The Truth About Godís Holy SpiritStudy No. 150
When one stops to pause and reflect over life and its problems in this troubled and unhappy world of the Devilís devising (Luke 4:5-6; Galatians 1:4; I John 5:19; I Corinthians 14:33; II Corinthians 4:4), one is often bewildered and at a loss to understand the Creatorís underlying purpose. True, most people realize the visible realities: man is born, he must work to earn his bread and make his way through life, and, sooner or later, must face the inevitable certainty of death. But, the great majority, due to their own ignorance of Bible revelations (Romans 1:28; Hosea 4:1-6; Jeremiah 4:22; Deuteronomy 32:18-20) and to the gross error of most religious teaching (Matthew 7:13-15, 24:11, 24; II Peter 2:1-2; II Timothy 4:3-4; Isaiah 30:8-10; Jeremiah 5:30-31; II Corinthians 11:13-15; Titus 1:16; II Timothy 3:5), have never really understood the spiritual realm and what lies behind the scenes. Thus they have not known or understood the Creatorís wonderful purpose in the human family. And, not knowing why we have been placed here, not knowing Godís plan for humanity, most have been led by the Devil and his many deceiving ministers into the tragic error of placing more emphases on the temporary material things of life ó rather than on the permanent spiritual realities which are available.
Along the way from the cradle to the grave, men labor to provide the bare material necessities of life, and to also acquire some of the added luxuries. While following this age-old path, there are those in every nation who prize material wealth and prosperity, power and position, prestige and influence, above all else in life. To others the best this life has to offer is simplicity ó a modest home, a decent job, a good family, and a sense of anonymous privacy. Then there are those few who cherish health of mind and body above all the values for which they think man should plan and labor. And, so it goes. Every individual has their personal concept of life and its values. All have their respective goals and their ideas of what contributes to success and happiness. But, setting aside all human speculation, with one preferring one thing and another preferring something else, based upon faulty human reasoning, letís consider now the basic plan and purpose, and the goal, of the Eternal Creator who has set human life in motion. Letís determine now the true values ó the things really worth struggling to attain.
The Dynamic Element!
Very few, including countless professing Christians and their many ministers, and the learned of this worldís defective educational system and science, seem to realize the truth that, as we are born into this troubled world we have only a human nature ó a nature that is a conflicting mixture of both good and evil ó a rebellious nature inherited from our parents and grandparents clear back to Adam and Eve, Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 8:11, 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19; Isaiah 1:4; Jeremiah 2:13, 19; Isaiah 53:6. When the Eternal God created our first parents and started the human race on its way approximately 6,000 years ago, He did not then make them completely perfect. Although He did not then make them with evil in their nature, Genesis 1:31, still He did not make them incapable of sinning, as He could have done, nor did He make them capable of living forever, Genesis 2:7, 3:19. Instead, they were created with a pure mind, Genesis 2:25, and were perfect only in the physical sense ó perfect only in form and shape, health and beauty. Otherwise, they, and all their descendants to this very day ó with the notable exceptions of Christ, John the Baptist, and Jeremiah the prophet, Luke 1:30-35, 13-15, Jeremiah 1:5 ó have all been born completely lacking the one vital and dynamic element which all men desperately need in order to become totally good ó and to be perfectly happy. Yes, with the exception of the three men mentioned, all others have entered this life minus that which every person needs above all things, Godís Holy Spirit within themselves!
Letís understand Godís plan and purpose in the human family. The most precious gift He has to offer anyone, besides that of eternal life in the world to come, is oneís receipt now of His Spirit within their mind and heart, to properly order and establish their lives. Far above all physical health and perfection, far above all positions of power and prestige, or of material wealth and prosperity, the most wonderful thing in life to be earnestly desired by every thinking man and woman is the possession of Godís Holy Spirit! Christ had this in mind when He said the following, as found in Luke 11:9-13, "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you . . . . If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then [you human parents], being evil [possessing an inherently evil human nature], know how to give good gifts unto your children [Yes, human nature has some good in it!]: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" In saying this, Christ well knew that above all things man is born to need, and should earnestly strive to acquire, Godís Holy Spirit, His most precious gift!
What Took Place in Eden
Contrary to the opinion held by many superficial and careless readers of the Bible, the Devil was not more powerful than God and did not wreck or change Godís designs for mankind. Satan himself is a created being and is totally subject to the will of God. That which God has allowed the Devil to do has not thwarted His overall plan for humanity. From the very beginning it has been the Creatorís express will that men should have His Spirit within themselves. Even Adam and Eve could have acquired His Spirit, for we find in Genesis 2:9 that in the center of the Garden of Eden, God placed the "tree of life," which represented His Holy Spirit, and that they were not forbidden to partake of it. However, when they foolishly chose to ignore the tree which would have brought them His Spirit, and instead partook of the one tree in the entire garden that He had expressly commanded them to leave alone, Genesis 2:15-17, they then and there ó by reason of their willful disobedience to the commands of God ó automatically denied themselves the receipt of His Holy Spirit! By partaking of the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil, our first parents then became an unstable, perverse, mixture of both good and evil.
For rejecting the gift of His sinless Spirit, for disobeying His command, for eating the forbidden fruit (thereby losing the pure mind they were created with and acquiring a corrupt mind), God drove them from the paradise of Eden. Thus it was that the children of Adam and Eve, and all their descendants to this very day, have entered this world under the handicap of corrupt minds and sinful human nature. As Paul explains in Romans 5:19, "By one manís disobedience [Adamís sin in the Garden of Eden] many were made sinners [all his descendants acquired his disobedient nature which causes us to sin] . . . ." With the human race thus started on its way, what has been our Creatorís plan and purpose, do you ask? Consider with me now Isaiah 45:12-13, "I have made the earth, and created man upon it . . . . I have raised him up in righteousness [for a good purpose], and I will direct all his ways [that is, if we will let Him]. . . ." Continuing to explain His purpose and will for men, God states in verse 22 of this same chapter, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth [humanity everywhere]: for I am God [the Creator], and there is none else." Then in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul reaffirms Godís declared intentions toward mankind by saying the following, "Who [meaning God] will have [He desires to have] all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth," I Timothy 2:4. From these and many other scriptures we learn that Our Creator has placed men here on earth in order that they might be saved, that He alone can save, and that it is His loving will that all men should be saved!
Godís Supreme Achievement
Shall we say the great Creator did not know nor foresee what was liable to happen in the Garden of Eden between those made of the dust and the superior spirit-being called the Devil? Of course not. The issue involved was whether or not our first parents would voluntarily submit themselves to the loving will and rule of the Holy Creator. To test them on this crucial point God allowed Satan the power of influence only, not of actual force. Adam and Eve need not have listened to the Devilís lies and corrupted themselves. They were not forced to do so. Nor did God want them to make the fatal mistake they made! But once the error had been made, by which they openly showed themselves unwilling to voluntarily submit to the laws and government of God, then God invoked the use of curses and other chastisements to teach them and their descendants the bitter results of disobedience. In the preceding paragraph we saw where God wants all mankind to be saved. What does all humanity need to be saved from? What does God stand ready to save us from, if we will but let Him?
Letís understand! While He is a Spirit-Being, John 4:24, we find in Genesis 2:7, 3:19, and many other scriptures that man is a creature made of matter, made of dust, and subject to decay and death, Job 4:17; Romans 7:24; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 5:12, etc. Just why did God first create Adam of the dust, and then, even though he and Eve miserably failed to obey Him, continue creating their children of the same composition? Why has God chosen to continue creating those since Adam with an inherited human nature full of defects? The answer to this searching question explains the reason for all human history ó past, present, and future! Why has the Creator deliberately made mankind on such an inferior plane? In the eighth chapter of Romans Paul explains Godís basic plan and purpose in the human family. In verse 20 he particularly states the following: "For the creature [meaning us] was made subject to vanity [subject to material decay and eventual death], not willingly [those since Adam have had no choice in the matter, as Adam did], but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope." Here we find that God has admittedly subjected us to an inferior composition and nature, that we have had no choice in the matter, but that God has done so far a reason ó for which He has great expectations for the men thus created! Do you wonder what that hopeful plan and purpose of the Almighty may be, which has prompted Him to first create us of the earth, and with defective human nature inherited from Adam? Paul also explains this for us. Consider now the startling implication and significance of verse 21: "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption [from enslavement to material decay, wearing out, and eventual death] into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
We Are to Become Godís Children!
