all of the individual.” (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; “Systematic Theology”; Dallas, TX; Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, p 115)

 

What a beautiful thought — the Spirit doing all that He desires to do in my life. I trust that you contemplate that sometime. All That He Desires To Do.

 

DOCTRINE EXAMINED

 

1. Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit” Being drunk has the idea of the wine controlling the person who is drunk. Being filled has the idea of being controlled by the Spirit completely.

 

As the drunk is lowered, to a lower plain of life and activity, so the Spirit filled believer will live on a higher plain than the non-filled person. Not that they are in a fog, but they are being all that God wants them to be at all times.

 

Ryrie mentions that the drunk gives himself over to the influences of the wine as the believer gives himself over to the influences of the Spirit.

 

In his book on the Holy Spirit he states, in reference to the person under the control of wine, “he thinks and acts in ways normally unnatural to him. Likewise, the man who is Spirit-filled is controlled, and he too acts in ways that are unnatural to him.” (Taken from: “The Holy Spirit”; Ryrie, Charles C.; Copyright 1965, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. pp 93-94) This does not mean that the believer is out of control with joy, peace and longsuffering. It is to say that the believer is under the control of the Spirit. It means that the person is doing all that they can to follow and serve the Lord via the Spirit’s leading.

 

DOCTRINE RECEIVED

 

How can the believer be filled with the Spirit? This is a question that needs to be considered.

 

1. We cannot be filled by asking for it. There is no reference in scripture that tells us to pray for the filling. We are only told to be filled. This would indicate that it is a simple act of the will.

 

2. We cannot be filled by someone else asking for it. In other words the prayer of the saint in the congregation before the sermon asking for God to fill the pastor is technically in error. We might ask that the Lord would move the pastor to seek to be filled before he begins — however that might take some time for him to get ready for it.

 

3. We cannot be filled by denying ourselves of food, drink or other items. There is nothing that we can give up that will bring the Spirit’s filling except for one thing. Your Control Of Your Life.

 

4. We cannot be filled by meditation. No matter how psyched up we get, no matter how laid back we get, no matter how quiet we get, we cannot be filled.

 

5. We cannot be filled by any work that we can do, save a clean life before God living from day to day in His control, and not in our own control. You have merely to seek out sin in your life and confess it properly and allow the Lord to take control.

 

If you are not willing to submit to the authority of your parents, you cannot be filled. If you are not willing to follow All The Lord’s commandments you cannot be filled with the Spirit. If you are not willing to forgive another, then the Spirit cannot be in control, for you are. If you are in control, then the Spirit is not, and you are not filled.

 

If there is anything that you will not allow the Spirit to control in your life then you are not filled with the Spirit. That might include: Not following local, state or federal laws: speed limits, safe driving, copyright laws, etc.

 

 

Not following whatever rules, or authority God has placed over you. We have choirs all over the country singing praises to their God with copied sheets of music, which is strictly illegal. How much praise do you think that the Lord hears? We have Christians breaking speed limit laws on the way to church. How excited does God get over such dedication?

 

Can a person be filled at a time when there is no conflict of interest? In other wards if God has told me to drink no more and I determine not to drink. At a point tomorrow I take a drink — was I filled from the place of being in His control and the point at which I determined to take a drink? It would seem that yes would be the answer. He had full control until my will decided to take the drink and disobey — or indeed take back the control that had been relinquished to the Spirit.

 

SIMPLE FACTS THAT HURT

Can’t I sin just a little bit and still be mostly controlled by the Spirit? No. Can’t I use my mind to produce a feeling of filling and not be totally

turned over to the Spirit? No. No matter what physical or mental contortions you may deem as profitable — they are worthless in relation to the filling of the Spirit.

 

Chafer mentions three items of concern before you can be filled. Walvoord and Ryrie elaborate on these three points as well.

 

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:19, don’t quench the Spirit.

