Tag Archive | Holy Spirit

The apostle Paul had a revelation rather than a regeneration on the road to Damascus

paulus2”I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven” (Acts 26:19)

We can read about Paul’s meeting with Jesus Christ in Acts. 9 in the Bible.

Paul was a zealous man, and he even threatened to kill the disciples of Jesus because they were Christians. He was on his way to Damascus where he would be getting the proper documentation for bringing Christian men and women bound to Jerusalem and bring them before the chief priests. Paul did not realize that he was not serving a good cause, and by his actions he was actually persecuting the son of God and God in flesh – Jesus Christ. Paul was certainly not a lazy man when it came to religion and if he could be converted to the right side, he would be a very good choice to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Paul had inflicted much grief and pain in innocent people, and for the rest of his life he would be getting several doses of his own medicine.

However, Paul was not chosen to believe, and not chosen for salvation. He was chosen to receive a special revelation from Jesus, with the aim that he would be converted and thus become a useful missionary for the gospel. Jesus likely knew the likely outcome through such a revelation, since he knew Paul’s heart. It is true that not all people get this type of revelation from Jesus, but it is also true that all people on earth in fact have different kind of backgrounds, living environments, chances to hear the gospel, etc. God is fair and we will be judged based on our conscience and abilities (Romans 2:7-15).

Paul saw a light from heaven and spoke to Lord Jesus. Paul was blind for three days and was also praying to God during this time. Ananias was instructed by Jesus to lay his hands on Paul to induce the miracle to give Paul his sight back. He did so, and told Paul that Jesus had sent himthat you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (v.17). This is therefore an example of a person who is able to seek and pray to God before he receives the Holy spirit, Cornelius in Acts 10 is another example. It is also an example of a person who was not among the initial disciples, and yet had the gift of healing and inducing the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands. The spiritual gifts are still applicable today. As soon as Paul received his sight and the Holy Spirit, he rose up to be baptized. 

Acts. 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” NKJV

It does not say above that Paul was chosen for salvation, but again he was chosen to receive a revelation. He responded well to it as expected (that was the aim of the revelation after all) and was therefore correctly described as a chosen vessel of Jesus. This does not mean that Paul did not have a will of his own, or that he had no choice in the matter.

Calvinists often say that we are chosen for salvation (or damnation) from the foundation of the world, but if that is true one must wonder if Paul was chosen yet again on the road to Damascus? Was he not chosen the first time from the foundation of the world? If someone also suggests that Paul was chosen for salvation from his mother’s womb (see verse below), then it would make Paul chosen for salvation no less than three times! Besides, if Paul was chosen for salvation once or twice before Acts 9, his divine revelation would be irrelevant anyway, since he would be chosen for salvation with or without it. 

Clearly no one is chosen to believe or not believe, because if this had been the case then it would naturally be God’s fault if someone does not believe. We can read in Acts 17 that we are even created to seek and find God, and that he is not far away from any of us. Also, keep in mind the parable of the wedding party of the King’s son in Matt. 22. Those who were called ”chosen” were those who had chosen to go to the party, and they were not even on the initial guest list.

Paul had an option to obey or disobey Jesus’ calling. Fortunately he obeyed and was a useful chosen vessel.

So then, King Agrippa, I WAS NOT DISOBEDIENT to the vision from heaven (Acts 26:19)

God separates us all from our mother’s wombs, and again, we are all created to seek him and find him. We can be saved through God’s grace if we respond well to his calling. The reason for the revelation at Damascus, was to shake Paul up so that he would hopefully get converted and be a good preacher of the gospel. It worked out well, just like Jesus had anticipated.

Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (NKJV)

The holy Spirit is given after faith and repentance – not before

acts-10Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38)

Some Calvinist friends are of the opinion that God is the one selecting whom to save and provides the holy Spirit to the chosen individuals – and in this fashion enables them to believe (while he shows no courtesy to the others who are chosen to be non-elect before they are even born). The Bible, however, teaches that God does not want anyone to perish and that the holy Spirit is given to a person after he/she has repented (after having come to Christ and confessed his/her sins). You can read my article about regeneration (being born again after having been cleansed from sins) here.

Based on the Bible we can deduce that the presence of the holy Spirit (the holy Ghost) operates in different ways between the old and the new testaments (this deserves an article of its own). Suffice is to say that one could of course be saved also during the time of the old testament, before the time of Jesus Christ who later died, was resurrected and provided the holy Ghost as our individual Helper. Before his time, there was a lot of focus on the prophets of God who could provide extra light on the Torah. Faith leading to righteousness has always been required for salvation ever since the time of Adam.

