Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Prompted by a comment by Preacher Clark during a sermon in 1969.
Jesus paid the price for the sins of the whole world, and now, “whosoever will” may be cleansed from sin by the Spirit of God. But there are two kinds of people who cannot possibly receive the spiritual cleansing that Jesus paid for.
The first group who cannot receive the holy Ghost is sinners. Sinners are people who are living in rebellion and sin, and they must stop doing that if they want God’s Spirit. Every man who has ever been sent by Christ has agreed that those who are living a wicked lifestyle must repent and cease from sin in order to receive God’s Spirit. They must, as Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel.” And when a sinner repents and stops sinning, then he is no longer a sinner and is in a position to receive God’s Spirit.
One ceases from sin before he can be born of the Spirit. The very reason God baptizes a person with His Spirit and washes his sins away is that the sinner has believed the gospel and has ceased from sin.
We learn from the Scriptures that everyone who truly seeks God stops sinning. The very act of seeking God implies a cessation of sin. Listen to what David said (Ps. 119:2–3): “Blessed are they that keep God’s testimonies and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.” The author of Hebrews tells us that God is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (11:6); that is, He rewards those who believe in His Son and stop sinning. And God’s “reward” for those who believe the gospel and cease from sin is the baptism of the Spirit.
The second group of people who cannot receive the Spirit of God is the saints of God. The ones who belong to God cannot receive the Spirit because they already have it. Paul said, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him” (Rom. 8:9b). And the corollary to Paul’s statement is this: “If any man have God’s Spirit, he is His.”
These, then are the two kinds of people who cannot receive the Spirit of God: saints and sinners.