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The infilling of the spirit The characteristics of the Holy Spirit and the importance of being filled with Him

The infilling of the Spirit is an important topic; but, it is also somehow controversial due to the interference of human views without going back to the biblical truths; and also due to the interference of emotional responses and reactions which may lead to mixing the truth and lack of authenticity in the spiritual experience.

Before talking about the infilling of the Spirit, we will start with some quotes of the saints in various centuries to see how they viewed the importance of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. After that, we will mention the most important characteristics of the work of the Holy Spirit in the person, according to what we learn from the Scriptures.

Quotes of the saints about the Holy Spirit:

  • Macarius, the Great, 4th century:

‘As the Lord put on the body, leaving behind all principalities and power, so, Christians put on the Holy Spirit (Luke 24: 49) and are at rest’ (The Fifty Homilies, Homily 26).

  • Basil, the Great, 4th century:

‘Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the Kingdom of heavens’ (St Basil, the Great).

  • St Seraphim of Sarov, 18th century:

‘The true purpose of our Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit’ (St. Seraphim of Sarov).

Now, let us mention the most important characteristics of the work of the Holy Spirit in the person.  

 

Important characteristics of the work of the Holy Spirit in the person:

The Holy Spirit has a manifold and rich work in the life of a Christian. The Scriptures present this work in three forms: 

  • Water
  • Oil
  • Fire

Water:

The work of the Holy Spirit as water is mainly for refreshing, washing and cleansing from sin, and protecting the human soul from dryness and constriction.

‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’ (John 7: 38).

‘And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely’ (Revelation 22: 17).

Oil:

The work of the Holy Spirit as oil is for illumination and watchfulness in waiting for the Bridegroom. It also protects the human soul from tension and keeps the relationships between believers smooth and in love.

‘But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps’ (Matthew 25: 4).

Fire:

The work of the Holy Spirit as fire is for deep purification. It also grants holy zeal to the ministers of God and keeps them from the economies of the evil one.

  • Elijah in the confrontation with the people and with the prophets of Baal: ‘The God who answers by fire, He is God. So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken”’ (1 kings 18: 24).
  • We also read:

‘For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak’ (Isaiah 59: 17).

‘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 (Matthew 3: 11).

‘When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them’ (Acts 2: 1 – 3).

  • The work of the Holy Spirit as fire also refers to keeping our spirits fervent for worship, as it is written: ‘fervent in spirit, serving the Lord’ (Romans 12: 11).

We also hear Jesus teaching the disciples about the Holy Spirit, immediately before the crucifixion

Apostle John recorded this in chapters 14 – 16 of his gospel. Every believer should comprehend these chapters quite well and follow the truths in them.

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter:

‘If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you’ (John 14: 15 –17 NKJV).

‘If ye love me, my commands keep, and I will ask the Father, and another Comforter He will give to you, that he may remain with you to the age; the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it doth not behold him, nor know him, and ye know him, because he doth remain with you, and shall be in you’ (John 14: 15–17 YLT).

The Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of the words of Jesus:

‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you’ (John 14: 26 –NKJV).

The Holy Spirit is the One who testifies of the work of the Lord in us when we tell others about Christ and His salvation:

‘But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning’ (John 15: 26, 27).

‘And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him’ (Acts 5: 32).

The Holy Spirit convicts of sin:

‘And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment’ (John 16: 8).

The Holy Spirit guides us into the truth and tells us things to come:

‘However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come’ (John 16: 13).

Apostle John also tells us about the anointing of the Holy Spirit which teaches us all things:

‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things’ (1 John 2:20).

He also says:‘But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him’ (1 John 2: 27).

Apostle Paul also tells us about this same anointing of the Holy Spirit and teaches us about it:

‘Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee’ (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22).

Also, in the epistle to the Ephesians, the apostle says: ‘In Him (i.e. in Christ) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (Ephesians 1:13, 14).

These verses are of great importance because they tell us that the Holy Spirit puts on us a special seal. This seal keeps us and protects us throughout our sojourning on earth until He makes us enter into our eternal inheritance in heaven, as long as we obey Him. He continues to warn us with amazing patience whenever we deviate, continually restoring us from any kind of estrangement from the way of the Lord. He continues to strengthen and support us until we enter into heaven and inherit the Kingdom which has been prepared for us!

