Redeemed or Forgiven?
Part 6 of 8
In this Part 6, we will cover the issue of the Holy Spirit, walking in the Spirit, and righteousness through the Spirit.
There is going to be some overlap from some of the previous articles. There will be alot of new information, but it’s very important to go over some points again because the Holy Spirit is the reality and experience of a believer. The issue of the Holy Spirit can be mysterious in and of itself, so it is critical that we remove any unnecessary mystery and confusion that may compound the already existing problems and misinterpretations.
As a disclaimer, I am not trying to take away anyone’s positive and helpful view of the Holy Spirit. Whatever blesses your life and encourages you to live unto God is not really any of my business. Each person is unique, and so is everyone’s experience and relationship to God through the Holy Spirit so it is not my intention to define or constrain anyone to a single minded, or one dimensional view and experience of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not received or given based upon sound doctrine, but by faith. With that said, it is my intention to point out that the Hebrew Roots Movement is led and followed by some of the most clever and cunning people to ever be involved in religion. The greatest aspect of deception in the HRM can been seen in how they intertwine what they feel is the obligation of believers, along with the issue of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s begin by examining a basic or general position of the HRM concerning the Holy Spirit.
The HRM is heavily reliant on modern and recently contrived catch phrases and clichés in order to explain the purpose and function of the Person of Christ, the Cross and the Holy Spirit.
When I began to dig into the HRM, there was one of phrase that caught my attention:
“We keep the Law by the power of the Holy Spirit”
Other variations might say:
“The Holy Spirit helps us keep the Law”
Wow! These types of phrases are tricky, tricky, tricky!
Phrases like this can be the fine line between truth or absolute cultism and mind control.
Knowing what I know about the HRM, this is a clever way of spiritualizing the idea of living under the Law by adding a New Testament flavor and appeal in hopes of downplaying some of the rigid, Old Testament stigmas and perceptions that surround the concept of living under the Law.
Knowing what I know about the HRM, phrases like these are also just more evidence that the HRM does not have, nor do they care to have any real comprehensive theology about the Holy spirit.
Let’s not fool ourselves because the HRM is just as clever at defending this phrase and position as they are in creating it.
It’s important to pay close attention from this point on because we are going to look at some serious religious gymnastics and scriptural twisting.
The HRM will defend this position with what is called “inferring” or what I call suggestive or presumptuous reasoning and it goes like this:
-The HRM will use John 14:15 which says, “If you love Me you will/keep my commandments.”
-Then they will say that Jesus is God, and God’s commandments are found in the Law, so Jesus’ commandments are the same as the ones found in the Law.
-Then they might use John 14:26 which says,
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
This defense may seem pretty weak as you read it here, but when they throw this out, it’s not so easily refuted with a few opposing sentences. In order to refute this defense, you will have to go through all of Jesus’ words and commands in the gospels, then you will have to go through all of the scriptures about whether Jesus considers His words to be separate from Moses, and then you will have to go through all the scriptures about the Holy Spirit.
I don’t fault people for not having the right terminology or a precise scriptural explanation, but when this comes from the HRM leadership, it borders on cultic mind control because they rely on vague, indirect and non-expressive verses that do not make a self contained summary of doctrine, but people become intimidated by it because we are accustomed to interpreting scripture through multiple passages and contexts. We are naturally submissive to doctrine and scripture that is backed up with adjoining and additional scripture so when the HRM supposedly combines multiple scriptures through inferences, people become naturally intimidated.
Time is the other intimidating factor. The HRM tries to win out with very brief claims of doctrine that they back with very brief and limited scripture and most opponents of the HRM are left in the dust simply because of time.
All of this should be an abomination to real Christians because the Holy Spirit is our means of a lifetime relationship with God. The commandments are 10+ laws that you either keep or you don’t, but becoming like Christ is not a matter of keeping 10+ commandments/laws.
Now, hopefully the crisis or conflict that I have presented above has given you something to sink your teeth into, so let’s back up and answer this whole business of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Law. We can begin with the advent of Pentecost.
In the beginning of this series of articles, I stated that the HRM wishes to dismiss newness and chronology and Pentecost is one of those areas of dismissal. Pentecost cannot be something new for the HRM because this breaks up their idea of a consistent thread or theme of living under the Law that supposedly exists throughout the whole Bible. The HRM’s view and support of the Holy Spirit is constantly waning and fluctuating to the point of almost a love-hate relationship. They support the idea of the Holy Spirit if it promotes life under the Law, but they seem to renounce it when it supports an alternative life of righteousness and obedience apart from the Law.
Pentecost is one of many obstacles for the HRM because there is no denying that it’s a specific event and revelation that is confined to time and chronology.
Their only rebuttal to Pentecost is to use the abundant examples of “the Spirit of God” seen through out the OT.
But these examples do not equate to the indwelling Holy Spirit given to all believers after Christ’s ascension. That’s not my opinion but clear scripture so let’s read:
“‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was NOT YET GIVEN, because Jesus was NOT YET GLORIFIED.” (John 7:38-39)
John 14 and 16 also tell us that the indwelling Holy Spirit would come in the future:
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:7-8)
Besides these and other explicit scriptures, the mechanics of the Cross show us that the Holy Spirit, as an imparted and indwelling nature of Christ could not dwell within man because of his unsanctified nature evidenced by the temple veil. According to Ephesians 2:18, both Jew and Gentile have access to the Father as one new man through the Spirit:
“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
The preceding verses let us know that there was a division between Jew and Gentile that Christ abolished, and if we now both have access by the Spirit, we can safely reason that the access through the Spirit was not available because of that division. Access was available only through the structure of Israel until Christ who made access available through the Spirit.
Even under the structure and format of Israel, all mankind could not enter the presence of God and neither could the presence of God enter mankind. The Spirit could be upon people and dwell with them, but He could not dwell in them, giving them access to the Father. No one was born of the Spirit before Christ because no one paid for the transgression of Adam and the righteous requirement of the Law.
What is completely hypocritical about this whole scenario is that the HRM wishes to claim that living under the Law is different and new, now that they keep it by the power of the Holy Spirit, but at the same time they often dismiss the newness of Pentecost in order to the make living under the Law a continual and uninterrupted obligation and mandate for both the Old and New Testaments.
AVERSION AND OBJECTION-
Please understand that I am not trying to say that the HRM does not have or live by the Holy Spirit. The HRM does not object to the Holy Spirit as if they are cessasionists or gnostics, but they create a controversy about the Holy Spirit because they simply do not like many scriptures that speak about distinctions between the Law and the Spirit. Let’s look at some of these scriptures:
“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”
“But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:6)
“Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘the man who does them shall live by them.’ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
“But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.’ So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.”
“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Galatians 5:4)
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”(Galatians 5:18)
There are more verses/passages that speak about the Law but I am only trying to cover the ones that present an explicit distinction between the Law and the Spirit.
If you will notice, I did not cover Romans 8 yet. Romans 8 is hard to understand even for the mature believer and because of this, it has become the battleground for debating as to whether “walking in the Spirit” is a new way of living under the Law, or whether it is something completely separate. Which is it?
Romans 8 is basically the end or pinnacle of Paul’s sequential and logistical theology of the Redemption. In the same manner, I have ordered these articles so that we can see how all the mechanics and logistics of the Redemption lead up to the imparted application for the believer. In these articles, we have looked at Biblical redemption, the fall of man, original sin, Abraham, the Law, the sinful nature, the born again nature, and the Cross of Christ.
Romans 8 and likewise this article, cannot stand alone without having established the previous chapters of Romans 3-8 and the chronological logistics they present so lets look into Romans 8.
There are two things in Romans 8 that the HRM uses to discredit the idea that idea that the Spirit is separate from the Law:
-1) “the law of sin and death” (vs 2)
-2) “the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God”(vs 7)
When it comes to the law of sin and death in verse 2, the HRM uses this to imply that Christ has forgiven us and therefore we are no longer under the penalties of the Law.
Whenever there is a scripture that distinguishes the Spirit from the Law, many times, the HRM proponents will add the phrase “sin and death” in parentheses to the word law.
The problem with this is that the removal of the penalties makes the law void because the weight of the Law is found in its penalties, and even for the believer, this would make transgression of the law no longer sin. We have indeed, escaped the penalties of the Law through Christ and we are no longer working to avoid or atone for its penalties, but the HRM is only shooting themselves in the foot because they can’t make the Law obligatory if it does not contain its penalties. It would neither be a sin now, nor on judgment day for a believer to break the Law if it didn’t have the adjoining penalties. It’s not about being condemned under the Law, but it’s about being condemned already despite the Law.
We have to remember that Romans 8 comes on the heels of Romans 7 where Paul describes the law of sin and death as something that is found in his members working fruit unto death because of the Law (7:23). The law of sin and death is in relation to the penalties of the Law, but it is more about the sinful nature and its relation to the Law.
