“Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:13-14).
To enjoy real results in our spiritual life both the negative and positive aspects of the ministry of the Holy Spirit have to work within us. Everything in science has to have both these sides combined. For example the negative and positive are needed to produce energy. Maybe this is the reason why believers are powerless today.
The New Birth
At the new birth the Holy Spirit cleanses the believer from past sins, the negative aspect, but also empowers him to walk in “newness of life,” the positive aspect (Romans 6:4). If we accept only the negative then we will not be able to live the Spirit-filled life. On the night of His resurrection the Lord met with His disciples. We are informed that He breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). Here we see the regenerating ministry of the Holy Spirit at work, but they still needed to receive His power for dynamic living on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). It was not the Lord’s will for them to receive one without the other.
The initial stage of sanctification involves the Holy Spirit ministering to us the blessing of a clean heart, but we must move on from simply being cleansed, we must go on to being “filled with the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). At the first He brings purity into our hearts, but His power enables the regenerated soul to receive a constant flow of the same purity.
As Christians we are to daily grow in grace. This is accomplished by walking in holiness, that is, staying clean from moment to moment. Nevertheless, growth includes staying filled with the Spirit too. What happened on and after the Day of Pentecost is proof that the disciples were growing in the Spirit and power. Before then, even though they were regenerated, they were timid and fearful, but now they boldly spoke about Christ (John 20:19; Acts 2; 9:29). The amazing result was that they turned Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and eventually the world “upside down” (Acts 17:6). Paul advises his readers to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The Greek here implies being filled on a constant basis or ‘be being filled.’ In Acts 1:8 the same meaning can be found in the Lord’s words when He said, “Ye shall be receiving power continuously after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (italics added for emphasis).
If the followers of Jesus needed this aspect of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, how much more to we have the need today? It is not the cults, pagans and evolutionists that are damning the world, it is the powerless church. How? We claim to be Christians but manifest not of its power … “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). We live half-hearted worldly lives, when we might be winning souls for Christ by the glorious power of the Holy Spirit. The continuous reception and transmission of the power of God is the great privilege of the child of God.
With the privilege comes the responsibility. Note the order, “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” (Acts 2:39):-
1. The promise of both salvation and the power of the Spirit are for you. We are responsible for receiving the promise ourselves.
2. We are then responsible for transmitting these things to our children. This is a power legacy to leave to one’s children.
3. Then same blessings are available to those further afield. In the Lord our reach is never limited by circumstances personal inability … “Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?” (Isaiah 50:2).
4. This great promise is for everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord.
The Holy Spirit and the church should be united in calling the lost to Christ … “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). This is the Holy Spirit working through the church.