Where is the “Holy Spirit of Promise?” Where is the Lord God of Paul? Ephesians 1:13

Ephesians 1:13

phs3I am not sure whether it was Calvin or Charles Finney that said, “We must understand that the New Covenant sustains the same relation to the Abrahamic Covenant that the fulfillment of a promise does to the promise itself.  The Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant are not identical, but the New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.” (I have the statement in an old notebook of mine and so I am not sure of its source).

 

The New Covenant, that is quoted so often and dwelt on so much, is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant to those who receive it.  It is manifested by the Holy Spirit taking up His home in the human heart and having the human recipient literally immersed in all that the Holy Spirit is, and engrafting His law there in the spiritual DNA of the recipient.

 

Methinks, prophetically and realistically, the time has come when we should feel utterly compelled to consider these promises in the present tense, and only to pray for them as an overdue and unclaimed reality. We need to take hold of them for their glorious intrinsic worth, and for the winning of the nations of the earth. God only blesses us in order to bless others. The fullness of the blessing of the gospel is only seen in the immersion of God’s people in the power of the Spirit. These promises were not due in Abraham’s day.  They were promises made to Abraham and to all the Old Testament saints concerning the world’s future good, and the future good of Abraham’s descendants, i.e. ethnic Israel.

 

phs4Concerning Abraham and the Old Testament saints, the Bible informs us that they, “all died in faith not having received the promises but having seen them afar off”.  (Hebrews 11:13)  And again in Hebrews 11:39, 40, “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”  It is clearly declared to us in the infallible word that these promises are due to us and available to us in a higher sense than they ever were or possibly could be to Abraham and the Old Testament saints. The Kingdom needs to be taken by force, and taken now.

 

The Abrahamic covenant is not abolished.  The Abrahamic covenant has not been completely fulfilled to date.  Some silly folk think that the Abrahamic covenant was fulfilled when Christ came, and thereafter complete, and/or therefore abolished, inferring that Israel has no future purpose in God’s plan. How quaint!  This means that God wasn’t being serious when He used the word forever. Tosh to that one! The Abrahamic covenant is not done away with, set aside or fulfilled. The Abrahamic covenant cannot be set aside until all the nations of the earth are blessed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

 

We need to add that this universal outpouring will then continue till the end of time in this world system as we know it.

 

This brings me to todays offering.

 

May I tread on a few toes? Please? Not that I want to tread on anybody’s toes at all – and I am not trying to be confrontational about stuff.  However, I know I will go where some will not want me to go, in as much as what I want to say is not commonly agreed to in the Christian world. I have a personal deep conviction to share today. Some will love it and shout “Hallelujah!” because they profoundly agree, yet I suspect some might stop half way down the first page and vow never to read my stuff again. Some may read it and think, “Tut! What on earth is the fuss about?” So; May I take the risk? Pretty please? Most Christians will agree with the body of my thoughts, but the qualifying introduction is the bit that might upset a few.

 

My opening gambit, you see, is this:

 

phs5Every true Christian is born again, from above by the Holy Spirit. That cannot be doubted. Most of my readers will “Amen” that opener. Also, and this is where some of you might hold your breath, I believe that every individual Christian, without exception, is divinely promised and is qualified to receive through faith, the promise of the Father, the “promised Holy Spirit,” i.e. the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Master said, “You shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” The baptism in the Holy Spirit is stated to be all about spiritual fire, power and authority. This Holy Spirit baptism is every believer’s inheritance. John the Baptist cried, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The Baptist’s statement explicitly indicates that Jesus Christ would literally immerse believers into the living water of the Holy Spirit. That’s the good news.

 

However, I believe that it is clearly and self-evidently not factual to say that every Christian has received the Holy Spirit in the way and the manner He is promised in the passages of Scripture concerning the baptism in the Holy Spirit. That’s the bad news. Many Christians have a practical status quo in the spiritual life that is contradicted by the perspective that we are about to negotiate.

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If it is argued by any that, “It all happened at conversion,” I will as graciously as I can step back and leave my protagonists to their sad and very mistaken delusion.  Of course, I need to insert a caveat and say; I believe that it is possible to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the same moments of conversion. I know quite a few who received their baptism in the Spirit in that manner.  That would be, however, the rare exception and definitely not the common rule. (The need for Peter and John to visit Samaria after Philip’s series of meetings makes that clear.)

 

There are still huge swathes of Christians, and many denominational niche’s where the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the elephant in the room and remains a mere academic Bible College debate and an intellectual exercise.  I am talking of the practical need and the divine provision and I promise I am not even attempting to be doctrinally swanky or supercilious. The baptism in the Holy Spirit should be the normal experience of all Christians. That is my conviction.

 

The separation of “Tongue Talkers” (as they were initially called) from the main body of believers, they having been ejected from churches of all denominations a century or so ago, has in these days completely reversed itself. Not that the intellectual study of the subject has been settled and agreed by all – far from it. In these early days of the twenty-first century we now have the “Tongue Talking rejects of orthodoxy” sitting generally in the driving seat of evangelism, church building, and world winning aggressive and robust spirituality. There are of course exceptions, as there are to every rule. The all-round solid theology and church building praxis of Pentecostalism in general has long killed off the superficial “Tongue Talker” epithet, and the situation is so reversed in the passing of a century that today “Full Gospel” Christians, whether they are wrapped under the Pentecostal packaging or fly under the charismatic pennant, are the folks who have been more successful in keeping the message pure as ever whilst adapting their church praxis into twenty first century acceptability.

 

ph8For anybody out there who thinks I am talking “tosh” let me put the whole stack of cards on the table and disabuse the non-charismatic masses that, by strict definition, “tongue talking” is only a tiny drop of icing on the top of a huge mountainous cake of spiritual enduement for what God imparts in the mighty Holy Spirit baptism. I will not and dare not trivialize the “tongue talking” in any way whatsoever, it is one of the vital organs of the indwelling Spirit – but there is much more than that. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is one of the paths of access into walking like Jesus walked. An “Acts 10:38 lifestyle” is what we are talking about and aiming for.

