Hank’s Questions about the Personal Indwelling of the Spirit, Part 2

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3) When Jesus said that the greatest command was to love God and their neighbors with ALL of their heart, did he believe that they could do that back then (without yet “having” the HS), as much as we can today?

The scriptures answer this question directly. I’ve covered the critical passages many times. We begin in —

(Deut. 6:4-6 ESV)  4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

(Deut. 10:12-16 ESV)  12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,  13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?  14 Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.  15 Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.  16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.”

These parallel teachings require Israel to love and serve God with all their heart and soul. it’s a heart command. It’s not fulfilled by mere externals. It requires a certain state of heart: “circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart.”

But they failed. Jeremiah, for example, promised utter destruction for their failure to obey exactly this command:

(Jer. 4:4-8 ESV)  4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”  5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, “Blow the trumpet through the land; cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble, and let us go into the fortified cities!’  6 Raise a standard toward Zion, flee for safety, stay not, for I bring disaster from the north, and great destruction.  7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone out from his place to make your land a waste; your cities will be ruins without inhabitant.  8 For this put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned back from us.”

Some Jews were faithful, but only a small minority. So many were unfaithful that God allowed the Babylonians to destroy the Temple, tear down the walls of Jerusalem, and relocate the people to Babylon.

So was it possible to love God sufficiently without the Spirit? Yes. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were among those take captive by the Babylonians.

Did the vast majority of the Jews fail to do so? Yes.

But God promised a new age, after the Exile, when he would solve this problem.

(Deut. 30:1-6 ESV) “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you,  2 and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul,  3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.  … 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

After the Exile, God himself will change the hearts of his people love him with all their hearts and all their soul.

Prophets such as Ezekiel (quoted earlier) interpreted this to be a reference to the indwelling Spirit — and Paul is very plain —

(Rom. 2:28-29 ESV)  28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.  29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

The saved are those who’ve received circumcision of the heart “by the Spirit, not by the letter.” The Law by itself was not enough. It largely failed to create a people who sufficiently honored Torah to please God. That was true at the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (the time of Babylonian Captivity), and it was true in the parallel time of Jesus and his apostles (which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans, in a remarkable repeat of history).

In both cases, only a remnant of the Jews were faithful, but after Pentecost, the remnant received the outpoured Spirit — and the Kingdom has been dramatically different as a result.

To borrow from Daniel,

(Dan. 2:34-35 ESV)  34 As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.  35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image [the kingdom of heaven] became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

(Dan. 2:44-45 ESV)  44 “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed [the kingdom of heaven], nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,  45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

The kingdom of heaven, empowered by the indwelling presence of the Spirit, has accomplished things that Israel never did. I believe God will accomplish far greater things in the future.

4) Basically, what exactly, do you believe that we can do today, that Mary and Joseph couldn’t do back then? 

Fly in airplanes. Use computers …

Kidding!

It seems clear to me that God gave his Spirit to Mary, as she spoke words that became scripture (Luk 1:46-55 the Magnificat) and sound inspired to my ear. This may have been a temporary gift. After all, Mary seems to have struggled to accept Jesus in his role as Messiah — at least as the sort of Messiah he insisted on being —

(Mk. 3:20-21 NIV)  20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.  21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 

So let’s assume that God selected Mary and Joseph and that they had no indwelling of the Holy Spirit — except Mary had the Spirit temporarily at the Annunciation.

Well, if I were a Calvinist, this would be very problematic as the Calvinists believe that humans suffer from original sin to such an extent that they cannot be obedient without the Spirit.

But I’m not a Calvinist — and I find the whole Calvinism controversy a distraction because I find that the Bible was written to pose and respond to very different questions.

Only a very few of the Jews received the Spirit — Saul, David, and Solomon. Perhaps later kings in the line of David, but this is not clearly stated anywhere that I can find. The prophets. Certain of the judges — maybe all. The artisans who worked on the tabernacle. Some composers of psalms for the Temple service. And that’s about it insofar as we are told.

But Heb 11 gives us a list of saved OT characters, which includes Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob — and I know of no basis to conclude that any of these people received the Spirit.

God told Elijah that he’d preserved a remnant of 7,000 souls (1 Kings 19:18; Rom 11:4). I doubt that all had received the Spirit.

Therefore, it’s possible to have faith sufficient to save without the Spirit — contrary to Calvin. That will sound Pelagian to many, but it’s a moot point as to Christians because all Christians have the Spirit and only Christians are saved. The issue only comes up, even in theory, pre-Pentecost. (If you aren’t familiar with the Pelagian controversy, well, I wouldn’t lose any sleep … . But the Calvinist community is obsessed with the issue. They’ll make you learn words like “synergism” and “monergism.” And if you join the club, “supralapsarianism” and “infralapsarianism.” Stay far, far away!)

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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34 Responses to Hank’s Questions about the Personal Indwelling of the Spirit, Part 2

  1. Ray Downen says:

    It seems to me that many ask the wrong questions about Old Testament characters and incidents. How refreshing it is to find Jay asking what I think are valid and pertinent questions and then providing the BIBLE answers.

  2. laymond says:

    “remove the foreskin of your hearts,” Does anyone know exactly what this means ? This is not something an indwelled being does for you, it is something every human being was intended to do, but had strayed from the purpose for which they were created , to be the image of God. To love God completely. Which can not happen as long as the heart has been hardened by sin toward God. when we expose our heart to all the feelings the heart was intended to experience , we are able to love God with all our being, and not before. It is impossible to obey God’s command without first exposing the heart to undying love for our creator. Just as sensations are much greater for the circumcised male genital , so they are for the circumcised heart. So get rid of the foreskin covering your heart and enjoy life more fuller as God intended.

