Thursday, February 23, 2017
Sabbath School Today
The Holy Spirit and Spirituality
The Holy Spirit has been hindered from manifesting the fullness of His gifts because to a large degree the sanctuary/justification by faith message brought to the church during the 1888 era has been displaced by an evangelical version of righteousness by faith. The Holy Spirit cannot operate at "full capacity" if His church is unwilling to cooperate with its Teacher of Righteousness. The Latter Rain proportions of the Spirit's outpouring will bring reformation and revival to the Laodicean Church. Thus far in the church's history this has not occurred despite a plethora of programs and baptisms in certain quarters.
The ultimate objective of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to prepare a people for translation at Jesus' second coming. It is the Spirit-indited "third angel's message in verity" that does just this. What will the gifts of the Spirit look like when unleased in Latter Rain efficiency?
Rather than speculate on what we will do with the church, or how the world may re-shape it into another image, let us ask what the Lord says He will do. He is the Head of the church. Not all the demons in hell can stop what He purposes to do.
He will send revival and reformation. As surely as His character is love, He will visit His people: "The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19). "In visions of the night, representations passed before me of a great reformatory movement among God's people. ... A spirit of intercession was seen, even as was manifested before the great Day of Pentecost. ... Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. ... The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence. ... there seemed to be a reformation such as we witnessed in 1844." 
He will accomplish this objective through a special message. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all the nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14; the gospel is "truth," Gal. 2:5, 14). "Amid the confusing cries, 'Lo, here is Christ! Lo, there is Christ!' will be borne a special testimony, a special message of truth appropriate for this time, which message is to be received, believed, and acted upon."  As surely as day follows night, such a message will come. Repentance for the 1888-era rejection of such a message will bring a whole-hearted acceptance of its renewal.
This message will be the outpouring of the latter rain. It will bring spiritual refreshment and prepare the church for the final issue of the mark of the beast: "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain [faithfully], and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain. ... I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:23-25). "I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. ... All fear of their relatives was gone, and the truth alone was exalted to them. ... I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, 'It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.'" 
The latter rain will be a clearer revelation of the gospel of righteousness by faith than we have yet discerned. The meaning of the Hebrew phrase in Joel 2:23 is "a teacher of righteousness," linking the latter rain to the message of righteousness by faith. Here is the key truth that is almost totally overlooked today—the initial showers of the latter rain were manifested in the "most precious message" of righteousness by faith which the Lord sent to this people in 1888.  Further showers of the latter rain must include a recovery of that message, because Heaven's intent can never be defeated.
This true gospel revelation will be so powerful that it will polarize the church into those accepting it and those rejecting it. Thus the final shaking will result from the "straight testimony" of pure gospel truth, as opposed to every semblance of legalism. "'Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three [olives] in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof,' saith the Lord God of Israel" (Isa. 17:6). The brilliant light of the gospel that is to lighten the earth with glory will cause the "covetous ones [to become] separated from the company of believers." 
With this recovery of the pure gospel of Christ, the shaken and purified Seventh-day Adventist Church will be ready to bear a final witness to the world. Through God's providence this will become the loud cry of the angel of Revelation 18: "I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory" (vs. 1). This final message will be of grace, grace which much more abounds than all the abounding sin that hell can devise in the last days.
The great "angel" of Revelation 18:1-4 will proclaim the message that will "lighten the earth with glory" (vss. 1-4). The message will at last be demonstrated as "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). Servants of God, endowed with power from on high with their faces lighted up, and shining with holy consecration, will go forth to proclaim the message from heaven. A compelling power will move the honest in heart. God will be in the work, and every saint will be fearless of consequences and follow the convictions of his own conscience and unite with those who keep all the commandments of God. Fear of relatives or of economic distress will be powerless. A large number will take their stand in preparation for the coming of Christ.
