What the Bible says about anger, ours and God’s. How to deal with sinful anger.

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Everybody gets angry. We know that we all have sin natures that have areas of strength and weakness. You may be strong where I am weak, and vice versa. So it may be that you would never think of committing a particular sin where I might be having a great deal of trouble.

But, in one way or another everyone has problems with anger. Sometimes the anger is a quiet, seething resentment or indignation at some large or small offense, real or imagined. Sometimes anger explodes into a rage that can turn into retaliation, violence or murder.

When we are angry we hurt people, usually those who are closest to us. An angry person is his own worst enemy, as we shall see in this topical study.

Christians can have victory over the sin of anger! This study is written to lay out what the Bible says about anger and to answer questions like the following:

  • What is the difference between sinful anger and righteous indignation?
  • Does God get angry?
  • What causes me to get angry and what can I do about it?
  • How can I have victory over the sin of anger?

Definition

The Bible describes many types of anger as sin like sins of mental attitude. As a sin, anger expresses antagonism, exasperation, indignation, resentment and outrage. Anger often produces an emotional feeling, but the feeling is not the anger. The thought pattern which produced the feeling is the sinful anger.

In the Bible, the type of anger which is not sinful is more properly called righteous indignation.

The Bible uses two Greek words for anger: orge, referring to mental anger and thumos, for mental anger. It is possible, but not common, to have mental anger without an emotional response. In Eph. 4:31, both types of anger are related to bitterness.

Anger is a sin which promotes sins against other people, such as gossip, self-righteous judging, maligning and complaining.

Anger and righteous indignation are mental reactions to events or circumstances. If the mental reaction is unjustifiable then it becomes an emotional reaction such as irritation or exasperation and may lead to irrationality.

If a reaction is justifiable, it is never irrational. An example would be righteous indignation regarding false doctrine or heresy.

Righteous Indignation

Righteous indignation is not sinful anger. It is a clear understanding of a bad situation because you have a clear understanding from the Bible of what God thinks about it. Therefore, there is no reaction which leads to anger and sin.

In Mark 10:14, Jesus became opposed to the disciples when they forbade the children to be brought unto Him. This was not anger, it was an understanding of a wrong.

Jesus expressed righteous indignation in Matt. 23:13-36 when he condemned the scribes and Pharisees. He wasn’t angry when He told Peter “Get behind me, Satan, you are a stumbling block to me. You have not concentrated on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 16:23)

Another example of righteous indignation is a Christian’s mental attitude toward criminal activity. You can pursue, prosecute and sentence a criminal without compromising such principles as grace, forgiveness or impersonal love. You are aware that the criminal’s act is wrong and that he must be stopped. That is righteous indignation. But you do not hate the criminal or fall apart emotionally because of sinful anger. Impersonal love is a result of Christian growth and allows believers to have a regard for even the most obnoxious people that does not depend on their character or behavior.

It is righteous indignation that allows God to be angry about sin but to love us anyway. His love for us depends on His character, not on ours.

Characteristics of Sinful Anger

Anger is sin from the sin nature.

Gal. 5:19-21, “Now the deeds of the flesh [sin nature] are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these…”

Anger is related to foolishness.

Eccl. 7:9, “Do not be quick to be angry in your heart, for anger resides in the bosom of fools.”

The Bible defines a fool as a person without divine wisdom. He may be a genius, but his thinking is from human viewpoint. He thinks and acts apart from God’s standards and controls. The paramount fool and the beginning of foolishness is the person who has “said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

Look at Romans 1:18-32 for a detailed description of the results of deliberately turning away from God. A fool is on a rapid downward slide towards destruction, both in this life and the one to come. In the list of terrible sins which characterize the ungodly are several which are either causes or results of anger.

Anger is associated with grieving the Holy Spirit.

Eph. 4:30-32, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Notice the contrast here between conditions of anger and the results of impersonal love.

Anger is a violation of the Christian’s code of conduct as a member of the body of Christ.

Col. 3:8, 9, “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices”

Anger hinders effective prayer.

1 Tim. 2:8, “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.”

Anger is always accompanied by other sins.

Prov. 29:22, “An angry person stirs up strife and a hot tempered person abounds in transgression.”

Anger promotes the sins of gossip, self righteous judging, maligning, revenge, complaining, bitterness and many others.

Heb. 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and by it many be defiled.”

Anger makes a person his own worst enemy; he brings misery upon himself.

Prov. 22:8, “He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, And the rod of his fury will perish.”

The unhappiness comes from many sources: failure to be occupied with Christ, failure to maintain a relaxed mental attitude, failure to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, thus, failure to grow in Christ. Lack of growth means lack of joy, lack of love and lack of divine viewpoint.

Anger promotes jealousy and cruelty. Prov. 27:4.

Anger causes misery for loved ones, friends and people around you. Anger destroys a nation. Prov. 21:19; 22:24; 24:25; 29:22.

Amos 1:11, “Thus says the Lord,”For three transgressions of Edom and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, While he stifled his compassion; His anger also tore continually, And he maintained his fury forever.”

Other Bible Teaching on Anger

Eph. 4:26 says, “Be ye angry, and sin not . . .” or “Although you may have become angry, stop sinning.”

This verse is quoted from Psalm 4:4, which is about David’s righteous indignation at the revolt of his son Absalom. He is resisting the temptation to become angry. “Tremble with anger, yet do not sin.” (Psalm 4:4) He was tempted to become angry at Absalom because Absalom had used his position to start a revolution against his father. He did not become angry, he trusted the Lord. This is also called occupation of your mind with Christ. He asked the army to spare Absalom. (2 Sam. 18:5)

It is possible to respond to unfairness or offense without sin. A person may sin against you, yet you can remain without sin. You can put the matter in the Lord’s hands, stay in fellowship and maintain a relaxed mental attitude. Furthermore, because you stay in fellowship, you are in the best position to be of service in the situation. You can forgive the other person and be open to any reconciliation he might offer. You will at least do your part to keep lines of communication open.

The Bible continually emphasizes righteousness maintained in the face of unfair treatment.

You cannot build your happiness on someone else’s misery. This is what retaliation tries to do. But you will never obtain happiness through revenge or by straightening out the other person. To punish someone else using verbal sins or violence is a revenge operation; worse yet, it obstructs divine judgment and discipline. “Judge not, that you be not judged.” from Matthew 7:1 is intended to warn us to let the Lord handle matters of sins against Himself. The angry person who arrogates to himself the position of judge is in a position of compounded divine discipline himself, worse off than the one who originally caused the trouble.

The Anger of the Lord

The Lord is said to have anger, or to be angry, in several places in the Bible. The word anger is used as an anthropopathism, a word or phrase that ascribes human characteristics or feelings to God, who is not human. God never reacts emotionally. He is never surprised, shocked or outraged. But He does have an attitude of wrath or anger against some things.

The phrase the anger of the Lord is used in the following passages:

Num. 25:4; 32:14; Deut. 29:20; Judg. 2:14, 20; 3:8; 10:7; 2 Kings 24:20; Jer. 4:8; 30:24; 51:45; 52:3; Zeph. 2:2, 3; Psalm 2:5.

The phrase the wrath of God is used in the following:

Psalm 78:31; John 3:36; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; Rev. 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1; 19:15.