 

The real point of my thoughts today is a practical one. And this is where I might upset a few folks. It is this writer’s conviction that many Christians have never received the Holy Spirit in any higher sense than the Old Testament saints who had actually been justified by grace through faith and experienced, to some degree, the presence of the Spirit.

 

There! I’ve said it and feel I cannot retract it.  Many Christians, experientially, have nothing more than some of the Old Testament saints. I feel it in my bones that some of my readers will want me taken out at dawn to read the last rites over me before having me shot for those words. I am talking about the real O.T. saints, of whom the Bible says, “They all died in faith not having received the promises” (Hebrews 11:13).  Many Christians have not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit – or many other God given promises – that are part of their inheritance because of ignorance. By that I mean lack of knowledge and understanding. I do not mean that anybody necessarily has a bad attitude as the word “ignorant” can sometimes mean in today’s usage of the word. It may be bad biblical teaching, or even no teaching at all that precipitates the “non-desire” for the Holy Spirit baptism.

 

phs1The New Testament experience should have us all walking where the likes of Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah and Daniel, along with many others never walked. However, many Christians do not even walk near the places those men walked. New Testament blessing should take us well beyond Old Testament extremes. The prophets told us that there was a “New Covenant” coming; a new kind of relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, and a new commonality where the weakest member of the Kingdom of God would be even greater than John the Baptist whom Jesus taught us was the greatest among men.

 

The apostle Paul noted that, “after we believed we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).  Most evangelical and non-charismatic or non-Pentecostal Bible teachers, preachers and writers refer to this “sealing of the Spirit” as if it was the new birth. I believe that explanation to be a complete error.  I promise I am not referring to mental gymnastics to prove, “My theology is better than yours! Tadaa!”  What I am talking about has down to earth practical ramifications that can transform one’s spiritual experience and perceptions. I am talking of an enduement of the Holy Spirit and power. I am talking about the anointing of the Spirit.  I am talking of something that would make Daniel and Elijah jealous. A quiet, sedate walk with the Master with no outward manifestation of anything supernatural is not justified. We each need to know, understand, believe and apply the teaching of the baptism in the Holy Spirit (and all the promises of God) in order to take a firm hold on what God wants for our lives both individually and corporately.

 

Once converted, the baptism in the Holy Spirit needs to be a priority. See what Paul said when he met the “about twelve” disciples he met in Ephesus (Acts 19). It was his first primary thought there: “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” The baptism of the Holy Spirit is only one of those promises. Some would say it is the most vital promise for any Christian to appropriate. Others would say that it is the one promise that opens the whole bank of God’s purposeful promises. It can, indeed, be logically taught that the Baptism is the umbrella promise that has many more promises embedded within its outworking.

 

I insist that believers in the Old Testament possessed the Holy Spirit. I also believe that they had the anointing of the Spirit that fell upon some in order to bring the miraculous and the divinely supernatural into this time space world.

 

Watch this:

 

phs01We need to understand that the Spirit of God is stated as being “in” the believers throughout the Old Testament. There is the classic verses of 1 Peter 1:10 -11 (NASB) that says, “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (The Bold font and italics are my action of course). So clearly, we know that all Old Testament prophets had the Spirit of God dwelling within them. I have been taught nearly all my Christian life that the Spirit of God was “within them” while they prophesied, but was not “within them” at any other time. For me, that is not a biblical proposition made plain by the text.  The Old Testament prophets had what Christians hold dear. There is further evidence below.

 

“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? (Genesis 41:38. KJV).  Some may argue that a heathen idolatrous Egyptian Pharaoh may have used the terminology with a different meaning; nevertheless it is how Joseph was perceived by the Egyptian monarch. It suggests that there was much more to Joseph than his ability to dream his own dreams, and interpret other’s. He had a demeanour of character and gifting that spoke of the presence of Almighty All-knowing God to those that knew him. This presence was part of his character. That screams “indwelling Spirit” to me. From what we know of Joseph, it would seem that, indeed, the Spirit of God did actually dwell within him. He could interpret the butler and baker’s dream at the drop of a hat. The anointing is seen to be at his beck and call when necessity required. That’s what I call an “indwelling.”

 

phs 20“You shall speak to all the skillful persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest to Me. (Exodus 28:3 (NASB)) A large body of men who worked on building the Tabernacle were “filled with the Spirit” in order to facilitate their task. That is what I have always been taught. But the Spiritual wisdom they were given is nowhere suggested to have been given only for this single task. It could just as well have been their lifelong gifting and occupation.

 

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship.” (Exodus 31:3 (NASB)). Bezalel was a greatly blessed man. He was filled with the Spirit. Exodus 35:31 states the same phenomena, adding that God actually called Bezalel by name to the task. Again, I add that I have always been taught that this gift was given to Bezalel just for the building of the Tabernacle and then rescinded when the Holy Tent was completed. And yet, again, I add; why should that be a valid conclusion when it is not stated anywhere in the biblical text? I think evangelicals have always made that presupposition to differentiate and make clear that the Holy Spirit experience of New Testament believers is “superior” to and separate from that of Old Testament believers.

There are, however, a good number of statements of scripture that ensure the understanding of the Holy Spirit presence being different after Acts 2 in the life of all believers that totally preclude the need to “make up some differences.” If, as I suspect, the men who worked on the Tabernacle in the wilderness with Moses were Spirit filled in a very practical way all their lives through, that fact – presupposing it to be a fact – in no way prejudices the superiority of the New Testament faith experience when compared with the Old.