When the earth is lightened with the glory of the message that "began" in 1888, the honest will surmount every obstacle to press in and find fellowship with those who hold the "third angel's message in verity." This of course will be a change from our "evangelism" of so long; why the difference? Ellen White explains: "I heard those clothed with the armor [of Christ's righteousness] speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect. Many had been bound; some wives by their husbands, and some children by their parents. The honest who had been prevented from hearing the truth now eagerly laid hold upon it. All fear of their relatives was gone, and the truth alone was exalted to them. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth; it was dearer and more precious than life. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, 'It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.'" 
The re-sent "Elijah the prophet" will arrive "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn ... hearts" (Mal. 4:5, 6). The work of the Lord will be finely tuned, precisely balanced, powerful, so that what God's people have wanted to see for two millennia will come.
The climax of world history will be "the marriage of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:7). This glorious climax of the gospel will prepare the church to grow up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, prepared to be His Bride. Christ's agenda for this church includes that spiritual growth and maturity—the fruition of His final ministry in the Most Holy Apartment. "I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying 'Alleluia: For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready'" (vss. 6, 7).
The factor that makes her ready, which has never been fully effective previously, is a true understanding of righteousness by faith. The next verse reads: "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints," made possible only by a clearer, brighter, more mature faith.
This is Christ's agenda for His church. She is to accomplish the task appointed for her by the One who died for her. His vindication requires that she overcome even as He overcame. This scenario is the much better good news that must emerge.
—Paul E. Penno
Endnotes (Ellen G. White):
"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at: 1888message.org/sst.htmRR
Friday, February 17, 2017
Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Holy Spirit and Spirituality
Lesson 7. The Holy Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit
When God finished His work of creation, He pronounced it "good." God doesn't create "bad," so we can therefore conclude that fruit that comes from Him is good. When Eve decided to ignore God's instructions against eating of the forbidden tree, she rebelled against Him, and substituted her own plan to improve on what God had called "good." Ever since Eden, humans have been trying to create substitutes for God's genuine creation.
Our lesson this week uses the example of how disappointing it is to discover that what looks like a genuine lemon, is in fact a fake. It would be silly to think that if one worked harder, longer, and with great skill to make the fake lemon look more real than it is, it eventually would turn into a real lemon. Yet, Eve was doing a version of that kind of thinking. God had pronounced His creation "good" which included her. She thought that God had withheld something good from her so she tried to improve on His good creation. When sin entered the world, the "good" that God had created was ruined. Out of great agape-love for His creatures, the Godhead already had a plan to heal and recreate, but ever since they told Adam and Eve about the plan, humans have been trying to improve it.
One of the more common misconceptions about the 1888message is that it teaches that since righteousness is by faith, our efforts to obey contribute nothing to our salvation, so we don't need to obey. Ironically, some believe the message teaches the exact opposite, that perfect obedience is required before Christ can return to earth. This confusion becomes so frustrating that the message is deemed wrong and useless, and further study is abandoned.
The good news of the 1888 message rests on a proper understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit. Like the sacrifices in the ancient Jewish temple services, human actions in performing these rites cannot make us perfect. They were only types, pointing forward to the Great High Priest who provided the sacrifice and the blood with which to administer the forgiveness and restoration the human race so desperately needs.
A. T. Jones, one of the 1888 "messengers" wrote: "This sanctuary, priesthood, sacrifice, and ministry of Christ's does make perfect in eternal redemption every one who by faith enters into the service, and so receives that which that service is established to give."  Notice that it is important that we "enter into the service," rather than just go through the motions.
Jones is using Hebrews 6:1-4 to describe that the ancient typical services were an "elementary teaching about the Christ" (vs. 1), but the writer of Hebrews urges us to "press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. ... For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit" (Heb. 6:1-4).
Jones continues: "What are dead works? Death itself is the consequence of sin. Dead works therefore are works that have sin in them. Then the purging of the conscience from dead works is the so entirely cleansing of the soul from sin, by the blood of Christ, through the eternal Spirit, that in the life and works of the believer in Jesus sin shall have no place; the works shall be only works of faith, and the life shall be only the life of faith ..." 
