by Eugene L. Garner


      "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 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.... 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," (John 14:16-17; Acts 1:4).

      To show that the Spirit's work during this age is through a continuous, abiding  "indwelling," in contrast to His sporadic and temporary manifestations to men in other ages, is the basic purpose of this booklet. The law was Israel's "school-master" -- pointing her to the coming Messiah. The indwelling Holy Spirit guides God's covenant people today. He leads them in paths of righteousness, enlightens the eyes of their understanding and guides them into all truth.

      Surely it is not accidental that the Spirit is called "that Holy Spirit of Promise," Eph 1:13. This is with reference to certain prophecies of Joel, Zechariah, Isaiah, Ezekial and others of the Old Testament prophets. The writings of Justin include many references to the "prophetic Spirit" and the "Holy Spirit of Prophecy" -- evidently referring to this very thing.

      The Spirit's ministry through the church can best be understood by a careful study of what Jesus called the "Promise of the Father." To whom was this promise made? What blessings were provided by it? When was it to be fulfilled? Once these questions are answered by a general analogy of the Scriptures, we should be in a better position to appreciate the workings of Him Whom the world cannot receive "because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him." With such an appreciation of the Spirits work, we will be able to learn something of possessing and walking in the Spirit.


      Let me submit that the "Promise of the Father" is a covenant blessing which can be experienced only by a covenant people. That system of theology which ignores, spiritualizes or repudiates the covenants of the Old Testament misses a vital link in the chain of God's progressively-revealed Kingdom purpose.

      Long ago God announced to Abraham his intention to make of him a great nation. He promised him a "seed" and an "inheritance." This is called the ABRAHAMIC COVENANT. The blessings of this covenant pertained ONLY to his seed (covenant blessings for a covenant people). This did not include all his fleshly descendants, but only those who were of the "faith of Abraham." Circumcision was an absolute necessity before men could enjoy the blessing of this covenant, (Gen 17:9-14). Even that was useless if they were uncircumcised in heart, ears and lips. "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God," Rom 2:28-29. Each of the covenants was made with, and it's blessings limited to, a special, peculiar and holy people.

      The "indwelling Spirit" may properly be called a "new covenant blessing." As such, certain limitations are placed upon it. Others may teach that every person who has once trusted Jesus is indwelt by the Spirit, but it is questionable whether such a claim can be clearly substantiated by the Scriptures.


      A close examination of John 13 through 17 will identify the people to whom the promise of the Father pertains. TO WHOM WAS THE LORD'S SUPPER DELIVERED AS AN ORDINANCE? It was to precisely the same people that He spoke saying, "Behold, I send the promise of my father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power form on high," Luke 24:49. Being assembled with His apostles, and having taught them concerning His kingdom for 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus 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," Acts 1:4.

      Surely we will be on safe ground to say that the promise of the Father was made to the "house of God." The promise of the indwelling Spirit in Jeremiah 31 is to the "house of Israel and the house of Judah." This is specified in Paul's quotation of the passage in Hebrews 8:10. Paul speaks of the church at Ephesus as being a "holy temple" and "an habitation of God through the Spirit." What is the house of God today? Does not Paul define it as being "the church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth?

      Someone may ask, "HOW MANY HOUSES DOES GOD HAVE?" He evidently has ONE. Israel was that house in the Old Testament. According to Hebrews 3, Moses was a "servant" in God's house. Jesus is "counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house...whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." Mose's had no house of his own, but he was faithful in God's house (Num 12:7). Thus, it is seen that the church of the Lord Jesus occupies the same position of RELATIONSHIP TO GOD as was held by national Israel before the present age...a position of "covenant fellowship with God."

      Because of Israel's unbelief, God has temporarily cast her aside. The natural branches have been cut off of the olive tree. Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Does this mean that God has no "true Israel," "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God and the promises?" Certainly NOT, for in God's reckoning "They are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed," Rom 9:6-8.

