Soteriology 029
Psalms 51:11 • Dr. Andy Woods • August 29, 2016 • Soteriology


Andy Woods

Soteriology 29, Psalm 51:11

August 28, 2016

Good morning everybody.  If you could take your Bibles and open them to 1 Samuel 16:14.  Those  of you that have been tracking with us in this study you know that we’ve been working our say this summer through the doctrine of eternal security which basically means once saved always saved.  And we spent some time going through about thirteen eternal security arguments which I won’t rename for you all but all that stuff is available online if you want to rehearse that.

And really what we start getting into now is response to problem passages.  There must be some passages that deny eternal security or at least look that way or else there wouldn’t be anything to argue about; right?  And what you discover is that there are many passages that look at first glance like you can lose your salvation.  I think I mentioned last time that the gentleman in church history who is most responsible for systematizing the idea that you can have your salvation and lose it is Jacob Arminius, so his followers today go under the name Arminians.  And it’s sort of hard to rejoice in your security if you have in your mind this nagging doubt, what about that passage over there.  So what I’m trying to do in the second part of our eternal security lessons is go through “those passages over there” that look differently.

And we started out with Old Testament passages last time; we saw that the example of Adam and Eve really doesn’t work as a pretext for losing your salvation because that’s more of an apples and oranges comparison.  And then we saw that Nadab and Abihu and Korah’s rebellion really can’t be used to argue you can lose salvation because those passages really don’t comment on salvation or eternity and hell, it’s more talking about the maximum discipline of the Lord, where sometimes He disciplines the believer to the point of death.

Then we saw that really troubling passage in Joshua 24:20 where it talks about God says to the nation of Israel, I will consume you, I will destroy you.  [Joshua 24:20, “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you.”]  You say wow, that’s got to be talking about loss of salvation.  But one of the things we went over last time, if you recall, is that Israel has a special covenant; she has really many covenants but one of the key ones she has is a covenant called the Mosaic Covenant, which has this fancy title of Suzerain Vassal treaty where the Superior, God, enters into an agreement with an inferior, Israel, and He says if you obey the terms of the covenant I’m going to bless you; if you disobey the terms of the covenant I will curse you.

And there is, in every Suzerain Vassal treaty, and we call it this because it fits the pattern of everything we know about the Ancient Near East and archeology, there were actually treaties that people entered into that fit this pattern.   But all Suzerain Vassal treaties had a blessings and curses section.  So you’ll notice here at the bottom of the screen, you can’t see it probably, but I’ll read it to you, there’s a little note that wasn’t there last week but it’s here this week.  It says: The Suzerainty–Vassal treaty, which Ancient Near Eastern kings made, were only with redeemed or conquered nations and never with individuals. [(2007). Christian Apologetics Journal, 6.]  So when you look at the curses section of the Suzerain Vassal that’s dealing with a country or a nation; it’s not a statement about heaven or hell.  The issue of individual heaven or hell is always determined on one basis from Genesis to Revelation, and that’s faith alone in Christ alone.

Those in the Old Testament looked forward to a Messiah that would come by faith, the key verse would be Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness.”  We, in the New Testament, look backward to a Messiah that already came; we just have the benefit of knowing His name and who He was; those in the Old Testament were looking forward so they didn’t know the name Jesus necessarily.  But the plan of individual salvation from age to age is always the same—faith alone in Christ alone!

And that’s not to be confused with the Suzerain Vassal treaty which is God’s dealing, not with the issue of salvation, personal salvation, but His dealings with a particular country, in this case Israel.  So it’s important to keep these concepts separate in your mind.  And what you’ll discover out there is a lot of people don’t separate these concepts, they just kind of merge them all into one and that’s sort of what Arminius, unfortunately, was doing.

Now we come to another Old Testament passage that at first glance looks like you can lose your salvation and that is God’s dealings with Saul.  Saul, as you know, was the first King of the United Kingdom, and this is what it says in 1 Samuel 16:14, “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.”  People look at that and say oh, my goodness, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, obviously the man lost his salvation and went to hell.

There’s a parallel passage in the book of 1 Chronicles.  Remember 1 Chronicles is sort of repeating everything that’s in the two Samuel books but it cuts out a lot of things because it’s a word of encouragement to the returnees from the exile.  So it’s highly selective; so it will remove, for example, David’s sin of adultery and things like that.  But it restates a lot of the same material found in 2 Samuel.  And if you look at 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 there’s another verse that looks like Saul lost his salvation.  It says, “So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, [14] and did not inquire of the LORD. Therefore He” that’s the Lord, “killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.”

So people look at verses like this and then 1 Samuel 28 where Saul really hits the bottom of the barrel and he gets into kind of some Jeanne Dixon stuff, he starts to consult a medium and the guy couldn’t have scraped any lower to the bottom of the barrel in terms of his apostasy and his sin against God.  So people sort of string these verses together and say this guy obviously lost his salvation.  But I want to try to show you that Saul, I do not think lost his salvation.  First of all, did Saul ever have salvation?  1 Samuel 11:6 to me makes it fairly clear that at one point at least the man was saved.  1 Samuel 11:6 says, this is of Saul, “Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became very angry.”  So the Spirit is using him, he’s being provoked here to righteous anger.  If you drop down to verse 13, “But Saul said, ‘Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished deliverance in Israel.’”  So there very early on in his career he’s acknowledging God as the One that gave the victory here that described in this chapter.

So obviously the guy was saved, he had a relationship with the Holy Spirit.  So what in the world happened to this guy?  Well, he drifted away from God in his personal walk.  If you go over to 1 Samuel 15 and you look at verses 13-14, it starts to describe his downward descent. It says, “Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, ‘Blessed are you of the LORD! I have carried out the command of the LORD. [14]But Samuel said,” that’s the prophet,  “‘What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”

So Saul was specifically told when he fought a particular people group here to go in there and wipe them out completely.  And then beyond that I want you to…the animal activists won’t like this very much, kill all the animals.  So there’s to be no resemblance of this people.  You say well, that’s pretty cruel, why does God do things like that?  Well, all you have to do is read the book of Judges to see why God told them to do that, because if the nation didn’t do this, that’s why these Canaanites were a thorn in the side of the nation for 800 years.  Had they done exactly what God said 800 years of apostasy, up until the Babylonian Captivity would have never transpired.

So you see Saul here sort of partially obeying God, kind of like us, right?  God says deal with this and we say well… and we make excuses.  And then a decade passes and we see the consequences of our sins and we say wow, I wish I had dealt with the issue right away like God told me to; my life would have been a lot easier.

1 Samuel 15:30 you see Saul’s continual dissent, “Then he said, “I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders,” well why do you deserve honor, Saul, if you’ve sinned.  “…please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.’ [31] So Samuel went back following Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD.”  So he wants to worship God but he wants to live in sin; this is sort of the pattern that you see in Saul.

And so essentially what happened is God dealt with this man through maximum divine discipline.  He never, I don’t think, took away the man’s salvation but He allowed him to experience the consequences of his choices.  And in the very next chapter (in the verse we already read), 1 Samuel 16:14, the Spirit of the Lord, which I’ll try to explain in just a little bit, actually departed from Saul.  [1 Samuel 16:14, “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.”]

The Spirit of the Lord had a different relationship with people in the Old Testament than He does in New Testament times.  The presence of the Spirit of the Lord was not necessarily an indicator of personal salvation; it was an indicator of an anointing and empowerment to perform certain tasks.  And that’s what was removed from Saul.  So Saul is governing the nation of Israel for a period of time without the empowerment of God and without the anointing of God because of personal sin in his life.

And it’s interesting that when he consults this witch of Endor, you might remember the story, that Samuel himself pops up in the vision and Samuel makes a statement in 1 Samuel 28:19.  It says, “Moreover the LORD will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow” now Saul committed suicide “tomorrow,” “…therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be” where? “with me. Indeed the LORD will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!’”  So Saul, it’s not going to end well for you from a human perspective, your wars are going to be lost, you yourself are going to commit suicide, which we know from subsequent chapters.  But Samuel is very clear that you, your soul in other words, will be where?  “With me.”

