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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

And yes, "dealer prep" is included

You’ve picked out the car you want. You’ve settled on a price. And now the dealer asks if you’d like to add on a few “extras.”

“Like what?” you ask.

Like an engine, maybe . . . or a windshield? Or perhaps you’d like four wheels on that new car you’ve just bought.

And if this conversation seems a little odd – if you thought these things come standard with every car – then you’ve just put your finger on the essential point of this week’s lesson: the Holy Spirit does not come “extra.” No, it is standard equipment in every believer’s life.

Take away the Holy Spirit, after all, and what’s left?
  • Not your own conscience – He’s the one who keeps pointing you towards Jesus.
  • Not your own ability – He’s the one who keeps nudging you along.
  • And certainly not your own will power – if you’ve ever tried to break a bad habit, then you know how far that will get you!

No, if it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit, then we wouldn’t have a prayer – literally. For “we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).

Now it’s true that John Wesley talked about a “second blessing” – a special gift of the Holy Spirit that could free the believer from every known sin.

And it’s true that “holiness” preachers such as Charles Finney and Phoebe Palmer went on to emphasize our need for this gift – a gift they called “Christian perfection” or “entire sanctification.”

And there’s no question that Ellen White shared this emphasis . . . though unlike some of her peers, she never claimed to have received this particular “blessing” – and she was very skeptical of those who did!

But whatever else this “second blessing” may be, it doesn’t mean that some believers “get” the Holy Spirit while others do not. It doesn’t mean that some believers are “saints” while others are not. And it certainly doesn’t mean that some believers are really, truly saved . . . while the rest have to limp along with nothing but the love of Jesus.

No, the Holy Spirit is not like air-conditioning. It’s not like a CD player. It’s not an “extra” that will cost you more.

No, the Holy Spirit comes standard. And when it comes to the price . . . don’t worry. It’s covered.

Because Jesus paid it all.

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