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« on: February 06, 2010, 02:35:34 AM »

THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK

by

S. Franklin Logsdon

"It is expedient for you that I go away . . . I will send him unto you"

Copyright @ 1960

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

THE SPIRIT AND THE ONE BAPTISM

"One Lord, one faith, one baptism"

Paul was an authority on church doctrine. His Ephesian epistle is without doubt the highest peak in a mountain range of revelation bearing on church truth. This letter of six chapters falls readily into two general divisions of three chapters each, the first division emphasizing the position of the believer, and the second his practice. The believer is equally helpless in both areas. Hence, the necessity for divine assistance.

The Godhead is manifested in the opening of the first division.

The saint is:

- Blessed of the Father with all spiritual blessings;
- Accepted in the Son,
- Sealed by the Spirit until the day of redemption.

But the Godhead is just as prominent in the beginning of the second division:

- The Spirit in building the "body of Christ,"
- The Son in His provisions for His church,
- The Father in His sovereign surveillance.
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 02:36:41 AM »

In the seven unities of Ephesians 4, the church is not acting. It is being acted upon.

These are not, therefore (contrary to popular opinion), unities for the believer to keep. They are being kept by the eternal Godhead for the benefit of the believer. Our salvation, security and satisfaction all rest upon the counsels and operations of the Holy Trinity. To secure our position "in the heavenlies" required the interposition of each member of the Godhead. To support our practice on earth necessitates no lesser assistance. Thus, as we begin to walk and serve, as the "prisoner of the Lord" entreats us in chapter 4, we are assured of the co-ordinated cooperation of the Spirit, the Son and the Father. Otherwise, there could be no worthy walk in the "vocation wherewith ye are called."

In this practical division of Ephesians, the apostle calls for a walk worthy of our position (4:1).

- In verse 2, he describes in a general way the character of one so walking.
- In verse 3, he urges diligence in keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- Then, practical matters are abruptly interrupted to be continued in verse 7.
- In the intervening verses (4-6) there are no ethical instructions or practical precepts or promotional commands.

On the contrary, our eyes are turned upward and we have the introduction of the Godhead with pertinent facts appended to the mention of each member. And herein is the guarantee for a display of practical godliness for those who are "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Otherwise, our frailties would discourage us utterly. We would be forced with the psalmist to ask in our perplexity, "Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way?"

Or inquire with Nicodemus, "How can these things be?" Hence, the interjection at this point of the divine encouragement. "It is the Lord that advanced Moses and Aaron," Samuel reminded the ancient people of God who were then walking so unworthily. And spiritual promotion can come from no other source today.

The presence of the Godhead in these three verses of Ephesians (4-6) is so very obvious that no one can escape the fact. The Spirit is in verse 4, the Son in verse 5, and the Father in verse 6. This being true, it seems soundly in keeping with the simplest rule of Bible exegesis that the Person of the Godhead mentioned in the verse is the subject of the verse—the Spirit (v. 4), the Son (v. 5), and the Father (v. 6).
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2010, 02:37:51 AM »

The Spirit and the Believer's Walk

The purpose of the Godhead in this day of grace is the forming of "one body"—the Body of Christ, the Church.

- The prospect of this one Body is "one hope."
- The reason for the existence of the "one body" with the "one hope" is the indwelling of the "one Spirit."

Without His presence and help, there can be no worthy walk.

The Holy Spirit baptizes into this "one body" and seals such members until the "purchased possession" is delivered in the presence of the Father with exceeding joy. He indwells, enlightens, empowers and directs. If this were not actually true, then the holy standard of godly behavior as outlined by the apostle is hopelessly beyond the pale of possibility.

The Son and the Believer's Walk

The Son, then, is the subject of verse 5, which reads, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism."

We cannot, therefore, take either the "one faith" or the "one baptism" and, bypassing the Son, transfer such to the Spirit of the preceding verse. To make this "one baptism" the baptism of the Spirit is wrong textually, doctrinally, and logically.

The baptism of the Spirit is the initial operation, and, at this point in the epistle, the believer has already become seated in the heavenlies in Christ, accepted in the Beloved by the Father, and sealed until the day of redemption by the Spirit. No, the "one faith" and the "one baptism," we must conclude, pertain to the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the subject of the verse where they are contained.

Of course, we have more than textual arrangement to support this view.

Concerning the "one faith,"

- The Lord Jesus is the Author through His death (Hebrews 12:2).
- He is the validifier of faith in His resurrection (I Corinthians 15:17).
- He is the bestower of faith in His advocacy (Galatians 2:20, last clause).

Now each believer, with Paul, may "live by the faith of the Son of God." This of course is the worthy walk.