So therefore we don’t interpret these verses about the Spirit departing from Saul as a loss of salvation.  What it’s really talking about is a loss of anointing, a loss of empowerment, and Saul, as a one-time believer had this promise, Psalm 23:6, later written by David, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me” how long? “all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD” for how long? “forever.”  So that is your promise in God if you’re a believer.  Your destiny is secure but that doesn’t mean if, like Saul, we drift back into sin that we don’t lose opportunities, we don’t forfeit effectiveness.  And Saul, because of the gravity of his sin forfeited all of those things but I don’t think he lost his salvation.

Now what about Solomon, the third king of the United Kingdom.  Certainly this guy lost his salvation, right?  Take a look at 1 Kings 11:2-6, you know Solomon, like Saul, started really well.  Solomon governed…he was the last king of the United Kingdom, he governed the nation of Israel from about 971-931 B.C.  It was in Solomon’s time period that the nation of Israel grew to its largest borders it’s ever had, and experienced tremendous prosperity.  And actually you remember that Solomon, David couldn’t build the temple because David was a man of war, but the privilege of constructing the temple, the first temple in Judaism, prior to this time the only thing Israel had was a tabernacle, which was like a mobile temple that they moved from place to place.  But it was Solomon that was given this privilege of anchoring the official worship center of God in Jerusalem and he’s the one that built that temple.

So this guy started really well.  In fact, you don’t have to turn there but in 1 Kings 3:9-13 God came to Solomon and said ask whatever you want.  Don’t you wish God said that to you?  I mean, what would you ask for?  I’ve got a long “Santa Clause list” that would probably ask for a bunch of things.  Remember what Solomon asked for?  Wisdom; I mean, all I want is wisdom on how to govern this people and God was so impressed with this prayer request, that he didn’t ask for personal fame or personal wealth, the death of his enemies, that God gave Solomon wisdom in abundance and then gave him a whole bunch of things that he didn’t specifically even ask for.

[1 Kings 3:9-13, “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?  [10] It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. [11] God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discern­ment to understand justice, [12] behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. [13] I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.”]

So Solomon, like Saul, starts off well.  And isn’t it interesting, all of these kings, the first three kings of the United Kingdom, Saul, David, Solomon, there’s a historical record of how they all started well but didn’t finish well in every case.  So what happened to Solomon is he began to get old, not that getting old makes you sinful, necessarily, maybe it makes you grumpy but not necessarily sinful.  But he just sort of, towards the end of his life, after all of this success that he had he started to drift away from the Lord.  And this is what it says in 1 Kings 11:2-6, it says, “from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, ‘You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.’  Solomon held fast to these in love.”  So all of these kings, whether it’s David, Saul, Solomon, they have a problem with falling in love with the Canaanites dwelling within the land of Israel that God originally told the Judges generation, the Joshua generation rather, to eradicate.

And as you go down to verse 3 it says, “He” that’s Solomon, “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives” plural, a lot of them to choose from I guess, “turned his heart away from the Lord.”  And basically that’s an acknowledge that he also did something that he wasn’t supposed to do, he started entering into treaties with these surrounding Canaanite powers.  And when you entered into a treaty with the pagan king, the pagan king gave you his princess, or a princess in the kingdom as part of the deal.  And so if Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines think of all the treaties with pagan nations that he had entered into.  And if you go back to the book of Deuteronomy what you’ll discover is Israel was specifically told not to enter into all these treaties.  So it’s really a sign of his generating apostasy.

And as you go down to verse 4 it says, “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. [5] For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of [the Ammonites]” and then it mentions all of these names which are difficult to pronounce, the Ammonites and so forth [the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of]”  Verse 6, “Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done.

So it’s almost as if Solomon woke up one day and looked at the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 17, verses 14-17, which had been written about 400, maybe 500 years earlier, it’s almost like he woke up one day, looked at the book of Deuteronomy and said I’m going to do the opposite because there’s very specific provisions in the book of Deuteronomy for kings, what kings are supposed to do.

Deuteronomy 17:14 says, “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’  [15] you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over you” so look at his birth certificate very carefully, make sure he wasn’t born in some foreign country, “you shall surely not put a foreigner over you who is not your countryman.[16] Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way again.’  [17] He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.”

