The Spirit

 

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Preface
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Introduction
General Subjects
Exposition
  Matthew
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  John 14-16
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  1 & 2 Timothy
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  1 & 2 Peter
  1 John
  Jude
  Revelation
Gifts of the Spirit
Inter-Ecclesial Offices
Word Studies
Bibliography
Index
Epilogue Acknowledgements
Exposition of The Spirit in 1 John
   

1 John 2:27
"but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him." (RSV)

Problem:

"Receiving this anointing (which is claimed to be "Ask and ye shall receive") is all important because it can teach us accurately."

Solution:

  1. The "anointing" was a first century manifestation of the Spirit gifts, i.e. "to another the word of knowledge" (1 Cor. 12:8).

    "God has appointed
    first apostles
    second prophets
    third teachers1."

  2. We are not now taught in this manner because the scripture is complete and this manifestation of the Spirit ceased after the completion of the Scriptures.

    Rather we are taught by "the word of God2 which effectually worketh in you that believe3."


1 1 Cor. 12:28 (cf. 14:26, John 14:26; 16:13).
2 In our case, written; in the first century it was largely the spoken word (i.e. "which ye heard").
3 1 Thess. 2:13.

1 John 3:24
"The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given4 us."

Problem:

This verse is used to try to demonstrate that if we have the Spirit we come to know things that we would not otherwise know.

Solution:

  1. The abiding depends on keeping "His commandments5", not on surrendering to the Spirit effluence. (cf. 2:28).

  2. The abiding is a two-way thing6. This abiding is explained in 1 John 2:24 "As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father."

    What they heard was the gospel.

  3. The knowledge they had of their fellowship with God came by the Spirit in the Apostolic teaching. We have knowledge of our fellowship with God by the written word (which came by the Spirit).

  4. The Apostles had the gifts of the Spirit (teaching, prophecy, etc.) and were inspired to write their Epistles. We do not write Scripture and do not have the "gifts of the Spirit".

4 The verb is aorist. Plummer, CBSC, P. 139. The rendering "has given" or "gave" (Marshall) points to a past act and not a continuous experience. 5 This is also evident in the following quotes: "but whoever keeps His word in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him." "the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." (1 John 2:5-6 NASB). 6 This is perhaps clarified by looking at the example of 1 John 5:18, 19 where the "world is in the wicked one and the wicked one is in the world".
1 John 4:1
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit"

Any claim in John’s time that one had a gift would have quickly led to a request for the evidence of its possession. "Spirit" means a person who claims he has the Spirit.

"but try the spirits to see whether they are from God"

There were many "false Christ’s and false prophets" even at this time (Mark 13:22; 2 Pet. 2:1; 2 Thess. 2:2-7 cf. 1 Thess. 5:19-22; Acts 19:13). To try the Spirits was to use the gift of discerning of Spirits1. The doctrinal criterion is also plainly stated so that even today we can "try the Spirits". Most who claim to have the Spirit believe in a trinity and would not admit Christ came "in the flesh 2"


1 We do not have this gift but we have the complete word in its place. We must use that to test the spirits.
2 This particular test was used to determine those who belonged to "the anti-Christ" (v.3). Those in the brotherhood who claim to have the Spirit hold to other false doctrines. (See Sections A and B).

1 John 4:2
"By this you know the Spirit of God."

"Spirit" means those who claim to have the Spirit (as in v. 1 and 3). "Spirit of God", therefore, is a person who has the Spirit gifts from God.


1 John 4:4
"Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."
1 John 4:12
"If we love one another God dwelleth in us ..."
1 John 4:13
"Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us because he hath given us of his Spirit."

Problem:

The words "he is in us because he hath given us of his spirit" are wrested to mean that God’s Spirit comes into our heart (if we open it to him) causing a feeling of enthusiasm. If we feel this enthusiasm then we have "got the Spirit".

Solution:

  1. Enthusiasm is not evidence for the indwelling of the Spirit. It may be induced:
    1. by a powerful leader such as Hitler.
    2. by the emotional music played at a Pentecostal revival meeting.
    3. by a bottle of liquor.
    4. by winning something, etc.

  2. The context says nothing about us opening our hearts so that the Spirit can come in. Rather John is showing believers that love2 necessitates the rejection of those who claim to have the Spirit but fail to:
    a) teach the correct doctrine3. (v. 3)
    b) listen to the word4 (v. 6)
    c) manifest the love2 of God to their brethren (v. 8,20).

