Today's Foundations Devotional: A personal, permanent indwelling

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Memory verse:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse

forus—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’—in order

that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might]come to the Gentiles,

so thatwe would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

(Galatians 3:13-14)

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Yesterday we finished with the three words describing the gift of the Holy Spirit: personal, indwelling and permanent.

First, the gift of the Holy Spirit is personal. In His farewell discourse to His disciples, Jesus indicated that there was to be an exchange of divine Persons.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away: for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you (John 16:7).

In effect, Jesus was saying: “In personal presence I am about to leave you and return to heaven. In My place, however, I will send you another Person – the Holy Spirit. This will be to your advantage.”

The promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit as a Person was fulfilled at Pentecost. Since then, the Holy Spirit seeks to come to each believer individually, as a Person. We can no longer speak merely of an influence or an operation or a manifestation or of some impersonal power. The Holy Spirit is just as much a Person as God the Father or God the Son; and it is in this individual and personal way that He now seeks, in this dispensation, to come to the believer.

In the experience of salvation, or the new birth, the sinner receives Christ, the Son of God, the second Person of the Godhead. In the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the believer receives the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. In each experience alike there is a real and direct transaction with a Person.

Second, the Holy Spirit in this dispensation comes to indwell the believer. In the Old Testament the moving of the Holy Spirit among God’s people is described by phrases such as these: “the Spirit of God came upon them”; “the Spirit of God moved them”; “the Spirit of God spoke through them.” All these phrases indicate that some part of the believer’s being or personality came under the Holy Spirit’s control. But nowhere do we read in the Old Testament that the Holy Spirit ever came to take up His dwelling within the temple of a believer’s physical body, thus taking control of his whole personality from within.

Third, the indwelling of the Christian by the Holy Spirit is permanent. Under the old covenant, believers experienced the visitation of the Holy Spirit in many different ways and at many different times. But in all these cases the Holy Spirit was always a visitor, never a permanent resident. However, Jesus promised His disciples that when the Holy Spirit came to them, He would abide with them forever.

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper [the Holy Spirit], that He may abide with you forever (John 14:16).

Thus we may characterise the gift of the Holy Spirit, as promised in the New Testament, by these three distinctive features: It is personal. It is an indwelling. It is permanent. Or, in one short phrase, it is a personal, permanent indwelling.

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Prayer: 

Father God, I am grateful for the supernatural indwelling of a

permanent Helper, Who gives me counsel, comfort, builds me up,

empowers me, gives me Life, advice, is my Friend, Defender,

secures me, leads me, encourages me and teaches me the

Truth! You are wonderful Lord! Amen.

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