Spiritual Light

instructions in the faith for spirit filled believers
This book contains perhaps the most needed understanding for God's people today. Prompted by the word of the Lord this book analyzes what the Bible says about the most fundamentally important aspects of Jesus' saving work. Precious understanding revealed by a loving God for His people!
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Book Contents
Title Page
Original Introduction
Introduction to the 3rd Printing
My Credentials
Chapter One
The Third Commandment
Credentials for Chapter One
Marriage - Taking the Name
Spiritual Adultery
Like All the Nations
For Our Admonition
Chapter Two
The Sacrifice of Christ
Credentials for Chapter Two
The Sacrifice of Christ - The Copy & the True
An Important Detail - Where was Christ Sacrificed?
The Witness
Chapter Three
Conversion and Baptism
Credentials for Chapter Three
Two Gospels
Circles - The Body of Christ
Same Wrong Error - Sufficiency of Christ
Chapter Four
Salvation and Works
Credentials for Chapter Four
Ignorant and Unstable
Hebrews - Hope - Kept by Power
Glorified - Two Rocks (Rom 10:9-10)
Acts 16 - Saved Through Faith
Error in the Name of Truth
Remnants of Works - Conclusion

Spiritual Light

The Witness

Not all that these truths imply concerning the doctrine of Christ is immediately evident. Some elaboration is, therefore, in order.

When Jesus ascended (Acts 1:9), he ascended out of the range of human sight and hearing. And in the heavenly temple into which he ascended, there were no microphones, tape recorders, cameras, or newsmen to record and report to people on earth as to what had occurred. Jesus, being glorified, sat down at God's right hand and has not returned to earth since then. No angels were dispatched to report the accomplishment of the sacrifice. How, then, did the one hundred twenty faithful followers of Jesus find out that the sacrifice had been made and accepted, and that Jesus had been glorified with God? John gave us the simple answer:

"It is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth."

(1Jn. 5:6b)

While with his disciples, Jesus had foretold of the Spirit's coming and the purpose for it:

"But when the comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me."

(Jn. 15:26)

The followers of Jesus could testify of seeing his miracles, his suffering, his resurrection, and his ascension. They saw these things for themselves. They did not need the holy Ghost to reveal to them that these events occurred. But as to what happened beyond the clouds into which Jesus disappeared, the disciples were completely ignorant - until the Spirit of God came from heaven into their hearts, testifying that God the Father had accepted the Son's sacrifice and that "God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name" (Phip. 2:9).

The Spirit of life given at Pentecost was, and is God's own immutable testimony of His Son. We could even say that the Spirit that came at Pentecost is God's Word concerning His Son (cp. Eph. 6:17). And so, to receive God's Spirit demonstrates one's faith in what He says about His Son (cp. Jn. 3:33). On the other hand, the one who rejects God's Spirit "has made Him a liar because he has not believed in the witness which God has given concerning His Son" (1Jn. 5:10b).

The Scriptures, then, leave us no alternative. Either we receive God's holy Spirit and, so, declare before men that He has spoken the truth about His Son, or we reject God's Spirit, His personal testimony that Jesus is Lord, and thus declare that God is a liar. This doctrine of John's is sobering in its simplicity. Those with the baptism of the holy Ghost have believed that God is true and are worthy of salvation, and those without it have made God out to be a liar and are worthy of the damnation that is coming.

Another truth that is made obvious, once the Sacrifice of Christ is rightly understood, is that when the Spirit came at Pentecost, it came for the first time. The disciples received the holy Ghost when they were baptized with it on the day of Pentecost, and not before.

Jesus' ascension in the first chapter of Acts preceded both his sacrifice and his glorification. When the sacrifice was accomplished, he sat down (Heb. 10:12-13); he did not return to earth.8 If then, Christ's sacrifice and subsequent glorification were not accomplished until Acts, it is clear that the Spirit was not available until Acts, for the Spirit came as a result of the sacrifice (cp. Jn. 7:37-39) and as God's witness to the Son's glorification.

The disciples, therefore, received the Spirit at Pentecost when they were baptized with it, and not before. This means that they were converted on the day of Pentecost because receiving the Spirit is what conversion is (see Rom. 8:9b). Just a little study of the Scriptures will show that baptism with the Spirit and receiving of the Spirit happened simultaneously in every recorded case: the Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17), Paul (Acts 9:17-18), Cornelius (Acts 10:44-45), and the twelve Ephesian disciples (Acts 19:1-6). Every person who has ever received the Spirit of God received it when he was baptized with it. But we will deal more with that point in a later chapter.

Acts 2:4

All that we have studied withers and comes to nought without taking the next step and observing the practical result of the sacrifice of Christ in the lives of his followers. Since the receiving of God's Spirit happens at conversion, this means the disciples were not converted until their experience during the feast of Pentecost, in Acts chapter 2! There is nothing in the gospels that suggests that the disciples were born again before the book of Acts. On the contrary, long after he had called his disciples to follow him, Jesus spoke of their conversion as a future event (Mt. 18:1-3), even up to the last hours of his earthly life (Lk. 22:32).

While it is true that the disciples were chosen (Jn. 15:16-19), separate from and hated by the world (Jn. 17:14), loved by the Father (Jn. 16:27), and ordained to spread the word of the kingdom with power (Mt. 10:1-8), they still were not sanctified (Jn. 17:17), they were not in Christ (Jn. 17:11, 21-23), the love of God was not in them (Jn. 17:26), nor did they have the Spirit (Jn. 14:15-17; cp. Jn. 7:37-39). All these things would happen to them at their conversion.

Jesus' passionate desire was to have the disciples to be one with him in the Father (Jn. 17:20-23). And as much as Jesus would have savored having fellowship in spirit with his disciples while he walked on earth, he knew that it could not be until he paid the awful price. His death was the precondition of their regeneration. The utter aloneness of Jesus in this sense is an often overlooked part of his earthly suffering which must have been among his heaviest burdens. His beloved disciples would not really understand him until he went away and the Spirit had come.

During his last supper discourse, Jesus compared the spiritual condition of his disciples to a woman in labor. Conceived by the word of life, they had continued with Jesus until, at the end of his earthly ministry, they were near the hour of birth (Pentecost). Jesus said:

"Truly, truly, I say unto you, that you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."

(Jn. 16:20-22)

Baptized Into Christ

The doctrinal separation of conversion and baptism is one of the most puzzling and indefensible developments in the history of faith. Paul plainly taught that the baptism of the holy Spirit was the means of entering the body of Christ (Rom. 6:1-4; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12). Peter just as plainly taught that the resurrection of Christ brought about the baptism that saves us (1Pet. 3:20-21).

Yet, somehow, despite these Scriptures, and Jesus' own teaching, and the accounts of conversions in Acts, the belief that conversion occurs before receiving the holy Ghost baptism is practically ubiquitous among modern believers. And with the abundance of such clear, contradictory evidence, it is astonishing that such a doctrine should have ever gained such widespread acceptance.

Let's take a closer look at conversion and baptism right now.