 

2. Ephesians 4:30, don’t grieve the Spirit.

 

3. Galatians 5:16, walk in the Spirit.

 

If you are grieving or quenching the Spirit then you are not allowing Him to control you. We will look at these in future sections.

 

The third item of “walk in the Spirit” would naturally relate to walking your Christian life in the control of the spirit.

 

Torrey on the other hand lists seven steps to being filled. You need to realize he is equating baptism and filling and is askew on this doctrine slightly.

 

 

He bases his first thoughts on Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (The following seven points adapted from, Torrey, R.A.; “Baptism With The Holy Spirit”; Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1972, pp 11-37.)

 

1. Repent. Acts 2:38 (change your mind)

 

2. Repent. Acts 2:38 (renounce sin)

 

3. Be Baptized.

 

4. Obedience. (Based in part on Acts 2:38 and on Acts 5:32.)

 

5. Have A Real And Intense Desire. Luke 11:13

 

6. Ask. Luke 11:13

 

7. Faith. Mark 11:24

 

Point five, six and seven are looking for Church age truth in Jewish information. The asking for the Spirit is something that the Old Testament saint had to do, but we in this age automatically receive Him in His fullness.

 

You see, Mark Torrey feels there is more to filling than what is normally seen. He is speaking of something that we must seek after and ask for. This would indicate that his filling is a second item that is dependant upon us, and not God. Indeed, he must have seen baptism and filling as the same, and that being, a special work aside from the indwelling of salvation.

 

It is easy to see how his teaching can be used by the pentecostal groups.

 

DOCTRINE APPLIED

 

1. It is a command. We are to be filled. The term filled in Ephesians 5 is an imperative and something to be done. No rationalizations, no excuses, no comment, no discussion, no outs, no maybe’s, no alternatives, no options, no AAAHHH but Lord’s, no anything. We Are To Be Filled.

 

2. Some would ask how often you should be filled. In short the Ephesians text is in the present tense and several authors suggest that it be translated as “keep on being filled.” The idea is as often as you need it, or maybe better yet, you are to be controlled continually. The choice of God would be to be filled once and never have need of it again, however God is realistic and has set it up so that all may be filled as they have need.

 

Constantly, should be the goal. It is a continual item of interest to the believer. Every time you take over control, there will have to be a resumption of power by the Spirit.

 

As a person matures they will continue to find new areas of life to yield to Him, and this will require new commitment to the Lord’s control of that area of their life.

 

3. Some suggest Colossians 3:16 as an equal to the Ephesians 5:18 text.

 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

 

They equate the two passages, because in geometry there is a law or axiom which states if two things are equal to the same thing then they are equal. In other words if a=c and b=c then a=b.

 

I’m not sure what angles and lines have to do with scripture, but there may be a close similarity between allowing the word of Christ to dwell richly in you and being filled with the Spirit.

 

If we are filled with the Spirit we will fill our minds with the thoughts of Christ and vice versa if we fill our minds with the words of Christ we will probably be filled with the Spirit.

 

4. The result of not being filled as a believer, is only one. The result is sin. To not follow the command of the Lord is SIN. Now, if you take some time to consider the average Christian that is not walking in the Spirit, that is, one that is doing his or her own thing — then you have a sinning Christian. Every person that is living for themselves in the church is in sin. Need we guess why the average church is unfruitful?

 

 

RESULTS OF THE FILLING

 

1. Fruit: The fruit of the Spirit will be the main result of the filling of the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-26 tells us what the fruit of the Spirit are. I have contrasted these with the opposites.

