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Vital aspects of the Christian Life
The Obedience of Faith and the Operation of the Holy Spirit

 

Written by Ken Walker

 

March 2003

 

Synopsis.

This study will contend that there are two particular vital aspects of the Christian life, which may be seen as primary doorways into the fullness of the Christian life, into the practical living of the life that was intended by God. These two stand out as being essential, and if known and lived, then other facets of life will settle and fall into place, not by works or self-effort, but through the Holy Spirit of God Himself. Fullness in the Christian life is the result.

The first of these is the living out of the primary obedience of scripture – The Obedience of Faith. The second is Our Personal Walking in (and with) the life of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit supplies all things and brings faith as a gift, so that we may obey Him with the power that He provides by virtue of His indwelling of the believer. "Christ in you" and "Christ our life" as Paul says. The study will contend that teaching on faith and the Holy Spirit is best done first, as a foundation for all other teaching and that should be taught within the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. See footnote below at *.

This study will contend that such teaching is better placed after the basic teaching of faith and Spirit that provides the ability to walk in the Spirit with the faith God makes available. If such incidental teaching is done prior to the basic foundational teaching, then those teachings will do little to help the believer in both his faith and the operation of the Holy Spirit in his life, as no substantial foundation has been built on which they can stand. In fact, they may only confuse, as people try and perhaps fail to be able to do what is suggested, because they are not empowered to do so. Faith and Spirit life are both vital and fundamental, without which the Christian faith cannot be fully lived.

This study will further contend that before one can expect the Holy Spirit to fully enter in to a person's life, that person must have fully surrendered or yielded their life to God, without any reservation. Jesus Christ must be Lord as well as Saviour. Difficulties in achieving a working faith and walking in the Spirit can normally be traced back to some form of unyieldedness somewhere in the persons life, perhaps underpinned by a lack of humility.

The study then moves on to the relationship between the use of the printed Word of God in the Bible in relation to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This issue will be examined to see how best they may be used to promote fullness of life and faith.

Footnote * Faith and Spirit must be taught within the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it applies to every life. Teaching either as separate topics outside the context of the full Gospel may not achieve the required result. Faith and the operation of the Spirit must be an integral part of the whole Gospel. For more on the Gospel, see The Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at http://www.goodnews.org.au/life/truthgr-10.html

 

Contents

 

1 The Obedience of Faith.

2. The Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

    The Holy Spirit guides and commands believers.

    The Holy Spirit reveals truth.

    The Holy Spirit teaches.

    We can know and rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit.

    Summary of work of the Holy Spirit.

3 A Scriptural analysis of common commands in scripture.

This analysis looks at 15 common New Testament commands and instructions to see by what means scripture suggests that they may be fulfilled – by self-effort or by Holy Spirit and faith.

4. The Yielding or Surrendering of one's life to the Lord.

The characteristics of the surrendered life.

The need for humility.

The necessity of yielded-ness.

5. The New Testament as Law?

Life through the Spirit – or the written Word?

Trying to follow instructions

Preaching method – by letter or Spirit.

The mature believer, living and walking in fullness of faith.

The immature believer, regenerate, but not living in full faith.

Appendix A. Why can some Christians develop such a high level of spiritual maturity?

Conclusion

1 The Obedience of Faith.

Is obedience of faith the one single obedience (command/instruction?) of scripture? Does it cover all other command/instructions? It is indeed very likely and also has some logic to support such an idea. The logic is this. If we have faith, trust and rely on God for everything (because the Holy Spirit has done and is doing His full work in us, guiding, comforting etc) then if we listen and do all that He says in obedience, this one application of our faith could well be the one obedience we need to live our lives. Compare this method with doing works according to our thoughts, or things in life that are achieved by fleshly means. Neither of those methods are by faith but by human decision and are works of our own human desire and without reference to the Spirit of God.

So, in the light of this idea, let us consider the phrase that appears in scripture in Romans 16:26. Two versions have been given for the sake of comparison.

"......so that all nations might believe and obey him..." (NIV)

".....made known to all nations for the obedience of faith...." (KJV)

The versions do differ. The NIV says it differently altogether, using believe and obey instead of faith, but essentially conveying the same idea of being obedient to God by having faith in Him. The full scriptural context follows for these two versions. Personally I prefer the clarity of the original King James Version - for the obedience of faith. Please note that Romans 1:5 is a companion scripture, saying the same thing, in addition to all the other scriptures that will be given below.

The Holy Bible, New International Version.

"Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen."

Rom. 16:25-27 (NIV)

The Holy Bible, King James Version

"Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen."

Rom. 16:25-27 (KJV)

So, whether we say we believe and obey, or we do act by the obedience of faith, it appears as though God's word is describing an overall attitude of all encompassing faith for us to follow. If one does a survey of scripture, this verse in Romans 16 is not alone in its assertions, but is well supported in other places.

God's work is by faith. Here again we have said that faith is the important element.

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work—which is by faith." 1 Tim. 1:3-4 (NIV)

Overcoming is by faith. Victory and overcoming is by faith also.

"for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. " 1 John 5:4-5 (NIV)

The work of God is to believe. Our work (for God) is to believe.

"Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:29 (NIV)

Faith is needed to please God. Without faith we can't please God.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Heb. 11:6 (NIV)

The necessity of faith. Everything is according to our faith.

"Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; Matt. 9:29 (NIV)

All things are by believing. Everything (according to God's will) is possible if we believe.

"'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

Mark 9:23 (NIV)

Abraham believed and was considered righteous. From faith comes righteousness.

