The Gift of the Holy Spirit

by Roel Velema

And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself’” (Acts 2:38,39).

You might wonder; what do these words of Peter mean? And what is the gift of the Holy Spirit? Should we all be baptized before we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? In answering these questions, we have to keep in mind that there are TWO ministries or aspects of the Spirit relative to Christians.

The inward aspect of the Spirit

The first aspect, which is INWARD, is the Spirit we receive when we are born again. This birth from above originated in John 20:22: “… He (Jesus) BREATHED on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’”. This is similar to the LORD God forming man of dust from the ground in Genesis 2:7: “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and BREATHED into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” The Greek verb in John 20:22 for ‘breathed’ (Greek: emphusaoo) is unique and used only once in the New Testament. The Old Testament equivalent can, however, be found in Genesis 2:7 and Ezekiel 37 (where new life is breathed into dry bones).

There can be no doubt that Genesis 2:7 speaks about the natural life of man, while John 20:22 points to the new life of man, a spirit-filled life that we experience when we are born again through faith in Christ.

The outward aspect of the Spirit

The second aspect, which is OUTWARD, is not the ministry of the Spirit within, but “… the promise of my Father UPON you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; cp. Acts 1:4). This promise of the Spirit became effective at Pentecost, also to those who were born again from John 20:22 on. This ministry is related to power and the spread of the gospel (Acts 1:8).

Water baptism

A person who is baptized in water, testifies about the new birth, the move from death to life in Christ. So it is obvious that in Acts 2:38, following the water baptism, the Spirit UPON is in view. Luke says that the believer will receive the PROMISE of the Spirit. Paul deals with this in Ephesians 1:13: “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT.” We are in Him (1 Cor. 1:30), and in Him we have received both aspects of the Holy Spirit. In Him we have received ALL spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:9,10).

Of course, the question arises whether we have received the gift of the Spirit when we have not (yet) been baptized in water, though born from above and being in in Christ. Well, Jesus said of the Spirit: “The wind blows where it wishes” (John 3:8). The Wind of the Spirit blows wherever He wants. For example, the great revivalist Charles Finney received a mighty baptism of the Spirit UPON him, while he didn’t know there was a Spirit at all. But to Luke it was beyond dispute that every believer should be baptized soon after conversion and not to be postponed. God does something for us in baptism, we do nothing for Him. Our acceptance of baptism is only acceptance of God’s gift.

The gift of the Spirit Himself

The expression “the gift of the Holy Spirit” has been constructed with a genitive which points to the Holy Spirit HIMSELF. The gift is bestowed upon each and every repentant and baptized person and cannot, therefore, refer only to charismatic gifts of the Spirit, speaking with tongues, healing, etc. We do not read that any of the 3,000 spoke in tongues, yet all received the gift of the Spirit. There is no doubt that many at Pentecost received both aspects of the Spirit at once when they came to Christ.

The basis upon which the Spirit has been given

The birth from above has been given on basis of the resurrection of Christ, while the baptism of the Holy Spirit has been given on basis of the ascension of Christ. Both had their unique historical start at the resurrection day and at Pentecost.

What about you?

Acts 2:38,39 has been promised to “everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself”. This includes you and me. Have you already applied these verses to your life? Have you surrendered to Christ? Have you repented and been baptized in water, following your new birth?

The Mind of Christ

by Roel Velema

’For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But WE HAVE the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

Paul is a master in bringing up the shadows of the Old Testament and apply them to the blessings of the New Covenant. Here the apostle quotes Isaiah 40:13:
Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him His counsel?
Comparing these two passages, we see that understanding the mind (of the Lord) is equal to measuring the Spirit (of the Lord). This ‘measuring’ (ESV) is a directing (KJV) or fathoming (NIV).

Paul continues that we have this mind as a blessing of the New Covenant. We are Christ as us, so we have His mind. His mind directs us and brings up the depths of God through the Spirit. And the Spirit has a sevenfold characteristic as seen in Isaiah 11:1,2:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD.

Paul added to that:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

All this characteristics are now ours, through which He makes known His unfathomable will. The word ‘mind’ in 1 Cor. 2:16 is the translation of the word ‘nous’ in the Greek text. It also means ‘disposition’, ‘insight’, ‘understanding’ and ‘thinking ability’.