 

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“So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.” (Numbers 27:18 (NASB)). Can anything be clearer? The Spirit of God was “in” Joshua. Joshua was a man of faith. Added to the Spirit being “in” Joshua, we have “Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; …” (Deuteronomy 34:9 NASB). Joshua the son of Nun was actually “filled” with the Spirit that was “in” him. That filling, we are told, was because Moses laid his hands on him.

 

Ezekiel 2:2 (NASB) says, “As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me,” And 3:24 (NASB) adds “As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me.” I Peter 1:10-11 above refers to a continual indwelling of the Spirit with the Old Testament prophets, suggesting to me, that these two statements of the Spirit “entering” Ezekiel are referring to a supernatural experience for a particular moment.  Ezekiel 11:5 referring to Ezekiel’s experience of the Spirit of God “falling” on him has echoes very much of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as referred to in Acts 10:44 and 11:15.

 

From 1 Peter 1:10-11 we would understand that Micah had the Spirit of God dwelling within him, but when Micah 3:8(NASB) says: “On the other hand I am filled with power— with the Spirit of the LORD and with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin,” It sounds to me to be the language that acknowledges an external anointing that has imparted power to the prophet, giving him power and courage in ministry. Micah was conscious and clearly aware of the external anointing of the Holy Spirit on his life and prophetic activity.

 

Nebuchadnezzar knew no better when he referred to Daniel as the man “… in whom is the spirit of the holy gods.” (Daniel 4:8, 4:9 & 4:18). Belshazzar used the same terminology in 5:11 and 14. Even though Nebuchadnezzar was a self-deifying person with deep anger and mental problems. And Belshazzar was a mindless hedonist till his last hours of life, their understanding of Daniel, having met him, speaks loudly.

 

phs2So; we have clear evidence that to some degree, no matter how less and no matter how different the relationship to the Spirit of God, Old Testament believers did indeed have the Spirit of Yahweh within them. Any discussion about the Spirit only being in a chosen few and “not in all,” have no biblical justification for their opinion.

 

Note also, that as well as “The Spirit indwelling,” we also have the “Spirit coming upon” Old Testament believers. That anointing of the Spirit that caused ordinary men to do things that were extraordinary and supernatural.

 

For instance:

 

Judges 3:9-10 (NASB) “When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.”  An anointing that raised Othniel into Judgeship, and precipitated him supernaturally winning battles.

 

Judges 11:29 (NASB) “Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon.” Each Judge was raised up by Yahweh Himself. Sovereignly and –as far as human sight is concerned, seemingly totally random, yet, we understand that nothing Yahweh does is random.

 

ph6Judges 13:24-25 (NASB) “Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.” Samson was often moved by the Spirit of God throughout his life. I often pray, “Oh that You, Holy Spirit, would stir me as you stirred Samson!”

 

Judges 14:6 (NASB) “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.” It was the anointing of the Spirit of God coming upon Samson that gave him whatever was necessary to tear a Lion in two.

 

Judges 14:19 (NASB) “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house.” In 14:6 the Spirit of God helped Samson kill a lion, here he was inspired to kill 30 Philistines.

 

1 Samuel 10:6 (NASB) “”Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man.” It was, of course, the Spirit of God that inspired Saul to prophesy when he was in the same atmosphere of the prophets and musicians of the School of the Prophets. This prophetic word of Samuel’s was fulfilled in 1 Samuel 10:10.

 

1 Samuel 16:13 (NASB) “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.” There was no killing of the bear or slaying of the lion by David until the symbolic anointing of Samuel which precipitated the real anointing, i.e. “the Spirit of the LORD coming mightily upon him. Note also that the Spirit of the LORD came upon David mightily, from that day forward. That phrase informs us that this one off anointing never left him throughout the rest of his life.

 

phs 301 Samuel 19:20-23 (NASB) “Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. So Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. Then he himself went to Ramah and came as far as the large well that is in Secu; and he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” He proceeded there to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah.” It almost suggests that Saul was prophesying involuntarily. The atmosphere of music and the prophetic dance greatly influenced the moving of the Spirit in those first days of the schools of the prophets that were mentored by Samuel.

 

2 Kings 2:9 (NASB) “When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”  Elisha’s unique and classic request of Elijah was in reality a cry for a double anointing of the Spirit of God. His request was granted. It is a wonderful study into the rationale of Elisha’s request, and the biblical meditation as to whether Elijah granted Elisha’s request or whether it was Yahweh. The conclusions from such a study are more than edifying.

 

2 Chronicles 15:1 (NASB) “Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded,” And Azariah thereafter prophesied very forcefully.

 

1 Chronicles 12:18 (NASB) “Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was the chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to him who helps you; Indeed, your God helps you!” Then David received them and made them captains of the band.” This was a soldier, not a “professional” prophet. The Spirit anointed whom He willed for prophecy just as He does in the New Testament and in the church today.

 

What does all the above show us? It exemplifies the fact that Old Testament believers had the Spirit of God dwelling within them, and it also shows that the anointing of the Holy Spirit was a “common” occurrence in the prophetic activity of the Old Testament.

 

Having stated my conclusions concerning the relationship of the Spirit of God to believers in the Old Testament, we now want to seek out the biblical explanation and definition of how and why a New Testament believer has what the Old Testament believer’s – even the prophets and men like Elijah – did not have, nor could have.

 

phs40We start at Abraham. A fuller biblical appreciation of the promises given to Abraham can illumine our hearts on this issue making us open to take more of the Spirit of God in our lives and to step more easily into the baptism in the Holy Spirit which is the inheritance of every true Christian and always has been since Acts 2.

