Monday, September 20, 2010

Romans 8:1-17 ("through the Spirit")

In today’s culture of hazy understanding and misunderstood doctrine, one often hears that all Christian’s need to just get along and minimize the differences that they hold. Recently at one of those events where various Christian groups were doing something together, and such sentiments were being expressed, the following statement was overheard: “I am personally convinced that Martin Luther was never baptized in the Spirit.” (Often it is in those conversations about the insignificance of belief that just such beliefs are impossible to hold back.)

That statement does more to speak to that person’s understanding of Scripture than the person’s opinion of Martin Luther. (Although for some reason more and more charismatic leaning people are being heard expressing such thoughts. “Sure, Luther took the first necessary step in highlighting the Gospel, but he completely missed the next step [insert outlandish personal revelation here.])

Here in Romans, we see just one example of where the Bible makes it clear that ALL those who belong to Christ (read saved) have the Holy Spirit living in them. If we truly have Christ as our savior, we are also indwelled by the person of the Holy Spirit. Most people who say that salvation and baptism by the Holy Spirit are two separate events fail to really understand the Gospel. They usually see “conversion” as merely intellectual agreement to a fact. It is more about faith than understanding.

Faith changes us. The same power/Person that raised Christ from the dead is in all those who are God’s children. Merely understanding that Christ died for your sins or praying a prayer is not faith—it does not save. If you ARE saved then you have the Holy Spirit living within you. Whether or not you are allowing yourself to live in that power or be controlled by God at all times does not change the fact that He is there. The Gospel as the Bible presents it makes salvation and spiritual baptism synonymous.

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