Friday 7 September 2012

New Covenant Good Breath Syndrome - John Crowder

New Covenant Pneumatology

by John Crowder on Friday, 7 September 2012 at 10:21 ·

Here's a common question we often receive: In reference to the finished work of the cross, is there a "second work" of the Baptism of the Spirit?

This is an important topic, because many people feel insecure, condemned or lacking as if they don't have the Spirit or don't have "enough" of the Spirit.

Wesleyan and early Pentecostals broke the Godhead into different parts that came at different times (second blessing, etc.), but the church never did that historically. Our idea of baptism of the Spirit is where the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. A lot of our idea of "second blessing" has to do with our word "baptism" which was Greek for "immersion" or "dunking." Because there was controversy going on during the writing of the King James Bible with the Anabaptists, the translators decided not to use the word "dunk" (because the Anabaptists believed in dunking not sprinkling). Rather than translate "dunk" ... instead they inserted a Greek word "baptizmo" into the English language ... Voila! A new word. So instead of John the Dunker, we get John the Baptist.

So ... the "baptism" of the Spirit is not a separate thing where first you only had Jesus, and now you get the Spirit. It just means to get dunked, immersed or have your senses tangibly "filled" or flooded with the Spirit Whom you had all along. After all, He is the "Spirit of Jesus." Col. 2:10 says "By your union with Christ you are filled with the Godhead" ... that means you already have the Spirit ... you even have the Father in you too! So "infilling" is not a "second work," rather it's about a continual enjoyment - a daily dunking - and experience of the Spirit we already have. Not a one-time or two-time event, but Paul says, "Be ye continually filled ..." Eph. 5:18. It's an abiding relationship - He remains in you.

He's not "out there" and baptism was Him "coming in." Baptism is about drinking from the well that is already in you. Flooding you from that inner well - from the inside out.

Since the Trinity is inseparable, we get the full package in one. If you really even want to get technical, since Christ died for all humanity, even unbelievers have Him in a hidden way. As Paul told the pagans on Mars Hill, "In Him we live and move and have our being, even as your own poets say 'We are His offspring.'" Or consider when Jesus was speaking before the cross (and before Pentecost), in Luke 17, when he told his hearers that they already had the whole Kingdom inside of them! It was already there, in a hidden way - even though none of them were able to continually access it by faith like a New Covenant believer.

So the difference has to do with manifestation and experience of God, which of course we know only comes through faith or believing.

There is also the principle of impartation. Don't get mixed up - thinking you first "got" the Spirit in the laying on of hands - but He did smack you! When someone prays for impartation, they are not giving you something you "don't already have." We all have the fullness, but we are also an interdependent body. We leak onto one another! So when we pray for one another, we can stir up things and awaken giftings, etc. to manifest. The guys Paul chatted to in Acts had believed in Jesus but said "We didn't know there was a Holy Spirit?" When He laid hands on them, they received impartation from Paul, but that impartation was merely stirring up by faith something that was already latent within them.

Also, another confusing verse for some people is Rom. 8:9 "You 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." This is not to be lifted out of context and turned into a proof that some people don't belong to God. In the context here, Paul is addressing believers - not making a statement about unbelievers. He's warning disobedient believers who are refusing to submit to the Holy Spirit in their lives. He's essentially saying "You say that the Spirit of God lives in you, and you are right. However, your life should be reflecting the Spirit of Christ." As he says in verse 12, "We have an obligation - but it is not to the sinful nature."

So let's not think in terms of "when" the Spirit came. This wine was poured out from the foundation of the world. It's not "when" you first believed, but "what" you believe. As we realize He finished the job and plugged us into union with Him, we experience Him continually!

Chris's note: Pneuma is Greek for Breath or Spirit

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