 

The concept of being “saved,” as in being “born again,” is not used in the Old Testament, however, faith is. Justification is never mentioned in the Old Testament, however, Genesis 15:6 says that “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.” That is as clear a biblical commentary on the definition of justification without the word being used that one can think of. It may say in the New Testament that faith is the gift of God, but that does not mean it was not the gift of God in the Old Testament. God Himself gives people the faith that saves them. It may not say that Noah repented of sin, and claimed Yahweh as his salvation, but I defy any bible reader to even suggest that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” to mean anything else but that he went through the dynamics and experience of what we call “conversion” even if Noah would have thought we were talking a foreign language if we suggested that word to him. The fact, Enoch walked with God,” could not have been possible without Enoch exercising faith that gave him access to fellowship with God, in exactly the same manner as it does with the New Testament believer. Hebrews 11 and the “Hall of faith and fame” tells us that these things are so. Faith activated Enoch, Noah, Abraham and many others. Faith is a gift of God that can only be exercised by willful choice. One cannot exercise faith ignorantly or unconsciously.

 

So I ask: If Enoch could, by faith, walk with God and not see death, if Noah could find grace and know that final judgement was coming for his generation, and if Abraham could know clearly that it was right that he should leave “the culture of civilization” and set out to create a whole new culture and civilization, how “insane” does it sound to an unbelieving cynic when Christians say, “We have more than the Old Testament believer’s had?”

 

Is there anybody left out there reading these lines? Or have I lost you all?

 

phs 70I believe the New Testament is superior to the Old. I believe the New Covenant is a spiritual ministration of life while the Decalogue of Sinai was and still is a ministration of death. I seriously believe the New Testament Christian has more than the mightiest Old Testament prophet, but …!  And it is an extremely large “BUT!”  Jesus said to the woman at the well that the day was coming, “and now is,” when folks would worship God in Spirit and in truth.” It is statements like that in John 4, as well as Christ’s remarks about the kingdom members being greater than John, and not forgetting the promise of Jeremiah 31 that settles the issue as an incontrovertible fact. The “indwelling” of the Holy Spirit is what separates the very nature of the New Testament believers’ relationship with God from the people of faith in the Old Testament prior to the first advent of Christ.

 

I am, however, not sure that the commonly held explanations of the distinction between Old Testament and New Testament believers is sustainable in the light of close inspection.  I really believe we should re-examine our convictions about what this difference actually is.

 

“I live with the indwelling Spirit. I have what Elijah, Isaiah and even Moses never had” is what many non-Pentecostal charismatic Christians declare. But is that really true? And for the millions upon millions that have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, surely we are vastly under valueing, misunderstanding, and under utilizing what God has given to us.

 

Old Testament saints were “saved,” (i.e. made righteous in the eyes of God) not by works of law, but by faith as in the covenant Yahweh made with Abraham. There has NEVER been any other way that a human being could be received as righteous before God other than “by faith,” meaning “faith alone.” In other words Abraham, together with all that were saved (i.e. those that were “in faith”) before and after him in the days of the Old Testament, were declared righteous before God because of their faith in Yahweh, and the expectation of Messiah’s coming.

 

Let it be understood that the ceremonial law was a continual rehearsal and a practical demonstration of the New Testament message. It was quite literally a shadow of the Gospel, and it clearly says in that, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’”  Paul literally calls the words of the covenant with Abraham, “the Gospel.”

 

phs 60The difference then between the old dispensation and the new, does not lie in the fact that under the old dispensation the saints were saved by works, while under the new they are saved by grace. It is essential that it be noted and kept as a fundamental key to understanding the entire Bible: Everyone who was, is and in the future will ever be “saved” was, is and will be only and ever be saved by grace through faith in Christ.  But, in the days of the Old Testament, prior to Christ’s first advent, the Holy Spirit was neither promised nor enjoyed to such an extent as He is promised and enjoyed under these Gospel days.

 

What Abraham and the Old Testament saints did not receive was that measure of the Holy Spirit that constitutes the New Testament Gospel message, and produces the sanctification of the whole person, body, soul and Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  Those promises cascade down through the millennia, from Abraham, and through Abraham to Christ, and through Christ and by Christ to the whole Church of God.  Now remember the Holy Spirit is to be received by simple faith in these promises.  “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). “As it is written, ‘the just shall live by faith’ (Romans 1:17).

 

In the 12th chapter of Genesis, we have the first mention of the covenant that God made with Abraham, even though the word covenant is not mentioned.

  • “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
  • “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.” (Gen 17:4)
  • “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” (Gen 17:7)
  • “Since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him”. (Gen 18:18)
  • “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Gen 22:18)

There were two things promised concerning the covenant made with Abraham.

  1. Earthly Canaan or Israel was promised to the natural descendants of Abraham, i.e. ethnic Israel, vis a vis the Jews.
  2. There was also a blessing promised through Abraham to all the nations of the earth.

This covenant was not only made with Abraham, but as we shall see, this covenant was also made with all the nations of the earth through his seed. This is the blessing that has now come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. We are assured this is true by consulting Romans 4:

  • “For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13)
  • “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure o all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16)

To detail the situation further, the apostle Paul says that those Gentiles who had faith are of the seed of Abraham, and that he is the father of us all.

  • “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.” (Gal 3:7)
  • “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” (Gal 3:9)
  • “…that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal 3:14,29)
  • “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:29)

Language could not be clearer. Paul clearly includes gentiles in the blessings imparted by the covenant made with Abraham. Paul confirms that if they are Christians, then they are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  Further in Galatians 4:28, he says;

“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise”.

 

Here Paul affirms that the Gentiles are as absolutely within the promise made to Abraham as Isaac was.

 

Ephesians 2:12-22 declares that the Gentiles inherit all the promises of spiritual blessings made to Abraham and the fathers.  Here, there is absolutely no distinction between Jews and Gentiles.  All who have faith are entitled to all the promises, apart from the land being promised solely to ethnic Israel.

