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He Shall Glorify Me
One of the most unhealthy aspects of present-day evangelical movements is
their over-emphasis of the Spirit and spiritual gifts (especially "tongues"). We say
over-emphasis, because it is right and proper that a place should be found in our theology
for the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, providing it is the right place. Unfortunately,
the continuing failure to recognize the change of dispensation at Acts 28: 28 is
leading more and more Christians into a position where the spiritual gifts of the Acts
period (I Cor. 12:) are fast taking the place of Christ, and if He is mentioned at all it is
only in an emotional whisper or a rowdy chorus, and then usually as "Jesus".
Over against this the Scriptural position stands in strong contrast:
"He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16: 14).
The Spirit's ministry is to glorify Christ, by announcing the things which belong to
Him. This "Comforter" is also called "The Spirit of Truth"; the Father's word, given
through the Son, being truth (17: 8, 14, 17). By comparing Eph. 5: 18 with Col. 3: 16
(in context) it is seen that the present ministry of the Spirit is to fill the believer with the
word of Christ; the believer's responsibility being to let that word dwell in him richly in
all wisdom. (See further The Berean Expositor, Volume XLV, p.218).
That it was right to desire spiritual gifts during the Acts period is evident from
I Cor. 12: 31, and yet even then Paul spoke of "a more excellent way" ("love",
I Cor. 13:). The gift of tongues in particular seems to have appealed to the `carnal'
Corinthians, but its proper place, as given to Gentiles, is seen in I Cor. 14: 21, 22, a
`sign' to "this people" (the Jew, the sign people--I Cor. 1: 22). What relevance has it
Things ordained of God are right in their proper dispensation, but take them out of that
setting and they become no more than "the tradition of men" (see Col. 2:). The present
"tongues-movement" seems to be part of the old cry that goes up from time to time under
such phrases as, "Back to Pentecost . . . the Primitive Church . . . the words of Jesus . . .",
but it is perhaps more dangerous. One cannot help remembering the words of Paul in
II Thess. 2: 9 ("power and signs and lying wonders"), reflecting upon whether the
present situation is perhaps a precursor to that day of delusion which accompanies the
presence of the Lawless One himself.
The only safe way for the true believer is to apply the acid test of all ministry--"does
it glorify Christ?" If it does then it is truly of the Holy Spirit; otherwise it should be
avoided at all costs as the deception of the Evil One.
BRIAN E. SHERRING