2 Pet. 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Cornelius – faith and righteousness before the indwelling of the holy Spirit

The apostle Peter describes the truth about salvation ”in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him”. The ability to do this was available both in the old and the new testament, even if the holy Spirit operates in a different way today compared to the old times. One difference is that people did not speak in tongues in the old times, and miracles and healing were primarily connected to the prophets and holy men of God.

The story about Cornelius (Acts 10) is enough for us to understand that a person can believe in God, do many good works – before having been baptized in the holy Spirit.

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.—22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.—33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.—44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Here is more evidence that faith precedes the indwelling of the holy Ghost:

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, WHICH THEY THAT BELIEVE ON HIM SHOULD RECEIVE: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Heb. 11 he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK him.

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us. —30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee

2 Tim 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.21 IF a man therefore purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded

Jeremiah 4:14 Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved

Ezekiel 18:31 Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die… 

Rev. 2:21 And I gave her SPACE TO REPENT of her fornication and she repented not. 22 Behold I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation except they repent of their DEEDS

Notice below that the order of events is 1) enlightenment to every man who comes into John 1.jpgthe world, 2) reception and belief in Jesus Christ, 3) resulting in becoming the sons of God (thanks to being cleansed and pardoned):

John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

Notice also that ”his own” did not receive him. If that would signify the chosen elect, it is strange why God did not enable them (predestine them) to believe in him. It rather seems like it is our own responsibility – to react on God’s calling. This is not the same as ”saving ourselves” without God. We do not have the authority to forgive ourselves for our own sins, and we cannot be born again without the grace of God and unless he provides the opportunity for us to have all of our sins erased.

Jesus is our ADVOCATE, so we do not have to worry about punishment for SIN?

1-john-2The idea that we can take cover behind Jesus and hide our sin from God the Father

Some Christians not only believe that we sin daily ”in thoughts, words and deeds”, but also that we do not have to worry about the consequences for our sins since Jesus is our permanent advocate who always walks behind us to sweep up and erase our sins as soon as we commit them. With other words, these people are convinced that we can have our sins and our salvation too, and that the cross we must carry is light as a feather since we are always walking under a cloud of forgiveness. However, I am not saying that Christians with this view automatically take the chance to sin just because they can. They might just be deceived into believing they could get away with it if they only wanted, but still choose to obey the holy Spirit and therefore avoid sinning. It is never too late for Christians who are deceived to overcome their deception and see things clearly.

An ”advocate” is not the same as a ”judge” though, since an advocate is someone who pleads another one’s cause before a judge. An advocate might be one who presents his client’s interest in court by trying to highlight the advantages and extenuating circumstances for the crimes committed. An advocate is also expected to sympathize with the client. In a worldly court, a person cannot be sure of a favorable verdict just because he has an advocate. In the Biblical sense, the word is usually translated as ”Comforter” rather than advocate, and this Comforter is the holy Spirit. Having the holy Spirit in our lives does not mean that we are forever exempted from guilty verdicts no matter how we live. It is true though, that a person with the holy Spirit has previously gone through a major spiritual transformation and is therefore well equipped to obey the commandments of God. This does not happen automatically but certainly IF we are led by the holy Spirit. In order to get the holy Spirit in the first place we must first meet the conditions – first we must believe, repent and obey. IF we are led by the Spirit (if we obey him), we are not under the law and therefore free. Here is where the ”advocate” part comes in! We would be totally lost if Jesus had not not have died for us, and sealed us (marked us) with the holy Spirit.

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. —18 But IF ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

The word advocate is a translation from the Greek noun παράκλητος (paraklētos, Strong’s 3875) and is usually translated as Comforter in the KJV. It can also mean an intercessor, a consoler, a helper and someone who pleads our cause before someone with authority. Here are the five cases where the word is used:

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, THAT YE SIN NOT. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

So John writes in 1 John 2:1 to the recipients of the letter in order that they ”sin NOT”. If no one can avoid sinning for an extended period of time, then John would be in error for believing that his words could make a difference. He continues his letter by saying ”IF any man sin…” (not ”when” he sins) we have an advocate with the Father”, etc. This does not mean our sins are therefore always excused and that we always have a right standing before God no matter how we live. He is only saying we have an advocate/comforter, provided that we have confessed our sins, truly repented and turned away from them! How do we know that? Because of John’s own words. He is very clear about that we cannot be saved sinners, and also that we will be cut off the vine if we do not show any fruit. We know that we know him IF we keep his commandments:

1 John 2:3 And HEREBY WE DO KNOW THAT WE KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked

What else did John say?

