Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Be Fillled with the Holy Spirit

It is sometimes said that Christ's new commandment, "Love one another," is the eleventh commandment. In the same way we have the twelfth in Paul's mandatory precept, "Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18). There is an error quite widely spread in the Church, that the baptism or fulness of the Spirit is not universally obligatory, but rather that it is an elective experience, a privilege and not an imperative duty.

We note that the passive voice, "be filled," implies that we cannot actively fill ourselves, but that the Spirit is present like the atmosphere and ready instantly to fill every vacuum. It is ours to create a vacuum by an unreserved self-surrender to Christ as both Saviour and Lord. This implies strong faith. In truth, faith is man's only capacity to receive God. He cannot enter us through the senses, for they report only material things; nor can the Spirit enter the soul through the reason, which apprehends only relations, not realities. Therefore faith is the only door by which the Spirit comes into the human spirit. Man, a spirit, is an image of God the Spirit. The creature is made for the occupancy of the Creator, and he finds his highest joy only when as a temple he is "the habitation of God through the Spirit."

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Turning to our Greek Testament we note that the command "Be filled with the Spirit" is in the present tense, denoting not a mechanical fulness once for all, but a vital fulness, a constant appropriation and a perpetual reception, a ceaseless drinking and a ceaseless thirst. Hence the paradox of Charles Wesley:

"Insatiate to this spring I fly;
I drink, and yet am ever dry."

— From The Gospel of the Comforter (1898) Chapter 31.