We notice another important point concerning the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the believers and that is the manifold names or titles of the Spirit which we read in the Scriptures. 

The purpose of these names is to understand His manifold and many faceted works in the life of the children of God.

Examples of these, but not limited to, we read that He is:

The Spirit of Love:

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1: 7).

In this verse, we notice that in addition to being the Spirit of Love, the Holy Spirit is also called ‘the Spirit of power and of a sound mind’.

The Spirit of Truth:

‘However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth’ (John 16: 13).

The Spirit of Faith:

‘And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak’ (2 Corinthians 4: 13).

The Spirit of Gentleness:

‘Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted’ (Galatians 6: 1).

The Spirit of Grace and Supplications:

‘And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn’ (Zechariah 12: 10).

The Spirit of Adoption:

‘For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father”’ (Romans 8: 15).

 

Importance of perceiving the significance of these names and titles of the Holy Spirit:

If we understand the meaning of these names or titles of the Holy Spirit, we would perceive their great importance. This is because without the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot acquire any Christian virtue; and hence, our spiritual growth would stop and our transformation into the image of Christ would stop as well.

Can we forget that we are in great need for the Spirit of Adoption in order to get rid of the spirit of bondage and perceive that we are true children of the heavenly Father; and hence, live in the sweetness and glory of this sonship –not by words but through the revelation of the Spirit inside us!  The spirit of slavery and bondage creates in us a guilty conscience and it shakes and disturbs our relationship with the Father; while the Spirit of adoption frees us from within and makes us enter into the fellowship of the heavenly family.

We are also in great need of the work of the Spirit of faith in order to grow in faith. For faith has different measures and levels. Don’t we remember that Jesus told His disciples that faith as a mustard seed moves the mountains!

Similarly, we need the Spirit of true love, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of gentleness, and the Spirit of supplications; so that, our prayers may have authority and may be accepted!

Finally, I remind you that the Spirit of God is the One who forms Christ within us.  He is also the One who reveals to every believer, his/her true personal calling; prepares him for it; teaches him about it; and then, anoints him with power from above and sends him to carry out his work in the Kingdom of God.

All these divine and biblical truths about the Holy Spirit are the basis and foundations of the correct understanding of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. They lead to true infilling which is renewed, continuous, and does not stop – because this is what the Scriptures tell us, as we shall shortly see.

I intended to lay the correct foundations of a topic that has been surrounded with much mixing and confusion. This has in turn caused the true experience of the infilling of the Spirit to be scarce and limited.

After understanding these foundations which are related to our relationship with the Person of the Holy Spirit, let us talk about the infilling of the Spirit. I want to clarify the following points in this respect:

  • The source of infilling of the Holy Spirit and its importance.
  • Forms of the infilling of the Spirit and how it happens.
  • Signs of the true infilling of the Spirit.

 

1) The Source of infilling of the Holy Spirit:

The primary source of the Holy Spirit which has been granted to the believers is undoubtedly the Day of Pentecost:

‘When the Day of Pentecost had fully come , they were all with one accord in one place…And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2: 1, 4).

In the book of Acts we see that this infilling happened more than once to the apostles. It is a repeated infilling.

Let us read some references about that:

  • Apostle Peter was filled by the Spirit another time, apart from the Day of Pentecost:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole’ (Acts 4: 8–10).

  • Also, apostle Paul was filled twice, which were mentioned in the book of Acts:

‘And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him (on Saul who is apostle Paul) he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized’ (Acts 9: 17-18).

We read about the second time at the beginning of his mission, in his first confrontation with a sorcerer who wanted to hinder his ministry:

‘Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him (at the sorcerer) and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand’ (Acts 13: 9 – 11).

  • Also, all the apostles together were filled another time, apart from the day of Pentecost. We read about it after they had a painful confrontation with the chief priests; and then, they gathered together and prayed:

‘And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4: 31).

We also read how the apostles had a condition that anyone who was presented to ministry should be filled by the Holy Spirit. 

  • We read about this in the book of Acts:

“Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business’ (Acts 6:3).

  • We also read about Stephen:

‘And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6: 5).

  • Also, when Stephen was being stoned, we read:

‘When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God’ (Acts 7: 54, 55).

  • We also read about Barnabas who was described in the book of Acts as follows:

‘For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith’ (Acts 11: 24).

Can you see how much we have deviated these days away from the conditions that the apostles requested for ministry, the most important of which was: being filled by the Spirit!

2) Forms of the infilling of the Spirit and how it happens:

The experience of the infilling of the Spirit has various forms according to the will of God. 

It is written: ‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit’ (John 3: 8).

It is also written: ‘For God does not give the Spirit by measure’ (John 3: 34).

The infilling may take place at the same time of starting one’s life in Christ and it continues to grow and increase. It may also stop due to spiritual battles, sins, or lack of experience, especially for the beginners. 

The infilling may also happen as a spiritual experience while one is walking the walk of faith; and that is, when the person realises his need for this infilling and realises that this is a gift from God (Luke 11: 13; John 4: 10); and then, he starts to follow the biblical signs which are: 

  • Complete and meticulous repentance so that the emptying which is necessary for the infilling may take place. It is an emptying of the experiences of the old sins and the worldly cares.
  • Then, the person seeks this gift, trusting God’s promises. He should not be deceived by any ideas or thoughts which he expects to be the specific signs of infilling, or any particular feelings, or anything else. Some of these signs may happen or none of them at all. The experience of infilling depends on the true and correct preparation, which is: repentance, believing God’s promises; and then, asking with faith and giving thanks considering that it has already been granted.
  • Yet, the most important thing after that is to learn to walk in the Spirit so that this infilling may be manifested and may increase. It is important to perceive this truth: the infilling needs to continue and increase.

The importance of the continuity and increase of the infilling:

In Ephesians 5: 18, we read: ‘And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5: 18).

Scholars maintain that according to the Greek origin, the verb which is used here is in the present continuous. This indicates the necessity of continuous infilling.

From the practical experience, we know that any vessel which is filled with water, for example, if it broadens (in case the vessel is elastic and expandable), the level of water in it will drop and it will require more water to reach the state of being full.

Similarly, if the human vessel broadens (i.e. grows in the Spirit), the first state of infilling becomes unsuitable because the level of infilling of the Spirit will drop and a new infilling will be needed so that the whole being of the person may be filled. Therefore, those who say that the infilling of the Spirit is only one particular experience in life, without noticing, they would be saying that there is no growth in the human vessel. This in turn makes the spiritual life take the form of a static routine – despite experiencing spiritual infilling at some point in life. We quite often see these unfortunate pictures both in the life of the believers and the ministers of God. 

If we look carefully at this biblical passage where apostle Paul teaches us about being filled by the Spirit, we will find that he explains to us the means for the repeated infilling in the verses that follow, where he says:

‘Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God’ (Ephesians 5: 19–21).

It is well known, as scholars say, that this passage in Ephesians 5:18~21 has a parallel passage in the epistle to the Colossians because both epistles were written at the same time; and that is the passage in Colossians 3:16~17:

‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father’ (Colossians 3:16~17).

The parallelism of ideas is clear in these two biblical passages: Ephesians 5:18~21 and Colossians 3: 16~17.

From these passages we understand that the continuity of the infilling of the Spirit depends on the following:

  • Prayer and praise, especially the Psalms.
  • Reading the Word of God extensively (dwell in you richly).
  • Submitting to one another.
  • Giving thanks.

All these things reveal a life of surrender, self-denial, love, and prayer.

According to the early fathers, there is a great connection between prayer and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. There is a well-known Patristic saying and that is:

‘The Holy Spirit is prayer and prayer is the Holy Spirit.’

According to the early fathers, prayer, in the spiritual experience, has various forms and experiences:

  • There are the Psalms which are considered the protocol which presents us before the divine throne.
  • There are the free prayers, praying with unveiled face, which gives an opportunity for the prophetic Spirit to teach us and lead us.
  • There is also the bridal prayers which make us enter into the inner chamber. It has a strong favour in the eyes of the heavenly Bridegroom. It is accompanied with abundance, refreshment, and renewal of the spring of the Holy Spirit. This may be accompanied with spiritual tears that become in themselves a kind of prayer of the spirit.

 

3) Signs of the infilling of the Spirit:

To be brief, I will refer to some signs that show the renewed infilling of the Spirit. These are:

  • Manifold spiritual yearning, a stir in the heart towards God which does not cease or find rest!
  • Unceasing spiritual hunger where the human soul seems to have become satisfied and filled; and then, it quickly returns to the spiritual hunger and thirst: ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled’ (Matthew 5: 6).
  • Obeying the commandment and a special place for the Word of God in the life of the children of God who are truly filled by the Spirit.
  • Absolute obedience to God together with absolute surrender, like Virgin Mary who said: ‘Let it be to me according to your word’ (Luke 1: 38).
  • Godliness and circumspection in walking in holiness, in the likeness of Christ: ‘perfecting holiness in the fear of God’ (2 Corinthians 7: 1).‘He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked’ (1John 2: 6).
  • Continual cleansing to keep the life of consecration and being set apart for the Lord: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1: 9). ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty’ (2 Corinthians 6: 17, 18).
  • A life of self-sacrifice in all its forms and self-denial; so that, God may entrust us and we may receive a divine commissioning to serve His Kingdom.
  • Holy Zeal on God’s work and the salvation of the people, which leads to intercession on behalf of the people, the countries, and the churches; so that, God may send His visitation to the people and His name may be glorified.

A final word about the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

We read about the gifts of the Spirit in a parallel way in both testaments:

  • Old Testament: ‘There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord’ (Isaiah 11: 1, 2).
  • New Testament: ‘But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues’ (1 Corinthians 12: 7 – 10).

The words mentioned in verses 11 and 18 in this chapter draw our attention:

  • 1 Corinthians 12:11: ‘But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.’
  • 1 Corinthians12:18: ‘But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.’

Finally:

The gifts of the Spirit and all the gifts of God are subject to His will. He grants them for the working out of our salvation and for completing the work of His Kingdom. We either use them for the glory of God or for the glory of ourselves. This is the crucial point by which God entrusts the person. If the person takes heed, God puts no limits to using and blessing this person.

Glory to God forever

Amen

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The infilling of the Spirit is an important topic; but, it is also somehow controversial due to the interference of human views without going back to the biblical truths; and also due to the interference of emotional responses and reactions which may lead to mixing the truth and lack of authenticity in the spiritual experience.

Before talking about the infilling of the Spirit, we will start with some quotes of the saints in various centuries to see how they viewed the importance of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. After that, we will mention the most important characteristics of the work of the Holy Spirit in the person, according to what we learn from the Scriptures.

Quotes of the saints about the Holy Spirit:

  • Macarius, the Great, 4th century:

‘As the Lord put on the body, leaving behind all principalities and power, so, Christians put on the Holy Spirit (Luke 24: 49) and are at rest’ (The Fifty Homilies, Homily 26).

  • Basil, the Great, 4th century:

‘Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the Kingdom of heavens’ (St Basil, the Great).

  • St Seraphim of Sarov, 18th century:

‘The true purpose of our Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit’ (St. Seraphim of Sarov).

Now, let us mention the most important characteristics of the work of the Holy Spirit in the person.  

 

Important characteristics of the work of the Holy Spirit in the person:

The Holy Spirit has a manifold and rich work in the life of a Christian. The Scriptures present this work in three forms: 

  • Water
  • Oil
  • Fire

Water:

The work of the Holy Spirit as water is mainly for refreshing, washing and cleansing from sin, and protecting the human soul from dryness and constriction.

‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’ (John 7: 38).

‘And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely’ (Revelation 22: 17).

Oil:

The work of the Holy Spirit as oil is for illumination and watchfulness in waiting for the Bridegroom. It also protects the human soul from tension and keeps the relationships between believers smooth and in love.

‘But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps’ (Matthew 25: 4).

Fire:

The work of the Holy Spirit as fire is for deep purification. It also grants holy zeal to the ministers of God and keeps them from the economies of the evil one.

  • Elijah in the confrontation with the people and with the prophets of Baal: ‘The God who answers by fire, He is God. So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken”’ (1 kings 18: 24).
  • We also read:

‘For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak’ (Isaiah 59: 17).