The mind of Christ is the disposition of Christ, while, on the other hand, there is the disposition (‘nous’) of the flesh (Col. 2:18).

Paul also speaks about being “fully persuaded in one’s own mind” (Rom. 14:5), which points to awareness or consciousness. God is Spirit, and Spirit is consciousness. God is consciousness personified, and He is spiritual awareness. In fact, where the Spirit shows His mind as “I AM”, there is consciousness and liberty as “I am”. The ultimate end is a consciousness, a fixed unchangeable relationship in experience of God and me as one person. Until all is Spirit, there will be the psychological urge to change myself, polish away our fleshly differences and compare ourselves with others. Having the mind of Christ, we simply live from the inner conviction that we are the will of God. Faith means that we live out of Christ-consciousness rather than a consciousness of effect, of our weal and woe, of sin or lack. And so we move in the mind of Christ, not knowing anything of ourselves, but only speaking according to the sevenfold Spirit.

Paul once served with his mind (‘nous’) the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin (Rom 7:25). His thinking ability focused him on the law of God, while “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). So we set our mind on the Spirit and so by faith become conscious of the mind of the Spirit.

Paul surely likes Isaiah 40:13, because he quotes it also in Romans 11:34:

For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:33-36).

Yes, we have the ‘nous’ of Christ, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! In the millennium the overcomers will have the mind of Christ in particular as the hidden manna to feed others from their inner depths in Christ (Rev. 2:17)!

The Kierkegaard Corner – Spirit means I

by Roel Velema

I really like the aphorisms, the one-liners, by Kierkegaard. Here is one:

To be ‘spirit’ means to be ‘I’. God needs many ‘I’s’, because He wants to be loved.”

I love this one, because for many years I believed that ‘spirit’ was vague and intangible, yet the life of God to me and erroneously thought my ego was located in soul. What a day it was when I saw that spirit means a person. I worship God in spirit (John 4:24), and the Spirit testifies to my spirit that I am a child of God (Rom. 8:16). Yes we are spirit to be expressed in soul and body. His I and my I have been joined in love as one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), distinguishable, yes, but inseparable ― in two-oneness. That’s the way lovers live and that’s the only way God can be all, not as a separate I, but Christ as my I.

I really like the aphorisms, the one-liners, by Kierkegaard. Here is one:

To be ‘spirit’ means to be ‘I’. God needs many ‘I’s’, because He wants to be loved.”

I love this one, because for many years I believed that ‘spirit’ was vague and intangible, yet the life of God to me and erroneously thought my ego was located in soul. What a day it was when I saw that spirit means a person. I worship God in spirit (John 4:24), and the Spirit testifies to my spirit that I am a child of God (Rom. 8:16). Yes we are spirit to be expressed in soul and body. His I and my I have been joined in love as one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), distinguishable, yes, but inseparable ― in two-oneness. That’s the way lovers live and that’s the only way God can be all, not as a separate I, but Christ as my I.

“Lord, what about …?”

by Roel Velema

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole SPIRIT and SOUL and BODY be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).

Lord, what about my spirit?

You sit with me in heavenly places far above all principalities and powers. You are joined with me in timeless ascension with your saved spirit in two-oneness with my Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). Who you are is who you are in union with my Spirit. Spirit is not something vague, because I am spirit, and you worship me in spirit (John 4:24). I constantly testify many things to you by my Spirit, for example that you are a child of God (Rom. 8:16). Your spirit is your safe haven, you and I are one in the partaking of the divine nature. You ARE the new man, the new creation, the new spirit and the new heart. I am the light of the world and so are you. I am “I AM” and you are also “I am” as a redeemed creature partaking in the fullness of the divine nature. Here you are perfect. If you are mature, you will think this way (Phil. 3:15). In spirit you have been raised and ascended and you can’t die further. So reject the thought that you have to die more and more to self. You can’t!

Lord, what about my soul?

Your soul and body are the inward and outward natural members to express your spirit in this world. Soul and body are not in heavenly places, like your spirit. They are part of your being and they give specific color to your life, but they do not represent who you are in your deepest identity in spirit. You are spirit, have a soul and live in a body. Your soul and body provide your outer clothing in this world. Soul and body may appear to be you with all their reasonings and emotions, but that is the main error among my people today. You have them, but your aren’t them. Soul and body cannot function apart from spirit control either the Spirit of God or the spirit of this world. You are called to walk in the Spirit, not in the soul. So don’t give in to the temptation and the urge to deal with so-called old behavior patterns of soul and spirit. Leave the futile folly of a lifelong effort to correct what satan and sin did to you. You live mature, I have taken over your messy natural life.