      When Jesus began His public ministry on earth, He sent His apostles to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." Though the Israelites as a whole rejected their King, there was a faithful "remnant" which did receive Him as their Messiah. These faithful few could claim the promises that had been made to the HOUSE, and with them God established the New Covenant---at least in an inchoate form. The rest of the nation was "desolate." This faithful remnant continued as the "house of God." The house of God, in this age, is made up NOT ONLY OF JEWS, but also of Gentiles who, by faith, have been grafted into the true stock of Israel.

      This engrafting of Gentiles, into the house of God, was a "mystery" hidden from "ages" and "generations" but NOW REVEALED through His apostles and prophets (Eph 3). In the body of Christ (the church) Jew and Gentile become "one new man" (Eph 2:15). This "new man" is not a term which describes every individual who has once trusted in Jesus as Saviour. The "new man" is, rather, CHRIST HIMSELF who is "formed in" His people. In His body, the church, we are members of His flesh and of His bone...the true seed of Abraham.

      IGNATIUS, in his epistle to the Ephesians, promised to write a second letter "with respect to the NEW MAN, Jesus Christ, in His faith and in His love, in His suffering and in His resurrection."

      It is only through identification with Christ in body-relationship that Gentiles become "fellow-body-members" with the saints and of the household of God. No person can experience covenant blessings apart from such an intimate relationship to Jesus, the Christ, who is the seed of Abraham and "heir of the promise." By the death of the "Seed" provision is made so "that the blessings of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through (identification with) Jesus Christ, that we might receive the PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT through faith."


      The promise of the Father is for those who (having the Lord's commandments) love and keep them. Is not this what Jesus said in John 14? "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... 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," John 14:21, 23. This harmonizes well with the words of Peter in Acts 5:29-32: "We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the HOLY GHOST, whom God hath given to them that OBEY HIM."

      Let us not forget the threats of our Lord against the Ephesus church in this connection. That church had many commendable qualities---patience, labors for the Lord's sake, trial-bearing, sound doctrine, not characterized by fainting and strict in its discipline. YET this was the church whose candlestick He threatened to remove. They had "left their first love" for Christ which once manifest itself in "first-works"---the practicing of His presence in their lives.

      Who can doubt that the "candlestick" signifies the presence of the indwelling Spirit (of Christ living and walking in the midst of His people) without whom they can do nothing? And except the lives of men are characterized by this work-producing, commandment-keeping LOVE they cannot (though saved) claim to be "in Christ" ---members of His body, possessing, and being possessed by, His Spirit. They are, in fact, "in" and "of" the world, and CANNOT receive the Spirit.


      Chapters 14 through 17 of John's Gospel revolve around the "promise of the Father," and its effect in the lives of His people. Perhaps the most concise and yet far-reaching statement of all is that one which has been chosen as a text: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he MAY ABIDE WITH YOU FOR EVER: 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. I will not leave you comfortless; I WILL COME TO YOU," John 14:16-17.

      Paul speaks of this same blessedness in Colossians 1:26-27. He calls it a "mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints; To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory." Every reference to this "indwelling"will be found connected with Christ being "in" His people and of their being "filled with all the fulness of God."

      When Judas, not Iscariot, asked the Master, "How is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" Jesus answered by saying, "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," John 14:22-23.

      In John's Gospel Jesus told His disciples of at least three blessings that were to be theirs through the indwelling Spirit "at that day." The first is found in John 14:20: "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." Who can fail to see that Jesus is comparing the relationship existing between Himself and His Father to that which shall exist between Himself and His people? The coming of the Spirit will give KNOWLEDGE of that relationship...intimate, blessed and glorious.

      It was through his consciousness of the indwelling spirit that Paul could say, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me," Gal 2:20. And again, "For to me, to live is Christ," Phil 1:21. His admonition to the Philippian saints must not be separated from his teachings concerning the indwelling Spirit. "So, my dearly loved friends, as you have always been obedient, so now with reverence and awe keep on working clear down to the finishing point of your salvation, not only as though I were with you but much more because I am away; for it is God HIMSELF WHO IS AT WORK IN YOU to help you desire it as well as do it," Phil 2:12-15, (Williams). Other passages might be cited to show what is meant by the "indwelling spirit," but these should be sufficient.


