Category Archives: On Line Bible Study
From the Works of Arthur W. Pink / The Holy Spirit
In the past having given consideration to the attributes of God our Father, and then to a contemplation of some of the glories of God our Redeemer, it now seems fitting that these should be followed by this series on the Holy Spirit. The need for this is real and pressing, for ignorance of the Third Person of the Godhead is most dishonoring to Him, and highly injurious to ourselves. The late George Smeaton of Scotland began his excellent work upon the Holy Spirit by saying, “Wherever Christianity has been a living power, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has uniformly been regarded, equally with the Atonement and Justification by faith, as the article of a standing or falling church. The distinctive feature of Christianity as it addresses itself to man’s experience, is the work of the Spirit, which not only elevates it far above all philosophical speculation, but also above every other form of religion.”
The Importance of Studying the Holy Spirit
Not at all too strong was the language of Samuel Chadwick when he said, “The gift of the Spirit is the crowning mercy of God in Christ Jesus. It was for this all the rest was. The Incarnation and Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension were all preparatory to Pentecost. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit all the rest would be useless. The great thing in Christianity is the gift of the Spirit. The essential, vital, central element in the life of the soul and the work of the Church is the Person of the Spirit”
The great importance of a reverent and prayerful study of this subject should be apparent to every real child of God. The repeated references made to the Spirit by Christ in His final discourse (John 14 to 16) at once intimates this. The particular work which has been committed to Him furnishes clear proof of it. There is no spiritual good communicated to anyone but by the Spirit; whatever God in His grace works in us, it is by the Spirit. The only sin for which there is no forgiveness is one committed against the Spirit. How necessary is it then that we should be well instructed in the Scripture doctrine concerning Him! The great abuse there has been in all ages under the pretense of His holy name, should prompt us to diligent study. Finally, the awful ignorance which now so widely prevails upon the Spirit’s office and operations, urges us to put forth our best efforts. Yet important as is our subject, and prominent as is the place given to it in Holy Writ, it seems that it has always met with a considerable amount of neglect and perversion.
Thomas Goodwin commenced his massive work on The Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Salvation (1660) by affirming, “There is a general omission in the saints of God, in their not giving the Holy Spirit that glory that is due to His Person and for His great work of salvation in us, insomuch that we have in our hearts almost forgotten this Third Person.” If that could be said in the midst of the balmy days of the Puritans, what language would be required to set forth the awful spiritual ignorance and impotency of this benighted 20th century! In the Preface to his Lectures on “The Person, Godhead, and Ministry of the Holy Spirit” (1817),
Robert Hawker wrote, “I am the more prompted to this service, from contemplating the present awful day of the world. Surely the ‘last days’ and the ‘perilous times,’ so expressly spoken of by the Spirit, are come (1 Tim. 4:1). The flood gates of heresy are broken up, and are pouring forth their deadly poison in various streams through the land. In a more daring and open manner the denial of the Person, Godhead, and Ministry of the Holy Spirit is come forward and indicates the tempest to follow. In such a season it is needful to contend, and that, ‘earnestly, for the faith once delivered unto the saints.’ Now in a more awakened manner ought the people of God to remember the words of Jesus, and ‘to hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’ ”
So again, in 1880, George Smeaton wrote, “We may safely affirm that the doctrine of the Spirit is almost entirely ignored.” And let us add, Wherever little honor is done to the Spirit, there is grave cause to suspect the genuineness of any profession of Christianity. Against this, it may be replied, Such charges as the above no longer hold good. Would to God they did not, but they do. While it be true that during the past two generations much has been written and spoken on the person of the Spirit, yet, for the most part, it has been of a sadly inadequate and erroneous character. Much dross has been mingled with the gold. A fearful amount of unscriptural nonsense and fanaticism has marred the testimony. Furthermore, it cannot be denied that it is no longer generally recognized that supernatural agency is imperatively required in order for the redemptive work of Christ to be applied to sinners. Rather do actions show it is now widely held that if unregenerate souls are instructed in the letter of Scripture their own will-power is sufficient to enable them to “decide for Christ.”
The Problem: Effort in the Flesh
In the great majority of cases, professing Christians are too puffed up by a sense of what they suppose they are doing for God, to earnestly study what God has promised to do for and in His people. They are so occupied with their fleshly efforts to “win souls for Christ” that they feel not their own deep need of the Spirit’s anointing. The leaders of “Christian” (?) enterprise are so concerned in multiplying “Christian workers” that quantity, not quality, is the main consideration. How few today recognize that if the number of “missionaries” on the foreign field were increased twenty-fold the next year, that that, of itself, would not ensure the genuine salvation of one additional heathen? Even though every new missionary were “sound in the faith” and preached only “the Truth,” that would not add one iota of spiritual power to the missionary forces, without the Holy Spirit’s unction and blessing! The same principle holds good everywhere. If the orthodox seminaries and the much-advertised Bible institutes turned out 100 times more men than they are now doing, the churches would not be one bit better off than they are, unless God vouchsafed a fresh outpouring of His Spirit. In like manner, no Sunday School is strengthened by the mere multiplication of its teachers.
O my readers, face the solemn fact that the greatest lack of all in Christendom today is the absence of the Holy Spirit’s power and blessing. Review the activities of the past 30 years. Millions of dollars have been freely devoted to the support of professed Christian enterprises. Bible institutes and schools have turned out “trained workers” by the thousands. Bible conferences have sprung up on every side like mushrooms. Countless booklets and tracts have been printed and circulated. Time and labour have been given by an almost incalculable number of “personal workers.” And with what results? Has the standard of personal piety advanced? Are the churches less worldly? Are their members more Christ-like in their daily walk? Is there more godliness in the home? Are the children more obedient and respectful? Is the Sabbath Day being increasingly sanctified and kept holy? Has the standard of honesty in business been raised?
Those blest with any spiritual discernment can return but one answer to the above questions. In spite of all the huge sums of money that have been spent, in spite of all the labour which has been put forth, in spite of all the new workers that have been added to the old ones, the spirituality of Christendom is at a far lower ebb today than it was 30 years ago. Numbers of professing Christians have increased, fleshly activities have multiplied, but spiritual power has waned. Why? Because there is a grieved and quenched Spirit in our midst.
While His blessing is withheld there can be no improvement. What is needed today is for the saints to get down on their faces before God, cry unto Him in the name of Christ to so work again, that what has grieved His Spirit may be put away, and the channel of blessing once more be opened. Until the Holy Spirit is again given His rightful place in our hearts, thoughts, and activities, there can be no improvement. Until it be recognized that we are entirely dependent upon His operations for all spiritual blessing, the root of the trouble cannot be reached. Until it be recognized that it is “Not by might, (of trained workers), nor by power (of intellectual argument or persuasive appeal), but by “MY SPIRIT, saith the Lord” (Zech. 4:6), there will be no deliverance from that fleshly zeal which is not according to knowledge, and which is now paralyzing Christendom. Until the Holy Spirit is honored, sought, and counted upon, the present spiritual drought must continue. May it please our gracious God to give the writer messages and prepare the hearts of our readers to receive that which will be to His glory, the furtherance of His cause upon earth, and the good of His dear people. Brethren, pray for us.
A.W. Pink Chapter 2
The Personality Of the Holy Spirit
If we were asked to state in a comprehensive form what constitutes (according to our views of Scripture) the blessedness of the Lord’s people on earth, after His work of grace is begun in their souls, we would not hesitate to say that it must be wholly made up of the personal knowledge of and communion with the glorious Trinity in their Persons in the Godhead—for as the church is chosen to be everlastingly holy and everlastingly happy, in uninterrupted communion with God in glory when this life is ended, the anticipation of it now by faith must form the purest source of all present joy.
But this communion with God in the Trinity of His Persons cannot be enjoyed without a clear apprehension of Him. We must know under Divine teaching God in the Trinity of His Persons, and we must also know from the same source the special and personal acts of grace by which each glorious Person in the Godhead has condescended to make Himself known unto His people before we can be said to personally enjoy communion with each and all.
We offer no apology, then, for devoting a separate chapter to the consideration of the personality of the Holy Spirit, for unless we have a right conception of His glorious being, it is impossible that we should entertain right thoughts about Him, and therefore
impossible for us to render to Him that homage, love, con-fidence, and submission, which are His due. To the Christian who is given to realize that he owes to the personal operations of the Spirit every Divine influence exercised upon him from the first moment of regeneration until the final consummation in glory, it cannot be a matter of little importance for him to aspire after the fullest apprehension of Him that his finite faculties are capable of—yea, he will consider no effort too great to obtain spiritual views of Him to whose Divine grace and power the effectual means of his salvation through Christ are to be ascribed.
To those who are strangers to the operations of the blessed Spirit in the heart, the theme of this chapter is likely to be a matter of unconcern, and its details wearisome.
Figurative or Literal Personality
Some of our readers may be surprised to hear that there are men professing to be Christians who flatly deny the personality of
the Spirit. We will not sully these pages by transcribing their blasphemies, but we will mention one detail to which appeal is made by the spiritual seducers, because some of our friends have possibly experienced a difficulty with it.
In the second chapter of Acts the Holy Spirit was said to be “poured out” (v. 18) and “shed abroad” (v. 33). How could such terms be used of a Person? Very easily: that language is figurative, and not literal; literal it cannot be for that which is spiritual is incapable of being materially “poured out.” The figure is easily interpreted: as water “poured out” descends, so the Spirit has come from Heaven to earth; as a “pouring” rain is a heavy one, so the Spirit is freely given in the plentitude of His gifts.
Aspects of Personality
Having cleared up, we trust, what has given difficulty to some, the way is now open for us to set forth some of the positive
Evidence. Let us begin by pointing out that a “person” is an intelligent and voluntary entity, of whom personal properties may be truly predicated. A “person” is a living entity, endowed with understanding and will, being an intelligent and willing agent. Such is the Holy Spirit: all the elements which constitute personality are ascribed to and found in Him. “As the Father hath life in Himself, and the Son has life in Himself, so has the Holy Spirit: since He is the Author of natural and spiritual life to men, which He could not be unless He had life in Himself; and if He has life in Himself, He must subsist in Himself” (John Gill).
1. Personal properties are predicated of the Spirit. He is endowed with understanding or wisdom, which is the first inseparable property of an intelligent agent: “the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). Now to “search” is an act of understanding, and the Spirit is said to “search” because He “knoweth” (v. 11). He is endowed with will, which is the most eminently distinguishing property of a person: “All these things worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing unto every man as He will” (1 Cor. 12:11)—how utterly meaningless would be such language were the Spirit only an influence or energy! He loves: “I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit” (Rom. 15:30)—how absurd would it be to speak of the “love of the Spirit” if the Spirit were nothing but an impersonal breath or abstract quality!
2. Passive personal properties are ascribed to the Holy Spirit: that is to say, He is the Object of such actions of men as none but a person can be. “Ye agree together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 5:9)—rightly did John Owen say, “How can a quality, an accident, an emanation from God be tempted? None can possibly be so but he that hath an understanding to consider what is proposed unto him, and a will to determine upon the proposals made.” In like manner, Ananias is said to, “lie to the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:3)—none can lie unto any other but such a one as is capable of hearing and receiving a testimony. In Ephesians 4:30 we are bidden not to grieve the Holy Spirit”—how senseless would it be to talk about “grieving” an abstraction, like the law of gravity. Hebrews 10:29 warns us that He may be “done despite unto.”
3. Personal actions are attributed to Him. He speaks: “The Spirit speaketh expressly” (1 Tim. 4:1); “he that hath an ear, let him
hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:7). He teaches: “The Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say” (Luke 12:12); “He shall teach you all things” (John 14:26). He commands or exercises authority: a striking proof of this is found in Acts 13:2, “The Holy Spirit said, Separate unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them”—how utterly misleading would such language be if the Spirit were not a real person! He intercedes: “The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:26)—as the intercession of Christ proves Him to be a person, and a distinct one from the Father, unto whom He intercedes, so the intercession of the Spirit equally proves His personality, even His distinct personality.
4. Personal characters are ascribed to Him. Four times over the Lord Jesus referred to the Spirit as “The Comforter,” and not
merely as “comfort”; inanimate things, such as clothes, may give us comfort, but only a living person can be a “comforter.” Again, He is the Witness: “The Holy Spirit also is a witness to us” (Heb. 10:15); “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16)—the term is a forensic one, denoting the supplying of valid evidence or legal proof; obviously, only an intelligent agent is capable of discharging such an office. He is Justifier and Sanctifier: “But ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
5. Personal pronouns are used about Him. The word “pneuma” in the Greek, like “spirit” in the English, is neuter, nevertheless
the Holy Spirit is frequently spoken of in the masculine gender: “The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will
send in My name, He shall teach you all things” (John 14:26)—the personal pronoun could not, without violating grammar and
propriety, be applied to any other but a person. Referring again to Him, Christ said, “If I depart, I will send Him unto you” (John
16:7)—there is no other alternative than to regard the Holy Spirit as a Person, or to be guilty of the frightful blasphemy of affirming that the Savior employed language which could only mislead His Apostles and bring them into fearful error. “I will pray the Father that he shall give another Comforter” (John 14:16)—no comparison would be possible between Christ (a Person) and an abstract influence.
Borrowing the language of the revered J. Owen, we may surely say, “By all these testimonies we have fully confirmed what was
designed to be proved by them, namely, that the Holy Spirit is not a quality, as some speak, residing in the Divine nature; not a
mere emanation of virtue and power from God; not the acting of the power of God in and unto our sanctification, but a holy,
intelligent subsistent, or Person.” May it please the Eternal Spirit to add His blessings to the above, apply the same to our hearts,
and make His adorable Person more real and precious to each of us. Amen.
Chapter 3 – The Deity of the Holy Spirit
In the last chapter we endeavored to supply from the testimony of Holy Writ abundant and clear evidence that the Holy Spirit is a conscious, intelligent, personal Being. Our present concern is the nature and dignity of His Person. We sincerely trust that our
psent inquiry will not strike our readers as being a superfluous one: surely any mind which is impressed with a due reverence for the subject we are upon will readily allow that we cannot be too minute and particular in the investigation of a point of such infinite importance. While it be true that almost every passage which we brought forward to demonstrate the Spirit’s person-ality also contained decisive proof of His Godhead, yet we deemed the present aspect of our subject of such importance as to be justly entitled to a separate regard—the more so, as error at this point is fatal to the soul.
Deity or Not Deity
Having shown, then, that God’s Word expressly and unequivocally teaches that the Spirit is a Person, the next question to be considered is, Under what character are we to consider Him? What rank does He occupy in the scale of existence? It has been truly said that, “He is either God, possessing, in a distinction of Person, an ineffable unity of the Divine nature with the Father and the Son, or He is the creature of God, infinitely removed from Him in essence and dignity, and having no other than a derivative excellence in that rank to which He is appointed in creation. There is no medium betwixt the one and the other. Nothing intermediate between the Creator and created can be admissible. So that were the Holy Spirit to be placed at the top of all creation, even as high above the highest angel as that angel transcends the lowest reptile of animated life, the chasm would be still infinite; and He, who is emphatically called the Eternal Spirit, would not be God” (Robert Hawker).
We will now endeavor to show from the Word of Truth that the Holy Spirit is distinguished by such names and attributes, that He is endowed with such a plentitude of underived power, and that He is the Author of such works as to altogether transcend finite ability, and such as can belong to none but God Himself. However mysterious and inexplicable to human reason the existence of a distinction of Persons in the essence of the Godhead may be, yet if we submissively bow to the plain teachings of the Divine Oracles, then the conclusion that there subsists three Divine Persons who are co-essential, co-eternal, and co-equal is unavoidable.
He of whom such works as the creation of the universe, the inspiration of the Scriptures, the formation of the humanity of Christ, the regeneration and sanctification of the elect, is, and must be, GOD; or, to use the language of 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit.”
Proofs of the Spirit’s Deity
1) The Holy Spirit is expressly called God. To Ananias Peter said, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” and then in the very next verse, he affirms “thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3, 4): if, then, lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God, it necessarily follows that the Spirit must be God. Again, the saints are called “the temple of God,” and the reason proving this is that, “the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1 Cor. 3:16). In like manner, the body of the individual saint is designated, “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” and then the exhortation is made, “therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). In 1 Corinthians 12, where the diversity of His gifts, administrations, and operations are mentioned, He is spoken of severally as “the same Spirit” (v. 4), “the same Lord” (v. 5), “the same God” (v. 6). In 2 Corinthians 6:16 the Holy Spirit is called “the living God.”
2) The Holy Spirit is expressly called Jehovah, a name that is utterly incommunicable to all creatures, and which can be applied to none except the Great Supreme. It was Jehovah who spoke by the mouth of all the holy Prophets from the beginning of the world (Luke 1:68, 70), yet in 2 Peter 1:20 it is implicitly declared that those Prophets all spoke by “the Holy Spirit” (see also 2 Sam. 23:2-3, and compare Acts 1:16)! It was Jehovah whom Israel tempted in the wilderness, “sinning against God and provoking the Most High” (Psa. 78:17, 18), yet in Isaiah 63:10 this is specifically termed, “rebelling against and vexing the Holy Spirit”! In Deuteronomy 32:12 we read, “The Lord alone did lead them,” yet speaking of the same people, at the same time, Isaiah 63:14 declares, “the Spirit of the Lord did lead them.” It was Jehovah who bade Isaiah, “Go and tell this people, hear ye indeed” (6:8, 9), while the Apostle declared, “well spake the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the Prophet, saying, Go unto the people and say, Hear ye indeed…” (Acts 28:25, 26)! What could more plainly establish the identity of Jehovah and the Holy Spirit?
Note that the Holy Spirit is called “the Lord” in 2 Thessalonians 3:5.
3) The perfections of God are all found in the Spirit. By what is the nature of any being determined but by its properties? He who possesses the properties peculiar to an angel or man is rightly esteemed one. So He who possesses the attributes or properties which belong alone to God, must be considered and worshipped as God. The Scriptures very clearly and abundantly affirm that the Holy Spirit is possessed of the attributes peculiar to God. They ascribe to Him absolute holiness. As God is called “Holy,” “the Holy One,” being therein described by that superlatively excellent property of His nature wherein He is “glorious in holiness” (Exo. 15:11); so is the Third Person of the Trinity designated “the Spirit of Holiness” (Rom. 1:4) to denote the holiness of His nature and the Deity of His Person. The Spirit is eternal (Heb. 9:14). He is omnipresent: “Whither shall I flee from thy Spirit?” (Psa. 139:7). He is omniscient (see 1 Cor. 2:10, 11). He is omnipotent: being termed “the Power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35; see also Micah 2:8, and compare Isa. 40:28).
4) The absolute sovereignty and supremacy of the Spirit manifest His Godhead. In Matthew 4:1 we are told, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness”: who but a Divine Person had the right to direct the Mediator? and to whom but God would the Redeemer have submitted! In John 3:8 the Lord Jesus drew an analogy between the wind which “bloweth where it listeth” (not being at the disposal or direction of any creature), and the imperial operations of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 it is expressly affirmed that the Holy Spirit has the distribution of all spiritual gifts, having nothing but His own pleasure for His rule. He must, then, be “God over all, blessed forever.” In Acts 13:2-4 we find the Holy Spirit calling men unto the work of the ministry, which is solely a Divine prerogative, though wicked men have abrogated it unto themselves. In these verses it will be found that the Spirit appointed their work, commanded them to be set apart by the church, and sent them forth. In Acts 20:28 it is plainly declared thatthe Holy Spirit set officers over the church.
5) The works ascribed to the Spirit clearly demonstrate His Godhead. Creation itself is attributed to Him, no less than to the Father and the Son: “By the Spirit He hath garnished the heavens” (Job 26: 13): “the Spirit of God hath made me” (Job 33:4). He is concerned in the work of providence (Isa. 40:13-15; Acts 16:6, 7). All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16), the source of which is the Spirit Himself (2 Peter 1:21). The humanity of Christ was miraculously formed by the Spirit (Matt. 1:20). Christ was anointed for His work by the Spirit (Isa. 61:1; John 3:34). His miracles were performed by the Spirit’s power (Matt. 12:38). He was raised from the dead by the Spirit (Rom. 8:11). Who but a Divine person could have wrought such works as these!?
Reader, do you have a personal and inward proof that the Holy Spirit is none other than God? Has He wrought in you that which no finite power could? Has He brought you from death unto life, made you a new creature in Christ, imparted to you a living faith, filled you with holy longings after God? Does He breathe into you the spirit of prayer, take of the things of Christ and show them unto you, apply to your heart both the precepts and promises of God? If so, then, these are so many witnesses in your own bosom of the deity of the Blessed Spirit.
Pink’s Chapter 4 – The Titles of the Holy Spirit
Correct views of the Divine character lie at the foundation of all genuine and vital godliness. It should, then, be one of our chief
quests to seek after the knowledge of God. Without the true knowledge of God, in His nature and attributes, we can neither worship Him acceptably nor serve Him aright.
“Names” Describe Character
Now the three Persons in the Godhead have graciously revealed Themselves through a variety of names and titles. The Nature
of God we are utterly incapable of comprehending, but His person and character may be known. Each name or title that God has appropriated unto Himself is that whereby He reveals Himself unto us, and whereby He would have us know and own Him.
Therefore whatever any name of God expresses Him to be, that He is, for He will not deceive us by giving Himself a wrong or
false name. On this account He requires us to trust in His Name, because He will assuredly be found unto us all that His Name
imports. The names of God, then, are for the purpose of expressing Him unto us; they set forth His perfections and make known the different relations which He sustains unto the child-ren of men and unto His own favored people. Names are given for this intent, that they might declare what the thing is to which the name belongs. Thus, when God created Adam and gave him dominion over this visible world, He caused the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air to pass before him, that they might receive names from him (Gen. 2:19).
In like manner, we may learn of what God is through the names and titles He has taken. By means of them, God spells out Himself to us, sometimes by one of His perfections, sometimes by another. A very wide field of study is here introduced to us, yet we can now say no more than that the prayerful and diligent searcher will find it a highly profitable one to investigate.
What has been said above serves to indicate the importance of the present aspect of our subject. What the Holy Spirit is in His
Divine Person and ineffable character is made known unto us by means of the many names and varied titles which are accorded to Him in Holy Writ. A whole volume, rather than a brief chapter, might well be devoted to their contemplation. May we be Divinely guided in using the limited space which is now at our disposal in writing that which will both magnify the Third Person in the blessed Trinity, and serve as a stimulus unto our readers to give more careful study and holy meditation to those titles of His which we cannot here consider. Possibly, we can help our friends most by devoting our attention to those which are more difficult to apprehend.
Concurrence in the Trinity
The Holy Spirit is designated by a great many names and titles in Scripture which clearly evince both His personality and Deity.
