The Holy Spirit: John’s Gospel: Chapters 3 and 4

Spirit without measure

(John 3:34 ESV) 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.

This is a classic proof text, going back at least to H. Leo Boles’ famous book on the Holy Spirit, in which he argues that Christians receive the Spirit in different “measures,” with Jesus’ receipt of the Spirit uniquely being “without measure.”

(Eph 4:7-11 NRS) 7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  … 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,

Eph 4 teaches that Christians receive differing “measures” of the Spirit; and it seems to be a fair reading that Christians don’t possess the Spirit to the same level as Jesus.

Living Water

(John 4:10-14 ESV)  10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?  12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”

13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,  14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

What is this “living water”? We begin with the literal meaning. In the language of the day, “living water” was running water. Ray Vander Laan writes,

The Jews carried the concept of “living water” into their worship. Outside their temple and synagogues, they built mikvehs — ritual baths where they symbolically cleansed their hearts before worship. Recognizing their need for God?s cleansing, they used only living water — flowing from nearby springs or rain run-off — which was not touched by human hands.

A mikveh was a pre-Christian baptistery of sorts, a pool — often indoors — in which a worshiper was immersed to assure ritual cleanliness before worship.

The Jews and Samaritans were a desert people, and water was precious. Stagnant water could be poisonous, but living water was good for drinking. And living water was good for being ritually clean — indeed, the closest thing to baptism existing in the day was immersion in the mikveh.

Now, Jesus says that this “living water” will allow the drinker to never be thirsty again! Unlike regular well water, where we must return day after day — and it was hard work in those days — this living water is once for all — and need never be repeated.

Jesus also says that this “living water” wells up to eternal life. Plainly, it is not itself eternal life, but that which produces eternal life.

John doesn’t leave us to speculate about this “living water,”  however. Not much later he reports,

(John 7:37-39 ESV)  37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”  39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Plainly, John intends us to understand “living water” as the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit is to be “in” us. Indeed, the Spirit is to flow out of our hearts. Therefore, this Living Water is to be within the believer and to remain permanently there. The Spirit doesn’t flit in and flit out. The Spirit doesn’t have to be regained over and over.

Jesus is evidently paraphrasing Isa 58:11 (there are no quotation marks in the original, and so the translators aren’t required to treat this as a direct quote) —

(Isa 58:9-11 ESV)  9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,  10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.  11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

You can’t miss the ethical connection — if Isaiah is speaking of the Spirit, then the Spirit will drive us to pour ourselves out for those in need. The Spirit is poured out on us so we can pour ourselves out for others.

The condition to the receipt of Living Water is faith in Jesus. “Whoever believes in me …” is who receives Living Water.

Worship in Spirit and in truth

(John 4:19-24 ESV) 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.  20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.  22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.  23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The Samaritans were, of course, half-breeds, being the descendants of Jews who’d intermarried with non-Jews. They continued to honor God, but they were banned from the Temple because of their lineage. Therefore, they’d kept the Torah, but treat Mt. Gerizim, in Samaria, as the place of the true temple. the Jews overthrew Seleucid rule and gained a brief period of independence under the Hasmonean dynasty, they destroyed the Samaritan temple — making relationships between the temples all the more hostile.

Thus, the Samaritan woman initiated a discussion about the proper place to worship — a question that would have been of intense interest to most Jewish rabbis. God may only be worshipped in Jerusalem!

Jesus declares that the times are a-changin’. In the new age, it will no longer be about worshipping in a particular place. Worship won’t be a matter of geography. Rather, the true test of worship will be whether it’s “in spirit and truth.”

Now, somewhat surprisingly, Jesus introduces this declaration by declaring that “God is spirit,” surely referring to the “stuff” of which God is made. God is not a physical being, and therefore his worship isn’t constrained by physical limits. Rather, God is a being of spirit, and therefore true worship must be “in spirit.”

Now, one traditional reading of this is that the Jews had the truth — the right rules, but the wrong spirit — the wrong hearts. The Samaritans had the wrong rules but the right hearts. Jesus was calling for a combination of right hearts and right rules. And this is plainly mistaken.