The Spirit does not come because we are forgiven, it comes because sinfulness has died with Christ. The Spirit is the trade-off for the Law because the death of the old nature has made way for a new. Let’s go back to Romans 5:
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14)
Sin reigned in man and the Law put it in check without giving life or fruit unto God. Sin no longer reigns because of Christ and the Spirit keeps man in check and gives life and fruit unto God. Ok? That’s the law of sin and death right there, and now you can see why Paul says:
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
This is precisely why Romans 8 begins by saying:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Now let’s look at verse 7 of Romans 8 which speaks about the carnal mind.
Verse 7 is the only hope for the HRM to put forth the idea that walking in the Spirit is synonymous with living under the Law. This verse gets twisted by them in some of the most outlandish ways possible. The twisting begins when their eyes light upon the phrase:
“…not subject to the law of God.”
From this phrase, they assume this to suggest that Paul is presenting the Law of Moses as the preeminent object and purpose of walking in the Spirit. To make this case, a person would have to throw out all of Paul’s other epistles including the previous chapters in Romans because Paul always makes a distinction between the Law and the Spirit as being two different ministries, guides, or sources.
-In Romans 7:4-6, the Law is different from the Spirit in bearing fruit and service to God.
-In Galatians 5:4-5, the Law is different from the Spirit for justification by faith and righteousness by faith.
-In Galatians 5:18, the Law is different from the Spirit as a restraint and guide.
-In 2 Corinthians 3:6-9, the Law is different from the Spirit as a ministry from God. Both are glorious but one is called the ministry of death and the other is called the ministry of the Spirit that is more glorious.
Paul tells us in Romans 8:3 that the Law cannot subdue and crucify the law of sin and death and this leaves the carnal mind and flesh as the interpreter of God. Lets read:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”(Romans 8:5)
If the great aim is to avoid being carnally minded, but rather, mindful of the Spirit, then Paul says in verse 3 that the law does not produce mindfulness of the Spirit.
What is really, really weird and bizarre, is that the HRM is making the claim that mindfulness of the Spirit is supposed to lead to mindfulness of the Law????
But all Paul’s epistles speak of the Spirit as being the supreme source of fruit, righteousness and obedience to God. Jesus Christ is the only real representative of God’s righteousness and He comes to us through the Spirit. To say that the Spirit should make us mindful of the Law, rather than mindful of Christ puts the whole Redemption on its head.
We are not supposed to abide in the Law in order to bear fruit. We are supposed to abide in Christ in order to bear fruit. (John 15) Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would make us mindful of Him and all that He has said.
“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’.”
(1 Corinthians 1:30-31)
To do anything else is to put your faith in another object other than Christ, and in doing so, your flesh is no longer crucified and you are carnally minded and not subject to God, and you are trying to continue in the flesh what began in the Spirit.
Everything keeps coming back around to the fact that the HRM does not believe we are redeemed but only forgiven and therefore, life after salvation becomes separate from salvation. They must fill the post-salvation void with the only alternative, and that is the Law and not the Spirit.
Now you know why they say that we keep the Law by the power of the Spirit. It is because the Law is still the only mean of righteousness to them.
To this Paul might say:
“For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”(Galatians 5:5)
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written:
‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
(1 Corinthian 2:7-16)
Jesus did say that the Holy Spirit would bring to our remembrance all that He said, but this is not talking about memory and academic devotion to an external standard. It’s about being Christ conscious through His life within us. There is a fine line between this and artificial Christ consciousness. Oswald Chambers explains this as the sin of “self-realization”. Self-realization initially sees and recognizes the work of the Holy Spirit, but attempts to usurp and carry out that work by recognizing and establishing standards and convictions and then looking to the self and the five senses of humanity in order to determine their accomplishment. People may usually do this when they doubt the work of the Holy Spirit or when they feel that they must distinguish themselves from other people.
That brings us to the one remaining aspect of Romans 8 that is contrary to the HRM position. This is the righteous requirement of the Law. This is also referenced in Romans chapter 2. Let’s read both:
“Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision…but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)
To put it simply, these two passages speak of an inward work of the Spirit that fulfills the righteous requirement of the Law, apart from the Law. This work of the Holy Spirit, and not of ourselves, lays the foundation for fulfilling righteousness. No where does it speak of a power that helps us rely on another source for righteousness. If a person is reliant on a separate external guide and source to regulate and maintain, or rather complete the work of God, then that person is not a Jew inwardly or there is a misunderstanding of what the purpose of the Holy Spirit is through the work of the Cross.
This isn’t suggesting that we don’t need scripture or prayer and devotion, but it’s talking about walking according to an inward work and power within itself rather than honoring an external guide and formula as having the power to complete righteousness.
In conclusion, let’s read how this whole matter is observed and summarized from Peter’s own words:
“And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: ‘Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they’.”