"What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Rom. 4:3 (NIV)

Don't rely on what you see. Live in the spiritual realms – by faith.

"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7 (NIV)

Our lives are lived by faith. The just shall live by faith.

"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." Rom. 1:17 (NIV)

Together, these scriptures, when placed alongside Romans 16:26 and Romans 1:5, make faith to be a most important doorway through which everything must pass. Surely these scriptures, if given to any clear thinking person, would have them somewhat convinced that faith was something really important. This being so, we could reasonably wonder why teaching of faith and its application to life is not more commonly heard from pulpits. More on that later.

So, if faith is seen to be a basic necessity, then without it the true Christian life cannot be lived. How then is faith achieved? Could it be that it is obtained by the coming of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer? Could it be that it is by the growth of the Holy Spirit in a person that faith grows? Yes is the short answer to both these questions. Imagine if the Spirit of God did evidence His presence in the life of a believer! Would not faith grow on the person's experience of the evidence of His presence?

I would contend that faith becomes an experience of life when the Spirit of God begins to guide, comfort and provide by His communication with the believer, acting as one proof of the presence of God, by the witness of His own Spirit. So let us examine some of the more important roles of the Holy Spirit as scripture describes them, in order to see the capabilities and provisions of the Holy Spirit as revealed in scripture.

2 The Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

There is a very long list of provisions where the Holy Spirit contributes to the life of the believer. One verse that sets the pattern of relationship between believer and Holy Spirit is this verse from Paul when he was castigating the Galatians for their drift away from Spirit operation and back to the law.

"I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?" Gal. 3:2 (NIV)

Notice that we receive the Spirit by believing what we have heard about what Christ has done for us. This is a form of simple belief, and not by attempting to follow commands written with pen and ink. We get nowhere by attempting to follow laws in our own strength. The only way we get the Spirit of God is to believe (or have faith) in what has been taught and then rely on Him to supply all we need. The implications of Galatians 3:2 is that everything comes by believing and receiving from the Holy Spirit.

Now we will look at some aspects of the life of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and how these aspects lead to truth, guidance, power and fullness of life – and ultimately faith.

2.1. The Holy Spirit guides and commands believers.

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." John 16:13 (NIV) (He will guide us into all truth also)

"For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it." John 12:49 (NIV) (Nor do we speak of our own accord but by the Spirit of God)

"He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." John 14:24 (NIV) (We too will know words from the Father)

"While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you." Acts 10:19 (NIV) (The Spirit will also say things to us)

"So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."

Acts 10:20 (NIV) (The Spirit will also send people to us)

"While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Acts 13:2 (NIV) (We will also be called)

"If you love me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15 (NIV) (We too will obey Jesus through His Spirit)

"Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23 (NIV) (Obedience and indwelling go together)

"Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia." Acts 16:6 (NIV) (The Holy Spirit prevents us from doing things He does not want us to do)

Notice the relationships of truth, the Spirit's commands, guidance and the indwelling of the life of Jesus Christ within us.

2.2. The Holy Spirit reveals truth

"He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him." Dan. 2:22 (NIV) (Revelation and light belong to God and is revealed by Him)

"but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God." 1 Cor. 2:10 (NIV) (God reveals things to us by His Spirit)

"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me." John 15:26 (NIV) (Truth comes to us via the Spirit)

"He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you." John 16:14 (NIV) (The Spirit makes things known to us)

"All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you." John 16:15 (NIV) (What belongs to the Father is made known to us)

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17 (NIV) (The Spirit of truth as our counselor is with us forever – He lives in us)

Notice that the Spirit, through being resident, makes known, counsels, reveals, teaches and testifies.

2.3. The Holy Spirit teaches

"for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." Luke 12:12 (NIV)

(We are taught by the Holy Spirit)

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26 (NIV) (The Holy Spirit will teach and remind us of all things)

"As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him." 1 John 2:27 (NIV) (Ultimately, all teaching is from the anointing of the Holy Spirit on us)

"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." 1 Cor. 2:13 (NIV) (We are taught spiritual things by spiritual words through our human spirits)

Notice that the Spirit reminds of and teaches all things using spiritual truths and words.

2.4. We can know and rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit.

"Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. "

1 John 3:24 (NIV) (God gave us His Spirit, so we know He lives in us)

"We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit." 1 John 4:13 (NIV) (We live in Him and His Spirit in us)

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Rom. 8:9 (NIV) (We are controlled by the Spirit of God who lives in us)

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" 1 Cor. 3:16 (NIV) (God's Spirit lives in us as His temple)

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV) (We cannot achieve anything ourselves without the Spirit of Christ)

"On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." John 14:20 (NIV) (The Spirit of Christ is in us – as we are part of Him)

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8 (NIV) (We will witness by the power of the Holy Spirit)

Notice that the Spirit reveals His presence in us by His commands and by the power we receive, we can do things we could not otherwise do ourselves.

2.5. Summary of work of Holy Spirit

So we know that the Holy Spirit guides and commands believers, knows and reveals truth to them, and teaches them. We also know and rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the life of Christ being resident in us. Also, we now know that He does all these things for us, being active within us as we learn to live in faith. It is not our work- it is His. The Holy Spirit, when He comes fully into the life of a believer, intends to achieve three practical things. (Ruth Paxon mentions these three stages on pages 16-19 of Volume three of her book, Life on the Highest Plane).

  • That the Christian has full realization of Christ's abiding presence in his life.

  • That Christ's holy life is reproduced in the believer – as the believer's new life.

  • That the supernatural life of Christ is used through the life of the believer for the benefit of others, in bringing about their redemption and into discipleship.