  3. Chris says:

    Jay, I find it interesting that the majority of Christians recognize Christmas and Easter, but when it comes to Pentecost, it’s not even a blip on the radar (at least with non Pentecostal churches). I know that our primary focus should be Jesus, but it seems that if we can recognize mothers and fathers, even graduates on their special day, couldn’t the church at least give some recognition to the Holy Spirit’s arrival? At least, it would provide an opportunity for some good teaching on the subject.

  4. Hank says:

    “Circumcise the foreskin of your heart” Deut. 10:16

    Laymond is right! This command from Moses to the people was something that THEY were to do to themselves! THEY were to circumcise (remove) the foreskin of their own hearts, themselves. It was NOT something that they were promsised that would be done by the personal indwelling of another being (the Holy Spirit), to another generation, thousands of years in the future. Rather, the people then, were to circumcise their own hearts, at that time.

    Now, God (thru Moses) did not command the people then, to do something that they could not do.

    I’ll go back to Adam and Eve. We’re they created with the indwelling if the HS, in order to obey God fully? We’re they able to produce ACTUAL fruit of the Spirit? Like, love, joy, and peace?

    Jay claims that even unseparated, believing, and faithful children of God “need” to be reborn and renewed, BEFORE they will be able to “obey better”, “sin less”, and produce “real” fruit.

    But, is that so?

    Does anybody here honestly believe and teach their children, and the children of their churches, that they will NOT BE ABLE TO “obey better” and/or produce the “real” fruit of the Spirit until AFTER they feel as though they need to repent and be born again?!

    That even tho they are currently unseparated from God, even tho they love and want to please and obey him, even tho they know what the fruit of the spirit is and want to produce it, that they WON’T be able to do any of those thing “better” (or even at all), until they first believe they have separated themselves from God, repent, and be converted?!

    How crazy is that???

    I can’t believe that anybody really believes that. And I really can’t believe that anybody actually teaches that.

  5. The Spirit was given to first century Christians (of the Apostolic Age) who did not have the complete written Word to guide them. The epistles were written to Christians of that time. We have the complete written Word to guide us. The epistles were not written to us. They are for our learning, example, and comfort. Thus wrote the apostle Paul to the Christians at Rome, alluding to OT Scripture:

    “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4.)

    There will be less conflict when we remain in the time and context of what has been written.

  6. Just a word or two as I am late to the show looks like. My goodness I go without coming to Jay’s page for a couple days and miss the fire works.

    In reply to Hank on the circumcision of the heart. I am delighted you are cited Deuteronomy 10.16 Hank! Many Church of Christ folks do not know heart circumcision is not a so called New Testament idea (that notion that the “Old Testament’ is external and “carnal” is bogus).

    The Law of Moses was not given as a means of salvation. Israel was saved in the Exodus not at Mt Sinai. So no Israelite is following the Torah to “get” saved. But it is an expression of faithfulness within the covenant of love (Deut 7.9, 12). Moses prophesied Israel would not be faithful to the covenant (4.25-31; 30.1-5).

    Now note that, after Israel has been sent into exile (“When all these things happen” not “If these things happen” in 30.1), Moses says very clearly:

    “Moreover, the LORD your God WILL CIRCUMCISE your heart and the heart of your descendants SO THAT you will love the LORD your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul, IN ORDER that you may live” (30.6)

    The apostle Paul’s language is straight from Deuteronomy. But Israel would fail. God will have to act. This is grace. Yes Israel is told to circumcise their heart. The exile shows they failed. GOD will perform the operation where humanity has failed.

    Deuteronomy plays into the language we meet in the Psalms, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Ezekiel especially connects a new heart and the Spirit (36.25-28). The language is performative:

    “I will put my Spirit WITHIN you, and MAKE YOU … ”

    Or we may translate that, just as in Deuteronomy, as “so that/inorder that…”

    Final word in general. I think the Holy Spirit was far more active in the Hebrew Bible and Israel than modern folks given him credit for. But that is another day’s discussion.

  7. Dwight says:

    This comes down to being our problem, not the HS’s problem. We want to categorize and define everything and just not accept that the HS behaved where and when it needed to as God willed it to happen. God wanted the people to do things that they should have done, but didn’t and even then God often took up the slack. We aren’t as quite forgiving.
    In the OT we aren’t told much about the HS, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t present to those who desired God. Read Psalms and we will get a sense of David’s pleading for help and guidance from God.
    This is the same pattern in the NT. To those who desire God, God will help in their progress. Those that walk in the Spirit will produce the fruits of the Spirit.
    But even those in I Cor.14 who had gifts of the HS, were told to use their gifts in the right way.
    It seems as though those that had the miraculous gifts of the HS were not walking in the Spirit in their pride and thus were not producing the fruits thereof.
    You can’t be led by the HS, if you aren’t willing to follow and gifts aren’t a surety of that, but should aid in the process.

  8. hank says:

    Bobby, thanks for chiming in. If I may, I’d like to challenge you (as well as Jay and everyone else), to take another look at Ezikiel 36. The passage you keep citing, reads:

    “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
    Ezekiel 36:26‭-‬27

    Notice that God promises them “a new heart” AND “a new spirit” – two things. God also says that he will their heart of stone AND give them a heart of flesh. Surely, you know that this is figurative language. The people didn’t actually have a non fleshly heart of stone! Of course, they all had actual heats of flesh, just like we all do, today. God wasn’t even talking about their actual hearts – he was talking about their dispositions and attitudes. God was NOT saying that he was gonna give them an EXTRA heart and/or spirit. Rather, he was saying that he was going to change their current heart and spirit. I’m sure you understand this about the first part of the passage. That, God wasn’t actually going to remove their heart and give them a different one. But then, you all add to the 2nd part, and make it literal. Why most translators make the “new spirit” (with a small “s”), but the “my Spirit” (Capital “S”), I so not know. Since, “my Spirit” and the “new spirit” to be put in them, was the same spirit! Have you ever noticed and wondered about that?