The point he is making is that since it was not possible that the literal blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins, something else is being considered. If there is to be "no more conscience of sins" the sacrificial services were mere types of the real power that takes away sin. Perfection was the aim in the entire ministry that was performed under the Levitical laws, yet perfection was not attained by any of those actions. All the good works in the world cannot recreate a sin-damaged heart into a perfect one.
The sacrifices performed by the earthly high priest could no more have recreated a human heart than I could transform a plastic lemon into a real one, no matter how exquisite my workmanship. Why? Because I have no creative power. But, Someone who does have that creative power was willing to give up His rightful position in heaven, assume the likeness of sinful flesh in order to qualify to be our High Priest, and with His own blood worked out our salvation in the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched.
The Holy Spirit bears witness to us (Heb. 10:15) that we have accepted this new and living covenant which Christ consecrated for us. "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them ... and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Heb. 10:16, 17). Why do we need a witness?
"For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness" (Gal. 5:5). E. J. Waggoner, the other 1888"messenger," explains the verse this way: "Don't imagine that this verse teaches that having the Spirit we must wait for righteousness. Not by any means. The Spirit bringsrighteousness. ... Notice that it does not say that we through the Spirit hope for righteousness. Rather, we wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, that is, the hope which the possession of righteousness brings." 
Waggoner then develops a detailed explanation of this point:
"(1) The Spirit of God is 'the Holy Spirit of promise.' The possession of the Spirit ensures to us the promise of God.
"(2) That which God has promised to us as children of Abraham is an inheritance. The Holy Spirit is the pledge of this inheritance until the purchased possession is redeemed and bestowed upon us. Ephesians 1:13, 14.
"(3) This inheritance that is promised is the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13. [This inheritance is, we have the hope of righteousness.]
"(4) The Spirit brings righteousness. He is Christ's representative, the means by which Christ Himself, who is our righteousness, comes to dwell in our hearts. John 14:16-18.
"(5) Therefore the hope which the Spirit brings is the hope of an inheritance in the kingdom of God, the earth made new.
"(6) The righteousness which the Spirit brings to us is the righteousness of the law of God. Romans 8:4; 7:14. By the Spirit it is written in our hearts instead of on tables of stone. 2 Corinthians 3:3.
"(7) The sum of the whole matter is this: If, instead of thinking ourselves so powerful that we can do the law, we will allow the Holy Spirit to come in that we may be filled with the righteousness of the law, we will have living hope dwelling in us. The hope of the Spirit--the hope of righteousness by faith--has no element of uncertainty in it. It is positive assurance. In nothing else is there any hope. He who does not have 'the righteousness which is of God by faith' has no hope whatever. Only Christ in us is 'the hope of glory.'" 
No matter how we try to fix the exterior of our characters, we will never transform them into living the law of God in Spirit and truth. The good news is that we don't have to. God through the Gift worked out by His Son, and gifted to us through the working of the Holy Spirit has made that a "positive assurance" for us. May God give us belief in that blessed assurance.
 A. T. Jones, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, p. 83 (Glad Tidings ed.).
 E. J. Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p. 111 (Glad Tidings ed.).
 Ibid., p 112.
1. Bible texts are from the New American Standard Bible.
2. Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson is on the Internet at: https://youtu.be/VpiLg9PyuT4
3. "Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at: 1888message.org/sst.htm
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Holy Spirit and Spirituality
Lesson 6. The Holy Spirit and Living a Holy Life
"Holiness is wholeness. That which is perfect is holy. But man is imperfect. He was perfect at its creation, but he sinned and lost his uprightness. Body and soul and spirit became tainted with sin and therefore subject to death; for sin is a cancer that, left to itself, eats its way steadily into the soul, until death is a result. Bringing man again to a state of holiness, is bringing him back to the condition that was his before the fall. And this is done not by any visible outward change, but by the gift of Christ,--the substitution of His perfection for all that is imperfect in man. Christ gives Himself to us, so that His perfection is our perfection, whether of body or soul or spirit. ...
