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The Gift of the Spirit
By Rosco Brong, 1972

Every Child of God Receives One Gift -
Various in Measure and Operation

"If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water . . . Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in Mm a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John. 4:10, 14.)

Just as God gave Himself in the person of His Son for our re­demption, so Father and Son give themselves in the person of the Holy Spirit for the administration of this same redemption. The Spirit also was active in creation and continues to operate in what we call provi­dence, but our present text, under the figure of water, pre­sents Him as the Savior's gift to every true believer, providing within the immediate source or "well" of everlasting life.

If anyone doubts that the reference of our text is to the Holy Spirit, let him read God's own explanation in John 7:37-39:
"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, say­ing, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
Eternal Spirit
Although the word "given" in the last verse quoted was supplied by the translators, it is perfectly clear that this scripture cannot mean that the Holy Spirit did not yet exist, but sim­ply that He was not yet manifesting His presence as He did after Jesus was glorified.

Called the "eternal Spirit" in Hebrews 9:14, He is a distinct personality eternally co-existent with the Father and the Son. This is evident all through the Bible,b eginning with the plurality of deity, "Elohim," in Genesis 1:1 and "the spirit of God" in 1:2.

So the teaching of scripture is that following the return ot the Son of god to His eternal glory, the Holy Spirit came to comfort, instruct, direct and empower His people in ways new and different from His Old Testament operations.

God's Free Gift
At least five times in the New Testament, the holy spirit is called the gift of god. (John 4:10; Acts 2:38; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17) The same word for gift in II Corinthians 9:15 probably refers to Christ. This same word, meaning em­phatically a free gift, is used also in Romans 5:15, 17; Ephesians 3:7; 4:7; and Hebrews 6:4.

No man or set of men, no church or sect, has or can have a monopoly on the Spirit of God. He is bigger than all His creatures put together, and He works when, where, and as He will.

He is God's free gift. God's children receive Him from the hearing of faith (Galatians 3:2) and in answer to prayer (Luke 11:13). When Simon the sorcerer tried to buy his way into what looked to him like a profitable business — the laying on of hands for special manifestations of the Holy Spirit — Peter's reply was prompt and pointed:
"Thy money perish with thee, be­cause, tbou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money." (Acts 8:20.)

Baptism in the Spirit
That Jesus would baptize in the Holy Spirit was prophesied by John the Bap­tist, and Jesus renewed the promise just before His ascension (Acts 1:5). This prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 2) when the church at Jerusalem was immersed in the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit which filled all the members and enabled them to testify in various languages, after which came Peter's sermon resulting hi the salvation, baptism, and addition to the church of "about three thousand souls."

Similar manifestations occurred later in the house of Cornelius, a Roman cen­turion, thereby convincing Peter and other members of this hitherto all-Jewish church that Gentile believers must be ad­mitted to the privileges of baptism and church membership on equal terms with themselves.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit, fherefore, was a once-for-all experience of the Lord's church as a body, forever distinguishing this institution from all coun­terfeits as the divinely constituted execu­tive agency of God's present kingdom here on earth.

No such thing as a "spiritual baptism" of individual believers can be found ia the Bible: it is a mere figment of imag­ination.

Houses and Temples
"Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have built?" So spake Solomon (1 Kings 8:27), and quite truly, for God Himself asks: "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" (Jeremiah 23:24.)

Yet in a sense God did dwell in the tabernacle, in the temple, among His people, "between the cherubim," and in individual men, even in Old Testament days.

In a special sense, members of a New Testament church, as 'living stones" (I Peter 2:5), "are built together for an habi­tation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22.)

So the church at Corinth was re­minded: "Know ye not that ye are a tem­ple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16.) But in another context, where plainly the ref­erence is to the individual human body, we read also: "Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?" (I Corinthians 6:19.)

True of All Believers
Nor is this true only of church mem­bers: we have Jesus' word, for it that WHOSOEVER drinketh (spiritually) will have within not merely life but the very fountain of life; that HE that BELIEVETH and THEY THAT BELIEVE in Him, whether baptized or not, whether church members or not, will have within the Holy Spirit sending forth "rivers of living waters." (John 4:14; 7:37-39.)

No exceptions or restrictions can be allowed here. If we are going to object to this, we had as well enter objections to another statement of Jesus, "He that believeth in me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47.)

What Jesus said will stand true for time and eternity, man's little schemes of doctrine to the contrary notwith­standing.

"If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:9.) Unmindful of Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18, some well-meaning but erring brethren want to change this scripture by adding the words, "in a body (or church) re­lationship." But we had better quit meddling with the scripture. Let's just believe the Bible as it was written.

"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14) — not one more, not one less.

Diversities of Gifts
"The one and the same Spirit" is mani­fested as He will in diversities or differ­ences (same word in the Greek) of gifts, ministrations, and operations. (I Corinthians 12:4-11.)

In a sense we might say that every work of the Spirit is miraculous, in that His power is the power of God and He does what man cannot. But we can distinguish between miraculous and ordi­nary operations of the Spirit, meaning by miraculous those works exhibited abundant manifestation to those of His children that ask Him. (Luke 11:13.)

Trying the Spirits
"No man speaking in the Spirit of God calleth Jiesus accursed: and no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Ghost." (I Corinthians 12:3.)

"When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatso­ever he shall hear, that shall he speak. . . . He shall glorify me." (John 16:13, 14.)

"Beloved, believe not every spirit . . . Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. . . . We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (I John 4:1-6.)

"As many as are led toy the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Romans 8:14.)

He leads always after our Master, and according to His word. Alas, that while we are all so led, so many of us follow so much of the time as did Peter once, "afar off"! (Luke 22:54.)

[From AAB, January 28, 1972, pp. 1, 3 &4. - jrd]

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