    God, did NOT say that he was going to take out their heart and put the third person of the Godhead inside them. You guys are clearly reading this passage eisegetically. It just doesn’t say what you guys believe it does. Why do YOU think the translations have two different “spirits”?

    The truth is, that the new heart and the new spirit, both point to a changing of their attitudes and mindsets. Not actual removals and transplants. Just like when Moses charged the oeople to circumcise the foreskins of their hearts. It was figurative language because to actually attempt to circumcise their actual hearts, would have meant immediate death.

    But yeah, you guys are eisegeting the passage and making the fist half of the same passage figurative, and the second part literal. And insert the idea of the third person of the Godhead.

    Also, what about Adam and Eve? Do you believe that they needed new hearts (as they were initially created)? Do you also believe that all of our children are born with hearts of stone? Do you (like Jay), deny the notion that all the little children of the world can produce the fruit of the spirit? Do you (like Jay), believe that little children won’t ever have a pure heart and spirit until AFTER they feel lost and are reborn? Does Jesus, God, or the HS live inside of all the little children Jesus loves? Did they live in Adam and Eve?

  9. Dwight says:

    Hank, I think you are on to something in your examination of Ezekiel 36. I don’t think God was forcing them to be different by changing them internally, but by bringing them to a reckoning and thus changing them. God’s motive for punishment was about punishment, but also about humbling, especially in the light that they often took pride in their own accomplishments and glory(just look at the cycling in Judges). Now is it possible that the HS was in play in this, yes, but not visibly. God’s goal was the hearts of men and soul of men. And wanting the spirit of man to connect to the spirit of God.

  10. hank says:

    Thanks, Dwight.

    Obviously, I agree.

    I doesn’t even make sense that after thousands of years of lack-luster faith and obedience from God’s people, that he decided to send the third person of the Godhead to himself, personally live inside of every believed “in order to” MAKE the believers “obey better”.

    Why and how would God be more pleased and/or glorified by people “obeying better” (as Jay puts it), when said obedience is produced by the HS “making” us to obey??

    As if, brand new little children are not born with the ability to love God with k of their heart. Nor, the mentally challenged who are never “reborn”.

    I reject all of that…

  11. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Hank,

    I believe my words were to “help” believers obey better, not “make.” The Spirit is given to us as a Helper, according to Jesus. I’m not teaching the Calvinist notion of irresistible grace. Just some help from a Father who loves us.

    (Eph. 3:14-19 ESV) 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be
    strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    (Jer. 31:33 ESV) 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    (Jer. 32:39-40 ESV) 39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

    (Ezek. 11:19-20 ESV) 19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

    (Jer. 24:7 ESV) 7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

    (Deut. 30:6 ESV) 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

    (Rom. 2:28-29 ESV) 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    (Rom. 7:6 ESV) 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

    (Jn. 14:16-17 ESV) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

    (1 Jn. 2:27 ESV) 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie– just as it has taught you, abide in him.

    etc.

  12. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Hank wrote,

    Rather, [God] was saying that he was going to change their current heart and spirit.

    I couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly what he said. GOD will change their heart. The first “spirit” is likely a Hebraic parallel — saying nearly the same thing twice in a row is typical of Jewish prophecy and poetry.

    That, God wasn’t actually going to remove their heart and give them a different one.

    Well, Ezekiel isn’t using “heart” to refer to a body part, is he? He is speaking metaphorically of the seat of emotions. And God is promising a “heart transplant,” meaning a new way of feeling, a softer, kinder, more God-like heart.

    Why do YOU think the translations have two different “spirits”?

    Easy enough.

    1. In Hebrew, ruach refers both to “spirit” as in an attitude or state of the metaphorical heart and to “Spirit,” the third-person of the Godhead. It can also refer to the wind or breath. (The same is true of pneuma in Greek.) This multiple definition leads poets to engage in wordplay with the word, and it’s common in both testaments. You really have to read poetry with the heart (seat of emotion) of a poet. And that includes being aware of plays on words. An extraordinary example of this is Ezekiel’s prophecy of the dry bones. Translators widely differ as to “wind”, “breath”, “spirit” and “Spirit” because the author intentionally uses the multiple meanings of ruach in the composition — and English can’t repeat the effect making it tough on translators. (Go read it in several translations and you’ll see what I mean.)

    2. The Spirit — the Spirit of God, third member of the Godhead — is a major player in Ezekiel in any translation. Do a concordance search to trace the ways Ezekiel weaves the Spirit into and through his prophecies. I would be fun to go through it here but take too much space and time. It’s a major theme of this very long book. Your time in studying Ezekiel’s use of the Spirit would be well invested. Christopher Wright commentary on Ezekiel is brilliant, by the way.

    3. The word “my” makes a difference.

    (Ezek. 36:26-27 ESV) 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

    In v. 27, God says he will put “my Spirit within you.” Well, how is “my Spirit” used in Ezekiel?

    (Ezek. 36:27 ESV) 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

    (Ezek. 37:14 ESV) 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”

    (Ezek. 39:29 ESV) 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”

    These all seem to clearly refer to God’s Holy Spirit, not Israel’s human seat of emotions. Eze 39:29 is obviously parallel with other prophetic passages speaking of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit —

    (Joel 2:28-32 ESV) 28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

    Peter applies Joel 2:28-32a to the Holy Spirit outpoured at Pentecost, so there really can be no doubt.

    (Isa. 32:14-17 ESV) 14 For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks; 15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. 16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. 17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

    (Isa. 44:3 ESV) 3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

    Clearly, the prophets mean God’s Holy Spirit, third member of the Godhead, when they speak of the Spirit being outpoured.

    4. The commentators agree —

    The two statements of v 26a are unpacked in v 26b and v 27. Yahweh would creatively endow Israel with new wills that were to be sensitive rather than stony and hard in their reactions to Yahweh’s will. Thanks to him, their lives would be governed by a new impulse that was to be an expression of Yahweh’s own spirit. He would re-make their human natures, so that they marched to the music of the covenant terms that expressed Yahweh’s nature and will. Only thus could the covenant relationship become a living actuality rather than a doctrinal truth. Only thus could the old ideal of Yahweh’s people in Yahweh’s land (cf v 20) become a reality.

    Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel 20–48 (WBC 29; Accordance electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 179.

    Once the people have been purified from all their iniquities, Yahweh will replace their “heart of stone”—obstinate, rebellious, unfeeling-with a “heart of flesh” and infuse them with God’s own spirit. As a consequence, the Israelites will at last “follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances” (v. 27b). This is no turn of heart on the Israelites’ part but a heart transplant performed unilaterally by Yahweh to insure the people’s utter and unending obedience (Here Ezekiel goes beyond both Deut 30:6 and Jer 31:31–34).

    Katheryn Pfisterer Darr, “The Book of Ezekiel,” in Introduction to Prophetic Literature; Lamentations-Ezekiel (vol. 6 of NIB, Accordance electronic ed. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001), 1492.

    As in the antecedent texts, lēb and rûaḥ represent the person’s internal locus of emotion, will, and thought. Like Jesus, centuries later (Matt. 15:17–20), Ezekiel recognized the problem of rebellion and sin against Yahweh to be more deeply ingrained than mere external acts. Ezekiel concretizes the metaphor by describing the heart as stone, which speaks of coldness, insensitivity, incorrigibility, and even lifelessness (cf. 1 Sam. 25:37). Ezekiel knew whereof he spoke, having had to deal with the obduracy of his people from the time of his call. But God has been struggling with the problem for centuries. The present solution is more radical even than the circumcision of the heart prescribed by Deut. 30:6–8. The only answer is the removal of the petrified organ and its replacement with a warm, sensitive, and responsive heart of flesh (bāśār).
    Concomitant with the heart transplant, Yahweh will infuse his people with a new spirit, his Spirit. On first sight, the present juxtaposing of rûaḥ and lēb in such precise, if chiastic, parallelism suggests that “spirit” and “mind/heart” should be treated as virtual synonyms. However, the synonymity is seldom exact in Hebrew parallelism, and here the terms are associated with different prepositions. The new heart is given to (nātan lĕ) the Israelites, but the spirit is placed within (nātan bĕqereb) them. This distinction is confirmed by the manner in which vv. 26b–27 elaborate on the two statements. The provision of the new heart involves a removal of the petrified organ and its replacement with a heart of flesh, the source of which is unspecified. But the new spirit placed inside Israel is identified as Yahweh’s rûaḥ (v. 27), which animates and vivifies the recipients. In customary Ezekielian style, the subject is not developed here, but will be picked up and afforded full-blown exposition in 37:1–14.
    Third, Yahweh will cause his people to be obedient to himself. The construction of v. 27b is unique, highlighting the divine coercion: I will cause you to walk in my decrees, so you will diligently observe my laws (lit. “I will make [wĕʿāśîtî] that you walk in my statutes [ḥuqqîm] and observe my covenant standards [mišpāṭîm] and act [accordingly]”). According to M. Greenberg, “God will no longer gamble with Israel as he did in old times, and Israel rebelled against him; in the future—no more experiments!

    Daniel Isaac Block, The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25–48, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997–), 355–356.

    He can refer to the new heart and new spirit as both gift (11:19; 36:26) and goal (18:31). This inescapable, irreducible paradox is a common feature of the life of faith.
    Nor is it necessary to conclude that the future Ezekiel envisions reduces Israel to an inhuman race of puppets. The new heart God promises is, after all, a heart of flesh in the place of a heart of stone (v. 26; so also 11:19). God does not remove, but rather restores, our humanity. As Gowan observes, “What is wrong is that our hearts of flesh, which had the potential for deciding to obey God, have become so calloused by continual disobedience that they have become virtually petrified, and we are trapped in our commitment to rebellion until God intervenes” (Ezekiel, p. 120). It is in our stony-hearted state that we are bound, unable to will or choose the good for others or for ourselves (as Paul well understood; see Rom. 7:14–25). The “heart transplant” which makes us truly human also makes us truly free.

    Steven Tuell, Ezekiel, eds. W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 249.

  13. Larry Cheek says:

    Hank,
    You might be right as you ask about Adam and Eve having the HS prior to their sin. Then comparing them to children having the same relationship with The HS. That concept fits very well with the message from God explaining that they would die the very day that they ate of the tree. The death they experienced was the separation of the Holy Spirit from them. The portion of their relationship with God that was with them continually as a helper. Their sin was not the first line reason that the physical body experiences death, the body died because it was not allowed to eat of the tree of life. Each and every human child fails in the exact format as Adam and Eve, when they sin they suffer the exact same consequence. The sinful portion or our being dies or then is buried, then as we are born again replacing that Spirit within us. Being alive without the Spirit is really death.
    It does appear to me that your communication wants a child to be exempt from that experience. I do not believe that God was attempting anywhere in scripture to exempt the sinning of a child. A child who has never committed a sin does not need a savior. If they do not need a savior there is no need for Jesus. That is why all humans are counted as sinners, all need Jesus. There are a lot of scriptures to support the need of Jesus by all humans. Why because they are sinners. In the complete history of the world there might be a few humans who lived a life which Jesus did not have to intercede for, I am thinking of Enoch and Elijah, but we will not know an individual with that status.

  14. Hank,

    Hank you completely observed the Passover on the entire matter of circumcision of the heart. Moses states that will be a divine operation “so that” Israel can obey. That does not remove human responsibility rather it highlights what Moses is saying – our relationship with Yahweh will be based on grace from first to last … wow Paul says that too!! Here is the fact Hank: YOU NEED DIVINE AID! You may not think you do, but Moses and Paul do!

