Possessing The Spirit Means…

June 5, 2013

Friends,
Evangelical Christianity teaches, as it should, that no one can inherit eternal life without having been born again. This doctrine comes primarily from Jesus’ statements to Nicodemus in John 3:3-8, in which passage Jesus makes clear that no one can see or enter the Kingdom of God without being born again (born anew / born from above), and that this means being “born of the Spirit.” (v. 8 ) When a man is born of the Spirit, it means that the Spirit of God and Christ comes to live within that man’s spirit, giving him true life, which means eternal life. (John 6:53-63 & 10:9,10 & 14:23) Only if a man possesses the Spirit, does that man belong to Christ. (Rom. 8:9)

Rom. 8:1-17 is a passage which teaches what a person’s life looks like if he possesses the Spirit. It teaches that the Spirit-indwelt man will be free of the law of sin and death (v. 2), that he will be meeting the righteous requirements of God’s moral law (v. 4), that he will have his mind focused on living according to what the Spirit desires (v. 5), that he, by the Spirit, has put to death bad practices of the body (v. 13), that he, because he is a child of God, is following the lead of the Spirit (v. 14-17), and that he is actually being controlled by the Spirit. (v. 9) The Spirit-indwelt man gives up his own control by constant choice. It is not forced control, but on the man’s part, a grateful submission to the Spirit’s instructions and an upholding of that obedience which he pledged to God when he submitted to having his old self crucified with Christ. (Rom. 6:1-6 // 1 Peter 3:21) This, Gal. 6:8 describes as sowing to please the Spirit, which, from the Spirit, a man then reaps eternal life.

When a man follows (obeys) the Spirit, he is following the voice of Christ Jesus. Only by following (obeying) Christ’s voice and having close fellowship with Him will a man be given eternal life. As Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me [John 10:27], and I give to them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall seize them out of My hand.” (v. 28) Many people focus on verse 28, even teaching OSAS from it, but they strangely leave out verse 27, even though the two verses cannot legitimately be separated for teaching theology. Of course no one can yank us out of Christ if we are truly in Christ. But the OSAS crowd misses the point: We are eternally secure in Christ precisely because we listen to Him, follow Him obediently, and know our Savior-Leader intimately.

Obedience to Christ, and a close relationship with Christ are mandatory, as many Scriptures point out (Matt. 7:21-23 & 24:45-51 & 25:12 // Luke 6:46-49 & 13:23-28 // John 14:15 & 15:14 // Acts 26:20 // Rom. 1:5 & 16:26 // Eph. 5:6 // 2 Thes. 1:8,9 // Ja. 1:22 & 2:14-26 // and many more), including John 15:10 where Jesus says, “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love.” Being in Christ’s love is the opposite of being under God’s wrath and condemnation. As Heb. 5:9 confirms, “He [Jesus] became the source of eternal salvation for all the ones obeying Him.” Acts 5:32 agrees when it says, “… whom [referring to the Holy Spirit] God has given to the ones obeying Him.”

Therefore we see that God’s Word certainly does teach that without being born of the Spirit and living obedient to His instructions, a person cannot be saved. Those who teach otherwise are the ones making divisions in the church, and who follow mere natural instincts, and who simply do not have the Spirit. (Jude 1:19)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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