Wednesday, February 03, 2010

At What Point Does One Receive the Holy Spirit? Part 2

* Please Read Part 1 first.

Based upon many Scriptures, including what I brought up in Part 1, my conclusion is this in regards to the question, "Does one receive the Holy Spirit at salvation or does one become 'filled' with the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands at a later time?" is the response, "yes" and "yes". Please allow me to explain and follow along closely, for this is by no means a fence-straddling response. Paul called Jesus "Lord" in Acts nine, verse five (the same "Lord" that Ananias called Jesus several verses later) which according to 1 Corinthians 12:3 can only be done by the Holy Spirit. So, we can gather that the Holy Spirit did in fact play a role and was present at Paul's conversion. But, later in verse 17, Ananias lays hands on Paul and he is "filled" with the Holy Spirit, which implies a greater occurrence. "Filled" in the original Greek text is "pletho" which means "accomplished, full, fulfilled" which would suggest a greater "fulfillment" of what is already there. So, according to these Scriptures specifically, there seems to be a greater "level" (filling) of the Holy Spirit.

To use a simple metaphor of the natural, you can have water present in a glass, but just because the water is there does not mean that the glass is necessarily "full" of water. In order for it to be filled with more water, the air within the glass must be removed as more water is poured in. It's simply the theory of displacement. Spiritually speaking, the Bible speaks of a deeper level of "outpouring" or "filling" of the Holy Spirit. One that only comes as we empty more and more of ourselves.

Likewise, while many seem to rest that all that an ongoing life devoted to Christ entails is complete at salvation, the Word states that we're to "earnestly desire the greater gifts - I show you a still more excellent way." (1 Corinthians 12:31) This seems to make it quite clear that although, when one is born from above, he is absolutely a completely new creation, there is a greater level to be attained that we are encouraged to pursue. "Earnestly desire" (in the original text, "zeloo") means to
be zealous for, covet earnestly, burn with zeal for, pursue, to strive after. One might say that we have been given all that we need at salvation, but we are responsible to mature and grow in it – exercising it into maturity and seek it out in its fullness. We cannot make the gifts happen on our own but via the Holy Spirit, we can attain them. The "greater gifts" in this verse ("charisma", in the Greek) was defined as "grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit". The more "excellent way" is "huperbole" which was defined as "exceeding, out of measure, abundance, beyond all measure". It seems to me that these clearly go hand in hand with being "filled" to overflowing with the Holy Spirit as He is the enabler of, and the power behind, the gifts that we're to long for (one cannot long for what he already possess in fullness).

Paul, well-schooled and more literate in what we would call biblical knowledge than likely any of us, even when he was a persecutor of Christians, still apparently needed "filled" by the Holy Spirit after his conversion (as Acts 9:17 clearly state as a factual account). There is always more for us to attain, no matter how educated in the Law we are (also look into Paul's many references to attaining the "fullness of God"). To assume that one "gets saved" and is then OK for the rest of their days, without ever maturing or going deeper in the LORD is just downright ridiculous and opposes all of Scripture. Of course much of Christianity today places little to no emphasis on personally examining God's Word for oneself, so this is not surprising. The ability to become all that God desires us to resides in His Word. The answers to the churches' arguments and denominational differences are all within Its pages. It's time we turn to It alone to define what is right and stop leaning on preferential doctrines of men.

* Part 3 (conclusion) will be posted on Friday


Valerie said...

Joel you said "Does one receive the Holy Spirit at salvation or does one become 'filled' with the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands at a later time?" is the response, "yes" and "yes".

Amen brother. Tragic as it is, at salvation I had no idea of the work of the Holy Spirit apart from convicting of sin. I had never been taught any more. That came many years later through lots of searching His Word. Keep preaching it Joel, God has given you a wonderful gift to write these things.

Joel Spencer said...

