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Saved? Or the Promise of the Holy Spirit? Or what?

Just what is it all about? It appears, in my reading of Acts, part of it was about escaping that “present warped generation”. This was all before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD.

Acts 2:32-40 

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 

 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 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 Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Jesus said all who believed Him would have life in that age – His life, basically. And that if they listened to Him, they would escape destruction. And they did. Most believers escaped Jerusalem during an unexplained lull in the Roman siege. But what does that mean to us?

The promise, upon believing, is His life. And the Holy Spirit. For the age. We are really in the last age, which came when their present age, the Jewish age, was over. It was over by 70 AD.

Early apostolic leaders, after the original apostles had died, stated they were in the last age (or the age to come, from the NT writers’ perspective). And if I could remember who said it, I’d give the references. But no matter. The previous age is clearly over.

So, could our terms, “saved” and “born again” be misleading? Is the idea of being saved really a Jewish concept? I think it is. We are one with God by virtue of His love for us. This is the good news that Jesus brought to light for the whole world.

 

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What is this idea that all people on the planet are “in” Christ and only need to ‘wake up’ and know who they are (which is what so many are teaching these days)?

The second Adam (Jesus) is a quickening spirit. You aren’t quickened unless and until you believe. If you don’t believe, you wait for the resurrection.

The Greek word translated “in” is “en” and means in, by, with, etc., a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest.

There is an entirely different word that means “into”, as in “inside of”. Christ is not literally in anyone. He ascended bodily and is at the right hand of God. He sent us the Holy Spirit to be with us and indwell us. And when the spirit came upon anyone, then as now, there was evidence. It was an action, an event.

I submit that most translations, and I’ve yet to find one that differs, have gotten this wrong. The word “in” should be “by” or “with”, especially since English makes little distinction regarding the word “in”. It does not always mean “inside of” but that’s how we usually read it.

When God poured out His spirit on all flesh, it means that it was poured out on everyone who believes, comes to Him, and so on. Before Pentecost, the spirit was only upon individuals for a purpose, and then it left. Now it’s freely given.

No where in the book of Acts do we read anything about everyone having the Holy Spirit, or Christ. Quite the opposite, in fact. People had to hear the gospel and believe.

It is true that through Christ, God reconciled all things. Now that all things are reconciled and sin is taken away, all people have access to God, are able turn to Him, and believe about Jesus, and so on.

The Holy Spirit draws and calls all. Some come. But the vast majority of humanity will not ever hear, and will only see their Creator on that resurrection day. Because of the finished work of Christ, this is possible. Truly, no one comes but because of Him.

If Christ is present in everyone on the planet, there is little evidence of it. No scriptural basis for it. I have had issues with this idea for years and I still do.

When God said He would pour out His spirit upon all flesh, and we see it happen on Pentecost in the book of Acts, what happened? Who received the Holy Spirit? How do we know?

Well, those in the upper room received the Holy Spirit. They not only had those tongues of fire over their heads, but they spoke in tongues, so that the foreigners outside heard them glorifying God in their own languages.

This was not all flesh or all men, but just those believers who were gathered together that day. And then some three thousand souls were added to the church that day.

One would assume that those souls also received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, since that was the way it happened, from the testimony of the rest of the book of Acts.

So, all flesh would seem to indicate not the whole world, but just those who believed.

To those who received Him, He gave them the power to be sons of God. All are not sons. Only those who receive Him. Paul says as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. He also says because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called the sons of God: the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Clearly, all flesh are not the sons of God.

In the Old Testament, the spirit of God only came to someone for a reason, and then it left. When Jesus came, He had the spirit without limit. It was a new thing. After this, on Pentecost, God poured out His spirit on all (manner of) flesh. Men and women, and perhaps young people.

Again, a new thing. A Peter declared it was the fulfillment of prophecy.

People, everyone in the world does not have the spirit of God in them. Only those who believe. I know many teach that everyone has the spirit. But it is not so. It is really new age thinking.

Furthermore, Paul says if someone does not have the spirt of Christ, he not His. If the spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you, he shall make your mortal body alive. The key word is “if”. Now, the the spirit of Christ is the same as the Holy Spirit and the spirit of God. These just are different ways to express it.

Therefore, it follows that if you don’t believe, you don’t have the Holy Spirit. All flesh does not mean all people, but many people. People who believe.

To say that all people on the planet have Christ, or the spirit of Christ, in them, is not what the scripture teaches. It is more new age thinking that has crept into the church.

 

The following is from the status of a Facebook friend:

“Many still live under the misunderstanding that they are constantly being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit in order to stay “right” with God. They believe they must need this “conviction” or they might overlook some sin then be held in accountable and subject to possible judgment.