Victory Over the Sin of Anger

Recognize the sin of anger and confess to the Lord when you become angry. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. This will help you maintain your walk with the Lord and be controlled or filled by the Holy Spirit.

Continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is an important part of grace being used by a believer. The more you are oriented to God’s plan of grace, the more adept you will be at using the assets He provides.

Practice trusting God or using faith. God says, “Cast your care on Me, because I care for you.” (I Peter 5:7) When you are in bad situations, tell the Lord about it and let Him handle it.

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Authority, God’s Chain of Command

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Introduction

Authority is defined as the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior. Persons in command.

The most important earthly influence in a person’s life is that which comes from his relationship with his parents. The newborn child enters life completely dependent upon, and completely subservient to, an all powerful authority, his mother and father. As a child grows, he adjusts continuously in his responses to that parental authority, for better or for worse depending on the training he receives. He also gradually becomes aware of other influences of authority in society; those of his schools, of the various levels of government and law enforcement, of the people for whom he works, of his church, and of the authority of God Himself.

As an adult, a person often has two roles simultaneously. He is not only subject to authority of various kinds all of his lifetime, but he may also himself be in a position of power and influence over others, perhaps as parent, military officer, executive, or judge. A person’s ability to respond properly to authority, and his ability to exercise authority, depend on his orientation to divine principles of authority categorized in the Bible. As least three things are necessary to the proper response to authority. They are:

  • Careful training by parents in correct standards of submission to authority
  • A consistent daily walk with the Lord
  • An ever growing categorical knowledge of Biblical principles of authority accompanied by personal acceptance of the teaching leading to personal application in the life.

When any of these factors is missing, a person will accept non Biblical, humanistic principles of leadership, or the response to leadership, with the usually bad results that derive from a poor understanding of scriptural standards.

This paper explores the subject of authority in several ways. First we examine the source of all spiritual and temporal authority, God the creator. The Bible is the textbook for the study. God has delegated authority to His Son, Jesus Christ, who, in turn, has passed certain leadership responsibilities to human beings, the apostles. The apostles retained this mantle of authority as they were given the divine enabling to write the word of God for believers to read and understand.

The next consideration in this discussion is the Biblical teaching on a variety of types of authority, including parental, governmental, and ecclesiastical authority. Finally, the paper will describe some ways in which children and young people can be trained in Biblical principles of authority and in the proper responses to and uses of leadership. There will be a few paragraphs in the final section about chain of command which is intended to show believers the mechanics of a proper relationship to both divine and human authority.

The Source of Authority in Christianity

In all Christian activity some form of authority is exercised, either the authority of one individual over others, or the authority of an organization over individuals. The administration of leadership takes on so many varied forms that believers often become confused as to what constitutes legitimate Biblical authority. Some Christians in positions of leadership exercise Biblical principles of authority, others use human standards mixed with divine principles. Any Christian leader who is not well versed in the Biblical doctrines relating to authority is likely to use a combination of proper and improper authority.

All correct authority in Christian activity must derive from the Christian system itself: that is, a Christian leader must find his credentials of leadership in the word of God. Authority is of two kinds, primary and delegated authority.

Primary authority grows out of the relationship of those who have the right to command and those whose duty it is to obey. The basis of all primary authority in Christianity is the person of God. We are His; He made us. We are the creatures of His hand and the product of His intelligence. He is our maker, preserver and benefactor. He, therefore, has the absolute right to command; and it is our absolute duty to obey Him. God has seen fit only occasionally to govern man by His personal and primary authority. He usually delegates authority to others. He rules by His representatives.

Delegated authority is a right to command and enforce obedience which can be given to another by the party holding primary authority.

God’s Primary Authority Was Delegated to the Lord Jesus Christ

The first delegation of authority in Christianity was from God the Father to God the Son. Hebrews 1:1-2a, “God, who gave to our forefathers many different glimpses of the truth in the words of the prophets, has now, at the end of the present age, given us the truth in the Son.” Jesus said, “The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s Who sent me.” (John 12:49) “No man knows who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” (John 14:6) Jesus closes His ministry on earth, and leads off His great commission to the apostles with the statement, “All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)

The Son stands nearest the Father in delegated authority. He is the “brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person.” (Hebrews 1:3) “It has pleased the Father than in Him should all fullness dwell.” (Colossians 1:19) When the Father acknowledged Christ after His baptism, He said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Christ was not only the delegate of God on earth, he is also the “image of the invisible God,” (Colossians 1:15) and He said to His doubting disciples, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

There are several important inferences to be drawn from the concept of the authority of Jesus Christ. First, Jesus Christ is a manifestation of the power of God. Whether His power is seen in the material world or in the spiritual, our attention is arrested and our interest is challenged. God’s power is part of life itself. It is the agency through which God’s mind controls matter. It is the hand by which God’s purpose takes form in the world.

There is a difference between power and force. Force startles and frightens us. Power, when directed by intelligent love, is always pleasing to us. There is force in a lightning bolt. It shatters the sky, can kill living beings, cleaves a tree in half, or burns a building to the ground. There is power when an intelligent mind uses electricity to drive a train or light a city. Jesus Christ, who is God himself, is a manifestation of the power of God, not of the force of God.

Authority Passes to the Apostles

The Transfer of Authority to the Apostles

As long as Jesus was on earth, He talked with men face to face. Men were directly under His command, and could claim His promises directly. But He has passed away from earth and does not rule anymore by His own direct authority. Just as the Father delegated His authority to the Son, so Jesus delegated His authority to the apostles.

In John 17 are the following statements:

  • God gave the Son power over all flesh.
  • This power was given that He might bestow eternal life on all men.
  • Eternal life is bestowed through the knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
  • God gave the Son certain men out of the world, that He might teach them all that God had given him.
  • All men should believe on Christ through the word of the disciples.

In the transfer of authority from God the Father to the Son there was no danger of error or mistake. The Son, being divine, could receive without misunderstanding all that the Father communicated. But the apostles were human with all the weaknesses and imperfections of their humanity. There was danger, therefore, that they might not correctly understand or apprehend the communication which Christ made to them.

It became necessary, therefore, for some power or influence to be exerted on their minds to preserve them from error either in taking in or in giving out the lessons which they received. Therefore, Christ promised them the Holy Spirit, who was to guide them into all truth in the conveying of the gospel to the world.

1 Cor. 2:9-13, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. Now, we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but in words which the Holy Spirit teaches.

The Apostles’ Use of Delegated Authority

The Spirit guided apostles are the representatives of God on earth for the purpose of making known His will to the sons of men. Their teaching is Christ’s teaching. Their authority is the authority of the Lord. “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” (John 20:21) So, when the apostles completed the revelation of the will of God in Jesus Christ, that revelation became the perfect law of liberty to which nothing could rightfully be added or taken away.

Anyone who teaches men to disobey the plain commandments of the apostles cannot be guided by the same Holy Spirit that inspired them to proclaim these commandments. The same Holy Spirit which led an apostle to proclaim truth will not lead anyone else to ignore or to disobey that truth.

