Definition and Description.
Spirituality, or the filling of the Holy Spirit, links salvation to Christian maturity. To move from salvation to maturity requires the filling of the Holy Spirit and the consistent intake of Bible truth.
At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit permanently indwells the body of the believer. At the same time the new believer receives the filling of the Holy Spirit, but this is not permanent! Because the body contains a sin nature, the Holy Spirit indwells the body to be in place to help the believer in conflicts within the soul. The spiritual battlefield is the soul, and victory over the power of sin begins with the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit.
We are always indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We are not always filled with the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit means God the Holy Spirit controls the soul; and He does not control when we sin (grieve Him) or perform human good or evil (quench Him). When we confess our sins (1 John 1:9), God forgives the sins and “cleanses” us; and the Holy Spirit is in control again and able to carryout His work.
The following passages of Scripture describe various synonyms for the filling of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. Note that the Christian must be positive to this teaching and decide to follow the Lord’s direction if there is to be any benefit derived from the Spirit’s control.
- Walking in the Spirit, Gal. 5:16.
- Walking in the light, 1 John 1:7
- Imitating Christ, Eph. 5:1.
- Epistles of Christ ministered by the Spirit, 2 Cor. 3:3.
- Partakers of the divine nature, 2 Pet. 1:4.
- Being filled with the Spirit, Eph. 5:18.
The believer starts the Christian way of life with the Holy Spirit controlling the soul. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit simultaneously at the point of salvation. As soon as we sin, we take over control of our own soul. When we confess sin, the Holy Spirit again controls the soul.
Prov. 1:22, 23; “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.”
Carnality is loss of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Carnality is aggravated, and sins multiply, when a believer continually neglects confess sin. Confession of sin provides recovery and a renewal of the control of the Holy spirit.
Since the filling of the Holy Spirit is functional, it is the means of executing the objectives of the Christian way of life. Anything you do in the energy of the flesh is not the Christian way of life.
Ministries of the Holy Spirit.
Rightly dividing the word of truth demands cognizance of the distinction between the pre-salvation, salvation, and post-salvation ministries of the Holy Spirit.
The pre-salvation ministries of the Holy Spirit are common and efficacious grace.
The salvation ministries of the Holy Spirit are regeneration, baptism of the Holy Spirit, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, sealing, and the bestowment of a spiritual gift.
Additional Topics to Study
- The Indwelling Holy Spirit
- The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
- Spiritual Gifts
- Baptism of the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit’s Salvation Ministry
- The Holy Spirit’s Sustaining Ministry
An additional post-salvation ministry for the church age believer is the filling of the Holy Spirit, a special ministry which gives experiential support. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, He teaches us doctrine, provides guidance, provides divine power to execute the plan of God, and is the means of the application of Bible doctrine to your current circumstances.
Commands Related to Spirituality.
Eph. 5:18, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
This is the present passive imperative of PLEROO, which means “to be filled”. The iterative present is for an action that recurs at successive intervals.
Gal. 5:16, “Walk by means of the Spirit.”
This is a present tense for an action which is purposed but not taking place.
The positive side clarifies the difference between the means and result in spirituality. In spirituality, the Holy Spirit is the grace provision, Acts 1:8
The means is confession of sin. The result is the filling of the Spirit and the function of the Christian way of life.
Eph. 4:30, “Stop grieving the Holy Spirit, the God by whom you have been sealed for the day of redemption.”
“Stop grieving” is the present active imperative of the Greek verb LUREO. Grieving the Spirit is carnality.
This is a command to stop sinning and to stop living without confessing sin. This command emphasizes the fact that spirituality and carnality are mutually exclusive; 1 John 1:6-7; 1 John 2:10-11.
The command to not participate in human good or evil is found in 1 Thess. 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
The positive and negative commands emphasize imitation as the issue in the spiritual life. We either imitate God or people, Eph. 5:1.
