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Dogmatology T201 Seminar 20 HS-Ministry to Believers

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Andrew Hodge                                                                                               26th February 2006

Dogmatology T 201

Seminar 20

God the Spirit - Ministry to Believers

L.P.Chafer "Systematic Theology" Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Dallas Theological Seminary 1948 and 1976  I, 410-14  God the Holy Spirit



Describe the Spirit’s ministry among believers today:

Throughout scripture in all dispensations, the Holy Spirit as God, is, has been and will be omnipresent. But during this age of grace/the Church age He is also resident in believers as has occurred in no other dispensation. The OT saints and prophets had the Holy Spirit come upon them to empower them temporarily for a specific task (although one wonders about specific individuals like Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Joseph whose exception may prove the rule).

In a sense, the situation parallels the Hypostatic Union of the Son in that for a time on earth the ministry of the Holy Spirit had an additional dimension that placed God within time and permanently resident within individuals. It follows that the Holy Spirit leaves the earth in His resident indwelling quality when those individual believers also go ie at the Rapture. He remains omnipresent during the Tribulation, the Millennium and in the New Heaven and Earth. What is His relationship to Tribulation saints? How is He related to those who are saved during the millennium?

It may also be so that as the Son retains His ‘new’ anthropomorphic nature after His resurrection, that the Holy Spirit remains indwelling in believers throughout eternity. At present I know of no scripture which confirms or denies this (although in common with many human beings, even resurrected in a perfect body, it would take the Holy Spirit Himself to get me on to a horse in an army! Revelation 19:8, 14).

Chafer makes the observation that the Titles of the Spirit are descriptive only (p411). This is an indicator of His role in the world and in believers in that He is “Spirit of your Father” (Matt. 10:20), “Spirit of God” (Matt. 12:28), “Spirit of the Lord” (Luke 4:18), “Holy Spirit” (Luke 11:13), “Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17), “Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2; Rev. 11:11), “Spirit of adoption” (Rom. 8:15), “the Lord is that Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:17), “Spirit of his Son” (Gal. 4:6), “Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19), “Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:24), “eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14), “Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13), “the Spirit” (John 7:39), “the Comforter” (John 15:26), “the Spirit of glory” (1 Pet. 4:14), “the seven spirits” (Rev. 1:4).[1]”

Chafer also makes the reminder that “God who is Himself a spirit (John 4:24), bestows His Spirit upon the Son (John 3:34), and upon all who believe (John 7:39).”[2] John 7:39 is interesting because it uses mello with lambano (emellon lambanein) translated as “should receive” which has the sense of a continuous grasping for the purpose of ownership (imperfect tense, active voice).

In the believer, and toward the world, the Spirit exerts a restraining ministry (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) “until he be taken out of the way” which occurs at the rapture.

Toward the unregenerate but also for the benefit of the believer the Spirit (Jesus speaking) “reprove(s)b the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged”[3] (John 16:7-11).

The Spirit is integral to our battle with Satan, victory being achieved only as we faithfully put on all the armour of God and allow the Spirit to control us as His soldier, empowering all of the defensive and offensive items we have been given. “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” Ephesians 6:10-17, and “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” 1 John 4:4.

In addition to sanctification (see below), the Holy Spirit in the believer has a number of other activities including baptising (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; 1 Corinthians 12:13), sealing (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13, 4:30; cf Romans 8:16), filling (Ephesians 5:18; cf Acts 4:8, 4:31, 6:3, 9:17, 11:24, 13:9), guiding (Galatians 5:16, 25; cf Acts 8:29, 13:2, 15:7-9, 16:6; Romans 8:14), empowering (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:17-18, 22-23) and teaching (John 14:26, 16:13; 1 John 2:20, 27). Further, regeneration and indwelling (covered above), are the sine qua non of a believer.7


Portray the Spirit’s ministry of Sanctification within the believer:

            “Sanctification is one of several possible English translations of qdš, hagios and their cognates. Context alone determines whether the translation should be holy, holiness, holy one, saints, consecrate, consecration, sanctify or sanctification. Its broad meaning is the process by which an entity is brought into relationship with or attains the likeness of the holy.[4]”

            Jesus sanctified Himself that He would then be able to sanctify us (John 17:19).

            The apostle Paul writes of both a state and a process of sanctification (2 Corinthians 7:1). We are both ‘already, and not yet’.

We are guaranteed to be sanctified with God for eternity according to His promises (Hebrews 10:14), but we are exhorted to comply with His programme in achieving this, starting now (eg Romans 6:6-13 ‘know, reckon, yield’). There is no sense in which Paul implies that we can achieve sanctification by our own effort; we are required to cooperate with the empowering presence of the Spirit within us and allow Him to do it, as He directs (2 Thessalonians 2:13). If we despise this method, we are despising God Who gave it (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8).

