- Man’s natural and impossible state
- Receiving the Holy Spirit
- Abiding in the Spirit
- Resting in the Spirit
- Walking in the Spirit
- Standing in the Spirit
- Growing in the Spirit
- Led of the Spirit
- Filled with the Spirit
- Sealed by the Spirit
- Living in a Spiritual Kingdom not of this World
In this booklet, the Christian life (life in Christ) will be presented as it has been revealed in Scripture. Much of the mystery and confusion in Christendom in the present day is simplified and made clear by the foundational truths in Christ. Scripture alone is God’s authority on any subject concerning His Son and the kingdom of God.
The signs and wonders movement, spiritual experiences, manifestations, spiritual aberrations (abnormalities) and other such phenomenon, not built on Christ Jesus, are not kingdom truth, even though it is true that they are happening today. When these happenings are weighed in light of God’s Word, many are exposed as not built on the Son of God.
People or religious movements that build on religious experiences, religious culture, traditions, and charismatic leaders, rather than God’s Word (Matthew 4:4), are following or building a religion of man’s making. Jesus Christ is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13), and He alone reflects divine truth.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
1. Man’s natural and impossible state
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
On the sixth day of creation, God made Adam in His image and likeness; God intended for Adam and all men after him to be made in His perfection (Genesis 1:26). In the day of Adam’s disobedience (sin), he lost this perfection and no longer bore the image and likeness of his Creator. He was a fallen man apart from God, as would all people be after him. Man would never again, by his own efforts, bear the image of his Creator. But even though Adam’s sin brought him into an unrighteous state, God’s purpose for man did not change.
God gave Adam, in his fallen state, a prophesy — with a promise. He told him He would crush and destroy Satan’s power by sending a Savior (Genesis 3:15). The Savior would redeem man back to God from his eternal separated state. This promise was prophesied by many prophets over thousands of years as the Spirit of God gave them the prophetic utterance (1 Peter 1:11).
These prophesies of the prophets revealed when Messiah, the Savior, would be born and die (Daniel 9:24.26); that He would be born of a virgin and His name would be called Immanuel (God with us) (Isaiah 7:14), His birth would take place in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He would be eternal, God Himself come down in human form (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2), from the lineage of the King of Israel, David (Isaiah 9:7), and He would one day rule as God and King in total righteousness (Isaiah 9:7, Psalms 45: 1-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Zechariah 6:12-13).
But first, the prophets told of Messiah’s immediate purpose; He was to come into the world as the suffering Messiah (Isaiah 52:12-15; 53; Luke 18:31-34; 1 John 2:2). God would put on Him the sins of us all (Isaiah 53:6). They prophesied, giving a factual account of how He would die (crucifixion) (Psalms 22: 1-18), and that He would not stay in the grave but rise from among the dead, alive forevermore (Psalms 16:8-10; 71:20; Revelation 1:8, 18).
God sent His Son into the world as the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). He would not do as the first Adam; He would be the perfect man doing all of His Father’s will (John 8:29), and do it without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:22).
The first Adam, through disobedience, brought death upon all men (Romans 5:12). The second Adam, Jesus Christ, through His obedience to God, made a way for all to be righteous (as seen by God) (Romans 5:17-19). Jesus Christ was a perfect representation of God (John 14:9); He came into this world in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). What Jesus Christ was in this world, God desires for all men. And because He is God, He has made a way for all men to be recreated in His image and likeness. Scripture shows us that man’s sin has eternally separated him from God; but God made a way for a person to be in oneness with Himself. When Jesus was crucified, God took the sins of all and put them on the Messiah, Jesus Christ, “…and the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18).
John the Baptist, a prophet, said of Jesus when He saw Him, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Man’s sin, guilt, unrighteous state and looming judgment before a righteous God, has now been totally paid for —— through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, – but with the precious blood of Christ – as a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Jesus Christ the righteous One, by dying for all our sins, has taken all of God’s judgment, meant for and deserved by us, upon Himself. In so doing, every person who believes and follows Him, God gives total righteousness by imputing it within them. “For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
God who is able to take depraved and sinful man and make him into the righteousness of Jesus Christ is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is not possible with man’s efforts, that is, to recreate every person who believes God, through Jesus Christ, into the likeness and image of the second Adam, is possible with God, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). God predestined this transformation to happen from eternity past to everyone who follows Jesus Christ.