The one thing to do is to deny your soul. Dying to self has been completed in spirit, but to deny the soul is an entire different matter. Paul denied his soul when he said:

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

Now you have been raised with me, and can die no more, do not count your life of any value to yourself. My life is love and I always lay down my life for others in intercession, to stand in the breach for others (Ezek. 22:30).

Your body and soul are weak and mortal, but not sinful. You never have an excuse to sin. You can live in the full settling of the new life. Yet, “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

Lord, what about my body?

Soul and body, the psychic and physical, function together at the same level. You are not your body. Just as you deny your soul, you present your body as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), as an instrument for righteousness (Rom. 6:13).

You have been saved in spirit, but not yet in soul and body. Live from the ascension in spirit, deny yourself in soul and you will reach the end of your faith, i.e. the saving of the soul (1 Peter 1:9). That’s the prize of you spiritual race.

Lord, what about sin? How does it affect, spirit, soul and body?

Once you were a sinner, but not anymore (Rom. 5:8). You died to sin. You are seated with me in heavenly places, where sin has no access. You have no old man anymore, because the joining of your spirit to the spirit of evil is a past issue. You can sin, but not according to the old man, because he literally died. The new man, with its new spirit and new heart cannot sin, so what causes the sinning? The cause is the same as with me, Jesus. I never had an old man and you and I are now in the same ascension in spirit. But I was also tempted. Temptation is not limited to some smouldering sinful element in you. I, Jesus in the purity of my heart could be tempted, and can you.

Your new heart can be tempted, but the heart itself is seated in heavenly places. However, just as soul and spirit our the outward clothing of the spirit, the heart also has its clothing. Scripture speaks about the inward clothing of the heart and outward clothing of the body:

And rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joël 2:13). The heart has its own garment and can be temporary stained because of unbelief that leads to sin by allowing to enter the spirit of evil to enter the soul and uses the body as an instrument for unrighteousness (Gen. 4:7).

It’s sin that does the sinning not you, says Romans 7:17. Many of my people do not grasp this and think that’s an excuse for sinning and blame another, because we hide from any responsibility of are own. How3ever, here we come to deepest need of the church to today. The church still lives in the spirit of the Old Covenant where dualism is in the forefront. However, you only have one responsibility, to live by faith. You have everything by faith, by choice. If you grasp that everything falls in place. Under the blessing of the New Covenant you are not just you, but Christ as you, as you are seated with Him in heavenly places. You are no longer the operator. In Romans 7-8 Paul never sees the I as the operator, but the one whose slave we are.. So, look away from your humanity and look in the mirror of my Sprit and you see and know who you are.

Funny Lord, that I am just as tripartite as my car

Yes, your car also has been made up by a motor, coachwork and steering/wheels.

Therefore, just as your car, you in spirit, soul and body, must hit the road. I placed you in soul and body in foreign territory where you are a soldier wearing my armor (Eph. 6:10-17). This armor aren’t things, but just me as you!

I, Christ, am your truth (John 14:6), your righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30), your peace (Eph. 2:14), your faith (Gal. 2:20), your salvation (Ps. 118:14). I, Christ, am also God’s word (logos) (John 1:1), the ‘Logos of God’ (Rev. 19:13). God’s Logos is God’s thought behind everything, which is I, Christ, expressing Himself through the eternal cross in the heart of Father, His Self-for-others life.

Because I, Christ, am as you (1 John 4:17b), I am also your logos, always living up to the self-denying cross.

So, again, hit the road, as me!

Homosexuality and Salvation

by Roel Velema

Can a homosexual, whether practicing or not, have eternal life? Of course he or she can! If a gay or lesbian can’t come to Christ in simple faith just as they are, then neither can any practicing sinner. If practicing sinners can be saved, then so can practicing homosexuals. If practicing homosexuals who believe in the work of Christ at Calvary for them are lost, then so are we all.

