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CHRISTIAN LIVING QUESTION 95
Did the Holy Spirit possess believers in the Old Testament (as He does today) or was He just near to them?
Jesus made a promise (which was entirely new) to the disciples when He said in John 14:17, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth [remains] with you, and shall be in you.” This promise was never made to the saints of old. God put His Spirit ‘in’ and ‘upon’ some of them, but it was always for a special work. He worked upon them and in them, but we are never told that the Spirit dwelled in all of them.
The promise regarding the Holy Spirit in John 14:17, is twofold. (1) ‘he dwelleth with you’- means He will always be with believers today as a helper in their Christian walk and in their service and work for the Lord; a truth well testified to in the lives of believers recorded in the Book of Acts as God endued them with the power of the Spirit and they preached the gospel and did mighty things: (2) “[he] shall be in you’ - He is the essence of a believer’s salvation and relationship to God; more than just a helper in work to be done. For example, the indwelling Spirit is the seal of redemption (cf. Ephesians 1:13-14). In other words, He is the stamp of ownership of a believer until Christ comes; a believer’s security that he belongs to Him forever. This is true of every person that has been born of the Spirit. They are in a relationship that is as eternal as the God who formed it.
Carnal living can grieve the Spirit such that Christians can lose the consciousness of His presence, but He is still there. The carnal Christians at Corinth had to be reminded, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, . . . “ (1 Corinthians 6:19).
The Bible clearly says that if you do not have the Spirit you are not saved, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9).
Dear reader, you must be born of the Spirit in order to have the Spirit within. This is what Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). The “water” mentioned here is the word of God; “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23). Have you been born again? Have you repented of your sins and trusted Christ who died for them?
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated February 8th, 2014 by Sandra Felix