I become weary of seeing the wrong teaching that is out there among professing evangelicals regarding the Holy Spirit. It’s from one extreme to the other. This Daily Thoughts is not about trying to straighten it all out. I only want to address one particular thing.
The other day while I was driving I heard a popular and very well-known radio preacher who, I believe, is a good and sincere man who tries to preach the Bible. As he was speaking about the Holy Spirit’s working on David’s life, he made the statement: ‘But that was before Pentecost and before the Holy Spirit was really given.” I immediately thought, “O boy, here we go”, because I knew where he was going before he went there. I knew what he was going to say before he began to say it.
His view was that which most professing evangelicals in the 20th and 21st centuries have held, especially since the rise of dispensational teaching at the beginning of the 20th century. Here’s the basic summary teaching:
1. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament period was only occasionally sent upon prophets and priests for temporary work; He never indwelt any believers in that time, but only came and went as God sovereignly purposed. No believers had the Holy Spirit until the Day of Pentecost.
2. With the coming of Pentecost, believers were for the first time indwelt by the Spirit and all believers were possessed by Him.
This view, simply put, is wrong. And I am amazed at how many true Christians still believe it. They are confused still about how people in the Old Testament were saved and knew God or if they were even truly saved at all; they are confused about what the Holy Spirit did, if anything, in the Old Testament believers.
Let me give a summary statement on this; I would encourage anyone who will be helped by this to pursue further understanding on such an important subject.
1. Both Old Testament and New Testament believers were all justified by faith alone, apart from works; the Old Testament people of Israel always had a remnant among them that truly knew the Lord and were true believers; true believers under the O T were saved by grace through faith, just like N. T. believers and had a new heart within them; this is the reason why they loved the Lord from the heart, sought the Lord, trusted and obeyed the Lord. All those in the Old Covenant who did not do these things did not know the Lord. The fact is, a majority of those in the Old Covenant were not true believers and thus they acted as they did. Only a minority remnant were true believers who did know and love the Lord. It was those alone who were justified.
2. Both believers in both the O. T. and N. T., to be justified, were all regenerated and were indwelt by the Spirit. The reason this is absolutely true is because true justification presumes and presupposes a new heart, which only comes by regeneration. If you deny that regeneration was true under the Old Covenant, then you must deny that justification was as well. But that is impossible, as we already know from the New Testament that they were justified by faith. You cannot be a believer, either in the Old or New Testament periods, without being both regenerated and justified. This is seen in a number of O. T. passages as well as N. T. passages.
This obviously does not answer every question about this great subject and will provoke a number of questions. But it amazes me at times to see how many true believers are still carrying weak and wrong teaching with them from their past on this issue and are not clear on even the basic truths. May the Lord continue to guide us into all truth.
– Mack Tomlinson