For a fuller explanation on The Stages of the Christian Life go to an article at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~gnaust/life/truthgr-03.html

In a very important sense, these three practical things achieved by the Holy Spirit are stages of development in the Christian life.

  • The first stage brings about the realization of Christ in us. (Christ for us - forgiving)

  • The second stage is where we actually live out the life of Christ in us. It is our experience of life. (Christ in us – living and loving)

  • The third stage is where we use this life of Christ in us for His purposes, whatever they might be. (Christ through us – loving and sacrificing)

So, after our outline above of the necessity of faith and how the Holy Spirit works in us, might we not now accept and believe we are meant to be growing in faith and learning to walk in the Spirit in all the ways suggested in scripture?

However, might there be any problems in trying to do this? In having the Spirit of God and working towards fullness of faith, what other problems might there be in trying to establish our lives with these two vital aspects of scripture? Do we really need anything else? Seriously think about it. What would you need to live in the fullness of the Christian life? Let's take a look to see just how faith and our reliance on the Holy Spirit within us are the actual doorways through which we pass to receive all needs for our Christian life.

3 A Scriptural analysis of common commands in scripture

Most believers would be surprised as to how much the answers to the issues in our lives are supplied through the Holy Spirit and by faith. Let us take a look at 15 very common commands or assertions that come from scripture.

Consider the commands in the second column labelled Command or Assertion and then ask the question in the third column – and find the answer in the fourth column. As you go through each one of these 15 common commands or assertions of scripture you will find that underpinning each one are two common factors – that of faith and that of the operating presence of the Holy Spirit of God. None are mentioned in scripture as being by works or self-effort.

 

 

 Item

 

 Command or assertion  How can we:  Only through faith and Holy  Spirit
 1

 

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Matt. 22:37 (NIV)

 

Love the Lord our God? "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Rom. 5:5 (NIV)
 2

 

And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Matt. 22:39 (NIV)

 

 Love others? "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Rom. 5:5 (NIV)
 3

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Rom. 12:2 (NIV)

 Renew our minds? "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;" Rom. 8:6 (NIV)
4

"In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." 1 Cor. 2:11 (NIV)

Know God's thoughts and have revelation from God?

 

"God has revealed it to us by his Spirit". 1 Cor. 2:10 (NIV)

 

"But we have the mind of Christ". 1 Cor. 2:16 (NIV)

 

5

 

"Live in harmony with one another." Rom. 12:16 (NIV)

 

Love and be devoted to one another?

"God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Rom. 5:5 (NIV)

6

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."Rom. 12:21 (NIV)

Overcome evil with good?

 

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit..." Rom. 8:9 (NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is .....goodness... Gal 5:22

 

7

 

"But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. "

 

1 Pet. 2:20 (NIV)

 

Suffer when doing good? "For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body." 2 Cor. 4:11 (NIV)
8

 

"Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!" Acts 5:29 (NIV)

 

Be obedient? "that all nations might believe and obey him". Rom. 16:26 In other words, the obedience of faith.
9

 

"We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life." 2 Cor. 1:8 (NIV)

 

Suffer hardship & weakness? "this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2 Cor. 1:9 (NIV)
10 "Do not be anxious about anything, ......" Phil. 4:6 (NIV) Deal with anxiety and have peace?

 

"by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds.." Phil. 4:7 (NIV)

 

11 "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children .. and live a life of love".Eph. 5:1-2 (NIV) Imitate God?

 

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God...." Gal. 2:20 And Romans 5:5 see above.

 

12

 

Husbands, love your wives.... Eph. 5:25 (NIV)

 

"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Eph. 5:33 (NIV)

 

Love my wife?

 

or

 

Respect my husband?

"to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us," Eph. 3:20 (NIV)

 

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13 (NIV)

13

 

"everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man...." Matt. 7:24

 

 

Have wisdom?

"For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." Luke 21:15 (NIV)
14

 

"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Thess. 5:18 (NIV)

 

Give thanks in all circumstances? "I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances." Phil 4:11
15

 

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Matt. 28:20

 

Make disciples and teach them?

 

 

"the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." Jn 14:26

 

 

So it is easy to see how the Holy Spirit and faith are the doorways into all these facets of the Christian life. However, having seen that these are indeed the primary two vital aspects of living as a believer and disciple, are there any further possible factors that could inhibit the Spirit of God from coming into our lives to live in all His fullness? ** See footnote 1 below for another ( theological) issue.

From the experience of my own life and from the observation of others it seems to me that it is common for believers to know little of how to achieve a real faith in which they can operate. Indeed, I have heard many people say they struggle with faith. They know they lack but don't know why. Even some Pastors say that there is a lack of the operation of real faith in the church and they struggle to know what to do about it. Sometimes that factor can be a lack of knowledge of the Spirit of God and what He can do, for if you don't know what is possible how can you expect anything? Also, it can be in not knowing what we have in Christ Jesus and who we are in Christ Jesus.

(A further issue, not to be discussed here, but fully outlined elsewhere, is the issue of division of soul and spirit as in Hebrews 4:12 - Please use the search engine)

 

How does God provided real guidance to believers?