They are often found trying to comfort themselves and pleading their own cause based in a penance of daily sorrow calling it repentance for their failures, inadvertently engaging in the act of being their own “advocate” before God constantly pleading their own case by “working” to stay “positionally” correct through each act of confession.

This is nothing more than a kind of pseudo strategic role playing that displaces Jesus as the sacrifice for ALL sin for ALL men, and holds the Holy Spirit in the position of the constant prosecutor and accuser of the brethren rather than who He is as (Paraclete (Gr. παράκλητος): Encourager, Comforter and personal Advocate of His children…

The former belief is nothing more than a strategically, devilishly inspired version of biblical interpretation that keeps the “sons” bound in condemning behavior and practice, but is being overturned by the Holy Spirit Himself ~ people are “waking up” and once again, surveying the wondrous cross and the vicarious life and death of the Savior.

The Good News tells a different version and one all men need to
hear….”  ~ by Ralph Brier

What does it mean to say that unbelief is a sin? Does the Holy Spirit really convict the world of sin? The word translated convict really means to reprove or to show, to convince, or even to prove. What would the Holy Spirit do to show or convince the world of sin? The word, convict, is a legal term. The law is gone, so convicting of sin is not what this is about. You can’t be convicted of violating something that doesn’t exist.

But on the day of Pentecost, Jews were pricked to the heart (there is nothing stated that the Holy Spirit did this) and realized they had not believed their Messiah had come – and many believed at that time. I’d call that a fulfillment of Jesus’ statement. They had missed it, but then some believed. That does not mean the rest of the world is sinning by not believing, especially when they have not even heard and had a chance to believe. The Jews had 3 years at least. And, again, the thing to remember here is that this is fulfilled!

Think about it. Does it sound like Jesus to say that there will be sin remaining after He did what He came to do? Preposterous. Only those who are still hung up on “sin” would say this.

The Holy Spirit came to call to mind what Jesus said. We did not hear Jesus in person, but we have the gospel witness, and the apostles. They heard Him, and knew God had said that Jesus was His beloved Son, and to hear Him.

It is not the job of the Holy Spirit to convict those in the world. It’s His place to show the believer the truths of God. I don’t want to split hairs too finely. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible or wise to try and figure it all out. My point is that we should not make the Holy Spirit into some sort of judge that convicts people by the law that they are not under.

When we, as believers, feel we have missed the target of godliness, it is grace, the divine influence of God in our hearts, which is showing us the truth. It does work by the Holy Spirit, I think, for the work of grace is a lot like the fruit of the spirit. Grace teaches us to leave ungodliness and follow godliness. It’s not done by convicting or by guilt, but by recognition.

Colossians 2:9 (Amplified Bible) For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature].

From the Greek literal: For in him is dwelling the whole repletion/completion of the deity bodily/corporeally.

Repletion:

1. The condition of being fully supplied or completely filled.

2. A state of excessive fullness.

3. The state or condition of being replete; fullness, esp. excessive fullness due to overeating

4. The satisfaction of a need or desire

This in no way implies, as do most Bible translations, that all of God dwelt in Christ. Preposterous. The heavens can’t contain Him. Besides, who did Jesus pray to if all of God was in Him already?

People, we need to get a grip on this. Many are going around saying that we have all of God, just as Jesus did. Being full is not the same as having all of something. If God is an ocean, we are a bucket. Dip us in, bring us up, and we are filled with all that is the ocean, but not all of the ocean.

The same holds true for the Holy Spirit in us. We have all that He is, but we don’t have all of Him. If just one person had all of the Holy Spirit, there would be no more Holy Spirit for anyone else. And that person would no doubt explode, quite frankly.

He is the Holy Spirit. Spirit is not quantifiable. Like the love we have for our children, there is always more for each one. And we lavish our love on them. Just as God lavishes the Holy Spirit on us.

When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, we are inundated by Him. We are filled with Him. Again, He is the ocean and we are the bucket. How preposterous to think we have it all. We have access to it all, and we have the essence of it all. We are replete and full. Yet the ocean has depths and currents and differences in local composition. Do you suppose God may have unknown qualities?

God seems to delight in shaking up our ideas. Look what He did on Pentecost! He is still shaking us. Just when we think we have gotten it, He does a new thing. We know in part until that time when we know face to face. While some would say we already know face to face now, I would strongly doubt that this is so. I guess that it would depend on your view of how things will be in the end.

As for me, and many like me, I will continue to expect more of God and more of the Holy Spirit in my life. He delights in revealing Himself to me, in overshadowing me, and in making me continually replete. If He had stopped doing that, I would be far less than I am now. He is the One that we desire and can’t get enough of, and even when we think we can’t hold more, He gives us more and we are well able to contain it. He is a mystery and a wonder.