"Holiness, therefore--or wholeness--comes only from the presence of Christ, bringing His perfection. Nothing that man can do can bring holiness, ... God only can make that which is holy, and that which is not so can be made so only by His presence." 
Ellen White saw how the message of the two 1888 "messengers," A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, riveted attention on the practical aspects of Christ's high priestly ministry. The message didn't cause frustration by calling for holy living, it provided the means for it. This is where those two great "rivers," the sanctuary truth and justification by faith, flowed together.
The Jones-Waggoner message clearly recognized that the forgiveness of sins is a judicial declaration that rests solely on the atonement made at the cross. But they also saw that the Bible word for forgive means an actual "taking away" of the sin, Thus, from the time of the 1888 General Conference they recognized the distinction between the daily or continual ministry in the sanctuary, and the yearly ministry. There is a difference between the forgiveness of sins and the blotting out of sins.
The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary is a work that includes the people and extends to them. It provides for the perfection of their character in Christ on the one hand; and on the other hand in the final destruction of sin and sinners and the cleansing of the universe from all taint of sin. This is the "finishing of the mystery of God." It is Christ fully formed in each believer. The sanctuary itself cannot be cleansed so long as God's people continue to pour into it a constant stream of sinning. The stream will be stopped at its source--in the hearts and lives of God's people. The ministry of Christ in the Most Holy Apartment does make "the comers thereunto perfect" and does perfect "forever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:1, 14).
So, how does sanctification fit in?
Anybody who is justified by New Testament faith is automatically in the process of sanctification. He never has to change gears from salvation by faith to salvation by works. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: ... established in the faith" (Col. 2:6, 7). By his expression "thefaith," the Apostle Paul does not mean a creed or set of doctrines, but the phenomenon of a heart-appreciation of Christ's cross. The method remains the same: by faith.
In sanctification, it is the Lord who brings us along our way, as He did in justification. Faith keeps on working by love, always in the present tense.
In no way does the Lord leave us to fly on our own, to keep up our speed or crash. Sanctification is never by works; neither is it a mixture of faith and works in the sense of self-motivated efforts to chalk up merit so we can earn a reward. Clearly, Christ told Paul that He was sending him to open people's eyes and "turn them from darkness to light, ... that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me" (Acts 26:18). We do not read anywhere in the New Testament that it is our job to sanctify ourselves. Instead, we are "sanctified ... by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11). Jesus prays the Father to sanctify us (see John 17:17); and Christ also sanctifies and cleanses His church (see Eph. 5:26).
It is all summed up in Paul's comprehensive statement: "[May] the very God of peace, sanctify you wholly, ... blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it" (1 Thess. 5:23, 24).
The Lord doesn't give up easily. "He which hath begun a good work in you will [carry it on to completion] until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). This work that He does is sanctification.
Regarding the question in the "quarterly," "If someone were to ask you, 'How do I get the victory over sin that is promised to me in the Bible'?" (Tuesday's lesson), the 1888 message provides a clear answer. The "victory" isn't "won" by our own good works, but by allowing the Lord to carry His good work in us until completion.
"The work of the Holy Spirit on the heart is to break down and expel self-love, ... The soul temple must be emptied and cleansed from its moral defilement, that Jesus may find room to abide in the soul as an honored Guest, that [He] the pure, true Witness may be the power exercised in a holy life. Then Christ is revealed in the heart by faith and precious victories are gained." 
In all past ages "the Lamb's wife" has never yet made herself ready, but how can the heavenly Bridegroom get His church's attention? By burning down the Review offices and the grand Battle Creek Sanitarium? (This all happened after the 1901 General Conference Session.) Can He bring His people to attention by an unprecedented fear-motivated demand for holy living? The answer has to be in the text: "To her [His bride-to-be] was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints" (Rev. 19:8).