1 John 3:Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: WHOSOEVER DOETH NOT RIGHTEOUSNESS IS NOT OF GOD, neither he that loveth not his brother.—22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John. 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

2 John. 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. HE THAT DOETH GOOD IS OF GOD: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.23 Jesus answered and said unto him, IF A MAN LOVE ME, HE WILL KEEP MY WORDS: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.—If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.10 IF YE KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, YE SHALL ABIDE IN MY LOVE; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Do read about the holy Spirit raising us up from the dead in this blog article.

There are apostles in the church today, and we are warned about false apostles

 

apostle 3”Apostle” comes from the greek word ”apostolos” (Strong’s 652) and means one that is sent forth (with orders or a mission), like a messenger.

The very first apostles were the same as Jesus first disciples.

Matt. 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

When Judas Iscariot fell away, Matthias was appointed in his stead.

Acts 2:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Also Paul was called by God to be an apostle.

Corinthians 1:1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother (Rom. 1:1, 11:13, 1 Cor. 1:1, 9:1-2, 1 Cor. 15:9, 2 Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:1, Col. 1:1, 1 Tim. 1:1, 1 Tim. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:1, 1:11, Titus 1:1)

Barnabas was called an apostle according to Luke, and it’s possible that also Timothy, Judas Barsabas and Silvanus (probably the same as Silas) were considered apostles as well. They were certainly called, and sent forth by Paul to spread the gospel and to perform miracles.

Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me BARNBABAS and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Acts 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.14 Which when the apostles, BARNABAS and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out

Act 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed BARSABAS and SILAS, chief men among the brethren

70 other individuals sent out to spread the gospel and to heal the sick

Apart from the first 12, and apart from Paul and Barnabas, we can read from Luke that 70 other individuals were sent forth to spread the gospel and to perform miracles.

Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.—9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.—13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.—16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

In the above verses it’s clear that these 70 individuals were given much divine power. Not only does Jesus separate people between those who listen to these 70 and those who despite them, but the 70 are also given power to do mighty work like healing the sick. They were more powerful than the enemy – including the spirits from the enemy. With other words, there were no one else who had greater power apart from God and the other 12 apostles, and Jesus told these 70 individuals to pray that the Lord would send forth laborers into his harvest. This seems to be exactly what Jesus had done to these 70 at one point, because he had sent them forth to do mighty work.

The commands for the initial 12 apostles were similar as for the 70:

Matt. 28:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.—7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

In order to not confuse the first 12 apostles with the above 70 individuals (all of them called to spread the gospel by Jesus Christ), it makes sense that ”the apostles” refers only to the original apostles, including either Judas Iscariot or later on Matthias. Also Jesus Christ could actually be called an apostle, because he was also sent forth by his Father to share the gospel with the people on earth. Neither Jesus would be included whenever the Bible uses the term ”the apostles”.

Hebr. 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

John 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Even if the 70 individuals mentioned in Luke 10 had similar tasks as the 12 apostles, it’s only the 12 apostles that will be given one foundation each in the new Jerusalem. The 12 are likely viewed in highest regard because they were the first disciples who remained with him (unlike other disciples as those mentioned in John 6:66), who were taught by him, dined with him, were his close friends, etc. It’s difficult to have 12 + 70 very close and intimate friends, but it’s possible to select 12 individuals and be both a close friend as well as being their master. They in turn could do the same – gather a few people and making them into disciples.

Rev. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Eph. 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Acts 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.—17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Luke 11:47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation

Jesus is naturally the one with all the wisdom in the world, but since the first apostles were sent out from him they are also very trustworthy. Jude is therefore in Jude 1:3 exhorting christians ”to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. The saints were the first christians, and the very first christians were the apostles. If the apostles make sure to adhere to Jesus teaching, and if these apostles make sure to only appoint qualified men to be apostles and pastors, then all would be well in church. Unfortunately Paul (and Peter, John, Jude, etc) also knew that wolves in sheep’s clothing would be entering the church soon after their own departure. In 1 Tim. 5:22 we can read Paul’s warning to Timothy Do not lay hands on anyone hastily” (which is the way one officially appoints a presbytery/pastor), because he knew the order of events. 

