|Vol. 14 No. 12 December 2012||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
The Holy Spirit’s medium through which He operates is the Word of God! Were some brother so bold as to propose that the Spirit operates anytime apart from this medium, he could not tell precisely what the Holy Spirit does or how He does it. The moment one announces the what and the how outside the medium of God’s Word, he embraces Pentecostalism and the charismatic, and he denies the Word of God. Rather, “The fact that every effect and influence that the Holy Spirit exerts upon and within us is affirmed of the Word of God proves that the Spirit operates only through the Word…” (Wallace 18).
Brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr. lists thirty-one joint effects of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God upon man. Nothing with which the Holy Spirit is charged to do today is accomplished outside the Word of God.
(1) The spiritual begetting is with the Word (James 1:18; 1 Corinthians 4:15). (2) The spiritual birth springs from the incorruptible and eternal Word (1 Peter 1:23). (3) The quickening of the heart is with the operation of the Word (Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:12-13). (4) The spiritual cleansing is a process of the Word (John 15:2; Ephesians 5:26). (5) The soul is purified in obedience to the Word (1 Peter 1:22). (6) The soul is saved by the implanted Word (James 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2). (7) The justification by faith comes through obedience to the Word (Romans 2:13). (8) Men are filled with spiritual knowledge through application of the word of the Gospel (Colossians 1:5, 9). (9) Members of the church were given inspired instruction to let the Word dwell in them (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:18-19). (Note the two preceding passages are nearly identical, only the former verse names the Word and latter verses mention the Spirit; the Holy Spirit dwells in Christians the way the Word dwells in the same.) (10) The means of direction and guidance is that of being led by the Word (Psalm 119:105; Luke 1:77-79). (11) The witness within the heart of true believers is the Word of Truth (1 John 5:6; John 17:17). (12) The growth of the spiritual babe is by the milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2; 1:23). (13) The effectual working within is accomplished by the indwelling Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13). (14) The truth within produces fruit without (Colossians 1:5-6). (15) The indwelling truth is the rule by which the followers of Christ walk in the doing of his entire will (2 John 4; 3 John 4). (16) The source of strength is the knowledge of the Word of His grace (Acts 20:32; Colossians 1:10-11). (17) The inspired Word has in it the power to comfort the bereaved (1 Thessalonians 4:18; Romans 15:4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4). (18) The spirit of grace in the apostolic epistles is set forth as the Gospel of Christ (Acts 20:24, 34; Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 10:29). (19) The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Romans 5:5). (The two preceding passages attribute effect on the human heart to the Gospel and the Spirit.) (20) The Word is said to live within the one who believes it (John 6:35, 51). (21) The Words spoken by Christ engender spirituality in us (John 6:63) “The Holy Spirit cannot make any one more spiritual than the spiritual words of Christ can make him.” (22) The Word within the heart flows outward into the life (John 4:14; 6:31-35; 7:38-39). (23) The entrance of the Word enlightens the heart (Psalm 119:130; 19:8). (24) The source of understanding is the inspiration of the Word (Psalm 119:104; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). (25) The work of sanctification is completed by the Word (John 17:17). (26) Not lending ear to the Word is resisting the Spirit (Acts 7:51; Nehemiah 9:30). (27) The unbelief of the Word is grieving the Spirit (Hebrews 3:7-12). (28) The disobedience to the Word is quenching the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). (29) The repudiation of the Word is blaspheming the Spirit (Mark 3:28-29; 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:5). (30) The body that is interred in the tomb will be raised at the last day by the Word of Christ (John 5:28-29). (31) The criterion of the judgment will be the Word of Christ (John 12:48). (18-34)
After consideration of what the Word of God does for man when it is applied to the soul, what is left for any other agency, including the Holy Spirit, outside and apart from the Word of God? Absolutely nothing! “They may continue to chant that the Holy Spirit does it, too – but the incontrovertible conclusion is that the Spirit accomplishes all of it through the Word” (Wallace 34). Further, “[i]ndependent of the Word we could never know ‘whether there be any Holy Spirit’” (Wallace 7). The Holy Spirit and the Word of God must work their works together or in opposition to each other. Whatever the Holy Spirit were to do apart from the Word of God would at the same time indict the Gospel for inefficiency. However, the Bible is all sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 8:32; Acts 20:32).
Wallace, Foy E., Jr. The Mission And Medium Of The Holy Spirit. Nashville: Foy E. Wallace, Jr. Publications, 1967.
T. Pierce Brown
There is little question in the minds of those who are committed to pure, New Testament Christianity that untold damage has been done by all the false systems masquerading under the name of Christianity. However, as I meditated on this subject, I remembered Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee.” Surely no student of the Bible can doubt that God has used ungodly men and situations to work for good to those who love Him. Let us consider some values of counterfeit religions.
Strange as it may seem at first glance, the tremendous amount of evil that has been produced by false religions from the original apostate church on down to her present children and grandchildren should call attention to the careful student to the glory, good and wonder of the true Gospel. This was first impressed on me while in a doctor’s office. The doctor was berating what she called “the Christian religion,” but she kept referring to the practices of Catholic and Protestant churches. I said to her, “I have no apology to make, nor desire to uphold the things you are criticizing. What do you find wrong with Christ or His teaching?” She replied, “Nothing.” Then she kept me in her office for an hour while her waiting room filled up. I made another appointment to see her at home where I would not feel guilty for keeping her patients waiting. Most of the criticism I have heard directly from skeptics, agnostics and avowed atheists has not been directed so much at Christ and His teaching as at the perversions. When such a person is honest, the contrast between the purity and salutary effects of the pure Gospel in contrast with the foolishness and evils of counterfeits can be very impressive.
Closely connected with that is this truth: The value of the true system of Christianity can be estimated by the number of counterfeits. That which is not thought to be valuable is seldom if ever counterfeited. Did you ever hear of a person who would try to duplicate or imitate a little rock found in the bed of a stream? A diamond, however, is a different matter.
There is a third value of a false religion that we may admit, even if it ultimately causes millions to be lost. That is, even though a religion is false, it may have enough truth in it to cause a person to begin to examine the Word of God for himself and get beyond that which is false. We may illustrate both the danger and value if we think of a coming flood. The water will rise twenty feet above its present level. The only ladder that will get you to a place of safety will be one, which will enable you to get up to a safe perch twenty feet above where the level now is. Men come selling six-foot ladders. Is there any value in your spending money for it? If you depend on it for salvation from the flood, the answer is, “No.” However, in some cases, it may enable you to be saved from the flood long enough to obtain another ladder or another means to get above the floodwaters.
We need not fear to express gratitude to Martin Luther, John Wesley or any other person for anything they did to enable man to rise above the flood of sin and depravity to any degree. The tragic thing is that many, instead of using what those men and others taught to get back to the original pure Gospel which is able to save souls, stopped and depended on a ladder that was too short.