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"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." (Gen.22:2-3)
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Br. Samuel Babu, Believers Brethren Assembly, (BBA), Majlis - Bahrain For the last few days, we have been relentlessly praying for Br. Samuel Babu, who suffered Cardiac Problems and was admitted in Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain. It was well pleasing for our Lord to call HIS child to the Eternal Home, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no tears, no sickness and no death. He went to be with the LORD around 10:30 PM Bahrain Time today (Friday 23rd 2015). Let us uphold the grieving family members to the Throne of Grace. May the Lord bestow upon them heavenly Grace, Peace and strength and console them with the word of God.
 
 
 
DOCTRINAL

PNEUMATOLOGY

(A study on the Holy Spirit)

Dr. Silas C. Nair

 

VIII. WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM

PENTECOST TO THE LORD’S RETURN

 

A. IN RELATION TO THE WORLD

 

Jesus Christ had promised his disciples to send another comforter like Him. “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (Jn.16.7, 8). Thus when He arrives he has a three-fold ministry towards an unbeliever: He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment.

 

i) Convict the world of sin.

Man is spiritually dead in sins and trespasses. His intelligence is darkened, his emotions are deadened and his will is in bondage. Yet he is able to distinguish between right and wrong. He is a rational man though his thinking and actions are perverted often. He has a conscience, which is able to judge his actions and either approve them or condemn them. So man knows he is wrong.

 

The conviction by the Spirit is not in the sense of condemnation. Not only the punishment that is due to sin but sin itself is brought before the sinner. In the words of David, “my sin is ever before me” (Ps.51.3). When the Spirit convicts a man of sin, his experience is again the experience of David when he said, “For your arrows pierce me deeply, and your hand presses me down” (Ps.38.2). One is not able to take it away. He understands sin for what it is. Its evil character is made bare. He now understands that sin is against God himself. When David committed adultery and murdered Uriah and this sin was brought before him, he confessed, “against You, You only have I sinned and done this evil in your sight” (Ps.51.4). A convicted sinner looks upon sin as God Himself looks upon it. It is rebellion against God. He realizes that the punishment for this sin is his just reward. In the words of the penitent thief, “we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds” (Lk.23.41).

 

The Spirit uses the law to convict the sinner. By the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom.3.20). I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “you shall not covet” (Rom.7.7).

 

The Spirit also convinces the sinner of the need of the Savior. (Jn.16.7-11). The particular sin here is “not believing in the Savior”. All other sins in the life of a person shall be forgiven but one sin that will not be forgiven is the rejection of the savior. It is only the Holy Spirit, another comforter like the Lord Jesus, who can point out Jesus as the Savior. Unbelief in Him leaves man with no alternative but hell.

 

ii) Convict the world of righteousness.

Though man is a sinner and he realizes this fact there is a need in his heart. Augustine said, “We are made for thee and our souls cannot rest unless we find our rest in thee”. Man’s effort to find an acceptance with God is really pathetic. Even in Judaism, the only God given religion in the world, the sacrifices offered year by year only brought sin to their remembrance. Man does not have any righteousness before God. His verdict is, “There is none righteous, no not one” (Rom.3.10).

 

Holy Spirit will expose the darkness of the human heart. Man is self-righteous but his righteousness is like filthy rags before God, who is wholly righteous. This righteous God made Jesus Christ, who knew no sin to be sin for us so that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him. The righteousness of God can be imputed to a believing sinner, because, Jesus Christ the righteous suffered for the unjust and has gone to the Father.

 

iii) He will convict the world of judgment.

There is a future judgment to come of course. The soul that sins shall die. Eternal damnation is his due. But this is not what is meant here. The prince of this world is judged. The whole world lies under the wicked one (1 Jn.5.19). He has blinded the minds of those who do not believe (2 Cor.4.4). This god of the world has been judged on the cross of Calvary. All the handwriting of ordinances that were against us have been nailed to the cross and Jesus Christ triumphed over them (Col.2.14, 15). Satan who had the power of death had been defeated by the death of the Lord Jesus (Heb.2.14, 15). The Holy Spirit will lead the sinners to this true judgment.

