Archive for the ‘Spirit’ Category

The Comforter

April 2nd, 2009

“The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began,

Now far ahead the road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

(Bilbo Baggins. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The same poem in another version occurs in The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship)

The Spirit is called in John 14:16-“another Comforter” (ASV, 1901).  The Greek is Paraclete. The Amplified New Testament includes a parentheses in Jn. 14:16 with additional phases of meaning associated with the Greek term Paraclete-“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain with you forever” [emphasis mine, RMH].  So, we see that this term has a wide array of significance.

Two major concepts about the Spirit appear in John 14:16-17

1.       The Spirit’s constant presence is promised to future followers of Jesus after his death and resurrection (Jn. 16:19-22,28).

2. This Spiritual presence will be a constant communion among future believers (see esp. 14:17 and 2 Cor. 13:14).

Wherever the road leads, the Comforter will be our comfort (2 Cor.1:3,4).

-Robert M. Housby

A Clear and Present Danger

October 22nd, 2006

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin—for they had said, He has an unclean spirit”

(Mark 3:28-30)

Mark 3:28-30 is a disturbing passage of Scripture. Often, during Bible-based discussions, someone will ask about this passage and the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. We have heard many explanations of it; one which even hints at the idea as being antiquated and no longer a possibility. In the pluralistic culture of our times, where all religions are of equal value, and political correctness is quick to point out bigoted statements, a reconsideration of Mark 3:28-30 may very much be in order.

Text         Teaching                Cultural Reaction

Mk. 3:28     “I say to you”          Jesus was just a man.
Mk. 3:28     “all sins”              Sin is nothing but social problems.
Mk. 3:28     “blasphemies”           Do not apply in the modern world.
Mk. 3:29     “the Holy Spirit”       One spirit is as good as another.
Mk. 3:29     “forgiveness”           If there is a God, he will forgive all.
Mk. 3:29     “guilty”                Guilt is just psychological neurosis.
Mk. 3:29     “an eternal sin”        When one dies, life is over.
Mk. 3:30     “an unclean spirit”     Just more religious gibberish.

What do all of the above cultural reactions have in common?

1. Rejection of Jesus as a prophet.
2. Displacement of biblical faith in favor of psychology and sociology.
3. Assuming that the General Theory of Evolution is correct.
4. Reducing Christianity to a non-credible and laughable world view.

Mark 3:28-30 is a disturbing passage—and it should be!

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, blasphemy, Mark, New Testament, Spirit Tags:

Why Some Fail to Understand Acts 10— The Conversion of Cornelius

August 27th, 2006

In an attempt to deflect the New Testament teaching regarding Christian baptism, some will introduce the conversion of Cornelius, with its irregular circumstances. But, when the ubject of Christian baptism is studied (Matt. 28:18-20; Jn.3:5; Acts 2:38;22:16; Rom. 6:3-5,17; Gal. 3:26,27; Tit. 3:4-6; 1 Pet. 3:20,21) apart from human “tenets” and “cardinal doctrines,” it is plain to see how it is essential to the plan of salvation. Then, why do some fail to understand the conversion of Cornelius in Acts 10? Well, to begin with, a bias is already in place when one’s church creed presupposes to tell its members what the Bible says on any subject, including baptism. (Mk. 7:8,9). Those supported by a particular church organization receive their salaries from these institutions. When these ministers cease representing the tenets of these organizations, they will cease being remunerated.


Assumption 1—Acts 10 may be isolated from Acts 11 without any consequences. Assumption 2—Cornelius was saved when he spoke in tongues (10:46).
Assumption 3—Luke’s main point—inclusion of the Gentiles (see 10:15,22,28,34, 35,45; 11:12) may be marginalized; while the Holy Spirit is made to appear as the primary subject of the chapter.


1. Assumption 1 is refutable because Acts 11 contains relevant information not mentioned in Acts 10. 11:14, for example, clearly places salvation in the message of the Holy Spirit, not in the manifestation (Compare10:22, 33 with 11:15).
2. Assumption 2 is refutable because it dismisses the command of 10:48. It is based upon the presupposition that Acts 2:4 (“the beginning,” Acts 11:15) was the moment of salvation; but, in fact, the command of Acts 2:38 and 10:48 remains to be obeyed as a divine condition for the moment of salvation from sin.
3. Assumption 3 is certainly refutable because the Holy Spirit “fell on them,” in a special manifestation (Acts 11:15); whereas, salvation (in the New Testament) is always based upon faith, repentance, confession, and baptism in the name of Jesus (see Acts 11:18; 43, 48).

The Acts 10 error is only believable by ignoring Acts 11; the command to be baptized for the forgiveness of sin; and, changing the primary subject of Acts 10.

Robert M. Housby

Categories: Acts, baptism, Bible, conversion, New Testament, Spirit Tags:

The Challenge of Ephesians 5:18— “Be Filled With the Spirit”

March 12th, 2006

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”

(Ephesians 5:18-21)

The challenge of Ephesians 5:18 is—“be filled with the Spirit…” Paul, here, uses the imperative mood (Be filled!). This is intriguing because the Ephesians were already sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13); which took place when they heard the gospel, believed the gospel, and were baptized (Eph. 1:13b; 5:26). This may account for why Christians sometimes go through periods of apathy. It very well may be that these non-productive periods of spiritual disinterest—whether regarding church attendance, daily devotionals, or, basic outreach beyond themselves—simply happens as a direct result of spiritual emptiness. We do know this, Paul firmly said, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). If this is Paul’s negative criticism to the Ephesians, his positive direction which he desires for them is expressed in 3:16,19—“…to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God…”

Concerning the challenge of Ephesians 5:18, we may say with certainty: that God wants his people filled; that he wants them filled internally; and, that he desires this to be Spiritual in content. His challenge and your response!?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Ephesians, New Testament, Spirit Tags:

The Holy Spirit—Guide

December 11th, 2005

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…”

(John 16:13)

“Lead me gently home Father, lead me gently home /
In life’s darkest hours, Father, When life’s troubles come /
Keep my feet from wandering, Lest from Thee I’ll roam /
Lest I fall upon the wayside, Lead me gently home.”

(Will L. Thompson, Lead Me Gently Home, Father)

“Guide” is one of the terms used to convey and portray a function of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:13). The statement, “…he will guide you,” was made only to the apostles (Jn. 16:1,2,7,4,10,12; Acts 1:21-26; 22:14; 1 Cor. 15:8,9). That is to say, the apostles were to be the primary recipients of “all the truth” (see 1 Cor. 12:28,29). This body of truth would eventually be relayed to all the world as a constant and continuous resource of gospel information.

Ephesians 6:17 indicates that “the sword of the Spirit” is “the word of God.” It is precisely this medium of the word which provides continuity of apostolic doctrine into the 21st century. The apostle John wrote: “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 Jn. 4:6). The guidance of the Spirit is the guidance of the Lord, because—“ the Lord is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:17).

To be led by the Spirit of God is possible today (Gal. 5:18; Rom. 8:14; Lk. 1:79). And, the Holy Spirit’s presence is always with his truth: gospel guided and gospel given.

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, John, New Testament, Spirit, truth Tags: