The Holy Ghost: Preserver of Sound Doctrine
The Holy Ghost is essential to the preservation of sound doctrine. The Holy Ghost is the only person in the universe who is authorized to reveal Jesus. He is authorized to guard the Lord Jesus from misrepresentation and misunderstanding on one hand; and authorized to reveal His excellency and personality and grace on the other hand.
The Apostle plainly states in I Corinthians 12:3, “No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and no man can say Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” That is, no matter however highly cultured and educated he may be, without the quickening power of the Holy Spirit he cannot know that Jesus is Divine. It is not for the lack of education that men do not know God, but it is for the lack of the inner intuition, or that God-sense which is lacking in every unregenerate person. The mere cold intellect can never know the things of God. It is too dull to grasp Divinity. This brings us up to our subject, The Holy Ghost – the preserver of sound doctrine.
The Holy Ghost in the believer vitalizes and makes real to the inner consciousness all the great truths of the Bible. He takes the living Christ and reveals Him in all His beauty to the cleansed heart. It is the great work of the Holy Ghost to take events that took place nearly two thousand years ago, such as the Virgin Birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and make them as real to us as if they happened just yesterday.
There is abroad in the world and in the Church today, the same God that made the Bible, the same Holy Ghost that made Calvary, the same Holy Ghost that made the incarnation, and that caused the birth of Jesus. It is the same Holy Ghost that filled Him at the baptism and in His life, and that inspired His words, and the same Holy Ghost through whom the Bible says He died – for Jesus died by the help of the Holy Ghost. Jesus, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself up unto God, and the same Holy Ghost that was with Him in life, and that walked with Him and was with Him on the Cross, was the same Holy Ghost that raised Him from the dead. That same Personality is here today and in this earth and in all believers’ hearts.
The great masses of church members, and some so-called ministers, are as dead as a stone to these eternal realities. Christ is just a being that once lived and died; that is all, and he does not mean any more to them than Washington or Lincoln, but to the heart that has crowned Him as Lord of all, He is a warm, personal, living Christ. The world and the church are starving and dying for just such a Christ.
Then we are told that the Holy Ghost not only reveals Jesus to us, but He also protects His Divinity. Says the Apostle: “No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed.” That is, no man or set of men can have the Holy Spirit abiding with them without honoring Jesus. That leads me to say that all those modern preachers, destructive critics, writers, and professors that attack the inspired Word are void of the Spirit of God as a corpse in yonder cemetery. A heart in which the Comforter dwells is too hot to allow heresy to take root. Whenever Christ is robbed of His Divinity it paves the way for other heresies.
Deny the incarnation of God in man you tear away from him potent nobility issued by Heaven itself, and you leave Him a highly developed tadpole, an educated and trained monkey evolved into a man void of immortality. In the same way the Cross of Christ is the only correct measure of sin. If Jesus is God in human form, His death as the sin-bearer gives sin a tremendous significance. Otherwise it is a mere trifle, and its eternal punishment is offensive to reason and disgusting to the delicate moral sensibilities of our refined civilization. But what was the first step which led down from Puritanism to Atheism? It was the attempt to build up a Church without the Holy Spirit.
Says Watson: “There is in the human soul a native darkness that no amount of learning can dispel, though he walk with Solomon or talk with the bodily Saviour. Conversion cannot fully remove it; conversation with the Lord for three years could not remove it. It is something that nothing but entire sanctification of our souls will ever remove. All things combined are inadequate in removing the native darkness of the soul without Holiness. Hence we find the baptism of the Holy Ghost is the only safeguard against heresy. Without it, a man may be a heretic though he be as wise as Solomon.”
Church history goes to prove that no church remains orthodox long after the Comforter is grieved away. Let any church cease to preach the doctrine of entire sanctification for a quarter of a century, and it becomes a lost art, and is finally ignored and denied. I point to Methodism for proof. What is the remedy? Let the church find an upper room and tarry until Pentecostal lightning with its tongues of Heavenly fire leap from the upper skies and burn out all uncertainties and doubt.
Pentecost proves that Jesus ascended and mounted His Father’s throne a glorified man. All modern believers who have had a personal Pentecost are convinced by overwhelming proof. The Spirit takes the living, glorified Jesus and shows Him unto them.” Had it not been for the Holy Ghost following up the work the resurrected Christ, Calvary with its bleeding Lamb would only have been a dim outline of God-love, which we would never have understood. But the Holy Ghost can make Jesus as real and as sweet to us as a spring morning.
Just as the shining summer sun puts all darkness to flight, so the Holy God illuminates our innermost beings until spiritual things become as real to our inner senses as the outward world is to our outward senses. When this takes place you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the very eternal God.
Anyone who has a doubt about the Divinity of Jesus should get sanctified, and he will know that He is Divine if he does not see Him for a million years yet. The Holy Ghost takes the blood of Christ and applies it to the heart, for it is the baptism that sanctifies. At that instant you are fully sanctified, the Holy Ghost enters, but it may be sometime before He reveals all the facts in the case. When He enters in He will take the blood of Christ and reveal it to your consciousness so that you may be conscious of the blood. That may sound extravagant, but it is in the Word. Previously you have believed in the blood and accepted it as meritorious ground of salvation, but in the indwelling Comforter He gives you the fulfillment of your faith with power. You may believe in the blood without feeling it, but the Holy Ghost makes you conscious of it so that you not only believe that the blood cleanseth, but in the Spirit indwelling He makes you feel and know it cleanses; and a soul can feel that it is clean.
Through His indwelling we come into the realm of certainties. A South Carolina minister at a National camp meeting, when sanctified, said: “The uncertainties of a life time are gone. What the world is dying for is ministers to preach what they absolutely know.”
In conclusion we would say, in the language of the noted scholar, Dr. Daniel Steele: “I wish I had the power to reach every Methodist on the round earth. I would say, ‘Cease living on the heroism of your fathers; quit glorying in numbers; sacrificing to statistics and burning incense to the general minutes; get down upon your knees, seek and find for yourself the secret and power of your fathers, a clean heart and the endowment of power from on high, salvation free and full and a common sense theology, the beauty of which, as Joseph Cook says, is that it can be preached. Then in double quick time charge upon the hosts of sin and conquer the world for Christ.'”
Come, Holy Spirit, and fill us till Christ be formed in us, the hope of glory.