As I said, I have been blogging at Redeemed Warrior and I am part of Gospel Ramblings. Hopefully one or both of these will serve you well.

I am unsure exactly what I will end up doing with this blog.

Enjoy the two other blogs!



Posted: January 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hello everyone,

I have a new blog with a new vision for my writing. Please feel free to continue to follow me at

I will be writing more than I did and have posts from making war on sin to youth ministry posts.



Where Have I Been?

Posted: November 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It’s been too long. I confess. Getting down into the discipline of blogging is difficult for me.

I have enjoyed one year being married to my beautiful bride. God is so good to have brought her to me. I can’t imagine my life without her! It’s almost as if He is sovereign! I took her out to eat and then to the hotel where we spent our first night together as a couple on November 3rd, 2012. It was a great time.

Now, after taking a week off from work and attending a conference in Indianapolis called “Act Like Men,” I am back to the norm again. I am enjoying my job at WirelessZone but looking forward to the day when I will be in full-time ministry. I have a few leads but it is ultimately in God’s hands and will remain very thankful for what He has provided so far and will continue to provide. Speaking of money, we are now debt free! No loans whatsoever! Very awesome!

A while back I read a few books on parenting. I feel more prepared after reading a book it seems. We are not expecting but I want to be ready when that day comes. I don’t remember who posted it on Facebook or Twitter but it was a free download of a Love and Logic book. At first I was on board, but I am basically rejecting love and logic. It was interesting and probably the best one from a different world view. It was apparently a Christian book even, but not a Christian view. I then read Shepherding a Child’s Heart. This book was absolutely phenomenal. It addressed the heart and that is the root issue in children that needs to be addressed and corrected. Just spanking a child does not do the trick. While Spanking is useful since God commands parents to use it, it is used to lovingly correct but a parent needs to address the sinfulness in the heart of their child. Very good read! Strongly recommended!

I am currently reading a book about called God’s Double Agent. It’s about a Chinese man who is involved in the Secret Church in China. Very good biography. I am about halfway in.

Anywho, time for me to take off. I may even have time to dust before my beautiful wife gets home.


Giver of good things

Posted: May 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I have been reading a book by David Platt entitled, Radical. It has been challenging me on my “need” of material things and as well as relying on the sufficiency of Christ.

In Chapter 3, David is talking about God giving us gifts and how he enjoys giving gifts to his children and providing for them. Then he compares what God gives to His children.

Matthew 7:11 says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Luke 11 says, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Do you see the difference in the verses above? I think they are saying the same thing, yet one is more precise. Let me clarify!

For years, I thought this verse was referring to “common grace.” Like earthly fathers do good things to their children, God does good things also to His children. I thought these “good things” were physical things I may have wanted.

If you read and carefully understand the Luke account, he is very clear that that “good thing” is not physical things but God Himself. I have challenged teens in my youth group and told them the most loving thing/action they can show someone is Jesus and God is doing the same here. The most loving way God can show His children His love is to give them Himself.

This should bring us to glorify Christ. We could pray and ask for something (physical thing), but God has given us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our guide, so He can give us guidance! The Holy Sprit is our comforter, so He can comfort. The Holy Spirit is a helper, so He can help us.

It is truly amazing that God loves us so much more and gives us this great gift which is way better than I would have asked for and am so grateful for the Holy Spirit!


Justin is Back

Posted: April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

I confessed to my beautiful wife the other night that I missed blogging. There is just something about blogging my thoughts about God that has been helpful and if it helps others too, great! If not, I think it would be a good spiritual discipline for myself.

My goal is to do one post every 2 weeks. I may be able to do more but that is what I am aiming for. We can’t all be like Justin Taylor or Kevin DeYoung who post multiple times per week.

A lot has happened since my last post. Married to the most beautiful women ever! I graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies. I am still working at a local Verizon dealer, which I do greatly enjoy. My wife and I serve together in youth ministry at Harvest Bible Chapel West Olive.

I am currently studying 1 Timothy as I will have the opportunity to preach through the book to the High School students.

I am praying that God will lead me the right church to serve as a youth pastor but am thankful for what God has provided me with and the opportunity to serve as a youth leader. I am also blessed to have a youth pastor who will give me the freedom to teach and further develop my gifting God has given me.

Tomorrow night I will be at a concert being led in Worship by Lecrae! Can’t wait!



Posted: July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Today is Thursday the 26th of July. Life has been so good and yet crazy all at the same time. A lot has happened since my last post.

I am engaged!!!

