“Wrestling With Romans”
More of His Fullness (Chapter 8 Verses 1-17)
The life we live is now dictated and energised by the Holy Spirit (v4). A dependence upon him. We are speaking here of a conduct of life that is governed by a relationship, that is of God, in the person of his Holy Spirit, now living within us, just as the Lord Jesus promised us (John 14.20), over and over again he has said it (John 14.16; v26; John 15.26; John 16.7). Now note in that last reference that the Holy Spirit is referred to as it and not him in the King James Version. This is very unfortunate, and not a good translation at this particular point. It, in fact, is bad theology, very bad theology. The Holy Spirit is personal, he is God, living in, and empowering the Christian believer to live this new-given life. Now how do we live this life, through belief in a right system of doctrine? Go to Church? Learn Bible verses? Obey certain rules? Pray? The short answer is, no. These are good things, proper in there place, even needful. But, to live a life pleasing to God, is accomplished by maintaining a right relationship with him, how? The same way you started, by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2.8-10). A right system of doctrine, going to Church, and so on never got you right with God in the first place, it was pure grace, through faith (Ephesians 2.8-10), not works. That grace brought us into a relationship with God himself so continue as you begun, with relationship, not with works.
The Holy Spirit’s intimate presence with us, guarantees his counsel (John 14.6), instruction that is, how to live, daily guidance from within, help, strength and comfort. As Jesus is our advocate above (1John 2.1), the Holy Spirit is our advocate within. There lies the vast difference between us and the Old Testament believers, Jesus brings us into a new dimension in terms of intimate relationship, the presence of God fully with us (2Corinthians 3.3, vv7-8). Now are you living in that relationship? You can read the Bible, say prayers, go to Church, all that and more, and yet the answer can be a definite no. Are you filled, and being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5.18)? Are you “walking the Spirit” (Galatians 5.25)? Are you living according to the Spirit (v4)? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, speaking of those who adamantly professed to have all of the Spirit, said, “If you have got it all, why are you so unlike New Testament Christians”? There is of course a sense in which that could be misleading. The Holy Spirit is a Person as we have already said, so if you have him, you have him, all of him, you cannot have half, or quarter of a person, you either have the person in his entirety or not at all. It is because we have this mentality of seeing ourselves as jugs that need topping up now and then. Look at the whole verse in Ephesians, the person filled with the Holy Spirit is likened to the person who is under the influence of wine, drunk that is. Except that the Christian, who is Spirit-filled, is under another influence, that of the Holy Spirit, and the more filled, the more he or she is controlled by him. Now none of us have the amount of influence of God’s Spirit that we should. We need to be initially sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1.13) and then to go on being filled (John 7.37). Does Paul’s wish for the Ephesians that they may know the fullness of the Spirit (Ephesians 3.19b), suggest that perhaps some them did not know that fullness? Do any of us? Do you or I?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)