“For whom he foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:29).
Every person who follows Jesus Christ from the heart is “in Christ” and is being recreated into the image of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
In the next chapter we will see how God takes a sinner, His enemy and makes him a son of God for eternity. Remember what is not possible through man’s efforts is possible for God, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
2. Receiving the Holy Spirit
“So Jesus said to them – receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
Most people will agree that they are not perfect. Scripture teaches the truth of our imperfections, that is that all men are sinners before God (Romans 3:10, 23). That being the case, one might ask what is the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian? Scripture declares the difference: “… Now if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9). The difference is paramount; the non-Christian is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, and Jesus Christ does not dwell in him. The Christian is one in whom God has placed His Holy Spirit.
How then does a person receive the Holy Spirit? We are instructed that as many as receive Jesus Christ, are born of God (spiritually) and become children of God (John 1:12-13). How does a person receive Jesus Christ? It happens when a person believes the gospel, which is, Jesus died for our (my) sins, according to the Scriptures, He was buried, and He arose again (from among the dead) on the third day, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Through this process of new birth, a person receives the Holy Spirit, and is baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Scripture tells us, Abraham the patriarch was blessed of God and was an example of what brings God’s blessing upon a person. He believed, in faith, all that God told him (Genesis 15:6). Today this blessing is for all people who receive what God has told us in Jesus Christ. “That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14). Believing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the heart is God’s method of bringing someone into His favor by giving that person the Holy Spirit (Romans 10:9; Galatians 3:2-5).
Jesus called the Holy Spirit living water. He said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). It is this living water, received into the heart of the believer, that makes him a recipient of God’s divine nature, the nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4).
The believer does not have to try to be like Christ through self effort, because Christ is in him. In his new life, he is to receive what God has told him by the Spirit and the Scriptures, and to follow after Him. In this pathway, his whole person will be transformed into the image of the second Adam, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).
“… because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
3. Abiding in the Spirit
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Jesus, while here on earth walking among us, gave three necessary instructions to be able to abide in the Spirit. These instructions give the believer three sequential exercises to follow, which result in the release of the Spirit to bring forth fruit in two aspects. These two aspects encompass the true place of abiding in Jesus. These five (3 instructions + 2 results) can be seen in John 8:29-32.
The three instructions
First, is to do the work (will) of God; we are told that to believe on the One He (the Father) sent, is the will or work of God (John 6:29). Believing in true faith means putting into action the direction Jesus is telling us to follow (John 10:27).
Second, Jesus said, “…If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). To abide in His Word (Greek = logos = word = Scripture) is to believe and follow what Scripture teaches, the things Jesus, His apostles and prophets taught (Matthew 28:18.20; Ephesians 2:20). When a believer makes the word of God the pathway of his heart, he is transformed into a true disciple of Jesus.
Third, a disciple is a continuous learner of God’s Word, and through this, discerns the voice of Jesus. He discards all other voices (spirits), which in this world are without number (John 10:5). The disciple, through abiding in the word of God, finds the keys to open and enter into the kingdom of God. In this abiding place the light of God dispels the darkness within the heart, and his steps “are ordered of the Lord, and He (God) delights in his way” (Psalms 37:23).
The two results of abiding
1. The person who abides and lives in the words of Jesus will arrive at the place of knowing truth (John 8:32). No longer will the disciple be led in this world by the darkness, the world, the flesh, and the devil. Truth becomes the disciple’s point of abiding and following the True Shepherd of our souls. The fruit of abiding in Jesus is that the disciple will know the mind of the Lord (1 Corinthians 2:16) and have fellowship with the Son of God (1 Corinthians 1:9).
2. The fruit of the abiding believer is that he is set free from his former direction and pursuits. These pursuits may have been innocent enough, even religious, but in sin without the knowledge of God (sin is unbelief in what God has told us) and without the blessing and favor of God. The freedom Jesus promised to an abiding believer is that “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
The Spirit is able to free the abiding believer; the believer cannot do this for himself. The reason is the Spirit is Life and this life does not and cannot exist in our Adamic nature (flesh). Only death abides in the flesh (Romans 8:6-8). Only in our new nature, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) does the Holy Spirit live and bring life.
“He who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).
4. Resting in the Spirit
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest – for we who have believed do enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:1, 3).
“For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10).
The promise of God to those who live in faith to what God has told us, is rest for the spirit and soul (Isaiah 11:10). Jesus said the one who follows Him would learn from Him, that He is “gentle and lowly in heart.” And the disciple, as he learns what it means to follow Him will find rest of soul (Matthew 11:29).
God created the heavens, the earth and everything upon the earth in six days. He rested on the seventh day, the Sabbath rest (Genesis 2:2). In the first creation of God, the heavens and the earth were a completed work. The Sabbath drew attention to God’s completed work as a finished work. Had Adam not disobeyed God, this would have gone on in perpetuity. When sin came upon the heavens and the earth, God no longer rested from the creation He had made. From the day of Adam’s sin, the place of rest on this planet vanished. Everything was ruined and would never again have eternal rest. (The millennium will bring a 1,000 years of rest, but not eternal rest, Psalms 72:1-20; Isaiah 11: 9; 1 Corinthians 15:24.28).
With the first creation spoiled and unfixable, God worked to bring in a new creation, (new to fallen man) an eternal Sabbath; a kingdom built on His Son, which could never be damaged or destroyed.
Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). It is a spiritual kingdom that cannot be overthrown. Jesus said to the Jews, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). This work of the new creation by the Father and the Son was completed at the death of Jesus. Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He finished the work that He came to do, a finished work of redemption, whereby man could enter into an eternal rest. The Christian enters into this finished work of Jesus by faith alone, without works of his own. It is his faith in Jesus that brings him into the Sabbath of God; only in Jesus is God’s complete and eternal rest found (Hebrews 4:9-10).
Through this finished work of Jesus (His sacrifice on the cross), a Christian has perfect peace with God. “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). This peace is synonymous with rest; they are one and the same. The Christian starts his Christian walk in total rest. And as he walks in the Spirit, his awareness of the Sabbath of God (rest in God) only increases in his life.
5. Walking in the Spirit
“I say then: walk after the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
“And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the Truth” (1 John 5:6).
Jesus Christ was the perfect example of walking in the Spirit; He was Himself, grace and truth (John 1:14). He walked in the way of obedience to His Father, and in complete truth, because He was the Truth, and His life reflected perfectly His Father (John 14:9). He was 100% a spiritual man; the Man from heaven (John 6:32-35). Jesus is the only true example and standard of what it means to walk in the Spirit. He said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). As the believer walks in the Spirit he finds these three a reality.
The Way: “…having boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way…” (Hebrews 10:19-20).
The Christian who directs his life’s path after all that God has told us, has entered into this most Holy Place, and will find the new and Living Way. The Christian who follows the leading of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures will be walking in the Way (Christ). No one can do this without love for the Lord Jesus. This pathway brings the believer into oneness with the Father and the Son, and They will dwell within him (John 14:23).
The Truth: “But when He the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all Truth —— He shall glorify Me” (John 16:13-14).
“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in truth” (3 John 4). Abraham is the example of a believer walking after the truth. “He believed God” (Genesis 15:6) in everything He told him, and put it into practice.
For the Christian it is the same, to walk after the truth in what God has told us is to walk after the Spirit. In doing this, the kingdom of God opens up to that person, and the light of God illuminates his way. The believer who desires only the truth in Christ as taught in Scripture (which is the Doctrine of Christ/the Apostles Doctrine), and directs his life after it, is walking after the Spirit.
The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), and it will be opened up to the person who gives himself over to following every word of God. That person will be walking with God, after the Spirit and in the Spirit.
The Life: “Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:10).
The Christian, who walks after the Spirit, learns that the Adamic nature within him cannot coexist with his walk after the Spirit. The divine nature and the Adamic nature are not compatible. The divine nature in the believer must rule, or the Adamic nature will. The Adamic nature within the believer was crucified with Christ 2000 years ago (Romans 6:6). As he puts into practice this truth in his heart, he is freed from the domination of sin by his Adamic nature, and by reckoning himself dead (Romans 6:16) he is released to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). The life of Jesus in the believer, through the Spirit, is then manifested in his walk.
