Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lloyd-Jones on the Spirit

Adrian Warnock quotes Lloyd-Jones on Baptism in the Spirit. I have to say I'm still somewhat in flux about my thinking on the Spirit in this area. Not so much what the Spirit of God works in us but in terms of the use of terms like baptism or filling etc. More study required on that. Adrian quotes...

...if you do not believe that it is possible for you to experience the Spirit of God bearing direct witness with your own spirit that you are a child of God, obviously you are quenching the Spirit. That is why so many Christian people are miserable and unhappy; they do not know anything about crying out, ‘Abba, Father’; or about ‘the Spirit of adoption’. God is a Being away in the far distance; they do not know Him as a loving Father; they do not know that they are His children. They may believe it intellectually, theoretically; but...
Reflecting on my own experience, particularly as I've eaten the word of God in Galatians I've received some kind of experience that has helped me to believe that I am in Christ a son of God. I don't think it's particularly far fetched to call this the witness of the Spirit to that. Galatians 4v6 tells me that the Spirit is crying out Abba Father from me, and Romans 8 tells me I can join in that prayer. I find myself reading verses like Galatians 4v6-7 and rejoicing. How good is this gospel? How good does it feel that entirely on the basis of God's promises to his Son and the death and resurrection of the Son I become a Son of God. Adoption isn't just theory, it's too great for me to explain in words... sets my heart a-singing today.

I'm inclined to think that Baptism of the Spirit is at conversion, but that we should very much expect growing experience of his work in our lives. That in part comes from 1 Corinthians 12v13 - For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body. Lloyd-Jones doesn't say we don't receive the Spirit at conversion but that there is more of him to be expected. In that I agree. Pair that up with Paul's insistence in Philippians 1v25 that he works for the joy of Christians, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit's work in those who continue to keep in step with the gospel. Those who live in the grace of God can expect to feel it. "Carried not only from doubt to belief but to certainty, to awareness of the presence and the glory of God" (Joy Unspeakable, p. 87.)

Piper's biography of Lloyd-Jones includes this observation, A Passion for Christ-exalting power:
He insisted that revival have a sound doctrinal basis. And from what he saw there was a minimization of doctrine almost everywhere that unity and renewal were being claimed (see note 53). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and revival will be shallow and short-lived without deeper doctrinal roots than the charismatic tree seems to have.
More see: Inside and outside and The self-defeating strategy of rule-keeping

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