 

The real point to note is that this promise of blessing is not merely that Christ should be of Abraham’s seed, but that the promise was made to Christ through Abraham.

 

“Now the promises were made to Abraham and his seed.  He did not say, ‘and to seeds’ as of many, but as of one, ‘and to your seed’, which is Christ.  What purpose then does the law serve?  The law was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.”  (Galatians 3:16 and 19)

 

“That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus”. (Galatians 3:14)

 

This blessing, then promised, was not Christ himself, but the promise was first given to Christ, and then through Christ to all the nations of the earth. This means that we can soundly declare that this promise to Abraham and to his “seed,” and through Christ, (i.e.Abraham’s seed) to all the nations of the earth, is the Holy Spirit Himself.

 

Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets seem to have had their prophetic eyes focused on this all the time.  The scriptures, when scoured for these promises of the Spirit, reveal the promises as one unbroken chain pointing out this particular blessing everywhere, starting with Abraham right through to Christ Himself.  Sometimes, it was promised in allegorical language, where the Spirit of God is represented as water, wind or fire.  But in most situations, the prophets promised the Holy Spirit by name.

 

“Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.”  (Isaiah 32:15)

 

For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.”  (Isaiah 44:3)

 

“As for Me”, says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants”, says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore”.  (Isaiah 59:21)

 

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  (Jer 31:33)

“And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.”  (Jeremiah 32:40)

 

“Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh.”  (Ezekiel 11:19)

 

“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:27)

 

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”.  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39)

 

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”  (John 14:16-17)

 

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”  (John 16:7, 13)

 

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  (Acts 1:4-5)

 

“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  (Galatians 3:14)

 

We can now plainly see what the great blessing under the eye of divine inspiration was. The great issue of an outpouring promised to Abraham is avowed in the passages notated above. And the list above is by no means an exhaustive one.  These passages demonstrate that the gift of the Holy Spirit in the process of Salvation was indeed the “promise of the Father.”  This was the promise to all nations who followed the words and believed the promise of Yahweh. Messiah was coming, and He would appear in the power of the Holy Spirit. In His death and resurrection, the people of faith would become the body of Christ, and as He was in the world with full access to the sensitivities of the Holy Spirit, so would His body, the church do and be likewise.

 

This is why Ephesians 1:13 clearly refers to the Spirit of God as the “Holy Spirit of promise”. This is verified in other places.

 

“That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14)

 

“He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” But this Jesus spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive.” (John 7:38-39)

 

 

We conclude that the Holy Spirit can only be received by faith.  Seeing and knowing the truth is not faith in  itself.  Acknowledging truth is not faith per se.  These things might assist us to have faith, but are not intrinsically faith itself. Faith is an act.  Faith is believing in, divulging to, and compliant with our whole being to the influence of God and His Word.  Faith is actively feeding our voluntary powers to the direction, tuition, stimuli, and rule of the Holy Spirit. On the authority of the whole of scripture I assert my belief that this is the only potential route to receive the Holy Spirit, and to continually be the recipient of the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  Knowing truth about Him is not faith, nor is it receiving Him.  We can know all kinds of truth about the Holy Spirit and still reject Him.  This happens often.  No matter how profound or concentrated our understanding is, simply apprehending the truth about Him is neither faith nor receiving Him.  Only when we perceive and realize His offers of guidance, it is faith that grabs a holds the offer and yields up our absolute total being to His Lordship.

 

The baptism of the Holy Spirit needs to be sought after and received immediately, by faith, by the worldwide body of Christ.  All preparation on our part to receive Him and all delay, no matter how serious we may think we are in seeking and preparing to receive His fullness, is self-righteous and rebellious.

 

Sorry it is so long today. But …”Here endeth the lesson.”

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Post Script:

I have many note books that I have gathered into my library. They are filled with notes of people I have met, sermons I have heard, books I have read and quotations I have never forgotten. Occasionally I insert a few thoughts of my own that – to me at least – are original. Some of the above has been cooking within me for over 30 years.

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Adopted as God’s children (Ephesians 1:5)

Adopted as God’s children (Ephesians 1:5)

“He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ,” (English Standard Version Ephesians 1:5a)

“And he has constituted us as children by Yeshua the Messiah,” (Aramaic version in plain English Ephesians 1:5a)

“Having marked us out beforehand for adoption through Jesus Christ to himself” (Darby Translation Ephesians 1:5a)

The word "ADOPTION" written in old vintage letterpress type.

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We all know what adoption means in Western society and culture.  Embedded in the term is somebody from one family legally becoming a member of another family.  In the New Testament, it is used of God engrafting human beings who by faith come into relationship with Jesus Christ, into becoming members of His own family, i.e. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The average person in most western cultures straightforwardly understands this.  However, there is a little more to it than that westernised sanitised shallow statement.

LEGAL ADOPTION AS PER COVENANT

When the New Testament talks of Christians being adopted in to God’s family, we are talking of covenant language.  Christians refer to the Hebrew Scriptures as, “The Old Testament,” or better still, “The Old Covenant.”  The New Testament is aka “The New Covenant.”  “Cutting Covenant,” though none existent in western culture where covenants are replaced by legal contracts with riders, sanctions and expensive bills, is still entered into in certain parts of the world where written contracts, caveats, signatures, and expensive lawyers are not known.  The Bible is a book about covenants. If a person is to seek the full revelation and meaning of both Testaments, one cannot sidestep the issue of defining  exactly what a covenant is.  It becomes compulsory reading.

A covenant is where two parties or more (and a party could be a single human being all the way up to a nation of millions) swear allegiance, relationship maintenance and support in certain situations defined by the covenant made.  The situation may be political, familial, or even militarily protecting one in favour of agricultural favours from the other.  A covenant is made with vows and conditions that would bind the party’s together.  There would also be curses on each party if anybody from either side broke any of the covenantal promises. One member of each party, usually the senior member – but not always – would make a cut on the palms of their hands, or wrists and join hands together, mixing their blood as a sign of deep commitment.  Not all covenants are blood covenants, but blood covenants by their very nature and language are extremely serious and binding. Covenants come out of relationship and are rarely made hastily.

