And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13, 14 NIV)
Is it possible the Church is wrong about the "two-fold" ministry of the Spirit? What if the "two-fold" ministry of the Holy Spirit is actually to birth a new spirit within at conversion and then fill us with his own presence at a later time? Instead of the traditional idea that He comes at first within us and then comes again in a different manner and role at a later time?
You see what I have a hard time accepting is that someone can have the Holy Spirit in them and not have power, the traditional indwelling (no power) vs filling (power) idea. That idea just doesn't sit well with me. Let me explain.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17 NIV)
Here is a most remarkable account in Acts that we all know. It concerns the Samaritans and how when they believed and been baptized they had not received the Holy Spirit. So the Apostles Peter and John went to them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. So if they had believed and even been baptized, how could they not have the Spirit? After all, Paul did write in Ephesians 1:13-14 (see above) we receive the Spirit when we believe. So what is going on here?
Let me explain a bit.
Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:5, 6 NIV)
As flesh gives birth to flesh and a new "flesh" is born, so does the Spirit give birth to a new "spirit". Now since it is the Holy Spirit birthing this within us we are no less reborn as a holy spirit, yet it is not "the" Holy Spirit of God. This is the new birth! 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:3
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. (Romans 8:16 NIV)
The Spirit testifies with our spirit... A clear indication that there are two separate "spirit beings" within man. But where does this two spirit idea come from?
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:26, 27 NIV)
God said through the prophet that he would first give us a new spirit, then afterward he would put his own Spirit in us. "A new spirit" and "my Spirit"... two separate entities, one a holy spirit born within from God by His own Spirit and then the same birthing Spirit comes.
Even the Apostles experienced this "two spirit" event.
And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22 NIV)
Now in John's gospel, when this ^ happens, there is no mention of flames of fire co ing down, no mighty wind, no tongues being spoken. Jesus is physically present on Earth in this account while in Acts 2 Jesus is at the Father's right hand in Heaven. The accounts are concerning different events. So the Apostles received what Jesus spoke of in John 3 here, and then they received the promise of the Father in Acts 2 resulting in power to witness, tongues etc.
So how does this reconcile with Ephesians 1:13-14, in that when you believe you receive the Holy Spirit?
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:2, 5 NIV)
Paul here is clearly referring to the Holy Spirit within the body of believers, working miracles and what not. What was the condition Paul says they met that resulted in this event? They believed (in the gospel). What are the other similarities here? The Spirit was a seal, a seal being a manifestation of ownership. When a king sealed a document, there was a clear outer mark upon said document that it belonged and came from the King. So even in the two accounts, the Spirit resulted in power, in miracles, outer manifestations. Not a "indwelling no power or gifts" ministry. That is the new spirit that is birthed by the Holy Spirit.
It is no less a "job" or "ministry" of the Spirit to birth a new spirit within those who believe, perhaps we just have the terminology wrong. But I see no where in scripture where the Holy Spirit within believers resulted in anything less than power and outer manifestations. This also reconciles Acts 8 where we have believers who had been baptized in Jesus name and yet scriptures say had NOT the Holy Spirit.
What do you think?
I would like to throw this out there... There are ample scriptures to support the traditional idea. I see that. I used to preach it. I'm honestly not sure where I fall on this one. It's just hard for me to reconcile Acts 8 with the traditional view considering the references i gave in the OP. Hard to do without a lot of EISEGESIS in my opinion that is.
I would suggest you research the Holy Ghost as opposed to the Holy Spirit rather than accepting them as the same because they are but they are not. You will notice when ghost is used something happens, as opposed to spirit. This is why we need the infilling of the Holy Ghost or the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Of course this will do us no good unless we can discern the times and seasons of God for we cvan say Jesus all day and nothing will happen unless it is of God for it He who gives and controls the power
I think you're just spliting hairs with that one....
Case in point from the KJV w/ Strong's numbers
4 And G2532 they were all G537 filled G4130 with the Holy G40 Ghost, G4151 and G2532 began G756 to speak G2980 with other G2087 tongues, G1100 as G2531 the G3588 Spirit G4151 gave G1325 them G846 utterance. G669
Both Ghost and Spirit are used here. Both are the same Greek term, but yet it says they were filled with the Ghost while moved by the Spirit. Same thing you see?
This is from Billy Graham on the subject of Holy Ghost vs Holy Spirit:
When I was a child, I used to hear our pastor talk about the "Holy Ghost," but now our church never uses that term. Does "Holy Ghost" mean the same thing as the Holy Spirit?
Yes, the terms "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit" are identical; the "Holy Ghost" is simply an older way of speaking of the Holy Spirit.
The reason the term "Holy Ghost" isn't as common as it once was is because our English language has changed over the years. The word "ghost" is a good example of this. Today it means something different to most people than it did several centuries ago. Then, the word "ghost" simply meant "spirit," but today most people think only of haunted houses or Halloween when they hear the word "ghost." For this reason, almost all modern translations of the Bible use "Holy Spirit" instead of "Holy Ghost," to avoid any misunderstanding.