There, in a nutshell from the lips of Paul, we have Godís wonderful purpose in having made humanity of the ground, subject to material decay and eventual death! Do you yet fail to comprehend? Then let me explain. Godís glorious purpose in first making us of the ground is that from such "clay models" ó subject to every temptation of evil ó He may nevertheless create those like Himself ó the crowning masterpiece of all His creative art! His plan is that in such vessels of clay, through those who are willing to submit to the process involved (which calls for obedience to His laws, even though to obey goes against the pull of human nature, as He knows it does), He may form and shape those very much like Himself. Ones worthy by reason of their cooperative efforts and willing submission to His plan to be ultimately changed by Him into perfect Holy beings ó the fully born children of God! Consider John 3:5-7; I John 3:1-2; Philippians 3:21; I John 3:9; Romans 2:7; I Corinthians 15:50-53; I Thessalonians 4:13-17. Thus it is that although we originally enter this world in a mean and material state, in a state of enslavement to corruption and death, it is nevertheless gloriously possible ó and Godís express design ó that those who show themselves worthy may ultimately become his own children ó fully like him (His character) in every respect! In other words, God has purposed to create His own Divine Nature (II Peter 1:4), His own superb character, in and through those made of clay who will wrestle with their defective human nature in order to overcome the bad in it and become as much like their Creator as possible. Consider Romans 7:14-25; Galatians 5:16-17; Revelation 2:26, 3:21; Philippians 3:11-14; I Corinthians 9:24-27.
To the atheist or professing Christian who dares to criticize and find fault with His wonderful purpose, God gives this stern warning: "Woe unto him that striveth with his maker! . . . shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou? . . . woe unto him that saith unto his father, what begettest thou?" (Isaiah 45:9-10). Also, in Isaiah 29:16, God has this to say to the atheist and the skeptic: "Shall the work say of Him that made it, He made me not [shall man say he is a product of evolution, that there is no Creator in heaven above]? or shall the thing framed say of Him that framed it, He had no understanding [shall man say he believes there is a Creator, but cannot see any sense in Godís great plan]?" Friends, let us not rebel against, let us not foolishly criticize or resist Godís loving will in our lives. Instead, let us say with our brother Isaiah: "But now O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand," Isaiah 64:8. And let us always bear in mind Paulís joyful statement found in I Corinthians 2:9: "But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
Godís Terms And Conditions
To effect this wonderful transition ó from clay models possessing a naturally rebellious human nature, to that of spirit-beings possessing the Holy and obedient nature of God ó man stands in desperate need of receiving here and now, in this life, Godís Spirit within himself. Yes, God is responsible for us entering this life without His Spirit. But, we ourselves become responsible for remaining without it if we fail to do what he requires in order that we may receive it. Moreover, once we come to realize our lack of His Spirit, once we understand our imperative need of it and how it can be obtained, we then become directly responsible for our own welfare and eternal Salvation. The outcome of our lives from day to day and for all eternity then rests in our own hands and is determined by the choice we make! Just what must one do to receive Godís Spirit within themselves? On the memorable Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31, approximately ten days after Christ had left His disciples here on earth and returned to the throne of the Father in heaven, He then sent the promised gift of His Spirit (Acts 1:4-5, 2:14-18; John 16:7) to the disciples. Thus began the glorious, spirit-filled and spirit-led, New Testament "Church of God" ó (Acts 20:28; I Corinthians 1:2, 10:32; Galatians 1:13; I Thessalonians 2:14, etc.). We find in the second chapter of Acts that Peter then became filled with Godís Spirit and delivered such a moving sermon that he was asked by those who fell under its convicting power what they should do to be saved. Straight from the noble heart and mind of Christ, through His Spirit in Peter, came this inspired and eternally-living answer: " . . . 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 Spirit."
We Must Quit Breaking Godís Law!
In all honesty and sincerity, Friends, what do all men need to repent of? What is it that separates us from Our Holy Creator and deprives us of His grace and favor, of His love and precious blessings? Consider now the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah, as found in the 59th chapter, verses 1 and 2: "Behold, the Lordís hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear." When Peter told those listening to him on the Day of Pentecost to repent, and then be baptized for the remission of their sins, he simply meant that they should then and there quit breaking Godís Commandmentís ó and then and there begin to keep them! God defines sin in I John 3:4 with these words: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin [that which separates us from God and which Peter meant all should quit doing] is the transgression of the law." Peter did not mean that we are to repent of having violated our own human conscience (oneís conscience is not a safe guide), or of having broken any man-made rules and regulations ó which often conflict with the Bible. He meant that we should quit violating each and every point of the Ten Commandments ó Godís all-inclusive, eternally-good and eternally-binding Holy Law! See Psalm 19:7-11, 111:7-8, 119:172; Romans 7:12, 14; Isaiah 51:6, etc.