Some of these are peculiar to Himself, others He has in common with the Father and the Son, in the undivided essence of the
Divine nature. While in the wondrous scheme of redemption the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are revealed unto us under
distinct characters, by which we are taught to ascribe certain operations to one more immediately than to another, yet the agency of each is not to be considered as so detached but that They co-operate and concur. For this reason the Third Person of the Trinity is called the Spirit of the Father (John 14:26) and the Spirit of the Son (Gal. 4:6), because, acting in conjunction with the Father and the Son, the operations of the one are in effect the operations of the others—and altogether result from the indivisible essence of the Godhead.
Titles Used in Scripture
First, He is designated “The Spirit,” which expresses two things. First, His Divine nature, for “God is Spirit” (John 4:24); as the
Thirty-Nine Articles of the Episcopal Church well express it, “without body, parts, or passions.” He is essentially pure, incorporeal Spirit, as distinct from any material or visible substance. Second, it expresses His mode of operation on the hearts of the people of God, which is compared in Scripture to a “breath,” or the movement of the “wind”—both of which adumbrate Him in this lower world; suitably so, inasmuch as they are invisible, and yet vitalizing elements. “Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live” (Ezek. 37:9). Therefore was it that in His public descent on the day of Pentecost, “suddenly there came a sound from Heaven of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2).
Second, He is called by way of eminency “The Holy Spirit” which is His most usual appellation in the New Testament. Two things are included. First, respect is had unto His nature. As Jehovah is distinguished from all false gods thus, “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods; who is like thee, glorious in holiness” (Exo. 15:11); so is the Spirit called Holy to denote the holiness of His nature. This appears plainly in Mark 3:29, 30, “He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness; because they said, he hath an unclean spirit”—thus opposition is made between His immaculate nature and that of the unclean or unholy spirit. Observe, too, how this verse also furnishes clear proof of His personality, for the “unclean spirit” is a person, and if the Spirit were not a Person, no comparative opposition could be made between them. So also we see here His absolute Deity, for only God could be “blasphemed”! Second, this title views His operations and that in respect of all His works, for every work of God is holy—in hardening and blinding, equally as in regenerating and sanctifying.
Third, He is called God’s “good Spirit” (Neh. 9:20). “Thy Spirit is good” (Psa. 143:10). He is so designated principally from
His nature, which is essentially good for “there is none good but one, that is God” (Matt. 19:17); so also from His operations, for
“the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth” (Eph. 5:9).
Fourth, He is called the “free Spirit” (Psa. 51:12), so designated because He is a most munificent Giver, bestowing His favors
severally as He pleases, literally, and upbraiding not; also because it is His special work to deliver God’s elect from the bondage of sin and Satan, and bring them into the glorious liberty of God’s children.
Fifth, He is called “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9) because sent by Him (Acts 2:33), and as furthering His cause on earth (John
Sixth, He is called “the Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 8:29) because He possesses Divine authority and requires unhesitating submission from us.
Seventh, He is called, “the Eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14). “Among the names and titles by which the Holy Spirit is known in
Scripture, that of ‘the eternal Spirit’ is His peculiar appellation—a name, which in the very first face of things, accurately defines His nature, and carries with it the most convincing proof of Godhead. None but ‘the High and Holy One, inhabiteth eternity,’ can be called eternal. Of other beings, who possess a derivative immortality, it may be said that as they are created for eternity, they may enjoy, through the benignity of their Creator, a future eternal duration. But this differs as widely as the east is from the west, when applied to Him of whom we are speaking. He alone, who possesses an underived, independent, and necessary self-existence, ‘who was, and is, and is to come,’ can be said, in exclusion of all other beings, to be eternal” (Robert Hawker).
Eighth, He is called “the Paraclete” or “the Comforter” (John 14:16) than which no better translation can be given, providing
the English meaning of the word be kept in mind. Comforter means more than Consoler. It is derived from two Latin words, com “along side of” and fortis “strength.” Thus a “comforter” is one who stands alongside of one in need, to strengthen. When Christ said He would ask the Father to give His people “another Comforter,” He signified that the Spirit would take His own place, doing for the disciples, what He had done for them while He was with them on earth. The Spirit strengthens in a variety of ways: consoling when cast down, giving grace when weak or timid, guiding when perplexed.
We close this subject with a few words from the pen of the late J. C. Philpot (1863), “Nor let anyone think that this doctrine of
the distinct Personality of the Holy Spirit is a mere strife of words, or unimportant matter, or an unprofitable discussion, which we may take or leave, believe or deny, without any injury to our faith or hope. On the contrary, let this be firmly impressed on your mind, that if you deny or disbelieve the Personality of the blessed Spirit, you deny and disbelieve with it the grand foundation truth of the Trinity. If your doctrine be unsound, your experience must be a delusion, and your practice an imposition.”
Pink’s “The Holy Spirit” Chapter 5
The Covenant-Offices of the Holy Spirit
The ground which we are now to tread, will, we fear, be new and strange to most of our readers. In the January and February 1930 issues of Studies in the Scriptures, we wrote two rather lengthy articles upon “The Everlasting Covenant.” There we dwelt principally upon it in connection with the Father and the Son; here we shall contemplate the relation of the Holy Spirit unto the same. His covenant-offices are intimately connected with and indeed flow from His Deity and Personality, for if He had not been a Divine Person in the Godhead, He would not and could not have taken a part in the Covenant of Grace. Before proceeding further, let us define our terms.
By the “Covenant of Grace,” we refer to that holy and solemn compact entered into between the august Persons of the Trinity
on behalf of the elect, before the foundation of the world.
By the word “offices” we understand the whole of that part of this sacred compact which the Holy Spirit undertook to perform. Lest some should suppose that the application of such a term to the Third Person of the Godhead be derogatory to His ineffable majesty, let us point out that it by no means implies subordination or inferiority. It signifies literally a particular charge, trust, duty, or employment, conferred for some public or beneficial end. Hence we read of “the priest’s office” (Exo. 28:1; Luke 1:8), the apostolic “office” (Rom. 11:13), etc.
There is then no impropriety in using the word “office” to express the several parts which the Son and the blessed Spirit undertook in the Covenant of Grace. As Persons in the Trinity they were equal; as covenanting Parties they were equal; and as They in infinite condescension, undertook to communicate to the church un-utterable favors and blessings, Their kind offices, so graciously and voluntarily entered into, neither destroy nor diminish that original equality in which They from all eternity subsisted in the perfection and glory of the Divine Essence. As Christ’s assumption of the “office” of “Servant” in no way tarnished or canceled His equality as the Son, so the Spirit’s free undertaking the office of applying the benefits of the Everlasting Covenant (Covenant of Grace) to its beneficiaries in no way detracts from His essential and personal honor and glory.
The word “office,” then, as applied to the covenant-work of the Holy Spirit, denotes that which He graciously undertook to perform by way of stipulated engagement and sets forth, under one comprehensive term, the whole of His blessed pledging and
performances on behalf of the election of grace. To an enlightened understanding and a believing heart, there is in the Covenant itself—in the fact of it, and the provisions of it—something singularly marvelous and precious. That there should have been a Covenant at all—that the three Persons in the Godhead should have deigned to enter into a solemn compact on behalf of a section of the fallen, ruined, and guilty race of mankind should fill our minds with holy wonderment and adoration.
How firm a foundation was thus laid for the salvation of the church. No room was allowed for contingencies, no place left for uncertainties; her being and well-being was forever secured by unalterable compact and eternal decree.
The Spirit’s Covenant-Office: Sanctification
Now the “office-work” of the Holy Spirit in connection with this “everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure” (2 Sam. 23:5), may be summed up in a single word, sanctification. The Third Person of the Holy Trinity agreed to sanctify the objects of the Father’s eternal choice, and of the Son’s redemptive satisfaction. The Spirit’s work of sanctification was just as needful, yea, as indispensable for the church’s salvation, as was the obedience and blood-shedding of Christ.
Adam’s fall plunged the church into immeasurable depths of woe and wretchedness. The image of God in which her members had been created was defaced. Sin, like a loathsome leprosy, infected them to the very heart’s core. Spiritual death spread itself with fatal effect over her every faculty. But the gracious Holy Spirit pledged Himself to sanctify such wretches, and frame and fit them to be partakers of holiness, and live forever in God’s spotless presence.
Without the Spirit’s sanctification the redemption of Christ would avail no man. True, a perfect atonement was made by Him and a perfect righteousness brought in, and so the persons of the elect are legally reconciled to God. But Jehovah is holy as well as just, and the employments and enjoyment of His dwelling-place are holy too. Holy angels there minister whose unceasing cry is,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3). How then could unholy, unregenerated, unsanctified sinners dwell in that ineffable place into which “there shall in no way enter anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie” (Rev. 21:27)? But O the wonder of covenant grace and covenant love! The vilest of sinners, the worst of wretches, the basest of mortals, can and will enter through the gates into the Holy City: “And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
From what has been said in the last paragraph it should be clear that sanctification is as indispensable as justification. Now there
are many phases presented in Scripture of this important Truth of sanctification, into which we cannot here enter. Suffice it to say that aspect of it which is now before us is the blessed work of the Spirit upon the soul, whereby He internally makes the saints meet for their inheritance in the light (Col. 1:12): without this miracle of grace none can enter Heaven. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (1 John 3:6): no matter how it be educated and refined, no matter how disguised by religious ornamentation, it remains still flesh. It is like everything else which earth produces: no manipulation of art can change the original nature of the raw material.
No process of manufacture can transmute cotton into wool, or flax into silk: draw, twist, spin or weave, bleach and surface all we may, its nature remains the same. So men-made preachers and the whole corps of creature religionists may toil night and day to change flesh into spirit, they may work from the cradle to the grave to fit people for Heaven, but after all their labors to wash the Ethiopian white and to rub the spots out of the leopard, flesh is flesh still and cannot by any possibility enter the kingdom of God.
Nothing but the supernatural operations of the Holy Spirit will avail. Not only is man polluted to the very core by sin original and actual, but there is in him an absolute incapability to understand, embrace or enjoy spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).
The imperative necessity, then, of the Spirit’s work of sanctification lies not only in the sinfulness of man, but in the state of spiritual death whereby he is as unable to live, breathe, and act God-ward as the corpse in the graveyard is unable to leave the silent tomb and move among the busy haunts of men.
We indeed know little of the Word of God and little of our own hearts if we need proof of a fact which meets us at every turn; the vileness of our nature and the thorough deathliness of our carnal heart are so daily and hourly forced upon us that they are a such a matter of painful consciousness to the Christian, as if we should see the sickening sight of a slaughter-house, or smell the death taint of a corpse.
Suppose a man is born blind: he has a natural incapacity of sight. No arguments, biddings, threats, or promises can make him see. But let the miracle be wrought: let the Lord touch the eyes with His Divine hand; he sees at once. Though he cannot explain how or why, he can say to all objectors, “One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). And thus it is in the Spirit’s work of sanctification, begun at regeneration, when a new life is given, a new capacity imparted, a new desire awakened. It is carried forward in his daily renewing (2 Cor. 4:16) and is completed at glorification. What we would specially emphasize is that whether the Spirit is convicting us, working repentance in us, breathing upon us the spirit of prayer, or taking of the things of Christ and showing them unto our joyful hearts, He is discharging His covenant-offices. May we render unto Him the praise and worship which is His due.
A.W. Pink – The Holy Spirit Chapter 6
The Holy Spirit during the Old Testament Ages
Much ignorance prevails today concerning this aspect of our subject. The crudest ideas are now entertained as to the relationbetween the Third Person of the Godhead and the Old Testament saints. Yet this is scarcely to be wondered at in view of the fearful confusion which obtains respecting their salvation, many supposing that they were saved in an entirely different way from what we are now. Nor need we be surprised at that, for this, in turn, is only another of the evil effects produced by the misguided efforts of those who have been so eager to draw as many contrasts as possible between the present dispensation and those which preceded it, to the disparaging of the earlier members of God’s family. The Old Testament saints had far more in common with the New Testament saints than is generally supposed.