      This promise of the father is an "anointing" for Kingship and Priesthood. It is with a view to priestly service... not the offering up of blood sacrifices, but "the sacrifices of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name," Heb 13:15. This anointing teaches and empowers. In Acts 1:4 Jesus told His assembled saints to "wait for the promise of the Father." In verse 8, He said, "But ye shall receive power, after that Holy Ghost is come upon you." John wrote to his "little children" saying, "Ye have an unction (anointing) from the Holy One, and ye KNOW ALL THINGS... The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you," John 2:20-27.

      Surely this indwelling Spirit is a "new covenant" blessing. In Jeremiah 31:33 it is written: "After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward part, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and a shall be my people. And they shall TEACH NO MORE every man is neighbor, and every man his brother saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them..." This is the blessing of the "new covenant" that he promised to make with the "house of Israel and with the house of Judah." A further promise is made in Jeremiah 32:39-40: "And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." THE PROCESSING and RETAINING of the Spirit in this age is on a CONDITIONAL and PROBATIONARY BASIS, but when Jesus comes again to establish His kingdom, the blessings of this promise will belong IRREVOCABLY to His Kingdom-people.

      Concerning this teaching ministry of the Spirit, Jesus quoted from the prophets saying, "It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God, every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me," John 6:45. In John 14:26 He said again, "The Comforter, which is a 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." In chapter 16:12-15 He testified further, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 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 year, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come."

      The disciples of Jesus had asked many questions concerning what this promise of the Father would be like. He tells them that when they experience the REALITY of the Spirits indwelling presence they will have no such questioning... There will be no doubts. "In that day ye shall ask me nothing (ye shall ask me know question)," 16:23. I would not deny anyone the privilege of believing that this blessing belongs to every man who has once trusted Jesus. However, I would inquire HOW IT IS that no one who has this "anointing" and "knoweth all things" can end up "forgetting that he hath been purged from his old sin?" Purged, anointed, knowing all things---yet unconscious of the PURGING? Such a thought is incredible!


      The indwelling Spirit came to promote UNITY. Hear the words of Jesus' prayer in John 17:18-23: "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." WHOM DID HE SEND? "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." This prayer could not be fulfilled without the coming of the Spirit to "indwell" them that they might have the "mind of Christ." The unity which is promoted by the indwelling Spirit will bring us unto the "knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" ... fully conformed into His image.


      Another blessing provided by the indwelling Spirit is the glorious liberty of sonship. It is through identification with "the Son" that men are made FREE. This liberty is far-reaching. It is from bondage, death and the grave. The apostle Paul taught that "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," 2 Cor 3:17. Those who are the seed of Abraham (through the body of Christ) are "not children of the bondwomen (Jerusalem which now is), but of free. Hence, the admonition: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage," Gal 5:1.

      One can enter into this liberty ONLY through identification with the Christ in His death. Only those who have died with Him are "freed" from sin. Paul reminded the Roman saints that they had been made "dead to the law through the body of Christ," Rom 7:4. They were, therefore, free from the bondage to it. This liberty should not be used as a means of pampering the flesh. It WILL enable us to be loosed from bondage if we reckon ourselves to be what God declares us to be "in Christ."

      There is a great need among the people of God in these are days to appropriate unto ourselves, by faith, the blessedness of this liberty which the Spirit gives. It will enable us to evaluate properly the traditions of our Baptist fathers and to discard all that which has no firm foundation in the holy Scriptures. He calls upon us to break loose from serfdom to mere denominational systems and the farce of flesh-righteousness. Having begun in the Spirit, it is folly to reject His leadership and seek perfection through the schemes of the flesh. No form of wickedness will more quickly or finally "grieve the Spirit," silence His voice within, yea, even drive him away from dwelling within the temple of our bodies.