Any attempt to add to, or subtract from, the words of the apostles, or to substitute other teaching in the place of their teaching, is not of God. Satan had no opportunity to corrupt the truth as it proceeded from the Father to the Son, or from the Son to the apostles. But his opportunity arrived when the apostles began proclaiming the gospel to mankind as they preached. “Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12)

The Apostles’ Exercise of Judgment

The apostles are administering the authority of God even today, through the written word of God which they wrote under divine inspiration. They began administering that authority on the Day of Pentecost. Their first judgment was, “These men are not drunk as you suppose, but this is that spoken of by the prophet Joel…” (Acts 2:15-16) The world’s judgment, that “these men are full of new wine”, was wrong; the apostles’ judgment was correct.

The apostles’ second judgment was, “This same Jesus whom ye have taken with wicked hand and slain, God has raised up and made both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:23-24) Their third judgment was concerning convicted sinners, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto remission of sins.” (Acts 2:38)

Thus, in all their sermons and writings they delivered judgments for spiritual Israel which stand as authoritative today as when first delivered. There is nothing that is essential to the well being of Christian believers that has not been a subject for the apostles’ judgment. They are ambassadors of Christ. God acted through them and they represent Christ. “As though God did beseech you by us, we pray in Christ’s place, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20)

Practical Considerations Related to Apostolic Authority

In Dr. G. A. Jacob’s book, Ecclesiastical Polity of the New Testament, there are quotations worth repeating. This book is worth thoughtful reading, and it shows the trend among some modern Christian thinkers to get back to the principles of the apostles. From the book:

The church of the apostolic period is the only church in which there is found an authority justly claiming the acknowledgment of Christian bodies in other times. Such authority is found in this church, not because it possessed a truer catholicity, or a purer constitution, or a more primitive antiquity than belong to succeeding ages, for neither antiquity, purity of form, or catholicity confers any right to govern or command; but because it was under the immediate rule and guidance of the apostles. It is their infallible judgment alone, as exhibited in this church, which has a legitimate claim to our submission. Of the church of no other period can the same be said, because the apostles had no successors to their office. They stand alone as the divinely inspired teachers, legislators, and rulers in Christ’s church and kingdom. They stand alone as men appointed and commissioned by Christ Himself, and not by man.

I appeal, therefore, from the Nicene Fathers to the apostles of Christ; from patristic literature to the New Testament; from ecclesiastical authority and practice of post apostolic centuries to the primitive church of the apostolic age. To go back to that time, and to endeavor, as far as possible, to reproduce the church of the New Testament, is most needful for us now, if we would preserve a faithful and distinct knowledge of Christian truth among our people. By realizing, as far as we may, the ideal of that church in our own community, we shall best maintain its liberty and purity, and we shall best meet the peculiar dangers of the present time and prepare for the future.

From the Apostles to Us – Lines of Authority

In the previous section, the transmission of divine authority to human beings is marked out in three phases: (1) God delegated all authority on earth to the Son, Jesus Christ; (2) the Son delegated teaching authority to the apostles; and (3) the apostles wrote authoritatively concerning the uses of and submission to authority on the part of believers of the church age.

Thus, every standard for the administration of authority over human beings by other people is derived from the teachings of the apostles as recorded in the Bible. The apostles wrote with the delegated power of God and were divinely inspired and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, we are obliged to give absolute obedience to instructions from the Bible.

Three types of delegated authority are described in this section: (1) authority in human society; (2) ecclesiastical (local church) authority; and (3) parental authority. By careful study of the scripture passages related to these topics, a believer should be able to gain a great deal of discernment into the problems of proper response to authority.

Authority in Human Society

The teachings of the Bible indicate that established civil authority is to be obeyed explicitly except where such obedience would cause the believer to deviate from direct Bible teaching. That is to say, God does not delegate any authority that would allow someone to overrule His expressed commands or to compromise a divine principle. The statement of Christ, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21) bears out this principle.

Bible References to Specific Types of Authority

  • The authority of the rulers of federal, state, and local government: Rom. 12; 1 Tim. 2.
  • The authority of a judge on the bench: 1 Cor. 6:1-8.
  • The authority of a business owner or executive: Col. 3; Eph. 5; 1 Tim. 6.
  • The authority of an athletic coach: 1 Cor. 9:24-27.
  • The authority of the military chain of command: Matt. 8:8-10.

See the following passages also for references to the concept of authority in many areas of human society:

Matt. 22:19-21; 17:25‑27

1 Pet. 2:13-18

1 Cor. 7:21-24

Eph. 6:5-9

1 Tim. 6:1, 2

Deut. 17:12, 13

Rom. 13:1-7.

Christian Life Principles Related to Authority

Submission to authority means doing the unpleasant thing as well as the pleasant. Therefore, there is a need for self discipline. Gal. 5:23 and 2 Thess. 3:8-15 point out that self control is a result of Christian growth. The entire book of Proverbs deals extensively with this issue. The believer can expect that as he grows in Christ his desire to be submissive to the Lord will grow, as will his ability to be a faithful servant.

A correct understanding of the concept of authority will cause a believer to gain respect for the privacy of others. He will learn that certain aspects of other people’s lives do not fall under his jurisdiction. So he will be much less inclined to invade privacy, judge, malign, gossip, etc .

The correct use of Biblical principles of authority also develops in the believer a respect for other people’s personal property. There are many passages in the Bible about stealing, covetousness, and the protection of property. Spiritual growth involves an acceptance of these principles as the believer better understands authority.

Respect for the rights of others to function in their own place under God’s plan is a basic principle of authority. Other people have the right to make decisions without interference. Mature believers do not judge others, to not bully others into conforming, do not attempt to exercise authority which has not been delegated to them. “…to his own master he stands or falls…” (Romans 14:4)

Ecclesiastical Authority

Scripture references to local church authority are found in Titus 1:5-16; 2:15–3:2; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Matt. 16:16-19; 18:18, 19.

Spiritual leaders are not elected, hired or appointed. They emerge. As the child of God experiences the development of his spiritual gifts, these gifts are recognized by others in the body of Christ. He will be given a place in which to exercise his gifts.

In Acts 6:1-7, for example, it can be seen that the first deacons were recognized as spiritually minded and filled with the Holy Spirit. These attributes of personal character, the results of years of growth as believers, were evident in these men’s lives. They emerged as leaders. The vote taken was merely an agreement that the majority of the local body recognized the mature lives of these men. There may have been others who coveted places of leadership. But such others were not recognized. The chosen deacons were selected to serve, not to be served. Nevertheless, in serving they did great works.

In becoming part of a local church, a Christian tacitly approves of the leadership structure of that church. By remaining with that congregation, he signifies that he accepts the pastoral teaching authority and the leadership of others in authority. The Bible commands submission to local church authority.

1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.

To submit means to recognize the chain of command and to refrain from undermining that authority. This is a command to all believers; and nearly all trouble in local churches comes from the violation of this principle. The troublemakers in a church are those who undermine authority by criticism, by conspiracies or by other methods. It is the duty of the pastor teacher to guard against this and to nip it in the bud. The early Christians willingly placed themselves under the leadership of the pastor and deacons because they were known to be ordained of God and that one could profit from their guidance and leadership.

Parental Authority – Chain of Command

Case Study No. 1

A twenty-one year old girl returned home with an engagement ring and her boy friend in tow. After meeting and conversing with the young man, the parents told their daughter in private that they did not approve of her marrying this person at this time and that she should wait for a year or two. They stated their belief the marriage will not work and this fellow is not for you. The daughter argued that she felt that the Lord had brought they two of them together and that since they were both Christians it would be all right to marry right away.