You start entering into these treaties with these other countries and you get their choice princess, well guess what, she’s coming with a bunch of baggage of paganism and she’s going to negatively influence you.  And this is the kind of thing that Solomon got wrapped up in at the end of his life and as the Lord warns  us, we can get our hearts turned away from God very quickly when we get subjected to all of this paganism.  And that’s basically what happened to Solomon.  So Solomon, it’s almost like he woke up one day, read Deuteronomy 17:14-17 and then decided to do the opposite.  And this is why God was so clear in the Old Testament times that when you get a king in a position of power the first thing you need to do is you need to get the king, and this is very clear as  you study it in the Old Testament, he needs to write out the Law by hand.  And he has to do it in the presence of not a priest but Levitical priests, plural, to supervise what he’s doing.

And there’s a big difference between reading something and writing something. When you’re writing something you’re really forced to reflect upon what it is you’re producing with your hand, so God was very clear that the king was to write out the Law.  And this whole legal system that they had is so far advanced; all of the other nations of the earth at that time had what’s called the divine right of kings, where the king was God, but not so the kings of Israel, they were not over the law, they were what? under the Law.

And so every king you can trace their downfall because they put themselves over the Law instead of submitting to the Law of God.  And that’s in essence what happened to Solomon and so consequently, like Saul, Solomon went into very severe divine discipline because “whom the Lord loves the Lord” what? “chastens.”

And you start to see that divine discipline prophesied in 1 Kings 11:9-14.  It says in verse 9, “Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, [10] and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. [11] So the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. [12] Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. [13] However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.’  [14] Then the LORD raised up an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the royal line in Edom.”

And then if  you don’t mind, drop down to verse 35, 1 Kings 11:35,  “but I” that’s the Lord, “will take the kingdom from his son’s hand and give it to you, even ten tribes.”  So Solomon, here’s basically what’s going to happen because you violated Deuteronomy 17:14-17, once you leave the throne the kingdom is going to be divided.

[Deuteronomy 17:14, “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me, [15] you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. [16] Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ [17] He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.”]

And we know that’s exactly what happened; once Solomon leaves the throne the United Kingdom is over and Israel, from that point in time is divided all the way through Old Testament times.  You have the ten northern kings, or tribes I should say, headquartered in Samaria and they took on the name Israel.  And then you have the two southern tribes who became what’s known as the Southern Kingdom, headquartered in Jerusalem and you have a division starting almost right away once Solomon left the throne.

1 Kings 12-14 describes it, it’s a division between Rehoboam and Jeroboam and Israel moves into what’s called the Divided Kingdom.  All of that could have been avoided if Solomon had simply obeyed what God said in Deuteronomy 17:14-17.

So all the way through the Old Testament, right up to the scattering of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians, and then later the captivity of the southern kingdom by the Babylonians, the kingdom of Israel is divided between these two groups and there’s constant friction, tension, warfare and animosity between those two groups because of what Solomon did.  And so Solomon suffered because of his sin and the nation of Israel suffered because of his sin and that’s something important to understand about sin.  When we sin it’s not just us that suffers; innocent parties that weren’t even involved in the sin suffered, and Israel is experiencing all of this suffering, all the way through the pages of the Old Testament and that’s what makes the writings of the prophet Ezekiel so wonderful.  We don’t have to turn there but particularly in chapter 37 God says those two sticks, north and south, I’m going to, in the Millennial kingdom, bring back together.  And in the Millennial kingdom I’m going to reverse everything that Solomon brought in through the consequences of his sin and Israel will never be divided again.

So that’s sort of the story of Solomon.  Now the big question is well, surely the guy lost his salvation and went to  hell.  Now let me tell you why I don’t think Solomon lost his salvation, because in that pathetic state that he was in, in the final years of his life, he wrote a book of the Bible, did he not?  And what book am I referring to?  The book of Ecclesiastes.  Solomon actually contributes three books to the Old Testament Canon, the book of Proverbs which I think he wrote second, I think he wrote the Song of Solomon first, then later he wrote the book of Proverbs.  And then sort of as an older man in this state of sin he kind of reflects upon what life is like when you’re out of fellowship with God; life is meaningless and doesn’t make any sense and that’s why he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes.

