The Church and the Holy Spirit-2

The Church and the Holy Spirit-2

     The Bible also teaches that the Holy Spirit was involved with the establishment of the early church. Note this progression: Jesus told His followers that God would provide guidance for the establishment of the church (Matthew 10:19-20). This would continue to take place until the revelation of the message of salvation was complete (1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 13:10-13). We know that the Holy Spirit came on the Apostles in a special way (Acts 1-2) as well as on the household of Cornelius (Acts 10). He came to that home in order to show Peter and other Jews that the Gentiles were acceptable before God.

     The Apostles could confer miraculous “gifts” on others by the laying on of their hands (1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6). The events recorded in Acts 8 indicate that others, even if inspired themselves, could not do this. These gifts are very unlike the “claimed” gifts of today. There is no Biblical warrant for the sort of emotional outbreaks we often see when a person claims to have a miraculous manifestation of God.

     The age of supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit were limited to the days of the Apostles. These gifts caused confusion in Corinth then, so much so that Paul wrote a large portion of his first letter to the Corinthians to help end their confusion (see 1 Corinthians chapters10-14). These people had come to hold a materialistic view of the significance of the miraculous gifts they had been given. They had even developed the idea that to be able to speak in languages they had not learned was superior to other gifts.

A key passage in this matter is 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. At the time Paul wrote the record of the New Testament was not complete, but would be soon, as he said in Ephesians 4:11-13. Jude, who wrote later, spoke of a final product in terms of revelation of matters of faith in Jude 3. We now have the completed Word of God, which is our guide in all matters of faith and practice. This taught clearly in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, and 2 Peter 3:16. We therefore must not expect further revelation. The Holy Spirit has provided what we need in the Bible.

     The question of interest to many people is this: “What is the Holy Spirit doing today?” Does He have an active role in the church? He certainly does. But His activity is, as is the case with the Father and the Son in our time, spiritual and not material.
The Bible teaches that He intercedes (Romans 8:26-27). This is not the intercession Christ provided once for all (Hebrews 9:27) but specifically as Paul described in Romans 8. We realize that sometimes we just don’t know what to pray for. There are times when we must simply place our concerns before the Lord and trust Him to deal with them (Philippians 4:4-6). The Holy Spirit is active in this.

He dwells in the church and the Christian. To dwell is to live. Of this there is no doubt. People disagree as to the method by which God indwells the Christian. We must remain humble about this (Isaiah 55:8). 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 teaches that the Holy Spirit dwells in the church. This is obviously not a reference to the church building but for the called out ones who make up the body of Christ. He also dwells in the Christian. Note these passages: 1 Corinthians 6:19, Acts 5:32, Ephesians 3:16-17, and Galatians 4:6.

     As to the matter of how the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian, the Bible teaches that this is a matter of faith. We do not know about it physically. That is, our carnal senses do not reveal His presence within us. We know it is so because of the teaching of Scripture. We walk by faith not be sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). A hero of mine was Hugo McCord. I appreciated his scholarship and humility. He held the view we usually call “the personal indwelling” view. But he often said that he would not know a single thing about the Holy Spirit had it not been revealed in the Bible.

My own view is that the Holy Spirit lives in the Christian through the influence of the Word of God. This is sometimes called the “representative” indwelling view. I too would not know a thing about this except for the teaching of the Bible. I remember the fast friendship that existed between Hugo McCord and Franklin Camp. Their views on the Holy Spirit were by no means identical but they did both hold that the age of miracles ceased with the finalization of the revelation and confirmation of the Bible as the Word of God.