By Larry White

Christianity is Super-natural 

   Some of you may have caught the old series on TV called "Other world". This boy falls in love with an android and when he finds out she is not human he voices a concern that she has no "soul". She says there is no difference between he and she. She takes him to a computer room and points to a light on a console representing her soul. She then says to him, "Show me yours."
   This is how many intellectuals today in the scientific community view our lives – as just, so much electro-chemical reactions that proceed according to natural laws. But the Christian knows that there is something more to a man, something that is akin to the divine that makes us in the image of God (man's spirit or soul).
   If someone wanted an example of super-natural forces working in the natural world, the most prolific examples we have is in the very nature of man himself – a divine-like, God-like spirit, housed in a vessel, the human body. We are supernatural.
   However, the super-natural is not readily seen. It must be taken as a matter of faith. The physical man can't see it – but the eye of faith can.

Note: There have been in recent years thousands of scientific studies done to show that man's mind is much more than his brain and his consciousness cannot be limited in space and time. Consciousness is indeed able to know anything and communicate anywhere. We in the church call this our spirits. Of course the general politically controlled scientific community will not recognize these studies much less the scientific proof they publish.

   The main ingredient in the life of a Christian is faith – not only faith that God exists, but also that he is a rewarder or of those who diligently seek him. But does God really reward us – or is our reward the automatic results of our seeking and living a clean life? The Psalmist cried, "Oh Thou who hearest prayer..." (Psa.65:2)  But does God really hear prayer – or is prayer rather a pragmatic exercise that brings results through positive thinking and visualization? Does our religion entail a close personal contact with an unseen spiritual Being, or is our religion “once removed” from that higher plane and the relationship a representative one and impersonal? Is Christianity a “natural” or a “super-natural” religion?

   Naturalism is the philosophy that says that everything that occurs can be explained by natural, common, fundamental laws that work through day-to-day cause and effect relationships in matter. It’s the thought that all experience of human beings is only and always on a temporal level, exclusively on the mundane sphere of physical existence. There is nothing that is super-natural occurring in our world. Even if a super-natural realm were conceded to exist – we still have no contact with it whatsoever on our plane.
   This may be surprising, but a form of this philosophy can be found in the thinking of many Christians today. We think there is a spiritual realm, but the only contact that we have with it today is the New Testament scriptures that were delivered to us from the Holy Spirit who is from that realm. As one “Gospel Preacher” put it, in a rather reluctant sermon on the Holy Spirit, “We’ve got the Word, the whole Word and nothing but the Word.”

The Challenge

   This type of thinking has led to an erroneous exegesis of many scriptures. Passages that plainly suggest something super-natural are explained away into something on a fleshly, materialistic level. Nowhere is this more evident than in the extreme practice of explaining every reference to the spirit or the Holy Spirit by trying to show that the word of God is to what is being referred. Or there’s the idea that everything the Holy Spirit does, the word of God does also, and thus implying that one is actually the other. No one has dared to state openly that one is the other until recently. This comparison would not be so bad if it were not for the fact that we assume thereby that the Holy Spirit doesn’t work at all in the world, but only through proxy of God’s word.
   I’ve even read a tract by a brother who, after listing all the spirit does in one column and matching it to what the word of God does in another column, (which is a very interesting study) then challenges anyone to produce something the Holy Spirit does that the word of God doesn’t also do.

I accept the challenge.  Here are five.


And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, by whom you are sealed unto the day of redemption.

In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Now he which establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Here are several definitions for the term Seal.

“Because of the fact that few could read or write, the use of the seal was far more common in olden times than now. Each person had his own private seal, which it was a capital crime to copy. This was affixed to every sort of a document, as we now sign our names. Jno6:27 ”…him has God the Father sealed or confirmed, authenticated. Rom.15:28  'When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.'  A seal is affixed to indicate ownership, for certification or for safety and inviolability.” [Cruden]

“A seal is affixed for various purposes, for security, concealment, distinction, authentication, attestation, and confirmation. The idea here is for ownership. “He sealed us for himself” (middle voice)” [Lenski 2Cor.1:22]
 “The Spirit is a living seal thus a mark that is proper for the divine life kindled in us.” [Lenski Eph.1:13]

“SPHRAGIS (σφραγίς) Lit. A seal or signet, an emblem of ownership and security. Metaph. an authentication, as attestation.” [W.E. Vine]

A.)  The Holy Spirit is given to us as a Seal of ownership and safety
 – to authenticate us as God’s children.
But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

We are his (if…not) we are none of his.

