Holy Spirit 11 – The Promised Spirit

The aim of this devotional study is to consider the significance of the Indwelling Spirit ina believer.

Scripture

Galatians 3:1-14

1  O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.  2  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3  Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4  Did you suffer so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain? 5  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith– 6  just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7  Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9  So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10  For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12  But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”– 14  so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Observation and reflection

Context: Paul’s letter to the Galatians was written to correct false teachings (by a sect known as the Judaizers) that believers ought to uphold the Old Testament sacramental or ceremonial law (including male circumcision and observing Sabbath) to be righteous before God.

  1. What is Paul’s main argument that the believers in Galatia did not have to observe any sacramental or ceremonial Law to be right in God’s eyes?
  2. How and when did the Galatian church members “receive the Spirit”? (verse 2-3)
  3. What was a sign that these believers received the Holy Spirit? (verse 5)
  4. Abraham is known as the “father of faith”. Why would Paul use him as example in his argument against the need for observing the Jewish sacramental or ceremonial laws?
  5. Paul refers to “the Promised Holy Spirit” For the Old Testament Jew, what would the promised indwelling Spirit be a sign of? (You might want to refer to Jeremiah 31:33-34)

Personal reflection and Application

Paul argued that believers received the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus’ substitutionary suffering and death on the cross as a sign of the New Covenant, and therefore believers need not need to fulfill any Old Testament ceremonial or sacramental law to please God.

  1. When did you come to faith in Christ? Or when were you born again?
  2. How do you know you are born again?
  3. How do you experience the work of the Holy Spirit in your life?
  4. What is the proof in your life that you have received the Holy Spirit of God?

Prayer

Thank God for the gift of freedom and acceptance in the Holy Spirit.  Then pray as your heart leads you in response to the Scripture today.

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