Posts tagged ‘sanctification’

One Baptism! (an attempt to explain the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, misrepresented by Charismatics)

I find myself in a very awkward position to write about this but thanks to the Charismatics who bear the name of Christ, I find the need to explain the so called Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Mat 21
24 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things:
25 The baptism of John — where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”
27 So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things

Eph 4
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Mat 3
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Acts 11
15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.
16 “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
17 “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

Apparently one of Apostasies trademarks since Adam, is de-establishing (Gen 3:1-4)what God has set as truth. The Church historically has held to “One Baptism” and even mentions it in the Nicene Creed, which is the Catholic Statement since about 325AD.

I have learned through my fortunate stay with an apostate charismatic body that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is given according to the will of men. In most cases, when their Pastors lay hands on an individual, that person, who is prompted then (today [… not relevant because the Word of God is complete, given us in the Bible that we may not seek further revelation outside scripture 2Pet 3:11-12/Rev 22:18-19]) to speak gibberish (they call it tongues) is said to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. These hypocrites may caution such statements of mine as blaspheming the Spirit but I certainly am not doing that but it is they who blaspheme God the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29). For theirs is a religion devoid of accountability unto the Moral Law (Mat 5:17-20 & 22:37-40) from a baptism devoid of repentance (2Pet 2:17-24) to aid magnifying not God but their own worth (Luke 14:11) via instruments such as the prosperity Gospel.

Rom 10
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

You see, when an individual/family/society experiences “Romans 10:8-10” as an absolute reality in the context of “1Cor 12:3” is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:15-18). You see the baptism of John was only to prepare the heart/s to receive Christ (Luke 1:17)… make straight the way for Jesus Christ the Lord to be received as Savior (Mark 1:3).

John 3
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

You see, in the Son of God (who is absolutely God) taking upon Himself the complete nature of man but without sin, He is foreordained as the firstborn of us brethren (Rom 8:28). Being not creation but the creator Himself (Col 1:16) with the Father & the Holy Spirit, He is the First to be raised from the dead and the first to receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism (Mat 3:16-17). A Leader who teaches us to follow only by example; His Salvation (Jn 5:21-23) is His, to give to whom He so chooses (Jn 15:16) for He is Good Lord and Good Shepherd.

John 6
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Heb 12
6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Looking at Jn 6:44 & Heb 12:6-8 in the context of Jn 12:24-26, we understand that “one baptism” is given as a sacrament signifying the undoing to Original Sin, where Adam received (Gen 2:16-17) and passed to all his posterity a nature of righteousness governed by self and not God (Rom 5:14-15/1Cor 10:16-17). The charismatic idea Spirit baptism by laying hands on people who already are given by God to believe in Jesus can be likened to the Pope canonizing Christians unto Sainthood (1Cor 1:2-3).

Exodus 31 (in the context of Heb 2:8-18)
13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

To conclude, Sanctification is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9) unto His elect, transforming His Church into the likeness of His beloved Son Jesus Christ, unto Salvation (Phil 1:29). Baptism thereby Indicates: salvation is impossible for men & women by themselves but possible only by God (Mark 10:26-27). How or why, then would the righteous suffer in this fallen world but such is the furnace experience where we are sanctified (kept in the furnace) not beyond what we can endure (1Cor 10:13). No harm but only blessing befalls from Christ who cleanses us through our trials in which He is absolutely present (Dan 3:25) upholding us by His absolute might (Phil 4:13).

Sovereign grace Vs Legalism and Antinomianism

There are large numbers of Christians, who have become subject to views of antinomianism or those which are legalistic. Legalism is that which says that one is saved purely by works of Law while Antinomians hold a view that the grace of God covers them to the extent that even though their carnal nature is not made subject to true repentance, they are still saved because of grace. Mat 1:21 speaks to both these extreme apostate ideas by showing the legalist that Salvation is in Christ alone, while it shows the antinomians that Christ’ deliverance is not “in our sins” but “from our sins”

Mat 1:21
21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

A preacher once said: one can only enjoy the benefits of Christ’ Cross when he bows before the claims of Christ’ Crown. What this refers to is essentially that one truly receives Christ in his life only when he receives Him as SAVIOR AND LORD. For those who try to merit Salvation it shows they have not truly received Christ as their Savior and for those whose nature shows no elements of any sanctification, they have not truly received Jesus as their Lord.

