I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?
Thoughts for Today:Years ago, there was a teaching in many of our churches that went something like this: "If you want the power of the Holy Spirit in your life you have to get rid of the sin. You've got to give up drinking, smoking, cursing, watching movies and television, etc. Once you get your life in order, then you will receive the power of the Spirit!" A lot of people spent weeks, months, years and even decades trying to clean up their lives in order to earn the power of the Holy Spirit.
Do you see the problem? Do you recognize the false doctrine? Neither the indwelling of the Spirit through salvation, nor the empowering of the Spirit by baptism comes by any work of our own (works of the law). The only way the Spirit comes to us is by faith -- by believing what we heard.
There are many people who will read what I just wrote and immediately say, "That's way too simple." I refer them to Paul, and he said quite clearly, "Don't let anyone complicate this. You received the Spirit simply by hearing and believing. So don't pay attention to those who tell you more is required of you in order to finish the process. That's foolishness!"
Questions to Ponder:Have you become susceptible to more complicated teaching? Have you become foolish in your quest for greater understanding? What is the simple and basic truth? After beginning with the work of the Spirit, are you now trying to enhance His work by your own fleshly efforts?