    I do not think I have read anything into the text of Ezekiel. I would rather say you have an rationalistic Enlightenment strain a mile long going through you. I neither have to be able to explain rationally to a Modernist’s satisfaction anything. What i have to affirm is what does the text say. You can deny the text. But the text will stand.

    In Ezekiel, God does not take a literal heart of stone and place a heart of flesh within people. The point is a renewal of the will. That renewal of the will is accompanied by a power source capable of enabling the will. That is God’s Spirit.

    I am glad you quoted the text of Ezekiel Hank because at least I know that you can see quite clearly the text says, “I will put MY Spirit IN you” (36.27). Now where is that Spirit, Hank? Whose Spirit is it Hank?

    This statement is repeated in 37.14, “I will put MY SPIRIT in you and you will live, and i will settle you in your own land. THEN YOU WILL KNOW that I the LORD have spoken and done it, declares the LORD.”

    It is difficult to find a clearer statement Hank than what we have in Ezekiel. Israel needs a renewed will … a will that desires only the will of God. But that is not all they need. Israel needs the power to live the will. That power flows from God himself as he places his living and breathing Spirit within us.

    When Paul speaks of the “Spirit of life” and not living according to the sarx but according to the Spirit (Romans 8.1-4) he is drawing directly from Ezekiel (not the only place he does so). It is the Spirit that ties us to God, it is the Spirit that “enlightens” our eyes, it is the Spirit that provides the power of the resurrection itself to us as God’s people.

    I do not have Jay’s permission so he can strike this if he wishes but Paul’s theology for the Spirit IN THE BELIEVER is summed up nicely in the letter we call Ephesians. I will provide a link to two blogs on the Spirit and the Believer. Paul does not stray far from the vision of Ezekiel …

    The Holy Spirit in the Disciple, Pt 1
    http://stonedcampbelldisciple.com/2006/12/27/the-holy-spirit-the-disciple-in-ephesians-pt-1/

    The Holy Spirit and the Disciple, Pt 2
    http://stonedcampbelldisciple.com/2006/12/28/the-holy-spirit-the-disciple-part-2/

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  15. hank says:

    Bobby writes:

    “Here is the fact Hank: YOU NEED DIVINE AID! You may not think you do, but Moses and Paul do!”

    Calm down, brother. I never said that we don’t “NEED DIVINE AID!”. We certainly do. Just like all of the disciples who lived with and followed Jesus (while Jesus was with them). I just don’t think that there WAS NO DIVINE AID, prior to Pentecost. Nor, do I deny any device aid to and for all the little children of the word (and mentally disabled), who have not yet felt lost and been reborn.

    You (and Jay) just seem to believe that there WAS NO DIVINE AID, available to and for the average child of God throughout the OT. Do you really believe that Moses charged the people to circumcise their hearts, all the while knowing that it wasn’t something they could actually do, until thousands and thousands of years later, when deity would personally get every sinner who repents, and then does it for them?!

    Respectfully, I have not “completely observed the Passover”. I just don’t believe what you do. I believe that all men, women and children have ALWAYS HAD “divine aid” available to them. I deny your doctrine of “divine aid” being unavailable to (virtually) all mankind, UNTIL AFTER Acts 2. I believe that all who would seek, would find. And all who knocked, would have doors openned.

    Do you really believe that little children who believe in and love God, have NO DIVINE HELP, until AFTER they feel lost and are reborn? Have you (would you) ever actually tell a child that he/she will only get divine help, after they feel lost and get baptized?

    But, is that not what you technically believe??

  16. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Bobby wrote, “I do not have Jay’s permission …”

    Bobby, you are always welcome to post links to your own blog (or others) here. There is no policy against other people’s writings. However, the spam filter sometimes blocks comments with multiple links — but I fish them out when I have time.

  17. Hank,

    Where does the text say the God puts his Spirit? Simple question, what is the answer to it?

    I never said either that there was no divine aide prior to Pentecost. Nor have I ever said there is no divine aide to a non-Christian. You have never read that from me anywhere and certainly not here. I specifically stated in my first comment on this thread that I believe the Spirit was far more active in Israel than Church of Christ folks like to or want to admit. But it was the Spirit that was active not some form of Pelagianism.

    There was and is something that took place with the coming of the Messianic Age. The presence of the Spirit is proof the Messiah has come. No Spirit = No Messiah. The Spirit is here therefore the Messiah has come. That is the logic of the biblical narrative. This is true in a number of texts.

    I would argue that all seeking, all knocking, etc is in fact the work of the Spirit in the world Hank. The Spirit is a missionary sent into the world to convict the world Jesus says. He is certainly active. He dwells in the children of God however. This is the express word of the apostle.

    Read the links.

    Thanks for allowing them Jay.

    Shalom,
    Bobby V

  18. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Bobby V wrote,

    I specifically stated in my first comment on this thread that I believe the Spirit was far more active in Israel than Church of Christ folks like to or want to admit. But it was the Spirit that was active not some form of Pelagianism.

    In OT times, for example, when the 7,000-person remnant was preserved by God during Elijah’s time (1 Kings 19:18; Rom 11:4), do we conclude that these people had the Spirit and were thereby enabled to be faithful? Or did they manage to remain faithful on their own? I see not the least evidence that they had the Spirit, and it bothers me to imagine that God gave this 7,000 the Spirit and not the rest of Israel. Or did all of Israel have the Spirit and these are the only ones who took advantage of the gift? But if all Israel had the Spirit, why were the prophets busy promising the Spirit under the new covenant?

    If Israel was saved by faith under God’s covenant with Abraham, but the Spirit was not yet outpoured, then these Israelites were faithful without prevenient grace — which sound like Pelagianism — and yet the conclusion seems logically inescapable.

    Just so, the author of Hebrews credits Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc with saving faith, and yet there’s not much evidence of an indwelling Spirit prior to Moses. You could make a case of Joseph and Noah, who likely had the gift of prophecy … but Abel? Does offering a more acceptable sacrifice mean he had faith and faith mean he had the Spirit? God granted grace to Cain. Did he have the Spirit, too?

