Baptist Distinctives 4: The Holy Spirit Makes Salvation Real

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We’re going to start in Galatians chapter three tonight as we continue our Baptist Distinctives study. Tonight we’ll be talking about the Holy Spirit of God. The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message states:

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to under- stand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.”

When we speak of the Holy Spirit, we are not talking about a POWER but a PERSON.

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity of God. The Father is the Leader of the Trinity, the Head of the Family of God. The Son is the Mediator and the Covering for sin, the One Who made a way whereby we can come to the Father. The Holy Spirit is the Enabler, the Member of the Godhead that most personally comes to the believer. The Holy Spirit makes every Christian the workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:10). The Spirit partners with us in life, helping us to live and be more like Jesus every day.

Sadly, many in the Christian Church do not understand the Holy Spirit. Though many Pentecostal believers emphasize the Holy Spirit in their services, in many cases their services become states of confusion marked by ecstatic behavior. Our God is not the Author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). Among non-Pentecostal brethren, many church members act as if the Holy Spirit is Someone to be either ignored or feared. When Paul came to Ephesus he asked the disciples he found there, “Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2). These disciples told Paul, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit.” These were followers of John the Baptist who never knew that that Jesus, the Messiah, had come. Once they were told of Jesus, and were obediently baptized in water as Jesus commanded, the Holy Spirit came to these people. When these people were saved, they gave evidence that the Holy Spirit lived inside them (Acts 19:6).

A person who receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior receives, along with salvation, the Holy Spirit of God. Obedience to Christ is key! The Holy Spirit is available & active in the healthy Christian walk.

Salvation Is Meant To Be Real Life Change

The Church at Galatia was largely Gentile believers, with a few Jewish believers in attendance. The Jewish believers had come from a background where they had grown up making animal sacrifices at the Temple every year. The Jewish males had also been circumcised on the eighth day of their birth. These were laws that God gave Israel to keep. The Jewish male had to be circumcised, or else he was “cut off” from the children of Israel, exiled from his family. And every good Jew took animals “without spot or blemish” (Numbers 28:9, 11, to the Temple at least once a year to make payment for their sins. The Gentiles never did these things. The Jews had done these things their whole life. So the Jewish believers began to tell the Gentile believers that they were disobeying God by not submitting to male circumcision and animal sacrifices.

Christians are not to impose their extra-biblical cultures on others. God never gave circumcision nor animal sacrifice to the Gentiles,
but to Israel.

Though God had ordered male circumcision and animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant of the Law, these were but temporary actions. The purpose of the animal sacrifices was to simply teach the Jewish believer that the wages of sin is death – and someone had to pay the piper (Romans 6:23). Before Jesus Christ came, the animals that were sacrificed in faith, believing that a better Savior would one day come. Paul brings this out in:

Galatians 3:19-20 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

Why did God give the Law? It was added because of transgressions. God wanted people to know that HE IS THE ONE WHO SETS STANDARDS OF RIGHT AND WRONG, and that to SIN is to OFFEND THE ETERNAL GOD. Every act of sin brings a breach, a division between God and His created people. Sin must be covered if the relationship is to be restored between God and man. When God gave the Law, He promised Abraham that a seed should come. In the King James, the word seed is in the lower case. But it should be in the upper case, Seed. God promised Abraham that, through his lineage, a Seed would come Who would bring blessing to the whole world. This upper case Seed is Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16). This Seed will be the Mediator between God and man. The animals sacrificed were but temporary.

Galatians 3:21-25 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The Law could not bring REAL RIGHTEOUSNESS to a person.
Real righteousness starts in the heart, not in the hand.

An animal killed was just an animal killed. We as humans are broken. We are born broken. We need more than an object lesson. We need real change. We cannot change ourselves. But God can. The Jews all sacrificed animals because every Jew – from High Priest to the lowest tent peg carrier – was a sinner. The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The Law taught the Jew – and us – that by the works of our hands we cannot make ourselves right with God. We need God to make us right.

When a person is saved, God wants that person to walk with Him daily. He wants the saved person to have more than a “Temple” or a “Sunday go to meeting” salvation. When the Jew went to the Temple and sacrificed a critter, the Jew was the same afterward as he was beforehand. There was no real change. The Jew had an animal killed, but it had no real effect on him or his family. There was no genuine, God ordained salvation. The Old Covenant taught us the need of salvation, but did not actually DO anything to the believer.

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

When Jesus came, the Seed that God promised to Abraham, Jesus provided a real working, God walking salvation. The Bible says,

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Jesus Christ, God become Man, offered but one offering for sin – His own flawless life. Where an animal could not make perfect and complete restitution for sin, a flawless God-Man could. Whereas an animal killed and a human and fallible High Priest could not be a perfect mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36) could. Jesus effects a genuine salvation. The Law is but a shadow of the Genuine. When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, our status changes. We become children of God. We are children of God not just by name only, but by spiritual reality. Read the next sentence carefully:

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

When you receive Jesus as He is, He has promised I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth … he … shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17). The Holy Spirit comes on the new believer in Christ. The Holy Spirit “baptizes” the believer into Christ. Verse 27 is not speaking of water baptism, but Spirit Baptism. This is a baptism into Christ, not into water. This Spirit Baptism identifies the believer as Christ’s possession. The Spirit of God marks our souls, and effects a real change in our lives.