At other times, it can be simply that because believers are often taught from incidental stories, topics or even themes from the Bible, without a proper foundation being laid first, from a full teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encompassing faith and Holy Spirit life. (Pastors can often presume that their people know all aspects of the Gospel and are living it out in their life. In my experience that is often not true). What should be central to teaching is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, highlighting faith and the operation of the Spirit of God in the Christian's life. Believers need to know these things so that they can learn to walk in the Spirit and live by faith. It is the most important thing any believer has to learn. This will require a full teaching of the Gospel in terms of the blood aspect, providing forgiveness, freedom from guilt and eternal life – as well as in terms of the body aspect, providing freedom from sin, with the life of Christ living in us and through us. See another article available online for a full teaching on this. Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ listed at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~gnaust/life/index-gr.html

In teaching from scripture, I believe that the central important issues must be taught at a very early stage, otherwise, even though what it taught might be understood, where it fits into the overall picture and into the context of the whole gospel is often not very clear. A very important part of that thought is that unless the Holy Spirit presence is known and lived, revelation from the Spirit about what is being taught is severely limited and whatever is retained is likely to be intellectual knowledge, rather then spiritual revelation. That is not to say that the Spirit of God cannot get through any barrier, but it is easier if the person is attuned through their spirit and their life is not just based on their intellect. The argument so far is summarized in a diagram shown as Appendix A near the end of this study.

** The main focus of discussion here is on knowledge and teaching methodology and therefore does not include sin as a reason for not having fullness of life. Of course sin is a major factor in not having fullness of life, but is outside this discussion.

However, let us assume that the person knows all about the Spirit of God and have heard what they have in Christ Jesus, yet still does not know the guidance of the Holy Spirit and live in fullness of faith. What could cause that lack of fullness? What other problems could there be in having these truths indwelling in them and operating within their lives? It occurred to me as I was considering these things in my life and in the life of others, that there was one other very important factor. It is this. Have we in fact (in a post conversion sense) fully surrendered our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ so He is both Saviour and Lord? Our degree of yieldedness, or lack of it, may well be the issue.

4 The Yielding or Surrendering of one's life to the Lord.

Yielding or surrendering one's life to God, as a post conversion experience seems to be and probably is a prerequisite to the filling of the Holy Spirit for service and to gain fullness of faith. (When initially coming to the Lord, many people would not realize the full significance of their surrender to God, their focus being on Him as Saviour, rather than Lord)

This issue goes back to what happens at regeneration - to the time when we were born again. Jesus Christ should be Lord as well as Saviour. Saviour is well understood in that it means that one's life is saved, sins are forgiven and we go to heaven at death. Lordship is rarely well explained, if ever, and mostly not fully understand, even that it exists and is a basic requirement of the Christian life if it is to be lived in fullness. Lordship means that the believer surrenders his life to the Lord and seeks the will of the Lord for every aspect of his life, and follows the directions of the Lord, even if what is commanded is outside the personal will of the believer. Submission to the true Lordship of Jesus Christ will mean that one should expect one's life to be directed in new and different ways, to do anything, anywhere, at any time, no matter what it may cost by way of personal loss in any form.

So, no surrender at all, or only a partial surrender of one's life will very likely inhibit the operation of the Spirit of God in one's life, thus limiting the development of a full and true faith. So, what is surrender or yieldedness and how does scripture describe its importance?

4.1 The surrendered life can be described as having these characteristics.

In all of these characteristics, the source of the guidance and commands would be from the Holy Spirit operating in the person through fullness of faith.

4.1.1. The underpinning - knowing about and living in full fellowship with Christ's death.

· Knowing that we died with Christ. (Col 2:20)

· Knowing our old man was crucified. We are no longer slaves to sin. (Rom 6:6)

· Counting ourselves dead to sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. (Gal 2:20)

· Knowing our old life is dead – and Christ's life is revealed in us. (2 Cor 4:11)

· Knowing that I no longer live but Christ lives in me. (Gal 2:20)

· We don't submit to the principles of the world. (Col 2:20)

· We live as righteous people. (1 Peter 2:24)

4.1.2. Sacrifice and Obedience - by rendering unquestioning service.

· "We must obey God rather than men". (Acts 5:29)

· "He who does the will of my Father will enter the Kingdom of God". (Matt 7:21)

· Jesus said to Paul – "you will be told what you must do." (Acts (9:6)

· "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me". (John 4:34)

· "I desire to do Your will – your law is in my heart." (Ps 40:8)

· "Noah did everything just as God commanded him". (Gen 6:22)

4.1.3 Recognizing Who God is – and so having resignation in trials He sends.

· "He is the Lord. Let Him do what is good in his eyes." (1 Sam 3:18)

· "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. The Lord be praised. (Job 1:21)

· "Yet not what I will, but what You will." (Mark 14:36)

· "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" (Jn 18:11)

4.1.4. Setting aside our will - submitting to the divine will

· "Teach me to do Your will." (Ps 143:10)

· "Obey them....doing the will of God from your heart." (Eph 6:5-6)

· "If it is the Lord's will we will live and do this or that." (James 4:15)

· "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out....." (Jn 7:17)

· "...may Your will be done." (Matt 26:42)

· "...whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother..." (Matt 12:50)

· "...we are not trying to please men but God, Who tests our hearts." (1 Thes 2:4)

· "...with such sacrifices God is well pleased." (Heb 13:16)

· "...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord.(Rom 12:1)

Surrender of one's life along the lines suggested will mean the full availability of the life to the Spirit of God to work in whatever ways He may wish.

4.2. The need for Humility.

However, there could be another difficulty – that of lack of humility, not realizing our obligation to surrender our lives to God. Difficulties in surrender along these lines may well relate to the need for the expression in our lives of humility over pride. We need to know that humility is mentioned as a necessary attribute in scripture, as it produces a teachable spirit. Here are some hints that prevent humility being a basic part of our life – thus preventing the full entry of the Spirit of Truth to our lives. We may have:

· Pride and selfish ambition when He asks for submission and surrender to Him.

