The Role of the Holy Spirit

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The sufficiency of the Scriptures proves there is no semi-Calvinistic direct help by the Holy Spirit to either save us or enable us to live the Christian life. When I speak of sufficiency, I mean it is sufficient informationally and it is sufficient in the manner that it communicates. Keep in mind that as a divine person, the Holy Spirit is a parsimonious being. This means He will not directly operate unless there is an absolute need for Him to do so.

Direct & Indirect

The Holy Spirit did indeed operate directly in the times of miracles. Men unaided could not do the things they did without this supernatural help. The Holy Spirit directly operated on the first century apostles and prophets to reveal and confirm the truth. They revealed the truth through the gift of inspiration and confirmed this by the signs, wonders, and miracles that they did.

Since all direct operations of the Spirit had to do with the word of God, either in revealing it or confirming it, it stands to reason that all latent works of the Spirit would be through this same word. Some people read in the Bible about the Spirit does this or that, and they assume it’s by an immediate and direct act. They do not take into account figurative language and mediated action. For example, Paul writes about being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14), but this is not the Holy Spirit directly leading anyone about. He leads through the word He inspired, as even the context of that passage proves (Romans 8:1-2).

Power Of Scripture

Paul tells Timothy that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (Second Timothy 3:16). What he has to say is regarding “all Scripture,” as opposed to the “holy Scriptures” that refer to the Old Testament seen prior (v.15). Thus, all Scripture, including the New Testament, is inspired by God. The word for “inspired” means God breathed, as if God actually said the words that are written.

Because all Scripture is inspired, all Scripture is profitable. The ultimate ends of this is that Christians may have everything informationally they need to serve and follow God. You do not need the word of God plus other information from the Holy Spirit. It then follows undeniably that the direct operation of the Holy Spirit is not necessary to know the will of God, and since it is unnecessary, it does not happen.

To the Ephesian church, Paul says that when we read what he was given by revelation, we will understand what he has written by inspiration (Ephesians 3:3-4). The Bible is understandable. To say otherwise contradicts the propositional nature of Scripture. The fact that so many people misunderstand it does not mean it cannot be understood. It actually proves how willful and stubborn people are when they approach the Bible. Peter warns of Scripture twisters (Second Peter 2:1-2). They twist the easy stuff as well as the hard verses.

Propositional Nature Of Scripture

There are hard passages and difficult concepts in the Bible. One would expect that in a book that comes from the mind of God. Simply put, what God has revealed to us, He expects us to understand. Anyone who is willing to approach the Scriptures like a blank slate can understand the Bible just by honestly reading it (Acts 17:11; James 1:21). Seeing this is so, no one needs any direct aid from the Spirit in order to understand what the Bible says.

Consider how ridiculous it is to claim one needs the Spirit to understand and interpret the Bible. Imagine someone opening their Bible and they read “He that believes and is baptized will be saved.” That person says to themselves, I don’t get it, and then the Holy Spirit comes down and whispers in their ear, “It means that if someone were to believe and then be baptized, then that person will be saved.” And only following this does the reader say, Now I get it! This is foolishness. Since no one needs any direct operation of the Spirit to understand the Bible, no such direct operation occurs.

The Bible is good enough to convict someone (John 16:8). The Scriptures are sufficient to convert a sinner (Psalm 19:7). And the word of God is all you need to be sanctified (John 17:17). We don’t need the Bible plus anything else, much less any direct act of the Spirit. Since we don’t need it, we don’t’ get it. People who insist they have this unScriptural advantage are looking for justification to believe what they want to believe, and not what God intended. This is the acme of foolishness (Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 16:25).

Walk According To The Spirit

The work of the Spirit through the word He inspired is made clear in the first few verses of Romans 8, but are willfully misunderstood by poor study that begins with a conclusion and then seeks verification on behalf of the pneumafile. Paul uses a writing style common to his epistles where he explains something fully and refers to it in part later and it is expected to be understood in its fullest sense. He begins by stating that “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (v.1a). Those uncondemned are so because they “do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (v.1b).

The explanation for this is “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (v.2). The use of the Holy Spirit in the first verse and the several that follow are given a context here that cannot be escaped. These passages refer to the work of inspiration. There is a law, not the law of Moses (mentioned in contrast in verse 3), but a New Testament gospel law (Romans 3:27; First Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2). This law inspired by the Holy Spirit provides eternal life for those who are in Christ. So to walk after the Spirit is to live in accordance with the law of the Spirit.

Christians are in the Spirit just as much as the Spirit is in us (v.9). This is something never really explained by the advocates of a literal and personal indwelling. This is followed by a reference to Christ being in us, which is something no one holds to be literal. Christ dwells in us to the degree that we have faith, which still comes from the word of God (Ephesians 3:17; Romans 10:17). Christ dwells in us through His word, as does the Spirit. Because the word of God directs our life, we are promised a bright future resurrection, which is another way of saying there is no condemnation.

We are led by the Spirit to put to death the lifestyle of the flesh (v.13-14). This again is the law of the Spirit that does this. The Spirit by the law of the Spirit bears joined testimony alongside our own spirit that we are the children of God. In other words, the Holy Spirit describes a faithful person and our own conscience declares we are faithful to the system and therefore obedient.

When one lives in accordance to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, that person is in a state of non-condemnation. This submission to the law of the Spirit, the New Testament gospel system, is how one dwells in the Spirit and the Spirit dwells in that one. It is how one is led by the Spirit and allows one to offer their life as testimony that agrees with the testimony of the Spirit regarding adoption. All of this feeds into the temperament of being spiritually minded (v.6).

This article is a select reading from my book, Biblical Teachings Regarding The Holy Spirit. It is available on Amazon and Kindle. To order, click here.

 

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About nealabbott

i am a writer who loves baseball and opera
This entry was posted in apologetics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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