Junia is a female name, but rather than being named an apostle it’s more likely that the below verse should be read as though the apostles viewed both Andronicus and Junia as godly individuals of highest regard.

Rom. 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Apostles are supposed to be in the church, along with prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachersapostle 2

If teachers, evangelists and pastors are still active in church today, then so are apostles and prophets since they are all listed together in the below verses. Paul is explaining the church order for the Corinthians and the Ephesians (and for all of us), and it would be strange if he asked ”are all apostles, are all teachers, are all workers of miracles?”, if these functions would soon cease and lose their significance. If apostles would soon be irrelevant in church within one generation, it would be better for Paul to end all confusion by explaining that only the twelve could be considered apostles and that therefore false apostles could easily be detected.

1 Cor. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Based on the above, the order of authority seems to be: God almighty, Jesus Christ his son (Jesus is of course also God, but he is also the son who is sent out), the 12 apostles, other apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, helps, governments and diversities of tongues.

We are warned about false apostles

If the case would be that only the initial 12 disciples could ever be considered true apostles, it would be a breeze to figure out which ones the false apostles are. Anyone claiming to be an apostle and not being among the first dozen or more, would by definition be a false prophet. Yet, the Bible doesn’t make this particular distinction between true apostles and false apostles, but it’s rather about being qualified and showing good fruit. We are warned about both false apostles and false prophets – and supposed to look out.

2 Cor. 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Rev. 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

2 Cor. 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

A true Biblical apostle would also be able to show signs, perform wonders and mighty deeds. Both Philip and Stephen did great miracles (Acts 8:6 and 6:8).

The holy Spirit and the ability to speak in tongues can be received by laying on of hands

Some christians suggest that the holy Spirit and miracles can only come from the hands of the apostles, but the Bible doesn’t narrow it down in that way. The first christians (normally the apostles) had this power, but the amount of christians increased and the holy Spirit could also be received in other ways (by listening to the gospel and having a repentant heart).

Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money

Acts. 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

The HOLY SPIRIT is also GOD and part of the TRINITY and the Godhead

helig andeThe holy Spirit in the New Testament is a translation of  hagios pneuma (Strong’s 40 and 4151, respectively), and He is sent to us by the Father and the son, to be our Helper and to reprove the world of sin. He dwells in the hearts of christians, and he is also big help for us to live holy lives and gives us wisdom and strength. He helps us to understand the scriptures and the deeper things of God, and also gives us spiritual gifts so that we can edify each other in the body of Christ. The holy Spirit is described as someone who has emotions, wisdom and who has a will of his own which he uses to do the will of God the Father. He is referred to as ”he” (and not ”it”), he can hear and speak and he has fellowship with us. The Bible came about when holy men of God wrote down their texts under the inspiration of the holy Spirit.

We receive the holy Spirit when we come to God and repent for our sins.

Acts. 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

It’s not necessary to declare that we believe in a Trinity in order to be saved because it’s not a Biblical word, but it seems to be of great importance to at least accept that Jesus is the IAM (the Creator God) based on John 8:24. According to the scriptures, we also learn that the spirit of God is divine, and I personally believe that we are risking our souls if we deny this fact – IF we have the chance to reach this kind of knowledge. This means that children or people who don’t have much access to a Bible, might not be able to understand all the details about the Godhead, and I believe that God will judge them accordingly. In a similar way it’s not necessary to understand how a car engine works in order to drive a car, but of course it’s of great help to know the basics so that we know how to maintain the engine the best way, and so that we learn the signs of malfunctions.

There is a theory, with support from the apocrypha,that suggests that demons/evil spirits have their original source in the fallen angels that we can read about in Genesis (the sons of God), who came down to earth and had children – the gigantic nephilim – together with human females. These fallen angels finally died, but the evil spirits continued to cause mayhem when they entered willing human hearts. If this is true, and if the holy Spirit functions in a similar way  – but naturally having a source in God  – it might explain why Jesus had to be glorified and depart from earth before the holy Spirit could make an entrance in another form than Jesus. If demons/evil spirits can be called Satan because of their source in him, then maybe the holy Spirit can be called God because he is God and has his source in the Godhead. These are of course only speculations about the spiritual world, and it’s not a salvation matter – as long as we understand which God we are worshiping.

