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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gifts of the Holy Spirit!

Even though God's children live in the world and have forgotten their Oneness with God, there is still an inkling left within each child that causes them to have a tiny bit of the memory that they are One with God. Even with all of the thoughts and beliefs that they have acquired that have caused them to think that they are unworthy, God isn’t real, they are fine on their own, or other beliefs that keep them from remembering fully—despite all of that—there is still a glimmering within them that they are One with God. Somewhere deep down, they remember that God is their true Creator and Source Whom they yearn to return Home to.

The words, the perspective, and the love that comes through the Holy Spirit are a reassurance and a promise for that restoration to one day be complete. You are the only one keeping you from it. You are already perfect, worthy, and fully and completely loved by God; you just have to eventually remember that. Whether you remember in this instant, or this instant, or this instant, it doesn't matter. In each instant that you can remember, you are born. You are born in Reality, not the world.

Truly one gains everything by hearing God because there is no Reality in the world. When one hears the Holy Spirit, they are in Reality for that moment. When one hears the Holy Spirit, they experience validation or proof of what they have always known somewhere in the back of their mind, no matter how buried that knowing may be beneath the accumulated thoughts and beliefs that say otherwise. Hearing God proves to the little spark of hope that was there all along that there is more to life than this.

It is so easy to live in the world, to attempt to succeed and excel in school, to succeed and excel in work, and to make the perfect family, home, and lifestyle. “Lifestyle” here means the right place to live, the right home, furnishings, car, clothing, vacations, or entertainment system. One goes about continuing to accomplish, attain, succeed, and excel in all of these worldly ways until they die. And so many people walk around in the world saying, “Isn't there more to life than this?”

When one can hear God, they can step out of the need to strive, excel, and succeed, and instead seek peace and love in their hearts, in their minds, in their lives, in their relationships, and in the world so that the life they are living is an expression of God and a remembering of the Oneness that you are with God. This allows you to live a life that has meaning in so many of the moments, encounters, and experiences rather than in the things.

When one talks about false idols, they are talking about the belief that striving to own the perfect entertainment system is more important than striving toward expressing kindness toward their family. Many people put much more energy and resources into creating the perfect entertainment system than they do into showing their family that they love them. Some think they are showing their family that they love them by buying them the right entertainment system. When one has learned that joy or happiness comes from a screen and they experience love when they watch a story on that screen, then it makes sense that the perfect entertainment system is a wonderful way to love one’s family.

Ultimately, what each one seeks from the bottom of their hearts is God's Love, true Love, the remembrance of their Oneness, the remembrance that God is everything, God is good, and they are within God always, safe and sound, loved and cherished, accepted and understood just as they are. To sit with God with this perspective is so much more fulfilling and rewarding than anything that is on the screen.

What does one gain from hearing the Holy Spirit? They gain themselves. They gain God. They gain everything that really is, everything that really matters, and with that, all the peace and comfort that they can experience."

What Is the “Gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38?


To a multitude assembled on the day of Pentecost the apostle Peter declared:
“Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, ASV).
The identity of “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” as that expression is used in Acts 2:38, has long been a matter of interesting discussion among Christians. Good and respected brothers hold differing viewpoints as to the meaning of the terminology employed in this passage.
Aside from the radical notion that this verse asserts the perpetuity of miraculous gifts throughout the Christian age — an allegation that would conflict with information elsewhere in the New Testament (cf. 1 Cor. 13:8ff; Eph. 4:8ff) — there is room for honest disagreement among the Lord’s people on this matter, without there being a breach of fellowship.
At the outset, I would like to briefly discuss several concepts that brethren entertain regarding this matter, that I personally believe to be incorrect.


Some argue that the “gift” of the Holy Spirit mentioned in this passage is a reference to salvation from past sins. But this theory appears to gloss the very language of the verse. It seems very clear to this writer that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is something different from and in consequence of the reception of the forgiveness of sins.
Note the dual use of the conjunction “and” in this context:
“Repent ye, and be baptized … unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
If baptism is different from repentance, should not a similar recognition be given to the distinction between salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Moreover, other passages also suggest that the reception of the Holy Spirit is a blessing given in consequence of salvation.
“And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6).