Yes, I am engaged! I met my beautiful fiancé at my local church in the small group ministry. Her name is Christina and I am so blessed to have met her and that we get to spend the rest of our lives together. We will be getting married this year, so lots of planning ahead of us! Prayers appreciated! *I do have my proposal on film however it won’t be posted until after I am married*


I am extremely close to graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Biblical Studies. I hope to be serving in the ministry upon graduating. My internship was with the youth ministry and I greatly enjoyed serving in this area. I just need to finish my last class called, “Pastoral Ethics.”. This should be completed within a month.

New Blog

I have been asked to be a part of a blogging team on a new website. It is up and running. The blog web site is We Are Imago Dei. Please click the link for more information about the website. The website consists of three bloggers right now and there may be a fourth contributor coming soon. The bloggers do have different perspectives on a few issues but we all agree on the essentials of the faith.

This blog, AgapeTheologian, will remain active but I see most of my theological blogging done at We Are Imago Dei and you may enjoy the other contributors as well.



Posted: April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Soteriology is the doctrine or the study of God’s means to bring salvation to human beings. There are different beliefs as to how and why God saves humans and soteriology will answer those questions.

What is grace? Grace is “God’s goodness towards those who deserve only punishment (Grudem 1243)?” Or grace is God’s unmerited favor towards those who deserve wrath (Matthew 5:44-45). All men deserve wrath or eternal punishment (Ephesians 2:1-2). Within the word, grace, there are two types of graces that are often explained. There is common grace and special grace.

Common grace is God showing his goodness or favor to those who are Christians and to those who are not Christians (Luke 6:35-36; Acts 14:16-17). An example would be when the sun is out shinning. The sun shines in both the believer and unbelievers lives. This is a very generous, yet common grace from God.

This leads to what is known as special grace or saving grace. Special grace is the goodness of God that is given only to those who are believers in Him (Christians) (Romans 9:15). God chooses to grant this special grace to believers at conversion and forever. One outcome of this special grace that God gives to us is to be declared Holy by God (Romans 5:1), this doctrine is called justification which will be addressed later. Without special grace from God, not one will turn to God (Romans 3:10-12).

God does give grace to all men! Every single human has received some kind of grace, but not all grace has been given equally to all men. Some were given special grace while some were given common grace. Both are gifts from our Maker!

This leads us to the doctrine of “election” or the more common known word, “predestination.” Election or predestination is the act of God who sovereignty, before creation, chooses who will be saved and who will not be saved (Ephesians 1:4). God does this electing before the world was created and thus happens before sin has entered into the world (Ephesians 1:4; Romans 9:9-11). God, in his sovereign justice chose some humans for his honor and chose some for to bring dishonor (Romans 9:22-24). Why does God elect?

God elects some to be saved because no one would choose God (Romans 3:10-12). God elects people so He can extend His grace to those He has chosen! God elects because He desires to extend His grace to men and women who would not come to Him unless He did so. Romans 3 says one does good, no one will seek after God; and if no one will seek after God, there is no good in men to cause God to want to elect us. What are the effects of predestination?

Predestination is the only reason one can come to God (Romans 9:16). Election should be viewed as a comfort (Romans 8:28). God works for our good (Romans 8:29-30)! Jesus is our ultimate good and is election causes us to be conformed to be like Jesus (Romans 8:29-30). The point is, if someone sins, they do not need to think they are not elected. One should think, “I am saved because I am elected” and focus on God’s grace and praise Him for election. Another reason is to praise God (Ephesians 1:5-6, 12). Christians should praise God because God has chosen them (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Wayne Grudem makes an excellent point by saying, “Understood in this way, the doctrine of election does increase praise given to God for our salvation and seriously diminishes any pride that we might feel if we thought out salvation was due to something good in us or something for which we receive credit (Grudem 674).”

A very common misunderstanding of election is that Christians then should not evangelize. If this is the conclusion then election is not understood correctly. For the Apostle Paul writes about election yet encourages evangelism (Romans 10:14-15). It should be encouraging that God may choose to use us to save some men and women, but we must not think that it is up to us, God is the one who does the saving, and we are a vessel of His (Romans 9:22). Because God chooses to use us, it encourages us to go and preach the Gospel (Romans 10:14-15) and essentially God is saying, “I guarantee some will be saved.” Grudem says, “It is as if someone invited us to come fishing and said, ‘I guarantee that you will catch some fish—they are hungry and waiting (Grudem 674).’”

One must conclude that God chose some in Christ because He chose to demonstrate His love to many (Ephesians 1:5). The only conclusion one must accept is that election is unconditional and should cause humility.