If Jesus and the holy Spirit would be one and the same person, it’s difficult to understand the need for Jesus’ departure before the holy Spirit could make an entrance. The holy Spirit is also said to come to glorify JESUS, and if Jesus isn’t God it would make more sense if the holy Spirit came to glorify GOD and no one else. Especially considering that God doesn’t share his glory with anyone (Is. 42:8). The holy Spirit speaks what he hears, which is an indication of that he has a free will and is separate from the one that he listens to:

John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Acts 1: 1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.—8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

GOD created the heavens and the earth, but the SPIRIT OF GOD moved upon the face of the waters. The spirit of God seems to be more than just a thought or a power, because he moved over the waters – and water is something physical. God and the spirit of God seem to be separate:

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

We are to have fellowship with the Father and the son, but also with the Spirit:

1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Phil. 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

If the holy Spirit is just some kind of a force or if he is the same as the Father or the son, then it doesn’t make sense that he can be offended more than them. Neither does it make sense that speaking against Jesus is a much less serious crime compared to blaspheming the holy Spirit – where the latter offence will lead to the inability of being forgiven:

Luk. 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

Mark 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.

Eph. 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

When Jesus got baptized, also the Father and the holy Spirit were present – all three of them together. The voicedove came from God the Father in heaven, and the holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove. Right after this moment, the holy Spirit drove Jesus off to the wilderness – showing they were separate :

Mark 1:9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

The holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.  Just like Jesus, the Spirit chooses to do the will of God (God is often the same as God the Father). If the Spirit can choose to obey someone, it shows that he is separate from the one he obeys – since one is obeying the other. If the reality is that only God the Father, or Jesus are in action, why isn’t Paul simply saying so?:

Rom. 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Rom. 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Below we can see further evidence of that the holy Spirit is the same as the Spirit of God, but yet separate from God the Father since we can all get the holy Spirit inside us as our Helper. At the same time, God the Father can still remain in his heaven or in other places:

1 Cor. 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Lord is that Spirit, says Paul, and both God the Father and the son are called the Lord of Lords:

2 Cor. 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The holy Spirit is the one who brings us spiritual gifts, and enables us to speak in tongues and to heal people.  If it’s rather God the Father or Jesus who are doing this, why is not Paul simply saying so? ”By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” = there is only one Spirit of God, which is the holy Spirit:

Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

1 Cor. 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.14 For the body is not one member, but many.

Ananias and his wife chose to let Satan fill their hearts, resulting in that they TEMPTED the holy Spirit, and lied to him – which is the same as lying to GOD. If there would only be one side of God with no other dimensions, perhaps it would be more clear to simply say that they lied to God with no further mention of the holy Spirit?:

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto GOD.—9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

Peter says that it’s the holy Spirit who moved holy men to speak out divine prophesies, and  Paul says that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God. They seem to be talking about separate persons and yet the same:

spirit 3

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The holy Spirit can also speak and give instructions.  Again, if it’s God and/or Jesus who are the ones doing this, why doesn’t it say so?:

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

Acts 11:11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

We have a free will and we are not forced to obey the holy Spirit, but the better choice is to not resist him and to pay attention to where and how he wants to direct us. This is hard to do if we don’t spend time with prayers to God.

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia

Apparently, we are to baptize each other in three names (not one or two), and what would be the reason for this if there is only one person in the Godhead?

Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

1 John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

The Godhead – Strong’s 2320 theotés

Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily.

(Acts 17:29 and Rom. 1:20 make use of other Greek words – Strong’s 2304 and 2305)

Below we can see the same situation in three different versions from Mark, Matthew and Luke, and it will be the following person who will speak through us in times of distress and trouble in the future – depending on which version we are referring to: 1) the holy Spirit/Ghost, 2) the spirit of the Father, 3) JESUS. So which one is it? Since it concerns the same account, it seems like these persons can be used somewhat interchangeably because they each represent the Godhead.

Markus 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but THE HOLY GHOST.

Matt. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20 For it is not ye that speak, but THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER which speaketh in you.

Lukas 21:14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:15 For I WILL give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

The holy Spirit, the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ? – How many divine Spirits are there?dove 2

Each person has a spirit and even Antichrist has a spirit, but when we are talking about the holy Spirit which is promised to us as the Comforter, surely there is only one? We can see from 1 Cor. 3:16 and 1 Tim. 1:14 that the Spirit of God and the holy Spirit/Ghost are the same person/entity, but it also seems like the Spirit of Christ is also this same person. 2 Cor. 3:17 says that Jesus Christ is that Spirit (the Spirit of the Lord). God is in three persons, and these three persons form one Godhead…

Since each person has a spirit and Jesus Christ lived as a man like us, it follows that he too had a spirit, but it doesn’t end there. The Bible tells us that the Spirit of Christ is what we should have inside us today, or else we are not one of his. Things can go well for us thanks to prayers and the supply of the Spirit of Christ. Jesus says ” I will not leave you comfortlessI will come to you”, to his disciples, when he promises them the Comforter.