- Believers filled with the Holy Spirit imitate God, Gal. 5:22-23.
- Carnal believers imitate unbelievers, 1 Cor. 3:3; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 John 1:6.
The filling of the Holy Spirit is related to spirituality, growth, and victory over the sovereignty of the old sin nature, 2 Peter 1:2-5.
The application of doctrine, after the filling of the Holy Spirit, supplies your integrity; and your integrity supplies knowledge for growth and passing tests.
Since spirituality is the way of life for the believer as a priest, it is not subject to the Mosaic Law, Rom. 8:2-4.
Rom. 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
The Law demands perfect righteousness; believing in Christ satisfies the requirement of the Mosaic Law.
Gal. 5:18, “If you are led by the Spirit you are not under the Law.”
The Results of the Filling of the Holy Spirit.
- Christ is magnified in the inner life of the believer, 2 Cor. 3:3; Eph. 3:16-17; Phil. 1:20-21.
- The filling of the Holy Spirit is the basis for understanding, believing, and applying Bible truth, John 14:26; 16:12-14; 1 Cor. 2:9-16; 1 John 2:27.
- The believer is guided by God only while filled with the Holy Spirit, Rom. 8:14-16.
- The filling of the Holy spirit is the true function of worship for Christians, John 4:24; Phil. 3:3.
- The filling of the Holy Spirit provides effectiveness in the believer’s production; e.g., in witnessing, Acts 1:8; in prayer, Eph. 6:18.
- The filling of the Spirit is the glorification of Christ in the human body, John 7:39 cf John 16:14; 1 Cor. 6:19-20.
- The filling of the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to imitate God: Eph. 5:1; Gal. 4:19 cf Gal. 5:22.
- The Importance of the Power of the Spirit, 1 Kings 19:1-18.
Zech. 4:6, “`Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.”
In the church age, a believer represents the absent Christ, who is now at the right hand of the Father. Therefore, the purpose of the filling of the Holy Spirit during the church age is related to the fact that Christ is absent.
So, the purpose of the filling of the Holy Spirit during the church age is different than the purpose of the filling of the Holy Spirit during the Millennium when Christ is on the earth.
The function of the filling of the Holy Spirit during the church age is to provide the ability to learn doctrine and to apply doctrine as the fulfillment of the Christian way of life. In this way, the church age believer fulfills his ambassadorship, representing Christ who is now at the right hand of the Father. We need special power to do this, and the divine power of the Holy Spirit is the basis on which we operate.
Emotion is not our energy. We all have emotion as part of our capacity for life, but emotion is not the filling of the Holy Spirit or the fuel for the Christian way of life. The filling of the Holy Spirit is never emotional in the church age.
Believers in the Millennium are said to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit, Ezek. 36:27, 37:14; Jer. 31:33. Believers in the Millennium are also filled with the Holy Spirit, Isa. 29:19 – does not appear to apply to the Millennium period, Isa. 32:15, 44:3; Ezek. 39:29; Zech. 12:10.
Oil is used as an analogy to the filling of the Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:20, 21.
By way of this analogy, the filling of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to assemble with other believers in a local church, where no two are in the same stage of spiritual growth. (Oil reduces friction!)
Certain people will be obnoxious to you; but the filling of the Holy Spirit protects you from getting your eyes on people, and He gives you understanding and toleration of others.
Oil in the ancient world was used for healing as a medicine. The filling of the Holy Spirit produces an understanding of others and a tenderness toward others as you realize they have problems also. Consequently, a breach is healed before there is any further difficulty. The filling of the Holy Spirit also heals your bitterness, anxieties, and fear as you grow with doctrine.
Oil is used for light. This refers to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in illuminating the Word of God.
Bibliography (principal sources):
Braun, Ralph, “Categorical Notebooks”
Chafer, Lewis Sperry, “Systematic Theology”
Strong, A. H., “Systematic Theology”
Thieme, R. B. Jr., taped sermons and printed materials.