First, God had demanded a right heart going back to the Torah —

(Deu 10:12 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 …’

(Deu 10:16 ESV) 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.

And it’s really hard to argue that the Samaritans were a pure-hearted people. They were known to attack and kills Jews traveling through their land. No, Jesus has to be read in his own context, not the context of the internal battles of the 20th Century Churches of Christ.

Plainly, “spirit” is speaking of the stuff God is made of and is much the same thought as “spirit” in which we must worship. Worship in the dawning age would have to be “in” the stuff God is made of. But, of course, Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit that would be within believers — giving them some the stuff of God. True worship must be in the Holy Spirit, because we can only approach God — a spirit — by first becoming spiritual beings. And that’s the work of the Spirit.

“Truth” means the truth about Jesus. I’ve covered this at length elsewhere. Jesus is the truth. The truth is the truth about Jesus. To understand the sense of the term, we need to look at several examples.

(John 1:14)  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is filled with truth.

(John 1:17)  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

And this is the truth that came through Jesus — that he taught and that he revealed in himself.

(John 3:20-21)  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

The truth allows us to come into the light to show God’s work in us.

(John 5:33)  “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth.

John the Baptist testified to the truth.

(John 8:40)  As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.

The truth is taught by Jesus but from God.

(John 14:16-17)  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

(John 15:26-27)  “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

The Holy Spirit is “of truth” because he is to testify about Jesus.

(John 17:17)  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

God’s “word” is truth, but, of course, we learned in John 1 that Jesus is God’s word. Jesus is not presently speaking of the New Testament — not a word of it had yet been written. Rather, Jesus is speaking of himself and what God communicates to us through the giving of Jesus for us.

(John 18:37-38)  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”

Pilate’s cynical question is, of course, the theme sentence of John’s Gospel. Pilate was speaking to the Truth, seeing it with his own eyes, and yet refusing to see it.

In short, in John, “truth” is the truth about Jesus, who he is and why he came to earth. It’s the truth represented by his decision to come to earth, take the form of a man, show us God in the flesh, and die for our sins. It’s not unreasonable to say that “truth” is the gospel, that is, the good news about Jesus. The danger in my saying that is that we in the Churches of Christ tend to see “gospel” in legal/transactional terms, whereas “truth” is intended to be personal. Truth is a person. If you want to understand truth, study Jesus — not just his words but his actions.

Therefore, to worship “in spirit and truth” is to worship consistently with and prompted by the Spirit and the gospel: the good news about Jesus — that he is the Messiah and Lord, revealed and confirmed by the Spirit.

This makes no sense to those who are looking for rules on how to worship, but Jesus is specifically pointing us away from a law-based worship and toward a Spirit-prompted worship, a kind of worship that’s more about whether the worshipper is being transformed by the Spirit and gospel than whether the worshipper attends church three times a week.

That’s not to dismiss the assembly as unimportant, but rather to discover that the assembly is not about keeping rules invented from silences and the early church fathers. Rather, we gather because the Spirit burns more brightly when we are together, and we can therefore encourage and strengthen each other as we pursue transformation into the image of Christ.

It’s not about punching a clock and buying a 7-day insurance policy against damnation. It’s about building each other up into the image of Christ, so that the congregation truly becomes a temple of the Spirit — a place inhabited by the God who is worshiped there.

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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38 Responses to The Holy Spirit: John’s Gospel: Chapters 3 and 4

  1. Thanks Jay, this was a great post.

  2. Jerry Starling says:

    In the beginning part of this post, did I understand you correctly that you accept the "measures of the Spirit" theory? Certainly, the Spirit gives different gifts to different people – but this is a far cry from saying that some people have "more of the Spirit" than others. If you have the Spirit, you have the Spirit. Period. All of Him. Now, the Spirit gives to each one different gifts "just as he determines" (1 Cor 12:11).

    The KJV is just about the last translation to add the words "unto Him" in John 3:34 just after "God does not give the Spirit by measure." Even the New King James parts company with the KJV here! These words do not come even from the Received Text the KJV was translated from. They are italicized in the KJV, meaning that they are supplied by the translators.