It seems like the Comforter that dwells in us, can be stated as the holy Spirit, God or Jesus Christ.

According to John 14:23, we are to keep the word of Jesus and if we do, the Father and the son will come to us and make their abode with us. If we get filled with the holy Spirit, we are being filled with GOD.

Eph. 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Rom. 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Phil. 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

2 Cor. 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

2 Cor. 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.17 Now THE LORD IS THAT SPIRIT: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Hebr. 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Pet. 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ (pneuma Christos) which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost (hagios pneuma) sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

1 Pet. 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Col. 3:16 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.

1 Cor.3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God DWELLETH in you?

2 Tim. 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost (hagios pneuma) which DWELLETH in us.

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he DWELLETH with you, and shall be in you.18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.— 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God DWELLETH in us, and his love is perfected in us.13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

Eph. 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,—16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;17 THAT CHRIST MAY DWELL in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

1 Cor. 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Is the HOLY SPIRIT also GOD?

spirit 4

The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to work in our hearts, and to reprove the world of sin. He fills the christian hearts with his presence, and he is a big aid for us to live holy lives and to enable us to be good disciples who spread the true word of God to others. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the scriptures and the deep things of God, and he also gives us spiritual gifts so that we can build up ourselves and others in the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is described as a person who has a will, who hears, speaks, has feelings, wisdom, and who has a relationship with us. The Bible came about thanks to holy men of God who wrote down the message of God through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the HOLY GHOST.

If the Holy Spirit is exactly synonymous with either God/the Father/Jesus Christ, then we must ask ourselves why those names are not used instead? The Holy Spirit seems to be different from the Father and Jesus Christ, but also the same as though share the same source. Only the trinity could solve something like this, because if 1) God the Father, 2) God the son and 3) God the Holy Spirit, are different persons in the same godhead (and there is only one God), then it all makes sense. We could also visualize that only the Father and Jesus Christ are in the godhead, with the Holy Spirit as another manifestation of them, which boils down to the almost the same thing. When the Holy Spirit is operating on earth, then it’s God operating.

It might feel like a burden to understand exactly how the persons in the godhead work in their divine state and in the trinity, but we don’t have to understand exactly how they interact with each other in order to be saved. We only have to accept that these persons/manifestations are in our only God and that they are each called God – 1 pile of sand can be divided into 3 piles of sand, and back again. God can be in several different locations at the same time, and the Holy Spirit can be in each of us christians at the same time. Neither do we have to understand exactly how a car engine works in order to drive, even if it’s for our benefit if we have some knowledge about it – like; where it’s placed, what the purpose is, how to make maintenance, what the indications are that something is wrong, etc. At least we know that the inventor/manufacturer knows how it works, and he knows it in great detail and has it all under control.

There is a theory put forth in some of the apocrypha/lost books which suggests that demons/evil spirits have a source in the fallen angels that we can read about in Genesis (the sons of God), och who came down to earth to produce gigantic babies (nephilim) together with certain females. When the fallen angels eventually died, they are said to have left evil spirits of themselves which could trouble human beings – which we have some examples of in the Bible. If this is true, and if the Holy Spirit works in a similar way (naturally with a source in God), then this could explain why Jesus had to be glorified and leave the earth before the Holy Spirit could make an entrance and fill our hearts. If demons/evil spirits can be called Satan (precisely for being manifestations of Satan), the Holy Spirit could be called God for the same reason – because he is a manifestation of God. This, however, is only speculation about the invisible and spiritual world, and it’s not something that is essential for our salvation to know about – as long as we worship the only true God. It’s for instance utterly important to accept that Jesus is the IAM, and the word that was with God and who was GOD and lived among us in flesh. Read more about the trinity here.