0002MODERN USAGE OF COVENANTS

The history and notes of David Livingstone ploughing his way through Africa and then after being presumed lost, being sought after by Sir Henry Stanley are filled with references to Blood Covenants made with African tribes and chiefs as they plodded across what was then the dark Continent.  Livingstone cut covenant with people to ensure safety as well as protection across the jungle routes, while Stanley later made covenants with many of the same people to ensure that he too could be kept safe while searching for the lost Doctor.

Let us assume that a man called “John” was the chief of one party.  Let us assume I am a member of John’s tribe.  I encounter a situation where I need help and I am away from my family members.  I go to meet a member of the second party that John had entered into covenant with.  Because I was “in John,” People from the other party would acknowledge that I was, by “adoption,” a member of their tribe and they would not – indeed they could not – refuse me help without breaking the Covenant. Adoption is a term most fundamental to blood covenant.

COVENANT LANGUAGE CLARIFIES BIBLICAL TERMINOLOGY

By this extremely brief reference to the culture of covenant, so common and part of social culture in certain parts of the world; we gain insight into the subject of being a Christian by faith.  It adds a postscript to the term we discussed earlier, namely the status of being “in Christ.”  We immediately have clarifying thoughts of being in Him by covenant and being “adopted” into God’s protective family.  In scripture, adoption is merely one of several family-related terms used to explain different aspects of the process of salvation and its ongoing benefits to the believer.  God is the Father of Christ, and through the saviour He is the Father of our new birth.  He is a father who kindly and graciously adopts believers in Christ into his family and grants them all the privileges of being heirs of His salvation.  Salvation is light years more than forgiveness of sins and deliverance from condemnation, no matter how incredible those things are.

THE ALLROUND RELEVANCE OF “ADOPTION” IN GOD’S SAVING PROCESS

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The Greek word for adoption literally means to “place as a son” and is used only by the apostle Paul in the New Testament.  He mentions adoption five times in his writings.  In Romans 9:4 Paul refers to the Old Testament idea of Israel’s special position as the children of God and says, “Theirs is the adoption as sons.”  This tells us that although “adoption,” per se is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the spirit of the meaning is very much present in those first thirty-nine books of scripture concerning Israel’s relationship with God.  The remaining four references describe how New Testament believers become children of God through His gracious choice.

The full scope of God’s work of salvation past, present and future is seen in the significance of the word “adoption.”  The verse we are camping on at the moment, i.e. Ephesians 1:5 explains how God determined the believer’s adoption as a child of His from eternity, that is, before time began.  It states plainly that God “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.”  This adoption, therefore, is not the result of any merit earned on the part of the believer, but solely the outworking of God’s love and grace (Ephesians 1:7).  The present reality of the believer’s adoption into the family of God is a literal release from the slavery of sin and the law, giving the believer a new position as a free heir of God.  Entering into salvation brings the rights and privileges of free sonship in relationship to God: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father'” (Romans 8:15 ).  Paul tells the Galatians that Christians were redeemed from the law so that they might receive adoption as sons.  Because of this redemption, the Holy Spirit comes into the believer’s heart crying, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:5).  The intimacy of a relationship with God the Father in contrast to the ownership of slavery is a remarkable feature of the biblical definition of salvation.

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Adoption of s different, but still very real kind.

Like many aspects of salvation, there is an eschatological component of adoption.  Believers “wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23 ).  The full revelation of the believer’s adoption is freedom from the corruption present in the world.  Being a member of God’s family includes the ultimate privilege of being like him (1 John 3:2 ) and being conformed to the glorious body of Christ ( Philippians 3:21 ).  This is part of the promised inheritance for all God’s children ( Romans 8:16-17 ).  In the light of all this we declare adoption a most marvellous truth for inculcating a genuine peace of heart and mind in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

ADOPTION AS PER ENTRY INTO THE FAMILY WAY

Think of Him who was the eternal son, made flesh.  Jesus of Nazareth lived a perfect life.  Jesus did not ever think evil, plan evil, dwell on evil or commit evil.  His Heavenly Father utterly approved of Him in the most positive and affirmative manner. His obedience to the plan and precepts of the Father’s instructions and directions was absolute and total. Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ was tempted in every way such as us, “yet without sin.”  When Jesus asked the highly critical Pharisaic public who had been studying His every word and move, “Which of you convicts me of sin?” there was utter silence from His most severe and murderous critics.  From the combination of these biblical statements we take the ground to declare that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life.  If the “lamb of God that takes away the sins of the whole world,” had any sins of His own to account for it would have disqualified Him from dying for the sins of anybody else.

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At the age of thirty, Jesus had seen no miracle, preached no sermon, and led nobody to faith.  This writer utterly rejects some of the legends and stories that the academics of Roman Catholicism suggest of Christ performing miracles in his childhood.  Stories like the one promulgated in some Catholic circles concerning Jesus in his youth, raising a teenage friend of His from the dead purely to prove that He did not push Him off a roof in order to kill him, I personally find ridiculous.  It is an incredibly important observation to make that Jesus did not, would not, and I would add, even could not minister until three things had happened.

  • WATER BAPTISM.  Jesus had to identify with fallen humanity and submit Himself to John’s message and be baptised in water. John’s baptism, of course, was a baptism of repentance.  However, Jesus had nothing to repent of (1 Peter 2:22), so why should He be baptised at all?