‘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 (Matthew 3: 11).

‘When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them’ (Acts 2: 1 – 3).

  • The work of the Holy Spirit as fire also refers to keeping our spirits fervent for worship, as it is written: ‘fervent in spirit, serving the Lord’ (Romans 12: 11).

We also hear Jesus teaching the disciples about the Holy Spirit, immediately before the crucifixion

Apostle John recorded this in chapters 14 – 16 of his gospel. Every believer should comprehend these chapters quite well and follow the truths in them.

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter:

‘If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you’ (John 14: 15 –17 NKJV).

‘If ye love me, my commands keep, and I will ask the Father, and another Comforter He will give to you, that he may remain with you to the age; the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it doth not behold him, nor know him, and ye know him, because he doth remain with you, and shall be in you’ (John 14: 15–17 YLT).

The Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of the words of Jesus:

‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you’ (John 14: 26 –NKJV).

The Holy Spirit is the One who testifies of the work of the Lord in us when we tell others about Christ and His salvation:

‘But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning’ (John 15: 26, 27).

‘And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him’ (Acts 5: 32).

The Holy Spirit convicts of sin:

‘And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment’ (John 16: 8).

The Holy Spirit guides us into the truth and tells us things to come:

‘However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come’ (John 16: 13).

Apostle John also tells us about the anointing of the Holy Spirit which teaches us all things:

‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things’ (1 John 2:20).

He also says:‘But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him’ (1 John 2: 27).

Apostle Paul also tells us about this same anointing of the Holy Spirit and teaches us about it:

‘Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee’ (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22).

Also, in the epistle to the Ephesians, the apostle says: ‘In Him (i.e. in Christ) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (Ephesians 1:13, 14).

These verses are of great importance because they tell us that the Holy Spirit puts on us a special seal. This seal keeps us and protects us throughout our sojourning on earth until He makes us enter into our eternal inheritance in heaven, as long as we obey Him. He continues to warn us with amazing patience whenever we deviate, continually restoring us from any kind of estrangement from the way of the Lord. He continues to strengthen and support us until we enter into heaven and inherit the Kingdom which has been prepared for us!

We notice another important point concerning the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the believers and that is the manifold names or titles of the Spirit which we read in the Scriptures. 

The purpose of these names is to understand His manifold and many faceted works in the life of the children of God.

Examples of these, but not limited to, we read that He is:

The Spirit of Love:

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1: 7).

In this verse, we notice that in addition to being the Spirit of Love, the Holy Spirit is also called ‘the Spirit of power and of a sound mind’.

The Spirit of Truth:

‘However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth’ (John 16: 13).

The Spirit of Faith:

‘And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak’ (2 Corinthians 4: 13).

The Spirit of Gentleness:

‘Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted’ (Galatians 6: 1).

The Spirit of Grace and Supplications:

‘And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn’ (Zechariah 12: 10).

The Spirit of Adoption:

‘For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father”’ (Romans 8: 15).

 

Importance of perceiving the significance of these names and titles of the Holy Spirit:

If we understand the meaning of these names or titles of the Holy Spirit, we would perceive their great importance. This is because without the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot acquire any Christian virtue; and hence, our spiritual growth would stop and our transformation into the image of Christ would stop as well.

Can we forget that we are in great need for the Spirit of Adoption in order to get rid of the spirit of bondage and perceive that we are true children of the heavenly Father; and hence, live in the sweetness and glory of this sonship –not by words but through the revelation of the Spirit inside us!  The spirit of slavery and bondage creates in us a guilty conscience and it shakes and disturbs our relationship with the Father; while the Spirit of adoption frees us from within and makes us enter into the fellowship of the heavenly family.

We are also in great need of the work of the Spirit of faith in order to grow in faith. For faith has different measures and levels. Don’t we remember that Jesus told His disciples that faith as a mustard seed moves the mountains!

Similarly, we need the Spirit of true love, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of gentleness, and the Spirit of supplications; so that, our prayers may have authority and may be accepted!

Finally, I remind you that the Spirit of God is the One who forms Christ within us.  He is also the One who reveals to every believer, his/her true personal calling; prepares him for it; teaches him about it; and then, anoints him with power from above and sends him to carry out his work in the Kingdom of God.

