John MacArthur on Ephesians 5:18

John MacArthur on “True Happiness”

You’ll notice that Ephesians 5:18 has a positive command: “Be filled with the Spirit.” What does that mean? First, let me tell you what that doesn’t mean. Being filled with the Spirit doesn’t mean to be indwelt with, to be baptized in, or to be sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Paul never says, “Be indwelt by the Spirit.” If you’re a Christian, the Spirit already lives in you (1 Cor. 6:19).

Paul never says, “Be baptized in the Spirit.” If you’re a Christian, you were baptized in Him at your conversion (1 Cor. 12:13).

Paul never says, “Be sealed with the Spirit.” If you’re a Christian, you’ve already been sealed with the Spirit (Eph. 1:13).

All three events occurred the moment you were saved.

Instead, Paul’s command has our sanctification in view. Though it sounds a little odd in English, the Greek verb means “be continually filled” or “be kept filled.” He is actually saying, “Be continually letting the Spirit of God — who is already in you — control you.” It isn’t a second work of grace, a one-time experience, or a step up to a higher level. It is the continual, ongoing experience of the Christian life.

JP: This is an excellent article. I encourage to read it in its entirety.

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