by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 1 Study # 9 July 24, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(326)Thesis:The Holy Spirit is the foundation for godliness, but not a guarantee of it.
Introduction:In our study last week we considered Paul's focus upon "pleasing God" and we focused upon the reasons that people who profess to believe in Christ do not seek to please God. However, that raises this question: Does the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person's life guarantee that that person is seeking to please God? The short answer is a qualified "No". This evening we are going to look into what Paul actually taught and what he did not teach.
I. The Qualified "No".
A. No one becomes a child of God without "pleasing God".
1. Hebrews 11:6 says that "without faith it is impossible to please God" and the opposite is also true: Faith pleases God.
2. Since justification is by faith, anyone who "believes God" is justified just as Abraham.
3. Since, in this dispensation, justification automatically leads to the indwelling of the justified by the Holy Spirit, every person who has ever "pleased God" by "believing in His promise in Jesus Christ" is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
a. Paul establishes this truth by saying, "...if any one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (8:9, NASB).
b. This was a new provision for this dispensation, but it is an essential one.
B. But that a person "pleased God" at the point of conversion is no guarantee of any on-going life of "faith".
1. Paul declares that those who possess the Holy Spirit have the capacity to please God by "walking in the Spirit".
2. But the capacity does not equal the activity.
a. If possessing the Holy Spirit meant walking by the Spirit, there would be no need to urge people to walk by the Spirit.
b. If possessing the Holy Spirit meant walking by the Spirit, there would be no on-going instruction(s).
1) There are too many indicators in the New Testament that people who possess the Spirit of God do not, by that, grow in grace and godliness.
2) There are some indicators in the New Testament that even being filled with the Spirit does not guarantee "godliness".
II. The Spirit as Foundation But Not Guarantee.
A. Throughout the New Testament, the teaching that God is "pleased" by "faith" is made manifest.
B. Throughout the New Testament, the teaching that ungodly behavior displeases God is also made as clear as a bell.
C. Throughout the New Testament, there exists the twin doctrines that the godly behavior that pleases God arises directly from the exercise of power by the Holy Spirit and that the exercise of power by the Holy Spirit is tied directly to the exercise of faith by the indwelt child of God.
1. The exercise of power by the Holy Spirit consists of two major activities.
a. According to Galatians 5:17 (and this text of Romans 8:1-9), the Spirit actively contradicts "the flesh" in an internal struggle within the believer.
1) Since the "flesh" is heavily committed to "all that is in the world" (1 John 2:16), it strives to get the believer to focus upon physical, emotional, and spiritual appetites that are locked into "the world" rather than the Kingdom of God.
2) Since the striving of the Spirit is against the flesh, He obviously attempts to get the believer to not focus upon this world and its appetites, but to focus upon the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
b. According to Galatians 5:22 and Ephesians 5:9, the Spirit actively produces the characteristics of the life of Christ in and through the body of the believer.
2. There is a connection between the Spirit's exercise of power and the believer's exercise of faith.
a. For many reasons, God has determined that the things that He will do will consist of two major "kinds".
1) One "kind" of divine activity is that which God does regardless of human cooperation or human intent: He simply forces the results that He has determined with no regard for whether men wish those results or not.
2) The other "kind" of divine activity is that which God ties to human cooperation: in these activities, God does nothing in or through men who maintain a bad attitude of unbelief.
b. The fruit of the Spirit is of the second "kind".
1) This means that the Spirit's fruit will not be produced in and through any believer who does not cooperate by faith [Note Galatians 5:6].
2) This consequently means that Sin will be permitted to run rampant in the body of a believer who does not function by faith [Note Romans 7:23].
3) This raises the level of concern regarding the "blocks" to faith to a high degree.
a) Clearly wilfulness is a serious problem: Romans 12:1-2 [Note Proverbs 29:1 in conjunction with 1 Corinthians 11].
b) Clearly, "deception" is a major problem: Romans 7:11 (and 2 Corinthians 11:3).
i. The deceptions are enormous because of the passing of the time. ("Before you can love someone, you must forgive them." "Before you can love someone, you must love yourself." "God wants you to be healthy, wealthy, and sought after...'I am just where God wants me to be'...". Etc.).
ii. Invariably the deceptions will run according to the various lusts of, and the focus "of this world".