A verse which has been grossly perverted by many of our moderns is John 7:39, “The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” It seems passing strange that with the Old Testament in their hands, some men should place the construction which they do upon those words. The words “was not yet given” can no more be understood absolutely than “Enoch was not” (Gen. 5:24); they simply mean that the Spirit had not yet been given in His full administrative authority. He was not yet publicly manifested here on earth. All believers, in every age, had been sanctified and comforted by Him, but the “ministration of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:8) was not at that time fully introduced; the outpouring of the Spirit, in the plentitude of His miraculous gifts, had not then taken place.
In Relation to Creation
Let us first consider, though very briefly, the work of the Spirit in connection with the old or material creation. Before the worlds were framed by the Word of God, and things which are seen were made out of things which do not appear (Heb. 11:3), when the whole mass of inanimate matter lay in one undistinguished chaos, “without form and void,” we are told that, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2). There are other passages which ascribe the work of creation (in common with the Father and the Son), to His immediate agency. For example, we are told, “by His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens” (Job 26:13). Job was moved to confess, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (33:4). “Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth” (Psa. 104:30).
In Relation to Adam
Let us next contemplate the Holy Spirit in relation to Adam. As so much darkness now surrounds this subject, we must enter
into it in greater detail. “Three things were required to render man fit unto that life to God for which he was made. First, an ability to discern the mind and wisdom of God with respect unto all the duty and obedience that God requires of him; as also for to know the nature and properties of God, as to believe Him the only proper object of all acts and duties of religious obedience, and an all sufficient satisfaction and reward in this world, and to eternity.
Secondly, a free, uncontrolled, un-entangled, disposition to every duty of the law of his creation for living unto God.
Thirdly, an ability of mind and will, with a readiness of compliance in his affections, for a regular performance of all duties and abstinence from all sin. These things belonged unto the integrity of his nature, with the uprightness of the state and condition wherein he was made. And all these things were the peculiar effects of the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit. “Thus Adam may be said to have had the Spirit of God in his innocence. He had Him in these peculiar effects of His power and goodness, and he had Him according to the tenor of that covenant, whereby it was possible that he should utterly lose Him, as accordingly it came to pass. He had Him not by especial inhabitation, for the whole world was then the temple of God. In the Covenant of Grace, founded in the Person and on the mediation of Christ, it is otherwise. On whomsoever the Spirit of God is bestowed for the renovation of the image of God in him, He abides with him forever” (J. Owen, 1680).
The three things mentioned above by that eminent Puritan constituted the principal part of that “image of God” wherein man was created by the Spirit. Proof of this is seen in the fact that at regeneration the Holy Spirit restores those abilities in the souls of God’s elect: “And hath put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created him” (Col. 3:10): that is, the spiritual knowledge which man lost at the Fall is, potentially, restored at the new birth; but it could not be restored or “renewed” if man had never possessed it!
The “knowledge” with which the Holy Spirit endowed Adam was great indeed. Clear exemplification of this is seen in Genesis 2:19. Still, more conclusive evidence is found in Genesis 2:21-23: God put Adam into a deep sleep, took a rib out of his side, formed it into a woman, and then set her before him. On sight of her Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” He knew who she was and her origin, and forthwith gave her a suitable name; and he could only have known all this by the Spirit of revelation and understanding.
That Adam was, originally, made a partaker of the Holy Spirit is quite evident to the writer from Genesis 2:7, “The Lord God
formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” If those words were interpreted in the light of the Analogy of Faith, they can mean nothing less than that the Triune God imparted the Holy Spirit unto the first man.
In Ezekiel 37 we have a vivid parabolic picture of the regenerating of spiritual Israel. There we are told, “Prophesy unto the Wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the Wind, Thus saith the LORD God, Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the Breath came unto them, and they lived” (vv. 9, 10).
Again, we find the Savior, after His resurrection, “Breathed on them (the Apostles), and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22): that was the counterpart of Genesis 2:7: the one the original gift, the other the restoration of what was lost. Rightly has it been said that “The doctrine that man was originally, though mutably, replenished with the Spirit, may be termed the deep fundamental thought of the Scripture doctrine of man. If the first and second Adam are so related that the first man was the analogue or figure of the second, as all admit on the authority of Scripture (Rom. 5:12-14), it is clear that, unless the first man possessed the Spirit, the last man, the Healer or Restorer of the forfeited inheritance, would not have been the medium of giving the Spirit, who was withdrawn on account of sin, and who could be restored only on account of the everlasting righteousness which Christ (Rom. 8:10) brought in” (G. Smeaton, 1880).
In Relation to the Nation Israel
Let us next observe the relation of the Holy Spirit unto the nation of Israel. A very striking and comprehensive statement was made by Nehemiah, when he reviewed the Lord’s dealings with His people of old: “Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them” (Neh. 9:20). He was, until quenched, upon the members of the Sanhedrin (Num. 11:16, 17). He came upon the judges (Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 15:14), upon the kings (1 Sam. 11:6; 16:13), and the Prophets. But note it is a great mistake to say, as many have done, that the Holy Spirit was never in any believer before Pentecost: Numbers 27:18, Nehemiah 9:30, 1 Peter 1:11 clearly prove otherwise.
But alas, Israel “rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit” (Isa. 63:10), as Stephen declared, “Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51). That the Holy Spirit indwelt saints under the Legal economy is clear from many considerations: how otherwise could they have been regenerated, had faith, been enabled to perform works acceptable to God? The Spirit prompted true prayer, inspired spiritual worship, produced His fruit in the lives of believers then (see Zech. 4:6) as much as He does now. We have “the same Spirit of faith” (2 Cor. 4:13) as they had. All the spiritual good which has ever been wrought in and through men must be ascribed unto the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was given to the Old Testament saints prospectively, as pardon of sin was given in view of the satisfaction which Christ was to render unto God.
A.W. Pink – The Holy Spirit Chapter 7
The Holy Spirit and Christ
We are afraid that our treatment of the particular aspect of this man-sided theme which is now before us is rather too abstruse for some of our readers to follow, yet we trust they will kindly bear with us as we endeavor to write for those who are anxious for help on the deeper things of God.
The Deeper Things of God
As stated before, we are seeking to minister unto widely different classes, unto those with differing capacities, and therefore we wish to provide a varied spiritual menu. He who is hungry will not leave the table in disgust because one dish thereon appeals not to him. We ask their forbearance while we seek to give something like completeness to our exposition of the subject as a whole. “As the humanity of Christ was assumed into the Hypostatic union, we may fitly say, on the one hand, that the Person of Christ was anointed, so far as the call to office was concerned; while we bear in mind, on the other hand, that it is the humanity that is anointed in as far as we contemplate the actual supplies of God’s gifts and graces, aids and endowments, necessary to the execution of His office.
But that we may not be engulfed in one-sidedness, it must be also added that the Holy Spirit, according to the order of the Trinity, interposes His power only to execute the will of the Son … as to the unction of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit, it was different according to the three grades successively imparted. The first grade was at the incarnation; the second coincided with His baptism, the third and highest grade was at the ascension, when He sat down on His mediatorial throne, and received from the Father the gift of the Spirit to bestow upon His Church in abundant measure” (G. Smeaton).
The Spirit in the Incarnation and Baptism of Christ
We have already contemplated the first anointing of the Lord Jesus when, in His mother’s womb, His humanity was endowed with all spiritual graces, and when through childhood and up to the age of 30 He was illuminated, guided, and preserved by the immediate operations of the Third Person in the Godhead. We come now to briefly consider His second anointing, when He was formally consecrated unto His public mission and Divinely endowed for His official work. This took place at the River Jordan, when He was baptized by His forerunner. Then it was, while emerging from the waters, that the heavens were opened, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father was heard testifying unto His infinite pleasure in His incarnate Son (Matt. 3:16, 17). All the references to that unique transaction call for close examination and prayerful study.
The first thing that is recorded after this is, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:14). The reason why we are told this seems to be for the purpose of showing us that Christ’s
humanity was confirmed by the Spirit and made victorious over the devil by His power. Hence it is we read that right after the temptation, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee” (Luke 4:14).
Next we are told that He entered the synagogue at Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” and declared, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:18, 19, 21).
Here, then, is to be seen the leading distinction between the first and second “grades” of Christ’s “unction” from the Spirit. The first was for the forming of His human nature and the enduing it with perfect wisdom and faultless holiness. The second was to endow Him with supernatural powers for His great work. Thus the former was personal and private, the latter official and public; the one was bestowing upon Him of spiritual graces, the other imparting to Him ministerial gifts. His need for this double “anointing” lay in the creature-nature He had assumed and the servant-place which He had taken; and also as a public attestation from the Father of His acceptance of Christ’s Person and His induction into His mediatorial office.
Thus was fulfilled that ancient oracle, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; and shall make Him of quick understanding” (Isa. 11:2, 3).“For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him” (John 3:34).
This at once brings out the pre-eminence of Christ, for He receives the Spirit as no mere man could. Observe the contrast pointed out by Ephesians 4:7, “But unto everyone of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” In none but the Mediator did “all the fullness of the Godhead” dwell “bodily” (Col. 2:9). The uniqueness of the Spirit’s relation to our Lord comes out again in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Note carefully the words we have italicized: not only does this statement reveal to us the source of all Christ’s actions, but it intimates that more habitual grace dwells in Him than in all created beings.
The Spirit in the Ascension of Christ
The third degree of Christ’s unction was reserved for His exaltation, and is thus described, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). This highest ride of unction, when Christ was “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows” (Psa. 45:7) and which became apparent at Pentecost, was an ascension-gift. The declaration which Peter gave of it was but a paraphrase of Psalm 68:18, “Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD might dwell among them.” That bountiful supply of the Spirit was designed for the erecting and equipping of the New Testament church, and it was fitly bestowed after the ascension upon those for whom the Spirit was purchased.
Christ Bestows the Spirit
As Mediator, the Lord Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit for the execution of all His offices, and for the performance of all His mediatorial work. His right to send the Spirit into the hearts of fallen men was acquired by His atonement. It was the well earned reward of all His toil and sufferings.
One of the chief results of the perfect satisfaction which Christ offered to God on behalf of His people, was His right now to bestow the Spirit upon them. Of old it was promised Him, “By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities: therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death” (Isa. 53:11, 12). So, too, His forerunner had announced, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11).
What has just been said above is further borne out by Galatians 3:13, 14. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us … that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” The promised Spirit followed the great work of canceling the curse as the effect follows the cause. To give the Holy Spirit to men, clearly implied that their sins had been put away; see Leviticus 14:14, 17 for the type of this—the “oil” (emblem of the Spirit) placed upon the “blood”!
Not only does Christ’s right to bestow the Holy Spirit upon His redeemed intimate the cancellation of their sins, but it also clearly argues His Divine dignity, for no mere servant, however exalted his station, could act thus or confer such a Gift!
A Joint Mission
From the varied quotations which have been made from Scripture in reference to Christ’s unction for all His offices, it sometimes appears as if He were in the subordinate position of needing direction, aid, and miraculous power for the purposes of His mission (Isa. 11:1-3; 61:1, 2, etc.); at other times He is said to have the Spirit (Rev. 3:1), to give the Spirit (Acts 2:33), to send the Spirit (John 15:26) as if the Spirit’s operations were subordinated to the Son. But all difficulty is removed when we perceive, from the whole tenor of Scripture, that there was a conjoined mission in which the Son and the Spirit act together for the salvation of God’s elect. The Son effected redemption—the Spirit reveals and applies it to all for whom it was purchased.