All these divine and biblical truths about the Holy Spirit are the basis and foundations of the correct understanding of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. They lead to true infilling which is renewed, continuous, and does not stop – because this is what the Scriptures tell us, as we shall shortly see.

I intended to lay the correct foundations of a topic that has been surrounded with much mixing and confusion. This has in turn caused the true experience of the infilling of the Spirit to be scarce and limited.

After understanding these foundations which are related to our relationship with the Person of the Holy Spirit, let us talk about the infilling of the Spirit. I want to clarify the following points in this respect:

  • The source of infilling of the Holy Spirit and its importance.
  • Forms of the infilling of the Spirit and how it happens.
  • Signs of the true infilling of the Spirit.

 

1) The Source of infilling of the Holy Spirit:

The primary source of the Holy Spirit which has been granted to the believers is undoubtedly the Day of Pentecost:

‘When the Day of Pentecost had fully come , they were all with one accord in one place…And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2: 1, 4).

In the book of Acts we see that this infilling happened more than once to the apostles. It is a repeated infilling.

Let us read some references about that:

  • Apostle Peter was filled by the Spirit another time, apart from the Day of Pentecost:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole’ (Acts 4: 8–10).

  • Also, apostle Paul was filled twice, which were mentioned in the book of Acts:

‘And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him (on Saul who is apostle Paul) he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized’ (Acts 9: 17-18).

We read about the second time at the beginning of his mission, in his first confrontation with a sorcerer who wanted to hinder his ministry:

‘Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him (at the sorcerer) and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand’ (Acts 13: 9 – 11).

  • Also, all the apostles together were filled another time, apart from the day of Pentecost. We read about it after they had a painful confrontation with the chief priests; and then, they gathered together and prayed:

‘And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4: 31).

We also read how the apostles had a condition that anyone who was presented to ministry should be filled by the Holy Spirit. 

  • We read about this in the book of Acts:

“Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business’ (Acts 6:3).

  • We also read about Stephen:

‘And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6: 5).

  • Also, when Stephen was being stoned, we read:

‘When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God’ (Acts 7: 54, 55).

  • We also read about Barnabas who was described in the book of Acts as follows:

‘For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith’ (Acts 11: 24).

Can you see how much we have deviated these days away from the conditions that the apostles requested for ministry, the most important of which was: being filled by the Spirit!

2) Forms of the infilling of the Spirit and how it happens:

The experience of the infilling of the Spirit has various forms according to the will of God. 

It is written: ‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit’ (John 3: 8).

It is also written: ‘For God does not give the Spirit by measure’ (John 3: 34).

The infilling may take place at the same time of starting one’s life in Christ and it continues to grow and increase. It may also stop due to spiritual battles, sins, or lack of experience, especially for the beginners. 

The infilling may also happen as a spiritual experience while one is walking the walk of faith; and that is, when the person realises his need for this infilling and realises that this is a gift from God (Luke 11: 13; John 4: 10); and then, he starts to follow the biblical signs which are: 

  • Complete and meticulous repentance so that the emptying which is necessary for the infilling may take place. It is an emptying of the experiences of the old sins and the worldly cares.
  • Then, the person seeks this gift, trusting God’s promises. He should not be deceived by any ideas or thoughts which he expects to be the specific signs of infilling, or any particular feelings, or anything else. Some of these signs may happen or none of them at all. The experience of infilling depends on the true and correct preparation, which is: repentance, believing God’s promises; and then, asking with faith and giving thanks considering that it has already been granted.
  • Yet, the most important thing after that is to learn to walk in the Spirit so that this infilling may be manifested and may increase. It is important to perceive this truth: the infilling needs to continue and increase.

The importance of the continuity and increase of the infilling:

In Ephesians 5: 18, we read: ‘And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5: 18).

Scholars maintain that according to the Greek origin, the verb which is used here is in the present continuous. This indicates the necessity of continuous infilling.

From the practical experience, we know that any vessel which is filled with water, for example, if it broadens (in case the vessel is elastic and expandable), the level of water in it will drop and it will require more water to reach the state of being full.