As for the "one baptism," shall we leave it in the text where divine inspiration has placed it? Or shall we shift it around as a convenience for some private interpretation? Let us willingly leave it where it is. Of course, we can all agree that "one" means one. But should we not learn for the sake of accuracy in what category or sphere the unity applies?
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2010, 02:38:31 AM »

The term "one baptism" cannot stand alone. It cannot stand without qualification. It could not mean that there is only one baptism referred to in the Bible. This obviously would be untrue. If we are justified in believing that the Son of God is the subject of verse 5, may we not then conclude that the "one baptism" of the verse pertains to Him? By what rule or law could we by-pass the Son, the subject of the verse, and place it back in the preceding verse to attach it to the subject of that verse, namely the Spirit, making it the "baptism of the Spirit"?

Here is an illustration in point: Psalm 36 deals with the sinner (vv. 1-4), the Saviour (vv. 5, 6), and the saint (vv 7-11). The subject of each division has certain characteristics appended. The sinner is said to be indifferent, conceited, deceitful, perverse, foolish, mischievous, wayward and sinful.

The Saviour is presented as merciful, faithful, righteous, just, powerful and gracious. The saint is shown in his confidence, satisfaction, desire and apprehension. Surely we would not transfer the characteristics of the Saviour to the sinner or vice versa. The sinner is not merciful, righteous or just. Nor is the Saviour deceitful, foolish or mischievous. Is not the scriptural construction similar in Ephesians 4:4-6?

Leaving the words where the Holy Spirit has put them in Ephesians 4:5, the "one baptism" must refer to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the subject of the verse. But if it relates to His baptism in the Jordan at the hands of John the Baptist (the Law), it would be out of place in this part of God's Word. It would not fit in with the message at hand. These are basic matters concerning the new life and the new walk of the believer in the day of grace.

Does the Bible say anything else about Jesus and baptism? Note the solemn question which Jesus put to James and John, the sons of Zebedee: "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" (Mark 10: 38). This is His death, and His death has everything to do with the believer's walk. Paul, referring devotedly and appreciatively to the cross of Christ, testified: ". . . by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world."

Not only this, observe how the faith and death of our Lord are associated, even in separably connected, in the two key verse: quoted above: ". . . the author and finisher of faith . . . endured the cross, despising the shame." "I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself [died] for me."

The faith by which we now live in this body is the product of our Saviour's death in the flesh.

- He was enveloped in the heaviness of sorrow (Matthew 26:38).
- He was thrust into the horrors of Hell (Psalm 116:3).
- He was plunged into the heat of divine wrath (Isaiah 53:10).

This was a baptism indeed! Without it, there could be neither a high calling nor a holy conduct.
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2010, 02:39:31 AM »

The Father and the Believer's Walk

As there is one Spirit and one Lord, even so there is "one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

The Father is above all in His divine exaltation.

It was most appropriate, therefore, for Moses to sing about the "greatness of thine excellency" when the Israelites were so miraculously delivered through the Red Sea.

The Father is through all in creation.

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork." And man is "fearfully and wonderfully made." The fingerprints of the Almighty are everywhere throughout His creation.

The Father is "in you all" by regeneration.

The last part of this remarkable series has a noticeable qualification—"in you all." The "you" designates the saints to whom Paul addressed the letter and, indeed, all who are born again. "We are partakers of the divine nature" (II Peter 1:4).

The interposition of the Godhead is what makes more abundant in us the life which Jesus made possible for us in His death, resurrection and intercession. This fact only can produce in the believer a walk worthy of his high calling.

In the positional division of the Ephesian epistle, the Godhead is introduced first as Father, the Son next, then the Spirit.

In the practical division, it is the Spirit, the Son, and the Father. This same order is found in the establishing of the tabernacle in the wilderness and its worship. "God begins from Himself, working outward toward man; the worshiper begins from himself, moving toward God" (Scofield Reference Bible).

God reaches the sinner, hopeless in his helplessness, through the death of His Son and the regeneration of His Spirit. The saint reaches God through the enablement of the Spirit (Romans 8:26), and the intercession of His Son. but, let us witness the continuing essentiality of the cross work of Christ.
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2010, 02:39:43 AM »

His blood is not only the basis of the sinner's justification (Romans 5:9), but of the saint's separation (Galatians 6:14), and the martyr's triumph (Revelation 12:11) as well. The baptism of the Spirit introduces the believer into the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13); the baptism of Christ's death cleanses the members of that body (I John 1:7) and qualifies them for the walk worthy of this exalted calling (Ephesians 4:3).

The cross of Christ has— must of necessity ever have—a tremendous bearing upon the attitudes and actions of the child of God, "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

Since the "baptism of the Spirit" (I Corinthians 12:13) has to do with spiritual birth, this has taken place in the first division of Ephesians where the believer has been made "accepted in the beloved" (1:6), and sealed by the Spirit (1:13). The "one baptism" in the second division has to do with the practice the believer is exhorted to pursue. Birth is one thing; walk is quite another.

Thus, the context would seem to encourage the following conclusion:

In verse 4—Position and prospect through the Spirit.
In verse 5—Faith and cleansing in the Son.
In verse 6—Relationship and nearness to God the Father.

~ end of chapter 16 ~

CHAPTER 15. THE SPIRIT POSES A QUESTION

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