Category Archives: Spirit

BAPTIZED, FILLED, RECEIVED

Do the different terms used for the receipt of the gift of the Spirit refer to different experiences or even multiple ordinances?

When describing the receipt of the Spirit, Acts applies several Greek verbs, including “baptize,” “receive,” “filled,” “given,” and “came upon.” But do they refer to different experiences or aspects of the gift, or does each refer to the same event? In other words, do “baptized with” and “received” refer to the same experience common to all believers?

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THE SPIRIT OF LIFE

It is the Spirit of God that imparts life, especially the everlasting life in Jesus of which the gift of the Spirit is the foretaste and guarantee.

In the churches of Galatia, “false brethren” were preaching “another gospel,” one that pressured Gentile believers into getting circumcised, and otherwise, conforming to the regulations of the Mosaic legislation. But the Apostle Paul would have none of it. He responded with a series of arguments, most importantly, by appealing to the receipt of the gift of the Spirit by the Galatians.

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HEIRS OF THE COVENANT

With the ascension of Jesus, the gift of the Spirit has arrived with blessings for all believers as promised to Abraham.

The “promise of the Father” is the gift of the Spirit, and Paul links it to the Abrahamic covenant. The promises of the Abrahamic covenant find their fulfillment in the new covenant inaugurated by Jesus. The bestowal of the Spirit on the church marks the commencement of the age of fulfillment, and “in Christ,” Gentile believers become full heirs of Abraham.

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SPIRIT AND MISSION

Jesus now dispenses the gift of the Spirit to his people, and it empowers them to carry out gospel proclamation to all nations.

In the second Psalm, the Messiah is the Son of God and the ideal king anointed by Yahweh to reign over the nations, the one to whom the “kings of the earth” will pay homage. And in the gospel accounts, he is anointed by the Spirit at his baptism to equip him to proclaim the “kingdom of God” to all of Israel.

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EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT

After his baptism, the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by the Devil. But he succeeded where Israel had failed.

After his baptism, the Spirit “drove Jesus into the wilderness” for “forty days and nights,” just as Moses found himself alone on Sinai when he received the Law. And like Israel, Christ was “tested” in the wilderness. But unlike the Israelites, he overcame every test and emerged victorious from the desert – “full of the Holy Spirit” – well-equipped to proclaim the gospel.

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A NEW AGE DAWNED

The commencement of the “last days,” the time of fulfillment, began following the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus.

When we hear the term “last days,” quite naturally, we assume it refers to the final short period of history just prior to the return of Jesus in glory. This is a logical assumption. Yet, the New Testament presents this period as the era of fulfillment that began with the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus. In him, the “ends of the ages” have come upon the people of God.

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