If Jesus and the Holy Spirit are synonymous, then it would not make sense to have different names for the very same person, and it would be difficult to understand why Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as another Comforter (helper) who can’t make his entrance into this world unless Jesus makes an exit. The Holy Spirit is not referred to as ”it” (as some kind of a neutral force) but the pronoun ”he” is used. The Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus and glorify him, and if Jesus is not God it would have been more logical to let the Holy Spirit glorify GOD. Especially since we can read in Isaiah 42:8 that God doesn’t share his glory with anyone. The Holy Spirit will speak what he hears, and this is another indication of that he is separate from the one who tells him what to speak. If the Holy Spirit is the same as the Father, it’s strange that we can read that he will proceed from the Father, because that makes them separate:

John 16:But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for IF I GO NOT AWAY; THE COMFORTER WILL NOT COME UNTO YOU; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:Of sin, because they believe not on me;10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me

Apg. 1: 1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

GOD created the heavens and the earth, but the SPIRIT of GOD moved upon the face of the waters. They seem separate:

Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Our fellowship is with the Father and the son, according to John, but Paul says our fellowship is with the Spirit. They are both right as usual:

1 John 1:That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Phil. 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind

If the Holy Spirit is only some kind of ”force” or ”power” and not God itself, then it’s odd that the Holy Spirit can be more offended if someone offends it, than Jesus Christ if someone offends him, considering that Jesus is a real person. So here, again, we can see that there is a difference between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, because the punishment differs if someone blasphemes them. Moreover, we can grieve the Holy Spirit, which shows he has emotions.

Luke 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

Matt. 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Eph.  4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

When we read the story about Jesus baptism, we can see that a voice from heaven is heard saying ”Thou art my beloved Son”, and the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove. These things occur at the same time, and it was God the Father who spoke from heaven, to God Jesus Christ on earth, at the same time as God the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as a dove. All three persons in the godhead are in action at the same time:

Mark 1:And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

The Holy Spirit can bear witness that we are the children of God, and he also helps our infirmities and makes intercessions for us. He that searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, and the Spirit chooses to adhere to the will of God – showing they are separate but still the same:

Rom. 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God

Rom. 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

We are to keep the word of JESUS and if we obey him, he and his Father will come to us and abode with us. How do they accomplish this – being in all of us christians – unless they do this through the Holy Spirit? Jesus Christ can be in us, but naturally not in fleshly form. We are encouraged to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and if the Holy Spirit is inside us and acts as a divine Helper,  it results in that our bodies are his temple:

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

2 Cor. 13:Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Eph. 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit

1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Here we can learn more about the Holy Spirit and that he is different from God but yet the same. The Spirit searches all things including the deep things of GOD – as though they were separate. Each christian can get the Holy Spirit at the same time as God remains in his heaven:

1 Cor. 2:Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

The Lord is Spirit, says Paul, and the Lord could be God the Father or Jesus. They are both called Lord of Lords. It appears there are three Lords in the godhead, and of course that’s quite possible.

2 Cor. 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is the one to give us gifts of the Spirit, and who make it possible for us to speak with different tongues and to prophesy. The gifts are given as ”he will”, showing again that he has a will. If the Holy Spirit is synonymous with God (and not one of three persons in God), then why didn’t Paul simply say that GOD gives us these gifts? Just to confuse us? ”The same Spirit...”, ”the same Lord…”and ”the same God”. Sounds like they are different again, but yet the same.

Acts 2:And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

1 Cor. 12:Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Ananias and his wife chose to let Satan fill their hearts, and this resulted in lying to the holy Spirit, which is the same as lying to GOD. By their actions they tempted the Spirit of God. If there is only one God with no dimensions or different persons, one wonders why Luke didn’t choose to write ”God” in all those places concerning him. Why alter between ”God” and ”the holy Spirit”? Probably because they are different and yet members of the same God:

Apg. 5:But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

Peter says that the Holy Spirit is the one who moved holy men of God to write the scriptures, och Paul says that the scripture is given by inspiration of GOD. They seem to be the same:

spirit 3

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

The Holy Spirit can speak and give instructions.

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

Acts 11:11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

Acts 13:As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

We have a free will and we are not forced to obey the Holy Spirit, but if we are attentive for how the Holy Spirit wants to guide us, we can say that he encourages us and hinders us from doing certain things. Then the starting point is that we have made a decision to adhere to the Holy Spirit instead of our flesh. The Holy Spirit can ”forbid” us to do something, but we must decide whether to obey or disobey.

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Acts 16:Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia

Below we can see that 1) the holy Ghost 2) the spirit of the FATHER, 3) JESUS, who will be speaking through us in times of trouble and persecution. So which one is it? Or is it all three as in the trinity?

Mark 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the HOLY GHOST.

Matt. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20 For it is not ye that speak, but THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER which speaketh in you.