What would be the correct answer in counseling with this young woman? Should she:

  1. Go ahead with her marriage plans if she thinks it is the Lord’s will for her, or
  2. Follow her parents’ wishes and wait until they give approval?

Case Study No. 2

An eighteen year old Christian young man announced to his unsaved father that the Lord had called him into the ministry and that he was thinking of going to Bible school to prepare for the pastorate. The father was strictly against such a move, and he advised his son to enter university instead, to prepare for a vocation. He told his son that he should have a profession to fall back on in case he should fail in the ministry. He wanted his son to get his college degree first; then, if he still wanted to be a pastor, he could pursue that career.

What advice should be given to the son in this case? Should he:

  1. Follow his father’s wishes and enter the university, or
  2. Follow his own desires and go to bible school?

Case Study No. 3

A teenage girl wanted to attend a certain Bible teaching church, but her mother refused to allow this. So the girl began to attend secretly as often as she could. Her mother found out and was very angry. She told her daughter that she should be at home attending to her chores around the house instead of spending so much time with those kids.

Should the teenage girl:

  1. Continue to attend Bible sessions secretly in order to get good teaching, or
  2. obey her mother’s wishes?

The answer in all three cases above is: respect the parent’s wishes! The following section describes the reasons for this answer.

The Biblical Basis for a Child’s Absolute Submission

The following commands from scripture indicate the extent to which God has committed Himself to working with children through their parents. Notice the spiritual condition and personality of the parent are not listed as conditions to obedience of these commands.

Eph. 6:1-3, “The right thing for you to do is to obey your parents as those whom the Lord has set over you. Honor your father and mother … that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Col. 3:20, “Obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”

Prov. 6:20-23, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother; bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou wakest, it shall talk with thee; for the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; the reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”

The Focus of Response is the Lord, not the Parent

Part of God’s purpose for placing parents in authority is to teach obedience to Himself. God is able to accomplish His purposes in our lives through those He places in authority over us, regardless of whether they are good leaders.

The Lord has beautiful and significant plans for those who love and respect Him (Mal. 3:16, 17). We will be His jewels; we will be treated as the sons of God. When a young person reacts against the tools of authority that God has place in his life, he is reacting against God Himself. Severe warnings are given in the Bible about this.

Prov. 30:17, “The eye that mocketh at his father and despises to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

Heb. 12:5-6, “. . . My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art reproved of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Essential Insights in Identifying God as the Source of Authority

In order to properly identify the hand of God in the authority which is exercised over us, several insights are necessary.

We must learn to differentiate between position and personality. One of the first objections to obeying authority is, “I can not respect the one I am supposed to obey.” But it is possible to respect a person’s position of authority while at the same time being aware of character deficiencies which need correction.

A teenager might way, “Why should I listen to my parents? They tell me not to do certain things, but they go out and do the same things themselves!” But this young person fails to distinguish between his parents’ position and their character. The young man would be quick to see the error of his line of reasoning if his friend stated, “They other day I got stopped for speeding, but the policeman has such a bad personality that I tore up the ticket.”

Some say, “My parents do not even try to understand me, so why should I listen to them?” Here again, there is a failure to distinguish between position and personality. It is more important that the young person understand what God is trying to accomplish than that his parents understand him. God knows that those He places in authority will have character deficiencies? But He is able to work in spite of these deficiencies.

Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee; . . .

Prov. 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

See also 1 Peter 2:18-20.

God can develop mature attitudes through His use of authority. He can use those who are the hardest to get along with to motivate us to develop mature attitudes. In each of the three case studies which are described above, the parent in authority detected an immature attitude on the part of the young person.

In Case Study No. 1, the marriage was disapproved because the parents detected underlying attitudes in both their daughter and her fiancé which would have made them incompatible in marriage. Each has a negative attitude of self will. Each expected to be the center of the stage. Neither had learned submission to authority. They had no concept of deference to one another or regard for the wishes of the other. Proper attitudes could be learned by the young people, if they would follow the advice to wait.

In Case Study No. 2, the father detected in his son attitudes of ungratefulness, stubbornness and insensitivity to the feelings of others. Even though he was not a believer, the father realized that these attitudes would cause his son to fail in the ministry. The fact that his father had some apprehension of his son’s failure in the ministry should have been a significant warning to the son that he might be wrong.

In Case Study No. 3, the teenaged girl, by responding properly to her mother would allow her mother to see that her old attitudes had changed as a result of attending the church, and she would be advancing the most powerful argument for her mother to allow her to continue attending the church.

God’s concern is that our attitudes become consistent with those of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was subject to the authority of His parents as He was growing up. Because of this response, He grew in wisdom, stature,and in favor with God and man. He “humbled himself and became obedient…” (Phil. 2:8)

Discerning Basic Intentions

The basic intentions of those in authority must be discerned. Daniel “purposed that he would not defile himself with the king’s meat.” (Daniel 1:8) Yet the authorities were not trying to make him violate his convictions; they were genuinely concerned about his appearance before the king. Daniel was in the right frame of mind to help the officer in charge work out a compromise.

In Case Study No. 1, the basic intentions of the parents who disapproved their daughter’s marriage were not to restrict her happiness but rather to help her achieve a lasting happiness. They intended to pass on to her the insights and lessons which they had learned, sometimes the hard way. They intended for her to avoid a lot of future complications which they knew would occur if she made the wrong choice in marriage. They intended to derive pleasure and joy from their daughter’s happy marriage.

In Case Study No. 2, the basic intention of the father for the son was not to talk him out of the ministry but to provide him with the tools for being successful in life. He intended to use the boy’s college education to build mature attitudes in his son. He wanted to be proud of his son’s achievements. He intended to rest in the fact that his son was building security in his vocation. He intended that his son be grateful and appreciative for what he had done for him. He intended to keep a channel of communication open so that his son would be responsive in the future.

In Case Study No. 3, the basic intentions of the teenage girl’s mother were not to stop the girl from going to church, but to develop obedience toward her parents. This obedience involved assuming responsibilities around the house rather than running off all the time. The mother observed that some of her daughter’s friends were not obeying their parents and often condemned their parents for not being spiritual. She did not want her daughter to develop these attitudes and practices.

Developing Creative Alternatives

Creative alternatives can be developed. Mature attitudes, along with insight into basic intentions, prepare the way for the development of creative alternatives or compromises. Daniel worked out an alternative which would not violate his moral convictions. As you read the study in the book of Daniel, notice the respect, the creativity and the careful choice of wording in Daniel’s request. He asked to be given a chance to show he was right; but he expressed his willingness to obey the officer in any case.

Alternatives for the girl who wanted to get married

  • Discuss with her parents the qualities she should look for in a husband.
  • Give her parents ample opportunity to become acquainted with the boyfriend before there was any discussion of marriage.
  • Ask her parents to point out areas where both she and her boyfriend could improve.
  • Request that her parents set up guidelines to help her discern whether she has met the right life partner.
  • Be willing to show deference to her parents on the timing of the marriage.