    I hope I misunderstood what you wrote – because it surprised me very much coming from you.

    I blogged on this as a part of this post, which deals with baptism in the Spirit and charismatic gifts.


  3. Jerry Starling says:


    The rest of this post was excellent.


  4. Ray Downen says:

    I have to believe that the apostle Peter was telling the truth when he made clear that the Spirit is given as a RESULT of the new birth of water and spirit (repenting and being baptized.) Jay writes, "the Spirit will drive us to pour ourselves out for those in need. The Spirit is poured out on us so we can pour ourselves out for others. The condition to the receipt of Living Water is faith in Jesus. "Whoever believes in me …" is who receives Living Water."

    Yes, it's we who believe in Jesus, for faith which comes by hearing precedes receiving the Spirit. But doesn't Peter's very specific telling when we receive the Spirit explain the earlier promise that we would do so? No, it's not by faith alone! In the same way, John's later explanation that creation was by the Word of God explains the Genesis account which has creation by the Father. If we don't want to believe John, if we don't want to believe Peter, we can disbelieve. But that won't change the true facts.

  5. Ray Downen says:

    Jay concludes, "It's not about punching a clock and buying a 7-day insurance policy against damnation. It's about building each other up into the image of Christ, so that the congregation truly becomes a temple of the Spirit — a place inhabited by the God who is worshiped there."

    Is it not true that if the Spirit is in our assembly, He came there with US? Or does He wait in the assembly hall so we can join Him there?

  6. Jay Guin says:


    Absolutely. The temple is the congregation, not the building.

  7. Ray Downen says:

    I wish you had pointed out the fact that the temple is the congregation AS INDIVIDUALS, since that's the way it is! The Spirit is within us each wherever we go, and certainly not just when we're together in an assembly. Right?

  8. Jay Guin says:


    The scriptures refer both to individual Christians and congregations as a temple of the Spirit — with most being about the congregation. But, of course, "congregation" means the people who are formed into a community, not just while they are in an assembly. But they have to be community as they are "being built together" to become a temple. Congregations should be together and united 24/7 — and many are not, meaning they aren't yet built together and hence not really a the place for worship they were meant to be.

    (Eph 2:22 ESV) 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

    You see, temples are places of worship, and congregations that aren't yet "built together" are resisting the work of the Spirit to draw them into unity. But congregations are have been built together — that have truly become united into a single body — now, that's where true worship takes place.

  9. Ray Downen says:

    Paul's exhortation to Christians in Ephesus is calling them to membership in far more than just a local congregation. God dwells in EACH Christian. What scripture, Jay, speaks of "true worship" in a congregational setting? That seems to be your theme. Perhaps I misunderstand you. Perhaps I've failed to see passages which justify your emphasis on congregational worship. For I certainly know of none. If there is even one, it isn't Ephesians 2:22, which speaks of all Christians together and separately being "a dwelling place for God." Acts 2:38 tells us when and how the Spirit is given to individuals. It does not speak to congregational worship. Which passage speaks of "true worship" by any earthly congregation?

  10. Laymond says:

    Jerry said

    "The KJV is just about the last translation to add the words “unto Him” in John 3:34 just after “God does not give the Spirit by measure.” Even the New King James parts company with the KJV here! These words do not come even from the Received Text the KJV was translated from. They are italicized in the KJV, meaning that they are supplied by the translators."

    NLT – Jhn 3:34 – For he is sent by God. He speaks God's words, for God's Spirit is upon him without measure or limit.

    I can't see how anyone could read this in any other way, considering the context to the scriptures surrounding it. before and after. It takes a lot of imagination to say this includes any except Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

  11. Jay Guin says:


    While it's true that the NT doesn't limit "worship" to congregational worship, neither does the NT exclude the assembly from "worship."

    Consider such passages as —

    (1Co 3:16 ESV) 16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

    "You" is plural in most instances. The congregation is God's temple. Of course, to First Century Roman or Jew, a temple is where a god is worshipped — and also where the god had a special (not unique) dwelling.

