For Part 1 of this article, click here.
Fifty days after the crucifixion of Jesus, Pentecost occurs. Jesus ascends 40 days after His resurrection, the disciples gather in the upper room for 10 days, and now the Holy Spirit is poured out. Peter quotes from Joel 2:28-32,
“‘In the last days it shall be,’ says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even on My menservants and maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18).
Peter affirms that this is the fulfillment of God’s promise. “God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear” (Acts 2:32-33).
During the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests poured out the water, symbolizing the water from the rock. But now, on the day of Pentecost, God Himself pours forth water from the rock, the river of His presence, the river of the Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit is to the Christian what the cloud by day and fire by night were to the Israelites: God’s powerful personal presence! The Spirit is part and confirmation of our present and future inheritance. Through faith in Jesus, we are sealed and anointed with the Holy Spirit! Paul states,
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and established the guarantee with the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor. 1:21-22).
The Holy Spirit is our down payment, or guarantee, of our present and future hope in Christ. The Greek for guarantee is arrabōn, which means “the first or initial payment of money or assets, as a guarantee for the completion of a transaction or pledge (in the New Testament, ἀρραβών is used only figuratively in referring to the Holy Spirit as the pledge or guarantee of the blessings promised by God)—’first installment, down payment, pledge, guarantee.'” Paul continues this theme in 2 Corinthians 5:
“Now He who has created us for this very thing is God, who also has given to us the guarantee [arrabōn] of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 5:5).
In this passage (2 Cor. 5:1-8), Paul is giving the reader assurance of the resurrection and glorified body we long for. Our present new life in Christ is experienced by the Holy Spirit within as a guarantee, pledge, or down payment!
Paul’s use of arrabōn in these verses implies God taking the initiative and that the Spirit is part of the promised future meeting us now in the present. Arrabōn is a word used at the time for legal or commercial transactions, such as down payment on a piece of land. Therefore, the Spirit is a sign that one day we shall fully possess our inheritance—the already and not yet of the kingdom.
According to theologian Gordon Fee, “Along with the resurrection of Christ, the Spirit is the certain evidence that the future has been set in motion; and the Spirit’s indwelling presence serves as God’s own guarantee that we are to inherit all that has been promised.”
You and I have been marked by God, sealed securely by Him in Christ, who is always our yes. Further, the Holy Spirit has been given as a deposit, down payment money, a first installment, which guarantees full inheritance when the whole is paid later!
The Holy Spirit is partial payment or pledge of our future joys and bliss in heaven. The Holy Spirit gives a foretaste or guarantee of things to come.
The Holy Spirit’s presence is also a deposit on God’s promises to us. We can have assurance of the dreams and promises God has made because we are sealed in Christ and have the Holy Spirit as a deposit. Further, the river of the Holy Spirit flowing through us is life and hope to a barren world around us. We need to allow God’s river to flow freely through us!
God is highlighting to me the importance of the Holy Spirit. Why?
The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made to the disciples that He would send another comforter, the Spirit of truth who would abide with them, and with us, forever (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit was given to teach us; to bring all things to remembrance; He was to testify of Jesus; convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; and He empowers us with courage and wisdom to proclaim Christ in our world. Believers are anointed by the Holy Spirit, who abides with us and teaches us all things (1 John 2:20, 27).
The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, our friend, our helper in our time of need. Jesus is the rock, our source, and the Holy Spirit is the river that never runs dry, never wearies, never quits, never stops flowing!
We can dam up the river, but God’s desire is that the Holy Spirit would run freely through our lives as living water to bring life to barren places. To realize individually and corporately what God has promised, we must learn to partner with the Holy Spirit. Miracles don’t occur because we will them into being. No, as we agree with God’s Word, pray and trust the power of the Holy Spirit working in and with us, all things become possible!
As we abide in Jesus and fellowship with the Holy Spirit:
- We participate in true worship. John 4:23 says, “Yet the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. For the Father seeks such to worship Him.” The heart of worship is Jesus! He is our affection and desire. We pursue Him, not His gifts or His benefits. We worship the King in holiness, in singularity of heart. No other gods before us, no other false affections. This is worship in Spirit and in truth.
- We hear God’s voice. Revelation flows from intimacy with Jesus and communion with the Holy Spirit, our friend and helper. He guides us into all truth, speaks what He hears, and reveals God’s plans and purposes to us.
- We are revived and renewed. “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11b). Jesus said He would send us another helper. “Another” is from the Greek word allos, which means “another just like me.” The Holy Spirit daily wants to revive and renew us, we need to drink of His river continually!
- We are empowered. Jesus said in John 14:12, “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father.” As we remain in Christ, trust His finished work and yield to the Spirit, God releases His might through us to do what we cannot of ourselves!
- We become a conduit for God to touch others. You and I were destined to be a river of blessing to others. This is not accomplished in our human effort alone; rather, as we walk with God faithfully and rely upon His Word and the Spirit, we begin to bring life to dead places. In Christ, we have become the temple of God, and the river of God’s presence is bursting forth through those who are yielded to His mission and purpose.
The Holy Spirit, who is the river of God’s presence, wants to burst forth in your life. With joy, draw water from His well!
Bob Sawvelle is the founding and senior leader of Passion Church in Tucson, Arizona. Passion Church is a vibrant, kingdom-minded church in the heart of Tucson that values God’s love and presence. He is a doctor of ministry doctoral mentor for the Randy Clark Scholars cohort at United Theological Seminary (UTS), an adjunct professor teaching master’s-level classes in evangelism, discipleship and church planting with the Global Awakening Theological Seminary (GATS) and an online course facilitator for Global Awakening’s Christian Healing Certification Program (CHCP) and Christian Prophetic Certification Program (CPCP).