    Again, we’re left with the uncomfortable choice of granting that saving faith could be had by those without the Spirit (and hence no prevenient grace) or that God gave the Spirit to only the elect (and thus enter Calvin’s narrow and unwelcome view of prevenient grace and double predestination) or that lots and lots of people had the Spirit, unrevealed by scripture, so that the outpouring at Pentecost was not all that novel for Judaism? That can’t be right?

    Not trying to win debating points. Rather, the only escape I see is to reject prevenient grace as essential to faith. That is, maybe A. Campbell was right that some people can come to saving faith just by use of their rational faculties and the appeal of the good news to their heart? Maybe it doesn’t require miraculous intervention by God to change hearts?

    There are, of course, examples in Acts where we see God changing hearts to receive the gospel, as in the case of Lydia, but does that mean it must always be that way? Must God do a miracle on my heart for me to come to faith? And if that’s true under the new covenant, was it true under the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants? I mean, our hearts would seem to be just as corrupted by sin under one covenant as another, making prevenient grace just as necessary, but how does that fit in to the fact that the Spirit wasn’t outpoured until Pentecost?

    If all Jews had the Spirit, well, Pentecost was just Jews — so what changed regarding the Spirit?

  19. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    A possible conclusion to the lack of the Spirit could be found in the following.
    Rom 1:18-23 ESV For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
    If all mankind had been guilty of following this message, there would have been none of the men you mentioned who were given credits. Yet, as you mention there is not testimony that any of those had The Spirit.
    “Just so, the author of Hebrews credits Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc with saving faith, and yet there’s not much evidence of an indwelling Spirit prior to Moses. You could make a case of Joseph and Noah, who likely had the gift of prophecy … but Abel? Does offering a more acceptable sacrifice mean he had faith and faith mean he had the Spirit? God granted grace to Cain. Did he have the Spirit, too?”
    And while I was putting this together I remembered to search for spirit and found.
    Gen 6:3 ESV Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
    Would this Spirit be in all men until they sin then it is separated (called death) until born again. If not can we identify that there is a different Spirit which we receive than this Spirit spoken of here? This Spirit would fit nicely into children and all who never become accountable for their actions, and still available all their lives, and how could they be turned away from salvation? Jesus said he came to earth to save sinners, these would never have been in this category. Actually, would that also mean that they did not need a savior? They were already righteous because they had not become unrighteous.

  20. hank says:

    Jay writes:

    “In OT times, for example, when the 7,000-person remnant was preserved by God during Elijah’s time (1 Kings 19:18; Rom 11:4), do we conclude that these people had the Spirit and were thereby enabled to be faithful? Or did they manage to remain faithful on their own? ”

    Jay, over and over, you speak about people who may (or may not) have, “had the Spirit”. By that, we know you presumably mean “have the Spirit by the Holy Spirit himself, personally moving into a person’s physical body”, and that you also believe that (via himself personally living within said persons physical body), the the HS can thereby, help him/her remain faithful. Is any of that untrue or unfair?

    But, I don’t believe that in order for God to “help” a person created his own image, that God first needs to locate himself personally, inside of the physical body of him or her.

    Think back to Adam and Eve. Do you believe that they had any Divine “help”, in order for them to love God and each other, acceptably?

    Did the disciples that Jesus claimed to be “in”, have any “help to remain faith”, from Jesus? Since Jesus said that he was “in” them, does that mean that they “had Jesus”? Like, Jesus was personally inside their physical bodies? Or, do you believe that Jesus COULD correctly claim to be “in” them, but mean he is “in” them in some other sense than himself, personally within their physical bodies? Is that not possible? And, if such was the case, could he NOT give any “help to remain faithful”? Does he HAVE to personally, himself move into a man, to help the man??

    Similarly (and I don’t believe you actually addressed this one), but do you believe that little children wo believe in and love God, have any Divine help? Can the HS help a child, who has never yet felt separated from God, and reborn?

    The truth is, that the HS can convict a sinner of sin, WITHOUT first needing to personally, himself, move inside of their physical bodies. For example, the Jews on Pentecost who were “cut to the heat”. Was it not the HS who was impacting them?

    Conversely, the Jews in Acts 7, were “resisting the Spirit”. There, the HS was attempting to “help” them (just like in Acts 2), but, he was rejected by the sinners in Acts 7.

    IMO, the reason all of these questions are so hard for those who believe as you do, is because you guys insert and/or assume the words “himself, personally, inside of the person’s physical body” when you read about the HS being in and “helping” (or attempting to help), a person.

    What’s interesting, is that you don’t do that with either the Father of the Son, just the HS. I mean, the Bible says over and over, that Christ is in us. We both believe he is, and we both believe it is not via himself, personally inside of our physical body. Point being, Jesus CAN (and is said to), be in us, but in some sense OTHER than via himself, personally.

    Just like when he said that he was inside of his disciples, even BEFORE the “outpouring” on Pentecost.

    God can “help” any person who wants and asks for it. Even (especially), all the little children of the world.

    The difference between you and I is this – I believe that little children can “have God” , can “have Jesus”, AND can “have the Spirit”, in their innocence and unseparated state. And, that God can “help” them.

    You, deny that they can “have the Spirit” (or any of his help), until they get older, separate themselves by sin, and are reborn. That then, and only then, they can “have the Spirit” (and Jesus and God, and their help).

  21. dwight says:

    I think of the HS like a perceptive turbo charger for our faith. It is there hooked into the saint, but we may not always use it and maybe not perceptively and yet it is there just the same and it is there to provide boost when we need it and it may provide boost even when we think we don’t need it. It may provide a little and it may provide a lot. It’s goal is to help us in the goal of being spiritual and Godly. And we might need to be more spiritual in order to actually recognize its play in our lives.

