Monday, November 03, 2008

The Necessary Requirements

A few weeks ago, Pastor Schedierer loaned me a book called The Threefold Secret of the Holy Spirit. As I began reading the book, I was turned off by his emotional way of writing with extreme adjectives and whatnot. But wanting to see what had impressed our pastor, I took it up again this morning.

I began with the second chapter, The Secret of His Incoming, which explains the simple requirements for receiving the Holy Spirit. Unlike the experience of the apostles, the Holy Spirit is now given to all believers at the time of conversion. And so with those thoughts percolating in his mind, the author compares the requirements of salvation to the requirements for receiving the Holy Spirit.
The simple conditions of salvation are repentance from sins and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, to keep a truly penitent soul in the attitude of seeking or praying for forgiveness, instead of simple faith in God's Word that he has been forgiven in Christ is a ruinous mistake, and leads to darkness and agony, instead of the light and joy that God means him to have. On the other hand, to try to get an impenitent soul to "only believe," instead of first repenting of his sins, will keep him in equal darkness, and make his nominal acceptance of Christ a mere profession and hypocrisy. Exactly so is it with the case at hand. If the absence of the abundant life of the Spirit in us is due, as we are persuaded it is, not to the fact that He has not come in, but that we have not surrendered to Him who is already in, then it is a tremendous and fatal mistake to keep a soul waiting and seeking, instead of surrendering and yielding.1
These thoughts are instructive not only for dealing with salvation but also for the filling of the Holy Spirit. If we have a wrong idea of either, our "disciples" are going to have trouble being converted or knowing the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And it is also instructive to true believers. If we want the Spirit to control our lives (for our good and God's glory), then we will have to surrender to His leading on a moment by moment basis. As with salvation, there is no other way.

1James McConkey, The Threefold Secret of the Holy Spirit, (Richmond: Silver Publishing Society, 1987), 17.

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