However salvation is far more than eternal life, i.e. our past salvation (Eph. 2:8,9). There is also as present salvation (Rom. 5:10b) and a future salvation (Hebr. 1:14), which have to with reigning as kings in this life inwardly, and as kings in the millennium outwardly. Next to accepting Christ, there is also the aspect of walking in Christ (Col. 2:6). With the latter aspect Paul deals in 1 Corinthians 5. It is important to note as well that Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 indicates that some who were a part of (i.e., were “inside”) the body of Christ at Corinth were practicing fornicators and alcoholics and the like (1 Corinthians 5:12; see also 5:1-5; 6:15-20; 11:30). He does not question their eternal salvation, he questions their life following eternal salvation. Paul writes further in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, NOR MEN WHO PRACTICE HOMOSEXUALITY, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” These verses don’t deal with our past salvation but with running the spiritual race successfully. It has to,  because our past salvation is not an inherited salvation. So a homosexual believer who persists in practicing homosexuality, is not running the spiritual race correctly to become an overcomer and will not have part in the overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2-3, and not to participate in their present and future aspects of salvation.

By nature we all were without hope in this world (Eph. 2:12), whether we are homosexuals or not. In Christ there is hope for every person. So, what are we to do with a new Christian who is a practicing homosexual? We treat them like any new believer. We should give them instruction, encouragement, love, attention, fellowship, and time to grow. 1 Corinthians 5:11-12 is not talking about new Christians who are in the process of breaking the habits of their old life. It is rather talking about believers who are stubbornly, defiantly, and unrepentantly walking in the ways of their former life.

The Nashville Declaration is loving in its basis, because it doesn’t want the homosexual to stay in their former life. It recognizes that God created man as Adam and Eve, not as Adam and Evert, not as Ada and Eve. The true loving Christian recognizes that whatever we may say about homosexuality, it is a corruption of God’s order of creation, and it would be unloving to affirm others in this corruption which God hates.

I agree with all that the Nashville Statement says, just as John Piper said: “With a focus on this new ethical landscape, the statement aims to help clarify Christian convictions.”

However, I see one flaw, not in the American Nashville Statement, but in the postscript of the Dutch version, where it says: “De volle overwinning over onze zondige oude natuur is weggelegd voor straks, als alle ware gelovigen eeuwig met Christus zullen zijn. Dan zijn zij met lichaam en ziel geheel aan Hem gewijd en zal Hij zijn alles en in allen” (“The full victory over our sinful old nature will reserved for later, when all true believers will be with Christ forever. Then they are completely dedicated to Him with body and soul and He will be everything and in all“).

This is a serious mistake, and I wholeheartedly oppose it, because it doesn’t put the hope of a born again homosexual in its right perspective. No believer has an old sinful nature anymore. The old man in the born again person literally doesn’t exist anymore. The old man was the joining of the spirit of man with the spirit of evil, a relationship that has been broken in Christ and emanated into the new man (cp. 1 Cor. 6:17). A believing homosexual has passed from darkness to light and his or her identity is in Christ in spirit. So homosexuality is located in the soul and generally comes in view where there occurred a disturbance in adolescence when the psycho-sexual identity is formed. A believer can sin, but not according to the old man anymore.

Every believer has to learn the difference between soul and spirit and how to walk in the Spirit who controls the soul and the body with God as Keeper. It’s unloving to encourage the homosexual to remain in his or her sexual preferences. Here there is a lesson to learn for the church as well, because she hardly has taught the difference between soul and spirit. There is a difference between the spiritual (‘pneumatikos’) man and the unspiritual (natural)(‘psuchikos’) man (1 Cor. 2:14-16). Once we begin to use the words ‘spirit’ and ‘ soul’ interchangeably, we also are forced to use the spiritual man and the unspiritual (natural) man interchangeably. I don’t know any Christian who is willing to say the latter.

So we are to focus on our identity in spirit and not on particular longings of the soul. If we focus on our identity and the One who is keeping us, God will settle us in our faith. Sins will drop away, soul and spirit will become clear, and temptation and the enemy will have been exposed.  Then, walking in the Spirit will become your norm and we will see that Christ’s work solved the problem of sin. We can have full victory in this life, so don’t take it when others say this is reserved for later. Yes, we can sin, but don’t have to. And if we sin, “it is no longer I [in my deepest identity] who do it, but sin that dwells within me[‘temporally allowed to enter]” (Rom. 7:17).

So the gospel offers THE great message for the homosexual to walk in victory, but we should not deadly weaken the gospel by saying that we still have a sinful nature. That would be a corruption too!