    The context also shows that he that feareth the day of judgement5 has "something imperfect in his love" (WEY, v. 18).

  3. Because God had given the gifts of the Spirit, the recipients received revelations and knowledge of their fellowship with the Father which was otherwise unknowable. Because it was revealed to them, they revealed it to others by word and then they wrote accurately by inspiration. We know of this fellowship through the word.

  4. It certainly is true that God can work in us "both to will and to do His good pleasure." However, God working in man and man possessing the Spirit are two different things6.

A word from the Greek "enthousiasmos" meaning god possessed (en = in, theos = god) (Webster’s). It can easily be seen that the word "enthusiasm" has deep overtones of paganism. Anyone therefore, who claims to be god possessed because he is enthusiastic is echoing the beliefs of the Greek pagan of about Homer’s time. (900 B.C.). Cf. also LOGOS Vol. 29, P. 72. 2 Gk. "Agape" - a divine love not to be confused with sentimental emotion, or sensuality motivated by lust. Agape is defined in 1 Cor. 13 as a characteristic that is

"very patient, very kind" (Rhm)
"is neither anxious to impress" (Phi)
"makes no parade" (Moff)
"nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance" (Phi)
"is never rude" (Moff)
"does not insist on its own way" (RSV)
"is not easily provoked but joyfully sides with the truth" (Wey)

Experience has shown that generally those who claim to have the Spirit do not manifest the above characteristics when having discussions with their brethren about their claim. John says "He that loveth not knoweth not God" (v.8).
3 It has also been demonstrated by those who claim they have the Spirit that they are foremost in attacking the B.A. Statement of Faith. Phrases such as "Christ did not give us any commands, only the Spirit" are oft repeated by those claiming Spirit possession. It can be seen, therefore, that those "spirits" who claim Spirit possession but have incorrect doctrine, are the "spirits of error".
4 Those who claim to be "led of the Spirit" seem to belittle the word of God. It is treated as something that cannot be exciting; something lacking life that needs the added ingredient of the outpouring of the Spirit to cause growth. We must remember:

a)that God "hast magnified thy word above (together with NASB) thy name." (Psa. 138:2).
b)that "the word of God, effectually worketh also in you that believe". (1 Thess. 2:13)
c)that "the sword of the Spirit" is the word of God. (Eph. 6:17)
d)that the scriptures "are able to make thee wise unto salvation" (2 Tim. 3:15).
e)that we are "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God". (1 Pet. 1:23).

We must, therefore, be careful not to diminish the importance of the word lest God take away our "part out of the book of life". (Rev. 22:19).
5 It is significant that at least some who claim Spirit possession, have seen a need to alter clear teaching, on the judgement to the following theory: - no judgement for righteous, just a dispersal of the various rewards. Could this be because as John says they "fear" the day of judgement"?
6 cf. Section B - "God Working in Men", and 1 Thess. 2:13: "... the word of God, which performs its work in you who believe".


1 John 5:7
"And it is the Spirit that beareth witness"

This was the work of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 1 Thess. 2:10; John 5:34, 37; 8:18; Heb. 10:15) in Christ and the Apostles who witnessed that Christ was the Messiah.

"because the Spirit is the truth" (R V)

The Greek text supports the RV because the article is present. Compare with John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13. (cf. John 6:63; Eph. 6:17).


1 John 5:8
For there are three which bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood ..."

These three witnesses are those described in v.6. They represent Truth, Baptism and Sacrifice.

The Spirit bears witness: John 1:33; 15:26; Acts 10:38; John 7:38, 39.
The Water bears witness: John 1:31, (cf. 4:10, 14); to the new birth John 3:3-5.
The blood bears witness: John 6:55; 19:34, 35.

Christ was inducted into his public ministry through baptism (the water) and concluded it with his sacrifice on the cross (blood). He was raised by the Spirit and glorified by the Spirit. The miracles he wrought and the words he spoke were a witness that he had the Holy Spirit.


see TCM, Vol. 53, P. 489, "The Witness of God". All critical texts omit ‘in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit: and there are three that bear witness in earth’. “The words are not found in any Gk. MS before the 16th century”. Companion Bible, p. 1876. “… was first cited by Vigillus Tapsensis, a Latin writer of no credit, in the latter end of the fifth century, but by whom forged is of no great moment…” Diaglott p. 803.