Spirit – Baptism – BT4
Knowledge of how to be habitually filled by the Holy Spirit
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Recently I was sort of grumbling to my wife that although Paul commands all Christians in Ephesians 5:18 to routinely turn to the Holy Spirit instead of to wine in order to be “filled with all the abundant-fullness of God” per Ephesians 3:19, I didn’t feel that Paul had really told Christians the “how-to,” like he’s telling us to drink, or even get drunk on, the Spirit’s “living water” instead of “wine” but then doesn’t tells us how to. After all, Christ is in heaven, invisible to most of us, and for most of us, it’s not the easiest to hear! I told my wife that I thought that although the “how to” may have been common knowledge during the first three centuries when they didn’t have a NT bible to rely on but instead relied on – the definition of pistis “trusting-relying-faith” – the Spirit of Christ for everything! However, as the Catholic Church suppressed the movement of the Holy Spirit around 200 AD as a Montanist heresy in favor of expanding the bible to include the NT, mostly for political reasons and to compete with Judaism. So after this happened the “common ‘how-to’ knowledge” may have been lost.
I say Paul “commands all Christians to be routinely filled by the Spirit,” because originally Paul wrote the letter of Ephesians to be circulated to all the churches he had been to, but later on the words “to Ephesus” got added by copiers into the opening of his letter. I’ve included my original study on that verse below. However, today I was researching gnosis info-knowledge about God, the verb to experientially, relationally ginosko know God, and the more intensive form for the genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge or epiginosko knowing of God. That’s when I came across the “how to” in earlier verses of Ephesians. I should have known better to look at the bigger context of Ephesians 5:18, since it is common for Paul to introduce an idea, teach on it, but then go on very long side-tracking tangents, only to come back to the idea later. Since I’ve been asking God for quite a long time about this, I’m very grateful that He has directed me finally to the answer.
Before I get into this, I was particularly struck by the Greek noun epignosis and the verb epiginosko used for having a “more intense, intimate, richer or fuller or more thorough, more precise or accurate or clearer, discerning” type of experiential, relational ginosko knowledge about God – see New Covenant Ways – BT16 , rather than very limited gnosis info-knowledge from bible study. These words are only used 59 times in the NT and warrants further discussion – see the Knowledge page. This kind of knowing is what the completely different-in-kind chadash or kainos New Covenant promises through Christ. It’s important to know how Paul uses epignosis/epiginosko in all his writings, which will do later, but let’s focus now on Ephesians 1:17 and 4:13.
In Ephesians 1:17-18, Paul proseuchomai conversationally-prays that “God (a) would grant (b) them the Spirit (c) who possesses (d) wisdom (e) and/coupled [of: d] revelation (f) by the means/instrument of genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge, [them] having had the eyes of their hearts enlightened [with continuing results] (g)…” Paul is talking to Christians who already have the person of the Holy Spirit living in them, who have already been enlightened, but he is proseuchomai conversationally-praying that because they do have the indwelling, Holy Spirit Teacher that they will then be given His wisdom and revelation by the means/instrument of genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of God! <Notes> a) the Father as agent of the action, b) the action, c) the content is a person, d) genitive case of possession: ‘who possesses wisdom and revelation,” not “the Spirit of/from wisdom and revelation.” This is not human wisdom, but a Spirit-kind-of wisdom from revelation! These coupled genitives limit the scope of Paul’s conversation about the Spirit, e) sophia: highest form of mental excellence: details of reason and tracing the relationships between them, all this producing God’s goodness and moral action, f) unveiled, uncovered, disclosed truth, g) perfect tense: past action of illumination, instruction, understanding with continuing results.
The agent, content, and instrument of God’s giving action are all spelled out above. But now Paul gives the purpose in the rest of the verses 18-19: “So that they may have already eido mentally ‘seen’ to perceive/know with ongoing results (a) the hope (b) to which God has already called them – that [hope being] the riches of His glory, His inheritance in the saints – and/coupled/cumulatively what [is] the immeasurable/surpassing greatness of God’s dunamis enabling-power toward/reaching us who routinely have trusting-relying-faith, [this] down-from/according to the energetic, effectual working of God’s manifested enabling-power/force of endowed might/strength/power that . . . rose Christ from the dead.” <Notes> a) perfect tense of eido: past action of mental perception with the “eyes of their mind or heart” with continuing results, b) the richness of their glorious inheritance when we are bodily resurrected and eternally glorified at Christ’s appearing: Titus 1:2, 2:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Romans 8:17-18.
These Christians already have a hope, just as they already have a calling. However, Paul is proseuchomai conversationally-praying that their mind’s eye will be opened by God, by revelation, to “see” this but also to “see” the incredible greatness of God’s Spirit-power He will bring to us if we continue in this trusting, relying fellowship. This indwelling Spirit-power doesn’t come from us, our study of scripture, or our feeble attempts at obeying scripture, but down-from/according-to God’s own effective working force of His will! Can you see that our only part in this whole process is trusting-relying-faith, but even before that it comes down to proseuchomai conversationally-praying, like Paul did, for God to give all this to us? The Christian life is simpler than most churches have made it to be.
As Christian musicians, we need to obey Paul’s strong urging to “routinely be completely-filled with all the abundant-fullness of God by the means/instrument of the Spirit.” Instead of asking the bartender to “fill us up with wine to the point of drunkenness that leads to all kinds of debaucherously sinful acts, we need to habitually Ask, Seek, and Knock (A.S.K) on the door of the Father for the good grace-gift of the Holy Spirit’s filling so we can finally find zoe genuine-life, instead of “looking for life in all the wrong places!”
Our part is to simply relentlessly “press-into the presence” of God through persevering, patiently-waiting, devoted, watching and listening proseuche conversational-prayer and with our deesis supplication being primarily for the Spirit’s filling. This is simple enough for little children or any of the other “least among you” to do. It doesn’t require any bible gnosis-informational knowledge, only obedient steps of trusting-relying-faith. We must “wait on the Lord” and “surrender ourselves to God by drawing near/close to Him so that He will draw near/close to us” as James 4:7-8 promises, so that “God can be a rewarder of those who are habitually, earnestly seeking-out Him through trusting-relying-faith” as Hebrews 11:6 promises.
Now when God arrives by the Holy Spirit, that’s when we actually are enjoying a genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of God that exceedingly surpasses any bible gnosis-informational knowledge you could ever acquire through reading, study, or memorization of bible verses! It’s not about what you know but WHO you intimately know! Don’t we want to go beyond the failure of the Jewish bible scholars and teachers who knew all about God but that Jesus said absolutely did NOT really know God?
God shows no partiality and so NOW the uneducated “least among you” will actually eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know God before the “wise and understanding ones” for which “the secrets of the kingdom remain hidden to,” per the New Covenant promise of Jeremiah 31:34 and Christ’s words in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21. If we get “routinely filled by the Holy Spirit,” then we will receive the grace-gifts of “sophia wisdom and sunesis ‘connect-the-dots’ understanding through revelation!” The “eyes of our hearts/minds/innermost-being that were once enlightened” for our salvation need to keep being so in order that we may “routinely eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know God” in order to “routinely discern through practice what the will of the Lord is and what is pleasing to Him.”
Every one of these “obedient steps of trusting-relying-faith” in our “walk by the Spirit” requires only 1 thing from us for God to do everything else: “completely surrendering by relentlessly seeking Him out.”