What Scripture Says About the Coming of the Holy Ghost.


Consequent upon the accomplishment of redemption, the Holy Ghost comes down, given to those who believe in Christ, and have part in this glorious work. Let us see the definite statements of Scripture as to this; the coming and presence of the Holy Ghost, not sent to the world which had rejected Christ, but to believers. Our theme is the presence of the Holy Ghost as now come, consequent on the exaltation of Christ as man to the right hand of God. Not as a Spirit moving the prophets or others, but come now, as the Son had come in the incarnation, another Comforter to take His place, when He was gone, with the disciples.

In the Old Testament this was a prophetic promise: God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh in the last days; a. promise, the fulfilment of which waited, in the wisdom of God who knows all things, the accomplishment of redemption. Christ, in John vii., at the feast of tabernacles, the antitype of which in the rest of God's people is not yet come, on the last, the great day of the feast which He could not keep, nor show Himself to the world, declares that whosoever should come to Him and drink as a thirsty one, out of his belly should flow rivers of living water. " But this spake he of the Spirit, which they which believed on him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified." What was called the Holy Ghost as known in the church was not yet. Every orthodox Jew knew there was a Holy Ghost who inspired the prophets and came on many of their judges, and Saul, and move I upon the face of the waters. But the Holy Ghost as sent down from heaven on believers here, was not yet, and could not be, because Jesus was not yet glorified. So as Jesus was " the Lamb of God who takes away the sin [not sinsl, of the world," so His other great work was baptising with the Holy Ghost (John i. 33). And this character of Christ's work was the more remarkable because it is connected with the Holy Ghost descending and abiding' on Him as man. It sealed and anointed Him on the part of God and the Father. He was, sealed by reason of His own perfectness. We could not be till redemption was accomplished, when we are sealed as believers and anointed. " Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone." So in the Old Testament the leper was washed with water, then sprinkled with blood, then anointed with oil. And the like essentially was the case in consecrating the priests. Aaron by himself was anointed without blood; when he and his sons were brought, for they could not be dissociated from him, blood sprinkling was employed.

But more: the Lord tells them in Acts i., that they should be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days after. Accordingly, the day of Pentecost, the second great feast of gathering, connected with Christ's resurrection (the first of the first-fruits), but withal a distinct feast, but first-fruits still—the Holy Ghost came down from heaven. But with this another revelation came by the mouth of Peter. Christ had received it to this end afresh, consequent on His exaltation to the right hand of God. " Being," it is written in Acts ii. 33, " by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Spirit, he hath shed. forth this which ye see and hear." It was not simply God, 'who put His Spirit into the prophets and others, but man exalted to glory, who received it to give it to others. Hence, in Psalm lxviii. it is said, " Received in or respect of man," as it is interpreted in Acts " for men; " but He received it as man for them.1 So, though the prophets and righteous men were in an inferior position' to the apostles who had actually Christ with them, yet so great a thing was the coming of the Holy Ghost, that it was expedient for them that He should leave them; " For," He says, " If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; 'but if I go away, I will send him unto you." His coming was the testimony that man was at the right hand of God, redemption being accomplished, the world judged, and lying in sin, and Satan its prince, as having rejected the Son; but God's righteousness revealed, as the portion of believers, manifested in the Father setting the Christ in the divine glory at His right hand (John xvi. 10). Of this the Holy Spirit's presence was the witness. This was not for the world. Christ had come as its Saviour, and they would not have Him-; the Holy Ghost was for believers only; not as one working in them to make them believe, though that were true in its time, but because they did believe. "Because ye are sons, God bath sent forth the Spirit of his. Son into your hearts." He guided them into all the truth: He made them. know they were in Christ, and Christ in them; shed the love of God abroad in their hearts for a witness with their spirit that they were sons. They were in the Spirit, as there stated, if so be the Spirit of God dwelt in them. If any man had not the Spirit of Christ, he was none of His (Rom. viii.). Christianity Was the ministration of the Spirit as of righteousness (2 Cor. iii.). Paul (Acts xix.), seeing something defective in some disciples, asks, " Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" For after believling men were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. It was- a true real presence of the Holy Ghost dwelling in the saints. " Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost? " says the apostle: How," he says to the Galatians., " did ye receive the Spirit?" Of that there was no question or doubt, bad as was their state. Fruits in grace were fruits of the Spirit; sanctification was santification by the Spirit. If convicted of sin, men asked what they were to do. " Repent, and be baptized," is the answer, " to the forgiveness of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost," anointed, sealed with the Holy Ghost by God, as Christ Himself had been. The Spirit was the earnest of their inheritance, revealed Christ to them, and helped their infirmities. That which had been prophesied of in the Old. Testament. as to the outpouring of the Spirit, was accomplished in the New. The Christians as such were after the Spirit and minded the things of the Spirit. They lived after it, were led by it, were sent out and guided by it in their service. The flesh lusted against it. He made intercession for them in their hearts, with groanings which could not be uttered. The whole Christian life and state is characterised by His presence and activity in them. They were not to grieve Him in their walk, nor quench Him in His gifts. The Spirit searcheth all things; the spiritual man discerns all things. It is " an unction from the Holy One," by which we know all things. Christ is graven in the heart by the Spirit of the living God; they were changed into the same image by it. Love is " love in the Spirit;'" fellowship was " fellowship in the Spirit." Their walk was to be a walk in the Spirit; by one Spirit Jew and Gentile had access to the Father through Christ. This presence of the Holy Ghost clearly and dogmatically taught as coming consequent on Christ's exaltation as man, and not possible till then, characterises in every detail the Christian life. His presence constitutes Christianity individually for a man; he is born of the Spirit; it is a well of water in him, and flows as a river from him, gives him the consciousness of his divine relationship and unites him to Christ: for " he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit." Collectively, also, they are builded together as a habitation of God through the Spirit, are thereby the temple of God collectively (1 Cor. iii.); as individually (Chap. vi.).