Alternatives for the young man who wanted to go into the ministry

  • Accept the challenge of motivating new spiritual interest in his father. This is the best preparation he could have for the ministry since this is one of the most important functions of the ministry.
  • Work out with his father and his minister areas of training at the university which would be useful in both the ministry and in another vocation.
  • Develop a personal program of Bible study while at the university; and use the university experience as an opportunity for a ministry with students.

Alternatives for the teenage girl

  • Ask forgiveness for her past attitudes and actions which were wrong.
  • Commit her mother to the Lord prior to her request to attend the youth group, understanding that the Lord would be speaking through her mother.
  • Determine ahead of time that she would silently thank the Lord for whatever answer her mother gave, and continue to develop right attitudes in the home.

The Results of Obedience to Parents

It is always right to obey God, even when that obedience interrupts or disturbs our plans. Obedience to parents is one of the most essential habits for young people to learn; and parents should insist on obedience from the time their children are babies. A great deal of rebellion can be prevented by parents using Biblical principles in training their children. See Exo. 21:15-17; Lev. 20:9; Deut. 21:18-21; Matt. 15:3-6.

Divine discipline and other unpleasant results of rebellion are totally avoidable. The great inner peace, the happiness, the wonderful blessings of living the plan of God for the life are unmistakably the greatest experiences a person can have.

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Old Age – The doctrinal truth behind dying grace. How the last years of your life are the best years. Growing old and gracious at the same time.

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Many people have a tremendous dread of growing old. A great deal of activity during the working years is aimed at preventing as many of the problems of old age as possible: dependency on others, lack of money, boredom, ill health and so forth. The very fear of the problems of old age often make mental and physical wrecks of people then they become old before their time.

God’s plan is that old age be the crowning glory of a person’s lifetime. The word of God shows that old age can have promise, produc­tivity, vitality, confidence, and a great deal of happiness, providing that spiritual preparation has taken place during the younger years.

Age Divisions in the Bible

The Bible indicates that there are three broad divisions of a lifetime.

The period of youth lasts up to about forty years of age. Moses began to sense his re­sponsibility to Israel and to the Lord when he was about forty, Acts 7:23. He spent forty more years in training, however, before he became leader of the people of Israel. It was during the years from eighty to one hundred twenty that he did his great work.

In Acts 4:22, a man is healed and the Sanhedrin wanted to ridicule his testimony. However, “the man was above forty years old on whom this miracle of healing was shown”, indicating that he was mature enough to know what had happened.

In 1 Tim. 4:12, Paul writes, “Let no man despise thy youth . . .” Timothy was in his thirties at the time.

The period of middle age last from about forty to sixty years of age. In 1 Tim. 5:9, a sixty year old widow’s retirement was into a full time ministry of prayer supported by the church. Many believers hit their top pace in the middle years. The high priest’s work load was heaviest between thirty and fifty.

Old age is from sixty and forward. In Daniel 12:13, Daniel, at age ninety, was told to stop acting like a dead man and to get going. In Luke 2:36-38, a woman of great age (84) was very active in serving the Lord.

Some Principles of Old Age

Old age is a mental attitude as well as a physical problem. People shudder when you discuss old age. Next to the subject of death, it is the least favorite topic. There are many ways people try to postpone old age. They try various products to keep on looking and feeling young. They try traveling to relieve boredom and to give a sense of fulfillment. They use gadgets and programs to postpone old age.

But, the older one becomes as a believer, the better life should become! God’s plan is bigger than any problem this life can produce. Of course, to take advantage of this plan, a person must understand salvation and receive Christ as savior. Then, the individual must get Bible teaching every day over a period of years to make it possible to obtain the maximum out of every day of life. According to God’s plan of grace, which includes the con­cept of dying grace, the last day of your life should be the best.

But some of the most miserable old people around are Christians. They are cantankerous and obnoxious. Their youth is no longer there to protect them. They are seen for what their souls really are, without the camouflage of youth. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Youth is excused for bad behavior; but youth is no longer there to cover up. Old age exposes all the faults, habits, obnoxious characteristics, and degeneracy of soul.

When King Solomon reached old age, he wrote Ecclesiastes; and he has some advice for youth. A young person can prepare now to have a happy old age. Happiness is not in working, and it is not in retirement; it is not in this diversion or that. True happiness is in Christian growth, the production of the fruit of the spirit, operating on divine viewpoint, having a healthy edification structure in the soul which leads to having the inner beauty of soul.

Rejoice, O young man! Find happiness when you are young. Then you can carry your happiness around with you, the inner mental happiness found in the word of God, a happiness which does not depend on conditions, circumstances, people or the details of life. This leads to a marvelous old age!

And let thy heart cheer you in the days of your youth.” (Eccles. 11:9) Then you will not fight old age; old age will be the best age of all. This type of person is the salt of the earth in his old age, an aristocrat of the Christian family.

Walk in the ways of your heart. Now the young person who is immersed in doctrine uses the word of God in living the Christian way of life. The application of the word of God to experience is necessary.

“But know that God will bring you to judgment; therefore remove sorrow from your heart, put away evil from thy flesh.” This is a picture of judgment, chastisement, confession, claiming promises.

Therefore, old age is a mental attitude de­veloped during a lifetime. The older one be­comes as a believer, the better life should be­come. Happiness in old age is dependent on what is built up during the previous years of youth and middle age.

PROBLEMS OF OLD AGE

As you read the following listing of the problems of old age, meditate on the word of God and try to think of the doctrinal antidote for each problem. The prescription will be given in the succeeding sections of this article; but try finding answers in your own repertoire of doctrine.

• Old age may bring on a lack of mental sharpness. This can occur because of physical debility. Also, if the mind has been neglected, especially if the word of God has been neglected, there will be a failure of the mentality.

• In old age, there can be a disorientation to life from the standpoint of success standards. A person looks back and regards life as a failure. Maybe he set goals, and now he is old and never realized the goals. There is a great danger of disillusionment.

  • There is a tendency for great increase in mental attitude sins in old age, with emphasis on criticism and judgment. These things are often overlooked in youth; but they are horrible in the elderly.
  • There is often a lack of security in old age, especially if the old people can not take care of themselves financially. Their children are in the prime of their lives and often the children’s plans do not include them.
  • Old age may bring an inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, inability to converse, to hear, to see. So the old person gets used to sitting in a chair daydreaming, vegetat­ing and saying nothing.
  • There is sometimes a lack of motive to live, too much idle time and too much time for complaining. There may be a de­sire to travel but no means to do so. So there is a lack of significant things to do.
  • Old age brings future shock. Old age finds itself out of phase with the younger gen­erations of children and grandchildren. Therefore a dangerous trend can get started toward hypercriticism.
  • The older believer may have stopped growing spiritually, or worse, may never have got started. There is, therefore, no edification, no occupation with Christ, no desire for the word. There is a tendency to stagnate, to become jaded, to rely on the study done years before.
  • There can be a tendency toward the nega­tives of Titus 2:3, becoming false accusers, gossips, evil speakers and vicious in criticism.
  • There is a tendency among older believers to drink quite a lot when they don’t have anything else going for them.
  • Then, there is the tendency to think that getting old means that a person has some wisdom. So there is the garrulous senior citizen who never stops talking and inflicts continuous boredom on his listeners with his platitudes and homely chatter.

