Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 13, 1967
NUMBER 48, PAGE 2b-3a

The Holy Spirit In Us

Robert C. Welch

A new fad is going around. It is the idea that the Holy Spirit dwells personally and bodily in the Christian, moving him in some "better felt than told" manner to speak and act in realms wherein he has not prepared himself by study of God's word. It actually is not new. The denominations have had the theory for years. These brethren are just borrowing it from the denominations. It shows where they are getting their religious learning. Dr. (!) Baxter has testified in the Twentieth Century Christian that the Holy Spirit directly moved in providing him his doctorate. Only this time, according to the Doctor, He did not operate on the Christian but upon the man who was examining him for his doctorate. The Doctor persuaded the Holy Spirit to make the examiner select from a stack of books the only book which the Doctor could read, he affirms. Though written in a style of deep humility it is actually a proud boast that the Doctor could tell the Holy Spirit what to do.

When we find what the Scriptures say about the Holy Spirit, his dwelling within us, and his influence within us and upon us, we will have found all there is to know about it. All of this mysterious, unexplainable business but shows a dissatisfaction with what is revealed in the Scriptures, and is going off after the old fashioned Calvinist, the modern Holiness sect, or the spiritualist. What is said about the matter is simply and plainly stated in the Bible, so that there is no need for all this speculation now prevailing.

The Spirit Given Us

"Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body." (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). We must accept the fact that in some sense the Holy Spirit dwelt in Christians. That he caused the Christians of the first century to produce signs and miracles in confirming the word which they revealed is definitely shown in the Scriptures. A previous article was on this matter. But there is no point in denying that he dwells within Christians today, but without all this sign working manifestation.

"Therefore he that rejecteth, rejecteth not man, but God, who giveth his Holy Spirit unto you." (1 Thess. 4:8). This statement is couched within a context which emphasizes the manner of life each Christian lives in response to the teaching of the apostle Paul (1 Thess. 4:1). Hence, it is mere supposition to reason that the Holy Spirit here said to be given was the sign working power. It has more to do with walking in a pleasing way before God. Since such statements as this are made, it may help us to see that there is no point in arguing that "the gift of the Holy Spirit" of Acts 2:38 is not the Holy Spirit given, but, instead, is something which the Holy Spirit gives. Paul says to the Thessalonians that the Holy Spirit was given to them.

The Inner Man, The Heart

"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;" (Eph.3:16,17). Surely we have no doubt but that the heart here mentioned is the inner man of the same passage. It is as easy to conceive of Christ dwelling in us physically and bodily as it is to conceive of the Holy Spirit doing so; that is, it is as easy to conceive of it from this passage, without all the theories and suppositions which men have given to the indwelling Spirit. But their theories would make an enigma of the passage.

Men argue that Christ dwells in us representatively through the Holy Spirit. Then others argue that the Holy Spirit dwells in us representatively through the word. The man who is committed to accepting the Bible as God's revelation will care little for this "representative" explanation or any other attempt at explaining what God means but couldn't say so that all could understand. Men can understand how Christ, one of the God-head dwelling in heaven, can dwell in our hearts by faith. They can understand how in like manner the Holy Spirit, another member of the Godhead dwelling in heaven, can dwell in our inward man by faith. But this mystical, personal, bodily indwelling is incomprehensible and unauthorized by any statement of the Scriptures.

The Spirit, The Truth, In Us

John wrote: "The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all they that know the truth; for the truth's sake which abideth in us, and it shall be with us for ever." (2 John 1,2). The truth of which he speaks is that which we can know; it abides in those who know it. He also says; "If we say that we have fellowship with him (God) and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." (1 John 1:6). He further declares; "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8). Also, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 1:10). It is of utmost importance that we know the truth, that the truth be in us, that we do the truth. This is shown in the above passages to be synonymous with his word, which is to be in us. In the heart, the mind, the inward man, we know and believe, and, acting upon that knowledge and faith, we do the truth.

The same inspired writer makes another pointed and clear statement; "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth." (1 John 5:7). Now, call this what you will. Say that it is the Spirit which produces the word, the truth; say that it is the Spirit dwelling representatively by the word in the man; I care not for such unscriptural phraseology, especially when it may lead to speculative notions about the Spirit which are additions to that which has been revealed. The plain statement is that the Spirit is the truth. The truth must be in us as God's children and the Spirit is said to be in us. When I believe and say this I am on safe ground; it is the word of God. The idea that the Spirit dwells in us in some additional manner is the product of the imagination of man.

Jesus said; "it is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life. But there are some of you that believe not." (John 6:63, 64). Peter said of the words of Christ; "Lord to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 8:68). These words involve eternal life; these words are spirit and life. It is essential to life that the word, the spirit, abide in us.

The Scriptures are plain about every subject. They are plain on this matter. But when men begin to teach that there is something to be felt and believed in addition to the Scriptures, they become confused and lose fundamental faith in the Scriptures; they are looking for something else. The denominations have left the Scriptures on this matter of the indwelling Spirit. Brethren are cutting themselves loose from their moorings to drift with the denominational tide. Let us be content to stay with the Scriptures; they are plain, safe and sure.