What about the atonement? There is much disagreement around the atonement. Even among those who accept election and are usually Calvinists. Calvinists do differ slightly on this point—the extent of the atonement. Some Calvinists refer to themselves as Moderate Calvinists or 4-point Calvinists if they reject the doctrine that is called, “Limited Atonement” or to put it in the positive, “Particular Redemption.” This doctrine teaches that Jesus Christ’s blood is sufficient for all, but Jesus’ blood covers those whom God has chosen to same; a particular purpose (John 10:11).

Jesus came to earth to die for the sins of His disciples and for His entire sheep (John 10:11; Hebrews 9:28) who the Father has given Jesus (John 10:15; John 17:9)! Christ died for His sheep, but how is one made righteous? Romans 5:19 says that Jesus died on the cross so that Christians can be made righteous. This doctrine is called the imputation of Christ. Christ transfers His holiness, his perfection to His sheep so God looks down and see’s Jesus’ blood covering us. There is absolutely no other way to be made holy than by the blood! Those who are imputed by Christ are justified and Christ’s free gift has become our own (Romans 5:17; Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:6; and 1 Corinthians 1:30). “It is central to the heart of the gospel to insist that God declares us to be just (Grudem 727).”

This leads us to justification. Justification is the Christian doctrine that says God declares one righteous. Or that God views one as if they have never sinned. Justification is a legal stance before God. As mentioned earlier, no one would choose God and all are sinners (Romans 3:23) which means one should be sent to hell (Romans 6:23). God is declaring us righteous if you believe on Jesus Christ (Romans 3:26; Galatians 2:16). Romans 5:1 says we have been justified by God, declared righteous, through our faith in Jesus and we now have peace with God. Justification is amazing and another reason to praise God.

What is the difference between the Gospel Call and the Effective Call? The effective call is a call that God gives to those he has predestined (Romans 8:30). This insists that the effective call is an act of God, not man (Romans 8:29). Those who are elected are called to belong to Jesus and to conform into His image (Romans 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9). “It is an act of God that guarentees a response (Grudem 693).” Dr. Wayne Grudem gives a great definition, “Effective calling is an act of God the Father speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith (Grudem 693).”

In order to have an effective call, there must be a gospel call (Romans 10:14-15). The gospel call is a general call to unbelievers to repent and accept Jesus Christ. The main distinction is that the gospel call is communicated through human beings and is not a supernatural act of God (Romans 10:14). The gospel call is a call for people to understand everyone is a sinner, the penalty of the sins is death, but that Jesus Christ paid for the penalty of the sins. This then leads to a life of forgiveness and the future hope of eternal life with God (Grudem 694-695).

The gospel call and the effective call do work together. It is really cool how God chooses to use humans to accomplish His will in saving people. Acts 16:14 is a very clear example of God opening a heart using the gospel call/gospel message yet God was issuing a effective call. A human presents the gospel call (Romans 10:14), yet God issues the effective call (John 6:44).

What is regeneration? Grudem is correct in defining regeneration as, “…a secret act of God in which he imparts spiritual life to us (Grudem 699).” When one understands that everyone is inherently sinful, how can that person choose God (Romans 3:10-11)? By themselves they cannot choose God (Romans 3:11). God imparts regeneration moments prior to conversion (Romans 3:11). Once regeneration is given to a person; the outcome is a new convert in Jesus (Grudem 700) (Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3). A similar connection is irresistible grace where God gives the special grace to an unbeliever and God draws him or her to Himself joyfully. Regeneration happens only once since conversion follows shortly. Ezekial 36:26-27 speaks of a prophecy of regeneration of God giving a new heart and a new spirit inside His converts! The source of regeneration is God Himself regenerating us to have spiritual life again, but what are the effects?

The effect of regeneration is conversion or a new life in Jesus Christ! In Acts, once God opened this girls heart, she believed (Acts 16:14). The effect of regeneration is that one will be born again (1 John 5:1). What grace has God given to humans in that they wanted nothing to do with God and yet He saves them anyway! Regeneration is the start of a new life in Jesus and this life in Jesus will forbid someone to keep on living in their sin (1 John 3:9). Someone who loves like Christ has been regenerated (1 John 4:7). Regeneration is from God alone and the effects of it, is being born again living like Jesus.

