How to Live the Victorious Life

3. Effectively

The Holy Spirit is the effective Agent of sanctification. God sends Him into the hearts of His people in order that they might be sanctified. How then can our sanctified obedience be the condition for receiving the Holy Spirit? Yet on every hand we read books and listen to sermons telling us how we may receive the Holy Spirit by "five steps,""seven steps," "absolute surrender," and other amazing feats of human endeavor. Some even teach that the outpouring of God's Spirit will take place when God's people are fully sanctified. But if we could do these things in order to get the Holy Spirit, what would we need the Spirit for?

What is the testimony of God's Word? Simply that Christ, by His perfect righteousness, has won for us the gift of God's Spirit. The Spirit has been given to this one Man (Acts 2:32, 33), and all who receive this one Man are forgiven and receive the Holy Spirit without measure (Acts 10:43, 44; John 7:38, 39).
    O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? . . . For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. —Gal. 3:1, 2, 10-14.
The way of justification by faith is the only way of receiving the Spirit of God. To be justified means to be declared righteous. It means that God not only regards us as righteous, but can proceed to treat us as righteous. How does He treat the forgiven sinner as righteous? By giving him the gift of the Holy Spirit. Nothing more and nothing less than perfect righteousness is necessary for the outpouring of God's Spirit. As every believer has this perfect righteousness imputed to him, he may on this one infallible basis have the Holy Spirit imparted to him.

When the doctrine of justification by faith is allowed to languish, there is no Holy Spirit and, of course, no true sanctification — even though people spend all their time talking about getting ready for the outpouring of God's Spirit. When justification by faith is revived, the Spirit breathes new life into the church, and God's people run the way of sanctification with great joy and zeal.

These two gifts belong together — "the gift of righteousness" (Rom. 5:17), which is imputed, and the gift of the Spirit, which is imparted ("shed abroad in our hearts") (see Rom. 5:1, 5). We may separate these two blessings in the matter of thinking so that we may know where to repose in hope of salvation. But to separate justification and the gift of the Holy Spirit in point of time is a great mischief. It divides the Trinity and divides the church.

Intro | Legally | Psychologically | Effectively | Positionally | Examples | Need | Principles | Conclusion
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