· A desire for our own way of life – which then brings a resistance to the Holy Spirit.

· A lack of confession of our helplessness without Him in our lives.

· A need for our life satisfactions when He asks for nothing but death to our selfish lives.

· No knowledge that humility is an important doorway into faith through the Holy Spirit's work.

· No desire for the humiliation of our heart and destruction of self-confidence.

· Struggles against the experience of personal weakness, instead of acceptance.

So, it should now be seen that if humility is present, a full surrender to the Lord is far more possible, making the person fully available to the Holy Spirit to fill them and allow them to experience fullness of faith and life.

4.3. The necessity of Yieldedness – from Ruth Paxon

After I had written up to this point, the Lord reminded me of Ruth Paxon's wonderful writings in her book Life on the Highest Plane published in 1928. When I checked, sure enough, she spelled all this out in detail. To read her full chapter on The Necessity of Yieldedness,  For readers who may not have internet access, here are some of her points from Chapter 3 of Volume 3 of her book.

· Yielding is a primary obedience, leading from darkness to light and righteousness.

"Don't you know that when you offer (yield) yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" Rom. 6:16 (NIV)

"I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer (yield) them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness." Rom. 6:19 (NIV) (notice – yielding to holiness)

  • To yield the life unto God is the first step in a continuous walk in the Spirit.
    (Notice the sequence here)

  • The realization and enjoyment of our precious inheritance in Him .....depends upon our unconditional yielding to Him.

  • Her own experience was this – "though born again I knew nothing of a yielded life and consequently some of the old sins continued to manifest themselves in the same old way."

  • Another key verse of scripture was this.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

1 Cor. 6:19-20 (NIV)

  • Christ has two ways of making Himself known. One is through His written Word. The other is through us in whom He dwells as the Life of our life. (Many but not all have the first – but the second is vital to obtain in order to live the life in all its fullness)

  • Her experience again. "To light came a disguised hypocrisy of my profession as a Christian in saying I belonged to Jesus Christ yet all the while retaining in my own hands the reins of government."

  • Yielding is the definite, deliberate, voluntary transfer of the undivided possession, control and use of the whole being, spirit, soul and body from self to Christ.

  • It is the purchase that gives title; delivery simply gives possession. (the Cross gave the title – we must deliver our lives to Him to give possession)

  • To yield does involve a giving up - but it means giving up what really is not ours.

  • A surrender to the Son of God is the bright home coming of the soul to the seat and sphere of life and power.

  • Then a command in scripture which says this:

"Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness." Rom. 6:13 (NIV)

  • Yielding includes our best and our worst (aspects of our lives). We cannot bring just the troublesome unmanageable parts of our lives.

  • To yield is to acknowledge Christ's claim to the perfect possession, complete control and unhindered use of one's whole being and then to act upon such knowledge by a definite surrender of it to Him.

  • Yielding to Christ is a voluntary act. We don't yield because we have to, but because we want to.

  • Yielding means we have transferred the ownership of our life from us to Christ.

  • The initial act of yielding is to be followed by a continuous attitude of instant yielding. (notice that yielding must continue every day as a way of life)

  • Yielding means that the primary requirement for the fullness of the Holy Spirit has been met. (notice the sequence)

  • At conversion the Spirit enters; at surrender the Spirit, already entered, takes full possession.

Mature believers know well (and would have experienced over time) what a high ideal is being expressed here. Mature believers will have already gone through this stage and know something of the loss of all things that Paul talks about in Philippians. My experience of life has had me come into contact with many people who know and live by these things. However, I am not at all sure that it is the common experience of many churchgoers, or even some Pastors. I used to go through life asking questions about these things, but they were mostly left unanswered. However, in recent years, I have met precious saints who have received these things from the Lord, who actively live their lives in this way. From their lives I can see that it is indeed a very high calling. On the other hand, it is the calling made by Christ to every sinner who has become a saint.

The reasons for such incompleteness in believers, whether they be Pastors or pew sitters, are many and varied. In other writings I explore those reasons and provide an alternative and scriptural way to rectify these things. See The Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ listed with other articles on the subject at http://www.goodnews.org.au/life/index-gr.html

However, I believe that these two (lack of surrender and humility) are very simple but common problems in the teaching of believers, which may prevent them coming into Holy Spirit fullness. Whereas some degree of humility was a part of our coming to be born again, (our regeneration) it does not seem to be commonly taught nowadays that surrender is a prerequisite to receiving all that the Holy Spirit can provide, leading to fullness of faith. This study can begin to help to rectify that.

If one can overcome all the difficulties already expressed here, and with a fullness of faith received from the provisions of the Holy Spirit, the Christian life can be lived in all its fullness and with power for service, as disciples of Jesus Christ.

However, there is still one more issue of concern in my experience of the today's church. It is how the church teaches and treats the relationship between the written Word of God and the application of the Holy Spirit to the life of believers. It is the habit of treating the instructions in the New Testament as virtually another law and instructing to live by this "law" with only the strength of our flesh, making our efforts another form of works based legalism. This, along with another related issue is discussed in the next section.

5. The New Testament as Law?

Having now established that faith comes primarily (as a gift) from the witness and power of the Spirit based on the truths of scripture, are there any other aspects of normal Christian life that might get in the way of fullness of life in Christ? It does appear as though there are at least two particular features of Christian life that might inhibit progress into fullness of life.