A Godly and Grace Filled Old Age

Coming into old age, the mature believer is assured of his redemption; and he comes into old age as a knowledgeable and productive Christian. He understands both salvation and spirituality. He knows how to claim promises. He understands suffering, has lived through some of it, and looks forward to greater tests. He is ready for both suffering and happiness in old age.

This person comes into old age able to apply the word of God to experience. Even his mind is saved, according to the principles of Romans 12:2. He realizes that there are many books, but only one book, the mind of Christ, the word of God.

The elderly believer uses the faith rest principles of life. While the body is getting weaker, there is this promise of 2 Cor. 4:15.

2 Cor. 4:15-17 “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiv­ing of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our out­ward man perish, yet the inward man is re­newed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Characteristics of a Beautiful Old Age

Review the following scripture passages to get a thorough understanding from Bible examples just what an exciting and productive old age can be like.

In 1 Tim. 5:5-10, there is the example of a widow alone who faces the occupational hazard of widowhood in loneliness. However, this woman trusts in God, uses the promises of the Bible and keeps on praying. A widow who is well reported for good works is making the most out of old age.

In Acts 9:36-43 is the story of Dorcas, full of good works, given to hospitality, who washed the saints feet, made garments, re­lieved the afflicted with her nursing skills, and was a producer of divine good. She had mastered the details of life.

In 2 Tim. 2, there is a discussion of the characteristics of godly elderly men. They are to be healthy minded, alert, sharp, with Christlike character, masters of the details of life or temperate, sound in faith, having spiritual healthy because of doctrine, being free from mental attitude sins such as bitter­ness, envy, hostility and having a mental attitude love.

In 1 Tim. 5:1-16 are listed the characteristics of godly older women. Their shining inner beauty reflects the glory of God. They are not false accusers or guilty of maligning, evil speaking, or gossip and they are not vindictive. They are also temperate and able to teach good things to the younger women. They had skill and wisdom and had the willing attention of younger women. They taught the young women to be healthy minded, emotionally stable, to have sound judgment, to be poised, in control of themselves, thoughtful, to be free from carnality or chaste, to be morally good and to respond to their husbands.

From these illustrations we conclude that there is plenty to do in old age, that old age can be a golden age, not necessarily in reliving the good old days, but in actively enjoying the present and the future.

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Holy Spirit – The Person and work of God the Holy Spirit; the indwelling of the Spirit; the filling of the Spirit; the fruit of the Spirit.

The Bible teaches that God is one God and that there are no other gods. The Bible also clearly distinguishes between three parts or persons of God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, also known as the Trinity.

This article has been prepared to organize the large number of Scripture passages referring to the spirit of God to show (1) that the Holy Spirit is distinctly a person, that is, that He has personality; (2) that He is God, that is, that He shares all of God’s eternal attributes; and (3) that He has an objective, real ministry in the world during the church age, particularly in the lives of Christians.

The Holy Spirit’s Personality

The Holy Spirit has personality because He possesses the essential characteristics of personality, namely, intellect, emotion, and will.

His Intellect,

1 Cor. 2:10-11, For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

His Emotion,

Eph. 4:30, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

His Will,

1 Cor. 12:11, But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

His Relationship to The Father

Matt. 3:16, And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him,

Luke 4:18, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden,

Isaiah 61:1, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent met to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners.

His Relationship to the Son

Rom. 8:9, However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Phil. 1:19, For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

The Holy Spirit Shares the Attributes of God

Eternity,

Heb. 9:14, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Life,

Rom. 8:2, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Holiness,

Rom. 1:4, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Truth,

John 14:17, that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.

Omnipotence,

Gen. 1:1-2, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

Omnipresence,

Ps. 139:7-10, Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence?

If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.

If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.

The Holy Spirit Reveals Divine Truth

1 Cor. 2:9-11, but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

See also 2 Sam. 23:2; Micah 3:8; Acts 1:16; Heb. 9:6-8; 2 Pet. 1:15-21; John 16:12-14.

The Holy Spirit Glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ During the Church Age

After the Lord Jesus had ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit came to indwell all believers during the church age.

John 7:38-39, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”

But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The purpose of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not to glorify the Holy Spirit, but to glorify Christ while He is absent from the earth.

John 16:13-14, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

“He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.

The believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and this glorification occurs on the inside of the believer.

1 Cor. 6:19-20, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

When a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit (walking in fellowship), his life is written by the Holy Spirit. He is declared to be the epistles of Christ written by the Holy spirit.

2 Cor. 3:2-6, You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.

And such confidence we have through Christ toward God.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,

who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

When a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit, Christ is at home in the body.

Eph. 3:16-17, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

General Work of the Holy Spirit

Zech. 4:6, “… not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

The following is a list of activities carried out by the Holy Spirit:

  • Casting out demons: Matt. 12:28
  • Comforting of believers: John 15:26
  • Reproving the world of sin: John 16:8
  • Making believers spiritually alive: Rom. 8:11
  • Making intercession for believers: Rom. 8:26
  • Making able ministers of the new covenant: 2 Cor. 3:6
  • Raising Christ from the dead: 1 Pet. 3:18
  • Was executor of Bible inspiration: 2 Pet. 1:21
  • Invites unbelievers to accept Christ: Rev. 22:17

The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

  • The Holy Spirit lives permanently in every Christian. Rom. 8:9; Gal. 3:2; 4:6; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20.
  • The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is called the “unction” in 1 John 2:20, and anointing in 1 John 2:27. These are synonyms for indwelling.
  • The prophecy of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is found in John 7:37-39; John 14:16, 17.
  • The indwelling of the Holy Spirit must be distinguished from the indwelling of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ indwells the believer for the purpose of fellowship, Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5.

The Holy Spirit indwells the believer for the purpose of function, Gal. 5:22-23.

Maximum fellowship with Christ comes through the function of the Holy Spirit in edification and grace living.

  • The indwelling of the Holy Spirit must be distinguished from the filling of the Holy Spirit.

The indwelling is automatic at salvation.

The filling is a function of the believer’s volition or choice and may be lost through carnality, Eph. 4:30. The filling is commanded, Eph. 5:18. The filling is regained through confession of sin, 1 John 1:9; Prov. 1:23.

  • The Holy Spirit functions in the intake and application of Bible truth, John 14:26; 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:9-16; 1 John 2:27. This is the “how to” of edification.
  • The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is necessary because of the spiritual conflict in “high places” (spiritual warfare), John 7:37-39.

The Sealing Ministry of the Holy Spirit

The sealing work of the Holy Spirit is the basis for our eternal security. The three phases of salvation are given in Eph. 1:13.

Eph. 1:13-14, In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

  • First, you must hear the word of truth, the gospel.
  • Then, you must believe the gospel.
  • At that point, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit

You were sealed is the aorist passive indicative form of the verb σφραγιζω (sphragidzw), which means stamped with a seal.

  • In the ancient world, the seal was a guarantee or a transaction, e.g., a signet impression on a ring. Sealing was used to authenticate contracts, laws, invoices and military orders. The seal was also used in the ratification of treaties.
  • Seals were used to preserve tombs, libraries and treasuries. The seal was backed up by the force of the government in charge, e.g., the seal on the tomb of Christ was guaranteed by the Roman troops.
  • Seals indicate ownership; God owns the believer, having purchased him from the slave market of sin (Eph. 1:7; 1 Cor. 6:20)
  • The believer is sealed as a guarantee of his eternal security.