The Holy Spirit and the way, the truth and the life are one. The person who walks after the Spirit will be led into oneness with these three; and that person is becoming transformed into the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:29). In his walk of faith, spiritual growth takes place in “the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
6. Standing in the Spirit
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold fast the instructions which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
Two disciples of Jesus asked Him, “Where abidest Thou?” He said to them, “Come and see” (John 1:38.39 JND). His dwelling place was to live in the word of God — so it is with the Christian who is walking in the Spirit, and living unto the Lord Jesus.
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:7-8).
For by the mercy and grace of God, the Christian has been placed into “the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:2). This is the Christian’s dwelling place forever. This totally and completely separates him from all people who are not “in Christ.” The Christian is no longer of this world; he sits with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6). All people not in Christ are eternally dwelling in “…the law of sin and death.” (If a person sins, he dies) (Romans 8:2). This is the position of all not saved by the blood of Christ (those who do not believe in Jesus Christ). They are earth dwellers and completely under the prince of this world; for Satan holds the power and sway over this world and all the people in it, who are not born of God’s Spirit (Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19). This world is a kingdom of darkness through Satan’s power, and those not in Christ are his subjects.
The Christian who is God’s light in the world is an alien and an intruder in this dark and hostile world. The day he became a Christian, he entered the battle as a soldier of the kingdom of Light. He has been given an offensive weapon and the defensive armor of God as shown in Ephesians 6:14-17.
He is told who his enemies are and what their weapons are as well. These are listed here. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). These unseen entities are the power behind all evil and wickedness in this world. They work in the hearts of people by instigation, ideas, evil thoughts, spiritual voices, aberrations, manifestations, signs and wonders, religion not built on God’s Word and many other such spiritual ways.
These entities of Satan’s kingdom work through deceptions. People not led of the Spirit of God are fair game, because they are earth dwellers without the knowledge of God, neither do they have fellowship with the Son of God.
A Christian is told to stand fast in light and truth against these attacks of the devil. The power to overcome is in following the Spirit of God and standing on the word of God. In this place a Christian fights against all the forces of the evil one who is determined to destroy and put people into the bondage of sin and death.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
However, the Christian is secure in this truth, “…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The person who stands fast in Jesus Christ has overcome the world (1 John 5:5).
7. Growing in the Spirit
“My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:19).
When a person becomes a Christian, he is born the second time in this life – the first time he was born of his mother, the second time he was born of God (John:1:12.13). In the physical, he is born a babe and grows into adulthood — so in the spiritual. The day he is born of God he becomes a babe in Christ, and the process of growth as a Christian begins. What is true in the physical for growth is also true in the spiritual. First, in the physical for healthy growth, a babe must have milk, rest, exercise, tender care (love), and a total dependence on the parent(s).
The same five things are needed for a babe (or adult) in Christ. First, he must receive and drink, with thirst, the life giving milk of the word of God (1 Peter 2:2). Second, is to rest in the precious promises that God has given to him through this milk (1 Peter 1:4). Third, growth is connected with exercise; the believer must exercise what God has given him, which is his faith in Christ (Romans 10:9-10). Fourth, he is to believe God without doubting that he is completely secure in the love of Christ, and that Christ will never forsake or leave him (John 6:37, 20:27.29; Hebrews 13:5-6). Fifth, is the place of dependence on the Savior and every word of God (1 Peter 5:6-7). When a believer practices these things, spiritual growth will excel.
These things take place as the believer sets his heart on the things above where Christ Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1) and sets aside the former hopes and aspirations of this world. In his new life in the Spirit following after the Lord Jesus, the old hymn becomes a reality in his life, “the things of earth become strangely dim,” and the miracle of new birth and growth in the kingdom of God takes place within him (1 Peter 1:23).
The person who has a great desire to know God, as He is revealed in the Scripture, and to follow the Shepherd’s voice, will flourish in the kingdom of God (1 Peter 2:2). If he does not have this desire, he needs to ask God for this desire to be put in his heart. The stronger his pathway after the truth in Christ, the quicker the milk of the word of God will turn toward the meat of the word of God (Hebrews 5:13-14).
As the meat takes the believer into the deeper truths in Christ, a continuing transformation of God’s Spirit transpires. It brings him into “…measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
God’s purpose is to recreate Christ in the Christian, into His image (Romans 8:29). The nature of God is seen in Jesus when he came into this world and lived among us. The essence of God is love, and is revealed in Jesus as Grace and Truth (John 1:14).