      That this was the teaching of the early church is evidenced in the writings of the PASTOR OF HERMAS, who was highly regarded in his day, and his writings were thought by many to be canonical. "The tender Spirit, not being accustomed to dwell with the wicked spirit, nor with hardness, withdraws from such a man, and seeks to dwell with meekness and peacefulness. Then, when he withdraws from the man in WHOM HE DWELT, the man is emptied of the righteous Spirit; and being henceforward filled with evil spirits, he is in a state of anarchy in every action, being dragged hither and thither by the evil spirits, and there is complete darkness in his mind as to everything good," 15th Com, Ch 2. Again, having shown how doubt and anger grieve the Spirit, he issued this challenge: "Wherefore remove grief from you, and crush not the Holy Spirit which DWELLS IN YOU, less he entreat God against you, and he withdraw from you," Com 10: Ch 2.


      The context shows that Jesus had just revealed to His disciples many things concerning the promise of the Father and His work in them. In this connection He said: "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full...AT THAT DAY ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God." John 16: 24; 26-27.

      This authority to approach the Father "in Jesus' name" is not given promiscuously. It was NOT given to ALL THE SAVED, but ONLY to those who receive the "indwelling Spirit." The authority of "access" was givin by Jesus to His church. He is said to be a High Priest ONLY over the "house of God." Is it not a bit inconsistent to content that all "once-believers" have Jesus as a High Priests and can approach the Father "in His name" and scream in protest of the heretical protestant teaching of a universal church composed of all the saved? To apply covenant blessings to all the saved is to declare that all the saved are a covenant people. If that be true then ALL THE SAVED would be in the body of Christ. But such a teaching would conflict with the Scriptures from beginning to end.


      In concerning the fulfillment of this "promise of the Father" one must deal with several passages from the prophets. Isaiah spoke of the desolation of the land of Israel "Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high," Isaiah 32:15. Joel also spoke of this promise: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call." Joel 2:28-32. Concerning this outpouring of the Spirit, the Lord spoke through Zechariah saying, " And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." Zechariah 12:10.

      Before the Spirit would come, in His "indwelling" capacity, it was necessary for Jesus both to go away and be glorified. To His little flock he said: "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." John 16:7. It is recorded by John that earlier in the Ministry of Jesus he stood before the Jews at their Feast of Tabernacles and witnessed concerning the Spirit. "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. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (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.)" John 7:37-39. Just before His ascension to the Father, Jesus said to His disciples, "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." Luke 24:49.

      On the day of Pentecost (ten days after the Lords ascension) the Spirit came "as a rushing mighty wind, and filled all the house" where His disciples were assembled. The church was then ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME baptized in the Holy Spirit. They were enabled to astound the multitude of Jews, assembled from all nations, by on that occasion, quoted the prophesy of Joel and declared that Jesus, who had been crucified was now "raised" and "exalted" by the Fathers right hand. He had "received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost" which He "shed forth" on that occasion. IRENAEUS spoke of the Spirits descending on the day of Pentecost "having power to admit all nations to the entrance of life, and to the opening of the new covenant; from whence also, with one accord in all languages they uttered praise to God, the Spirit bringing distant tribes to unity, and offering to the Father the first fruits of all nations," Bk 2 Ch 17.

      The coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost seems only an inchoate fulfillment of the "promise of the Father." The prophecies of Joel, Isaiah and Zechariah were only partly fulfilled on that occasion. In connection with the Promise of the Father Jesus had said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father," John 14:12. That such works are not evident among His people today is known by all. But they will be wrought by those who, in the resurrection become actual partakers of the divine nature and glory.

      According to Paul, we now have only an "earnest of the Spirit," Eph 1:14. But in the day of redemption, resurrection and regeneration, "unto the praise of His glory," we shall receive of the Spirit "without measure." It is implied that what we now realize through the Spirit is only a KIND OF FIRST FRUITS or pledge of what this same Spirit will perform in the day of the Lord Jesus. "In that day both body and soul will experience this remarkable baptism of the Spirit: the body in the Spirits resurrecting, quickening, glorifying power... and the soul in the Spirits conferring wisdom, knowledge, utterance, prophecy, miraculous gifts, etc." (Peters). Concerning this, Irenaeus has said, "But we do now receive a certain portion of His Spirit, tending towards perfection, and preparing us for incorruption, being little by little accustomed to receive and bear God; which also the apostle terms "an earnest," that is, a part of the honor which has been promised us by God," (Bk 5, Ch 18).