The first one is that the instructions and commands of the New Testament are often preached in such a way as to influence believers as though they are laws. This implies that they should be able to live out these laws just as they are, presumably out of their own fleshly strength, rather then through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. That might sound strange, but unless they are aware of the fullness of the Spirit, they will attempt to live out the law just as they are, with whatever they do have by way of strength.

Preachers sometimes wrongly presume that their flock know the whole and full Gospel of Jesus Christ and how faith and the Holy Spirit operate in their lives. There is far more to this Gospel than is normally thought necessary to be taught. Before you react to that statement with shock, please examine The Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ listed with other articles on the subject at http://www.goodnews.org.au/life/index-gr.html These detail not only the normally taught part of the gospel ( forgiveness, regeneration, going to heaven) but also the parts needed to live the life on earth. (freedom from sin, fullness of faith, walking in the Spirit and many other aspects)

If preachers do make that presumption and believers are not so equipped, this renders believers little better off than Old Testament people trying to live by the Mosaic law. To try to live like that, is life by the works of the believer and not by the Spirit who enables all things through His power and strength from His indwelling in the believer. James 2:10 indicates the difficulty of life in that situation. Not by fleshly initiated works, but only by the Spirit of God are these New Testament standards achievable.

The second one is where some preachers, because of their relative immaturity in spiritual matters, are unable to teach in the power of the Spirit, not as ministers of the Spirit but ministers of the letter only. A discussion on these two points follows.

5.1. Life through the Spirit – or the written Word?

A comparison of the use of the written Word (sometimes know as logos) in relation to the Spirit Word (sometimes known as rhema) is given by Paul in the following scriptures.

"Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 2 Cor. 3:1-6 (NIV)

The comparisons Paul makes here are :

· Written letters and letters written on human hearts.

· Letters written with ink and those from Christ.

· Tablets of stone and tablets of human hearts.

· Ministers of the letter and of the Spirit.

· The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

Obviously, Paul, guided by the Spirit's inspiration, expresses a distinct preference for letters written on the human heart, of the Spirit - those giving life. We must of course remember that Christ Himself is the Word and when He dwells in us as Galatians 2:20 says, along with Colossians 1:27 and 3:4, then the Spirit of the Word is a demonstration of the life of Christ living within us. People with Christ written on their heart were to Paul then and are to us now, an automatic witness of God to those they met. Such letters are a demonstration of the life of the Spirit in the believer and are preferred to letters written with ink or on stone, which he says kill rather than give life. So, how does this relate to preaching and teaching today?

5.1.1. Trying to follow instructions

When a preacher or teacher wrongly presume that people are operating out of faith and walking in the Spirit, let us then consider what happens when they instruct believers from the pulpit using the many instructions from the New Testament, causing the congregation to try to do as they have been instructed – out of their own strength. *** See footnote below.

Also, if believers themselves read the written word of God, and by their own efforts, try to perform what has been instructed or commanded from the printed written word. If you are in any doubt about this, go back to the chart in item 3 and see if you are able to live out any of those 15 commands out of your own strength.

*** Footnote. We are dealing here with instructions and commands of the kind shown in the chart. We are not talking about doctrinal teaching on the Cross of Christ, which of course is best taught thematically as part of the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now there is nothing wrong with the written Word of God, but wisdom and knowledge is needed in its use and application. The Word indwelling in the heart of man ( if he is operating in faith and walking in the Spirit) is the Spirit word – the word on the printed page is print and man cannot turn the print into a spiritual operation in his heart. Only the Holy Spirit can. Only the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit, indwelling in the heart, can do that. However, it seems to me that very often, believers and even some ministers take an instruction from God's written Word and try to perform that instruction in their life out of their own fleshly strength. To do so, without the help and empowering of the Holy Spirit, is not what God intended in His wonderful full provision of the books of the written Word.

What God intends (by giving every inspired word in the scriptures to man for his use) is for man to use the ways and means suggested by God to achieve each of His instructions and commands. His ways and means do not include self-effort to achieve anything at all, as in scripture He calls these works of the flesh, (outside the use of the power of the Spirit of God) and using personal strength to do so. That is not God's way! God means us to be filled with the Spirit of God and use all that the Holy Spirit provides from His filling and the life of Christ within, to do the works of God in us and through us – by faith. Not our work and God's willingness, but our willingness and God's work.

One might then ask, "Why does the New Testament contain so much by way of direct instruction? Surely if God put it there should not we attempt to do it"? Yes of course we should want to have these things into our life, but not by our human efforts, but by the Holy Spirit. The following explanations should enlighten.

First, the New Testament laws are best able to be used by believers who are Spirit filled, so as they know what they should do and the type of life to which they should attain. If they are not walking in the faith of the Spirit of God, and try to live by their own efforts they will fail. Only by revelation from the Spirit of God can we possibly know these things in our hearts. So if believers do know these things, then preachers are able to safely preach these things. Adding to this view are words by Dan Stone, a retired Baptist preacher from Kentucky U.S.A who personally gave me the clue to why the New Testament was constructed that way. The following is my description of the essence of his words to me.

"Remember that the early church believers had no other scripture than the Old Testament, from which they could not discern the nature of the mystery of the Gospel (this mystery having just been revealed to Paul around 40 A.D.) and so had nothing written to guide them in how to live by the Spirit in this new way, which was far different to the Mosaic law of the Jews. (Yes it is true that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, but they too needed time for Him to teach them His ways)

Paul's main teaching effort around the synagogues and to the Jews and then to the gentiles, was "Christ in you" – that their old lives had been exchanged for the new life of Jesus Christ, lived by the Spirit of Jesus Christ within them. He preached Christ crucified and the replacement life within – the Life of Christ. That was always his main message – revealing the mystery that had been hidden from all previous ages.

