Born again – Part 5
God’s people who followed their own way instead of listening to God were really refusing to follow the way of the Spirit (see Gen 16:2). Those who failed to live by God’s Spirit inevitably experienced some form of God’s judgment (see Num 14:29; Deut 1:26).
(6) Note that in OT times, the Holy Spirit came upon or filled only a few people, empowering them for service of prophecy. There was no general outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all Israel (cf. Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:4, 16-18); the outpouring of the Spirit in this larger sense did not begin until the great day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
The Promises of the Full power of the Spirit: The OT looks forward to the coming age of the Spirit, i.e., the NT age. (1) On several occasions, the prophets prophesied about the role that the Spirit would play in the life of the coming Messiah. Isaiah especially characterised the coming King and Servant of the Lord as one whom the Spirit of God would rest in a special way (see Is 11:1-2; 42:1; 61:1-3). When Jesus read the words from Is 61 in His hometown synagogue at Nazareth, He ended with: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).
(2) Other OT prophecies looked forward to the time there would be a general out-pouring of the Holy Spirit on all God’s people. Most prominent among these passages is Joel 2:28-29, a text quoted on the day of Pentecost by Peter (Acts 2:17-18); but the same message can also be found in Is 32:15-17; 44:3-5; 59:20-21; Ezek 11:19-20; 36:26-27; 37:14; 39:29. God promised that when the life and power of His Spirit would come upon His people, they would be enabled to prophesy, see visions, have prophetic dreams, live lives of obedience, holiness and righteousness, and witness with great power. Thus, the OT prophets foresaw and prophesied about the Messianic age, when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon humanity would occur and be available for all people everywhere. This began to happen on Pentecost Sunday (ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven), with a subsequent great harvest of salvation (cf. Joel 2:28, 32; Acts 2:41; 4:4; 13:44, 48-49).
The Spirit in the New Testament: An overview
Revelation about the Holy Spirit in the NT
(1) The Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation, convicting us of guilt (John 16:7-8), revealing to us the truth about Jesus (John 14:16, 26), giving us new birth (John 3:3-6) and incorporating us into the body of Christ (1Cor 12:13). At conversion, we receive the Spirit (John 3:3-6; 20:22) and become participants in the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).
(2) The Holy Spirit is the agent of sanctification. At conversion, believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and come under His sanctifying influence (Rom 8:9; 1Cor 6:19). Notice some of the things the Spirit does as He lives in us. He sanctifies us, i.e., cleanses, leads and motivates us into holy lives, delivering us from sin’s bondage (Rom 8:2-4; Gal 5:16-17; 2Thes 2:13). He tells us that we are children of God (Rom 8:16), helps us in our worship of God (Acts 10:46) and in our prayer lives, and intercedes for us as we cry out to God (Rom 8:26-27). He produces Christ-like graces of character that glorify Christ (Gal 5:22-23; 1Pet 1:2). He is our divine teacher, guiding us into all truth (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor 2:9-16), disclosing Jesus to us and guiding us into close fellowship and oneness with Jesus (John 14:16-18; 16:14).
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