Peter tells us that our ways can be perverted and bring us into wickedness (departing from the truth) (2 Peter 3:17). The believer’s insurance against the evil within is to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When this course is followed, he will not fail. “…for if you do these things, you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10).
8. Led of the Spirit
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
In the Old Testament people who believed God became saints of God by their faith. In the New Testament, the Church Age, people still become saints by their faith; and they become sons of God and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. God is in them to lead them by His Spirit. When the Spirit speaks to them they have the ability to hear Him. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
The world has voices without number who are leading people. The Christian begins his pilgrimage of faith as a lamb, not always recognizing the True Shepherd’s voice. As he follows the Shepherd in what he understands and as he studies Scripture, his discernment grows to hear only the True Shepherd’s voice. As the knowledge of God and His ways grow in a sheep of Christ, his missteps become fewer and the Shepherd’s voice becomes clearer; and those who listen to Him do not walk in the darkness of other voices, but do His will (John 8:12).
False shepherds lead many people into erroneous deceptions and away from the True Shepherd. They are seen in false gospels (Galatians 1:6-9) and doctrines of demons as they masquerade as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Some Charismatic leaders project themselves as the person to follow, even as they speak blasphemous doctrines (Colossians 2:4, 8, 18; 2 Timothy 3:2). The book “Pilgrim’s Progress” shows how a lamb of Christ can be misled for a time as many deceivers attempt to mislead him away from the True Shepherd’s voice. It also shows how one who desires to follow only the True Shepherd will not be misled for long unless he wants to be for Jesus cares for His sheep forever. “…for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
The believer who is led of the Spirit is led into the wisdom of God, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened …” (Ephesians 1:17-18). We may safely say from this Scripture that those who are led of the Spirit have eyes in their heart to see the pathway of truth, for to be led of the Spirit is to be led by and into Truth.
As the believer is led by truth, he follows the mind of Christ, which is in him (1 Corinthians 2:16). He is free from the Law of Moses (Galatians 5:18) and the lust of the flesh which is common to man. The Holy Spirit overpowers our Adamic nature, and the evil one who appeals to it (Galatians 5:16; 1 John 5:4-5).
Finally, if we are led of the Spirit, we are told to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Only by following the leading of the Spirit will we learn what it means to have full fellowship with Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:9). In this place of full fellowship with Jesus we can overcome everything this dark world is, does and offers.
“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:19-20).
“Be followers of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1).
9. Filled with the Spirit
“…be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
Saul, a Pharisee, in Israel, had a great zeal for God but he did not know the Lord. God had chosen Saul to be a vessel of His grace even before he believed. At a predestined time, Jesus appeared to Saul and he became blind (Acts 9:1-8). Saul (later known as the Apostle Paul), would make Christ Jesus known to the Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel. He would suffer greatly for the name of the Lord Jesus. God sent Ananias to Saul to lay his hands on him, to receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17).
Unless Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit he would not be able to fulfill his labor in Christ in boldness and authority (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Jesus said to His disciples, “…without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Paul had to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus to bring the knowledge of God to all men. After he came to faith in Jesus, Saul became the Apostle Paul and he was filled with the Spirit. In his labor in Christ, he was led by the Spirit to put blindness on a man named Elymas who practiced sorcery and was perverting the straight way of the Lord (Acts 13:1-11).
The Apostle Peter, as well, was filled with the Spirit when he spoke to the rulers and elders of Israel. He told them that Jesus, whom they crucified, God had raised from the dead (Acts 4:5-12). They noted the boldness of Peter and that he had been with Jesus.
God, filling a person with the Spirit, is the normal way for His mind and purpose to be known and accomplished. This can be seen with John the Baptist, Elizabeth, and Zechariah (Luke 1:15, 41, 67). Only by a believer being filled with the Spirit, can the fullness of God be known and expressed to others (Ephesians 3:19).
It is the purpose of God that every believer be filled with the Spirit. In fact, “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) is spoken to all believers in the command form. How we are to be filled with the Spirit we are not told. John the Baptist was filled from his mother’s womb, by a sovereign work of God (Luke 1:15). It is obvious that John had nothing to do with it.
