Over the years there have been a great many good, honest, and sincere brethren who have held to the doctrine of a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As I look into the teachings of scripture, though I do not doubt their wisdom or intelligence, I cannot agree that this is the truth. A number of old worthies, so far as I understand, held this position. But while they contended that the Holy Spirit Himself inhabited their bodies, they did not argue any operation, separate and apart from the word. In fact, from what I have heard, they would freely admit that He did nothing separate from the Word. Over time the generations that followed, and held the same belief, took it a step further, arguing that He did something, but they didn’t know what it was, some suggested there was no way of knowing. Finally we are now in a dark stage of this idea’s development, as men are boldly and brazenly declaring that the Holy Spirit has specific operations that He works in the lives of men without the medium of the Word (directly or personally). Some take it further than others, but all are in a very dangerous position that compromises many fundamental truths of God’s Word, including the Bible’s claims about itself.
The Bible’s Claims About Itself
The same scriptures that we have used for years to fight the Catholics, Mormons, and Holy Rollers, challenge this idea of direct operation. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that the “scripture” makes us “perfect” and “thoroughly furnishes us unto every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:17) We learn form the Apostle Peter that through the “knowledge ofHim” we are given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) How do we come to the “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” by some miraculous, supernatural, unexplainable working of God? NO! The Bible is clear in informing us that knowledge of God comes only by the Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) This is the Holy Spirit working our lives! “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God… For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12,16)
The Bible says that it does this great work of perfecting, edifying, and furnishing, and that it does it perfectly and thoroughly. Shall we call the word of God a liar? This truly is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit!
What Does the Holy Spirit Do that the Word Does not Do?
The Bible is very clear in informing us what the work of the Holy Spirit is, yet these personal indwelling, direct operation folks try to make it ambiguous and uncertain. When Christ promised to send Him in the 14th chapter of John, He explained why He would be coming: He would comfort, He would convict, He would convert, He would guide, and He would abide forever. All these things areaccomplished in the Word!
I heard a man teach at a funeral not so long ago, that Christians should allow the indwelling Spirit to give the peace and comfort, “and then seek your comfort from the scripture.” This is incredulous! Earlier this year I lost my father to cancer, this ended a long and agonizing experience of watching him suffer. It would have been easy for me to blame God and be lost in despair. But that didn’t happen, the Holy Spirit did what He was sent to do, He comforted me as I read of a hope in the resurrection of Christ Jesus, as I read of the paradise that awaits the saved and the victory through Christ over death and the grave. Apart from the scripture I had no comfort, no rest, and no peace.
I have further known many Christians who were engaged in wrong doing, ignorant of there sin, and were not compelled to stop until, shown in the Word of their error. They were convicted. Did the Holy Spirit not dwell in them? If so why did He not personally queue them in on their wrongdoing? On the day of Pentecost, how did those Jews fall under conviction that moved them to repent? By the working of the Holy Spirit? Yes, of course! Then, by direct operation? NO! The Bible tells us, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)
What about conversion? This too cannot be done with the Word. “Faith cometh by hearing…” When Cornelius, the believing gentile, desired salvation, he prayed to God, and God sent Peter to preach to him. Remember the prayer of Jesus, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
Some will testify, “I have been in a tough situation, when I didn’t know what to do and I felt the Holy Spirit telling me what was right.” If ever a man was guided to do what is right, he was guided through the word. David said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” What could we ask for that God has not provided in His perfect word? Nothing I say, indeed God has given exceeding abundantly more than we could ever deserve.
Many, in desperation turn to Romans chapter 8 and verse 26 as a final proof that the Holy Spirit works separate from the word. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Why must one assume that this is done separate from the Word, indeed in cannot be, for it deals with edification. We know this cannot be referring to intercession between God and man, for that is done by Christ alone (Romans 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5), but this presents no problem, the 8th chapter of Romans is to Christians who are already restored to God, the “weakness” here mentioned is that of the flesh, a weakness of ignorance. When we are dead in sin we are without any knowledge of how to please or worship God, so when we are made alive in Christ our “mind must be renewed by the Spirit.” (Romans 12:2) We who do not even know how to talk to God can cry out, “Lord, teach us how to pray!” And in this weakness the Holy Spirit will intercede with edification through the word (Matt. 6:5-7; Mark 11:24)
Accusations: If He Doesn’t Work This Way, He Doesn’t Exist
These have been thrown these accusations at me, but they are foolish indeed. In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth. For six days He continued to create, but on the seventh day He rested, He stopped creating, and has never worked in this manner since. That is not to say that He has lost any of His power or that He no longer exists, He just doesn’t work that way anymore. It was said of Abel that he, “Being dead, yet speaks.” Now he doesn’t speak like he used to, but he still speaks. The Holy Spirit is not dead, the Holy Spirit is not resting. He is working today, doing what he was sent here to do, but he is doing that work through the instrument of God’s Holy Word. CED