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Spirit Indwelling

We talked about Spirit-baptism.

The other two ways the spirit interacts with New Testament believer (i.e. the Church) is “indwelling” and “filling.”

Spirit Indwelling:

An helpful way to understand inwelling is to contrast it with the Spirit’s role in the OT.

In OT the Spirit isn’t said to “indwell” people, but to come “upon” people - and for a unique purpose/ministry.

We mostly see Him doing within the nation of Israel.

Judges - God raises up certain people to rescue Israel from oppressors.

Kings - They are considered God’s anointed to lead the nation.

Here, the language of “anointing” is key. It’s a term with reference to that special anointed of the Spirit.

Example: Samuel anoints David as king (1Sam 16). The anointing was representative of the Spirit coming upon David as the Lord’s chosen one. 

The Spirit was “mightily upon David (v. 13).” 

The Spirit is then said to depart from Saul (v. 14).

David prays for God not to take His Holy Spirit from Him (Ps. 51).

This isn’t a proof text for loss of salvation.

Rather, the Lord’s Anointed always had the Spirit placed upon Him for a unique leadership ministry within Israel.

In terms of kingship, the one anointed with the Lord’s Spirit was the official one who received God’s blessing as King.

So David’s pleading is that God would not remove him from the role of Kingship over Israel.

(Perhaps a very short excursus that David was regenerated by the Spirit but not indwelt by the Spirit.  Every person since Adam’s fall has to be regenerated. (e.g. Nicodemus and Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.) (Jn. 3:3) 

We also see times where the Spirit comes upon non-Israelites, but for the Israel’s prosperity.

Example: Balaam.

He was an Edomite (Esau’s lineage), who was paid to pronounce a curse over Israel by Balak (king of Moab).

Yet the Spirit comes upon Him and causes Him to pronounce blessings over Israel.

The key to understand with the OT ministry, is the Spirit never indwelled people. He always came “upon” people, but for a unique work.

The Spirit would then leave once that work is was accomplished (e.g., judges, kings).

This is much different than a permanent indwelling presence - which is what makes the New Cov. ministry of the Spirit so special. There’s permanency.

In the NT we have a reference to this new, permanent “indwelling” ministry of the Spirit (John 14:16-17).

Jesus makes a promise of the coming Spirit.

"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

Notice it’s a permanent ministry (“that He may be with you forever.”)

Jesus also elevates the role of the Spirit. He gives heightened expectation. He says the Spirit will abide with us (which He did with Israel), but now He’ll also “be in you.”

This is picking up on the promise of the New Covenant.

Ezek. 36:26-27 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Jer. 31:31ff. This passage also speaks of the coming New Covenant. It doesn't explicitly use the language of Spirit, but it speaks of putting the Law within our hearts.

When you harmonize that with the Ezek. passage, it’s a clear reference to the inward ministry of the Spirit.

That Spirit won’t merely merely “among us,” but “within us.” 

The Spirit does a work, but within the heart.

The major point to understand with indwelling, is that it’s a far greater ministry of the Spirit, then when He merely came “upon” people.

It’s something which happens at the moment of conversion.

Again, Christ’s words are written in the indicative. It is something which happens as theological fact. There’s no command to get the “indwelling.”

It’s something which happens at the moment of conversion, never to be repeated. This is a permanent promise, and comes the moment you’re baptized into the Spirit by Christ.


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