J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Can the advertised Nazarene-friendly NazNet website discover once again its holiness heritage that sparked its start at Pilot Point, Texas in 1908?
Some would have it today that the biblical call to the holy life is too difficult to understand. That is unfortunate in that for decades preachers, teachers and evangelists have given forth on the holiness lifestyle over and over again.
There are still those faithful to the holiness truth set forth in Scripture. May NazNet and all those into biblical research uncover this marvelous divine provision, proclaiming it without apology or compromise.
The nearly l20 gathered in the Upper Room were “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4)!
When the Holy Spirit comes upon a disciple, there are various occurrences which are primary and wonderful.
First, the infilling is a GIFT, not an achievement. All that God does in a believer’s life, from alpha to omega, is provided by divine grace. There is nothing which is trophied as an accomplishment by the human vessel.
When one receives salvation, it is by divine grace. Even the prevenient grace which precedes saving grace is emptied out upon the human heart by God Himself. So it is with the infilling. It is an act of grace executed by heaven’s powers so that the homo sapien may enter into the holy of holies provided here on earth.
Second, the infilling is bestowed by a PERSON, not an institution nor ritual nor ecclesiastical title. The origins of the sanctifying presence are from Him—the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, one may be filled by the Holy Spirit anywhere and at any time the Spirit deems it appropriate.
Consequently, no attention is focused upon churchly leaders nor rites nor liturgies nor assemblies. All of these are extraneous to the marvel of the infilling presence. God is a jealous God; therefore, He deserves all focus—totally so—for He is the fount of the sanctifying experience.
Third, the infilling is an introduction to the HOLINESS of God. It is a holy come-upon by the divine. Why? Because the Indweller is nothing but holiness. There is no sin nor carnality within the divine nature; consequently, when He sets up residence within the human life, that housing is evidenced in the holy life. “Be holy, even as I am holy.”
Therefore, the competing spirits of this existence are left to their unholiness. These spirits are the spirits of self, worldliness, Satan, carnality, bigotry, hypocrisy, and so on. No other spirit in planetary sphere can compare with the HOLY Spirit, for all others spirits are less than holy; in other words, they are of this fallen scope.
Fourth, the infilling is MULTI-DIMENSIONAL in splendor just as the Holy Spirit is infinitely creative in power, peace and purity. These many facets of the Holy Spirit’s personality have no allowance for evil; however, within the eternal awareness of His being, the Spirit is everlastingly imaginative—far beyond human speculations.
Consequently, when the Holy Spirit explores the human personality for kingdom fulfillment, there are endless doings which the Spirit will come upon. That is why it is faulty to circumscribe the Spirit’s work within the consecrated life. That is why it is unbiblical to narrowly define what and how the Spirit is to achievement His plans for and through the dedicated soul.
One must permit the Spirit His perfect freedom to do what He wants to do, how He wants to do it, and when He wants to perform it. Openness is the anticipatory key which opens up the infinite possibilities to the loving Spirit’s chartings for good.
Fifth, the infilling is DURABLE for the Holy Spirit is God! There is no start nor finish to God. There are no boundaries to God except those which would contradict His holy nature, such as wickedness. There are no “wearings thin” with God.
Therefore, when the holy work is begun in the consecrated heart, durability can see
through the experience to heaven’s gates. There is the possibility that one can remain true to the indwelling Spirit if one wills such tenacity to be lasting. It is true that the human still deals with foibles, shortcomings, eccentricities, mistakes in judgment and performance—but one does not have to backslide into sin if one determines holiness to be set. It is a matter of persevering with one will in control—that is, the DIVINE will only.
Sixth, the infilling is ADEQUATE for the Holy Spirit is all-sufficient. His chief historical proof of such is His raising Jesus from the dead. If there is a power who can raise the dead, then there is nothing which is impossible to that mighty presence. Yes, the Spirit of God is a match and more for any trial in this existence. There is nothing too difficult for Him to conquer—again, in His time and manner.
Consequently, in the indwelt soul, “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose”. What is His purpose? It is holiness. That is the chief desire of a holy God for His children of grace. Therefore, there is no testing which God cannot overcome. It is then a matter of faith on the part of the indwelt. One simply believes in the adequacy of the divine, no matter what may arise to threaten, even martyrdom.
Seventh, the infilling is ATTRACTIVE in that the Holy Spirit is handsome in His nature and evidence. All the beauty of creation is from the workings of the Spirit who first brooded upon those creation waters. All that is good, clean, delightful and happy finds its source in the Holy Spirit.
It is the unholy spirits which are violent, ugly and repulsive. They promise fulfillment, peace, prosperity and all the other human desires for this world. But they cannot produce lastingly any of these offers. That is why Satan is a deceiver, the Father of Lies. Therefore, when one is indwelt with the spirits of worldliness, self, lust, avarice and so forth, one is overcome with the grip of emptiness, finally controlled by these spirits.
Eighth, the infilling is HUMBLE in that all focus is upon the Provider. That is why the sermons and testimonies following the Day of Pentecost all point to Jesus, the One whose death upon the cross made Pentecost presence possible.
“Wait…until you are overcome from on high,” Jesus commissioned His own when ascending into heaven. It was Jesus who purchased our salvation and sanctification upon Calvary. It was Jesus who breathed His last by taking our sins upon His sacrificial head, becoming scapegoat for rebellious humanity. It was Jesus who rose from the grave. It was Jesus who returned as our Intercessor to the right hand of the Father in glory. It was Jesus who predicted that the disciples would be indwelt by holiness. It was Jesus who then was lifted up by the Early Church as the Supplier of the Pentecost Spirit.
Consequently, all self-glory in the work of the holy kingdom is anathema to the truth of Christianity. It must be abhorred. It must be exposed and put away immediately. There is no room for pomp and circumstance when it comes to the fleshly leadership of any Christian institution. All of that will pass as dust. Therefore, only the adorable beholding of the Sanctifying Savior is tolerable in any labor for God.
Humility is the most rare gift to be found in any generation. Yet it is absolutely imperative that believers come upon that gift in order for all ego attention to be driven from our midst. It must be a conscious effort. It must be prayed over. It must be set forth more publicly from every pulpit. It must be written across our hearts daily. We are nothing; He is everything. “For without Me, you can do nothing.” And without Him, we indeed are nothing.