So if you hold to the idea that Solomon lost his salvation then basically what you have is a guy that’s unsaved writing a canonical book, which doesn’t make any sense, does it.  I mean, of course Solomon was saved, God wouldn’t have used him to contribute the book of Ecclesiastes to the Old Testament, although just because you’re saved and just because you’re going to heaven doesn’t mean you don’t experience consequences.  So the story of Saul and the story of Solomon I don’t think can be used to deny once saved always saved.

Another common verse that’s used is David, and take a look at Psalm 51:11, David makes a statement here in one of his psalms that he was writing under the inspiration of God; he makes this incredible statement.  He says: “Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”  So the Arminian looks at that and says well, David is praying that the Spirit of God would not be withdrawn from him so therefore it must be possible that the Spirit of God can be withdrawn from people.  And if the Spirit of God can be withdrawn from people clearly David was opening the door here, or acknowledging the reality that you can lose your salvation.

But you see, this gets into something I mentioned a little earlier; those in the prior age had a different relationship with the Holy Spirit than we have.  In our age if you believe in Jesus Christ you are immediately indwelt by the Spirit, the body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, and how long is the Spirit in you for?  Forever.  That’s why we have been sealed by the Spirit, Ephesians 4:30 says “unto the day of redemption.  [Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”]

Jesus hints at this shift that’s coming because He says the Spirit, John 14:16, once the church age starts will be in you forever.  [John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”]  So if all that is true then why was the Holy Spirit given to folks in the Old Testament times?  In Old Testament times the Spirit of God came upon, not everybody, but it came upon certain people for purposes of empowerment.   Not salvation, empowerment or an anointing to do specific tasks.

So, for example, notice the book of Judges for a minute, Judges 14, and notice if you will verse 6, it’s talking about Samson, and it says, “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him” that was Samson, “mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.”  So there young Samson, the Spirit of God comes upon him selectively and suddenly the guy has power that he didn’t have before.  In this case he has super human strength.

Notice Judges 14:19,  it says, “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house.”  But notice again the Spirit of God comes upon Samson, not for salvation but rather for an anointing for empowerment.  And this is very common in Old Testament times.

Now with Samson, look at Judges 16:20, it specifically says that the Spirit left Samson.  “She said, ‘Samson, the Philistines are upon you!’”  That’s Delilah speaking, and “He awoke from his sleep and said ‘I will go out as before and shake myself free.” Because I’ve got this super human strength that the Spirit of God is upon me.  “But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.”  So the Spirit of the Lord, because of Samson’s sin, departed from Samson.

You say well then Samson went to hell?  Not so because Samson is in the hall of faith, Hebrews 11, which is a record of all saved people who did great exploits for God but everybody in the hall of faith is saved, is in heaven; Samson is in that crowd, is in the group.  So the withdrawing of the Spirit in Old Testament times was not, should not be understood as a loss of salvation. Rather, it should be understood as a loss of empowerment, loss of strength, loss of anointing, because the Spirit of God came upon some people in Old Testament times for the express purpose of strengthening them and empowering them.  And that’s completely different, as I’ll explain in a minute, than our current relationship to the Holy Spirit today.

Notice, if you will, 1 Samuel 10:10, this is also true with David and Saul, it says: “When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them.”  So here the Spirit of God comes upon this individual, I believe it’s Saul, and Saul has this power that he didn’t have before, in this case the ability to prophesy.  But like Samson, what does it say in 1 Samuel 16:14, this is in relation to Saul, it says, “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.”  So Saul, because of sin, lost the anointing of God.

As I’ve tried to explain before, when the Spirit leaves  Saul it’s not a statement that he went to hell because in the vision that Saul saw of Samuel, Samuel said tomorrow you’re going to be with me.  When the Spirit left Samson, it’s not a statement that Samson went to hell because Samson is mentioned in which chapter of the Bible?  Hebrews 11, the hall of faith.  So the removing of the Spirit in Old Testament should not be interpreted as a loss of salvation; it rather should be interpreted as ineffective ministry, ineffective strength from God but not a loss of salvation.