Also, it took time to do that teaching and time for the new believers to learn to live that way. Sometimes they did not do very well at all and Paul had to correct their many mistakes. He did that by letter as well as by his personal visits. Sometimes it was necessary for him to instruct them in the detail of what the final outcome of living as a "Christ in you" person would look like. And so, knowing they needed the extra instruction during this learning period whilst the Spirit of God taught them to live from and through the Spirit of God in them, he gave them detailed instructions as to what to do in the meantime."

A simple analogy of this would be us helping a child learning how to ride a bike. We might steady the bike, encourage and give instructions how to ride, as they gain inner confidence in their ability to ride themselves. Our situation as believers is no different. Whilst we learn to live with the full knowledge of Christ in us, we need help and advice to live as we learn the main game of the Life of Christ being our own life.

Supporting what has just been suggested, are some points from Dan Stone's book The Rest of the Gospel – Chapter 14 – Who Does What?

P 153 – God's intent is to manifest His life through us.....He Himself will fulfill the law through us – Nothing of God has its point of origin through you – the point of origin is God's I will in you.

P 154 – We are programmed to try to do it, but we don't know the inner life, so are programmed for failure. It takes time for God to work His I wills into us and supplant our own I wills. The only part we play in God's plan is willingness.

P 156 – The soulical believer is indwelt by Christ, but he does not know it.....he is living out of his soul (and not spirit). He operates as though life originates with Him – He is operating under the power of sin, which is energized by the law he puts himself under. What was the milk? (of the word) I believe the milk was the do's and don'ts it was necessary to give them. Why? Because the people didn't yet know how to operate out of their true identity and their union with Christ, and they needed answers.

P 157 – If you can't operate out of who you are yet, you want somebody to tell you what to do. The burning zeal of Paul's heart was to present everyone complete in Christ. So he preached Christ in you - Christ living His life through them.

P 158 – Once someone begins living from the reality of Christ in them, which is the solid food of the gospel, they are weaned from the milk. Christ in us does not need do's and don'ts – He will fulfill the commands through us....it will be His living, not our striving.

P 159 – Our willingness is expressed as faith or trust. Life for the believer operates by faith, not by self-effort. Paul calls it the obedience of faith – Romans 1:5. The work of faith is to recall that fact that the old you did die, and to live out that fact.

P 160 - In the unseen and eternal the old us is already dead. You are dead to sin. You are alive to God. Reckoning doesn't make it so. It is already so. If we never get to the point where we appropriate truth, we are caught in the flesh trap forever. We have to choose to trust Christ in us.

So we can say that although his primary message of "Christ in you" still continued to be taught until Paul's death, these detailed instructions in some of his letters were still used by believers when did not know what to do and needed guidance – until the time came, until they learned faith, when they were able to receive guidance from the Spirit of God themselves. In effect, he forgave their immaturity as he prayed for them that Christ be formed in them. (Gal 4:19) Paul of course knew that this guidance would eventually be obtained directly by them from the Spirit of God. In a very personal sense I have had similar guidance provided in my life from those who have gone ahead of me in life, during the period in which I more fully realized what was available through Him by faith.

In summary, the trouble seems to be that the church seems to have continued to teach the detailed instructions, without having first taught the full Gospel and how to operate in faith and walk in the Spirit of God. Where they have not done that, this encourages self-effort and misses teaching the main message of "Christ in you" and "Christ your life". If this is so, then they may not have learned these two essential vital aspects of spiritual life, taught within the context of the full Gospel of Jesus Christ. They also become frustrated at the failure of their own efforts to live as they should.

Attempting to fulfill God's righteousness in us apart from divine enabling, can only be by fleshly means and not in the ways intended by God.

5.1.2. Preaching method – by letter or Spirit.

Most people have had the experience of listening to a preacher anointed with the Spirit of God. What a wonderful and unforgettable experience! We always want more. And no wonder! The word preached is from the Spirit of God in the preacher or teacher. As we all know, spirit filled preaching or teaching brings life. It is also our experience to sit under preachers who teach the letter of the law, sometimes brilliantly, but without the Spirit of God. As Paul warned - it kills - we are restless and bored – and unfilled, and eventually, being starved, want to look for greener pastures.

The worst case scenario is where the preacher preaches the letter of some instruction from scripture and where we go away and try to achieve that behaviour in our life in our own strength, only to find that we cannot, leading to frustration and unfullfilment.

The best case scenario is where the preacher teaches not the letter of the law but the spirit of the law and allows the Holy Spirit to work those things in us. He would have already taught us that Christ is in us ( the sequence is important) and we would have accepted that we cannot achieve anything without the Spirit doing it for us – by faith. Only by faith! Always!

For all the reasons given here, that is why we need believers to know the vital roles of faith and of the Holy Spirit in their lives, be humble and surrender their life to God, be filled with the Spirit and receive a faith beyond what is commonly seen or accepted in Christendom.

Now let us take the case of two believers, one mature and another not so and compare the ways they might see their lives and the results of their different levels of faith, spirit and maturity.

5.2. The mature believer, living and walking in fullness of faith.

First, let us take the case of the believer living in the second and third stages of the Christian life as outlined earlier in 2.5 – where the Spirit of God is in full control in the life and the person's life is being used in service under His direction. In such a case we can assume a total surrender of the person's life to Jesus as Saviour and Lord – which has allowed the Spirit of God to enter into the submitted life and use that life as Christ's own.