  22. hank says:

    Dwight,

    Not sure about referring to the 3rd person of the Godhead as “a perceptive turbo charger”. I do want to point out though, that in your short comment above, you referred to God (the turbo charger), as an “it” – no less than 8 times!

    What’s interesting to me, is that although I cannot recall a Christian ever referring to the Father or Sob as an “it”, but hear the HS being referred to one quite regularly. I do believe the reason for that stems in people thinking if him (God), as a turbo booster and stuff like that.

  23. Larry Cheek says:

    Hank,
    Similarly to your comment to Dwight, I hear you speaking of The HS as physical, not only The HS but Jesus also. Physically being in us. This point is a major contributor to the misconceptions concerning these relationships, The Spirit, God and His Son are members of the Spirit World which humans can only imagine and not very well, that is a realm without the physical as we know. Our only incite into the Spirit World is through faith. There is enough information in scripture to validate it’s existence. The Spirit World is so different than ours we have problems understanding communications about life forms there. They are not limited by time or space, totally foreign from our humanity and physical elements. God and the Spirits are not limited in their movements or in matter. Is it really comprehensible to you that Christ and The HS can coexist within you at this moment?

  24. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry and Hank,

    I’ve never understood Hank’s point about children and the Spirit. Maybe this will help: Children are not guiltless from sin. They are not accountable for their sin. I’ve raised four, and they were all capable of disobeying their parents when very young. The “terrible twos” are called that for a reason! We are correct to speak of an “age of accountability” rather than an “age of guilt.” Children are not accountable for their sins because of their immaturity, lack of brain development, etc.

    Therefore, it makes no sense to ask whether they need to the Spirit to be adequately faithful prior to the age of accountability (AOA). They are not innocent on their merits. They aren’t held to the same standard as adults by God — and I do believe this is true and that the Torah and Prophets support this position.

    Now, regarding prevenient grace — the doctrine that God must enable someone to come to faith (resistibly in the case of Arminius, irresistibly in the case of Calvin) — I’ve never thought it quite worked, and my studies in covenant theology have raised the questions I just asked Bobby. In the Christian age, to me the question is pointless other than for ivory-tower set. I mean, whichever position you take, you preach gospel to people as though they have free will — and if that free will is something all humans have or just the grace given by God pre-conversion to allow a free-will decision, we’re at the same place: preach the gospel! The rest is an effort to pound Paul into Augustine’s theology, and I really just don’t care about Pelagius and whether I agree or disagree with him. But I don’t find a doctrine of prevenient grace in the OT and so I suspect we may be reading the NT wrongly. But I know of no one better to ask about such things than Bobby Valentine.

  25. hank says:

    Jay wrote:

    “Maybe this will help: Children are not guiltless from sin. They are not accountable for their sin. I’ve raised four, and they were all capable of disobeying their parents when very young. The “terrible twos” are called that for a reason! We are correct to speak of an “age of accountability” rather than an “age of guilt.” Children are not accountable for their sins because of their immaturity, lack of brain development, etc.”

    Jay, do you Jesus was capable of disobeying his parents when he was young? Did he experience “the terrible twos” that every other child in history, has? You say “children are not accountable for their sins because of immaturity, lack of brain development, etc.”, but what about Jesus ? Do you believe he “sinned” as a two year old, like you believe everyone else does? I don’t believe what you do. I don’t believe 2 year olds are guilty of sin (even IF they’re not accountable for them).

    Secondly, you are not addressing my main point, regarding children. My point is that they certainly CAN have Jesus living in them, before they are accountable for their sin. AND, they can have the “help” of the HS.

    In your view, the HS can/does NOT help little children (and mentally challenged) because you don’t believe such persons can “have” the HS, until after they become “accountant sinners”, and are reborn. Is that not a fair and true assessment of your position.

    Again, HOW was Jesus IN his disciples, while on earth with them? Was he? Did they “have the Son of God”? Did Jesus abiding them (like he said he was), “help them remain faithful”? Tell us what you believe about the this. What’s the difference between “having” the Spirit, and “having” the Son?

  26. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry and Hank (part 2),

    Did God dwell above the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies after Solomon dedicated the Temple? Was he literally, physically in the tabernacle? When we walked with Adam in the Garden, was he IN the Garden? Even though he’s a spirit? And omnipresent?

    Yes. God is clearly capable of having a special, relational presence in a given location. I agree with Larry’s point entirely.

    Obviously, the Spirit won’t be found in a Christian during surgery! But the scriptures repeatedly speak of the Spirit’s direct operation on the heart and mind of the Christian — which are both inside the person being influenced.

    (Eph. 3:14-19 ESV) 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    “Inner man” translates eso anthropos — inside (interior) man.

    This concept is based, of course, on the several OT passages in which the Spirit is promised to influence the hearts and minds of God’s people. So while these spiritual/heavenly things can’t be visualized exactly by our mortal minds, if I had the ability to influence your thoughts and emotions without words — acting directly on your brain — you’d say that I am “inside your head” even though I would presumably not be physically present in the usual sense of “present.”

    DI just know that God very plainly promises us direct operation of the Spirit on our hearts and minds to help us obey. I can’t think of a reason to doubt God’s promises.

  27. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Hank wrote,

    In your view, the HS can/does NOT help little children (and mentally challenged) because you don’t believe such persons can “have” the HS, until after they become “accountant sinners”, and are reborn. Is that not a fair and true assessment of your position.

    No.

    I have specifically and repeatedly denied believing that someone must become accountable for their sins before being saved and receiving the Spirit.

  28. hank says:

    Jay, says:

    “I have specifically and repeatedly denied believing that someone must become accountable for their sins before being saved and receiving the Spirit.”

    Jay, what I’m trying to point out, is the fact that you believe that little children (unseparated and unaccountable children), DO NOT HAVE either the Spirit, or his help. Isn’t that so?