In writing on the Holy Spirit and Christ, it is to be understood that we are not now contemplating our Lord as the Second Person of the Trinity, but rather as the God-man Mediator, and the Holy Spirit not in His Godhead abstractly considered, but in His official discharge of the work assigned Him in the Everlasting Covenant. This is undoubtedly the most difficult aspect of our subject, yet it is very important that we should prayerfully strive after clear scriptural views thereof. To apprehend aright, even according to our present limited capacity, the relation between the Holy Spirit and the Redeemer, throws much light on some difficult problems, supplies the key to a number of perplexing passages in Holy Writ, and better enables us to understand the work of the Spirit in the saint.
“Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning: from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God and his Spirit hath sent Me” (Isa. 48:16). This remarkable verse presents to us the Lord Jesus speaking of old by the spirit of prophecy. He declares that He had always addressed the Nation in the most open manner, from the time when He appeared unto Moses at the burning bush and called Himself, “I am that I am” (Exo. 3); and He was constantly present with Israel as their Lord and Deliverer. And now the Father and the Spirit had sent Him to effect the promised spiritual deliverance of His people; sent Him in the likeness of sin’s flesh, to preach the Gospel, fulfill the Law, and make a perfect satisfaction unto Divine justice for His church.
Here, then, is a glorious testimony unto a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead: the Son of God is sent in human nature and as Mediator; Jehovah the Father and the Spirit are the Senders, and so is a proof of Christ’s mission, commission, and authority, who came not of Himself, but was sent of God (John 8:42). “The Lord hath created a new thing in the earth: A woman shall compass a man” (Jer. 31:22). Here we have one of the prophetic announcements of the wonder of the Divine incarnation, the eternal Word becoming flesh, a human body and soul being prepared for Him by the miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit. Here the Prophet intimates that the creating power of God was to be put forth under which a woman was to compass a Man. The virgin Mary, under the overshadowing power of the Highest (Luke 1:35) was to conceive and bring forth a Child, without the help or cooperation of man. This transcendent wonder Isaiah calls a “sign” (7:14); Jeremiah “a new thing in the earth”; the New Testament record of which is, “When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18). “And the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:40, 52).
Not only was the humanity of Christ supernaturally begotten by the Holy Spirit, but it was “anointed” by Him (cf. Lev. 2:1 for the type), endued with all spiritual races. All the progress in the Holy Child’s mental and spiritual development, all His advancement in knowledge and holiness must be ascribed unto the Spirit. “Progress,” in the human nature which He deigned to assume, side by side with His own Divine perfection, is quite
compatible, as Hebrews 2:14, 17 plainly intimate. As George Smeaton has so helpfully pointed out in his book, the Spirit’s operations “formed the link between Christ’s deity and humanity, perpetually imparting the full consciousness of personality, and making Him inwardly aware of His Divine Sonship at all times.”
Thus the Spirit, at the incarnation, became the great guiding principle of all Christ’s earthly history, and that, according to the order of operation that ever belongs to the Holy Trinity: all proceeds from the Father, through the Son, and is by the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit who formed Christ’s human nature, and directed the whole tenor of His earthly life. Nothing was undertaken but by the Spirit’s directing, nothing was spoken but by His guidance, nothing executed but by His power. Unless this be steadfastly maintained, we are in grave danger of confounding the two natures of Christ, absorbing the one in the other instead of keeping them separate and distinct in our thoughts. Had His Deity been absorbed by His humanity, then grief, fear, and compassion had been impossible.
The right use of the faculties of His soul owed their exercise to the Holy Spirit who fully controlled Him. “From birth to baptism the Spirit directed His mental and moral development, and strengthened and kept Him through all the years of preparation and toil. He was in the Carpenter as truly as in the Messiah, and the work at the bench was as perfect as the sacrifice on the Cross” (S. Chadwick). At first sight, such a statement may seem to derogate from the personal honor of the Lord Jesus, but if we perceive that, according to the order of the Trinity, the Spirit exercises His power only to execute the will of the Father and the Son, then the seeming difficulty disappears. So far is the interposition of the Spirit’s operations from interfering with the glory of the Son, it rather reveals Him the more conspicuously: that in the work of redemption the activities of the Spirit are next in order to those of the Son.
To this we may add another excerpt from G. Smeaton: “The two natures of our Lord actively concurred in every mediatorial act. If He assumed human nature in the true and proper sense of the term into union with His Divine Person, that position must be maintained. The Socinian objection that there could be no further need for the Spirit’s agency, and, in fact, no room for it—if the Divine nature was active in the whole range of Christ’s mediation—is meant to perplex the question, because these men deny the existence of any Divine nature in Christ’s Person. That style of reasoning is futile, for the question simply is, What do the Scriptures teach? Do they affirm that Christ was anointed by the Spirit (Acts 10:38)? that He was led out into the wilderness by the Spirit? that He returned in the power of the Spirit to begin His public ministry? that He performed His miracles by the Spirit? And that, previously to His ascension, He gave commandments by the Spirit to His disciples whom He had chosen (Acts 1:2)? “No warrant exists for anything akin to the Kenotic theory which denudes Him of the essential attributes of His Godhead, and puts His humanity on a mere level with that of other men. And as little warrant exists for denying the Spirit’s work on Christ’s humanity in every mediatorial act which He performed on earth or performs in Heaven.
The unction of the Spirit must be traced in all His personal and official gifts. In Christ the Person and office coincide. In His Divine Person He was the substance of all the offices to which He was appointed, and these He was fitted by the Spirit to discharge. The offices would be nothing apart from Himself, and could have neither coherence nor validity without the underlying Person.”
If the above still appears to derogate from the glory of our Lord’s Person, most probably the difficulty is created by the objector’s failing to realize the reality of the Son’s humanity. The mystery is indeed great, and our only safeguard is to adhere strictly unto the several statements of Scripture thereon. Three things are to be kept steadily in view. First, in all things (sin excepted) the eternal Word was “made like unto his brethren” (Heb. 2:17): all His human faculties developed normally as He passed through infancy, childhood and youth. Second, His Divine nature underwent no change or modification when He became incarnate, yet it was not merged into His humanity, but preserved its own distinctness. Third, He was “anointed with the Spirit” (Acts 10:38), nay, He was the absolute receiver of the Spirit, poured on Him in such a plentitude, that it was not by measure (John 3:34).
A.W. Pink / Chapter 8 – The Advent of the Spirit
It is highly important we should closely observe how each of the Eternal Three has been at marked pains to provide for the honor of the other Divine Persons, and we must be as particular to give it to Them accordingly. How careful was the Father to duly guard the ineffable glory of the Darling of His bosom when He laid aside the visible insignia of His Deity and took upon Him the form of a servant: His voice was then heard more than once proclaiming, “This is my beloved Son.” How constantly did the incarnate Son divert attention from Himself and direct it unto the One who had sent Him. In like manner, the Holy Spirit is not here to glorify Himself, but rather Him whose vicar and Advocate He is (John 16:14). Blessed is it then to mark how jealous both the Father and the Son have been to safeguard the glory and provide for the honor of the Holy Spirit.
The Importance of the Advent of the Spirit
“ ‘If I go not away, the Comforter will not come’ (John 16:7); He will not do these works while I am here, and I have committed all to Him. As My Father hath visibly ‘committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father’ (John 5:22, 23), so I and my Father will send Him having committed all these things to Him, that all men might honor the Holy Spirit, even as they honor the Father and the Son. Thus wary and careful are everyone of the Persons to provide for the honor of each other in our hearts” (T. Goodwin, 1670).
The public advent of the Spirit, for the purpose of ushering in and administering the new covenant, was second in importance only unto the incarnation of our Lord, which was in order to the winding up of the old economy and laying the foundations of the new. When God designed the salvation of His elect, He appointed two great means: the gift of His Son for them, and the gift of His Spirit to them; thereby each of the Persons in the Trinity being glorified. Hence, from the first entrance of sin, there were two great heads to the promises which God gave His people: the sending of His Son to obey and die, the sending of His Spirit to make effectual the fruits of the former. Each of these Divine gifts was bestowed in a manner suited both to the august Giver Himself and the eminent nature of the gifts. Many and marked are the parallels of correspondence between the advent of Christ and the advent of the Spirit.
Parallels in the Advents of Christ and of the Spirit
1. God appointed that there should be a signal coming accorded unto the descent of Each from Heaven to earth for the performance of the work assigned Them. Just as the Son was present with the redeemed Israelites long before His incarnation (Acts 7:37, 38; 1 Cor. 10:4), yet God decreed for Him a visible and more formal advent, which all of His people knew of—so though the Holy Spirit was given to work regeneration in men all through the Old Testament era (Neh. 9:20, etc.), and moved the Prophets to deliver their messages (2 Peter 1:21), never-the-less God ordained that He should have a coming in state, in a solemn manner, accompanied by visible tokens and glorious effects.
2. Both the advents of Christ and of the Spirit were the subjects of Old Testament prediction. During the past century much has been written upon the Messianic prophecies, but the promises which God gave concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit constitute a theme which is generally neglected. The following are among the principal pledges which God made that the Spirit should be given unto and poured out upon His saints: Psalm 68:18; Proverbs 1:23; Isaiah 32:15; Ezekiel 36:26, 39:29; Joel 2:28; Haggai 2:9: in them the descent of the Holy Spirit was as definitely announced as was the incarnation of the Savior in Isaiah 7:14.
3. Just as Christ had John the Baptist to announce His incarnation and to prepare His way, so the Holy Spirit had Christ Himself to foretell His coming, and to make ready the hearts of His own for His advent.
4. Just as it was not until “the fullness of time had come” that God sent forth His Son (Gal. 4:4), so it was not until “the day of Pentecost was fully come” that God sent forth His Spirit (Acts 2:1).
5. As the Son became incarnate in the holy land, Palestine, so the Spirit descended in Jerusalem.
6. Just as the coming of the Son of God into this world was auspiciously signalized by mighty wonders and signs, so the descent of God the Spirit was attended and attested by stirring displays of Divine power. The advent of Each was marked by supernatural phenomena: the angel choir (Luke 2:13) found its counterpart in the “sound from Heaven” (Acts 2:1), and the Shekinah “glory” (Luke 2:9) in the “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:3).
7. As an extraordinary star marked the “house” where the Christ-child was (Matt. 2:9), so a Divine shaking marked the “house” to which the Spirit had come (Acts 2:2).
8. In connection with the advent of Christ there was both a private and a public aspect to it: in like manner, too, was it in the giving of the Spirit. The birth of the Savior was made known unto a few, but when He was to “be made manifest to Israel” (John 1:31), He was publicly identified, for at His baptism the heavens were opened, the Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father audibly owned Him as His Son. Correspondingly, the Spirit was communicated to the Apostles privately, when the risen Savior “breathed on, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22); and later He came publicly on the day of Pentecost when all the great throng then in Jerusalem were made aware of His descent (Acts 2:32-36).
9. The advent of the Son was in order to His becoming incarnate, when the eternal Word was made flesh (John 1:14); so, too, the advent of the Spirit was in order to His becoming incarnate in Christ’s redeemed: as the Savior had declared to them, the Spirit of truth “shall be in you” (John 14:17). This is a truly marvelous parallel. As the Son of God became man, dwelling in a human “temple” (John 2:19), so the Third Person of the Trinity took up His abode in men, to whom it is said, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). As the Lord Jesus said to the Father, “A body hast Thou prepared Me” (Heb. 10:5), so the Spirit could say to Christ, “A body hast Thou prepared Me” (see Eph. 2:22).