 

By being baptised in water and by the descent of the Holy Spirit and thereafter His remaining upon Jesus, and also by the Father’s pronouncement, it verified to John that Jesus was the Lamb of God sent to take away the sins of the world, a fact that the Baptist declared clearly.  The baptism of Jesus, performed by John the Baptist, showed the people that were present, that the voice of the Father, the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the response of the Son of God Himself were all concurring together of one mind and one purpose. It was to declare that Messiah had arrived and had come to the moment when His life’s ministry was to commence in earnest.  They are seen as three different persons, knowing that the Hebrew scriptures had declared that, “The Lord our God is one Lord.”  Christ’s baptism in water and the experience that immediately followed was necessary before any Messianic ministry could begin.

  • SPIRIT BAPTISM.  This was the experience immediately after.  The descent of the Spirit empowering and anointing Jesus for His ministry was the fulfilment of that last phrase of Daniel 9:24 (See Acts 10:38).  I would like to call this the point where the man, Jesus of Nazareth, was also immersed in the Holy Spirit.  However Scripture does not use this appellation at all when referring to Jesus. The truth however, surely must be that the experience of the descent of the Spirit in the form of a dove and the fact that the Spirit remained on Him, were all necessitated for Christ’s ministry as it is necessitated by fallen mankind in the same criteria of ministry via the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus was fully human, and fully God, His life was perfect and sinless YET even He could not minister without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  In Acts 2 it was a mighty wind, tongues of fire, and a gush of tongues of various languages from the mouth. It was a crisis moment, a one off.  With Christ, in the same manner, it was the heavens opening, the wings of the heavenly dove descending upon Jesus, and the voice of the Father declaring His approval of His family member from heaven itself.  Even though it was a one off experience the rest of His life was lived under the anointing and the empowering that was imparted at that moment (Acts 10:38. The anointing referred to was imparted at the Jordan.). In the same manner the entire Christian life is to be lived under the anointing and enduement of power that comes with the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
  • SEEING WHAT HEAVENLY FATHER WAS DOING AND HEARING WHAT HE WAS SAYING –CONTINUEING IN HIS WORD.  It was not only the one off anointing of the Spirit that was essential, but living under the power of the Holy Spirit was also a prerequisite.  The water baptism was an exemplary act of Christ to be emulated by all sinners converted to the faith, an example that was to be emulated and experienced every believer that has ever lived.  That is the first outward demonstration of knowing Christ, a wilful choice to be baptised.  The descent of the Spirit was a precedent of a gift from the Father to the Son that was to be repeated in and with every Christian believer.  As the Father sent the Spirit to rest on Christ, in the same way Jesus Christ is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of God, sent by Christ, falls on men and women for exactly the same reason that the Father sent the Spirit to rest on Christ.  My point  from these observations is that if Jesus Himself dared not commence ministry until He had enjoyed a supernatural experience of an encounter with the Holy Spirit, how dare we attempt the same kind of ministry without the same process. It isn’t the way of the heavenly family. We are made partakers of the divine nature by the exceeding precious promises of God
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The temptation of Christ, and His successful victory over such a temptation caused Him to return to society in the “power” of the Spirit.  The ultimate lesson is that human beings cannot minister for God without the power of the Holy Spirit resting on their lives.  Jesus said that He only spoke what He heard His Father say and did what He saw His Father do.  The miracles He performed, therefore, were miracles that His Father did through means of the Holy Spirit through the faith of human person.  As the King who rules the kingdom of God, as the son of David who was the rightful heir to the Davidic throne, He was the son of God.  Father Son and Holy Spirit were the complete and harmonious family of heaven.

The purpose of the King in His earthly mission was to pay for sin and to bring others into the joy of God’s family.  This is plainly the entire purpose of spreading the word of God in order to expand God’s kingdom.

By faith in Christ, we are born of the Spirit of God.  Jesus was also born (literally and physically) of the Spirit of God, yet still required the enduement of power from heaven by means of being “anointed” – or should we say “filled” – or should we even say “baptised” in the Holy Spirit.  Just as the Spirit falling on the house of Cornelius settled the issue with Peter that they were all adopted members of the family (even though they were gentiles), the process of faith, water baptism and Spirit baptism, followed by a life of obedience is validation to this world of  adoption ( see Acts chapters 10 and 11).

0004Justification by faith is therefore a complete transaction, it cannot be added to or subtracted from.  There are no degrees in justification. Justification before God is a biblical term for an absolute resolution of anything and everything to do with sin and evil, by action or by thought, by motive or by inward selfishness that stands between a sinner and Almighty God.  If one is justified by faith in Christ one is declared clean, without blame and spotless.  The battle and goal of life is to walk in that justified state and to stay clean. The account is settled, and was settled before the foundation of the world.

Nevertheless, having settled the account of a sinful state, i.e. sins committed against the Father, one then has to function in a Godly manner whilst the account is in the black.  It may or may not be possible to hereafter walk in a sinless manner, but we MUST be blameless.  If we cannot become sinless, we are called to be blameless.  That’s what faith in Christ resolves.  The power to “walk the world in white,” comes by no other way that walking in the power of the Holy Spirit under the grace of forgiveness that is absolute.  Short accounts with God, meaning confession of any wrong doing quickly is a profound secret of the Christian life.

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When seen in their proper light these issues are revelatory.  Lights are switched on in the inner man. We all need faith in Christ.  This is what saves us.  Faith that is given us from God to believe that Christ is who He said He was and that His death, burial and resurrection was for us.  It brings home to the heart of all believers that their birth in the Spirit was a direct act of God in our lives.  The issue thereafter is not sins and forgiveness, but obedience and power, and therefore water baptism is a statement of what has already happened, not a part of the saving process per se, but a statement of the transaction with heaven that has already taken place.  Christians are baptised in water because they are already saved, not in order to be saved.  Salvation is a thing of the Spirit effected purely by faith in Christ’s atoning death.  To suggest that one needs to be immersed in water to “aid” being saved or to “complete” becoming saved can only be seen as nonsense; in effect blasphemously claiming that what Christ achieved on the cross was insufficient.  We are justified by faith, not by immersion in water.  Obedience to the model of the life of Christ, requires and anointing and infusion of the power of the Holy Spirit.  The cross of Christ is about forgiveness.  The baptism in the Holy Spirit is purely about power.

