The Priority of the Holy Spirit.
One thing that is key to any study of the Holy Spirit is to understand the absolute PRIORITY of the Holy Spirit. I once sadly heard a good pastor refer to Holy Spirit baptism, evidenced throughout scripture by folks speaking in tongues, as “a tool in your tool-belt”. That is dangerous ground – to present what God prioritizes, as a tool in your tool-belt.
The Holy Spirit baptism is clearly a baptism of fire, which ought to be sought after and received by EVERY SAINT, in full faith. That is voluntarily, of course, but ought to be in full appreciation and understanding of its importance. In fact, it could be argued that this INFILLING-POTENTIAL is one of the key purposes for the death of Christ. In fact, I intend to argue that point right here, right now.
FIRST – one thing to clarify:
The writers of the Scriptures, both New and Old Testaments, appear to use the terms “SPIRIT OF GOD”, “SPIRIT OF CHRIST” and “HOLY SPIRIT”, interchangeably.
That makes sense, as we shall see, and Jesus points to this conclusion in John 17:22-23 (NKJ)
22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
God is Spirit. That oneness is One Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God.
It should be noted that the Holy Spirit is not a new thing offered by God to mankind after Jesus (although there was indeed a huge shift in heavenly strategies by the coming of Christ – so that the Holy Spirit could finally fill ALL believers). The Holy Spirit, being the Spirit of God, is eternal.
Here’s the Holy Spirit, clearly mentioned in the OT:
Ps 51:10-11 (NKJ)
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Isa 63:9-10 (NKJ)
9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.
10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them.
1 Pet 1:10-11 (NKJ) – NT writings – speaking of OT prophets:
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
And here’s NT reference to the different terminology freely used to describe the Spirit of God:
Eph 4:30 (NKJ)
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
1 Cor 3:16 (NKJ)
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Cor 12:3 (NKJ)
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
Gen 1:2 (NKJ)
2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
1 Cor 2:13-16 (NKJ)
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
There’s a glorious statement of revelation-availability awaiting the Spirit-filled saint. No wonder there’s so much religious resistance to this.
2 Cor 3:2-3 (NKJ)
2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
This gets interesting. Here’s Paul, writing to the brethren (that’s folks who are already Christians, brethren), and he’s apparently drawing somewhat of a line in the sand, putting forth a conditional (IF) statement:
Rom 8:9 (NKJ)
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
That sounds to me like a forgiven believer, now qualified, by the blood of Jesus to walk into the Holy Spirit baptism, still needs to make a choice of faith to walk into the Holy Spirit baptism. Like those folks in Acts 19:2-6 – they didn’t even know, but we should.
Unless we are owned, and possessed by the Holy Spirit, is Paul telling us we are not God’s? Or not FULLY God’s? Forgiven, but not walking in fullness? “Fill me again Lord” remains my personal cry. I cry out for the power I clearly see in Scripture, but not in most the church. I am by no means walking on eggshells of salvation, but I want and need daily infilling. There’s no condemnation in that, rather a good revelation of need. Like water, like food, like sleep. Daily bread. In fact, a private study (by you – of Hebrews 6:2) will clearly prove that the word “baptisms” is indeed plural (“baptismos”), meaning multiple baptisms – at very least clearly distinguishing between (1.) water and (2.) fire baptisms, and I would go further to regard it as pointing to ongoing multiple fire baptisms in one’s own life. Daily bread. Fresh. Baked in the refining fire of God.
And while we’re here – I do not think it would do well to describe that verse in Hebrews, like some translations, as meaning anything less than immersive baptism (some bibles say “washings”), otherwise we would be dutifully required to translate that same Greek word (used in the singular, and personalized) for John the Baptist, to describe John the Washer.
BACK TO THE HOLY SPIRIT not being a new thing coming after Christ: here’s an example of the Holy Spirit revealing to a man in the NT prior to the birth of our Lord: Luke 2:25-27 (NKJ)
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,
So THE ISSUE is not about the HOLY SPIRIT being some kind of NEW THING following the ministry of Jesus.