How role does faith and repentance play in conversion? Faith and repentance must go hand in hand in order to be converted. Repentance is turning away from sin and joyfully walking in obedience to Christ (Acts 20:21). While faith is trusting and depending on God for what He says and accepts all that God says to be true (Acts 20:21). All men are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30). God’s goodness and common are given to humans in order that God’s goodness may lead men to repent of their sins (Romans 2:4). There is a call to repent, and a call for faith (Galatians 2:20). Repentance and faith must go together which makes conversion (Romans 10:9). One must remember that this is still an act of grace from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith and repentance are crucial in conversion, without it one simply cannot be converted.

What does the Bible say about a person losing his or her salvation? The Bible does not teach one can lose his or her salvation (John 10:27-29). Some argue that no one else can cause you to lose your salvation, but John 10:28 says that no man can snatch you out of the father’s hand. No man can! That includes any human! Christians have a guarantee that God will keep you until He comes back (Ephesians 1:13-14). One of the most strongest and blunt passage in the Bible that says God will finish the work He started is Philippians 1:6. If someone can lose their salvation, then God did not finish his statement here and would cause God to be a liar. Obviously this is not the case.

There may be some people who think they are believers or who are pretending to be part of the family of God, but they are not true believers and no inheritance in the kingdom of God (Hebrews 6:1-6). Again, the Bible speaks of false brothers in sisters in Christ who are only pretending (Galatians 2:4) and they disguise themselves as servants of God (2 Corinthians 11:15). Jesus speaks of those who are believers in Him will be continue to be His in the parable found in John 15 verses 1-7. There may be a period of time in a believers’ life when he or she backslides or acts like the world. This is very hard for other believers to determine if he or she was a real believer or one who was pretending (Galatians 6:1). However, we should be praying and try to restore the backslider (Galatians 6:1).

The term eternal security is misleading because it implies that you can continue to live in sin and still be a believer. This is not what is meant by Perseverance of the Saints. The correct understanding is that a true believer will not want to keep living sin but that God will finish the work He started and that no one can remove the salvation that was given to him or her (John 10:28; Philippians 1:6). This doctrine should be encouraging to know that even when we do sin, God is faithful and will forgive us and that we are still a child of His (1 John 2:1-3).

These are the doctrines involved in sotereiology. God is the giver of such grace and gives so much to us. A closer study of soteriology should cause great humility and praise to God who is in heaven!

Works Cited
Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000. Print.

Zone Out (Song)

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I am really looking forward to this artist…Enjoy!

Next Post: Salvation

Pneumatolgy is the study of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, which means that He is a Divine person. There are many different opinions on the Holy Spirit and how He functions and His roles. It is crucial to remember that the Holy Spirit is 100% God, yet distinct from the other persons of God in the Trinity.

The Holy Spirit is a person. While the Holy Spirit is a spirit, He is not some cosmic force, but obtains a personality. “God alone has perfect personality, so any definition of true personality must start from a study of God’s characteristics (Ryrie 18).” While the Spirit is a person (Acts 15:28), it is very clear that the Spirit is distinct from Jesus, the Son (John 16:14). The Spirit’s role is to make Jesus known and to glorify Jesus. Essentially, the Spirit points to the Christ. In the book of Matthew, chapter 28 and verse 19 clearly states all 3 members of the Trinity. The significance of this is that it signifies that all 3 members of the Trinity are equally God but function differently. No one can escape the presence of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 137:7-12). The Holy Spirit is a person who possess a personality and has desires. Wayne Grudem correctly defines the work of the Spirit as, “The Work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the active presence of God in the world, and especially in the Church (Grudem 634).” God the Father and Jesus are both distict from the Holy Spirit, which is why in Luke 4:14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit. This shows that each part of the Trinity are separate in persons, but are one!

How did the Holy Spirit function in the Old Testament times? One of the clearest things He did was to restrain sin (Genesis 6:3) (Ryrie 55). The Spirit would indwell select individuals (Numbers 27:18), but not all. The Spirit enabled select chosen people for God’s service (Judges 3:10; Judges 14:6). While the Holy Spirit chose to enable and come upon certain men, this was not a universal work of the Spirit in the Old Testament (Isaiah 59:21). While the Holy Spirit was limited in His effect and duration during the Old Testament time, Jesus says in the book of John that He will ask the Father, and He will give another helper who will be with you forever (John 14:16-17). First, John 14 signifies the Trinity again and secondly it shows a start of a new stage in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit is now with believers forever, not temporarily as it once was (Ryrie 56).