Sanctification is the work of His Spirit. To many believers, the Holy Spirit is generally associated with how much noise can be made at a spiritual gathering. The work of the Holy Spirit is very deep and for one to associate the Spirit primarily with the gift of tongues today is almost blasphemous. The gift of tongues was given only to the early Church, who did not have the compilation of the Bible, once the Bible was compiled in about the third or fourth century, the gift of tongues and prophesies ceased because the Bible is complete and sufficient to edify the Christian and cursed is that person who tries to add or take away from it. It is for this reason, that the many noise makers in spiritual gathering do not find one interpreter today for three of these people who are said to have this gift of tongues.

Quoting from the Nicene Creed, which was a faith declaration of the early Church, this is what is stated when it speaks of the Holy Spirit: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life”. We know when God created Adam from the soil, He breathed life into Him. We also know that scripture in God breathed. So though it was His Holy Spirit, that God had put into Adam to give him life, which Adam lost in his disobedience. In the same way the Word of God in the Bible, is God breathed (Holy Spirit) proceeding from Father and Son as One, given to us in scripture that we may believe and have life.

It is interesting to note that the Exodus came before Mount Sinai, what I mean to say is that God first delivered His people from Egypt and then gave them the Law at Mount Sinai. It was not the other way around. As a preacher I know once said, it took God one day to get His people out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of His people. We see from all of this that though a believer is saved by grace and not His own merit, lawlessness cannot be a part of his life. He is always subject to the Moral Law of God, where He puts God first and his neighbor at par with himself.

1Thes 2
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

You see the reason, we can do the stuff that is pleasing to God, is ONLY because of the life given to us in Christ i.e. His Holy Spirit. Had we not received Christ, we would not know or have the slightest inclination to please Him. So the word of God in the scripture, is the life given to us in Christ, which His Spirit i.e. God; who is at work, in us who believe. Thus even after we have been sanctified, the only statement we shall render to God is the one in Luke 17:10.

Luke 17
10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

Such is Sovereign grace, that he who receives it humbled not exalted in himself, for the very meaning of grace is unmerited favor i.e. when one receives (especially concerning Salvation) what he does not deserve. I need to emphasize here that sanctification is not our work but the work of God in us, it is hence seen from the parable of the master who calls people to work in the vineyard that he who is called to work even at the very last moment, receives full wages i.e. even the person who is on his death bed and repents unto Christ, he too receives the full measure of Salvation; for just as Salvation is of the Lord (Lam 3:26), Sanctification too is by Him (Lev 20:8) and so He does with what is His own as He pleases… Sovereign Grace!

Mat 20
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

Christ and the Law

It is considered by many Christians today that believing in Jesus Christ means that you are free from the Law. People like to quote Romans 6:14 and John 1:17 to show that the Law does not apply to believing Christians. They say Christian life is a standard higher than the Law. Well, it must be understood that there are two aspects of the Law i.e. the physical and the spiritual/moral. Now the Bible says that if one keeps the physical aspect and yet transgresses the spiritual aspect of the Law, he still transgresses the Law but he who does not keep the physical aspect of the Law and yet maintains himself in the spiritual aspect of the Law, he keeps the Law.

Romans 2
25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

The Law therefore seen is Spiritual (Romans 7:14) and all hangs on two commandments, it is to first love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and secondly to love your neighbor (even it is your enemy) as you love yourself (Luke 10:27). It must be understood that the law that came to a close in Romans 10:4 was the law, the physical aspect which people used to establish their own self righteousness. Gal 3:24 says that it is the Law that leads us to Christ because the Law makes people realize the dreadfulness of sin (Romans 7:7) and convicts them (James 2:9) that they may be brought to repentance… back to Christ. As His Church is the believing body that is susceptible to sin, the reason a Christian has been brought to the terms of facing his sin, is because the Law is written on his heart (Romans 2:15) and so he keeps the Law and is judged by the Law (Romans 2:12) but his faith in Christ has made the curse of the Law fall on Him who was the atonement sacrifice of all the sin of His people (Gal 3:10, 13).

There was a time I felt that the grace by which I was saved was grace that gave me freedom from the Law but I have now come to realize that that is certainly not the case. In fact it is by His moral Law (Romans 6:16-18) which has been imputed in me by His Spirit that I realize that the grace I have received is not one that gives me freedom to sin (Romans 6:15). The Law is perfect (Psalms 19:7), nothing which is perfect can get any better. If I am called to love my neighbor as I love myself, then I am automatically called to never covet, steal or murder against my neighbor. The way I had come to receive the grace of Christ, was a way that was lawless, a blasphemy against Christ Himself. This I have seen as my sin, for in loving Christ, I am called to obey His commandments.

John 15:10 (Jesus’ word)
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Now here is an interesting thought in John 15:10, as per reformed theological study Jesus Christ is referred to as the Second Adam. You see both Adam and Christ were subject to the commandments of God. Adam was created perfect (un-fallen) while Christ did not inherit original sin as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. Both Adam and Christ were representatives of a people, while Adam represented all mankind, Christ represented the Church. Both were subject to the Covenant of Life i.e. the Salvation of the people they represented that depended on their works in obedience to God. It must be seen that this testing was only for a certain period of time; else the term ‘eternal life’ would not have existed. It was a famous theologian who said: In Christ, the sons of Adam boast of more blessing than their father lost. So if any racial distinctions are ever to be drawn, it is those who were represented by Christ who are superior and this is grace that he who is saved is saved by the merit of Christ and not himself. For by himself, his fallen nature is inherent from Adam.

The Bible does say that man is not justified by the Law and even where there is no Law, people perish (Romans 2:12). It is right that man is justified by faith in Christ but the grace that we receive in Christ extends to receiving the Holy Spirit, who fulfills in us the requirements of the Law (Romans 8:4). Though it says in 1Cor 15:56 that the power of sin is in the law it should never be considered that the Law is Sin (Romans 7:7) for a person comes to terms with the power of sin through the Law (Spiritual) besides 1John 3:4 refers to sin as lawlessness.

Matthew 5:18 (Jesus’ word)
18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Atonement was accomplished on the cross (John 19:30), while the Salvation of the Church is being accomplished in the furnace of trial and affliction, suffering for Christ sake (Phil 1:29) by believers all over the world (1Peter 5:9). On the other hand the sin playing out of a person’s lust accomplishes death (James 1:15) for the reprobate as it incurs the wrath of God (Jeremiah 30:23-24). So we see that His Law shall remain till His Salvation is accomplished for every elect and His wrath accomplished for every deemed reprobate.

There are many religions and cultures around the world who claims to adhere to strict regulations but when you step out into their streets and public places, their nature of rebellion against the spiritual Law of God sticks out like a sore thumb but these will surely receive His justice and even those whose acknowledgement of His Lordship is nothing more than lip service (Mat 15:8) and outward displays these will also be deemed under the same lawlessness.

Matthew 7
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Depravity and Trial!

There are many Christians who feel that having great faith is to be supercharged and praise God, something like where they increase before God. However of whom the Bible speaks of great faith, such are rarely noticed by people like these.

Matthew 8
5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him,
6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”
7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Matthew 15
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”
23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

John 3
26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”
27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’
29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

You can see from the above, the more a person recognizes his total depravity, the more he realizes his Salvation coming from Christ. There are essentially three steps in a Christian’s life, the first is Atonement- which was worked out by Christ on the Cross over 2000 years ago, the second is Justification- which is the point when Christ begins to take root in a person’s heart and the third is Regeneration/Sanctification- where the Christian is continually transformed into Christ’ likeness through trial.

Take the instance of the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Mat 22:1-14, it is seen in verse 11 and that in whom the Spirit does not work the Regeneration (Phil 2:12-13), that person has not been chosen for eternal life in union with Christ.

Now think about this, trial by fire (1Pet 1:7)– if God were to truly reprove you unto repentance (Rev 3:19), how much scope would there be for you to go through that trial with your head held high in pride? If you are able to go through the reproach of God with your head held high (Psalms 50:16-17) then the question is: was His reproach not that of a Father unto a son (2Sam 7:14)? It is therefore seen for certain that Regeneration takes place through trial, for trials call for greater obedience, which one can only adhere to by the power of His Spirit (Psalms 94:12).

Psalms 94:12
12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law,

The thing is, in the life of a Christian, his trials will make him small and make his God big. Throughout his life, he will know of his depravity, which in actual is him prostrating truly before his Almighty, Everlasting and Sovereign God.

There are many teachers out there, who in claiming to teach from the Bible, teach a doctrine of material blessing in obedience to God. Such teachers are well described in Mat 23:24, who teach strict obedience to certain values but have themselves given way to disobedience in submitting to their flesh when justice, mercy and faithfulness is required of them.

Mat 23:24
24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Such is the faith taught by teachers like these. However James 2 teaches that faith goes beyond lip service, which is a call that makes the believer feel the pinch of Regeneration, where he thinks nothing of himself in serving Christ through his brother (Mat 25:40).

James 2
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

There is a good book I recommend to you, called Stonewall Jackson’s Verse, which is a true story of an old Confederate Army General, whose life even during trial had Romans 8:28 as its center.

Romans 8
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

So to close this, all I would like to say is, if you feel small before God especially during your trial then consider that as a blessing of good faith (Job 5:17). For faith can be imputed only through repentance and all a person feels in repentance is small.

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