The NEW THING, and THE ISSUE is that the revelation that God’s plan, through the fullness of the ATONEMENT accomplished by Jesus, is that believing mankind, en masse, could now come into such a place of complete forgiveness, that FINALLY, an ARMY of WARRIORS could be raised up by God who would/could then be EQUIPPED and EMPOWERED by the HOLY SPIRIT not simply MOVING UPON THEM, but actually LIVING IN THEM – a nation of warrior-kings and wholly (i.e. fully) holy priests in whom God would dwell by means of His Holy Spirit, to lead us and the guide us victoriously into His will. THAT IS NEW to the NT!!!! Yea God! Yea NT!
John 14:25-26 (NKJ)
25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
(There was and remains an ongoing work of revelation for the sons of God to be effective upon the earth, prior to the Lord’s return).
Remember Rom 8:11-22 (NKJ)
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors– not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs– heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
God’s PURPOSE was and is for the WHOLE CREATION to be groaning in anticipation of the revelation of the Spirit-led sons of God. He set that up – v20 – “the creation was SUBJECTED to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it IN HOPE”.
And here is the clearly expressed PRIORITY of Holy Spirit Infilling – per Jesus….
John 16:7-14 (NKJ)
7 “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.
8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 “of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10 “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11 “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 “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.
14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
This is why our enemy so actively wars against any accurate teachings of Holy Spirit anointing, and baptisms, because Holy Spirit-filled saints are dangerous to the kingdom of darkness. WE are HIS worst nightmare….folks filled with the mind and spirit of Christ, who know the ACTIVE and DAILY will of the FATHER. And this had to come through the ministry of the only One Who could be perfect, and who could fulfill the true and holy requirements of perfect sacrifice, offering His own body, for our sins. THAT is atonement, and atonement for a purpose. It is not possible that the blood of lambs or goats could take away sins (Heb 10:4).
Here’s John the Baptist prophesying about Jesus’ ministry of Holy Spirit baptism:
Matt 3:11 (NKJ)
11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Meanwhile the church, for the most part, remains content with the Baptism of John. Water will do it, they’d say. Not according to Scripture. Jesus’ desire, in fulfilling the will of the Father, is to baptize all the saints with fire, so that we might know the will of the Father via ongoing revelation (John 16:12).
The devil, knowing the potential of a Holy Spirit-led church, has and will do all he can to undermine this divine purpose of God. And sadly much has been accomplished by our enemy WITHIN the church itself, even though there is the sternest of warnings from our own Lord’s lips:
Luke 12:8-10 (NKJ)
8 “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God.
9 “But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
10 “And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.
The WORLD will mock and criticize our Lord. They mostly do that in ignorance. THAT is forgivable.
But sadly it is the CHURCH that would be inclined to look at works accomplished by the Spirit of God and declare them as unholy, in both ignorance and religiosity. And that is intolerable to God, because each member of the church has personal accountability to know and understand and receive the Holy Spirit into their own life.
The VERY LAST THING Jesus told His disciples was to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit before they went about to do ANYTHING. How’s that for PRIORITY?
Since this blog is ONE MAN’S THOUGHTS – let me go so far as to speculate that when they drew lots to replace Judas and chose Matthias, they (my opinion, here) might have done that without Spirit leading. It was done with good intention, but in somewhat a hurry after the ascension. Never again, after the Holy Spirit baptism of the Upper Room, do we ever hear accounts of an anointed casting of lots. More notably, we never again ever hear, in Scripture, about Matthias. Nice guy, but wrong guy? Maybe. Maybe that position was waiting for Saul/Paul, in God’s time. Whatever. Point is – Holy Spirit baptism and leading trumps lot-casting. Out with the old and in with the new. Total upgrade of intimacy for the saints, and revelation of God’s will.
Luke 24:46-53 (NKJ)
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 “And you are witnesses of these things.
49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
And then we get to Acts, also written by Dr. Luke, who reminds us all of Jesus’ words in Luke 24 and then goes on to recount the ascension of our Lord and the statement of the angels:
Acts 1:1-9 (NKJ)
1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,
3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
4 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;
5 “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
Bingo. HOLY SPIRIT baptism – made possible by the perfect atonement work of the Cross – now to empower each and every believer, so that we might willingly become the army of God on earth, Spirit-led people who can hasten the coming of the Day of the Lord.
Please fill me right now, Lord.
Will you pray that? Will you surrender to that infilling work of possession, and be fully His?