Showing posts with the label Spirit

Inheritance of the Saints

The possession of the land of Canaan by Israel was a preliminary stage in God’s redemptive plan, one that always envisioned something larger than Israel or a relatively small plot of land in the Middle East. With the arrival of the Messiah, the covenant promises find their fulfillment in the “ true seed of Abraham ,” namely, Jesus, and this includes the future bodily resurrection and the new creation.

Tarrying for the Spirit?

Prior to his ascension, Jesus told his disciples to “ tarry ” or wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. In some churches, this command has become a doctrine applicable to all or most Christians – that the believer must “tarry” before the Lord for extended periods in prayer and even fasting until his or her mind or spirit enters a stage more conducive to God’s Spirit before receiving the gift of the Spirit.

Spirit and Resurrection

Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of faith. God counted his faith as “ righteousness ” when he was yet uncircumcised, and that means He justified him apart from the “ works of the Law .” Therefore, he became the father of all men who are also “ from faith .” Circumcision was added after the promise as the “ seal ” of Abraham’s justifying faith.

Tongues in Caesarea

In Acts , all converts repent, are baptized in water, and receive the Spirit, but not necessarily in that order. Likewise, when the disciples received the gift of the Spirit on Pentecost, they were all “ filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance .”

Tongues in Samaria

In Samaria, something about the gift of the Spirit impressed Simon the Magician, but did the gift’s recipients speak in tongues? Saul of Tarsus began persecuting the church in Jerusalem. This caused many “ brethren ” to scatter throughout “ Judaea and Samaria ,” but God used the situation to advance the gospel as the scattered brethren preached wherever they went.

Promise of the Spirit

The promise of the Spirit is part of the blessing of Abraham for the nations and the children of Abraham .  Paul refers to the “ promise of the Spirit ” which he identifies as the “ blessing of Abraham .” Jesus came under the Law’s “ curse ” to redeem believers so that the “ blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. ”

Having started in the Spirit

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul addresses a growing danger. Certain “ men from Jerusalem ” claim that Gentiles must keep the deeds of the Mosaic Law to “ complete ” their faith, or at least, some of them. They are “ compelling Gentiles to Judaize ” by adopting circumcision, calendrical observances, and perhaps the Levitical dietary restrictions.

Anointed King and Son

Jesus is the anointed Son of God. From the start, his life is characterized by the empowering presence of the Spirit .  When  an angel  informed  Joseph that  Mary’s  child   was  “ conceived   of the Holy Spirit ,” it indicated that something more than just miraculous or the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy was about to unfold. From the very beginning, the activity of the Spirit dominated the life of Jesus.  He was “ Jesus, the one called Christ ,” the long-awaited Messiah.

Spiritual Warfare

Disciples wage spiritual warfare through right conduct, acts of love, and proclaiming the gospel . “Spiritual warfare” is a common topic in popular preaching, an idea derived from Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus - “ Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers… against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places .”

Seven Spirits of God

Greetings are sent to the seven churches of Asia from God, Jesus, and the seven spirits of God that are before the throne .  The opening salutation in  Revelation  is from God, Jesus Christ, and the “ seven spirits of God ,” and the last phrase is unique to the book. But the idea of God having “ seven spirits ” creates difficulties since elsewhere Scripture stresses His oneness. Moreover, in  Revelation , the “ Spirit ” always speaks only in the singular.

Redemption of Our Body

In his letter to the Romans , Paul declares there is “ now no condemnation ” for anyone who is “ in Jesus .” This happy condition now exists because the “ law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set them free from the law of sin and of death .” And he also links the salvation of believers to the inheritance of Christ and the redemption of the creation itself.

To Samaria

Acts documents how the gospel first came to Samaria. After the martyrdom of Stephen, Saul of Tarsus began persecuting the fledgling church, causing many “brethren” to be scattered “throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria.” God used this to advance the gospel as the scattered saints preached wherever they went.

This is My Son!

In  Mark , Jesus first appears when he is baptized by John the Baptist. The passage identifies him with his hometown, Nazareth, a small village of no consequence, though its very insignificance plays a part in the larger narrative.

To You is the Promise

After completing his sermon on Pentecost, Peter summons his audience to repent and be baptized “ in the name of Jesus Christ .” But something more than a call to accept the gospel is transpiring - he concludes his sermon on a note of  fulfillment  and with a foretaste of  things to come.

He Baptizes in the Spirit

At his baptism, the Spirit of God descends on Jesus to equip him for his messianic mission – He is the one who baptizes in the Spirit .  At the Jordan  River , John proclaim s   a baptism in water  “ for the remission of sins ,” and announce s  the arrival of  the  “ Coming One .”  He   i s  the forerunner of  the  Messiah, just as promised in  Isaiah :  “ Behold,  I send my messenger before  your  face …  The voice of one crying in the wilderness : Prepare  the way of the Lord .”

I Came to be in Spirit

On four different occasions, John found himself “in the Spirit” and was transported to a new location where he received another vision .  In his first vision, John came to be “ in the spirit ” where he saw a vision of “ one like a son of man ” standing among the “ seven golden lampstands .” Now, in the fourth chapter, he “ came to be in the spirit  and was summoned to heaven to receive a vision about the “ throne ,” the “ sealed scroll ,” and the “ slain Lamb .”

Spirit of Life

In Galatia, “ false brethren ” were preaching “ another gospel ” that pressured Gentiles to get circumcised, and otherwise, to conform to the regulations of the Law. Paul would have none of it, and he responded with a series of arguments, including an appeal to the receipt of the Spirit by uncircumcised Gentile believers.

Spirit and Covenant

From the start, the promise of the Spirit has been integral to redemption and the Covenant of God with His people .  In his letter to the  Galatians , Paul links the “ promise of the Spirit ” to the “ blessing of Abraham ,” the covenant promise that God will bless the Gentiles in the Patriarch. And he is referring to the Spirit that the Galatians received “ through a hearing of faith .” Thus, the gift of the Spirit is one of the covenant promises made to Abraham.

Boldness in the Spirit

In response to threats from the high priests, the young church was filled with great boldness of speech by the Spirit  – Acts 4:5-31.  After healing a lame man, Peter and Joh n were confronted by the priestly authorities. They were disturbed because the apostles were “ proclaiming the resurrection ,” and the Sadducees rejected belief in the resurrection of the dead. But the church claimed that the resurrection takes place “ in Jesus ,” and that made its resurrection doctrine especially distinct.

True Spirituality

Overused today, the English term ‘spiritual’ is virtually meaningless. To some, it is synonymous with religion. To be religious is to be spiritual. To others, it refers to things that are not of this physical universe, things and beings that are supernatural, otherworldly, noncorporeal, invisible, and timeless.