Fullness of Christ (continued)
Is Such Fullness Optional?
May I choose whether I will be filled with the Holy Spirit or not? The Bible answers that question.
"Be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18)
It is a command. Christian friends, are you and I free to disobey the command of Christ? Or are we free to choose which commands we will obey and which we will not? I read in God's Word, "Thou shalt not kill." I find not one bit of difficulty in fully obeying that command, for I have never seen one human being I desired to kill. "Thou shalt not steal." This command also is easy to obey, for I have never seen anything I wanted badly enough to steal it and run the risk of going to prison. To obey this command presents little difficulty to me. But, "Be filled with the Spirit." "No, Lord, I do not want to be filled with the Holy Spirit for it makes too great a demand upon me. I will have to live too holy a life. I do not wish to obey this command." Can we say that to our Lord?
Here is a command, and obedience to it puts the Christian in possession of the greatest spiritual blessing possible this side of heaven. Then is not disobedience to this command the Christian's greatest sin? for if not filled with the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for him to live a life of victory, holiness, and power. No, to be filled with the Holy Spirit is not optional but obligatory for every Christian, and the Christian who is ot so filled is sinning.
Why Do I Not Have the Fullness of the Spirit?
There are two objective causes in the realm of truth. One is ignorance. In Christ we possess the fullness of the Godhead, and in the Spirit we have the One who makes this fullness our personal possession. But, because of ignorance of the Word of God, we lack this knowledge. Consequently, we lack the experience of fullness.
The other cause is unbelief. We know the truth but only intellectually and doctrinally. It has not become heart experience. Or we know it but we are afraid to act upon our knowledge and to appropriate this blessing by faith.
"So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:19).
Then there are two subjective causes in the realm of experience. One is unconfessed sin. The Holy Spirit is holy, and the place He indwells must be made and kept holy. This infilling demands cleansing from all known sin. It is impossible to be filled with the Holy Spirit while knowingly, deliberately, retaining sin in the life.
The cleansing of the Temple during the wonderful revival under King Hezekiah, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 29, shows us the manner and the extent of the cleansing God requires of us:
"Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place" (2 Ch. 29:5).
"And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord ... Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify ...and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end" (2 Ch. 29:16-17).
(continued with # 17)