      A close examination of those old testament contexts which deal with the promise of the "indwelling Spirit" will show that they are invariably connected with the restoration of the Theocracy and the ensuing millennial era. Take, for example, Ezekiel 37:26-28: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I PUT WITHIN YOU: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit WITHIN YOU, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall DWELL IN THE LAND THAT I GAVE TO YOUR FATHERS; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." In chapter 37:12-14 the message is the same: "Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall PUT MY SPIRIT IN YOU, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD." The testimony of Isaiah is in perfect harmony with this. "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever." Many other passages deal with the same thought, but these should be sufficient.

      Thus, it is evident that the complete and final fulfillment of the "promise of the Father" will be realized ONLY in the coming Kingdom of our Lord Jesus, the Christ. It is a cause for rejoicing "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel," Eph 3:6. Yet, Paul warned "That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Heb 6:12. And again, "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Heb 10:36.


      Justice will not hath have been done this great subject without some suggestion as to how one may possess an retain the indwelling Holy Spirit. To possess the Spirit one must first enter into the way of faith. Entrance into life is through faith, through believing in God. One wonders if far too many "sincere" Christians are not inadvertently selling this faith short. To teach that the full blessing of Gods salvation are contingent ONLY upon one's trusting in Jesus at one-point-in-time is a grievous error.

      In its scriptural usage, faith is something more than a one step proposition. It is a way of life -- involving a persistent walk in submission to Him who is its object. And it is always characterized by outward obedience to the revealed will of God. Paul's challenge is to walk in the "steps" of Abraham's faith.

      The "indwelling Holy Spirit," something quite different from "being saved;" a New Covenant blessing, first offered to men on Pentecost; is the possession ONLY of those "in Christ." But here there is great danger of misunderstanding, for this "relationship"is too often viewed emotionally instead of intellectually. Too few make any objective effort to understand the Biblical usage of such expressions. "In Christ" bespeaks a positional relationship (not literal, but based on God's reckoning us there through faith) wherein one is counted a member "of His body, of His flesh and of His bones."

      While the apostle Paul whole heartedly espoused the doctrine of security for believing ones, he showed no enthusiasm for the inevitability of what some today call "the perseverance of saints." The expression of his own desire is recorded in Philippians 3:8-9: "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."

      To "abide in Christ" is to walk "in the Spirit" which involves a crucifixion. And it appears from the Scriptures that no one can crucify the flesh apart from an identification with Christ "in His death and in His resurrection." ONLY such as are identified with Him through the obedience of faith (which inevitably expresses its subjection to His authority in baptism) CAN CRUCIFY THE FLESH, (See Rom 6:1-13; Acts 2:30; 5:29-32).

      Strictly speaking, one who is "in Christ" is also "in the Spirit" -- deliberately treading the highway of holiness. To such a walk all of God's people are called -- the deeds of the flesh being mortified, not by a self-pruning which is self-righteousness, but by an absolute surrender of our lives to the Divine Husbandman.

      A proper attitude for our hearts is expressed in the imploring words of a familiar an beautiful hymn:

Come, Holy Spirit, heav'nly Dove,
With all thy quick'ning powers;
Kindle a flame of sacred love
In these cold hearts of ours.

See how the trifle below,
Fond of these earthly toys:
Our soul, how heavily they go,
To reach eternal joys.

In vain we tune our formal songs,
In vain we strive to rise:
Hosannas languish on our tongues,
And our devotion dies.

Come, Holy Spirit, heav'nly dove,
With all thy quick'ning powers;
Come, shed abroad a Saviour's love,
And that shall kindle ours.

May this be our desire as, in full submission to Christ's authority and shameless identification with His suffering, we follow the steps of faithful Abraham -- seeking the city that our faithful Lord has gone to prepare.