The means the Lord will employ will not be a thunderclap from heaven or an earthquake, but a tender, quiet, heart-warming message of "the righteousness of saints." A message that woos the heart--"righteousness by faith," the Bridegroom coming close in an appeal, a gentle touch of truth.
--From the writings of Ellen G. White, Ellet J. Waggoner, and Robert J. Wieland
 Ellet J. Waggoner, "Mistaken Conceptions of Holiness," The Present Truth, Oct. 12, 1893.
 The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, diary entry Oct. 30, 1889, p. 467.
Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson is on the Internet at: https://youtu.be/KDdWsF1BLnA
"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at: 1888message.org/sst.htm
Friday, February 3, 2017
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Holy Spirit and Spirituality
Lesson 5. The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit
Paul inspired and trained other fellow-laborers. None were jealous of him and he never shows the slightest envy of their success. For once, in the story of his labors in Ephesus, we see a clear demonstration of what the special love of Christ known as agape did for a group of workers. There was Apollos, himself "mighty in the Scriptures" and "an eloquent man," but Paul worked with him smoothly and in love (Acts 18:24). There were Priscilla and Aquila who were also imbued with the same spirit that motivated Paul (Acts 18:26).
Apollos was from Alexandria, the second most important city in the Roman Empire. Highly educated, a Jew converted to the baptism of John the Baptist, he was an eloquent preacher. But he knew nothing of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and he needed to be instructed in the way of Jesus.
Then dear Aquila and Priscilla, in a kind and courteous way, told him what he needed to know, and thank God, Apollos listened! Sometimes ministers may not be deficient in the same way that Apollos was, but there are also empty places in their knowledge. The Lord then sends someone to correct us and instruct us and fill in the gaps.
But we are painfully aware that sometimes our dear ministering brethren in the past 1888-era were not like Apollos: they may have been "mighty in the scriptures" and could argue, and like him had gaps in their understanding that the Lord in His great mercy sent His messengers, A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, to fill in, but they were not like Apollos; they were not ready to listen and learn. In a great degree, history has told us, they resisted and even rejected the light that God would have them accept.
Now we "Laodiceans" have come collectively to the very end of time, and where "we" have corporately failed in past times we must now overcome. Time is getting short. Jesus counsels us to "anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see" (Rev. 3:18). Now may we let the baptism of Holy Spirit get through to us!
All the wonderful promises that Jesus made before His death must and will be fulfilled. But there is one great promise that has not yet been fulfilled, and many Christians think it never will be. They are wrong! He will not fail.
That great promise is in John 16:13: "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth." We usually think of the Holy Spirit as giving us happy feelings, or great power in witnessing and producing baptisms; we think that understanding "all truth" is of lesser importance. But over 200 times the Bible speaks of the importance of truth. In ordinary life, law courts, juries, judges, seek constantly to know the truth. Jesus says that it is so important that "the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
In His same promise that the Holy Spirit will guide us "into all truth" Jesus promised, "He will show you things to come." The wording is very similar to the opening of the Book of Revelation, "the revelation ... of things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1). The Book of Revelation was the fulfillment of Jesus' promise! And yet Christian people go in different directions in understanding what Revelation is saying!
Likewise, there is confusion in understanding Daniel's prophecies; yet God commanded the angel, "Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision," and later the angel said to him, "I will show thee the truth" (Dan. 8:16; 11:2). Paul spoke of his message as "the truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:5). There is as much division in understanding that as there is in understanding Daniel and the Revelation!