So I have this chart here, I don’t know if you can see that, I think you can, it describes what the Spirit of God is doing in the Old Testament, and even in the Gospels, because the real shift in the Spirit’s work doesn’t start until the church age which begins in Acts 2. So you don’t look to the gospels and you don’t look to the Old Testament for what is normative activity of the Spirit today.  So in that prior age a lot of people received the Holy Spirit long after they were saved.  That was true with the tabernacle workers, who I think were saved; why would they be working on the tabernacle if they weren’t saved.  But the Spirit of the Lord came upon those tabernacle workers to help them with their building and their carpentry.  That’s how practical the Spirit of God is, he can even help you with basic tasks like carpentry, working with wood, and things like that, in Exodus 31:3.  [Eternal security 31:3, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship.]

Is that how it functions today?  Do we get saved and then we get the Holy Spirit later?  A lot of our charismatic brothers and sisters think that and they call it the doctrine of the second blessing,  you got saved, that’s nice but you need to really start crying out to God and you’ll get this additional endowment of the Spirit later; they call that the second blessing.  We do not believe that the Scripture teaches the doctrine of the second blessing because Ephesians 1:3, written to us, says we have been blessed, past tense, with how many spiritual blessings?  Every spiritual blessing.  You’ll see that in Ephesians 1:3.    [Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”]

So you don’t have to go and grovel to God and beg Him for some additional blessing; He looks at those prayer requests and I think He starts laughing and says man, if you just read the Scripture you would see I’ve given you everything I’ve got to give, there’s really nothing more I could give.

So Romans 8:9 says if you do not have the Spirit of Christ you do not belong to Christ.  [Romans 8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”]  So everybody in our age receives the Holy Spirit at the point of personal faith in Christ.  That wasn’t how it was in Old Testament times.  The Spirit came upon certain people for anointing.

Well, how long does the indwelling of the Spirit last?  In all of these passages we looked at in Old Testament times and even in the Gospels what you’ll see is the Spirit left people. Psalm 51:11, David is acknowledging that.  [Psalm 51:11, “Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”]

1 Samuel 16:14, we’ve already talked about that verse, the Spirit departed from Saul.  That’s not how it is in our age.  Once you have the Spirit the Spirit is with  you and in you for how long?  Forever!  Let’s go to John 14:16, Jesus made this point very clear when he was talking about a shift in the Spirit’s work not many days from now which we understand is the beginning of the church age in Acts 2. Jesus says something totally radical in John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,” or the paraclete, that’s the Holy Spirit, “that He may be with you” for how long, the very last word in the verse says “forever.”

Now as a New Testament Christian therefore I cannot lose the Holy Spirit, like those in the Old Testament did.  What I can do though is grieve the Spirit through sin, quench the Spirit, in other words, I can limit my usability before God through sin but I can never forfeit the Spirit.   And so when I confess my sin and get restored to proper fellowship to God don’t get the idea that you’re getting more of the Spirit.  Rather the Spirit is getting more of you; there’s a big difference there.  And so there’s an obvious shift taking place in the Bible.

Who was indwelt?  Well, in Old Testament times and the Gospels I don’t think every single believer had the Holy Spirit, or else Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2:28 doesn’t make any sense because Joel predicted this wonderful day when the Spirit would be poured out on all what? “all flesh,” talking about a regenerated Israel.  [Joel 2:28, “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.”]

Now why would that prophecy be special if the Spirit had already been poured out on all flesh, Israel?  So the fact that Joel is talking about something different that God is going to do in the future, in the Kingdom where every child of God will have the Spirit, obviously that wasn’t happening in Joel’s day or else that prophecy wouldn’t be unique or special.

But in our day everybody that’s a Christian, everybody that is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ on the authority of the Word of God receives the Holy Spirit.  Notice 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul says, “For by one Spirit we were” what? “all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink” notice he keeps saying “all,” “we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  And he’s making these comments to the Corinthians church which is not exactly a blueprint of spiritual living, these Corinthians.  That’s why Ray Stedman called First Corinthians  First Californians.  And they were basically living in rebellion against God, carnality and Paul never says well, you all lost the Holy Spirit.  Or you all never had the Holy Spirit, what he says is you’re quenching the Spirit, you’re grieving the Spirit, you’re limiting the influence that the Spirit of God who is already in you wants to have, but you’re not going to lose the Spirit.

