Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.


Going to Jesus

Gospel Tracts

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Gospel Tract #94

The Spirit of Christ

by George Clark, Sr. and John David Clark, Sr.

From Genesis to Revelation, the holy Spirit is given various descriptive titles, such as the “Spirit of God” (Gen. 1:2), “Spirit of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2), “Spirit of grace” (Zech. 12:10), “holy Spirit” (Lk. 11:13), “Spirit of truth” (Jn. 14:17), “Comforter” (Jn. 15:26), “eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14), “Spirit of adoption” (Rom. 8:15), “Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2), and others too numerous to mention here.

In 1Samuel 10:6, Samuel told Saul that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him, but when it happened (v.10), we read that “the Spirit of God came upon him.” In Acts 5:3, Ananias and his wife “lied to the holy Spirit,” but in verse 9, it was “the Spirit of the Lord” against which they had sinned.  Some, using the King James Version of the Bible, used to teach that the holy Spirit and the holy Ghost were different spirits.  A brief survey of the KJV itself would have corrected that error. Using the KJV, here are a few blessings said to come by the holy Ghost, which in other verses are said to come by the holy Spirit: Sanctification (Rom. 15:16; 2Thess. 2:13); spiritual gifts (Heb. 2:4; 1Cor. 12:4); instruction for believers (1Cor. 2:13; Jn. 16:13); and help in prayer (Jude 20; 1Cor. 14:16).  In sum, there is only one holy Spirit, though it be referred to in various ways.

How Many Doves Came?

Consider carefully, please, the words of the gospel writers, as each describes the Spirit when it came upon Jesus when he was “about 30 years of age”:

Matthew Testifies:

(3:16) “And after he was baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God, in the form of a dove, descending and coming upon him.”

Mark Testifies:

(1:9–10) “Now, it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens being ripped open and the Spirit, in the form of a dove, descending upon him.”

Luke Testifies:

(3:21–22) “And it came to pass that when all the people were being baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and as he was praying, heaven was opened, and the holy Spirit descended in the bodily form of a dove upon him, and a voice from heaven came, saying, “You are my beloved Son; in you, I am well pleased.”

John Testifies:

(1:32) “And John testified, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove, and it remained on him.”

Now, unless a flock of doves descended from heaven, the Spirit of God that Matthew saw is the Spirit that Mark and John saw, and they both are the holy Spirit which Luke saw. The gospel writers just gave it different titles.

Much can be learned about the Spirit from the titles it is given. For example, when Jesus’ disciples were saddened by the news that he would soon leave them, Jesus referred to the Spirit as “the Comforter”. And when Paul spoke of our admission into the family of God, he referred to the Spirit as “the Spirit of adoption”. Jesus gave an impression of the holy Spirit as “the Spirit of truth”, for, he said, “he will guide you into all truth.” And since Christ Jesus declared himself to be the truth (Jn. 14:6), the Spirit of truth is obviously the Spirit of Christ.

The Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit

Only twice in the Bible is the phrase “the Spirit of Christ” used (Rom. 8:9 and 1Pet. 1:11). In 1Peter 1:11, Peter states that the “Spirit of Christ” was in the prophets of old, and “testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that followed.” But notice that in his second epistle (1:21), Peter writes, “no prophecy in the past came about by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the holy Spirit.” Surely, the ancient prophets were not inspired by two different spirits.

In Psalm 22, David prophesied the gruesome crucifixion of Jesus.  Part of David’s prophecy reads, “They pierced my hands and my feet. . . .  They divided my clothes among they and cast lots on my garment.”  The word “my” in this prophecy refers not to David but to Christ. David’s hands and feet were never pierced, nor were his clothes ever parted among his enemies. The Spirit of Christ, through David, was testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Jesus. Near the end of his life, David said, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue” (2Sam. 23:2).  Are we to understand by this that the Spirit of the Lord spoke by him on one occasion, and the Spirit of Christ on another? Of course not. The Spirit of the Lord is the Spirit of Christ, for “God has made him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).

Further, we hear these words from Peter, as he stood in the midst of the disciples in the upper room awaiting the descent of the Comforter, “Men and brothers, this scripture must be fulfilled, which the holy Spirit foretold through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide for those who arrested Jesus” (Acts 1:16).  This prophecy is found in Psalm 41:9, and it reads, “Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”  The me and the my of this prophecy is the same me and my of Psalm 22, which spoke of the crucifixion.  In both cases, the Spirit of Christ was the speaker, for in both verses, events were foretold that happened to Christ and in both verses, the speaker says the events happened to “me”. Yet, Peter said the holy Spirit inspired David’s words. Clearly, then, when Peter said the holy Spirit spoke through David, he was referring to the Spirit of Christ, or we could say, the Spirit of the Lord.

The other verse in which “Spirit of Christ” appears is in Paul’s letter to the saints at Rome. It is an arresting, sobering statement: “Now, if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him” (Rom. 8:9). Paul is declaring in no uncertain terms that until one receives the Spirit, he is not in the family of God, for the Spirit of Christ, as we have seen, is the holy Spirit.

God’s Life

Paul said that the Spirit of God is life itself (Rom. 8:10), and it is. It God’s own kind of life.  That is the life that Jesus purchased for us with his blood.  He suffered and died to make God’s eternal kind of life, the holy Spirit, available to us. When Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life,” he was speaking of the Spirit. And now, because of Jesus, we can repent of our sins and receive, in his name, the eternal life of God. What a precious gift!  God wanted us to have it so much that He was willing to send his dear Son to die so that it might be given to us.

When is a person really born again?

“When were the disciples born again?” Over the years, I have posed that simple question to a number of people, including Christian ministers, and I have yet to find anyone who had pondered it before I asked. Some seemed surprised that such a question would even be asked. A fairly typical response has been this one, from a man who had been in the ministry for some time: “I have never thought about it.” But why not? The issue of the new birth is the most important issue that exists!

When is a person born again?  So many confusing answers have been given to that simple question that one might think the Bible is unclear in its answer, but it is not. The truth is this: The new birth experience is the baptism of the Spirit. Are you willing to look at the evidence?  If so, send for our teaching series on The New Birth.

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