    And,IF all two year old are guilty of sin (but not held accountable), as you claim, do you believe that Jesus (as a small child) was also guilty of sin, but not held accountable? Or, was he the only toddler ever, who never did what he wasn’t supposed to?

  29. dwight says:

    Hank, you got me as HS is a he (or maybe as she), spirits are genderless aren’t they, but I do understand the HS to be a person, but always acting at the behest of God.

    In the scriptures the HS is called a Helper, so why not in the sense that it helps us when we need strength and helps us when we need a deeper insight, etc, but the HS doesn’t make us strong and insightful, as we must do that ourselves. But we can also tap into the power that the HS has.
    As noted God was in heaven, but would also have his presence in the Temple and he was also with the people. The presence or power of God could exist within an object and this was seen in the form of a rod, of a pillar of smoke, in the Ark, in the Ark in the Temple, etc. His presence and power could be felt and used by those that had possession of those things. Usually with God’s blessings, but always with Him watching.
    It is thus crazy to restrict God to one dimensional thinking.
    We don’t know where heaven is and we want to restrict Him to one place or another, but not both?

    In I Cor. they were able to use the gifts of the HS to do miracles, but the HS didn’t make them do miracles. But then again as noted in Acts 2 the HS gave the apostles power and moved them to speak God’s words, but this would not have happened if they wouldn’t been open to it in the first place as Cornelius and his house hold was. I sometimes think that George Lucas concept of the Force was based on the HS and I suppose that sounds better than a “spiritual turbo charger”.

    It is my understanding that the HS will come into the person who is Godly, in the OT, this would have been possibly Abraham or Moses, after all they spoke to God and prophesied, and comes into the Godly person during Jesus time (Cornelius and his household), but that there are different types of influences by the HS as well, some miraculous (when applicable) and some not (to all men), but as a helper still (to whatever help they need). We shouldn’t deny or fight the HS in our lives even if we can’t quantify or qualify it.

  30. dwight says:

    Perhaps we should go back to the garden. Adam and Eve knew sin when they felt guilt inflicted after they partook of the tree of Good and Evil. Their eyes were opened to guilt and in going against God. A child may go against his parents wishes and not understand why, but when they understand why, they fell guilt. Paul would not have understood coveting as a sin if not for the Law. The Law condemns. Understanding the law condemns because it inflicts guilt. It should.
    Jesus we are told was without sin, that is he could not be condemned by the Law. He might not have done everything his parents wished, but He did do everything God wished.

    There is always the question of whether Jesus got the HS until he was baptized or whether as God he had it before. We are not told. People jump to their own conclusions even without knowing.
    But I do believe that it was present, after all God was watching over and was with His Son from birth to adulthood.

    In a household of a believer the children and even the unbelieving husband are Holy and blessed, because there is one in their presence who is of God. It is entirely possible that the HS can affect people without being directly within them.
    It is always better to overchange the HS, than to shortchange the HS when it comes to the power and affect. All things to God’s glory.

  31. hank says:

    Dwight, your still referring to Deity as an “it”

  32. Larry Cheek says:

    Hank,
    I see that there is very little relevance in this but to help you with your question, I will give you MHO. Based upon scripture which tells us that Jesus was tempted as all mankind has been, I would have to believe that as a child there was a time in his life that he was just exactly like all of the rest of humanity. In other words yes he as a child could have been as the terrible 2s in fact if he was not he would not have been fully human. One other thing I believe is very important in this area is that at the age of 14 approximately he proved to be much further advanced in knowledge than the average child. But, as it is with all children, when he was tempted to sin he was able to resist and that test beyond a doubt took place and he did not sin. The scriptures confirm that. There would not be a necessity to believe that he was sinless when he was at an age of not being held accountable, for him to be credited as having never sinned.
    On another of your concerns, you desire to have children to have a relationship with God and sometimes those same children do not even have a relationship with their parents. Why would I say that, they are totally dependent upon their parents or guardians for their safety, health, learning, and food (nourishment), they could not survive on their own merits. Until a child can have some ability to sustain themselves they have no concept of a relationship. They are dependents upon parents and others. A relationship is a two way event, each have to be able to offer the other something of value. In some cases that could be just love, but most children do not even understand that, children and some beyond the age of accountability think the relationship which has developed between them and their parents is support for the rest of their lives. Children who believe that have failed the test after accountability.

  33. Larry Cheek says:

    Hank,
    I would like for you to identify what term you believe that we should use to refer to The HS when we need to use a noun rather than The HS.

    Referring to an earlier comment you had questions about the HS being in followers of Christ. Your comment, “Again, HOW was Jesus IN his disciples, while on earth with them? Was he? Did they “have the Son of God”? Did Jesus abiding them (like he said he was), “help them remain faithful”? Tell us what you believe about the this. What’s the difference between “having” the Spirit, and “having” the Son?”
    We have discussed somewhat about the Spirit World. There are good spirits and evil spirits within that dimension good spirits can be in a human with the same capacity as this story.
    Mar 5:3-16 ESV He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, (4) for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. (5) Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. (6) And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. (7) And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” (8) For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (9) And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” (10) And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. (11) Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, (12) and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” (13) So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. (14) The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. (15) And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. (16) And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs.
    Jesus cast many demons from possessed individuals while he was on earth. Then we have an account of Christians who were directed to locate men who were filled with the HS they were found and appointed to fulfill a duty.
    Act 6:3-5 ESV Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. (4) But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (5) And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.
    The Spirit was visible to other Christians.

  34. Dwight says:

    Hank, when I said, “when it comes to power and affect”, I wasn’t referring to the HS, but the place and moment.
    But is the HS a he? Or a she? The scriptures never refer to the Holy Spirit as a he or she, so without gender I feel fairly justified in saying “it” (indeterminate), even though I know that it is a person. I am not trying to demean or demote the HS, by not giving a gender and I do not believe it to be a unfeeling, robotic thing. I will try to avoid “it” though in the future.

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