Miraculous Gifts

Some contend that the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38 was the reception of supernatural signs, as bestowed by the apostles’ hands. If such a view is correct, it would seem that a reasonable approach to the passage would suggest that all who were baptized that day (cf. 2:41) received not only forgiveness of sins, but also supernatural gifts, so that literally hundreds of disciples were performing miracles subsequently in the city of Jerusalem.
This view, however, suffers from the lack of any supporting evidence in the book of Acts. There is absolutely no indication, from Acts 2 through chapter 5, that anyone other than the apostles possessed miraculous gifts. Note the following:
“and fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43).
The miracle performed by Peter and John in Acts 3 seems to have been an unusual event; the Jewish leaders commented:
“for that indeed a notable miracle hath been wrought through them, is manifest to all that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16).
There is no hint that multitudes of Christians were duplicating such signs in the city. Again:
“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people, and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. But of the rest durst no man join himself to them; howbeit the people magnified them …” (Acts 5:12-13).
The religious awe with which the multitudes held the apostles suggests they were doing signs not characteristic of the saints generally.
It is only when one comes to Acts 6:6ff that mention is made of the imposition of the apostles’ hands, and the subsequent exercise of miraculous gifts by others (cf. Acts 6:8).
It has been suggested that the terms “gift” (dorea) and the verb “receive” (lambano) in Acts 2:38 indicate a miraculous phenomenon, and thus in this context denote the supernatural gifts made available through the laying on of the apostles’ hands.
That such is not a valid observation can be verified easily by the consultation of a Greek concordance. Compare, for example, dorea in John 4:10 and Romans 5:15,17, and lambano in John 12:48 and Mark 10:30.
Moreover, the fact is, the most common Greek term for those gifts conveyed by the imposition of apostolic hands is the word charisma (cf. Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:4,9,28,30,31; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6).
It is alleged that Acts 2:38 is parallel with Mark 16:16ff, in that both sections promise salvation and the reception of signs. I personally do not believe that the passages are grammatically or contextually parallel in all respects. Mark 16:16ff contains a general declaration that miraculous gifts would accompany the body of believers, confirming their divinely given testimony.
On the other hand, the persons directly addressed in Acts 2:38 individually were promised both remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It does not seem reasonable that they would have understood the promise to have been unlimited with reference to forgiveness, but limited in regard to the gift of the Spirit.

The Word Only

Other good brethren hold that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is merely a metaphorical expression suggesting that only the Spirit’s influence, by means of the inspired Word, indwells the Christian. In my opinion, this concept does not adequately explain all of the biblical data on this theme.
A frequent line of argument in support of this position is to assemble two lists of passages that show common effects produced by both the Spirit and the Word. This is, however, the fallacy of analogy. (Compare the typical Oneness Pentecostal argument whereby lists of similar traits relative to the Father and the Son are assembled in an attempt to prove that the two are the same Person.)
The fact that the Holy Spirit uses the Word as his instrument of instruction (Eph. 6:17), does not speak to the issue of whether or not he indwells the child of God.
The “Word only” view seems to fall under the weight of the context of Acts 2 as a whole. For example, in Acts 2:41 Luke records:
“They then that received his word were baptized …”
Peter’s auditors on the day of Pentecost “gladly received his word” (v. 41), hence, the influence of the Spirit through that word, before their baptism. This is evidenced by their question, “What shall we do?” (v. 37), as well as an implied penitent disposition.
Yet the promised gift of the Spirit was given after baptism. Since the Spirit operated on the Pentecostians through the Word prior to their baptism, just what did they receive as a “gift” after their baptism?

The Indwelling Spirit

It is my conviction, as well as that of numerous highly esteemed brethren, that the Holy Spirit, as a “gift,” is bestowed upon the obedient believer (Acts 2:38; 5:32; 1 Cor. 6:19), and is an abiding presence in his life.
Let us consider several facets of this matter.
According to Acts 2:38, the baptized believer is promised “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Is this a gift consisting of the Spirit, or a gift given by the Spirit?
Actually, from a strictly grammatical viewpoint, it could be either. Some, though, have suggested that grammatically the phrase cannot refer to the Spirit as a gift. That simply is not correct.
The expression tou hagiou pneumatos in Greek is in the genitive case. Greek grammar books list more than a dozen uses for the genitive1. It is context, either in its narrower or broader sense, that will determine the thrust of the genitive case in a given circumstance.
The fact of the matter is, almost every Greek authority known to this writer contends that the genitive of Acts 2:38 is epexegetical (appositional), i.e., the Holy Spirit is the gift2. These sources are not cited as theological experts, but as language authorities; the authors obviously did not feel that it is grammatically impossible for the gift to consist of the Spirit himself, as some have alleged.
That “the gift of the Holy Spirit” can be the Spirit himself is demonstrated by a comparison of Acts 10:45 with 10:47, even though the respective contexts reveal that different endowments of the Spirit are under consideration in Acts 2 and 10.
It is probably safe to say that most of the scholars within the restoration heritage have also argued this interpretation of “the gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38, even when differing on the nature of receiving the Spirit.
J.W. McGarvey3 wrote:
“The expression means the Holy Spirit as a gift, and the reference is to that indwelling of the Holy Spirit by which we bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, and without which we are not of Christ.”
Moses Lard4 commented: “Certainly the gift of the Spirit is the Spirit itself given.”
For further reference we would suggest consulting Goebel Music’s massive work, A Resource and Reference Volume on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit5. This is a study that no serious New Testament student can afford to ignore on this topic.

Supporting Evidence

The most forceful argument for this view that the “gift” of the Spirit is the Spirit himself, is the subsequent testimony of the New Testament regarding the reception of the Holy Spirit by the believer. Note the following.

The Holy Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit

Within the Roman letter, in a context which discusses the indwelling Spirit as a possession of the saints (cf. Rom. 8:9,11,16,26,27), the apostle Paul declares that the Holy Spirit and the human spirit bear dual witness to the fact that we are children of God (v. 16).
Does our spirit actually dwell within us?
Some would suggest that only the Holy Spirit’s influence through the Word is here considered. Notice, though, it is the indwelling Spirit himself who bears testimony with us (see also 8:26).
Compare the language of John 4:2 where it is stated that while the Lord representatively baptized disciples, he “himself baptized not.” There is a difference between what one does himself and what he accomplishes through an agent

Our body, the temple of the Holy Spirit

Paul inquired of the Corinthian saints:
“Or know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19).
The Greek word for “temple” is naos, and it is an allusion to that holy sanctuary of the Mosaic economy wherein God actually made his presence known (cf. Ex. 25:22).
Here is an interesting question. If the Holy Spirit bears a relationship to men today only “through the Word,” and yet, admittedly, he influences the alien sinner through the Word, would it be proper to suggest that the sinner’s body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit” to whatever extent he is affected by the Word?

Christians made to drink of one Spirit

Consider 1 Corinthians 12:13.
“For in one Spirit [i.e., the Spirit’s operation by means of the gospel] were we all baptized into one body … and [an additional thought] were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
What is the difference in the Spirit’s relationship to us before baptism and after baptism? In Paul’s dual references to the Spirit in this passage, is he suggesting the identical concept in both statements?

The Holy Spirit sent into our hearts

In Galatians 4:6, the Spirit is said to be sent into our hearts because we are (i.e., in consequence of being) sons of God. Would not this suggest a relationship that is different from the mere influence of the Word, since the sinner has the leading of the Word before he becomes a child of God?

The “earnest” of the Spirit promised to Christians only

If the relationship of the Holy Spirit is exactly the same to both sinner and saint (i.e., only through the Word), can it be affirmed that the sinner, to whatever extent that he is influenced by the Word, has the “earnest of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; cf. Eph. 1:13,14)? Do not these passages, and those above, set forth a precious promise that is exclusively confined to the Christian?

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