    God's Spirit has a special presence in the congregation and God is worshipped in the congregation.

    "Congregation" is from ekklesia, being the word used in the OT of the assembly of God's people — often for the purpose of the reading of God's word or for worship. 1 Kings 8 and 1 Chr 29:20, for example.

    The assembly is therefore not uniquely the place of worship, but when we assemble as God's congregation, we are his temple.

    We aren't require to conduct certain prescribed "acts of worship," but because we are God's assembly, what we do is worship — and therefore must be Spirit prompted and gospel motivated.

    So, yes, all service we do for God is worship, because our bodies are also God's temple (1 Cor 6) — and his Spirit dwells in each of us. But his Spirit also dwells within the assembly — which something beyond the individual indwelling — just as a building more than the bricks that the building is made of.

  12. Jay Guin says:


    I don't agree with Boles when he argues that the Spirit's miraculous measure in a Christian is different from the Spirit's ordinary measure — as to me it's all miraculous.

    Rather, we see in —

    (Eph 4:7 ESV) 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.

    — that every Christian has his or her own "measure." Some have more gifts than others, and this quite consistent with the Parable of the Talents, for example. Compare Rom 12:3-8.

    The natural implication of John 3:34 seems to be that Jesus had the Spirit without measure — because if he's not speaking of Jesus, of whom is he speaking? and the context is speaking of Jesus as giving trustworthy testimony when he speaks of the word of God.

    The language would allow that others might also have such a full measure of the Spirit — even though Jesus is the one under consideration — but I struggle to think that thought.

  13. Laymond says:

    Jer 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
    Jer 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, [and] they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
    Rev 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
    The reason for Jesus' coming was to lead the people back to God, ( the fountain of living waters.) his only reason for being.

  14. Ray Downen says:

    Reference has been made to 1 Corinthians 3:16. An implication is made that the verse is speaking of a congregation assembled. In the NIV, verse 17 is considered as part of the thought. Instead of referring to an assembly, it's clear that the intention is each individual. "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple is sacred, and YOU are that temple." If Paul had meant to refer to the group wouldn't he have written, "you when together are the temple"? The preceding paragraph is clearly speaking of individuals. The verse which follows (verse 18) says, "If any one of you . . ."

    I see nothing in the passage to cause me to think Paul was saying that assembled Christians were to be inhabited by God's Spirit in some special way which would not be true when they scattered. Have I misunderstood what Jay is writing?

  15. Jay Guin says:


    The English obscures the Greek, because the "you" is plural in both places in 1 Cor 3:16. It actually reads more like —

    (1Co 3:16-17 ESV) 16 Do you not know that you [all] are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you [all]? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you [all] are that temple.

    This is a case where the Southern "ya'll" proves it merit. He doesn't say "each of you are God's temple." Rather, he says "ya'll are God's temple" — "temple" is singular, "you all" is plural: you together form a single temple.

    And the context demands this reading, because he's talking destruction of the congregation — comparing division in a congregation to destroying God's temple. Division puts you in the same moral class with the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar — an allusion with a huge emotional punch to his audience.

  16. Laymond says:

    Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

  17. JMF says:


    Quick question to you. You've stated in the past that you subscribe to the "Word only" position on the activity of the HS. I'd disagree and believe in a literal indwelling. My guess is that the COC would split at around 75/25 on this, with the indwelling being the 75. Could be 50/50. Just my guess.

    Do you accept the baptism of someone baptized under a view of indwelling? Acts 2:38 tells us the "FOR" of our baptism, and you know we stress the "WHY" part a whole lot less (to receive the gift of the HS). So if I may assume that you reject a Baptist' baptism since he gets his "FOR" wrong, can you accept another COC baptism since you'd believe he has gotten his "WHY" wrong?

    It just seems that we demand 100% agreement in how baptism affects our forgiveness of sins, but we don't demand perfection in the other aspects of what baptism is about.

    So I'd like to get your take on this, as you are one of the few "Word" people that i know.

