Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, a baptist church in Jessup, MD. B.A. in Bible, B.S. English Ed., M.S. in Educational Leadership.
In my previous article on The Baptism of the Spirit, I explained that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within every disciple of Christ at the moment that the disciple first believes in Jesus (you can learn more about the Holy Spirit in my Six Bible Studies on the Holy Spirit).
In this article, I want to draw your attention to the most fundamental work the Holy Spirit does for us when He comes to dwell in us: He gives us life.
A New Creation
The Lord Jesus taught that those who believe in him are born again of the Spirit.
6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘It is necessary for you to be born from above.’ (John 3:6-7, LEB)
This second birth that the believer experiences appears to be a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that transforms something in the believer’s being.
According to the Apostle John, those who are born of God cannot live lives characterized by sin because God’s seed remains in them:
9 Everyone who is fathered by God does not practice sin, because his seed resides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God. (1 John 3:9, LEB)
What is God’s seed? God’s seed appears to be a new something that God gives believers, a something that stems from God Himself (the word seed reminiscent of John 12:24, where the Lord compares himself to a grain of wheat).
The Apostle Paul also teaches that those who are in Christ are a new creation:
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, LEB)
What does Paul mean when he says that believers are a new creation? The word creation is reminiscent of Genesis. Paul is comparing the work of God in the new believer to God's creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis.
When a person believes in Jesus Christ, something changes in that person. God places in her (the person) a seed that transforms her into a new creation. This work of God is a real and supernatural work: something in that person's being has truly changed.
Just as the Lord transformed a liquid we call water into a liquid we call wine, God transforms the primitive person into a spiritual person by placing something of Himself in them: the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit is the seed that transforms the rest of the believer).
Now, the Bible indicates that God's transformative work in the believer is not yet complete. His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) will complete the work when at our resurrection, when the Lord returns.
6 Convinced of this same thing, that the one who began a good work in you will finish it until the day of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 1:6, LEB)
11 And if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also make alive your mortal bodies through his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11, LEB)
The seed of Himself that God has placed in us will eventually transfor our whole being, including our dead bodies. In other words, by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, everything that we are will live once again and be like God, like Christ.
A New Disposition
26 And I will give a new heart to you, and a new spirit I will give into your inner parts, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and I will give to you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will give my spirit into your inner parts, and I will make it so that you will go in my rules, and my regulations you will remember, and you will do them.. (Ezekiel 36:26-27, LEB)
According to God’s promise in the book by the Prophet Ezekiel, God would give the people a new heart and a new spirit by removing from them their hearts of stone and giving them hearts of flesh.
The passage does not mean that people have literal hearts made of stone, or that God will perform a literal heart transplant on them.
What the passage indicates is that God would change people’s disposition. No longer would they be inclined to disobey God, but to obey Him.
Nevertheless, God would perform this change in people through the supernatural presence of His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) in them.
Thus, the life that the Spirit gives is a disposition to obey God, and He gives this life through His supernatural presence and work in people.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul taught believers in Christ that God’s promise in Ezekiel 36:26-27 was true in them. They were no longer merely following commandments written on stone or paper; instead, they were people whose disposition had been supernaturally transformed by the Spirit.
And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3, LEB)
A New Covenant
According to God’s promise in the book by Jeremiah, God would put and write His Law in the hearts of the people so they would truly be his people and so He would truly be their God: in other words, they would have a real, positive, and unhindered relationship with Him. Nevertheless, God would do this by means of a new covenant, a legal agreement between God and the people.
33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.(Jeremiah 31:33, LEB)
According to the epistle to the Hebrews, Jesus is the mediator of the covenant that results in God putting and writing his law in the hearts of everyone who believes in Jesus. In other words, because of the legal contract Christ mediated between God and believers, God supernaturally intervenes to transform the disposition of believers.
But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:6, ESV)
A New Principle
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2, LEB)
In the epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul declares that the law of the Spirit of life has set believers in Christ free from the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death is the principle that those who transgress God’s written law must die (Romans 2:12-13): the law of the Spirit of life is the principle that the Spirit gives us life. Paul’s point is the the life that the Spirit gives us makes us free from the penalty death.
So then, in this verse, the life that the Spirit gives is a legal standing before God: those who have believed in Jesus Christ and received the Holy Spirit in them are made free from death, which is the punishment for sin. They are no longer condemned.
Who also makes us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.(2 Corinthians 3:6, LEB)
This verse reiterates that the written law of God kills (because of the principle that those who sin must die), and that the Spirit gives life: in other words, the presence of the Spirit in us shows that we, who have believed in Jesus Christ, are beneficiaries of the new covenant: we are free from condemnation, and we are accepted by God.
13 In whom also you, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also when you believed you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, LEB)
According to the verse above, the presence of the Holy Spirit in us acts as a legal seal that guarantees our salvation.
The Spirit Gives Us Life
When a person truns to Jesus Christ for salvation, God places His seed in her. The seed is the Holy Spirit, who supernaturally transforms that person's disposition. The person is no longer disposed to live in rebellion against God: instead, she is disposed to obey God.
Moreover, the Spirit’s work and presence in the person gives that person a legal status before God: since she has been forgiven and accepted by God, God will not condemn her; instead, she will enjoy a real, positive, and unhindered relationship with Him.
Finally, the Spirit will one day complete His work in us: He will resurrect our bodies, making us like our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.
© 2021 Marcelo Carcach