I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and to be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27
From this week’s Life Journal readings, we have this beautiful prophetic promise in Ezekiel of salvation that would come through Jesus Christ. God sprinkles—and we are forgiven. (This passage is one reason much of the Church historically has been comfortable with sprinkling baptism.) Next, the Lord removes our dead, fallen heart and puts a new one in us—and rebirths our human spirit so that we can relate intimately to Him. We become again tripartite beings—spirit, soul, and body. Finally, the Holy Spirit fills our new spirit and heart and begins the journey of transformation that allows us to walk the walk with Jesus in obedience. THIS IS SALVATION! But this is only the beginning of the Good News—not the conclusion!
Jesus described this beautiful process of salvation in John 4 when He told the woman of Samaria that whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (vs. 13). The “water” Jesus spoke of is the Holy Spirit.Jesus fulfilled everything Salvation entails as He breathed the Holy Spirit on His disciples the night of His resurrection (John 20:22).
So God the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential to salvation and is indeed in ALL who have been saved by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God the Son! But this is only the beginning of the Good News—not the conclusion!
Please note: The Prophet Joel spoke of the Holy Spirit being upon believers, not just in them (Joel 2: 28). Jesus spoke of Rivers of Living Water flowing out of His followers in addition to the spring inside of them (John 7:38). Jesus demanded His disciples wait for the baptism with the Holy Spirit—the Spirit upon them—after He had breathed the Spirit in them the night He rose from the dead…!
There is a difference between in and upon. There is a difference between springs and rivers. There is a difference between breath and baptism. There is a difference between salvation and sanctification—and Christians remain at the “starting line” unless and until they are Spirit-filled inside and out!
While some have tried to blur these distinctions and deny the fullness of the Spirit, we are part of the Majority Church all around the world that expects every believer—every “member”—to walk in the breath and the baptism; to celebrate the spring and the rivers; to know the Holy Spirit both in and upon them and to thus be fully functional Christians!
True worship makes no sense unless and until the Holy Spirit is all over us. The Word is just good reading until the Holy Spirit makes Him alive to us. Mission and ministry is simply huffing and puffing and sweating and hard work unless and until the Holy Spirit flows through us.
ASK the Lord to baptize you if any of this seems strange or unfamiliar to you! Come to the Altar Sunday and receive! The Lord never intended that any of His beloved daughters or sons should do anything but wait until we are wet with the Spirit both inside and out…!