This we can know, a believer is to put away all known sin, and he is to yield his life over to God (Romans 12:1.2). We are told to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16). This involves reading Scripture, studying it, meditating on it, and putting into practice what we are instructed to do. The result of doing this, in grace, is that the Spirit who gave the Scriptures will bring the believer near to God. The Spirit’s might and authority will increase within him and the love of Christ and richness of His grace will flow out of his life.
The effect of following Jesus with a full and open heart as Scripture teaches us, will result in our heart being filled with the Spirit. And the fruit of faith and the fruit of the Spirit will be seen in that believer’s life (Galatians 5:22.23).
The person filled with the Spirit has his life in subjection to the Spirit, and to the Scriptures, and he is not occupied with himself, but with Christ.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16).
10. Sealed by the Spirit
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
As the Father has a seal on the Son of God (John 6:27), so also a Christian has the seal of God on him (Ephesians 1:13). A Christian has been sealed by God unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).
In the days when the Old and New Testaments were written, authorities sealed their orders to other authorities with a seal. Only the intended receiver had authority to open the seal. The seal was also used as the governmental or official authority of a finished transaction (Jeremiah 32:9-11). So it is with those who have been sealed by God unto the day of redemption. Only at the day of redemption of the body will the seal of God be unsealed. The earnest (guarantee) of the seal is the indwelling Holy Spirit in the believer (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14). Ephesians 1:13 shows the believer has been sealed by the Holy Spirit. In 2 Timothy 2:19, ownership of God is proclaimed for those who are sealed by Him. (Taken from the book, Christ the Golden thread that Binds, by D. Neely).
A signet ring was used as the normal way to seal a scroll or parchment. A Christian has the promise of God that he is sealed by the Spirit on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus, which paid for his sins eternally.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:27-30).
11. Living in a kingdom, not of this world
“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36).
The preceding chapters show the normal Christian experience as he walks through this world in faith. This new life has brought him into the kingdom of God; even though he lives in the world, he is no longer of the world (John 17:14, 16). In Christ he is dead to the world, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:3).
Abraham is the example of a believer who lived as a stranger and a pilgrim on the earth (Hebrews 11:13). The eyes of his heart were focused upward to a city whose builder and maker was God (Hebrews 11:10), in which he sought a homeland, an eternal country (Hebrews 11:16). Abraham’s life reflected his faith through hope in all the promises that God had given to him, and his life was encompassed in this hope. The depth of his faith is seen as he obeyed God and was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, as God had commanded him (Genesis 22). He fully trusted God, in what He told him, and he was willing to carry it out. God also fully trusted Abraham in all things. God said of Abraham, “For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice, in order that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham what He hath spoken to him” (Genesis 18:19 JND). Because Abraham fully kept what God told him, he is called the friend of God (three times in Scripture), and the father of faith to all who believe (Romans 4:16).
Abraham, in his dealing with men, was as a foreigner in a country not his own. This means his allegiances were not with or to men. Abraham did not see the kingdoms of this world as his direction of life or dwelling place. His separation from this world and unto God is the pathway Abraham traveled in his pilgrimage in this world.
Jesus used Abraham as the example of what it means to walk in the kingdom that is above and not of this world,. The apostles used Abraham as well as an example of faith. Jesus said to Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18:36). This is the kingdom the Holy Spirit brings the person into, who finds his life in the truths in Christ as given in Scripture. These truths (the Doctrine of Christ) are the kingdom of God seen in written form. Jesus Christ is the Word of God and the Word of God is Him (John 1:1; Revelations 19:13). The kingdom of God is the Christian’s calling, and the Holy Spirit within him is the power of God to walk in the kingdom of the Son of His love (Colossians l:13).
The Christian, who in his walk of faith, fixes the eyes of his heart on the Lord Jesus sitting above, at the right hand of God, sees himself as His subject, living in His kingdom. His life is not his own, but belongs to the One he follows (Luke 14:26-27, 33).
The Christian who follows after the Lord Jesus will have only His Lordship as his purpose. That person’s will, will be subject to the kingdom of God. His life will exhibit the character and fruit of the kingdom of God.
This fruit will be seen in the Christian’s walk as he lives out kingdom life through his subjectivity to the truths presented in Scripture.
“You are our epistle written in our heart, known and read by all men; clearly your are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. And we have such trust through Christ toward God” (2 Corinthians 3:2-4).