The Filling of the Holy Spirit: A Quality of Life -- By: Thomas Ice

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 02:1 (Spring 1996)
Article: The Filling of the Holy Spirit: A Quality of Life
Author: Thomas Ice


The Filling of the Holy Spirit:
A Quality of Life

Thomas Ice, Ph.D.*

Chafer Theological Seminary

[*Editor's note: Tommy Ice received his B.A. degree from Howard Payne University, Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. from Tyndale Theological Seminary. He presently is director of the Pre-Trib Research Center in Washington DC. Dr. Ice has also pastored churches in Oklahoma and Texas, is an adjunct professor at Chafer Theological Seminary, conference speaker and author of several books, including Dominion Theology and Overrun by Demons.]

Introduction

There are two basic approaches to spirituality: metaphysical or ethical.

Metaphysical spirituality teaches that a believer is directly connected to God and that His Spirit is infused into the believer, as electricity flows through a motor, energizing to action. It is taught that when a believer sins the flow stops; when sin is dealt with, the flow resumes. The standard of spirituality may or may not be character development, but usually focuses upon internal experiences and power displays. This is the view universally taught by mysticism.

Ethical spirituality teaches that our relationship with God is mediated indirectly and develops in a way analogous to physical growth. True, Christian growth begins with a direct, metaphysical act of God through the new birth. However, as in physical birth, once conceived and born, all of the capacity was imparted at birth and the believer is now to grow through eating (learning the Word) and exercise (obedience) which results in spirituality (i.e., Christlikeness or fruit of the Spirit). Progress in the spiritual life focuses upon ethical progress outside of the believer as he measures spirituality in terms of character development.

I believe that every instance of teaching and illustration about spirituality in the New Testament supports the ethical or growth approach to sanctification. Yet many evangelicals have taught a blend of both views. Perhaps this explains why the last few decades have seen a steady stream of evangelicals moving toward charismatic spirituality. Ephesians 5:18 is an important passage where a metaphysical interpretation has been widely held by evangelicals. Yet, I do not believe that a proper exegesis of the passage will support such an understanding. I therefore present the following study of what it means to be filled by the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18.

The Lukian Passages

Luke describes a special filling of the Holy Spirit that is a sovereign work of God. It is a work by which God gives men power by the Holy Spirit ...

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