Much of the discussion here assumes that the condition of a born again Christian is similar to the Hollywood stereotype of a possessed madman, without the drooling mouth, foul language, and special effects. There is much that seems to be misunderstood.
A Christian is not merely possessed of the Holy Spirit as one might be possessed of a demon. He or she is one with it - merged, melted together and formed anew. In addition, being filled with a spirit - any spirit - isn't the same as the second birth either. There is a special spiritual meaning behind the second birth. It's more, much more than a simple belief system or even a spiritual possession (manipulation of the body by a supernatural entity).
John 3:1-6 is the story of the visit of Nicodemus' evening visit with Jesus. As you recall, after a tentative statement of faith, Nicodemus hears Jesus hit him dead center in his unasked question. First Jesus tells him that nobody can see the Kingdom of God without the second birth and then Jesus tells him what it is. The second birth is perhaps the greatest miracle in the pages of the Bible and one that is least understood today.
"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come."
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
The meaning of Jesus' answer to Nicodemus is mirrored in the passage from Corinthians and tells us that the Holy Spirit is actually joined with the human spirit to create an entirely new spirit. In the physical body the sperm joins with the egg to create a new creature. The new person carries the qualities of both parents, but is a unique individual at the same time. In the same way the born again human spirit carries the qualities of its parent human spirit and its parent Holy Spirit and is created a new spirit being. This new spiritual being carries the qualities of both spiritual parents, the human and the Holy, and is thus said to be born again.
"And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins."
- Mark 2:22
The corruption of the human soul unto evil is so pronounced as to be irreversible. The human cannot be saved at all. Period. In order to redeem the person, a radical change is necessary. It is so radical that the first step God must take is to avenge His divine justice by shedding Christ's blood upon the cross. The payment for sin must be permanent because the second birth is permanent.
Being cleansed of sin, the human spirit can then be joined to the Holy Spirit to create a new spiritual entity. This is the meaning of Mark 2:22. The entire human spirit must be remade - reborn as the scriptures say. The scripture even suggests that the process of knowing God might actually destroy the human spirit if it were not first remade/reborn.
The flesh remains the same after the second birth except in instances where healings are performed. The mind is altered in time by the gentle presence and prodding of the new spiritual being that resides with it and becomes like that which influences it daily - the mind of Christ. One cannot walk with God and be unaffected. This is also the meaning of the guarantee of eternal life, since that life has already begun in the nature of the second birth.
Which brings us to two questions often asked; can one lose one's salvation and can one's flesh be manipulated/possessed of evil?
"Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."
- Romans 6:13
Not only is it possible for one's members to be manipulated or possessed by the enemy, Christians are warned not to do so - it is forbidden.
What happens if we do? There remains the possibility of damage to the mind and body by the unclean entity and there remains the possibility of chastisement or punishment by God if this habit persists. Scripture goes so far as to suggest that God might even shorten one's life if necessary.
Can a man be unborn again? That's the real question isn't it? Can one lose one's faith? Yes. Can one exit the church? Yes.
Faith in religious terms is a mental conviction, not a spiritual reality. I've known people who've been born again and who acted like the devil. It is not my place to judge such a person, but I will certainly avoid them - as we are told to do in scripture. Faith in spiritual terms is something else altogether - it is the substance of deep reality and cannot change. Can one exit the church? In these times when so many have been betrayed by self-styled leaders, the question seems to be not whether one should exit the church, but when.
Finally filling is the action whereby a spirit assumes control over a human body. This control can be partial (where the human is aware of being manipulated), or total (where the human has no memory of the episode). On one occasion while swimming in the surf in San Juan I nearly drowned. I was being carried out to sea by a rip tide when the Holy Spirit filled me and caused my body to swim safely to shore. I did not have the strength to do so and the experience was one of partial awareness. My body was manipulated and my mind simply observed. On the other hand, I have actually witnessed a person become totally occupied by an evil spirit and who did not remember the episode at all after the fact. When studying the filling of the Holy Spirit (or any spirit), one must remember that such occupancy is both temporary and physical. The purpose of filling by a spirit is to manipulate or operate the body. The body is thus owned by or possessed by a different spirit than the one it naturally and normally is operated by.
The second birth creates an entirely new spiritual entity. It is a new creature in Christ. The spiritual entity cannot be unmade. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest such a thing is possible. There is, however, a plethora of suggestions that punishment and early death may result from pet sin in the life of such a person.
Filling of a body by a spirit has the purpose of temporarily manipulating the body for some purpose. If the Holy Spirit, then the purpose is for the greater good of the person and/or the church. If an unclean spirit, then the body is abused in some unhealthy fashion. I've heard the experience described as being so vulgar and draining that the afflicted person wants to take a bath or shower and a nap to rid themselves of the nasty sensation. This is why Jesus usually told people to feed a person freed of an unclean spirit.* On the other hand, the Holy Spirit leaves one feeling clean and invigorated.
Power comes from the Holy Spirit to the body and spirit. Power goes to an unclean spirit from the body. An unclean spirit is a spiritual parasite and one that can indeed afflict a Christian.
Let the wise man understand these words and be enriched by them.
and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...
(*) Hollywood assumes the opposite. As for example in the movie GHOST when Patrick Swayze manipulates a human body. He, the ghost, is weakened. The reality is the exact opposite. The human is weakened because the unclean spirit is sucking energy from the body. In another example, in the 1920's Edgar Cayce, called the sleeping prophet, allowed his body to be occupied so many times by unclean spirits that the experience actually weakened his body into death.
Edited by rjp34652, 09 July 2013 - 11:30 PM.