 

 

FRUIT OF THE   SPIRIT

 

 

 

 

NO FRUIT OF   THE SPIRIT

 

 

LOVE

 

DISLIKE/HATE

 

JOY

SADNESS/GET   ALONG ATTITUDE

 

PEACE

TURMOIL/UPSET   CONFUSION

 

LONG-SUFFERING

 

SHORT   TEMPER/SHARP TONGUE

 

GENTLENESS

 

RUFFNESS/TERSENESS

 

GOODNESS

 

LACK   OF GOOD/BADNESS/NASTINESS

 

FAITH

DOUBT/WORRY

 

MEEKNESS

 

OUTWARD/KNOW   IT ALL

 

SELF-CONTROL

 

SUBMIT   TO PEER PRESSURE/SIN

 

 

 

Which Column Do You Operate In? These items of contrast are easy enough to understand for most of us. We understand the basic meaning of the fruit of the Spirit. We also understand that the fruit is to be seen in our lives. This means when you are preaching. This means when you are buying gas. This means when you are disciplining your children. This means when you are in a business meeting that isn’t going well. This means when you are taking a test. This means when you are fixing a flat tire. This means when you are discussing what that mealy mouthed creep said about you at the business meeting. This means at all times of the day and night, and all situations.

 

 

Now, How Many Of Us Want To Claim That We Are Really Filled With The Spirit All The Time? Most Of The Time Yes, Maybe Much Of The Time Yet There May Be Some Times When We Aren’t.

 

2. Proper Church Services: Ephesians 5 mentions that the filling precedes the following activities of the church. Ephesians 5:18-21, “And be not drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit, Speaking 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, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Worship, praise, singing, thanksgiving, submissiveness (Wow — even submissiveness from filling.).

 

Have you ever been in a service where you felt that everyone must be filled with the Spirit? In Denver years ago the pastor came for the usual Sunday evening service and ask for testimonies. The congregation began sharing and finally he interrupted, and had us sing another song. Before he had a chance to go further, another person stood and mentioned that they had something to share and this kept occurring. About 45 minutes into the service the pastor mentioned that he was not going to fight what was going on and sat down and enjoyed what was going on. We finished a little after the hour and all went away very refreshed (without a sermon.).

 

While we were home missionaries we were asked to present our work in a church in Denver. We drove down the night before and enjoyed a very neat couple’s home. We went to church the next morning and found that they did not have the usual services. They sat in a square around a table on which the Lord’s table was set. They shared from the word, from the heart and prayed. From time to time we would sing a song, then the service was closed with the Lord’s table.

 

If you were to be in a group like this on a regular basis you would learn quickly that to be a part of the worship you would have to be filled with the Spirit a lot of the time during the week so that you would have something to share on Sunday morning.

 

3. Service: Naturally the spiritual gifts would be involved in this, but the thought of filling would also relate to the natural sharing of one’s faith with those around them. Evangelism would be the natural result of filling.

 

 

Let’s consider a few questions.

 

Can you be a spiritual person without being filled with the Spirit? This is a question of semantics probably. The point is this, if you are constantly filled, then you will be becoming a spiritual person. A new believer can be filled but not necessarily a spiritual person, in that he has much maturing

to do before he can be walking in the spirit on a moment to moment basis.

 

Is it wrong for two believers that have been saved the same amount of time to be on different spiritual maturity plains? Only if one has been negligent in allowing the Spirit’s control. The Spirit may have need of great maturity on the part of one for the ministry yet not need the same depth of

maturity for the job of the other. It is the individual’s responsibility to be filled, and allow the Spirit to draw the person to the maturity that He desires.

 

I trust that you will never look down upon a person that has less maturity than you. Be pleased that the Spirit has done what he has done with you and allow the Spirit to do the same with all other people. Indeed, they may not be below you — your opinion of your own maturity may be inflated.

 

To sum up let me share a quotation from Chafer. “From the nature of the filling of the Spirit, it may be concluded that the wide difference in spiritual experience observed in Christians and the various degrees of conformity to the mind and will of God may be traced to the presence or absence of the filling of the Spirit.” (Taken from the book, Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer and John F. Walvoord. First edition copyright 1926, 1953 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Revised edition copyright 1974 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. p 117)

 

In short it seems to me if you want a simple key to the whole topic it is this. When you sin, 1 John 1:9 it and He is back in control. The sooner you 1 John 1:9 your sin the quicker He will be back in control. Is this an oversimplification? I Trust That It Is Not.