B.)  We are Sealed unto the day of redemption.

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

This is because in the day of the redemption of our bodies, i.e. the resurrection day, our mortal bodies will be made alive by the Holy Spirit that indwells us.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.

The New Testament scriptures are not the seal – we learn about the seal from the scriptures, but how can they thus be the seal?


In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Now he which establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Now he that has wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

ARRABON (arrabwn) “Originally, earnest- money deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed, was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the Divine pledge of all their future blessedness, particularly of their eternal inheritance.” [W.E. Vine]

(In Modern Greek, Arrabona is an engagement ring. Consider for a moment why that is a good name and how it might correspond to the Bride of Christ.)

   God is going to give us a divine, eternal inheritance, and as a pledge, he gives us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. Our inheritance is super-natural and so the earnest is payment in kind – the super-natural indwelling of the third person of the Godhead in the hearts of the children of God.
   This is what you see in a description of what those who fall away from Christ have given up.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Notice where the word of God is in these verses.)

The N.T. scriptures are not the earnest of our inheritance – something super-natural is, the Holy Spirit. We hear and learn about the promise of our inheritance through the N.T. scriptures, but the promise is not the down payment, nor can it be. The word is not the earnest.


And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to them that obey him.

The N.T. scriptures are not given to those who obey – but rather, are given for obedience of faith. (to be obeyed)

Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.


And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore you are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

When we believe and obey the gospel we become sons of God and because of that relationship, God sends forth his Spirit into our hearts crying, Abba, Father. The term “send forth” is exapesteilen, (ecapesteilen), which is literally “apostle out”; to send someone to go with a mission, to commission. He’s been sent into our hearts to do something.
   Him crying Abba, Father here is the same thing we cry by means of the Spirit.

For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

This may indicate that he produces in our hearts that child-like affection for God and moves us to that cry. Be that as is may, the N.T. scriptures are not commissioned to go into our hearts, neither do they cry Abba, Father. 


Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

   Commentators have a problem deciding whether these groanings are ours or the Holy Spirit’s groanings (my view). But no matter, the gist of the passage stands sure regardless.
   Anyone who has ever poured their heart out in prayer to God and earnestly tried to express the deep longings and needs of their heart, knows what unutterable groanings are. The inability to express our desires or the lack of adequate language doesn’t stop our Father from knowing what we truly need, because we have the Holy Spirit, who is in our hearts to intercede for us.
   The reason for God’s appellation “he that searches the hearts” is because that is where the Holy Spirit is when the Father knows the mind of the Spirit. The Spirit knows what we need so that we are more in accord with the Father’s will (according to the will of God) and the Father knows the mind of the Spirit.
   This help that the Holy Spirit gives us in our praying may be what Jude refers to when he says in verse 20  "praying in the Holy Spirit."
   Now, is this something subjective, something supernatural, something more than the word of God can do for us? You bet. That’s exactly what it is.
Brethren, the N.T. scriptures cannot intercede for us, but the third person of the Godhead can. This help and intercession is possible because he is personally with us and in us.

   This doesn’t negate Christ being the only mediator between God and man. Intercession and mediation are two different things. When we pray for a brother who comes forward confessing sin – some good brother words the prayer and we all intercede on his behalf. (Jam.5:16; 1Tim.2:1)
   This doesn’t negate Christ’s intercession for us either, because they are interceding for two different reasons.

Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

The Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf for what I need daily, which I may not know what, or how to express. Christ intercedes at the throne of mercy on my behalf for my sins – because of the blood that he shed.
   To make these verses say anything else, you’re going to have to explain away the words or otherwise twist them.
   I’ve been a Christian going on now for over 30 years. I’ve heard on the order, conservatively, about 3000 sermons, and I have yet to hear one sermon preached on the subject matter of Romans the eighth chapter. You may have, but I haven’t. I say this to point up our lack of faith in God’s power to work in our lives, our little faith in the unseen super-natural points of Christianity, so much so that we don’t speak on itwe avoid the subject.
   Let me conclude by saying this, Have faith in God, and when he says something assume that he’s right – assume that he is all powerful, assume that he has the ability and willingness to work in your life – even in ways you may not understand or can even comprehend.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

   We have a super-natural God and a super-natural religion – let’s not let our littleness of faith stifle and quench his ability to work personally in our lives. Our religion can be much more personal, powerful, and rich, if we put our faith in God and his word and not lean on our own understanding.

(Originally delivered as a sermon in Eagle Point, OR. January 27, 1985


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