How is the Holy Spirit different in the New Testament than He was in the Old Testament? First, the Holy Spirit is similar in some ways, like empowering for certain tasks or ministries (Acts 1:8) (Grudem 638). In the early Church, the Holy Spirit worked through some to work miracles as they proclaimed the gospel (Acts 6:5, 8) and as Christians preach the gospel by being filled with the Spirit (Acts 4:8). The Holy Spirit now gives gifts to believers. Note, the Holy Spirit gives, they are gifts from God to believers (1 Corinthians 12:11). The Holy Spirit intercedes on the believers behalf as often times believers do not know how to pray (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit purifies or sanctifies. There is no need for a sacrifice to take place to seek forgiveness since Jesus paid for it, but the Holy Spirit now does the cleaning and cleansing by making believers more like Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:11). The Holy Spirit did reveal certain things to certain people both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. An example would be the prophets in the Old Testament (Numbers 24:2) and in the New Testament, the Apostles (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Spirit now guides and directs believers of Jesus Christ (Grudem 640) (Matthew 4:1). Believers should be led and walking in the Spirit so the believer will not sin and lose the spiritual battle daily (Galatians 5:16-26). It is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and believers should strive not to since He sealed us until Christ returns to bring us to His kingdom!

What is the Holy Spirit’s ministry in relation to Christ’s earthly ministry? The first absolutely important aspect of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to Jesus would be the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born to a virgin (Ryrie 59) (Luke 1:35) and conceived by the Holy Spirit. Essentially, the Holy Spirit made it happen despite the fact that Mary, the mother of Jesus, never had intercourse until after Jesus was born. A true miracle of the Holy Spirit! This miracle allowed the incarnation to take place, which allowed a human nature to exists, “not a person” for Jesus always existed with the Trinity (Ryrie 60).

The Holy Spirit marked Jesus as the messiah which was a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy (Acts 4:27; Hebrews 1:9). He also empowered Him for preaching (Ryrie 61) or public ministry (Luke 4:18). The Spirit is the agent that connected Jesus to be able to heal and to do good (Acts 10:38). Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 4:21; Luke 4:1). The Father sent the Spirit to seal the Son as a symbol of approval (Ryrie 61) (John 6:27). The Holy Spirit led Jesus in the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4:1). Jesus was walking and being led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus also rejoiced in the Holy Spirit which is a fruit of the Spirit (Ryrie 62) (Luke 10:21). The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to do miracles and certain tasks, this was the Spirit’s doing in Jesus (Matthew 12:28). It should be noted that not all the miracles of Jesus were performed with the Spirit (Mark 5:30), Jesus did some in His own divine power. However, it is clear also that the Spirit led Him and empowered Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s ministry to Jesus included the “anointing, filling, empowering and leading were related to the development of Christ’s human nature (Ryrie 62).”

What is the Holy Spirit’s role in conversion to the elect? First, the elect should be defined as believers who Christ has saved. God has chosen many to be saved (Ephesians 1:4). What is the Holy Spirit’s role in the process of salvation? Regeneration can be defined as a new life or to be born again (Ryrie 89). Grudem defines regeneration as “A secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us (Grudem 1253)…”

Essentially regeneration is spiritual resurrection (Ryrie 90). This act of God in particular is the Holy Spirit at work (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). What does this work accomplish or do? It brings new spiritual life to the individual. The new nature is the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old self prior to regeneration or conversion can only serve sin (Romans 6:20). Now, since the Holy Spirit is at work in the person, they can now serve righteousness (Romans 6:18).

This new nature will now breathe new life (Ryrie 92). The results of being regenerated are doing righteousness, so putting on a new life and knocking down sin in one’s life (John 2:29). The new nature will cause a new life to form spiritually. Regeneration will not make one perfect, it does lead one to be more and more like Jesus. The only way someone can come to Jesus is to be regenerated by the Spirit.

What about the sealing of the Holy Spirit? This is the doctrine of the Spirit where He seals us to the day of redemption. Essentially, this doctrine proves that once a person is saved he will be kept eternally secure in God. This person cannot lose his or her salvation. God is the one who regenerates, God is the one who saves, and God is the one who keeps the person in Him. It is foolish to say it is all God’s doing except a finite human can now reject God. It is illogical. Scripture affirms this in Ephesians 1:13. The Holy Spirit promises this sealing. If one could deny God after being saved and lost his salvation, this would make the Holy Spirit a liar and would mean He is not God. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is only found in the New Testament (Ryrie 117). What a blessing of this new church age to have such a gift from God! God does guarantee our sealing (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). This sealing of the Spirit happens at the moment when one first believes (Ephesians 1:13). The sealing does last until Christ returns (Ephesians 4:30). “…no believer can become unsealed on his or her way to heaven (Ryrie 120).” Ryrie explains the security of the believer as God giving us security that we are possessed by God. Secondly, God promises His children salvation, “for there is no power greater than God who could break the seal, and God Himself promised never to break it.” Thirdly, God’s “purpose is to keep us until the day of redemption (Ryrie 120).”