 

Since the sinner’s Substitute has died and risen again, a repentant sinner need not be afraid of a future judgment. His sin question has been decided once and for all. Since the world cannot receive the Spirit of Truth (Jn.14.17) the Holy Spirit uses the believers’ witness (Jn.15.26, 27) and the believers’ unity (Jn.17.21,23) to convict the world.

 

In convicting the world the Spirit will reveal the sufficiency of Christ for every need of the sinner (Jn.15.26; 16.14) and the certainty of truth (Jn.16.13). He is the Spirit of Truth.

 

Man evades the truth. But when the Spirit deals with man about truth, he cannot escape. The past, the present and the future outlook of man as a sinner will be brought before him. Man in the realm of sin is lost. But the moment he puts his faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, he is forgiven and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to him. Hence he is freed from the bondage of sin and Satan.

 

B. THE WORK OF REGENERATION

 

Man who is sinful is described as spiritually dead. He is dead in sins and trespasses (Eph.2.1-2). By no act of his he can impart life unto himself. Except God there is no one else who can give him life, because all are dead. Self-regeneration is impossible. Man is totally depraved. This does not mean that he is irrecoverably lost, but he has no disposition or will of his own to come back to God and by no effort of his he can do so.

 

Regeneration is the work of God. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and void and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Gen.1.1-3). This is the energizing work of the Spirit in creation. Like wise the Holy Spirit is also active in regeneration.

 

Regeneration is the act of the Holy Spirit whereby He imparts new life to a believer. The work of regeneration is attributed to the Father (Jas.1.17,18) and to the Son also (2Cor.5.17; 1 Jn.5.12) but the Holy Spirit is the agent in regeneration. It is His mysterious work. To Nicodemus Jesus spoke of being born of the Spirit (Jn.3.3-5; cf. Tit.3.5).

 

Regeneration is being born again, born from above, born of God (Jn.1.12, 13). One who is thus born again is not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man. Generation is from father to son and this too is the gift of God. But this new life is not transmitted from father to son. That which is born of the flesh is flesh.

 

One cannot will himself to be born again. Regeneration is not by the will of the flesh. A dead man cannot give life to himself.

 

It is also not by the will of man. Others cannot influence us to be born again. A preacher’s earnestness, godliness, wisdom, or oratory cannot impart life to another. It is true though that God uses the preacher for the salvation of others.

 

“If the angels and saints in heaven and all the godly on earth should join their will and endeavors and in unison exert their powers to regenerate one sinner, they could not effect it; yet they could do nothing toward it. It is an effect infinitely beyond the reach of finite wisdom and power” (1 Cor.3.6, 7 Hopkins).

 

Regeneration is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. In this sense a sinner is passive. He does not contribute anything for receiving life. This work is not gradual but instantaneous.

 

In being born again the believer receives eternal life. In one sense it is also spiritual resurrection. By the power of God, He raised Jesus from the dead (Eph.1.19f). This is the resurrection power. By the same power we who were dead were raised together with Christ and seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph.2.5).

 

In His discourse with Nicodemus Jesus spoke to him of being born of the spirit and of the water. This is not water baptism. Jesus was speaking about the regenerating work of the Spirit.

 

“Regeneration consists in a new, spiritual, supernatural, vital principle, or habit of grace infused into the soul, the mind, the will and the affections, by the power of the Holy Spirit disposing and enabling them in whom it is, unto spiritual, supernatural, vital acting and spiritual obedience (John Owen).

 

God calls us to life. There is the general call of the gospel. But it is effective only in the life of those who responds to it. This is the effective call. This is the Father speaking to us. A question arises as to whether it is those who are quickened who respond to the effective call or whether those who have responded to the call are those who will receive life.

 

We are born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and abides forever (1 Pet.1.23).

 

His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Pet.1.3).

 

It is very difficult to say which happens first, though it is true that the dead cannot hear. Therefore imparting of life should logically come first before one can respond to the call. The spirit works powerfully in us and we hear the word of God. It is safe to say that both happen simultaneously. The divine and the human work together. God’s word reaches into our hearts to bring about a response that is absolutely certain. Yet it is true that we respond voluntarily.

 

 
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