The plain Bible Truth irrefutably remains that we are to become sincerely sorry over our disobedience to Godís will in our lives, as His will is expressed by the Ten Commandments. (Remember Ecclesiastes 12:13). If we will become genuinely repentant for having stolen, lied, profaned Godís Sabbath, committed sexual irregularities, and so forth ó and will quit doing such things ó and if we will accept Christís complete rule over our lives (Matthew 23:8, John 13:13) then God promises He will give us His Holy Spirit. While many honest people realize that God fully expects our complete obedience to His Commandments, they are uncertain and confused as to how it can be done. Often they are misled by the damnable lie circulated by Satanís ministers that it is impossible to literally keep the Commandments. Shall we accuse the Eternal God of requiring humanity to perform the impossible? In Matthew 19:16-17, Christ Himself said the following: "And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life [meaning Eternal Life] keep the Commandments." In the next verse the young man asked Christ which commandments He meant must be kept and Christ then enumerated four of the ten ó more than enough to show any honest and intelligent person that He was emphatically referring to the all-inclusive Ten Commandment Law! Shall we yet say Christ expects the impossible? To do so is to accuse both He and the Father of being greatly unfair.
Paul tells us in Acts 5:32: "And we are His witnesses of these things: and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given [notice now to whom He gives His Spirit!] to them that obey Him." Since no one receives Godís Spirit unless and until they become willing to obey the Commandments, and since we cannot really keep them without His Spirit, then common sense requires that we meet Godís simple terms and conditions. The Commandments comprise an all-inclusive Law of Love. By honestly keeping each and every point we prove our love, first toward God, and then toward our fellow man. It takes, however, the love of God Himself with which to fulfill His Holy Law, Romans 13:10, 5:5. While we cannot say that human nature is totally bad, neither can we contend that it is free from evil. As has been noted by many critical analysts of human nature, we find some good even in the worst of men and some bad even in the best. But, whether the individual happens to be mostly good or one who is mostly bad, the truth remains that all are terribly inferior to God and fall pitifully short of the Holy Characters we are supposed to eventually become, Isaiah 64:6; Psalm 39:5; Romans 3:23.
In reality, as we first enter this world we are actually the enemies of God and become guilty of resisting and trying to frustrate His wonderful purpose in our lives. Referring again to the eighth chapter of Romans, this time to verses 7 and 8, we find Paul said this " . . . the carnal mind [the natural human mind we are all born with] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." When Paul stated here that the natural human mind is not subject to the law of God, he meant it is a mind which sees no necessity in obeying the Commandments, I Corinthians 2:14. It is a mind which naturally rebels at all thought of serving God; a mind which craves unbridled freedom from the will of God and the rule of God, Romans 1:28-32. Therefore, as Paul concluded, such people, with such fleshly minds and such faulty human reasoning ó devoid of Godís Spirit ó cannot please Him. Yes, every person who is unwilling to literally keep each and every point of the Ten Commandments is an enemy of Christ.
Letís Be Sensible!!
The most precious gift God has to offer anyone, besides that of eternal life in the world to come, is oneís receipt now of His Spirit within themselves. He cannot and will not give it to those who are unworthy, to those who would not use it for the one and only purpose for which He is more than willing to give it: to obey His Holy Commandments. In John 4:24 we are told: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth." John did not mean here that those who worship God should do so through the understanding or strength of just human nature. He meant that as God is a Spirit Being, and that as His law is one of a Holy and spiritual nature (remember Romans 7:12, 14) therefore those who worship Him must possess His Holy Spirit and obey only the truth of God, not the precepts of men. Many worship today according to the dictates of human nature and follow that which is not true, Mark 7:7-9; I Timothy 3:5; Romans 10:3; Isaiah 29:13. But to be fully acceptable to God we must be one who actually possesses His own Divine Nature, II Peter 1:4, a nature which hates error and prizes the truth above all the cherished traditions and customs of humanity which are not true.
Christ also tells us how one may receive His Spirit and be able to always know and follow the saving truth of God. Listen now to John 14:15-17: "if ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of Truth . . . ." Always we find that God gives His precious Spirit, His Holy Nature, only to those who will keep His commands. Once we become willing to fully keep His law, once we become willing to let Christ come inside our hearts and minds and live His sinless life inside of us, Revelation 3:20; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:5, then God stands bound to give us His precious Spirit. What are the attributes of His Spirit, attributes with which we were not born? In II Timothy 1:7, Paul says this concerning Godís Spirit: "For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear; but of Power, and of love, and of a sound mind." In Galatians 5:22-23 we are told by Paul what will happen and be produced in the lives of those who possess Godís Holy Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance . . . ." While still disobedient to the Commandments, unwilling to surrender to them and obey them, we do not experience the wonderful love of God in our hearts for all men, even for an enemy, Matthew 5:44. Nor do we have any real peace, any real joy, Isaiah 57:20-21.