This person would know that there are two means by which Christ makes Himself known to people. The first and most obvious is through His written Word – the printed Word that appears throughout our Bibles, providing a wealth of wisdom, knowledge, doctrine and practical advice. The second is through the revelation of the Holy Spirit to the human spirit of the believer. It is this Holy Spirit that develops the believer through the stages mentioned above – providing the believer is willing and cooperative.

So there are two ways – the written Word – and the Word, by the revelation of the Spirit. This first believer, living and walking in the Spirit, demonstrating increasing holiness of life and being used of God for the redemption and teaching of others, knows the importance of both the written Word and the Spirit Word. However, he also knows that if he for some reason did not have the written word he would still have the witness of the Spirit and the guidance he needed. His beliefs hold up by the Spirit, without having the written word in front of him every minute. He operates by believing – by faith in what God has done and is doing in his life. Certainly he would lack being able to use the written word to confirm and remind himself of various things, but he would not be lost as the Spirit Word would be ever present.

Even when he has both the written and Spirit Word, he knows that ultimately the Spirit Word is his daily moment by moment reminder of Christ in his life, where he receives guidance, comfort and all manner of the provisions of the Spirit. He uses the written word for study, meditation, scripture memory, reminders, comparisons, preaching, teaching and anything else where he needs to check the written Word of God.

Because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Spirit word (the life of Christ within) has become his moment by moment witness for his life. You could almost say the primary witness in his life in the sense that the Holy Spirit is ever present. (confirmed by the written Word of God via his studies and meditations in it). For the ordinary moments of everyday life he does not need to try to remember all the injunctions of scripture, as the Holy Spirit does that for him. After all, the life of Christ is within him through the Spirit of God. He does not need to be going to the written Word all the time of an ordinary day, but only for the purposes mentioned above in the last paragraph. The Word of God is within him and he uses it without thinking, just as he might breathe air into his lungs. It is spontaneous and automatic. The Spirit Word lives in him and through him. He knows that his own life has been crucified and he no longer lives, but the life of Christ lives in him and that the life he now lives he lives by faith in the Son of God who died and gave Himself for him. (From Galatians 2:20 of course).

5.3. The immature believer, regenerate, but not living in full faith.

Secondly, let us take the case of the believer living in the first stage of the Christian life where the Spirit of God has regenerated the soul, the person's sin is forgiven and they are going to heaven. He is still in the initial stage because he has not matured past it. Although there is a surrender of the life for salvation, there is not yet and may never be a total surrender of the person's life to Jesus as Lord, as distinct from Saviour.

This person would also know the two means by which Christ makes Himself known to people, through His written Word and through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. However, his focus in mainly on the written word of God. The Holy Spirit would still be attempting to draw this believer into fullness of life, but for various reasons that has not happened or is happening at a very slow pace. This can be because this believer is not fully yielded, or has not been fully taught what is possible from the whole counsel of scripture.

This second believer, although saved, is still struggling to live life by his own efforts and by trying to follow the dictates of the written word, not yet realizing the Life (not help from) of Christ that is available through the Holy Spirit. He knows the importance of the written word and may spend much time in Bible study. He relies on it absolutely and sometimes wonders why he cannot seem to do better. He continually confesses his sins (as though he is a perpetual sinner – instead of a saint), but it seems to make little difference, because he is not living as God intended believers to live. **** See footnote below. As yet, he does not have the knowledge of how to achieve true faith through the life of the Spirit within him and often feels he lacks guidance. He uses the written word for study, meditation, scripture memory, reminders, checking what the preacher says. But he still struggles in his life because, although he is saved, he does not yet realize who he is in Christ and the provisions that God has made for him.

**** I am not denying the need for confession of sin – as 1 John 1:9 provides forgiveness and cleansing. However, when a believer does not recognize his status as someone who has been freed from sin (Romans 6:6-7) and that he does not habitually sin (1 John 3:6, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:16) he may not be acting in accordance with the full counsel of scripture.

Although the Spirit of God strives with him, the written word is still his main means to life and what sometimes seems bare survival. He knows he is supposed to have the life of Christ within him, but the evidence seems to be to the contrary. The Word of God within him is only there to the extent that he has memorized scripture. The Spirit desires to live through him, but as this believer is unable to believe this fact in full faith, progress is slow, although the Spirit perseveres. This believer does not know or live out the full meaning of Galatians 2:20.

 

Conclusion

I did not decide to write this article. The Lord over a period of about a month filtered the main ideas through to me and continued to do so as I wrote over a period of about another month. I believe it is a wake up call to examine our teaching practices and the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives through faith.

The study has contended that the vital aspects of faith and the Holy Spirit operating in the life of the believer, need to be taught first, and in the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the foundation for other incidental teaching, and in the hope of moving the believer towards Christ being formed in them and living in the fullness of the Gospel.

Also, although all Bible teaching (incidental teaching, stories and topics) will always achieve something, if they are taught without having properly laid the foundations of faith and Spirit operation in the context of the whole Gospel, then this may leave listeners not knowing how to utilize these teachings in the context of their lives.

This study also contended that surrender of one's life (beyond the surrender at salvation) is a very important pre-requisite for receiving the Holy Spirit in all His fullness and that pride may be an influence in people not wanting to make that surrender to God, which requires humility of the highest order.

The study also outlined how preaching and teaching the Spirit of the Word from Spirit anointed preaching, was more important than the letter of the Word. It has also outlined how self-effort in the Christian life, resulting from the teaching the New Testament as law, without having taught the Gospel foundations of faith and living in the Spirit, will be unproductive. The proper foundations must first be laid.

Ken Walker