You Have An Unction --Part 1

You Have An Unction
Part 1

David Clifford

The Ministries of the Holy Spirit

Dr. David Clifford both founded and directs Moorlands Bible College, British Evangelistic Team, and Matlock Conference Center in England; Commonwealth Bible College, Bahamas; and the American Extension Bible College in the United States. He is currently engaged in international Bible lecturing and teaching, and now makes his home in Florida.

Not only is this Dr. Clifford’s first article in FOCUS, but the first of thirteen studies on the Holy Spirit.

Introduction

Extremes are the order of the day it seems, especially with regard to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. To disregard the Scriptural teachings concerning the Holy Spirit and His work, will undoubtedly bring with it spiritual poverty and powerlessness to the Christian, and this must be rated as one extreme to be avoided. On the other hand, to over emphasize the Holy Spirit’s ministry and go beyond the Scriptures, failing to realize that He has come not to speak of Himself but to glorify Christ, is the other dangerous extreme.

“To the Word and to the Testimony,” for if they speak not at all about Him, or speak not according to the Word, there can be no spiritual health in them.

In introducing this brief work concerning the One Who is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, we venture to say that no servant of Christ can be effective without a Scriptural knowledge of the Holy Spirit and His methods in His ministry, and no Christian can be, in his life, what God intended him to be, without acknowledging the sufficiency and importance of the indwelling gracious and almighty Spirit in his life. Every believer is called to be a balanced witness to the truth as it is in Jesus, that is by life and by lip. He is to shine as a light in the world and is at the same time to hold forth the Word of Truth (see Phil. 2:15,16), and indeed it would be impossible for him to do either one of these things were it not for the fact that God has given the Holy Spirit, with the accompanying anointing and unction to those who, by the obedience of faith, turn to Christ.

In an unmistakably way, the Apostle Paul declares two acts of God in one and the same context: not only has God sent the Saviour into the world for our redemption, but He has also sent the Spirit into our hearts to confirm our adoption into His family:

“When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son to redeem… and because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts” (Gal. 4:4-6,KJV).

For his life and service, for his worship and witness, the Christian is shut up to and is entirely dependant on this Divine indwelling Person Who is the Gift of God to all who come to believe in His Son.

In these pages, therefore, it is my main concern not to present a deep theological treatise on pneumatology, but to simply unveil some aspects of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, to the end that they may produce in willing hearts a better recognition of His presence there, a dependence on His Almightiness and Wisdom, and a readiness to yield all to His full control.

The Holy Spirit Is A Person

The founder of one of our present-day cults has said that the Spirit is “pure etherial substance,” probably guessing that spirit must be above the impurities of this polluted earth and may well be the unadulterated upper air, nearer to the throne of God! However, our Lord, in John’s Gospel, explained the truth this way: “You know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you” (14:17). Someone else has described the Holy Spirit as “Divine science.” The first part of this title must be right, but it is plain that the Holy Spirit is not science. No science can impart life. Only that which is living can impart life, and our Lord in the same gospel (3:6) explained carefully to the ruler of the Jews that one is born (i.e. born again) of the Spirit.

On the other hand, there are many true believers who often think and carelessly speak of the Spirit as the power of God, that is, simply as a Divine attribute. But no attribute ever functioned as God, and in John 16 we see the Holy Spirit as One Who hears, speaks and reveals things to come, doing the things that God would do and not just manifesting His power.

Another group has suggested that the impulses and influences for good which emanate from God are really His Holy Spirit in His working. But a study of the Acts of the Apostles will convince almost anyone that these acts are, in effect, those of the Holy Spirit through the apostles. The Spirit is seen commanding and directing and enabling: “so, being sent out by the Holy Spirit” (13:4); “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit” (15:28); “having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the Word in Asia” (16:6) .

Himself A Person

Positively we assert that the Holy Spirit is a Person, for so the Scriptures teach. Spiritus is Latin and the equivalent Greek word is Pneuma. In each case the meaning is breath or wind or ghost, as in the old English. The import must be that He does not possess a body as the Saviour Himself. Holy is added to His title not because of the spirituality of His essence nor because of the Holiness of His nature, although that is so, but it has reference to His official character. He is the author of all holiness.

The Holy Spirit is a Person and just as much a Person as the Father and the Son. Corporality adds but little to personality, which consists of three elements. First, that of INTELLECT: we read of “the mind of the Spirit” in Romans 8:27. Second, that of EMOTION: we read of “the love of the Spirit” in Romans 15:30. Finally, that of WILL: and we see the will of the Spirit in operation in 1 Corinthians 12:11.

It was said of God the Father: “The Father Himself loves you” (John 16:27). It was said of the Son: “Jesus Himself went with them” (Luke 24:15). Similarly it was said of the Spirit: “The Spirit Himself intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:26). In this connection note the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead in John 14:16:

“I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper…that is the Spirit of truth.”

“The Spirit itself” of the King James Version is a purely grammatical rendering of the Greek neuter pronoun which corresponds to the gender of the word “pneuma” and should be mote properly rendered “Himself.”

We see that the Holy Spirit can be grieved (Eph. 4:3) and it is impossible to grieve an influence or a power. On the other hand, He can bring deliverance (Romans 8:3), and we shall go on to see that He is not only a Person, but an almighty Person and indeed a Divine Person, none other than the third Person of the Trinity, co-equal with the Father and the Son.