(This Bible Brief is the FOURTH in a series of studies on the subject of THE DOCTRINE OF MAN.)
“For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:3-4).
For many centuries, the Mosaic Law was the guide and protector of the life and blessings of the Old Testament believer (Gen. 26:5; Deut. 4:40; 30:16; Ps. 119.98). The Law was “holy, just and good” (Rom. 7:12), but “weak through the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Its influence was exerted upon man externally—from the outside in. It bid man to fly but gave him no wings.
I. The believers have a new commanding general.
A. Now, in this Dispensation of Grace, God the Holy Spirit works internally—working from the inside out to command and guide the believer. He indwells the believer (Rom. 8:9, 11).
B. He influences the believing man’s soul and spirit, making it possible for the righteousness of the Law to be made “fulfilled” in him (Rom. 8:4).
C. It is at this point that the believing man must exercise his volition. God did not make man like a puppet on the end of a string. Man was given the ability to choose. A man makes a decision to take God the Father at His Word concerning the finished work of His Son for salvation. Then, as man receives Christ, by faith, so, too, he is to “walk” in Him (Col. 2:6). A believing man is called upon to make a decision to surrender the control of his life over to the commanding general—God the Holy Spirit.
D. This decision results in what is called the “filling” of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18; Acts 13:9; 11:24). This is another way of saying that the believer is to give complete control of himself over to God the Holy Spirit.
E. This decision results in the believer being…
- “Filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:19);
- “Filled with the fruits of righteousness (Phil. 1:1); and
- “Filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and Spiritual understanding” (Col. 1:9).
F. Other Bible words that generally imply the same concept of control are:
- “yield” (Rom. 6:13, 16, 19)
- “present” (Rom. 12:1-2; cf., 1 Cor. 6:13-20)
- “servant” (1 Cor. 7:22-23)
- “led” (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18)
G. Christ’s warning to the Apostle Peter to “Watch and Pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak“ (Mt. 26:41), is a reminder to all believers of the reality of spiritual conflict. And so, too, in this dispensation the possibility exists for the believer to bring shame and reproach upon Christ by giving “place to the Devil” and falling into his “snare” (1 Tim. 3:7; Eph. 4:27). This happens when we “grieve” and “quench” God the Holy Spirit.
1. We are not to “grieve not the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 4:30).
a. The Christian’s conduct of the spiritual conflict either grieves or does not grieve God the Holy Spirit. It is sin that grieves Him and redirects His ministry of blessing and guiding to one of convicting. Sin is the believer’s most terrible blunder (Gal. 5:7-9; 6:7-8).
b. Unless sin is dealt with, it will rob the believer of blessed joy, fellowship, victory, reward, and bring serious discipline (1 Cor. 11:30-32).
c. Sin MUST be dealt with (2 Cor. 7:1) … but how?
- by self judgment (1 Cor. 11:28; Rom. 6:11; Gal. 6:4; 1 Jn. 1:9);
- by repentence (2 Cor. 7:9-11);
- by a healthy dose of Bible study (Eph. 5:25-26);
- by spiritual counseling (Gal. 6:1-2; Rom. 15:1).
- We are instructed to “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19). To “quench” the Spirit means to say, NO to God! When the devil said, “I will exalt my throne” (Isa. 14:13-14), he was saying NO to the will of God. By way of contrast, our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Not my will, but Thine be done” (Lk. 22:42). We can never have victory or be godly in the execution of the Christian way of life and say no to God.
II. The Believer has a new spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-17; 2 Cor. 10:4-6).
A. What began in the heavenlies continues on the battlefield. Believers are on the battlefield, not the recreation room or on furlough.
B. What the well-equipped soldier wears to the battle:
- The Girdle of Truth (Jn. 17:17);
a. as it is found in Christ (Eph. 4:21);
b. as it is experientially appropriated (Rom. 12:17; 2 Cor. 8:21; 13:7; Eph. 4:25; Phil. 4:8).
- The Breastplate of Righteousness (2 Cor. 2:9-11);
a. as it is found in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30);
b. as it is experientially appropriated (1 Tim. 6:11-14).
- The Gospel of Peace Shoes (2 Cor. 5:18-21);
a. as it is found in Christ (Eph. 2:14);
b. as it is experientially appropriated (Rom. 10:15).
- The Shield of Faith (1 Jn. 5:4);
a. as it is found in Christ (Phil. 1:29);
b. as it is experientially appropriated (Heb. 11:4-31).
- The Helmet of Salvation (1 Thess. 5:8). NOTE: The helmet is a protector of the mind. The issue here is deliverance/victory.
a. as it is found in Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) ;
b. as it is experientially appropriated (Phil. 2:3-5, 20; 3:15-16).
- The Sword of the Spirit (Heb. 4:12);
a. as it is found in Christ (Mt. 4:4);
b. as it is experientially appropriated (Col. 3:16).
C. Spiritual warfare is best conducted when it is bathed in prayer, never to stop praying, “always” or “without ceasing” (Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17).
The purpose of God is clear and above contradiction that God wants to present the Church, which is His Body, “to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle” … “holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). The “New Man” will be seated with Him on His throne. Our Lord Jesus Christ is heir of the world and we shall reign with Him (Rom. 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:12). Until then, let us forget “those things which are behind,” and reach forth into those things which are before. Let us “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded” (Phil. 3:13-15).