I have not spoken of gifts; because there it is not denied that they were manifestations, of the Spirit. Christianity is constituted and characterised by the presence of the Holy Ghost come down from heaven, consequent on the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ there. The consequence for the Christian was that he knew his relationship to the Father, and knew Him; knew he was in Christ, and Christ in him; was united to Him, the exalted Head in heaven: yea,. knew he was in God, and God in him. If he sinned even in thought, he grieved the Holy Ghost; if he committed fornication, he defiled the temple of the Holy Ghost, and made the members of Christ the members of a harlot (Compare 1 Thess. iv. 8, as to sinning against a brother in this respect). On the other hand, it was by the Spirit he mortified the deeds of the body and lived. Life, knowledge, spirituality, and power all depended on the presence of the Spirit who dwelt in him; with Him they were to be filled. I do not speak of gifts: these were confessedly the operation of the Holy Ghost.

Such was then the present life and power of the Christian while Christ was sitting on the Father's throne. The Jew must wait till Christ comes out to see and own and know Him! The Christian not, because the holy Ghost is come out, and has associated him with Christ while he is within. When He comes out and appears we shall appear with Him. What then is his hope if this be the Christian's present life and power? What is that in which he abounds in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost? The coming of the Bridegroom, when he will be conformed to the image of God's Son, be with Him for ever, and like Him. When and how shall this effect which is before his heart be realised? When Christ comes. The coming of the Lord. This is the object, and with it, the state to which the Holy Ghost directs his mind in hope; to see Christ as He is, to be with Him, to be with Him, to be like Him, and this is at His coming. He is always confident meanwhile (2 Cor. v. 6), he knows that Christ being his life, if he dies before He comes, he will, absent from the body, be present with the Lord; but his desire is not to be unclothed, though in itself it be far better, but to be clothed upon, like Christ in glory. To see Christ who has so loved him, as He is, to be perfectly like Him, so that Christ shall see of the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. This fills his soul with hope, and he knows that all the raised saints (or changed, for we shall not all die,) will be glorified with Him, yea, He glorified in them, and His heart, and surely ours, satisfied.  



1) In John xiv. the Father sends it in His name. In chapter xv. He sends it from the Father.