The Christian Way of Life can be lived only by a power greater than ourselves. We need God’s supernatural power in order to be effective in the execution of His plan, purpose and will. This power has been given to each of us in the person of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus prophesied the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He said He would send the Comforter. The word in Greek for Comforter is “parakletos” which means “someone called to the aid of another”, particularly in the legal process. The “parakletos” would have therefore been an advisor, intercessor, mediator or advocate in a courtroom setting. In English we would use the word “lawyer.”
We can see from the etymology of the word that “comforter” is a poor translation of “parakletos.” The word more correctly connotes ability, aid, and assistance, rather than comfort from pain or distress. God the Holy Spirit was not sent to “pat us on the head” and tell us that all will be okay. The Holy Spirit was given to us to empower us, to guide us and to teach us. (John 14:26, 15:26) Jesus said, “You shall receive power (“dunamis” in Greek) after the Holy Spirit is come upon you….” (Acts 1:8)
After salvation the Holy Spirit provides the spiritual I.Q. for learning and applying Bible doctrine. (I Corinthians 2:9-14) The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for the unbeliever, and God’s Word (Bible doctrine) is powerful in the life of the believer when he is learning and applying it. (Romans 1:16; II Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12) John 4:24, tells us to worship God in Spirit (the filling of the Holy Spirit) and in truth (Bible doctrine). Without the power of the Holy Spirit the believer has no spiritual life.
The utilization of the power of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is a matter of personal volition. The believer must choose to allow the Holy Spirit to “fill” him. “Be filled with the Holy Spirit” is one of the first positive commands after salvation. The Greek word for “filling” is “pleroo” and has four meanings, all of which apply to the filling ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The second positive command is to “walk by means of the Holy Spirit”, which means the Holy Spirit is in control of our lives. By relying on the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us we are depending on His power to control our lives. The control of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is limited only by the amount of Bible doctrine resident in his soul and his personal volition. It is Bible doctrine resident in your soul that the Holy Spirit uses to guide you. The Holy Spirit does not whisper in your ear and your conscience is not the same as the Holy Spirit. However, your conscience can be influenced by God’s Word and by the Holy Spirit. In the Church Age in which we live, God speaks to us only through His Word.
There are at least four reasons for the necessity of this walk:
The first negative command is “stop grieving the Holy Spirit of God”. Grieving means to bring sorrow, which is against the will of God, takes us out of fellowship with God and we lose the filling of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30)
The second negative command is “do not quench the Spirit.” Quenching means to suppress or say “no” to the Holy Spirit, which is also against the will of God and causes us to lose the filling of the Holy Spirit and our fellowship with God. (I Thessalonians 5:19)
The results of grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit are:
When the believer chooses to sin, he cuts off the divine power source: God the Holy Spirit. Since God’s power system and Satan’s cosmic system are mutually exclusive, the believer is either in one or the other. If you are not residing in God’s system, you are residing in Satan’s. By residing in Satan’s system, the Holy Spirit is either grieved and/or quenched and He is no longer able to function in the life of the believer. Returning to God’s power system is a matter of acknowledging known sins directly to God. As a result, fellowship with God and the filling of the Holy Spirit are restored, and the believer is able once again to “walk by means of the Spirit.” (I John 1:5-10)
God’s power system (the filling of the Holy Spirit) is the only effective way to execute His plan, purpose and will. It should not surprise us, therefore, to learn that Satan has a counterfeit plan that he uses to distract and deceive the believer.
The greatest counterfeit to the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is emotion. Given to us by God, emotion is a wonderful thing if kept in its proper place. Emotion is meant to be an appreciator. In this post-canon period, the works of the Holy Spirit are neither seen, heard nor felt. They are simply facts for us to believe. (Romans 16:17-18; Philippians 3:19)
Speaking in tongues, hearing the voice of God, seeing visions, performing miracles and healing the sick were legitimate for certain men in the early church as a “badge of authority” to authenticate their ministries. These legitimate gifts from the Holy Spirit were never wrought with emotion, even in the early church. Since we now have the completed Canon of Scripture, our “badge of authority” is found in the pages of God’s Word. (Acts 19:11-20; Hebrews 2:3-4)
Satan is now distorting these gifts, which are no longer valid, into a system of human emotions designed to distract people from the truth. We must always remember that Satan is able to transform himself and his ministers into “angels of light” and “ministers of righteousness” (the wolf in sheep’s clothing). (I Corinthians 13:8; Philippians 2:27; II Timothy 4:20)
At salvation every believer is baptized, indwelt and filled with the Holy Spirit. All of these ministries are entirely unfelt, unseen and undetected.
The baptism of the Spirit places us into union with Christ, so we can share His destiny and His inheritance. (Romans 16:7; I Corinthians 12:13; II Corinthians 5:17)
The indwelling of the Spirit is permanent, creating a dwelling place in the believer for Christ. All believers in the Church Age are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, regardless of their spiritual health. The indwelling sets up the potential for power in the life of the believer. (I Corinthians 6:19; John 14:20; Colossians 1:27)
The filling of the Holy Spirit is God’s power system and the believer’s power source for the proper execution of the Christian Way of Life. The filling of the Holy Spirit is the one spiritual asset received at salvation that is revocable (based on the free will of the believer). Even though we are continually commanded to be filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit, it is our responsibility to allow the Holy Spirit this control. Personal sin, of course, removes the filling of the Spirit and removes the believer from fellowship with God. This means that the believer has “unplugged himself” from the divine power source and is no longer operating by God’s power. However, this divine power is still available since the believer is permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The believer must use God’s recovery system and “plug himself” back into the power source by acknowledging his sin and resuming the Christian Way of Life under the control of God the Holy Spirit. (I John 1:5-10)