Very few times have I used this column to present (what I believe) to be a vital spiritual truth. So, if you do not agree, just open your Bible and read the references that are there, and make your own decisions. One old preacher told me, “Jack, it’s alright to write about the Holy Spirit as long as you don’t try to explain Him.”
When Peter preached the first gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost (A.D.33) some three thousand were saved by the grace of God. As believers, they were commanded to “Repent and be baptized (immersed) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38). Two things to do and two things to receive.
The Holy Spirit of promise now becomes a reality. He enters and lives in every believer today “For the promise is to you, and your children, and unto all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39-41). Luke wrote, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:32). Jesus had promised the coming of the Holy Spirit even before his death (John 7: 37-39).
When speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” (John 3:1-8). A ‘WATERLESS SPIRIT BIRTH IS NO MORE BIBLICAL THAN A SPIRITLESS WATER BIRTH‘. The early church did not have the writings of the New Testament as we have today. The apostle Paul authored the first of the epistles about A.D. 50. “What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19). But how does He work in the life of the Christian today?
(1) IN THE NEW BIRTH, HE BINDS US TO THE BODY OF CHRIST. Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized (immersed) into one body, whether we be Jew or Gentiles, whether we be bond (slaves) or free, we have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:13). We know that the Body is the saved, the church of the living God. We know that our entry into that relationship or brotherhood is at the time of our baptism. Water baptism (immersion) is an open seal of the baptism or immersion of the Spirit. Both occur at the same time and in the same action. Together, as an initiatory act, they offer the forgiveness of sin and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, binding us to the body of Christ.
(2) THE SEAL MEANS, ‘YOU’RE MINE’. As believers, “we are bought with a price” (I Corinthians 6:20). The price was the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). The Holy Spirit dwells in the temple – our heart, so we become the comforter, the seal, or the down-payment or earnest. This is His divine assurance that we belong to God.
(3) THE SPIRIT HELPS US OVERCOME THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH. Sin will always dwell in our flesh, while the Spirit dwells in our heart (Romans 7:18; Acts 5:32). These two powers are opposed to each other. Temptations are the result of this constant conflict. The Holy Spirit (Helper, Comforter, a friend in time of need) is all of these to the believer (John 15:26; 16:7-14). Paul continues, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit . . . the carnal (flesh) mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be . . . so then they that are after the flesh cannot please God . . .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 have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his . . . But if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Romans 8:5-10). Yield to the Spirit and he will help you overcome the flesh and its power.
THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US PRAY AND WILL BE THE POWER OF OUR RESURRECTION. “The Spirit also helps our infirmities (weaknesses), for we don’t know what to pray for as we should . . . but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groaning that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26-28). He can take the most primitive prayer and put it in words of beauty and power. He takes the most withered and impotent cry and makes it heard with urgency and power.
“God raised Jesus from death and if God’s Spirit is living in you, then he will also give life to your bodies that die. He will give life to your bodies through the Spirit that lives in you” (Romans 8:9-11). The Holy Spirit is a seal from God. In the day of Christ’s return, God will raise up every saint and give them a new body (I John 3:1). Physical death is only the door to an eternal resurrection. Praise God!