The Filling of the Holy Spirit

When a person accepts Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes into (indwells) his life permanently. The Holy Spirit indwells for the purpose of glorifying Christ, but indwelling alone does not guarantee that Christ will be glorified by the believer’s life. For this reason, Christians are commanded to be habitually “filled” with the Holy Spirit.

Eph. 5:18, And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

The verb “be filled” means “to fill up a deficiency; to fully possess; to fully influence; to fill with a certain quality.” Here it is in the present passive imperative, so the verb is a command meaning “keep on being filled” with the believer receiving the action of the verb. The filling is by means of the Holy Spirit.

The responsibility of the Christian is to confess his sins. At any point in our lives we can take ourselves out of fellowship through personal sin. When that happens, we become carnal, not spiritual. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit and causes a breach in our relationship with God. The Lord promises that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness. That is, upon the condition of our confession, He will heal the breach that sin has caused.

So, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, sin must be confessed. 1 John 1:9

See TOPIC: Confession of Sin

Nothing good is produced in the Christian’s life apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Rom. 8:8,9 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Gal. 3:3, Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Results of the Filling of the Holy Spirit

  • Imitation of Christ: John 16:14; 2 Cor. 3:3; Phil. 1:20
  • Perception of the Word: John 14:26; 16:12-14; 1 Cor. 2:9-16
  • Witnessing: Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 3:1-10
  • Guidance: Rom. 8:14; Eph. 5:16-18
  • Assurance: Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:5, 6
  • Worship: Phil. 3:3; John 4:24
  • Prayer: Eph. 6:18 with Psalm 66:18
  • Leadership in Ministry: John 16:13; Acts 10:9, 10; Acts 13:2; Acts 16:6

The Holy Spirit Provides Spiritual Power

The book of Acts is the book of spiritual power about where it comes from, how it is obtained, and how it is used. The promise of Jesus Christ to his disciples was “He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth. He dwells with you and shall be in you.”

The prophesy of John the Baptist in Matt. 3:11 regarding the coming ministry of the Lord Jesus also announced the ministry of the Holy Spirit for the church age.

Matt. 3:11, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire:”

Examples of believers receiving the Holy Spirit:

  • At Pentecost: Acts 2:3
  • The Samaritan Christians: Acts 8:17
  • Cornelius and his company: Acts. 10:44
  • The Ephesian believers: Acts 19:6,7

The Benefits Derived from Spiritual Power

  • Men receive courage to rebuke sin: Matt. 3:8
  • Men are enabled to speak with confidence: Acts 4:31-33
  • Gives spiritual and moral strength: 2 Sam. 22:40; Isa. 28:6; Isa. 40:31; 41:10; Dan. 11:32; Eph. 3:16
  • Provides strength in weakness: 1 Cor. 1:27; 2 Cor. 12:9; 13:4
  • Provides spiritual gifts: Rom. 12:6; Eph. 4:11

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the character of Christ being formed in the Christian who is filled with the Spirit. Gal. 5:22, 23 lists the types of production which is the result of the fruit of the Spirit.

Love, joy, and peace are fruits of mental attitude, inward thinking that reflects the lack of mental attitude sins and the relaxation which comes from knowing Bible truth.

Long-suffering, gentleness, and goodness are outward, or directed toward “neighbors.”

Long-suffering, for example, is a relaxed attitude toward the human race and is a result of having love, joy and peace. This is faith rest under pressure which comes from people or circumstances.

Faith, meekness, and temperance are fruits directed upward, to God.

Humility, for example, is a grace attitude with regard to divine provision that gives glory to God for all support and blessing in life, rather than taking the attitude that one is self-made.

Conditions of Fruit-Bearing

The following are required in order for a Christian to have spiritual fruit:

  • Contact with the living water: Ps. 1:3; Eze. 47:12
  • Spiritual receptivity: Matt. 13:23
  • Death of the old life: John 12:24
  • Chastening (pruning): John 15:2
  • Abiding in Christ: John 15:4

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

The Bible speaks of five types of sin which can be committed against the Holy Spirit. Two are committed by unbelievers only and the other three are committed by Christians.

Sins By Unbelievers Only

  • Resistance of the Holy Spirit: Acts 7:51. This is rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ and a rejection of the pre-salvation ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11) through the sin of unbelief
  • Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit: Matt. 12:31, 32. This refers to rejection of Jesus Christ during His ministry on earth (during the previous dispensation, the Age of the Jews).

Sins by Believers

  • Lying to the Holy Spirit: Acts 5:3. This refers to false motivation, approval of the lust sin.
  • Grieving the Holy Spirit: Eph. 4:30. Refers to producing sins from the area of weakness in the sin nature. Any sin in the life of the believer which involves a moral or ethical issue.
  • Quenching the Holy Spirit: 1 Thess. 5:19. Producing human good from the areas of strength in the sin nature. Examples: giving, prayer, witnessing for the purpose of gaining approval. Human good soothes the conscience and keeps the believer from confessing his sin.

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Regeneration – What does it mean to be born again? A discussion of the words referring to a believer’s new life in Christ.

Regeneration is the theological term for the Christian’s “new” or “second” birth in Christ. By definition, regeneration is the act of God by which He imparts divine life to man upon the single condition of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Several words and phrases in the Bible express the concept of regeneration. The following passages show how frequently the doctrine of regeneration is found in the Bible.

• In John 3:7 the words “born again” express regeneration. • In Eph. 2:5, the words “made alive” refer to regeneration, the new life • In 2 Cor. 5:17, the words “new creation” speak of the new birth • In 1 John 3:1, 2, the expression “children of God” refers to regeneration. • In Titus 3:5, the word “regeneration” itself is used. There are several aspects about regeneration which are important to give attention.

All People Need Regeneration

Our condition demands it. Eph. 2:1 declares us to be “dead” in sins. Death is a condition for which “life” (regeneration) is the only solution. Out family connection demands it. Rom. 5:12 indicates that we are dead because of a family relationship. Therefore, we need a new birth, a new family, a new Father, all of which are provided by regeneration.

The Author of Regeneration: GOD

John 1:13 informs us that we must be “born of God.” The word “of” points to the source and origin of the new life – God is the origin and source of regeneration. John 1:13 eliminates all human aspects of regeneration. The phrase “not of blood” shows that regeneration cannot be inherited. The phrase “not of the will of the flesh” shows that God’s life is not the fruit of a man’s search for God. “Not of the will of man” – man cannot generate eternal life.

The Means of Regeneration – The Word

1 Pet. 1:23 makes it clear that the written word of God is the means of the new birth, because the written word is actually the living Word (see also Heb. 4:12; John 6:63; Acts 7:38). In practice, this means knowledge must precede the new birth. The miracle of the new birth cannot occur where the Word of God is not taught in some form.

The Power of Regeneration – The Resurrection

We are “born again…by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”, 1 Pet. 1:3. This shows us the kind of power needed for regeneration. According to Eph. 1:19, 20 the power that raised Christ from the dead is the greatest power ever displayed. This same power is applied in bringing regeneration to us.

