We Need the Spirit
The Holy Spirit “came upon” individual disciples in the New Testament, giving them great power most notably in the effectiveness of their speech.
The Spirit also “filled” believers multiple times with the same effect. This is especially seen in the repeated experience of Peter in Acts. These are two ways of saying the same thing. We should think of “filled” as being overcome or dominated by the Spirit. Paul instructed the Ephesians like this: “Do not get drunk with wine, which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit (6:18). Do not be under the control of wine, in other words, but be overcome or under the control of the Spirit.
The most basic reality is that all disciples have the Holy Spirit as “life” within us, yet these terms above speak of enduements of power, again, principally in speech, since in speech the gospel is presented and believed which is the greatest good and the aim of all other demonstrations of power. The gospel had huge effects in the New Testament days. God can do that again. He does do that regularly on the individual level in any person’s life who is transformed by him.
The change of an individual who hears the gospel occurs because God works through his Spirit to accomplish what we cannot do ourselves. We see our inability to effect ultimate change in the persistent rejection of those who hear our presentation of the gospel. All people reject. They rejected the greatest evangelist, Jesus! This is man’s basic depravity at work. Man does not want to be dominated by God.
The moment of the new birth, however, is accomplish by a sovereign choice of God who may or may not extend his grace for salvation to the person at that time, and that supernatural effect of the Spirit by which the beauty of Christ becomes irresistible so as to make all other things as nothing of import. That beauty is especially seen in the gospel (2 Cor 4:3-6). As Christ’s parable of the treasure in the field displays, the heart of the transformation in salvation is when when the person finds the treasure “and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” In other words, in a person’s regeneration, the Spirit overcomes one’s attraction to everything else and creates a new powerful desire in the spirit of the person.
We need the Spirit!
There is no sin therefore in yielding to the Spirit so as to be dominated or filled with him, or to pray for the Spirit to come upon us.
We Need the Spirit