    Not a trick/trap question. This is something I've been thinking about lately and it applies to a class I am teaching. Thanks bro,

  18. JMF says:

    Let me clarify something: When I say "he got his 'WHY' wrong", I'm speaking to the fact that a large portion of our heritage is COMPLETELY mistaken on the gift they get at baptism.

    So if you get in the water with a false belief of what you are about to receive, does it still "take"? Many would answer "no" to this question in regards to the Baptist' view on the forgiveness of sins…since they got baptized for the wrong reason, it doesn't take. So does it "take" if you are incorrect about the gift you are about to receive?

  19. Ray Downen says:

    Jay, thanks for pointing out that in chapter three of his first letter to the suffering church in Corinth that Paul reminds them that God dwells within them. In chapter six he clarifies that he's not talking about when they're together. 1 Cor. 6:19,20. Since the subject is sexual sin by individuals, it hardly seems likely that he would be referring to some anointing from the Spirit which is given when the group is assembled. Acts 2:38 spells out when the Spirit is given. It's to individuals as we are reborn of water and spirit. This has nothing to do with "worship" by an assembled group of Christians. If the pronoun is singular or plural, the Spirit is given to us individually, and he works with us individually rather than as groups. Doesn't he? To claim that there's some special merit in our assemblies hardly seems consistent with the Way of Christ. I'm still searching for even one passage which reports that worship by Christians should be done when we're together.

  20. Laymond says:

    JMF you are right both can't be right.

    Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    The verse in question is usually the cause of disagreement. One side believes we receive the indwelling of the Holy Ghost at baptism, while the other believes the "GIFT" is the one promised "salvation/ everlasting life".

    Let's look at the first mention of what I see as this "gift".

    Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    If we believe Jesus is the Son of God, why would we question what he said about baptism?
    Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    The phrase "filled with the Holy Ghost" appears as far as I can tell exactly nine times, in the KJV, and never does it refer to water baptism.
    Luk 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

    Luk 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

    Luk 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

    Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

    Act 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

    Act 13:9 Then Saul, (who also [is called] Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
    Act 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

    I do believe Paul said that water baptism, did not give the Holy Ghost.

  21. Ray Downen says:

    Laymond wants to equate the "gift of the Holy Spirit" with being "filled with the Spirit." Since the gift is promised to every believer who repents and is baptized, and since the "filled with" experience is obviously limited to a few, how could the two differing things be the same thing? Paul makes clear that we are baptized into the one body. All of us who do believe the gospel and obey it. He makes clear that at baptism we are enabled to "drink of the Holy Spirit." So there's the comparison. See 1 Cor. 12:13 and ignore the wrong translation which has baptism being done BY the Holy Spirit. That's nonsense. Jesus tells disciples that THEY, having taught the gospel, are to baptize. And the gift and the being given to drink of the Spirit follows baptism in water. Does Laymond want Paul to disagree with Peter? He's not the first to have that idea. But it won't wash. The Bible IS inspired. There's no disagreement between apostles. Being filled with the Spirit is never linked with baptism into Jesus Christ. But a definite promise of receiving the GIFT of the Spirit is linked. We do well not to seek to differ.

  22. Laymond says:

    JMF As for the specific questions you ask, I don't condemn or excuse anyone for any sins. I believe it is written there is but one sin that can't be forgiven, and I can't say some will perish because of ignorance.

    Num 15:28 And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.

    If an earthly priest can make atonement for sins committed ignorantly, I surely believe our high priest sitting at the right hand of God can do no less.

    Hbr 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken [this is] the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

  23. JMF says:


    As far as your "condemning or excusing anyone", I'm not asking you to. Obviously, that is God's job.

    I'm talking in the realm of fellowship. (Tell me if I'm wrong), but I'll assume that if asked by a Baptist, you'd tell him that he needs to be re-baptized correctly. This, of course, would be if he asked you for your thoughts.

    So back to the HS. You say Word. I say dwelt. If I come to worship with you, and want to place membership and take leadership roles, would you accept my baptism since I understand the gift I received differently than you do?

    No trick question. We don't need to do the semantics of "you don't decide", etc. I'm curious to know if you reject this incorrect baptism or not, and how far you'd go in your rejection.

  24. Laymond says:

    I am certain that I worship every week with those who think exactly as you do, I have no problem with them and they have no problem with me. If asked, I can only tell you what I believe, I can't tell you what to believe, I really doubt that in the great scheme of things that it matters what we think we receive when we are baptized, I believe we receive forgiveness of sins at baptism, you believe you receive more. neither one can prove the other is wrong, we can only use scripture to back what we believe, unless of course you can prove the indwelling spirit teaches you different. I have asked many people who say they are indwelled by the Holy Spirit what they have gained over those who simply believe they have been forgiven, at baptism, they seem to faulter at answering that question, maybe you would like to tell me.

  25. JMF says:

    Laymond asked:

    I have asked many people who say they are indwelled by the Holy Spirit what they have gained over those who simply believe they have been forgiven, at baptism, they seem to faulter at answering that question, maybe you would like to tell me.


    That is a great question! And I don't mean that in a patronizing way. Obviously, you know the benefits of the Spirit so I don't need to go into that.

    So I guess the meat of your question would be, "Does ME thinking that I am indwelt versus YOU not thinking you are indwelt effect our indwelling?"

    And I have no clue. I'm like you, I'd say it is irrelevant. I doubt God expects us to intellectually perfect our view of the HS any more than he expects we'll perfect our faith or penitence (and yes, even our baptism).

    Thanks for the balance of your response. As I said, I've been thinking about this and wondering if the Word-only COC'ers felt that Indwelling COC'ers would need to be re-baptized since they had an incorrect belief about their baptism at the time of their baptism.

    Obviously, I'm contrasting that with our insistence upon Baptists to be re-baptized when they want to become a part of our flock.

    Thanks for the responses, have a great weekend man, and happy Father's Day (if it applies).

  26. Laymond says:

    JMF I enjoyed the back and forth, I always learn something by talking to others. God bless

  27. Ray Downen says:

    "When we assemble as God’s congregation, we are his temple." That's the claim. I'm confident it's an incorrect claim. 1 Cor. 6:19 and 1 Cor. 6:20 spells it out clearly: "Do you not know that YOUR BODY is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in YOU, whom you have reeivede from God? You are not your own, YOU were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with YOUR BODY." The apostle is not speaking of a congregational body, as is stated by Jay in the similar passage in 1 Cor. 3:16 and 1 Cor. 3:17. In both passages, the body in reference is the physical body of each Christian. Yes, congregations are meant to be cohesive, to hold together, to help one another. That's a good point! But it's not what the apostle is writing to the church in Corinth about in these passages where he speaks of "your body." It's each Christian who is a temple of the Holy Spirit, or else is not. The letters to Asian churches in Revelation's second and third chapters should help us see that it's individuals who are guilty and who will be punished if necessary. Does Jesus still keep candlesticks as representative of each congregation? Do the candles shine most brightly when everyone in an assembly "feels the Spirit"? I think not!

  28. Ray Downen says:

    I'm not sure what rebaptism has to do with John, chapters three and four, but we need to realize that it's not up to US to judge whether or not baptism in water in the name of Jesus is valid or not! Nothing is said as to a necessity to fully inform the one to be baptized as to the doctrine involved in the act. They were just baptized into Jesus' body. Did the baptizer have to be qualified? Did the one being baptized need to pass a test on the purpose for the act? If any person claiming to be a Christian comes to join us, we have no right to insist on knowing every detail of the person's baptism. We do need to ask if the person has been immersed because of faith in Jesus. If they haven't been, they now CAN be. If they have, they don't need to be baptized, nor indeed COULD they be since baptism is a one-time act which needs not to be repeated.

  29. Laymond says:

    Ray Downen, on June 19th, 2010 at 1:13 pm Said:
    Laymond wants to equate the “gift of the Holy Spirit” with being “filled with the Spirit.” Since the gift is promised to every believer who repents and is baptized, and since the “filled with” experience is obviously limited to a few, how could the two differing things be the same thing?