Valerie: Well the Holy Spirit has surely been given an undesirable definition in the eyes of many. On the one hand, He gives license for men to get out of control in their flesh and on the other, He's "something" you just don't talk about because we sure can't have unruliness about now can we. We need to properly (biblically) see what His role is - to draw people to God and empower the Church to actually do what She is destined for. (Which is what Part 3 addresses.)

NINA said...

I agree.I never really saw it that way. Well I never really thought about it period.LOL I always felt like either you have it, or you dont. But as long as we are on the topic(smile)I believe that there are different levels of it, just as I believe that there are different measures of faith. However, I never knew that I believed this about the holy spirit until I started writing just now.(LOL) You have that affect on people. Growing up, my mother always told me that I received the Holy Spirit at a very young age. But I never remembered it or really believed it. She would often use this fact(which by the way meant absolutely nothing to me)to try to get me to conform to a certain standard. I remember hearing this often in my post teen years when I went through my acting like a fool and raising as much hell as I possibly could stage.(to put it lightly) However, it was not until later when I "received" the holy spirit that it was evident to me. I was alone crying out to the Lord and it came without the laying of hands, or ministers, or alters.It could not be mistaken. This time the HolySpirt served as a comforter and a guide. It would be a couple of years later, after living with the holy spirit for a while that I finally decided to be baptized. I had put it off for years because I had a grave fear of water.(DONT JUDGE ME< LOL)The Holy spirit had been operating through me and I had begun ministry(in the biblical sense, not the turn your collar around so that man can see that you are in charge sense)I got baptized in a river in Virginia.I know that was not the most logical thing to do for a person who had a fear of drowning, but this is what I was led to do. It was a windy day and the rivers were roaring and the tides washed a shore. When I went under and came back up. I was overcome by the Holy Spirit like I had never been before.I could not describe it and it was humbling, yet frigtening as I tried to keep composer.This was a new thing.I was amongst a group of 'by the book' "CHRISTIAN" people who were not fans of the Holy Spirit. who talked real proper and had to have a philisophical explanation for everything. As I tried to make my way out of the water, my legs turned to Jelly and I almost swallowed my tongue trying to keep it from moving by the spirit. One of the guys who rode in the car with me ran out into the water to try to help me because everyone else thought that there was something "wrong". They were asking me was I o.k and did I need help. They were probably really concerned because I could not respond.It was not a loud or 'churchy" episode, it was not a holy dance,and what happened was very unfamiliar to me, yet I knew it was the Holy Spirit. I tried to maintain composer and seperate myself as I hurried to my car, I was later feeling emberrassed.I had to get someone else to drive for a while on the trip back home because I could not collect myself. It took about 2 days for me to fully recover. This was not the same Holy Spirit that I had before, this was new!!! Now,after reading this, I find myself questioning, was my mother in fact correct. Was it laying dormant? Or was it in fact a fresh anointing?Was my latter experience an episode or was it a new thing?I believe that it was all of the above. These are all of the things that I now know that I believe(LOL):I believe that just as with all things there can be an increase. I believe that it can also lie dormant.I believe that this is a part of growth. I also believe that it can lie dormant and be reactivated, which is the same as having a fresh or new out pour.I also believe that anything that does not grow is dead. If something dies. And is then born again. Wasn't it yet and still born....again, though it had lived before.However, I imagine that there would always be the question, "did it ever die?" As with this, the same as with the Holy Spirit. It is the 'life 'that really matters.

NINA said...


Joel Spencer said...

Nina: Thanks for sharing your personal example. I too believe there will always be greater "filling" possible, as the Word seems to clearly reference. To assume we should just always stay the same is simply not what the LORD called His Body to.

You said, "I never knew that I believed this about the holy spirit until I started writing just now.(LOL) You have that affect on people." This statement brings such a smile to my face because this is where I think we should always be. Figuring out what we believe and why we believe, regarding eternal matters. Thanks again for always being a part of each blog that's posted here.