Why Wouldn’t Everyone Want to be Filled with the Spirit? [Part 3]
Are you ready for some good news?
You receive the Holy Spirit when you become a Christian, but you can also receive continuing, even deepening, infillings of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s Text: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit….” (Ephesians 5:18)
If every Christian has the Spirit of Jesus abiding in his heart, why would Paul exhort us: “Be filled with the Spirit”? If we already have the Holy Spirit, what “filling” needs to happen?
Simply put, you receive the Holy Spirit when you become a Christian, but you can receive continuing, deepening infillings of the Holy Spirit. The key to understanding this theologically is that there are two Greek words in the New Testament for “filled,” and, though they have similar roots, the two words have very different meanings. When you read your English version of the New Testament you will never see the difference. It will just be translated filled or full, but understanding the difference in these two Greek words rectifies misunderstandings and invites you into new infillings of the Holy Spirit.
One Greek word is pléthó. It always refers to the Holy Spirit coming upon someone temporarily for ministry, boldness, gifting, and it is followed by immediate action. For example, in Acts:31 we read: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
The other Greek word for being filled with the Holy Spirit, pléroó, describes something becoming increasingly full. The filling does not happen at distinct times, but is a slow, progressive saturation. For example, in Acts 6:5 “…they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” This sort of infilling is referring to the abiding work of the Holy Spirit in every Christian’s life. As we grow in our Christian life, we become more like Jesus because of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit producing fruit in our lives.
Does every Christian have the Holy Spirit? Yes, the Holy Spirit fills (pléroó) the heart of every believer for the transformation of the believer’s character. Can we have powerful, continued infillings of the Holy Spirit producing gifts and manifestations for the good of others? Yes, the Holy Spirit fills (pléthó) the believer in recurring but unique ways that differ as the Spirit wills. In other words, every Christian has the Holy Spirit and every Christian can be filled anew with the Spirit. And that’s the Gospel!
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