for me, a lot of the confusion around the baptism of the Holy Spirit came from what i had been taught as a child about traditional water baptism. water baptism was a true ritual in the traditional church that i was raised in, and i never saw that it was clearly grounded in scripture the way it was taught. years later (long after i was water baptized) i discovered that 'baptize' simply means 'immerse', which made what i had been taught about water baptism even more confusing to me. so i did a 'deep dive' into the scripture wherever the word 'baptize' or a form thereof was found, and i discovered that water baptism was for the house of israel - people under the law of Moses - and there was no clear indication that this ritual was ever intended for people who were not trying to live under the law of Moses. i saw that water baptism ('John's baptism') was different from Jesus' baptism of the Holy Spirit; and that it was intended to be the final ritual to end ritual worship for people under the law of Moses. as i looked at scripture abut the baptism of the Holy Spirit, i began to see it differently - not as something that 'happens' to people, initiated by God; but a step in spiritual growth. for example, when someone gets reborn in Christ, they do so by believing that they can approach God without fear of judgment simply by believing that Jesus not only paid for all their 'sins' (wrong thoughts and actions), but also gave them HIS righteousness as their substitute - but this doesn't mean that a new reborn believer actually believes the REST of scripture - such as all the astounding miracles of the OT, or the delegation of authority and access to God's power to execute that authority that the NT describes. as i studied the scripture more i began to realize that all these OT miracles actually did happen; and that all the promises of the NT are available today - i began to 'immerse' myself in belief in God's whole word - not just His word about missing hell.
i received the baptism of the Holy Spirit while painting my bathroom. i was unemployed and trying to stay busy as i looked for a job, and was listening to an Andrew Womack teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. as he taught on the scripture about the difference between the disciples before and after pentecost, i realized that there was a level of belief (faith) that i had not attained; i began to believe the REST of scripture about the authority that is given to us as reborn believers and the power that has been made available to us to execute that authority - i began to immerse myself in belief in God. At the end of the teaching, Andrew said to ask God for the Holy Spirit as Jesus instructed in Luke 11:13, so i put my paint roller in the tray for a minute and kneeled down and asked God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. no balls of fire appeared, no feelings of love overwhelmed me, no tongues forced their way out of my mouth; as i kneeled there, i perceived no change in me at all. but then faith isn't based on perception, it's based on simple belief in the word of God, so i went back to painting and listened to the teaching again. it was another two weeks before i overcame my pride and spoke in tongues for the first time, and again there was no 'physical' experience at all (no 'balls of fire' then either) - but i knew that my life had somehow changed. as i tried to understand all the things i'd heard about the scripture, i began to realize that if all this complexity is true, then many who are less intelligent or mentally handicapped would be excluded - and i knew that this cannot be. in the years since, i've come to realize that, as always, the variable is me - my balance of belief and doubt about God's word - and that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is simply my decision to believe God's word even if i don't fully understand it and in spite of all the contrary reports from the world and my own flesh - the baptism of the Holy Spirit is my 'immersing' myself in belief in God's word - immersing myself in belief in God.
i think we tend to ritualize the scripture to the point where all too often it looses it's meaning to us - we subconsciously want it to be hard to understand so that we can take pride in understanding it (that's not directed at anyone specific btw :)) - and in so doing we fail to 'connect to the power source' that it represents; we fail to connect with the God who inspired the scripture spoken and written by people. for me, the Holy Spirit IS God - i have a first name, middle name and last name - like Him - that doesn't make me three people any more than it makes Him three persons; since I'm made in His image we can't be that different. so as i read the scriptures about baptism or 'immersion', so much of the complexities that the traditional church teaches fade away and things become much more simple - to the point where i see that God has already done everything that He needs to do for me, and the way i receive what He has already provided is by believing His promises while fighting my own doubts and resolving to be led by Him rather than by my own limited intellect and understanding.
i'm not where i want to be, but i've left where i was; i've been a part of instant healings in myself and others; seen people come into fellowship with God after years of struggle in the traditional church as a result of hearing the simple Truth; been delivered from what appeared to be certain destruction time and again - and the only thing i did was to desire to fight to believe God and use His word to reduce my doubts - the rest was all His mercy and grace. but i do recognize two stages in my growing belief in God - the first where i missed hell and came into fellowship with Him to a small degree and yet still 'walked by my own sight', and the second where i set my heart to believe Him no matter what and began to really try to be led by Him (not that' i've been all that effective - again it's His mercy and grace that makes the difference, not my efforts).
I understand what you're saying and actually agree. The more we surround ourselves and immerse ourselves in the Lord, the more we will "do the works He did".
The one issue I have with it though is in Acts when people received the Spirit it was a sudden thing ya know. They received and instantly things were noticed. It wasn't a gradual progression as they learned about God or even grew in faith in Him. I would even say a person can receive the Holy Spirit in this regard and not have a fuller knowledge or faith in God.
But that's fine. I think the important thing in the topic is our focus. It needs to be on Jesus always. He will show us the works to do in love and everything else is really secondary to that.
i think the reason that people received 'suddenly' in Acts was because of their expectation; Pentecost must have had a profound effect on the people in the surrounding area; they expected (as in 'Bible hope') to speak in tongues as a result of immersing themselves in God; i don't think that people have that expectation today for the most part. i know in my case, i didn't understand tongues but did see that there was a powerful difference in the disciples after Pentecost; they lied and ran from the officials of the Jews when Jesus was crucified, and yet openly and fearlessly defied them after Pentecost; they had somehow connected to the Source. this was my expectation when i asked for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and my testimony to others changed to match what i expected (had faith in) after i received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. it took me a couple more weeks to begin to understand the benefits of speaking in tongues - and i had some pride issues to deal with (not wanting to look like a fool speaking gibberish).
God is never the variable; as Jesus said, According to your faith be it unto you