09-24-10 Bible Answers

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By Pastor Chuck McCullough

“I heard the phrase ‘second blessing’ in reference to the Holy Spirit.  What does that mean and what does the Bible teach about it?”— Stacey

The phrase is typically associated with a certain belief that a Christian, sometime after his conversion experience, may experience an additional work of the Spirit that transcends his “ordinary” spiritual journey. This additional work is thought to be the result of one’s pursuit of a deeper relationship with God and is accompanied by strong emotions and speaking in tongues.  
There is no question that the Holy Spirit is present and active at conversion and throughout the life of the Christian. The Spirit saves (Jn. 3:5; 6:63), comforts (Jn. 14:16ff), sets free (II Cor. 3:17-18), gives gifts (I Cor. 12:1ff) and grows character (Gal. 5:22-23). The Spirit is the seal and guarantee of the believer’s relationship with Christ (Rom. 8:9-26; II Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14). For this powerful, continuous, often mysterious, transforming work of God we are eternally grateful.
One must always exercise great care when appraising another’s spiritual experience.  Nevertheless, wisdom calls for caution with this doctrine. It should not become a dividing line between Christians; it ought not lead to the creation of “second-class Christians” who don’t have it and “first-class Christians” who do. Furthermore, one should refrain from making speaking in tongues the mark of spiritual advance for every Christian. The Scripture does not teach that this gift is for every Christ-follower.  
Perhaps most importantly, a biblical view of the nature of God does not readily permit the idea that one somehow receives the Spirit in stages or portions; one receives all of the Spirit from the beginning (I Cor. 2:12-15; 6:19; Eph. 4:1-6; I Jn. 3:24; 4:13).
I suspect, that at the bottom line, the question is not really how much of the Spirit I have, but how much of me the Spirit has.

To send questions or to communicate with Pastor McCullough,
write to wrbc-pastor@earthlink.net.