10. When Christ was born into this world, we are told that Herod “was troubled and all Jerusalem with him” (Matt. 2:3); in like manner, when the Holy Spirit was given we read, “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were troubled in mind” (Acts 2:5, 6).
11. It had been predicted that when Christ should appear He would be unrecognized and unappreciated (Isa. 53), and so it came to pass. In like manner, the Lord Jesus declared, “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him” (John 14:17).
12. As the Messianic claims of Christ were called into question, so the advent of the Spirit was at once challenged: “They were all amazed and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?” (Acts 2:12).
13. The analogy is yet closer: as Christ was termed “a winebibber” (Matt. 11:19), so of those filled with the Spirit it was said, “These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:13)!
14. As the public advent of Christ was heralded by John the Baptist (John 1:29), so the meaning of the public descent of the Spirit was interpreted by Peter (Acts 2:15-36).
15. God appointed unto Christ the executing of a stupendous work, even that of purchasing the redemption of His people; even so to the Spirit has been assigned the momentous task of effectually applying to His elect the virtues and benefits of the atonement.
16. As in the discharge of His work the Son honored the Father (John 14:10), so in the fulfillment of His mission the Spirit
glorifies the Son (John 16:13, 14).
17. As the Father paid holy deference unto the Son by bidding the disciples, “hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5), in like manner the Son shows respect for His Paraclete by saying, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:7).
18. As Christ committed His saints into the safe-keeping of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7; 14:16), so the Spirit will yet deliver up those saints unto Christ, as the word “receive” in John 14:3 plainly implies.
The Meaning of the Advent of the Spirit
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came as He had never come before. Something then transpired which inaugurated a new era for the world, a new power for righteousness, a new basis for fellow-ship. On that day the fearing Peter was transformed into the intrepid evangelist. On that day the new wine of Christianity burst the old bottles of Judaism, and the Word went forth in a multiplicity of Gentile tongues. On that day more souls seem to have been truly regenerated, than during all the three and one half years of Christ’s public ministry. What had happened? It is not enough to say that the Spirit of God was given, for He had been given long before, both to individuals and the nation of Israel (Neh. 9:20; Hag. 2:5); no, the pressing question is, In what sense was He then given? This leads us to carefully consider the meaning of the Spirit’s advent.
1. It was the fulfillment of the Divine promise. First, of the Father Himself. During the Old Testament dispensation, He declared, again and again, that He would pour out the Spirit upon His people (see Prov. 1:23; Isa. 32:15; Joel 2:28, etc.), and now these gracious declarations were accomplished. Second, of John the Baptist. When he was stirring the hearts of multitudes by his call to repentance and his demand of baptism, many thought he must be the long-expected Messiah, but he declared unto them, “I indeed baptize you with water, but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:15, 16). Accordingly He did so on the day of Pentecost, as Acts 2:32, 33 plainly shows. Third, of Christ. Seven times over the Lord Jesus avowed that He would give or send the Holy Spirit: Luke 24:49; John 7:37-39; 14:16-19; 14:26; 15:26; 16:7; Acts 1:5, 8. From these we may particularly notice, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father … He shall testify of Me” (John 15:26): “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you” (John 16:7).
That which took place in John 20:22 and in Acts 2 was the fulfillment of those promises. In them we behold the faith of the Mediator: He had appropriated the promise which the Father had given Him, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33)—it was by faith’s anticipation the Lord Jesus spoke as He did in the above passage. “The Holy Spirit was God’s ascension gift to Christ, that He might be bestowed by Christ, as His ascension gift to the church. Hence Christ had said, ‘Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you.’ This was the promised gift of the Father to the Son, and the Savior’s promised gift to His believing people. How easy now to reconcile the apparent contradiction of Christ’s earlier and later words: ‘I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter’; and then, afterward, ‘If I depart I will send Him unto you.’ The Spirit was the Father’s answer to the prayer of the Son; and so the gift was transferred by Him to the mystical body of which He is the head” (A. T. Pierson in The Acts of the Holy Spirit).
2. It was the fulfillment of an important Old Testament type. It is this which explains to us why the Spirit was given on the day of “Pentecost,” which was one of the principal religious feasts of Israel. Just as there was a profound significance to Christ’s dying on Passover Day (giving us the antitype of Exo. 12), so there was in the coming of the Spirit on the 50th day after Christ’s resurrection.
The type is recorded in Leviticus 23, to which we can here make only the briefest allusion. In Leviticus 23:4 we read, “These are the feasts of the Lord.” The first of them is the Passover (v. 5) and the second “unleavened bread” (v. 6, etc.); The two together speaking of the sinless Christ offering Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of His people. The third is the “wave sheaf” (v. 10, etc.) which was the “firstfruits of the harvest” (v. 10), presented to God “on the morrow after the (Jewish) Sabbath” (v. 11), a figure of Christ’s resurrection (1 Cor. 15:23).
The fourth is the feast of “weeks” (see Exo. 34:22; Deut. 16:10, 16) so-called because of the seven complete weeks of Leviticus 23:15; also known as “Pentecost” (which means “Fiftieth”) because of the “fifty days” of Leviticus 23:16. It was then the balance of the harvest began to be gathered in. On that day Israel was required to present unto God “two wave loaves,” which were also designated “the first-fruits unto the Lord” (Lev. 23:17). The antitype of which was the saving of the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost: the “firstfruits” of Christ’s atonement, compare James 1:18. The first loaf represented those redeemed from among theJews, the second loaf was anticipatory and pointed to the gathering in of God’s elect from among the Gentiles, begun in Acts 10.
3. It was the beginning of a new dispensation. This was plainly intimated in the type of Leviticus 23, for on the day of Pentecost Israel was definitely required to offer a “new meal offering unto the Lord” (v. 16). Still more clearly was it fore-announced in a yet more important and significant type, namely, that of the beginning of the Mosaic economy, which took place only when the nation of Israel formally entered into covenant relationship with Jehovah at Sinai. Now it is exceedingly striking to observe that just 50 days elapsed from the time when the Hebrews emerged from the house of bondage till they received the Law from the mouth of Moses. They left Egypt on the 15th of the first month (Num. 33:3), and arrived at Sinai the first of the third month (Exo. 19:1, note “the same day”), which would be the forty-sixth. The next day Moses went up into the mount, and three days later the law was delivered (Exo. 19:11)! And just as there was a period of 50 days from Israel’s deliverance from Egypt until the beginning of the Mosaic economy, so the same length of time followed the resurrection of Christ (when His people were delivered from Hell) to the beginning of the Christian economy!
That a new dispensation commenced at Pentecost further appears from the “tongues like as of fire” (Acts 2:1). When John the Baptist announced that Christ would baptize, “with the Holy Spirit and with fire,” the last words might have suggested material burning to any people except Jews, but in their minds far other thoughts would be awakened. To them it would recall the scene when their great progenitor asked God, who promised he should inherit that land wherein he was a stranger, “Lord, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” The answer was “Behold a smoking furnace and a burning lamp …” (Gen. 15:17).
It would recall the fire which Moses saw in the burning bush. It would recall the “pillar of fire” which guided by night, and the Shekinah which descended and filled the tabernacle. Thus, in the promise of baptism by fire they would at once recognize the approach of a new manifestation of the presence and power of God! Again—when we read that, “there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2), further evidence is found that a new dispensation had now commenced. “The word ‘sat’ in Scripture marks an ending and a beginning. The process of preparation is ended and the established order has begun. It marks the end of creation and the beginning of normal forces. ‘In six days the Lord made Heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.’ There is no weariness in God. He did not rest from fatigue: what it means is that all creative work was accomplished. The same figure is used of the Redeemer. Of Him it is said ‘when He had made purification for sins (He) sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.’ No other priesthood had sat down. The priests of the Temple ministered standing because their ministry was provisional and preparatory, a parable and prophecy. Christ’s own ministry was part of the preparation for the coming of the Spirit. Until He ‘sat down’ in glory, there could be no dispensation of the Spirit … When the work of redemption was complete, the Spirit was given, and when He came he ‘sat.’ He reigns in the Church as Christ reigns in the Heavens” (S. Chadwick in The Way to Pentecost).
“There are few incidents more illuminating than that recorded in ‘the last day of the feast’ in John 7:37-39. The feast was that of Tabernacles. The feast proper lasted seven days, during which all Israel dwelt in booths. Special sacrifices were offered and special rites observed. Every morning one of the priests brought water from the pool of Siloam, and amidst the sounding of trumpets and other demonstrations of joy, the water was poured upon the altar. The rite was a celebration and a prophecy. It commemorated the miraculous supply of water in the wilderness, and it bore witness to the expectation of the coming of the Spirit.
On the seventh day the ceremony of the poured water ceased, but the eighth was a day of holy convocation, the greatest day of all. “On that day there was no water poured upon the altar, and it was on the waterless day that Jesus stood on the spot and cried, saying: ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.’ Then He added those words: ‘He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture has said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water.’ The Apostle adds the interpretative comment: ‘But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him were to receive: for the Spirit was not given because Jesus was not yet glorified.’ ‘As the scripture hath said.’ There is no such passage in the Scripture as that quoted, but the prophetic part of the water ceremony was based upon certain Old Testament symbols and prophecies in which water flowed forth from Zion to cleanse, renew, and fructify the world. A study of Joel 3:18 and Ezekiel 47 will supply the key to the meaning both of the rite and our Lord’s promise.
“The Holy Spirit was ‘not yet given,’ but He was promised, and His coming should be from the place of blood, the altar of sacrifice. Calvary opened the fountain from which poured forth the blessing of Pentecost” (S. Chadwick).
4. It was the Grace of God flowing unto the Gentiles. We have considered the meaning of the Spirit’s descent, and pointed out that it was the fulfillment of Divine promise, the accomplish-ment of Old Testament types, and the beginning of a new dispensation. It was also the Grace of God flowing unto the Gentiles. But first let us observe and admire the marvelous grace of God extended unto the Jews themselves. In His charge to the Apostles, the Lord Jesus gave orders that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47), not because the Jews had any longer a covenant standing before God—for the Nation was abandoned by Him before the crucifixion—see Matthew 28:38—but in order to display His matchless mercy and sovereign benignity. Accordingly, in the Acts we see His love shining forth in the midst of the rebellious city. In the very place where the Lord Jesus had been slain the full Gospel was now preached, and 3,000 were quickened by the Holy Spirit.
But the Gospel was to be restricted to the Jews no longer. Though the Apostles were to commence their testimony in Jerusalem, yet Christ’s glorious and all-efficacious Name was to be proclaimed “among all nations.” The earnest of this was given when “devout men out of every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) exclaimed, “How hear we every man in his own tongue?” (v. 8). It was an entirely new thing. Until this time, God had used Hebrew, or a modification of it. Thus Bullinger’s view that a new “Jewish” dispensation (the “Pentecostal”) was then inaugurated is Divinely set aside. What occurred in Acts 2 was a part reversal and in blessed contrast from what is recorded in Genesis 11. There we find “the tongues were divided to destroy an evil unity, and to show God’s holy hatred of Babel’s iniquity.” In Acts 2 we have grace at Jerusalem, and a new and precious unity, suggestive of another building (Matt. 16:18), with living stones—contrast the ‘bricks’ of Genesis 11:3 and its tower (P. W. Heward). In Genesis the dividing of tongues was in judgment; in Acts 2 the cloven tongues were in grace; and in Revelation 7:9, 10 we see men of all tongues in glory.
We next consider the purpose of the Spirit’s descent.
