By Irvin Himmel
In ancient times soldiers fought with swords. The sword was but a tool in the hand of the warrior. The action performed through the agency of the sword was credited to the soldier. God’s word is the Spirit’s sword. Paul instructed Christians to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Some want to lay down the sword and have the Spirit fight for them in a supernatural way. This is not God’s plan.
In Eph. 5:18, 19, we are instructed to be “filled with the Spirit,” speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. The parallel passage, Col. 3:16, says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly . . . teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs . . . ” Considering these two passages together, we conclude that to be “filled with the Spirit” necessitates letting Christ’s word “dwell” in us. Some people suppose they can be filled with the Spirit apart from the word. This is not God’s plan.
Many preachers teach that there must be a direct operation of the Spirit on the heart before one can be converted. In the Bible, in every case of conversion, the word of the gospel was preached as the means of bringing the sinner to God. This leads to the conclusion that the Spirit operates through the word to convert the lost.
The word was revealed by the Spirit and is the Spirit’s instrument for converting the lost, leading the children of God, producing the fruit of the Spirit, and filling our hearts. Denominationalism makes the Spirit’s work mystical, inexplicable, and irresistible. Whatever the word of God discloses about the Spirit’s workingwe should accept, but let no operation be chargedto the Spirit unless the word teaches it. All we can know about the Spirit and His functioning is what we learn through the word.
Truth Magazine XX: 49, p. 779
December 9, 1976