Walk, Live, Be Filled with the Spirit

Every single one of us is as directly descended from Adam (and Noah) as the next person.  This explains the fact of creation and flood traditions in many cultures. Our common connection with Adam is used in the Bible as a picture of how we all can and should be connected to Christ, the “second Adam”, the father of a new race. (Rms 5:1, Cor 15)

However, the spirit world is the real world, not the one we see with our eyes.  And that spirit world, the “heavenlies”, is all around us – be it angels (good and bad), God, Jesus, or possibly even departed loved ones. (Heb 12:1)  Jesus did not go “up” at his ascension but simply “out of sight.” In much the same way, a church building is not God’s house. (Jn 14:2)

The Holy Spirit is Christ’s spirit.  “The Lord is Spirit.” This explains why Jesus, in his farewell (John 14-16) said he was about to go away and the world would see him no more, but he would come again, he would send his spirit, which happened in his appearances and on Pentecost (for keeps).   This explains how Christ can be literally “in”us today, and we can be “filled’ with his very spirit.  In his farewell talk Jesus said seven times that we can pray “in him”, and being “in Christ” is stated more than 150 times in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was “with” God’s people and worked “on them”; now we have him in us. (Rms 8:26-27)

Every Christian is filled with the Spirit, in varying degrees, much like a balloon is filled with air but can still be filled fuller. Or, when it comes to “walking” in the Spirit, we sometimes tell a grown adult, “Be a man!”, by which we mean, “You are a grown up; now act like one.”  I Cor 6:17 says, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”  It is possible, of course, to be “filled” or controlled by evil spirits.  They too can work on us, as Christians, but it is not possible to be possessed by Satan or his countless helpers and by Jesus Christ’s spirit at the same time.  Some Bible teachers believe we can be a “civil war”, with two spirit forces fighting for the mastery of us, but Romans 8:5-9 says it is either/or, one or the other.  I John 3:4-10 says the same thing.  One of the most effective ways for evil spirits to take control of a person is through drugs or alcohol.  This is why Ephesians 5:18 says do not get drunk.  Instead be filled with the spirit.

Now God has given each of us an independent will.  This is what gives a person individuality.  This is what makes him human, in contrast to an animal who operates by instinct.  This is what makes us an “image bearer”,  a “carbon copy” of his creator.  Jesus could not do miracles in his hometown because of their unbelief or refusal to believe.  He said of Jerusalem’s religious leaders, “I wanted to….. but you didn’t want to.”  John Calvin said we are not sticks and bricks.  This means that we cannot blame anything on God or on any human being, like our folks, or “society”.  By the same token, we are not responsible for our parents; every one of us individually must give an account of himself to God.  (II Cor 5:10.)  People who “lose their souls” do not want others to.  (Luke 16:27)

Our prayers, requests of God, fit into his plan, “influence his will.”  Jesus told his disciples, when he was about to leave them, that if they asked anything in his name it would happen.  He repeats that seven times!  We cannot say of anything that it has already been decided, ahead of time.  God is outside, above time.  What is more, he knows “ahead of time” that you are going to pray, ask him about a certain thing.  And the best things we can ever ask of God are invisible, such as a new heart, more true love, patience, generosity, etc.  (Compare Matt 7:11 and Luke 11:13)  But now, notice this: Do not ask God to give you invisible “things” as though he could go someplace and get them for you; ask him to BE your patience, even your faith.  God IS love, IS wisdom, IS courage, etc., so ask him to BE all these things IN you. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according his good purpose.”

The careful reader will notice how many of the above facts are found in what we call “wrong religions”, because every human being has a religion or a “faith” of some sort.  One reason is the first paragraph, something which Paul noticed in the non-Christian Greeks.  Another reason, which is a good argument for Christianity, is that Satan is the great counterfeiter, imitator.  “Ethnic” religions consequently believe not only in creation (versus evolution), but of the spirit world, “hereafter”, “medicine men” who emphasize harmony with the laws of nature; that each of us has a mind of his own, that we all want or need a model, a master, be it a parent, Uncle Sam, or whoever.

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