 

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN SEALING OF THE BELIEVER

 

 

THE DOCTRINE PRACTICED

 

The sealing of the Holy Spirit is that process by which the Holy Spirit is sealed up within our own ego and person, so that He is rendered completely inoperative in our lives. NO. This is not what sealing is, but many today seem to operate as if this were the proper interpretation and definition of the doctrine.

 

Ephesians 4:30,

 

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,

by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

 

Note, that whatever this sealing is, it is for a long long time. It is till the day of redemption. We will have the Spirit until the day that we are finally and completely redeemed from this earth and miserable state. We also notice that we are not to grieve the Spirit in this verse. We will deal with this subject in a coming study.

 

What is a seal? An animal that likes to balance balls — yes. Christmas and Easter seals — yes. However, in this case it means much more. In the legal area it is something that indicates a guaranteeing of the contents of that which is sealed.

 

Let me give you some illustrations of seals? There are seals dating to the days of the Babylonians for certain. They have found barrel seals that are placed in the Babylonian period with pictures of a man and woman and snake. Seals have been around for many years. They would role the seal in fresh clay to leave the impression. The kings of Europe used ring seals. They would imprint warm wax with their ring so that all could know that the item was from the king. We still have the ancestors of the old time seal. When you graduated you probably received a diploma imprinted with a seal of some sort.

 

 

Gift shops still sell little seals with wax sticks. You melt the wax on the back of your sealed envelope and then press the seal into the hot wax. It is for ornamentation, yet it guarantees that the seal of the letter has not been disturbed.

 

When a new teacher’s belongings arrived one summer in Wyoming, the driver had to use tools to break a steal band that had been placed on the container when it was loaded in Germany. That seal guaranteed that no person had entered that container along the way. The seal had a number on it that was a double guarantee of no entry. That number matched the receipt that the couple had signed in Germany.

 

As believers, God has sealed us in some manner, and the Spirit is that seal. He is our guarantee that something is going to happen, that our final redemption will come. He is also our guarantee that nothing is going to happen — that is our eternal security.

 

Since He is our seal, how can we know that we are saved? We can know by knowing the work and presence of the Spirit in our life. If you have known the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, then you have known the seal that guarantees your salvation.

 

There is the idea of approval as well in the seal. When the container was sealed there was an approval from someone on the other end that knew that what was inside was in good shape and complete.

 

“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” 2 Corinthians 122

 

Note should be made that the sealing is like indwelling in that it is for all believers, even the carnal and babes of Corinth. It is automatic, it is complete, it is irrevocable, it is impossible to reject when you are saved, and it is impossible to reject when you don’t feel that you’re saved.

 

The seal of the Holy Spirit comes when we believe and are saved.

 

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye
believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14

 

 

Just when is this redemption going to take place? Either at death, or at the Rapture.

 

The seal on the overseas container, with its number also identified that container as belonging to that particular couple. So, the seal that we bear identifies us as belonging to the one that sealed us — God. 2 Timothy 2:19 tells us,

 

“Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his; and, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

 

It is of interest in the verse that God knows His own because of the seal that He has given, but notice that next phrase. Based on God knowing His own, Paul adds, “…Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” Based on God knowing us, we are told to depart from iniquity..

 

There are two terms used for seal in the New Testament.

 

Both terms are always translated as some form of the word seal. (sealed is Strong’s number 4972 which is the Greek word “sphragizo”; seal is Strong’s 4973 which is the Greek word “sphragis”)

 

INFORMATION OF INTEREST

 

1. Ryrie mentions that Ephesians 1:13 can be interpreted two ways quite perfectly, due to the construction. It can indicate that there was an interval of time between believing and the sealing. The other, quite valid, interpretation is that they occurred at the same moment. He also mentions, and he agrees with me, that logically it would fit best for the believing and sealing to occur at the same time, or in that instant when all the many things of salvation occur. However, logic demands the sequence of trusting, then those saving items from God.

