"Indwelling of the
In our previous lesson we concluded with these thoughts:
“Holy men of God would speak as the Spirit directed them revealing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a universal delivery. This delivery would constitute a gift of the Spirit that would, if obeyed, allow men to know a new covenant relationship with God through Christ and a Spirit directed life from all things given that lead to life and godliness through a knowledge of His word, which was once delivered through the work of the Apostles.”
Now that we have developed an understanding of the wisdom of God in the system He has chosen for universally delivering to the world His message of salvation through His Son, let's begin to develop a better understanding of a Spirit directed life.
First, before we consider resuming our journey, let us look at the words of the Apostle Peter, who would summarize our journey thus far, much better than I can. He is writing to Christians, reminding them of how they are the by-product of the work of the Holy Spirit, note:
1 Peter 1:22-25
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the
truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one
another fervently with a pure heart,
having been born again, not of corruptible seed but
incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
“All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”
Colossians 3:16 “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.”
The Apostle Paul, writing to Christians in Colossi, establishes that these Christians were to let the word dwell in them richly, or in abundance. Why didn't Paul state that they were to let the Spirit of God dwell in them abundantly? Paul was well aware of the work of the Spirit; being one of the holy men that the Spirit of God worked through. He knew that the work of the Spirit was the revelation of the word of God, confirmed by both eye witness testimony and signs and wonders. So, his instruction to these Christians was to allow this work of the Spirit to dwell in them abundantly.
Summary: As holy men of God moved as the Spirit of God worked through them to deliver the Gospel, the world could universally know the salvation of God. Those who would obey the Gospel's call would then continue in the Apostles doctrine, allowing the work of the Spirit to dwell within them richly!
Colossians 1:9-10 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
Did Paul ask these Christians in the introduction portion of his letter, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, or the gift of the Holy Spirit? If you said the gift of the Holy Spirit, you hit it right on the nose! Remember from lesson 2, that the gift of the Holy Spirit was the Gospel of Christ (the knowledge of His will). The Gospel of Christ came to the world in two portions, that which causes conversion and that which is doctrinal. Since the recipients of this letter from Paul are already Christians (2:11-12 – were baptized, past tense), the instruction of Paul was to be filled with the doctrine of Christ that would allow them to be fully pleasing to the Lord. This gift of the Holy Spirit would allow them to also be fruitful in every good work, provided they were filled with it (indwelling) and increased in it. This was the same thing the Apostle John would say to Christians very late in the first century, note;
2 John 9 “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”
Does this match the teachings you understand concerning the indwelling of the Spirit? Or, has someone tried to teach that the Spirit reveals something to individuals or them that are not found in the word? If the latter, it violates the concept that God is not a respecter of persons and inevitably destroys the universal work of the Spirit by which every person can come to the same understanding of the righteousness of God.
Now that we know the work of the Holy Spirit is the word of God, we can truly see how He dwells within each Christian! We are going to look at three lists of Christian graces that are the expected by-product of a life guided by the work of the Spirit of God, the word!
Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit , let us also walk in the Spirit.”
In this first list of Christian graces, Paul would note that there is a recognizable production in the life of true disciples of Christ; those who “Walk in the Spirit”, as apposed to the flesh (Vs. 16).
He concludes this list of graces with the understanding that the new life in Christ that Christian's enjoy is predicated on the crucifixion of the life we lived serving our wants and desires. This was a life guided by us, what we want, what we think we need, and what only leads to separation from our God.
This is in stark contrast to a life guided by the Spirit, a life in the Spirit! Paul says that this life is not something you just feel, it is something you live (display in your life).
Ask yourself, how would you know the expectations of a Spirit guided life, if it hadn't been revealed in the word of God? Paul started this letter with a statement of truth, note:
Galatians 1:8 “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. ”
This was written to these Christians because they had been being influenced by false teachers (Judaizing teachers); still it demands notice that they received their Spirit guided life from the same unified source as every Christian of the day and everyday since!
Summary: The word of God made known by Holy men who spoke as the Spirit of God moved them, revealed all the information necessary to live a godly life; a life of righteousness (the very essence of a spirit guided life).
Colossians 3:12-17 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 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. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
In this second list of the Apostle Paul of Christian graces, Paul describes a life of production expected by the education and admonishing of the word of God (the work of the Spirit – vs. 16). Paul would, in this list, just as in the previous list, through the Spirit of God, reveal what kind of life the word of God produces for those who are trained by it!
The Hebrew writer would say the same thing, concerning the chastening of God (discipline, training); which also comes from the word of God, note:
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Again we notice that we are educated to the life God expects from a unified source, the word of God. Did these Christians learn the word from some mystic source, personal indwelling of the Spirit by random selection? No!
Colossians 1:3-5 “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel”
Summary: The Gospel went into the whole world and as a by product, it created disciples of Christ. These disciples then were instructed by the Apostolic word, which taught them to observe all things Christ had commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). Those who became disciples and have allowed the word to guide them have allowed the Spirit to guide them the way God intended. Anything different than this is a lie!
2 Peter 1:5-11
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
to knowledge self-control, to self-control
perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly
kindness love. 8
For if these things are yours and abound,
you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ. 9
For he who lacks these things is shortsighted,
even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Peter's list of expected Christian graces, rounds out our series of lists. Peter would ask these Christians in northern Asia Minor to add to their “like precious faith” (Vs. 1), virtue! Peter as well as all the Apostles of Christ knew exactly where faith came from! No! Not from a random indwelling of the Spirit, not from the Spirit telling us personally what to do apart from the word!
Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Adding these other word learned graces to our faith is the strength that God has given through His word, which keeps us from stumbling!
Note: 2 Peter 1:3-4 “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Peter also informs us as Christians that the once delivered word of God gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness and informs us of the great and precious promises of God; foremost being the ability to escape the corruption of the world. This is the power of God for salvation!
Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Summary: There is only one work of the Spirit of God that produces soul saving righteousness; the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
We have learned in this lesson that this unified message of God's word through Christ Jesus our Lord, delivered by holy men who moved as the Spirit directed, thus becoming the gift of the Holy Spirit; is what directs the righteous life of the true disciple of Christ. This is what it means to live a Spirit directed life!
CONTINUED IN LESSON 4