In fact, he tells these people in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that your body is “the temple of the” what?  Spirit, and don’t you know that when you join yourself to a prostitute, which is what some of these folks were doing, you’re taking the Holy Spirit into that sexual sin and you’re grieving the Spirit.

So this chart, I hope it helps you, it helps me.  In the Old Testament people, and in the Gospels, people received the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation; not true in the church age, we receive the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation.  In the Old Testament and in the Gospels the Holy Spirit temporarily indwelt people; not so in the New Testament, we are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  In the Gospels and in the prior age selectively people were indwelt for certain tasks to give a certain anointing to do something for God, it could be being a king over a nation or it could being a tabernacle builder, whatever the task was.  But in our age every child of God is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

So we have privileges today with the Holy Spirit that those in the Old Testament age could never even dream of.  And this understanding comes from the dreaded “D” word, can I use it?  Do you mind?  Dispensationalism.  What is that?  The word “dispensationalism” is just a translation from the word oikonomia, which you’ll find in Ephesians 1:10 and Ephesians 3:2, oikonomia, which is translated, at least in some Bible versions, as dispensation.  [Ephesians 1:10, “with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.”  Ephesians 3:2, “if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;”]

Now what is dispensation?  Dispensation comes from the Greek word oikonomia, which is a compound word meaning two words combined into one; oikos, which means house, and nomos, which means rules.  So a dispensation is a change in house rules.   What never changes is the plan of salvation; that’s consistent all the way through, people are always saved the same way, by faith alone in Christ alone.  You’re either looking forward as an Old Testament saint or you’re looking backward as a church age believer; that never changes, but the outworking of God’s purposes does change because there are shifts in house rules.

Now  you see this very fast in the Bible, because you read Genesis 1 and 2, and you get to Genesis 3 things look a little different, don’t they?  The fall has happened, pregnancy becomes difficult, now man has to work by the sweat of his brow to survive, death enters the picture.  So there’s obviously a change of rules in between Genesis 1 and 2 and Genesis 3.  And so a traditional dispensationalist, like myself, would step back and look at the whole Bible.

You see, dispensationalism is not a theology; it’s an observation from the Bible.  The dispensationalist starts with the Bible; we don’t come with a bunch of theology that we dump into the Bible, we say wait a minute, the rules changed between Genesis 1 and 2 and Genesis 3.  And we can step back and a traditional dispensationalist like myself would see about seven times where the rules shift from beginning to end.  It’s not a change of the plan of salvation, that’s a straw man argument that’s hurled against our camp constantly… they’re dispensationalists, they’re teaching all these different ways of salvation.  They don’t even understand what we’re saying.

One thing to understand is this: we read them, the opponents, we read what they’re saying.  They hardly ever read us because we’re considered so backward fundamentalists we’re looked at like members of the flat earth society.  So we understand what they’re saying; they really don’t  understand what we’re saying and so they just say things that we really have never articulated or said. We’re not saying there’s a change of salvation from age to age; what we’re saying is there’s a change in the rules of God from age to age and if you can’t embrace that then you don’t have any explanation as to why the Holy Spirit departed from Saul, for example, but does not depart from us.  Obviously God changed the rules for our age as compared to prior ages.

So to make a long story short, back to Psalm 51:11, when David says, “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” he is an Old Testament saint functioning in the prior dispensation and what he’s basically saying is don’t take your anointing away from me God, because of my personal sins; let me continue to be empowered by You to be the King of the nation of Israel that You called me to be.

And I used to be in a youth group where we used to sing Psalm 51:11, which I won’t sing for you this morning (unless God gives me a special enablement to do that), I know what my gifts are and where they’re not and believe me, singing isn’t one of them.  But we would sing this song, we would sing it almost every Sunday, “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”  And then I got to thinking, why are we singing that?  Do we not have John 14:16 which says that the Spirit of God can never be withdrawn from me.  [John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;”]  So why are we singing this song without educating people what Scroll to topthe song actually means and the whole subject of dispensationalism.  So I was not very popular with my youth pastor, to say the least.    But you see, these are the basic errors you get into if you don’t recognize basic dispensations.

