The Church and the Holy Spirit-3

     As we conclude we must note that no one in the New Testament is ever saved by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Even in the case of the Apostle Paul, God used a preacher to teach Saul of Tarsus the gospel and then to baptize him into Christ (see Acts 9, 22, and 26). See also Romans 1:16. An additional important point of emphasis: The idea that the Holy Spirit lives in people today in some sort of supernatural fashion is false. It cannot be demonstrated as possible from Scripture nor can it be demonstrated empirically. Note the parallel in Ephesians 5:17-19 and Colossians 3:16-17.

     By understanding Bible teaching on the Holy Spirit and the church we can be healthier and more productive Christians. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35). Thus He provides for us all the same access into His grace. He would not provide unequal access to any one person or group. Thus He has provided the Bible for all of mankind.
It is up to mankind to examine that Word and take advantage of the blessing of salvation.

     It is up to us as individual Christians to take the saving gospel to the world. It is also up to us as individual Christians to take advantage of the great blessing of being led by the Holy Spirit though the Word of God.

     It is difficult to know what motivates people unless they tell us what motivates them and then I wonder if we can be quite sure. When it comes to the view that the Holy Spirit is at work today in a supernatural or miraculous way the subject of what motivates folks to take that view has the additional element of emotion. When a person feels that what he or she thinks is right and that feeling is countered it is natural for an emotional defensiveness to manifest itself. This places upon the person who holds that the Holy Spirit, indeed, the Father and the Son, do not work in a supernatural way today an additional responsibility.

     We must remember to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). This holds true for teaching about any other set of Biblical doctrines in addition to that of the Holy Spirit. We would not want to grieve the Holy Spirit by being unkind to anyone (Ephesians 4:30-32). Yet we must present the truth because the truth is the only thing that can provide freedom from sin (John 8:32, Romans 1:16, 2 Timothy 4:2-4).

     With this in mind allow me to suggest some of the factors that could be involved in motivating people to take the view that God is working miraculously today. One is the desire to make the Christian faith a more material thing. As we can see from Ephesians 4:11-16 and 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 the miraculous work of God in the first century was designed to bring people toward a higher developed spirituality. The miracles were there in the child phase of that development. They would cease when it was possible to grow up with the aid of the completed New Testament. When they had the Word they would no longer need the miracles which were given for the revelation and confirmation of that Word. The truly spiritual person knows he has no need of the supernatural.

     Second, and closely related to the first, is the desire to be special. Corinth had this problem. One gift was elevated over others (1 Corinthians 12-14), so one person was elevated over others. God will have none of that, not then and not now. Paul told us not to think more highly of ourselves than we should (Romans 12:3).

     Last there is the condition my mother called “being too big for your britches.” Man likes to intrude into God’s territory. We want to think we can know things we cannot know. We should remember Isaiah 55:8-9. Our walk in this life is a walk of faith (1 John 1:5-10). We glorify God for all that He has done, does, and will do. But we attempt to know the unknown about Him at serious risk to our faith.