The Fruit of the Spirit: A Week of Questions #1

It’s been said that curiosity killed the cat. I think the opposite. About curiosity at least.

Curiosity breeds life and vitality. It opens up doors and awakens our mental senses. A regular habit of humbly asking questions and, generally speaking, looking for answers is, I think, a beautiful posture for life.

This is why, at First Family Church where I pastor, questions are a normal part of my/our teaching ministry. We often take questions live in the service after a message, and I periodically utilize my weekly podcast, the Extra Point, for questions from the weekend.

And I’ll use this format—my blog—as well, which is what I want to do with so many of the questions that have come in during our series on the fruit of the Spirit, “Living Proof.” In fact, I’ll post at least one question a day for at least this week in order to answer questions we haven’t been able to address in any of our other formats. I trust this will be one more way to help us grow in our understanding of God and his Word, specifically the ministry of the Third Person of the Trinity — God the Holy Spirit.

Now on to today’s question.

“Before the giving of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, how did people (like Abraham) experience full joy or peace, or really, any fruits of the Spirit? And did they experience any of the Spirit’s gifts at all?”

Externally, they experienced the Holy Spirit’s power and blessings like we do — in full and by grace. He was definitely active! For instance, the Holy Spirit of God moved upon the waters at creation (Genesis 1). He gifted at least two men with special gifts to craft items for the tabernacle (Ex 31:1-5). He came upon David “mightily” (1 Samuel 16). Speaking of David, his Psalms reference the Holy Spirit’s work at least three times (Ps. 51, 104, 143), specifically asking for the “joy of his salvation” to be restored in Psalm 51. Ezekiel was given a vision of the Holy Spirit regenerating dead bones in the valley (Ez. 37), a picture of God’s work of regeneration and revival among Israel.

What they didn’t experience was the Holy Spirit’s internal presence continuously.

We often differentiate this reality by using the words “on” and “in.” The Holy Spirit came “upon” Old Testament (i.e., pre-resurrection) saints; the Holy Spirit came “into” New Testament (i.e., post-resurrection) saints. Though his presence was manifested differently in the two Testaments, his power was experienced in a unified manner across both.

More tomorrow!

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