The following breakdown of the Ephesian letter reveals the Sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit “upon” and “within” the hearts of those who trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Note the first verse in this letter is written directly to the saint…not to the sinner!
· Eph 1:1…Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
In verse 13 of Chapter One the Apostle Paul speaks on how hearing and believing the Gospel message allows the work of the Holy Spirit to “seal” a believer. When the believer is “sealed” by the Spirit of promise this person is “put into” the spiritual body of Christ. This sealing or being put into Christ is similar to how Noah and his family were “sealed” in the ark and saved from God’s Divine Judgment of the flood. “Sealing” which is the work of the Holy Spirit pertains to the believer’s down payment from God; or an initial salvation of the soul. Sealing establishes the beginning of a spiritual union made between man and God through Christ. At repentance the will of a sinful man is broken by the goodness of God. When man believes and trusts in the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary he receives the forgiveness of sins.
· Eph 1:7… In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
· Eph 1:13…In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise
In redemption, a spiritual birth takes place within the soul of man. Inside of the new birth experience a channel for a direct communion with the Father is given to this believer through the work of the Holy Spirit’s presence. This access to the Father is given to the conscious believer in Christ through the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit… in the Church.
· Eph 2:18…For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
All members of the body of Christ (the Church) are spiritually joined to God through consciousness and obedience to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Obedience to God through the Spirit’s work in the human soul shows why the Church is a “holy temple” unto the Lord.
· Eph 2:21-22…In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Verse 16 indicates that a believer’s “inner man” can be strengthened by the work of the Holy Spirit. This passage teaches there is “more” for a believer that can be received after the regenerating work of Holy Spirit in the new birth. The Ephesian letter indicates that the work of the Holy Spirit is not limited to the new birth only. This letter proves that salvation doesn’t stop at getting the sinner saved only. It teaches that a saint inwardly can receive more from God “after salvation” through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
· Eph 3:16…That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
The Apostle Paul plainly states in the forth chapter that a believer must “put off” the former lifestyle which still exists in the life of a believer. Remember, the Ephesian letter was written to the saints and to those faithful in Christ. Certain saints at Ephesus were admonished by Paul to put off the “old man” which is simply like, “Taking off a coat”. Putting off the old man is done by the sanctifying work of the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. The Spirit’s sanctification crucifies and puts to death the still existing selfish passions, selfish habits, and selfish interests of man that stem from the old Adam. These and other faculties still existed in the life of those at the Church at Ephesus and Paul taught this people how Christ could deliver them from the still existing… old man.
Deliverance from the adamic nature is not taught much at this present hour. The “putting on” of the new man is like putting on a coat. This new man is “created” by God after the believer “dies” to all that he is. The Holy Spirit reveals to the believer what he really is and what he really needs. A sinful man is forgiven for the acts of sin he committed in the past through the new birth. A believer or one who received the new birth is sanctified from the still existing Adamic life after he receives his initial salvation. Sanctification is performed through an instantaneous work of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit like on the day of Pentecost. Death to the old man must first take place before any believer can be renewed in the spirit of his mind. “Renewal” takes place in the life of a believer “after” the believer is sanctified from the Adamic nature through the cleansing work of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire.
· Eph 4:22-24…That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness
In chapter 5 the Apostle Paul tells the believer’s at Ephesus to be “filled” with the Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit takes place when the believer empties himself or “dies” to all that he is. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is the sanctifying work of the Spirit that delivers the believer from the existing Adamic life that still tries to rule. Being filled with the Spirit takes away a believers conflict with the Adamic life. Being filled is the Spirit’s work of sanctification that “destroys” indwelling sin and takes over this believer with the indwelling Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit takes place when the believer is “dead” and the Old Adam is gone.
· Eph 5:18… but be filled with the Spirit;
This filling of the Holy Spirit only takes place after the believer “dies”, “empties out”, or “puts off” the old man. This full surrender of the human will allows the Holy Spirit to have full sway of the believer without a struggle or inner conflict from the Adamic life. The Indwelling Spirit takes over a believer in Christ when he’s filled with the Spirit, like drunkenness takes over man when he indulges in alcohol or strong drink.
· Eph 5:18…And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
In chapter 6 the “whole” armor of God is given to men born of the Spirit who are later sanctified from self and “filled” and with the Indwelling Spirit. This is why Paul admonished the Church at Ephesus to get beyond the initial work of being sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise in the new birth. The whole armour of God which comes through the sanctifying work of the Indwelling Spirit fills and takes possession of the believer’s entire being. God’s whole armour provides the saints and faithful in Christ with victory over sinful conduct, victory over the still existing Adamic nature, and victory over the wiles of the devil. Complete victory without defeat! The full armour of God which is more than the new birth builds confidence in the believer and makes him steady in Christ. Why? This believer’s inner struggle is over! A man filled with the Spirit will also handle the outer circumstances of life and trust Christ to be the problem solver. A Spirit filled man will “endure” all the tests of life. Temptation doesn’t have the same affect on a Spirit filled man. A Spirit filled man knows that Christ the Head of the Church rules over the Devil, rules over demons, and rules over the powers of darkness. A Spirit filled man is a winner! The Spirit filled man serves Christ with “singleness” and “gladness” of heart. A Spirit filled man suited with the whole armour is and prepared for any battle that arises in life! That’s the reason why Paul taught the Ephesians that a Spirit filled man is an overcomer and doesn’t have to wrestle with flesh and blood! A Spirit filled man “knows” where he stands in the Grace of God as Christ governs that life. A Spirit filled man is strong in the Christ because he has the, “whole armour of God!”
· Eph 6:10-18…Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;