Twitter

We Have Forgotten What This Is Like

From William McDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary:

These are some of the ministries of the Spirit which are realized in a person the moment he is saved. Everyone who is in Christ automatically has the baptism, the indwelling, the anointing, the earnest, and the seal.

But the filling is different. It is not a once-for-all crisis experience in the life of a disciple; rather it is a continuous process. The literal translation of the command is “Be being filled with the Spirit.” It may begin as a crisis experience, but it must continue thereafter as a moment-by-moment process. Today’s filling will not do for tomorrow. And certainly it is a state greatly to be desired. In fact, it is the ideal condition of the believer on earth. It means that the Holy Spirit is having His way relatively ungrieved in the life of the Christian, and that the believer is therefore fulfilling his role in the plan of God for that time.

How then can a believer be filled with the Spirit? The Apostle Paul does not tell us here in Ephesians; he merely commands us to be filled. But from other parts of the word, we know that in order to be filled with the Spirit we must:

  • Confess and put away all known sin in our lives (1 John 1:5-9). It is obvious that such a holy Person cannot work freely in a life where sin is condoned.
  • Yield ourselves completely to His control (Romans 12:1-2). This involves the surrender of our will, our intellect, our body, our time, our talents, and our treasures. Every area of life must be thrown open to His dominion.
  • Let the word of Christ dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16). This involves reading the word, studying it, and obeying it. When the word of Christ dwells in us richly, the same results follow (Colossians 3:16) as follow the filling of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:19).
  • Finally, we must be emptied of self (Galatians 2:20). To be filled with a new ingredient a cup must first be emptied of the old. To be filled with Him, we must first be emptied of us.

Does a person know it when he is filled with the Spirit? Actually, the closer we are to the Lord, the more we are conscious of our own complete unworthiness and sinfulness (Isaiah 6:1-5). In His presence, we find nothing in ourselves to be proud of (Luke 5:8). We are not aware of any spiritual superiority over others, any sense of “having arrived.” The believer who is filled with the Spirit is occupied with Christ and not with self.

At the same time, he may have a realization that God is working in and through his life. He sees things happen in a supernatural way. Circumstances click miraculously. Lives are touched for God. Events move according to a divine timetable. Even forces of nature are on his side; they seem chained to the chariot wheels of the Lord. He sees all this; he realizes that God is working for and through him; and yet he feels strangely detached from it all as far as taking any credit is concerned. In his inmost being, he realizes it is all of the Lord.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *