I was passing by a television this morning, on which was a paid program with Andrew Wommack, who had been speaking on the filling of the Holy Spirit. Before I could make it out of earshot, Mr. Wommack explained that the filling of the Holy Spirit occurred at a specific point after salvation as a testament to the salvation. In the last several years, since I first heard the call to submit before Jesus, I have heard this argument often, but is it founded in an accurate interpretation of the Scripture or is it merely a fanciful, unscriptural concept? A quick look into Paul’s letters will reveal the answer.
In the twelfth chapter of what is now known as the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, he writes that “no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” We can assume that there are those who do not believe and may have the capacity to say such things as a form of imitation or mockery of the faithful – this is attested by the disappointing reality that there are those among us who do not truly believe, but within the tenth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans, we find a section of Scripture which is complimentary:
But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Further, Paul writes in the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans that the Spirit testifies to our salvation, that we are children, as it were, through adoption. The filling of the Christian by the Holy Spirit is not a separate moment in one’s new life, but occurs at the moment of salvation and, according to Paul, is the reason one may confess Jesus as Lord in the first place. For the faithful, we died to the ways of old, that is, died to sin, but were risen as temples of the Holy Spirit, which is in us, who dwelt within us at the first moment of our salvation. To my brothers and sisters in Christ, here is to living faithfully and ignoring falsity to the glory of the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.