Many people realize they are guilty sinners in Godís sight, that they continually do things, or think and say things which are not right and are not good. But, they do not themselves possess the will, the strength, the understanding with which to eliminate it from their lives. So, thousands wear out their bodies in constant vexation, frustration and unhappiness ó either because they do not actually know what to do for escape and relief, or because they willfully refuse to do what God expects ó which would automatically brighten and cheer their days. Without the love of God, the mind of God, Philippians 2:5, the power, strength, understanding, patience and goodness of Godís own nature inside ourselves, we have not the ability to fulfill His eternally good and Holy Law. Without His Spirit we cannot truly understand the Bible, even its simplicities, much less its mysteries, I Corinthians 2:10, 12, 14. More than one scripture emphasizes the indisputable fact that only those who keep the Commandments can really understand Godís Word. Let me remind you here of Psalm 111:10 and what David said there concerning this critical point. Listen: "A good understanding have all they that do His commandments . . . ." Tragedy that it is, those who willfully refuse to obey the Commandments are those who become more and more deceived on every important issue affecting oneís Salvation. They are those described by Paul in II Thessalonians 2:10, 11: "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause [because they reject His Commandments, which are His Truth: Psalm 111:8, etc.] God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."
Yes, if any individual stubbornly persists in refusing to obey the Commandments, God will let them do so. He does not force Himself or His precious Truth on anyone! He will even allow the Devil to completely deceive and overcome such persons, II Corinthians 4:4. But, let it never be said that the Commandments have been abolished, Psalm 119:172, I John 5:17, Isaiah 51:6, that they are not to be kept, Romans 2:13, James 1:22-25, or that it is impossible to keep them, Philippians 4:13! During my ten years in the Church of God I have had my ups and downs, as do all in the body of Christ ó for many are the afflictions of the righteous, II Timothy 3:12, Psalm 34:19. But, the ups have always outnumbered the downs, II Corinthians 4:17, Romans 8:18. Always God has stood with me, Romans 8:35-39, and the deep down peace John 14:27, Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 119:165, happiness, joy, courage and confidence, and understanding He has given me, more than compensates for the temporary difficulties along the way!
Christ said in Matthew 5:17: "Think not [as so many nevertheless do] that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy [to abolish], but to fulfill [to obey]." No, Christ did not come to abolish and remove the law, nor to remove the Old Testament writings, which are called "the prophets," Matthew 7:12, 11:14, 22:40. Instead, He came to personally obey the Fatherís eternal Law and to fervently uphold the inspired writings of the Old Testament. (See Luke 4:16-20, 16:29-31, 24:27; John 5:45-47; Acts 24:14, 26:22-23, 28:23; Romans 15:4, II Timothy 3:15-16.) Even though the great majority of professing Christians are now deceived and are now following the broad way which leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13), the way devised by various carnal-minded church leaders ó even though such misguided people often criticize we who do conscientiously keep the Commandments ó we are not to be disheartened or discouraged, or to quit keeping them. Rather, we should and must always follow Davidís example, and say with him, as we find in Psalm 119:97-98: "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies [Daniel 12:10]: for they [his remembrance of Godís Commands] are ever with me (Psalm 19:14)."
To recapitulate, we cannot be saved unless we keep the Commandments; we cannot actually keep them unless we have Godís Spirit within, and we cannot receive the gift of His Spirit inside ourselves unless we first repent of having violated His Law and become willing to obey it. We must quit lying, stealing, bearing false witness, profaning Godís Holy Sabbath (which is Saturday instead of Sunday!) and so forth. Without the virtue, mind, power, strength, understanding, and faith of Christ within us we cannot conquer the bad in our human nature as we are supposed to do. We cannot overcome our faults and weaknesses and besetting sins. In conclusion, let me repeat these two basic facts: without his Spirit in us we cannot actually keep His commands. And, unless we do actually keep His commandments we shall not be saved. Remember Revelation 22:14: "Blessed are they that do His Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of live [representing His Spirit and Eternal Life], and may enter in through the gates into the city." Bear in mind also Revelation 12:17, 14:12, Romans 2:13, James 1:22, Matthew 19:16-17, etc. Are you willing to obey the Commandments? Is supreme happiness in this life, and eternal life in the world to come, worth the comparatively small effort it takes? Of course it is! Only a fool would choose to refuse meeting the simple terms and conditions God has laid down to be complied with by those desiring the wonderful blessing of His Spirit in their lives! May God help you who read this article to make the right choice!
ó written by Gene C. Carter W