Similarly, if the human vessel broadens (i.e. grows in the Spirit), the first state of infilling becomes unsuitable because the level of infilling of the Spirit will drop and a new infilling will be needed so that the whole being of the person may be filled. Therefore, those who say that the infilling of the Spirit is only one particular experience in life, without noticing, they would be saying that there is no growth in the human vessel. This in turn makes the spiritual life take the form of a static routine – despite experiencing spiritual infilling at some point in life. We quite often see these unfortunate pictures both in the life of the believers and the ministers of God. 

If we look carefully at this biblical passage where apostle Paul teaches us about being filled by the Spirit, we will find that he explains to us the means for the repeated infilling in the verses that follow, where he says:

‘Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God’ (Ephesians 5: 19–21).

It is well known, as scholars say, that this passage in Ephesians 5:18~21 has a parallel passage in the epistle to the Colossians because both epistles were written at the same time; and that is the passage in Colossians 3:16~17:

‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father’ (Colossians 3:16~17).

The parallelism of ideas is clear in these two biblical passages: Ephesians 5:18~21 and Colossians 3: 16~17.

From these passages we understand that the continuity of the infilling of the Spirit depends on the following:

  • Prayer and praise, especially the Psalms.
  • Reading the Word of God extensively (dwell in you richly).
  • Submitting to one another.
  • Giving thanks.

All these things reveal a life of surrender, self-denial, love, and prayer.

According to the early fathers, there is a great connection between prayer and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. There is a well-known Patristic saying and that is:

‘The Holy Spirit is prayer and prayer is the Holy Spirit.’

According to the early fathers, prayer, in the spiritual experience, has various forms and experiences:

  • There are the Psalms which are considered the protocol which presents us before the divine throne.
  • There are the free prayers, praying with unveiled face, which gives an opportunity for the prophetic Spirit to teach us and lead us.
  • There is also the bridal prayers which make us enter into the inner chamber. It has a strong favour in the eyes of the heavenly Bridegroom. It is accompanied with abundance, refreshment, and renewal of the spring of the Holy Spirit. This may be accompanied with spiritual tears that become in themselves a kind of prayer of the spirit.

 

3) Signs of the infilling of the Spirit:

To be brief, I will refer to some signs that show the renewed infilling of the Spirit. These are:

  • Manifold spiritual yearning, a stir in the heart towards God which does not cease or find rest!
  • Unceasing spiritual hunger where the human soul seems to have become satisfied and filled; and then, it quickly returns to the spiritual hunger and thirst: ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled’ (Matthew 5: 6).
  • Obeying the commandment and a special place for the Word of God in the life of the children of God who are truly filled by the Spirit.
  • Absolute obedience to God together with absolute surrender, like Virgin Mary who said: ‘Let it be to me according to your word’ (Luke 1: 38).
  • Godliness and circumspection in walking in holiness, in the likeness of Christ: ‘perfecting holiness in the fear of God’ (2 Corinthians 7: 1).‘He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked’ (1John 2: 6).
  • Continual cleansing to keep the life of consecration and being set apart for the Lord: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1: 9). ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty’ (2 Corinthians 6: 17, 18).
  • A life of self-sacrifice in all its forms and self-denial; so that, God may entrust us and we may receive a divine commissioning to serve His Kingdom.
  • Holy Zeal on God’s work and the salvation of the people, which leads to intercession on behalf of the people, the countries, and the churches; so that, God may send His visitation to the people and His name may be glorified.

A final word about the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

We read about the gifts of the Spirit in a parallel way in both testaments:

  • Old Testament: ‘There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord’ (Isaiah 11: 1, 2).
  • New Testament: ‘But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues’ (1 Corinthians 12: 7 – 10).

The words mentioned in verses 11 and 18 in this chapter draw our attention:

  • 1 Corinthians 12:11: ‘But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.’
  • 1 Corinthians12:18: ‘But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.’

Finally:

The gifts of the Spirit and all the gifts of God are subject to His will. He grants them for the working out of our salvation and for completing the work of His Kingdom. We either use them for the glory of God or for the glory of ourselves. This is the crucial point by which God entrusts the person. If the person takes heed, God puts no limits to using and blessing this person.

Glory to God forever

Amen

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