    Ray evidently you have never seen, many conversations I have had with people who do equate the “gift of the Holy Spirit” with being “filled with the Spirit.” or you would not say I argue for linking the two.But there are many with whom I have spoken who do say the two are the same, what we receive at baptism, is what the apostles, and many disciples received from Jesus. definitely not my reading of scripture.

  30. Ray Downen says:

    Laymond writes,"I believe we receive forgiveness of sins at baptism, you believe you receive more. neither one can prove the other is wrong"

    Neither one can prove the other is wrong? The apostolic promise is clear. Those who repent and are baptized as a result of faith in Jesus receive both remission of sins and "the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38. You affirm Peter was wrong. You're very brave! Most of us are less confident in contradicting the inspired revelation. You base your denial on your own experience and the testimony of others who could not produce to your satisfaction evidence that they had received any spiritual "gift" upon their baptism. There's no testimony that the gift of the Spirit produced any outward manifestation. Yet we are promised that the indwelling Spirit DOES help us in ways that cannot be measured by human measurements. What proof do we have that the new birth of water and spirit results in remission of sins? Surely the same proof will work for us having received the promised "gift of the Spirit." Yes?

  31. Laymond says:

    Ray, I am not questioning Peter at all, I just question what others say he was saying, I believe the "GIFT" is
    remission of sins, and salvation, resulting in eternal life. Not recieving a dweller in the form of a spirit. An indwelling person, as some say. They say the Holy Spirit is the third person in a trinity God Head, yet they say he personally dwells within the Christian body, the temple of God.

  32. Ray Downen says:

    If we believe the inspired writings are in fact inspired, we'll not say we "question what others say he was saying." Luke claims inspiration. The early church accepted that the book of Luke and the history in Acts was part of apostolic doctrine. "Others say he was saying" implies that Luke was NOT inspired, or else was not accurately reporting the event. Your note, Laymond, does explain why you can doubt the matter. But at what a price! Denying the inspiration of the scriptures!

  33. Laymond says:

    Ray, is this where Luke "claims inspiration"?

    Luk 1:1 ¶ Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
    Luk 1:1 ¶ Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
    Luk 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

    Or is it here?

    Act 1:1 ¶ The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
    Act 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
    Act 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

  34. Laymond says:

    People keep saying "all scripture is inspired of God,' they mean to say all scripture is breathed out by God.
    That is not seen anywhere in scripture, without a little streaching of what is said.

    Job 32:8 But [there is] a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
    NLT – Job 32:8 – Surely it is God's Spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent.

    2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    NLT – 2Ti 3:16 – All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.

    As we see below Paul could only have been talking of Old Testament scripture and not all of it. Only what God gave the prophets . As we see Paul was speaking of the scripture, Timmothy had read as a child, not future scripture which had not been written as of that time.

    2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

    I have no problem beliving the bible, even if God did not write ever word.

  35. Ray Downen says:

    Wow! What a view of inspiration we've been exposed to. Since this blog is not on the subject of inspiration and how it is recognized, I'll not respond by a lengthy explanation of why we think the particular 27 books of the New Testament are inspired. I'll just mutter to myself as to the ignorance of any Bible student who assumes they need to decide which is inspired and which is not.

  36. Laymond says:

    Ray, no need for you to explain, I know why. But just because the totality of the bible was not breathed into the ear of the writer, does not mean it is not the truth.

  37. Laymond says:

    Ray said "Luke claims inspiration." . When someone says something like that I don't think it is to much to ask where it was claimed, I am not saying he didn't, I just ask where it was.

  38. Laymond says:

    Ray Downen, on June 18th, 2010 at 8:29 am Said:
    God dwells in EACH Christian. Christians together and separately being “a dwelling place for God.” Acts 2:38 tells us when and how the Spirit is given to individuals.

    This writing plainly states that Ray equates the Holy Ghost with God, Then later he ridicules me for saying the gift of the Holy Ghost was refering to "eternal life "

    Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    I suppose Paul deserves Ray"s ridicule as well.

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