 

2. It is hard to tell whether it is the Spirit that actually does the sealing or if He is only that which is given. It is clear that God sealed, but was it the Father, Son or Spirit. We can’t be certain from the texts we are given.

 

Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” This text seems to indicate it was the Spirit, the verse can also read “in whom” ye are sealed rather than by whom. The preposition is translated both ways in the scriptures.

 

In 2 Corinthians 1:21 it mentions that it is God that seals us. It would seem logical that if God is keeping, and God is the one that promises, and God is the one that seals that it would be the Father that does the Sealing with the giving of the Holy Spirit.

 

3. The 2 Timothy passage (2:19) does not specifically speak of the seal of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not mentioned. It probably is, however authors tend to assume, then state it as fact.

 

4. John 6:27 mentions that God sealed Christ. We can learn little from this due to the special relationship Christ had to the Trinity. Whether this is speaking of the same type of seal or not we don’t know. I would assume possibly that if there were similarities that Paul would have mentioned it. Christ needed no seal in relation to redemption because He didn’t need to be redeemed or saved, so I doubt that it was the same.

 

5. Actually the sealing of the Holy Spirit is the indwelling of the Spirit. His dwelling in us is that guarantee that is the seal.

 

APPLICATION

 

1. Ownership was one of the things that the seal of the New Testament day meant. In Ephesus they had a large lumber trade. Merchants of the area would come to select and buy lumber, then place their seal or signet on the lumber. At a later time one of his workers or servants would come to the harbor and select out the lumber that had their masters seal on it and take it home.

 

The seal is not unknown in real estate transactions. The Old Testament relates of times when deeds were sealed, and this is a picture to many of the seven seal book of Revelation. The seal was to be opened, or used by only certain people.

 

The seal implies ownership. We are bought with a price. Again, I must ask the question that I have posed in previous studies. If God owns us then how dare we begin to make decisions concerning what we are going to do in life without first contacting Him? We presume enormously to consider our lives apart from His wishes.

 

2. We have seen that the Old Testament saints were not indwelt, baptized, nor sealed. What can we draw from those facts? God is doing something special for us in the Church age. The next question is, why? Might it be that God is proving something very special to the principalities of the air? That no matter what God does for man, or offers to man, that man will turn against God. It seems that this may be a good reason for the dispensations.

 

3. The idea of sealing is also a very good doctrine for the insecure believer. If God has sealed us then there is no way that we can unseal ourselves. He will keep us until all that He has promised has come to pass. Any concept of the seal in history relates that the seal guarantees the contents of something. How can the contents ever unseal itself? Impossible.

 

Ryrie has a very good paragraph. “The concept of sealing includes the ideas of ownership, authority, responsibility, and, above all, security. Sealing assures us of the security of God’s promises to us, especially our salvation. We can be certain

 

(a) that He possesses us,

 

(b) that we have a secure salvation sealed by and with the Spirit, and

 

(c) that He purposes to keep us to the day of our full redemption.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 360)

 

I like that thought that almighty God purposes to keep us.

 

4. The 2 Timothy text mentions that the sealed person is to depart from iniquity. We need not say much more than that.

 

5. It is of interest that the sealing is an act which yields nothing further than what it, in itself, means. Because of it we will continue to be sealed unto the day of redemption, however there is nothing further that will benefit or act on our behalf aside from its original intent.

 

6. 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13,14 both mention that the Spirit is our earnest. In real estate transactions there is what they call earnest money. It is money given by the buyer and received by the seller as a token of their promise to one another to consummate the deal. It is their guarantee to one another. God has given us the Holy Spirit as His earnest money to guarantee His deal with us. The Spirit is our guarantee that He will redeem us.

 

Not only are we sealed to that end but the Spirit is a double guarantee of what God has promised.

 

If we then are assured that we have the Spirit indwelling us on a permanent basis then we can have security. Tell that to the insecure believer and possibly it will do some good.[1]

 


[1] Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

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