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It must always be kept in mind, that even though Christ had told the twelve that they were all clean – apart from Judas Iscariot – and even though He breathed on them after His resurrection and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” Jesus still  “commanded” the disciples (some translations say He “ordered them”) not to even think of preaching until they had been baptised in the Holy Spirit.

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Definition of the Blessing of God on a Person’s Life (Ephesians 1:3)

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To be blessed by God is a wonderful thing!  God gives His blessings; they cannot be earned.  However, there are those blessings that can be asked for and sought after.  Obedience to God’s word and a persistent desire to walk “in the Spirit” also attracts the blessings of God and their increase.  God locates the pure in heart and those whose heart seeks the very heart attitude of God.

The Blessing of God in a person’s life, as referred to in Ephesians 1 verse 3, is a supernatural impartation of divine power and/or enabling.  It is a power, a gift, or a facilitating in a person’s life that is divinely initiated to operate in one’s life those things promised by God that lead to a fruitful all round life.  God’s blessing is a touch from heaven that brings success to the recipient in everything they set themselves to do.  The blessing of God causes the believing person to live effectively in all their purposes while having an influential journey throughout their earthly existence until the person has completed the number of days that his Creator has decreed for them.

There are times when the blessing of God is merely a single gift that God Himself has invested in a man or woman. We know absolutely nothing about Elijah apart from the fact that he was an extremely gifted prophet. There is absolutely nothing else that we can see in Elijah’s life that sets him apart.  It only needs one gift of blessing to change the world.  Some men have gifts as blessings from God.  Some men are gifts and blessings from God. Elijah was a gift to Israel from God with his one single blessing overshadowing his life.

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Peter said that believers are made to be “partakers of the divine nature” and that this partaking is achieved by those great and precious promises that God has given to us.  It is like being given a huge chest containing many things that are to increase our capacity to believe and expect more from God.  It is our choice and activity to dig into this chest and select anything we need for our known needs.

This divine impartation cannot be denied its’ activity.  It will come upon those who walk in The Spirit and obey His word.  The obedient believer is literally mugged by the blessing of God whether they ask for it or not, want it or not, or even if they do not pointedly believe for any particular blessing.  The blessing of God makes rich and adds no sorrow with it.  Every bible believing born again Christian has been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.”  The blessing of God is part and parcel of God’s conversion “contract.”  The blessing of the Father sits so heavily on Christ that to receive Him is to receive the whole package.  It is all contained in the person of Jesus Christ.

I have many times related the story of the lady in one of the London churches where I worked as part of the ministry team.  She came to a service, heard the gospel for the first time and then came from prayer at the end of the meeting in order to receive prayer as she wanted to know Christ.  The entire ministry team at the church where I was working believed in the power of God to heal and to deliver from oppression, but on that particular night no such teaching was mentioned. It was a direct gospel sermon on how people need to be saved.  The dear woman went home content. She returned the following week, however, full of questions and wondering if we had told her the “full story.”  When we asked her what she meant, she explained that she had many medical complaints for which she had a large number of tablets and medicines, which she had to take every day of her life by necessity.  She had however, by some quirk of memory by accident forgotten to take her tablets for a couple of days after receiving Christ.  She was amazed to discover that she actually felt better and the insomnia and stomach cramps, amongst other symptoms, had utterly ceased.  Her doctor was amazed to give her a clean bill of health.  She playfully chided the ministry team for not telling her the real power of Christ.

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My point is that she did not ask for healing, now was she even aware that healing was on the table at all when she took Christ as her Saviour. Somehow this powerful blessing was activated without her request, without any specific prayer, and without any great desire. Her sickness was something she had resigned herself to living with for the rest of her life.

The blessing of God can and often does cancel the curses of Satan that have infiltrated people’s lives.  It is wonderful to see when God activates some great blessing when it is not sought after.  I remember two friends of mine, Barry and Peter who were both converted in the same weekend as myself back in  April 1968.  They both had a personal challenge of things they wanted to be free from.  They were both, as I remember chain smokers and both extremely foul mouthed.  Immediately after conversion  one stopped smoking without any anxiety. The other never swore again at all during the time I was worshipping with him.  So why was one chain broken in one man’s life, and a different chain broken in the close friend’s life, while both of them struggled to the point of tears and pain with the bondage that was not broken in their life.  How strange!

1. dore_revpI tell these factual stories of people that I have known in my life in order to highlight the fact that God can bless us in ways that are not straight forward to explain.  However, we can rest assured that all believers are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ, and for all those glorious manifestations of God that may take us by surprise, there is much more that we can believe for and pursue in order to receive more from God.

Satan is generous in one thing only, namely his curses.  He is, however, never as generous with his nastiness as God is with His blessings.  The curses of Satan in a person’s life, are a paranormal impartation of satanic power and/or demonic disabling that is caused to operate in a person’s life when a legal foothold has been allowed for Satan to hang onto.  His curses and bondages are those things that bind people’s hearts minds and bodies and lead to a miserable, futile, and fruitless life.  It leaves many people failing in most things they set themselves to do in life’s pilgrimage of life, enduring low productivity (sometimes no productivity at all)  throughout this mortal coil – a coil which is often  snapped and ended before its appointed time.

The preaching of the gospel always has people’s salvation in its sight.  Healing and deliverance are integral parts of the message.  The blessings as promised in the person of Christ are more comprehensive and practical than most people can imagine.  God help us to see them, believe them, and then receive them.