The Instrument of Regeneration – Faith

Gal. 3:26 explains that faith is the hand by which we receive the gift of eternal life.

The Basis of Regeneration – Blood

Those who call on the Father, 1 Pet. 1:17­-19, the family concept of regeneration. It is the blood of Christ that makes this possible (v. 19).

The Agent of Regeneration – The Holy Spirit

John 3:5, 6, the necessity of birth through the agency of the Holy Spirit. “Flesh” begets “flesh”, “spirit” begets “spirit”. Divine life requires divine parents. John 1:12 “…to them gave He power to become the children of God

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Union with Christ – Union with Christ (Positional Truth) – Teaching related to all of the benefits and responsibilities of being “in Christ”.

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At the time of his personal salvation, the Christian believer enters into a spiritual union with Jesus Christ and remains in that position forever. “Positional Truth” is the formal title for that wide class of Bible teaching on the subject of the Christian’s position in or union with Jesus Christ.

Union with Christ makes available to the believer a great number of spiritual benefits. These benefits can be used and enjoyed continuously during the believer’s remaining lifetime and will continue into eternity.

The nature of the believer’s position in Christ was foretold by the Lord Jesus Himself: (1) in the Bread of Life discourse, John 6:56; (2) in the Good Shepherd discourse, John 10:16; and (3) in the Upper Room discourse, John 14:20.

The Christian is placed spiritually in Christ through a mechanism known as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. These mechanics are described in 1 Cor. 12:13 and Gal. 3:27,28. (A study of the seven baptisms of the Bible is a prerequisite to an understanding of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.)

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was foretold by Christ in Acts 1:5,8. This occurred for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1–4 cf. 11:15,16. Therefore, Union with Christ was experienced by believers for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, making it an experience unique to Church Age believers.

Union with Christ is a fact for all believers, spiritual or carnal. 1 Cor. 1:2; cf. 1:11; 3:1–4

The believer’s position in Christ makes him a “new creature” in Christ, 2 Cor. 5:17.

The Christian is “in Christ” and has become a “new creature” in that he has a new birth, a new human spirit, and has the ability now to have fellowship with God. “Old things have passed away”, spiritual death is done away, and “all things are become new”, spiritual life is begun.

Union with Christ has several immediate results for every believer:

Regeneration

Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

John 3:5,6**, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

The Indwelling Holy Spirit

1 Cor. 6:19

The Sealing of the Holy Spirit

Eph. 1:13

Eph. 4:30

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

1 Cor. 12:13

Spiritual Gifts

1 Cor. 12:11

The following is a list of the characteristics of the believer’s Union with Christ:

  • Union with Christ is a fact, not an experience. One is united with Christ regardless of how he feels.
  • Union with Christ is not progressive; it cannot be improved upon; we receive it completely at salvation.
  • Union with Christ is not commanded by God; it is given as a gift by God at salvation.
  • This Union is permanent; it will never be taken away; it does not depend upon our faithfulness; it depends on the faithfulness of God.
  • This doctrine can be understood only with a thorough study of the related Bible passages.

Union with the Lord Jesus Christ is a guarantee of eternal security, Rom. 8:35–39; 1 John 5:11,12; Rom. 8:1.

Union with Christ is current in that the believer is identified with Christ in His life and shares with Christ in certain aspects of His life, Eph. 3:1-14.

  • We share in His election, Eph. 1:4.
  • We share in His destiny, Eph. 1:5,11.
  • We share in His son ship, Eph. 1:5; Heb. 2:10; Gal. 3:26.
  • We obtain the Righteousness of Christ, 2 Cor. 5:21.
  • We share in Christ’s inheritance, Rom. 8:16,17; Gal. 4:7.
  • We share in His holiness, 1 Cor. 1:30.
  • We share His priesthood, 1 Pet. 2:5,9.
  • We share in His Kingdom, Col. 1:13; 2 Pet. 1:11.
  • We share in His resurrection, Eph. 2:6.
  • We share in His life, Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13; 1 John 5:11,12.
  • In Him we have redemption and forgiveness of sins, Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14.

Union with Christ makes every believer equal at the point of salvation, Gal. 3:27,28.

Union with Christ makes the believer perfect in the sight of God, Col. 2:9,10.

Bible illustrations of Union with Christ:
  • Vine and Branches, John 15:1-17
  • Head and Body, Eph. 1:22,23
  • Bridegroom and Bride, Rev. 19:7-9; 21:9; Eph. 5:27
  • Shepherd and Flock, John 10:16
  • Chief cornerstone and building, 1 Pet. 2:4,5
  • High Priest and Priesthood, Heb. 4:14; 5:5,6,10, cf. 1 Peter 2:5

Union with Christ is the doctrinal basis for spirituality, Rom. 6:1-14.

Union with Christ is the basis for the spiritual technique of occupation with Christ, Col. 3:1-4.

Union with Christ is illustrated and testified to by water baptism. The believer is identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

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Eternal Life – Three stages of everlasting life, “now” and “forever”.

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Definition of Eternal Life

John 3:36, “He that believes on the Son has eternal life, but he who does not believe on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Our attitude toward Christ belief or unbelief determines whether we have eternal life.

The Greek word PISTEUO in the present tense means you have eternal life the moment you believe and you continue to have it.

A person has eternal life the moment he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. This person is also called a believer.

Eternal life is imputed to the human spirit, which is created for you by God the Holy Spirit at regeneration.

Three Categories of Eternal Life

For the believer in Jesus Christ who dies prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ also known as the resurrection of the believers in Christ, there are three categories of eternal life.

  1. The believer has eternal life while living on the earth, having both earthly and eternal life.
  2. The believer has eternal life after death while living in heaven and waiting for his resurrection body. This can be classified as having both interim life and eternal life.
  3. The believer has eternal life forever in a resurrection body, which is resurrection life and eternal life.

Those believers of the rapture generation who do not die physically have two categories of eternal life

  1. Temporal life plus eternal life.
  2. Resurrection life plus eternal life.

Each category of eternal life reveals a new aspect of God’s perfect integrity and plan.

There is a body for each stage of eternal life.

Temporal life plus eternal life has the body of corruption with the old sin nature.

The interim life plus eternal life has the interim body, which experiences no more pain, tears, sorrow, old sin nature or sickness. In this interim body, you are recognizable. This is the body you occupy while awaiting your resurrection body,

2 Cor. 5:8; Rev. 21:4.

The interim life and eternal life stage makes no distinction between winners and losers in the Christian life. It provides supreme happiness for every believer.

This gives the greatest comfort to loved ones at a funeral. Losers and winners have it just as good in heaven in an interim body.

Resurrection life plus eternal life has the resurrection body.

Therefore, eternal life exists in two or more categories of life. The person who does not die experiences two categories of eternal life; the person who does die experiences three categories of eternal life.

A person can obtain eternal life only while he is alive on earth..

A person cannot get eternal life once he dies as an unbeliever in Jesus Christ.

Eternal life begins during a believer’s lifetime, 2 Cor. 6:2.

You cannot get eternal life in eternity; you have to get it now on earth.

Eternal life belongs only to the believer in Jesus Christ.

The three categories of eternal life do not apply to the unbeliever, who is described by John 3:18.

Eternal life belongs only to the believer who is never without a body. You always have a body with your eternal life.

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