            Because of our physical nature we must live in the flesh, but the indwelling Spirit gives us the freedom not to live according to the flesh (Galatians 5:16, 24; Romans 8:5).

The presence of the Spirit does not produce instant perfection, but provides a process of maturation from being ‘babes in Christ’ to mature servants of God, the ultimate focus being ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’.

Our relationship with the Spirit is “the earnest of that ultimate goal of sanctification which ‘is to share Christ’s glory (Hebrews 2:10), to enter God’s rest (4:11 ff.), to see the Lord (12:14), and to inhabit the heavenly Jerusalem (12:22; 13:14)’ (Peterson, p. 129).”[5]

1 Peter provides a summary of sanctification:

            It is God’s choice in His foreknowledge that we be sanctified (1:2)

            To show forth His praise (2:9)

            The Spirit applies to us the benefits of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection (1:2-3)

            Our response being lives lived in obedience to God’s call for holiness (1:14-15; 2:5) and love (1:22; 4:8)

“Sanctification, in sum, is essentially a relational reality, completed in Christ’s death on the cross, experienced through the indwelling Holy Spirit and brought to its final goal when we see God (Heb. 12:14; 1 Jn. 3:2–3).”[6]

Summarise the doctrine of the “baptism of the Spirit”:

            There is no phrase matching “baptism of the Spirit” in any Bible in Libronix.

            If the initial “baptism of the Spirit” is taken to be Pentecost, then although Jesus predicted and promised it (as prophesied by the Baptist), it was not administered by Him in the flesh (John 14:17 and 20:22 notwithstanding). Subsequent “baptisms” occur at salvation (1 Corinthians 12:13), placing the new believer into union with Christ and into the one Body of Christ.

            Pentecostals disagree with this. They apply the pattern in Acts where believers who already had the regenerating work of the Spirit prior to Pentecost, and were subsequently filled by the Spirit and spoke in tongues, as normative. This causes them to postulate a ‘second blessing’ and to confuse Spirit baptism and Spirit filling, and a ‘third blessing’ - glossolalia. Generally speaking, Spirit baptism refers to salvation, and filling to Christian growth and service.

            The “Jewish” baptism in the Spirit could well be regarded as having occurred at Pentecost, with either all or many of those present previously experiencing the ministry of the Spirit, and additionally receiving His indwelling presence with external signs and wonders. In this transitional period, the Jews needed this evidence to provide proof of the accomplishment of Christ’s promise.

The Gentile “baptism” on the other hand (Cornelius and his household) made conversion and baptism simultaneous, the accompanying signs being for the Jew. There is no instance in Scripture where Gentile conversion and Spirit baptism are separated, and no other instance after Acts 19:1-7, where separation of the two applied to Jews or Samaritans.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

is unique to the Church Age (cf Acts 1:5 with 11:15 and Acts 2)

includes all believers in the Age (1 Cor 12:13; Rom 6; Gal 3:27-28)

unites all believers whatever their ‘source’ (1 Cor 12:13)

unites believers with Christ (Rom 6:3,5)

is not experiential ie not done by the believer, but done to them by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 1 Cor 12:13).

Corinthians 12:13 was written by Paul to the Corinthian Christians and is taken as normative for all subsequent Christians. It should be noted that Paul was not asking the Corinthians to experience the baptism of the Spirit as a way out of their carnality, but reminding them what had occurred at their salvation, demonstrating that Spirit baptism should not be confused with Spirit filling.8


Vindicate the steps and processes of the God-ordained means of Sanctification:

I am not clear as to what is meant by these steps. If it refers to the steps in Romans 6:3-14, amplification of them is beyond these notes at present.



Identify the prominent errors of our day as regards the doctrine of the Holy Spirit:

Those that come readily to mind include the Charismatic Movement, Pentecostalism, demon possession, baptismal regeneration, deliverance ministries. There must be more.

It is interesting that there are apparently not more errors regarding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, paralleling the errors of the Son eg in the Trinity. This must be partly due to the necessity of coming to grips with the concept of a hypostatic union, but the subject is surely open to the same kind of ignorant speculation.


























8From Paul P Enns "The Moody Handbook of Theology" Moody Press  Chicago  1989


[1]Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Systematic Theology. Originally Published: Dallas, Tex. : Dallas Seminary Press, 1947-1948., Vol. 1, Page 411. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993.


b reprove: or, convince

[3]The Holy Bible : King James Version., Jn 16:8-11. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.

[4]Wood, D. R. W., D. R. W. Wood, and I. Howard Marshall. New Bible Dictionary. Includes Index. electronic ed. of 3rd ed., Page 1057. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996, c1982, c1962.

[5]Ibid p1059

[6]Wood, D. R. W., D. R. W. Wood, and I. Howard Marshall. New Bible Dictionary. Includes Index. electronic ed. of 3rd ed., Page 1059. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996, c1982, c1962.

7From H. Wayne House  Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine  Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1992 p74

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