As a post script, let me add this:

Recognizing there is always more of God and the Holy Spirit does not mean that we have to stand around praying and begging God to show up, to move, or to fill us. We are filled, He has moved by filling us in the first place, and He has shown up – He is not hiding, but is in us, and revealed to us in Jesus.

We need only to let what is in us flow out. We don’t need for God to move. We are the people we’ve been waiting for. We need to get moving, to bring the gospel in power, to heal the sick, and make disciples. We are anointed already. Go.

When you worship Him, remember it’s a celebration of who He is, and we praise Him for that. We don’t worship to get Him to do anything. We rather join in the dance with the godhead, in fields of grace. If that doesn’t set you free, nothing will.

Transformed By the Renewing of Your Mind

Romans 12:2(New International Version) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The Greek: Kai mE suschEmatizesthe tO aiOni toutO alla metamorphousthe

And no be ye being together figured to the eon this, but be ye being after formed

Again: tE anakainOsei tou noos humOn eis to dokimazein humas ti to thelEma

to the up-newing of the mind of you, into the to be testing you any the will

And: tour theoru to agathon kai euareston kai teleion

of the god, the good and well pleasing and mature

(Interlinear Scripture Analyzer)

Romans12:2  (New Living Translation) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think……

Romans 12:2  (Easy-To-Read Version) Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world. But let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what things are good and pleasing to God and what things are perfect.

Romans 12:2 – (The J.B. Rotherham Emphasized Bible) In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.

We know from the gospels that God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Neither the Gentiles of that age, nor what the Jewish system had become, walked in God’s ways.

To see God’s ways and will, we look at Jesus and what He did on earth.

He is the revelation of the Father to us, as many scriptures testify. Jesus did the Father’s will on earth. When we begin to understand this, we are being transformed. Our minds are being renewed. We stop looking at things through the eyes of the world’s system in our age, but we see things as God sees them. For, as the scripture states, we have the mind of Christ.

Bill Johnson is one who teaches that God’s will on earth is to do what Jesus did. There is no sickness, for instance, in heaven. Sickness is not His will. That is one reason Jesus healed all who were sick who came to Him.

Jesus has given us all authority to do the same as He did. We are to heal the sick; not just pray for them, but heal them. If this blows your mind, it is still not renewed! And I confess, it blew mine at first. I think I’m still picking up the pieces. But I have seen one healed since my transformation began.

A renewed mind sees and understands like the mind of Christ. A renewed mind does not come from doctrine, but from being with Jesus. A renewed mind is doing what He did, loving like He did. If we are His, we have been crucified with Him, and raised to new life. If we have been baptized by Him with the Holy Spirit, we have the same power in us that raised Him from the dead. We can do the works He did, and greater. That is His promise; His love working in and through us, being expressed in the earth.

Don’t be thinking that you have to memorize scripture or follow the laws of God or even make new rules from the statements made by Jesus and the apostles – no “five easy steps to spirituality”. The scriptures speak of Jesus, and He is the source of our new life – in fact He is our very life. The power and the life come from Him. He is the word – which was made flesh.

We are changed by beholding Him, not by trying to follow texts from scripture; not even by trying to be like Him.

We are already like Him. Get this truth into your heart and spirit and you will see change in your spirit walk – and you are walking in the spirit, and therefore spiritual, if you are His. When you see this is true, you will see it written on nearly every page of the New Testament. And that will indeed blow your mind.

I hear preachers and teachers talk about how Christians can have the power of God in their lives. Most get it wrong.

True power is not love, or surrender, or service, or speaking fine words – or yelling a lot.

Here is what it scripture says:

Matthew 9:8 – But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Matthew 10:1 – And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Luke 4:14 – And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

Luke 24:49 – And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 4:33 – And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Acts 6:8 – And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Acts 10:38 – How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 15:19 – Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

1Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Corinthians 1:24 – But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1Corinthians 2:4 – And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

1Corinthians 2:5 – That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

2Corinthians 4:7 – But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2Corinthians 6:7 – By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

2Corinthians 13:4 – For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

2Timothy 3:5 – Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Hebrews 7:16 – Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

Why is it that we think there is power in anything else?

I’ve heard some say our power lies in loving one another. Or that power lies in surrender to God. Or the baptism of the Holy Spirit (and this is actually right – if we walk in it). And on it goes.

Power comes from God through the Holy Spirit, and from the preaching of Christ crucified and risen – and the power is for healing, delivering, demonstrating the kingdom here now.

In that power, we do all things, including loving one another.

It’s not our power, but Christ in us, by grace and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Grace is the divine influence on our hearts.

The full expression of grace looks a lot like the fruit of the spirit, in fact. Hmmmm…….

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