Would you like to learn more about the Holy Spirit, about His work in regeneration, salvation, and sanctification in God’s people? Consider listening to the following sermons exposited by Dr. Caldwell from the Word of God:
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Salvation and Sanctification in the Old and New Testaments
The New Testament teaches the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit of all believers. But in the Old Testament, this wasn’t the case; it was different. How can we understand the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament? That work appears to have been selective and temporary. For example, we read King David praying to God in Psalm 51 to not take ‘Your Holy Spirit from me.’ Whereas New Testament believers, permanently indwelled by the Holy Spirit, are being transformed into the image of Christ, from one degree of glory to another through the work of sanctification. So then, if the Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell Old Testament believers, and just sort of, came and went, how were they sanctified? This is the topic for this episode of the Straight Truth Podcast. Join us as host Dr. Josh Philpot asks Dr. Richard Caldwell to share his thoughts and understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in saving and sanctifying believers in both eras, old and new.
Dr. Caldwell says this is a great opportunity to think about continuity and discontinuity. Continuity is that, which remains the same, and discontinuity is that which is different. So what is the same and what is different? As Dr. Philpot mentioned, the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit is new, so something different has taken place. But, if we understand and believe what the Bible teaches about all mankind since the fall, we have to know that no one has ever been saved in all of history apart from regeneration. Man does not and cannot save himself. He is blind, and he is dead. Man does not love God nor the things of God and has no desire to live for God. God must do a work in a man's soul for this to change; it requires the grace of God at work in the soul that brings new life. This is regeneration and is the work of the Holy Spirit in a person's heart for salvation. This has not and does not change from the old to the new. So, in the same way, to think that anyone can live a godly life without the help of the Holy Spirit, Old or New Testament, would be erroneous. The Holy Spirit is He who works to give the eyes of faith to believe God, His Word, and His promises, to love the Scriptures, and the desire to obey Him.
Dr. Caldwell shares about Jesus coming to Nicodemus in John 3, where Jesus talks about the new birth. Nicodemus is reproved for not knowing and understanding the things Jesus speaks about with him. Nicodemus was a teacher in Israel and had the Old Testament. He should have understood the need for the new birth, even in the Old Testament. If new birth was required in the Old Testament, so also was sanctification and growing in godliness. But what’s new then? What’s new is that we have the Messiah; we have Christ. The Old Testament progressively continued to point to the coming of Christ, but He hadn’t yet come. In the New Testament, we have Christ come. Now we have met with Emmanuel, God with us, God incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ. In this same discussion with Nicodemus, we begin learning it's through Christ that love takes on a new character. Dr. Caldwell shares what this means and looks like in the life of believers.
Before Christ was to return to heaven, He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who baptizes us with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is given to those who have trusted in Christ. This is a post-resurrection, a post-ascension reality that every believer is now permanently indwelled by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is our comforter. He is Christ in us. He is the seal and down payment that God has given to us, His people, regarding our future inheritance. He works in us for our sanctification, for the holiness without which no man will see the Lord. His indwelling confirms the fact that we are headed toward a future that God has promised, one we will most certainly have. These are all new realities.
Sanctification for the New Testament believer is Christ in me, the hope of glory. We are now being conformed to the image of the Son of God. That could not have been an Old Testament goal set before the people of God because Christ had not yet come. And even though the Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell the Old Testament believers, the work of sanctification was for growth in holiness, growth in godliness. The Spirit was still active outside of them influencing them to those ends. So, while sanctification is not new, it does take on a new significance. Christ is now the standard and example. He is not just our redeemer. He is also our model of what our lives should look like now that we’ve been redeemed.
It is important to understand the Bible on its own terms and affirm continuity where it exists and discontinuity where it exists. The Bible doesn’t make it complicated. It just sets it forth before us in very clear, simple terms, and we ought to embrace everything it reveals. St. Augustine famously said, “The new is in the old concealed; the old is in the new revealed.” This statement expresses how the two testaments of the Bible are so marvelously interwoven with each other. To understand the New Testament in its fullest sense, we must know the Old. For the Old Testament lays the foundations for the New. It points forward in time to prepare the people of God for the coming of Christ and His work in the New Testament.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.
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