One more and I’ll close, Ezekiel 18:20, this one also is used as the fact that you can lose your salvation.  Notice the book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 18:20, it says this: “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”  So people look at that and say wow, “the soul that sinneth shall surely die,” clearly this is talking about people who disobey God as a believer, and God took away their salvation and sent them to hell.  And that is a, I believe, a very wrong interpretation of Ezekiel 18:20.

When Ezekiel 18:20 was written the nation of Israel was functioning under the Mosaic Law and in the Mosaic Law, we don’t have time to look at it but you might want to jot down Deuteronomy 17:6, for example, there were provisions for death when people disobeyed certain parts of the Law.  [Deuteronomy 17:6, “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.”]

For example, if you were involved in homosexuality or bestiality or you were a witch practicing witchcraft then under the auspices of the Mosaic Law you could be stoned to death.  And that was common practice in the land of Israel every second the nation of Israel was under the Mosaic Law, for about 1500 years.  So when Ezekiel 18:20 says the soul that sinneth shall surely die it’s not making a statement about sinning and going to hell, it’s making a statement about sinning, violating the Mosaic Law, and if it’s a sin of a certain caliber then you could be executed by the nation.

In fact, if a kid smarted off to his parents and was disrespectful to his parents, you could actually be stoned to death for that.  So they didn’t have much of a juvenile delinquency issue back in that time.  And if you interpret this as some sort of loss of salvation then you have to conclude that salvation is by works, not by faith, because look at Ezekiel 18:27, it says, “Again, when a wicked man turns away from his sin which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life.”   So if you obey the Law and don’t violate those parts of it that demand capital punishment your life will be saved.  If you disobey the Mosaic Law and you commit a sin of a certain caliber then you can be executed through stoning as ordained in the Mosaic Law.

In fact, in the book of Numbers, chapter 15, towards the end of the chapter, some folks come to Moses and say hey, we found a guy picking up sticks on the Sabbath, and Moses said okay, grab some rocks and throw rocks at the guy until he’s dead, because that’s what the Mosaic Law called for, because the Mosaic Law demanded that the nation of Israel worship God on the Sabbath and if you were a Sabbath breaker you could actually forfeit your life.  That’s what Ezekiel 18:20 is saying; it’s not making a comment about someone’s eternal destiny in hell.  And if it is commenting on that then what do you do with this verse, verse 27, which says if you practice righteousness you’ll be saved?  So is that salvation by works?  I guess so if you won’t interpret this correctly.

So if you interpret it as a capital punishment verse under the Law then you understand what the verse is saying.  If you interpret this as a salvation verse or a loss of salvation… the only conclusion you can come to is salvation is by works, which is something denied by God from cover to cover.  You have to come with sort of this crazy view that if I do good I’m going to heaven; if I don’t do good I’m going to hell.  But the fact of the matter is, these verses are not commenting on eternal salvation.  They’re commenting on capital punishment under the Law.

So you can’ use Saul to say we lose salvation, he went into divine discipline, not a loss of salvation.  You can’t use Solomon to say we lose salvation, he went into divine discipline, not forfeiting his salvation.  Psalm 51:11, you can’t use to say we lose our salvation because that’s talking about the relationship that folks had with the Holy Spirit in the prior dispensation.  And you really can’t use Ezekiel 18:20 to deny that we can lose our salvation because that’s talking about capital punishment under the Mosaic Covenant.

Now next week we’re going to get into passages from Matthew including the one that several of you have asked me about, where Jesus says, “Why do you say to Me Lord, Lord,”  “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name” and so forth.  Did we not work many miracles in Your name, and I will tell them plainly, Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew  you, which I believe is the most abused verse in the whole Bible.  And I’m going to try to orient us back to context  and try to show you what that verse means. It’s like these others, it’s not talking about loss of salvation.    [Matthew 7:23, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”]

All right, I’m going to finish talking; any questions, thoughts, comments?