Luke 21:14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:15 For I WILL GIVE YOU A MOUTH and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

Jesus and the spirit…

2 Cor. 3:16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.17 Now THE LORD IS THAT SPIRIT and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Hebr. 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

We are apparently told to baptize in three names, and what is the reason for this if God is one and the same and with no distinct persons in the godhead?

Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

1 John 5:For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Godhead Strong’s 2320 theotés

Colossians 2:For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power

(Acts 17:29 and Rom. 1:20 do not use this Greek word, but 2304 and 2305 respectively)

Make yourself a new heart, for why will ye die? (Ez. 18:31)

love3God can clean us up and give us a new heart, but in order for him to do this we must choose to repent, come to him and place him as No 1 in our lives. WE are actually asked to cleanse, purify and circumcise our own hearts (which we can if we cast away our sins). 

Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Isaiah 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Jeremiah 4:14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

Amos 4:6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.

Ezekiel 24:13 In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

Deutoronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Matt. 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

To be regenerated is to be cleansed. We are not clean before we come to Jesus and repent for our sins, and we can’t get the Holy Spirit unless we are born again and have purged hearts. We must choose to come to Jesus to be born again and leave our old man behind. John the Baptist preached about repentance for the remission of sins, and Jesus picked up after him and did the same – by preaching about repentance and faith in him as the promised Messiah and son of God. Jesus work was to call sinners to repentance so that they could get life and he taught his disciples – and all of us – to continue preaching this gospel throughout the whole world. The path that you should walk is 1) come to Jesus and believe in him and his work on the cross 2) confess your sins and repent 3) you’re now cleansed, purged, regenerated and born again 4) you’re given the Holy Spirit as a Helper. A person can never be considered clean as long as his sins are not washed away, and the Bible doesn’t teach ”once cleansed, always cleansed”. We must endure to the end to be saved.

Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.48 And ye are witnesses of these things.49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Thanks to Jesse Morell for the below concerning regeneration after faithheart3

Regeneration requires consent and cooperation. A man’s free will must be synergistically involved in his regeneration. God cannot change a man’s character without the cooperation of the man himself. That is why God said, “I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged” (Eze. 24:13). This is because unless a man is willing to have his moral character changed, it will and cannot be changed. It is impossible for Omnipotence to change a man’s moral character without the consent of his will because this would involve an intrinsic contradiction. Therefore, God and man both have an active role in regeneration. This is why the Bible says that God gives us a new heart (Eze. 11:19; 36:26), while also saying that men should make for themselves a new heart (Eze. 18:31). When a sinner’s will is changed from being disobedient to obedient, both God and the sinner have an active role in bringing about that change. God’s role is His gracious influence upon our will. Man’s role is the yielding of and obedience of his will.

Jesus said, “Cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matt. 23:26). For Jesus to tell men to clean themselves on the inside (change their intention), takes for granted that it is their choice and that they can do this. Jesus was actually filled “with anger, being grieved, for the hardness of their hearts” (Mk. 3:5). This indicates that the state of man’s heart is man’s own fault, that the state of his heart is something which he causes and which he has control over.

The Bible even commands men to make unto themselves a new heart. God said, “make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die…” (Ezekiel 18:31). “Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved” (Jeremiah 4:14). “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8).

What does it mean to change your heart? To change your heart is to change your intention. It is to change the motives for all your actions. It means that you are no longer living for yourself or have a selfish motive but are now living for God and the well-being of His universe, thus having benevolent motives.

Men are even commanded to circumcise their own hearts (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4). Since they are commanded to do so, this means that it is their own responsibility and choice. To circumcise your heart means to repent or put off your sins (Col. 2:11). Therefore, to circumcise your heart means to repent of your sins but to have an uncircumcised heart is to have an impenitent heart.

When Stephen was open air preaching, he said to the crowd “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51). Stephen was rebuking them for disobeying a specific commandment, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked” (Deut. 10:16).

Why would Stephen rebuke them for being uncircumcised in their heart unless they were capable of circumcising their hearts? Why rebuke them for breaking a commandment unless they were capable of obeying the commandment? Why rebuke them for having uncircumcised hearts unless having such hearts was their own free choice? Why would he rebuke them for resisting the Holy Spirit unless they were capable of yielding to the Holy Spirit? Unless they were capable of doing these things, why rebuke them for not doing these things?

Stephen seemed to take for granted or assume the ability of his audience. He blamed them for their impenitent which must mean that their impenitent was their own free choice. You cannot rebuke a man for something which is not his choice. A man cannot be blamed for that which is beyond his control or for what he cannot help.