Ephesians 4:30 explains to believer that we were sealed so we may not grieve the Holy Spirit. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. The Holy Spirit should guard our lips so we will not grieve Him (Ryrie 121).

What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Baptism of the Holy Spirit happens at conversion. This should not be confused with regeneration where the Spirit enables and gives a new life to the believer; this baptism is the experience or event that happens when the individual accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (Acts 11:15-17). Baptism is a one time event that happens at conversion, while the filling of the Spirit happens throughout a believer’s life. The baptism of the Spirit is not an experience where they experience the Spirit over and over again, because again, it happens once in a person’s life, and then they are sealed!

The filling of the Spirit is the empowerment of the Spirit to accomplish a certain task or ministry (Acts 2:4; Acts 4:31). The Apostle Paul also commands believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This particular phrase essentially means Christian maturity. Pastor John Piper says, “… basically, it means radiant joy, because the Spirit who fills us is the Spirit of joy that flows between God the Father and God the Son because of the delight they have in each other. Therefore, to be filled with the Spirit means to be caught into the joy that flows among the Holy Trinity and to love God the Father and God the Son with the very love with which they love each other. And then, in answer to the second question, the way to be filled with the Spirit is by trusting that the God of hope really reigns—that not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from his will (Matthew 10:29)—and that he runs the world for you and for all who trust his word. In believing that, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy (Piper).” According to Piper, this filling of the Spirit brings radical joy to the believer and is maturity in Christ! This is the command of Paul, to be mature in Jesus!

Lastly, what is the purpose and intent of the gifts of the Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12 gives a detailed list of the gifts of the Spirit. Again, these are gifts. Someone may have the gift of encouragement, because one person has been given that gift and you have not, does not mean that we should be jealous or rivaling against that person. The Holy Spirit bestows upon each person particular gifts to them. The gifts of the Spirit started at the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles (Acts 2). These gifts are not a place of service, nor are they an office, not a select ministry, they are not a special technique as one could learn it, and these are not a set skill one can just learn (Ryrie 124-25). It is a gift! Spiritual gifts are given by the Spirit independent from parents (Ryrie 125). Every believer in Jesus has at least one gift (1 Peter 4:10). “…no one believer has all of them (Ryrie 126).” “The foundation gifts of apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20) belonged to the founding era of the church and now appear in the periods of building the superstructure of the church (Ryrie 126).” Some gifts do not appear in every era of life. For example, gifts of the Apostles, this has ceased. However, believers today are still affected by the Apostles ministry (Ryrie 127).

What spiritual gifts are still in effect today? It would be much better to say it in the negative sense, what gifts are not in effect today? The gift of the Apostles have ceased. This gift was given for a select time to start the foundation of the churches. Prophecy has ceased in a certain sense. The Bible is complete and Christians have all that they need (2 Timothy 3:16). It is perfect! Prophecy still exists in the sense of preaching. Preaching is prophecy because you warn people about sin and proclaim a message by God. If someone declares they have a message from God, it would be wise to listen to them but test what they are saying with the Word of God since the Word of God is complete in every sense of the word.

The gifts of miracles and healing are not in effect today. To clarify, these gifts are not given to a particular individual as a gift, but God still does miracles and miraculous healings, just not given to a particular person to perform for God’s glory. Tongues and interpretation are two gifts that Christians debate over. It would be wise to be open about the miraculous gifts but cautious. If there is not an interpreter present, then this is not the gift of tongues. Along with healing and miracles, this sounds more like an empowerment of the Spirit in today’s age than an actual gift given to a believer. Gifts such as serving (Romans 12:7), exhortation (Romans 12:8), giving (Romans 12:8), teaching (Romans 12:7), showing mercy (Romans 12:8), faith (1 Corinthians 12:9), evangelism (Ephesians 4:11), knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8), and wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8) are gifts that are still at work today. These gifts have been given to serve the local church and the universal church. These gifts have been given from one Spirit just as we have been baptized in one body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

The Holy Spirit does a lot and is distinct from the roles of the Father and of the Son, but is 100% God. Believers are in need of the Spirit! Without the Spirit’s work in our lives, we would be on the pathway to hell.