What can bring about a unity and clarity of understanding these important truths? Surely when that great fourth angel of Revelation 18:1-4 begins to "lighten the earth with glory," the message that calls every sincere person "out of Babylon" will be a message of pure, unadulterated truth. We pray daily for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
An excellent place to begin finding the answer to that prayer is in honest, sincere, and humble listening to the Bible to permit it to tell us what the truth is in all these contested areas. Jesus did not promise, "The Holy Spirit will try to lead you into all truth," or "He wishes He could lead you into all truth." No, He said He will do so. The Holy Spirit right now is "leading" us into the truth that will bind us together in loving harmony of belief. Let's listen to Him!
Ellen White agrees with Jesus and the Scriptures. "God is the mighty, all-powerful agency in the work of transformation. By His Spirit He writes His law in the heart. Thus divine relationship is renewed between God and man. ... The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sin; it means that sin is taken away and that the vacuum is filled with the Spirit. It means that the mind is divinely illumined, that the heart is emptied of self and filled with the presence of Christ." 
Is it not dangerous to be so determined to receive the power of the Holy Spirit apart from truly analyzing our denominational sin of unbelief and Iukewarmness? Merely repenting of some individual sins amongst us as individuals is good work, but it clearly doesn't go far enough toward preparing the way for the outpouring of the Spirit in the true latter rain.
Ellen White wrote: "Christ has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like every other promise, it is given on conditions. There are many who believe and profess to claim the Lord's promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit God works in His people 'to will and to do of His good pleasure' (Phil. 2:13). But many will not submit to this. They want to manage themselves. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. This promised blessing, claimed by faith, brings all other blessings in its train. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive." 
Is the "demand and reception" of which she speaks merely our determined assumption that we have it? Again, to illustrate, would our lukewarmness be overcome simply by assuming through "faith" that we had overcome it? What is the faith which works--by love?
In the 1893 General Conference Bulletin, A. T. Jones quoted from a Spiritualist magazine as follows: "Let Thursday be your day for declaring your faith. Say, 'I do believe that God is now working with me and through me and by me and for me;' say it with a sure certainty, for it is true."
What would be the difference between that doctrine and the doctrine that we have the power of the Holy Spirit simply because we believe with certainty that we do?
At the 1893 General Conference session, Elder W. W. Prescott preached a series of sermons on the Holy Spirit. He closed by appealing to the brethren to believe that they had the power of the loud cry (since Sister White had said that it had begun at Minneapolis), and together go out determined to give it. If they only would believe it, that they had it, it would be so. They all agreed, said, "We are ready." But--it didn't come, Why? Further, he went so far as to predict unqualifiedly that from that day forth there would never be another hypocrite enter the Adventist church, for they were now determined to go from that session with the power of the Holy Spirit in the loud cry. History proves that that was a false prophecy. Was not his doctrine of believing that they had the Holy Spirit when they didn't, equally false?
If the reception of the Holy Spirit depends upon an act of our minds in assuming that we have it, call it "faith" if we wish, would that not actually in the final analysis, be receiving the Spirit by works? An act of believing that we have the Spirit is a work. Paul made it plain (Gal. 3:2) that the true Holy Spirit is not received that way.
Paul, in great weakness, proclaimed to the Galatians this new covenant good news, and all they did was listen with faith: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, ... before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? ... Received ye the Spirit by the ... hearing of faith?" (Gal. 3:1, 2). That was one time in history when the "formula" was proven completely true: "the gospel preached ... profit[ed] them, ... being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Heb. 4:2).
Another time in history when the same "gospel preached" was "mixed with faith," was Abraham's experience. All that God did was simply proclaim to him His marvelous promises known as the new covenant, no threatened "curses" mixed in on pain of disobedience. Abraham simply "listened with faith" to this almost incredible good news (just what Paul told the Galatians was "the hearing of faith"). He too, like the Galatians, "received the Spirit." His faith was counted to him for righteousness (Gen. 15:6).
--Paul E. Penno
 Ellen G. White, "The Promise of the Spirit," The Review and Herald, June 10, 1902.
 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 672.
Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson is on the Internet at: https://youtu.be/hP7_Gm_c_Bs
"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at: 1888message.org/sst.htm