God has ordered that members of the Body of Christ, “endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.” Ephesians 4:3. “There is one Spirit.” Ephesians 4:4.
Every sinner saved by grace is a member of the Body of Christ. “In Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:22. The justified sinner becomes a member of the true Bible Church the very moment he believes on the Lord Jesus for justification, without any formality or reception by church officials. Every believer, from the moment of his salvation, is in the Spirit and the Spirit is in him.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” I Corinthians 6:19.
“If we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25. Now for a little study of two Scripture expressions in the matter of the believer and the Holy Spirit.
“And he (Paul) said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Spirit SINCE YE BELIEVED? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit.”
“In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also AFTER THAT YE BELIEVED, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”
The two expressions: “SINCE YE BELIEVED”. Acts 19:2; “AFTER THAT YE BELIEVED”. Ephesians 1:13.
It is most interesting to know that both expressions are translated from one same Greek word. The word is “pisteusantes”. “Pisteusantes” is the participle of the Greek verb, “believe.” “Pisteusantes” should be translated “believing” or “on believing”, or “having believed”. The thought suggests, the very moment ye believed or “when ye believed.”
Paul did not say, in Acts 19:2, “Since ye believed”. The King-James translation said that. Paul did not write, in Ephesians 3:1, “after that ye believed”. The King James translation thus mistranslates it.
These two mistranslations have supported certain religious people in their unscriptural teaching that receiving the Holy Spirit is a Divine work subsequent to, and separate from, believing the Gospel for salvation. Paul asked in Acts 19:2, “believing received ye the Holy Spirit?” The answer “No”. They did not hear the Grace of God Gospel. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:13, “believing (the gospel of your salvation) ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit.” They believed the Gospel of Grace. “By grace are ye saved through faith. and that not of yourselves: not of works—the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8.
No sinner saved by the Grace of God tarries for a single moment for the Holy Spirit. We quote Galatians 3:14; “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” And Galatians 3:2 and 3: “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
The Holy Spirit has been sent down from heaven. I Peter 1:12.
The Holy Spirit is given to believers. Romans 5:5.
As eternal life is the free gift of God, so also is the Holy Spirit the free gift of God. No believer has eternal life unless he has the Holy Spirit. All Bible Christians have the Holy Spirit. “Now He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” II Corinthians 1:21 and 22. Note that the Greek word “Christ” is “Christos”. The Greek word “anoint” is “Chrio”. A Christian is a “Christ’s-one”—an anointed one. No one is a Christian unless the Holy Spirit is in him. In the true Scriptural meaning no Christian can receive a fresh anointing. This would mean to begin to be a Christian again. “The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” I John 2:27.
No member of the Body of Christ prays “take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” Psalms 51:11. Even though a Christian may grieve the Holy Spirit he is sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30.
But some one asks: “how about John 14:17?”
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; for He dwelleth WITH you, and shall be IN you.”
At the time the Lord spake these words to His apostles, “the Holy Spirit was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified”. (John 7:39), They had the Holy Spirit with them but not in them, because they lived before the Holy Spirit was sent. John 16:7 and 8. Christians today have the Holy Spirit in them the moment they become Christians.
We could not have the experience of the Twelve, in the dispensation of the Grace of God, committed to Paul. Ephesians 3:1 and 2. The Twelve traveled with Christ on earth several years before the Holy Spirit came from heaven. The order of Acts 8:5 to 15 is not the Divine order for members of the Body of Christ in Ephesians.
Whatever we may mean by “the baptism of the Holy Spirit”, let us remember that we rightly divide the word of truth when we teach that the believer’s baptism, sealing and anointing of the Holy Spirit is never a future experience but always received at the time of salvation. Ephesians 5:18 is something different: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
This experience is realized as the faithful Christian walks each day in the Spirit in obedience to the Word of God, rightly divided, in prayer, worship, spiritual service and practical daily Christian living.
We cannot spend too much time in genuine spiritual prayer for Holy Spirit control, but let us not be so unwise as to join in a tarry-meeting for the coming of One who came centuries ago. Neither let us be so unscriptural as to pray for more of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not enter a child of God on the installment plan.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.