1. To witness unto Christ’s exaltation. Pentecost was God’s seal upon the Messiahship of Jesus. In proof of His pleasure in and acceptance of the sacrificial work of His Son, God raised Him from the dead, exalted Him to His own right hand, and gave Him the Spirit to bestow upon His Church (Acts 2:33). It has been beautifully pointed out by another, that, on the hem of the ephod worn by the high priest of Israel were golden bells and pomegranates (Exo. 28:33, 34). The sound of the bells (and that which gave them sound was their tongues) furnished evidence that he was alive while serving in the sanctuary. The high priest was a type of Christ (Heb. 8:1); the holy place was a figure of Heaven (Heb. 9:24); the “sound from Heaven” and the speaking “in tongues” (Acts 2:2, 4) were a witness that our Lord was alive in Heaven, ministering there as the High Priest of His people.
2. To take Christ’s place. This is clear from His own words to the Apostles, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). Until then, Christ had been their “Comforter,” but He was soon to return to Heaven; nevertheless, as He went on to assure them, “I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you” (marginal rendering of John 14:18); He did “come” to them corporately after His resurrection, but He “came” to them spiritually and abidingly in the Person of His Deputy on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit, then, fills the place on earth of our absent Lord in Heaven, with this additional advantage, that, during the days of His flesh the Savior’s body confined Him unto one location, whereas the Holy Spirit—not having assumed a body as the mode of His incarnation—is equally and everywhere resident in and abiding with every believer.
3. To further Christ’s cause. This is plain from His declaration concerning the Comforter: “He shall glorify Me” (John 16:14). The word “Paraclete” (translated “Comforter” all through the Gospel) is also rendered “Advocate” in 1 John 2:1, and an
“advocate” is one who appears as the representative of another. The Holy Spirit is here to interpret and vindicate Christ, to administer for Christ in His Church and Kingdom. He is here to accomplish His redeeming purpose in the world. He fills the mystical Body of Christ, directing its movements, controlling its members, inspiring its wisdom, supplying its strength. The Holy spirit becomes to the believer individually and the church collectively all that Christ would have been had He remained on earth.
Moreover, He seeks out each one of those for whom Christ died, quickens them into newness of life, convicts them of sin, gives them faith to lay hold of Christ, and causes them to grow in grace and become fruitful. It is important to see that the mission of the Spirit is for the purpose of continuing and completing that of Christ’s. The Lord Jesus declared, “I am come to send fire on the earth: and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:49, 50). The preaching of the Gospel was to be like “fire on the earth,” giving light and warmth to human hearts; it was “kindled” then, but would spread much more rapidly later. Until His death Christ was “straitened”: it did not consist with God’s purpose for the Gospel to be preached more openly and extensively; but after Christ’s resurrection, it went forth unto all nations. Following the ascension, Christ was no longer “straitened” and the Spirit was poured forth in the plenitude of His power.
4. To endue Christ’s servants. “Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) had been the word of Christ to His Apostles. Sufficient for the disciple to be as his Master. He had waited, waited till He was 30, ere He was
“anointed to preach good tidings” (Isa. 61:1). The servant is not above his Lord: if He was indebted to the Spirit for the power of His ministry, the Apostles must not attempt their work without the Spirit’s unction. Accordingly they waited, and the Spirit came upon them. All was changed: boldness supplanted fear, strength came instead of weakness, ignorance gave place to wisdom, and mighty wonders were wrought through them. Unto the Apostles whom He had chosen, the risen Savior “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father,” assuring them that “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come unto you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:2, 4, 8).
Accordingly, we read that, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1): their unity of mind evidently looked back to the Lord’s command and promise, and their trustful expectancy of the fulfillment thereof. The Jewish “day” was from sunset unto the following sunset, and as what took place here in Acts 2 occurred during the early hours of the morning—probably soon after sunrise—we are told that the day of Pentecost was “fully come.”
The Outward Marks of the Spirit’s Advent
The outward marks of the Spirit’s advent were three in number: the “sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,” the “cloven tongues as of fire,” and the speaking “with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Concerning the precise signification of these phenomena, and the practical bearing of them on us today, there has been wide difference of opinion, especially during the past 30 years. Inasmuch as God Himself has not seen fit to furnish us with a full and detailed explanation of them, it behooves all interpreters to speak with reserve and reverence. According to our own measure of light, we shall endeavor briefly to point out some of those things which appear to be most obvious.
First, the “rushing mighty wind” which filled all the house was the collective sign, in which, apparently, all the 120 of Acts 1:15 shared. This was an emblem of the invincible energy with which the Third Person of the Trinity works upon the hearts of men, bearing down all opposition before Him, in a manner which cannot be explained (John 3:8), but which is at once apparent by the effects produced. Just as the course of a hurricane may be clearly traced after it has passed, so the transforming work of the Spirit in regeneration is made unmistakably manifest unto all who have eyes to see spiritual things.
Second, “there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:3), that is, upon the Twelve, and upon them alone. The proof of this is conclusive. First, it was to the Apostles only that the Lord spoke in Luke 24:49. Second, to them only did He, by the Spirit, give commandments after His resurrection (Acts 1:2). Third, to them only did He give the promise of Acts 1:8. Fourth, at the end of Acts 1 we read, “he (Matthias) was numbered with the eleven Apostles.” Acts 2 opens with “And” connecting it with 1:26 and says, “they (the Twelve) were all with one accord in one place” and on them the Spirit now “sat” (Acts 2:3). Fifth, when the astonished multitude came together they exclaimed, “Are not all these which speak Galileans?” (Acts 2:7), namely, the “men (Greek, “males”) of Galilee” of 1:11! Sixth, in Acts 2:14, 15, we read, “But Peter standing up with the eleven lifted up his voice and said unto them, ‘Ye men of Galilee and all ye that dwell in Judea, be this known unto you and hearken unto my words: For these are not drunk”—the word “these” can only refer to the “eleven” standing up with Peter!
These “cloven tongues like as of fire” which descended upon the Apostles was the individual sign, the Divine credential that they were the authorized ambassadors of the enthroned Lamb. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a baptism of fire. “ ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ The elect sign of His presence is the fire unkindled of earth, and the chosen symbol of His approval is the sacred flame: covenant and sacrifice, sanctuary and dispensation were sanctified and approved by the descent of fire. ‘The God that answereth by fire, he is the God’ (1 Kings 18:24). That is the final and universal test of Deity. Jesus Christ came to bring fire on the earth. The symbol of Christianity is not a Cross, but a Tongue of Fire” (Samuel Chadwick).
Third, the Apostles, “speaking with other tongues” were the public sign. 1 Corinthians 14:22 declares “tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not,” and as the previous verse (where Isa. 28:11 is quoted) so plainly shows, they were a sign unto unbelieving Israel. A striking illustration and proof of this is found in Acts 11, where Peter sought to convince his skeptical brethren in Jerusalem that God’s grace was now flowing forth unto the Gentiles: it was his description of the Holy Spirit’s falling upon Cornelius and his household (Acts 11:15-18 and cf. 10:45, 46) which convinced them. It is highly significant that the Pentecostal type of Leviticus 23:22 divided the harvest into three degrees and stages: the “reaping” or main part, corresponding to Acts 2 at Jerusalem; the “corners of the field” corresponding to Acts 10 at “Caesarea Philippi,” which was in the corner of Palestine; and the “gleaning” for “the stranger” corresponding to Acts 19 at Gentile Ephesus! These were the only three occasions
of “tongues” recorded in Acts.
Signs in Relation to “The Pentecostal Movement”
It is well known to some of our readers that during the last generation many earnest souls have been deeply exercised by what is known as “the Pentecostal movement,” and the question is frequently raised as to whether or not the strange power displayed in their meetings, issuing in unintelligible sounds called “tongues,” is the genuine gift of the Spirit. Those who have joined the movement—some of them godly souls, we believe—insist that not only is the gift genuine, but it is the duty of all Christians to seek the same. But surely such seem to overlook the fact that it was not any “unknown tongue” which was spoken by the Apostles: foreigners who heard them had no difficulty in understanding what was said (Acts 2:8).
If what has just been said be not sufficient, then let our appeal be unto 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. God has now fully revealed His mind to us: all that we need to “thoroughly furnish” us “unto all good works” is already in our hands! Personally the writer would not take the trouble to walk into the next room to hear any person deliver a message which he claimed was inspired by the Holy Spirit; with the completed Scriptures in our possession, nothing more is required except for the Spirit to interpret and apply them. Let it also be duly observed that there is not a single exhortation in all the Epistles of the New Testament that the saints should seek “a fresh Pentecost,” no, not even to the carnal Corinthians or the legal Galatians.
As a sample of what was believed by the early “fathers” we quote the following: “Augustine saith, ‘Miracles were once necessary to make the world believe the Gospel, but he who now seeks a sign that he may believe is a wonder, yea a monster.’ Chrysostom concludeth upon the same grounds that, ‘There is now in the Church no necessity of working miracles,’ and calls him ‘a false prophet’ who now takes in hand to work them” (From W. Perkins, 1604).
In Acts 2:16 we find Peter was moved by God to give a general explanation of the great wonders which had just taken place. Jerusalem was, at this time of the feast, filled with a great concourse of people. The sudden sound from Heaven “as of a rushing mighty wind,” filling the house where the Apostles were gathered together, soon drew there a multitude of people; and as they, in wonderment, heard the Apostles speak in their own varied languages, they asked, “What meaneth this?” (Acts 2:12). Peter then declared, “This is that which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel.” The prophecy given by Joel (2:28-32) now began to receive its fulfillment, the latter part of which we believe is to be understood symbolically.
And what is the bearing of all this upon us today? We will reply in a single sentence: the advent of the Spirit followed the exaltation of Christ: if then we desire to enjoy more of the Spirit’s power and blessing, we must give Christ the throne of our hearts and crown Him the Lord of our lives.
Having dwelt upon the doctrinal and dispensational aspects of our subject, next we hope to take the “practical” and “experimental” bearings of it.
A.W. Pink / Chapter 9 – The Work of the Spirit
It is a great mistake to suppose that the works of the Spirit are all of one kind, or that His operations preserve an equality as to
degree. To insist that they are and do would be ascribing less freedom to the Third Person of the Godhead than is enjoyed and
exercised by men. There is variety in the activities of all voluntary agents: even human beings are not confined to one sort of work, nor to the production of the same kind of effects; and where they design so to do, they moderate them as to degrees according to their power and pleasure. Much more so is it with the Holy Spirit. The nature and kind of His works are regulated by His own will and purpose. Some He executes by the touch of His finger (so to speak), in others He puts forth His hand, while in yet others (as on the day of Pentecost) He lays bare His arm. He works by no necessity of His nature, but solely according to the pleasure of His will (1 Cor. 12: 11).
Upon Both the Unsaved and the Saved
Many of the works of the Spirit, though perfect in kind and fully accomplishing their design, are wrought by Him upon and
within men who, nevertheless, are not saved. “The Holy Spirit is present with many as to powerful operations, with whom He is not present as to gracious inhabitation. Or, many are made partakers of Him in His spiritual gifts, who are not made partakers of Him in His saving grace: Matthew 7:22, 23” (John Owen on Heb. 6:4). The light which God furnishes different souls varies considerably, both in kind and degree. Nor should we be surprised at this in view of the adumbration in the natural world: how wide is the difference between the glimmering of the stars from the radiance of the full moon, and that again from the shining of the midday sun. Equally wide is the gulf which separates the savage with his faint illumination of conscience from one who has been educated under a Christian ministry, and greater still is the difference between the spiritual understanding of the wisest unregenerate professor and the feeblest babe in Christ; yet each has been a subject of the Spirit’s operations.
