|The Descent of the Holy Spirit|
Before Sarah, Lauren, and I left for
in June, we knew that we wanted to spend some of our time there in pursuit of God and His Word. Lauren suggested that we study the Holy Spirit, and we all immediately knew He was Who God wanted us to learn about. So we listened to two sermons from Alistair Baggs on the topic before we left, checked out a few books from the library (as well as raided our Dad’s library), and headed off to Utah . Utah
That first morning we sat down, however, I felt very awed and somewhat intimidated by our chosen subject. The Holy Spirit is by far the most ignored part of the Trinity, and the most misunderstood amongst Christians, and yet Scripture has much to say about Him. We started out by writing down four questions we had about the Holy Spirit, and we managed to answer three of them in varying degrees of completion. I think, however, that all three of us came away from the study unsatisfied. We were intrigued by what we had learned, but we were hungry for more, and not at all willing to rest in the feeble knowledge we had gained. That, at least, is my reasoning for delaying a blog post on this topic for as long as I have. And now, finally, I have concluded that I must just share what I have learned this summer, despite my lack of understanding of the Holy Spirit’s interaction with my spirit and my inability to communicate the freedom and awe the Holy Spirit brings to my relationship with God.
The Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testament
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever: so, too, is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has always been responsible to indwell humans to reveal God and bring glory to God. With that said, there is a definite difference between the function of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Before the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit’s indwellment was temporary, as seen in the life of Saul (I Samuel 16:14). “That which was sovereignly given could be sovereignly taken away (Lewis Sperry Chafer).” In this present age, however, believers receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation (I John 2:20, 27) for the entirety of their lives. The Holy Spirit’s presence is not based on merit, and He does not leave when a believer sins (John 7:37-39, Romans 5:5, etc.).
Nevertheless, Christians can quench the Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19) through rebellious stubborness and get to the point of being unable to hear or detect the Holy Spirit. What a tragic thing this is! To live life as a sepulchre of a Christian, without the breath of life inside, the testimony of salvation, or the precious conviction of wrongdoing. If you are living in doubt of your salvation, consider whether you have quenched the Holy Spirit, for it is He who is a witness of our salvation (I John 5:10).
Just last week, at prayer meeting, we were gathered together to worship and beseech God. I settled on a hymn and requested that we sing it, and the gentleman next to me exclaimed, “I was just looking at that very one!” And later, as we were all still bowed in prayer, but nearing the end of our time together, someone began to sing, and we all followed him. And as we concluded, opening our eyes and looking up at each other, one girl in the circle remarked that she had just been about to begin the very same hymn. These were not coincidences! Rather, they were exciting examples of the Holy Spirit moving each one of us to worship God together with one mind.
I hope that you walk in the Spirit this week!
Artwork Credit: The Descent of the Holy Spirit by Francesco de Mura.