“The Holy Spirit works in two ways. In some men’s hearts He works with restraining grace only, and the restraining grace,
though it will not save them, is enough to keep them from breaking out into the open and corrupt vices in which some men indulge who are totally left by the restraints of the Spirit . … God the Holy Spirit may work in men some good desires and feelings, and yet have no design of saving them. But mark, none of these feelings are things that accompany salvation, for if so, they would be continued. But He does not work Omnipotently to save, except in the persons of His own elect, whom He assuredly bringeth unto Himself. I believe, then, that the trembling of Felix is to be accounted for by the restraining grace of the Spirit quickening his conscience and making him tremble” (C. H. Spurgeon on Acts 24:25).
The Holy Spirit has been robbed of much of His distinctive glory through Christians failing to perceive His varied workings. In concluding that the operations of the blessed Spirit are confined unto God’s elect, they have been hindered from offering to Him that praise which is His due for keeping this wicked world a fit place for them to live. Few today realize how much the children of God owe to the Third Person of the Trinity for holding in leash the children of the Devil, and preventing them from utterly consuming Christ’s church on earth. It is true there are comparatively few texts which specifically refer to the distinctive Person of the Spirit as reigning over the wicked, but once it is seen that in the Divine economy all is from God the Father, all is through God the Son, and all is by God the Spirit, each is given His proper and separate place in our hearts and thoughts.
The Spirit’s Operation in the Non-elect
Let us, then, now point out a few of the Spirit’s general and inferior operations in the non-elect, as distinguished from His
special and superior works in the redeemed.
1) In restraining evil. If God should leave men absolutely to their own natural corruptions and to the power of Satan (as they
fully deserve to be, as He will in Hell, and as He would now but for the sake of His elect), all show of goodness and morality would be entirely banished from the earth: men would grow past feeling in sin, and wickedness would swiftly and entirely swallow up the whole world. This is abundantly clear from Genesis 6:3, 4, 5, 12. But He who restrained the fiery furnace of Babylon without quenching it, He who prevented the waters of the Red Sea from flowing without changing their nature, now hinders the working of natural corruption without mortifying it. Vile as the world is, we have abundant cause to adore and praise the Holy Spirit that it is not a thousand times worse.
The world hates the people of God (John 15:19): why, then, does it not devour them? What is it that holds back the enmity of
the wicked against the righteous? Nothing but the restraining power of the Holy Spirit. In Psalm 14:1-3 we find a fearful picture of the utter depravity of the human race. Then in verse 4 the Psalmist asks, “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.” To which answer is made, “There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous” (v. 5). It is the Holy Spirit who places that “great fear” within them, to keep them back from many outrages against God’s people. He curbs their malice. So completely are the reprobate shackled by His almighty hand, that Christ could say to Pilate, “thou couldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11)!
2) In inciting to good actions. All the obedience of children to parents, all the true love between husbands and wives, is to be
attributed unto the Holy Spirit. Whatever morality and honesty, unselfishness and kindness, submission to the powers that be and respect for law and order which is still to be found in the world, must be traced back to the gracious operations of the Spirit. A striking illustration of His benign influence is found in 1 Samuel 10:26, “Saul also went home to Gibeah: and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God (the Spirit) had touched.”
Men’s hearts are naturally inclined to rebellion, are impatient against being ruled over, especially by one raised out of a mean condition among them. The Lord the Spirit inclined the hearts of those men to be subject unto Saul, gave them a disposition to obey him. Later the Spirit touched the heart of Saul to spare the life of David, melting him to such an extent that he wept (1 Sam. 24:16). In like manner, it was the Holy Spirit who gave the Hebrews favor in the eyes of the Egyptians—who hitherto had bitterly hated them—so as to give earrings to them (Exo. 12:35, 36).
3) In convicting of sin. Few seem to understand that conscience in the natural man is inoperative unless stirred up by the Spirit.
As a fallen creature, thoroughly in love with sin (John 3:19), man resists and disputes against any conviction of sin. “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh” (Gen. 6:3): man, being “flesh,” would never have the least distaste of any iniquity unless the Spirit excited those remnants of natural light which still remain in the soul. Being “flesh,” fallen man is perverse against the convictions of the Spirit (Acts 7:51), and remains so forever unless quickened and made “spirit” (John 3:6).
4) In illuminating. Concerning Divine things, fallen man is not only devoid of light, but is “darkness” itself (Eph. 5:8). He had
no more apprehension of spiritual things than the beasts of the field. This is very evident from the state of the heathen. How, then, shall we explain the intelligence which is found in thousands in Christendom, who yet give no evidence that they are new creatures in Christ Jesus? They have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit (Heb. 6:4). Many are constrained to inquire into those scriptural subjects which make no demand on the conscience and life; yea, many take great delight in them. Just as the multitudes took pleasure in beholding the miracles of Christ, who could not endure His searching demands, so the light of the Spirit is pleasant to many to whom His convictions are grievous.
The Spirit’s Operation in the Elect
We have dwelt upon some of the general and inferior operations which the Holy Spirit performs upon the non-elect, who are
never brought unto a saving knowledge of the Truth. Now we shall consider His special and saving work in the people of God,
dwelling mainly upon the absolute necessity for the same. It should make it easier for the Christian reader to perceive the
absoluteness of this necessity when we say that the whole work of the Spirit within the elect is to plant in the heart a hatred for and a loathing of sin as sin, and a love for and longing after holiness as holiness.
This is something which no human power can bring about. It is something which the most faithful preaching as such cannot
produce. It is something which the mere circulating and reading of the Scripture does not impart. It is a miracle of grace, a Divine wonder, which none but God can or does perform.
Total Depravity Apart from the Spirit
Of course if men are only partly depraved (which is really the belief today of the vast majority of preachers and their hearers,
never having been experimentally taught by God their own depravity), if deep down in their hearts all men really love God, if they are so good-natured as to be easily persuaded to become Christians, then there is no need for the Holy Spirit to put forth His Almighty power and do for them what they are altogether incapable of doing for themselves. And again: if “being saved” consists merely in believing I am a lost sinner and on my way to Hell, and by simply believing that God loves me, that Christ died for me, and that He will save me now on the one condition that I “accept Him as my personal Savior” and “rest upon His finished work,” then no supernatural operations of the Holy Spirit are required to induce and enable me to fulfill that condition—self-interest moves me to, and a decision of my will is all that is required.
But if, on the other hand, all men hate God (John 15:23, 25), and have minds which are “enmity against Him” (Rom. 8:7), so
that “there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11), preferring and determining to follow their own inclinations and pleasures. If instead of being disposed unto that which is good, “the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11). And if when the overtures of God’s mercy are made known to them and they are freely invited to avail themselves of the same, they “all with one consent begin to make excuse” (Luke 14:18)—then it is very evident that the invincible power and transforming operations of the Spirit are indispensably required if the heart of a sinner is thoroughly changed, so that rebellion gives place to submission and hatred to love. This is why Christ said, “No man can come to me, except the Father (by the Spirit) which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44).
Again—if the Lord Jesus Christ came here to uphold and enforce the high claims of God, rather than to lower or set them aside. If He declared that “strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find it,” rather than pointing to a smooth and broad road which anyone would find it easy to tread. If the salvation which He has provided is a deliverance from sin and self-pleasing, from worldliness and indulging the lusts of the flesh, and the bestowing of a nature which desires and determines to live for God’s glory and please Him in all the details of our present lives—then it is clear beyond dispute that none but the Spirit of God can impart a genuine desire for such a salvation. And if instead of “accepting Christ” and “resting upon His finished work” be the sole condition of salvation, He demands that the sinner throw down the weapons of his defiance, abandon every idol, unreservedly surrender himself and his life, and receive Him as His only Lord and Master, then nothing but a miracle of grace can enable any captive of Satan’s to meet such requirements.
Objections to Total Depravity Proved False
Against what has been said above it may be objected that no such hatred of God as we have affirmed exists in the hearts of the great majority of our fellow-creatures—that while there may be a few degenerates, who have sold themselves to the Devil and are thoroughly hardened in sin, yet the remainder of mankind are friendly disposed to God, as is evident by the countless millions who have some form or other of religion. To such an objector we reply, The fact is, dear friend, that those to whom you refer are almost entirely ignorant of the God of Scripture: they have heard that He loves everybody, is benevolently inclined toward all His creatures, and is so easy-going that in return for their religious performances will wink at their sins. Of course, they have no hatred for such a “god” as this! But tell them something of the character of the true God: that He hates “all the workers of iniquity” (Psa. 5:5), that He is inexorably just and ineffably holy, that He is an uncontrollable Sovereign, who “hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth” (Rom. 9:18), and their enmity against Him will soon be manifested—an enmity which none but the Holy Spirit can overcome. It may be objected again that so far from the gloomy picture which we have sketched above being accurate, the great majority of people do desire to be saved (from having to suffer a penalty for their sin), and they make more or less endeavor after their salvation. This is readily granted. There is in every human heart a desire for deliverance from misery and a longing after happiness and security, and those who come under the sound of God’s Word are naturally disposed to be delivered from the wrath to come and wish to be assured that Heaven will be their eternal dwelling-place—who wants to endure the everlasting burnings? But that desire and disposition is quite compatible and consistent with the greatest love to sin and most entire opposition of heart to that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). But what the objector here refers to is a vastly different thing from desiring Heaven upon God’s terms, and being willing to tread the only path which leads there!
The instinct of self-preservation is sufficiently strong to move multitudes to undertake many performances and penances in the
hope that thereby they shall escape Hell. The stronger men’s belief of the truth of Divine revelation, the more firmly they become convinced that there is a Day of Judgment, when they must appear before their Maker, and render an account of all their desires, thoughts, words and deeds, the most serious and sober will be their minds. Let conscience convict them of their misspent lives, and they are ready to turn over a new leaf; let them be persuaded that Christ stands ready as a Fire-escape and is willing to rescue them, though the world still claims their hearts, and thousands are ready to “believe in Him.” Yes, this is done by multitudes who still hate the true character of the Savior, and reject with all their hearts the salvation which He has. Far, far different is this from an unregenerate person longing for deliverance from self and sin, and the impartation of that holiness which Christ purchased for His people.
All around us are those willing to receive Christ as their Savior, who are altogether unwilling to surrender to Him as their Lord.
They would like His peace, but they refuse His “yoke,” without which His peace cannot be found (Matt. 11:29). They admire His promises, but have no heart for His precepts. They will rest upon His priestly work, but will not be subject to His kingly scepter. They will believe in a “Christ” who is suited to their own corrupt tastes or sentimental dreams, but they despise and reject the Christ of God. Like the multitudes of old, they want His loaves and fishes, but for His heart-searching, flesh-withering, sin condemning teaching, they have no appetite. They approve of Him as the Healer of their bodies, but as the Healer of their depraved souls they desire Him not. And nothing but the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit, can change this bias and bent in any soul.
It is just because modern Christendom has such an inadequate estimate of the fearful and universal effects which the Fall has
wrought, that the imperative need for the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is now so little realized. It is because such false
conceptions of human depravity so widely prevail that, in most places, it is supposed all which is needed to save half of the
community is to hire some popular evangelist and attractive singer. And the reason why so few are aware of the awful depths of human depravity, the terrible enmity of the carnal mind against God and the heart’s inbred and inveterate hatred of Him, is because His character is now so rarely declared from the pulpit. If the preachers would deliver the same type of messages as did Jeremiah in his degenerate age, or even as John the Baptist did, they would soon discover how their hearers were really affected toward God; and then they would perceive that unless the power of the Spirit attended their preaching they might as well be silent.
A.W. Pink’s “The Holy Spirit” Chapter 1 Consideration of the Holy Spirit In the past having given consideration to the attributes of God our Father, and then to a contemplation of some of the glories of God our Redeemer, it … Continue reading →