A person sacrificing an animal leaves the event spiritually and practically the same as he was before it. A person receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior is Baptized by the Spirit of God, marked as a changed person. The Baptism of the Spirit actually kills the old you, and brings about a changed you.

Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

The New Covenant believer goes through a marked and miraculous change. Our hearts are changed for God. We want to be new creatures, for we are new creatures. Buried with {Jesus} in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with {Jesus} through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12). Those who are saved have equal footing with God:

Galatians 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The Apostle is not saying that you cease being Jew or Gentile, bond or free, but that all are with equal power received into the Family of God, and become the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. We are all equally children of the kingdom of God. Why? Because of the Holy Spirit Who changes us. We are told in another place:

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Jesus Christ as Mediator paid for our sins, and represents us to God. God the Holy Spirit comes to the believer, spiritually baptizes that believer, and then stays with us to mark us as Children of God.

Jesus Paid For Real Salvation &
The Holy Spirit Makes Real Salvation

The Apostle now begins a different illustration to explain how salvation in Christ brings about real change.

Galatians 4:1-3 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

As children, we were sent to school, made to learn things that we were told would one day be useful. Before Jesus came, the animal sacrifices and feasts of the Old Covenant, as well as the practice of male circumcision were “tutors”. But once Jesus came, class was dismissed.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

God did something through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that He had never done. He brought about the adoption of sons. We who are saved are no longer sons of Adam – we are sons and daughters of God. As actual children of God we are expected by God to walk with God. The Scripture says:

Romans 8:9-11 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Since Christ brought about a real and lasting salvation from sin, the Holy Spirit is freed to enter your lives, to guide you as Children of God are to be guided. The reason we know that we will live forever is because the Spirit of Christ abides with us forever. Since we are no longer under the Law of animal sacrifice and circumcision and feasts, but are under the Mediatorship of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, we are expected to walk with God daily.

Romans 8:12-13 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

We are not to walk in sin. If we, like children of Adam, live after the flesh, ye shall die. The “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), even for the Christian. Sin is poison. But if we partner with the Holy Spirit Who indwells us, and work with Him to kill anything that is not Christlike, then WE SHALL LIVE! That is what God wants for us – to walk with Him every day, every moment of the day, in an intentional, Christ following manner.

Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

The Christian indeed is the one who is led by the Spirit of God.

The person who says they are saved, but who have no real exterior change, are no different than the person who made the animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant.

Just as God walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam, God walks with the believer in Christ each and every day. This is the normal Christian reality. Are we perfect? No, but our God is perfect. Our salvation is perfect. God the Holy Spirit is perfect and faithful. He will never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Why? Because we are His children, adopted into his family, by the Blood of his Son, and by the power of His Spirit.

Galatians 4:6-7 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

We serve God our Father and honor Jesus our Savior, but we are not servants, but sons. We are heirs of God through Christ. The Apostle says in another place, all things are yours” (1 Corinthians 3:21). We as Christians are inheritors of both the Heavens and the earth. We are uniquely children of God.

There is a big difference between a servant and a Son. The Apostle now illustrates this through the life of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. We read:

Galatians 4:22-26 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond maid, the other by a free woman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar {should be HAGAR}. 25 For this Agar {should be HAGAR} is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

The father of Faith Abraham had two sons. If you remember the story of Abraham, God called to him in Genesis 12:1-3, and told him Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation. With those words God promised Abraham that, though he was childless, that he would one day have a son, and a progeny that would lead to both a nation as well as to blessings for the whole world. Abraham started following God at 75 years old, but did not have a child named Isaac until he was 100 years old. For 25 years Abraham followed God, waiting year after year for a child. As he aged, and no child was born, Sarah decided to help Abraham and God out. She had an Egyptian slave named Hagar, and had Abraham sleep with that slave so as to have a child. Hagar had a child named Ishmael (see Genesis 16).

Ishmael was the child of human works. It was not the child that God promised Abraham, but the child Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah cooked up. Ishmael, though blessed, was not the heir of Abraham’s promises.

This is what Paul is talking about in this section. God promised Abraham an heir, and the only heir that Abraham would have would be by faith. When Ishmael was born, he was a child of Abraham’s works but not of God’s promise. The promised son would be a miracle, and would be born through Sarah, not Hagar.

Galatians 4:28-31 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Those who are “saved” by keeping the law of sacrifice, circumcision, and festivals, are not actually saved. They are Ishmaels, children born of Hagar. But those who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, who have put their trust and hope in Him, are children of God. God moves on them. God changes them. God adopts them. God seals them for Heaven. God indwells them. And God stays with them forever. Salvation, genuine salvation, is Christ purchased and Spirit effected. This is why the Scripture says:

Titus 3:5-8 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy {Spirit}; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

The saved are not saved by their own works. They are not Ishmaels. The saved are Isaacs, children born of promise. Saved by faith in Christ Jesus, the Spirit moves on us, and changes us to living Isaacs. We then see this change reflected in our lives, not just on the day of conversion, but from that time onward. We live and walk with God daily. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16, 25).

The Christian is free – not to sin, but to serve and glorify God. As we will one day do in Heaven, we are to do now on the earth. We are Children of the Most High (Psalm 82:6). We are Kings and Priests before God (Revelation 1:6; 5:10). We belong to God our Father. We are purchased by the Blood of Christ Jesus His Son. We are indwelt with the precious Spirit of God. Let us live daily for Him!

May the Holy Spirit of God take these texts, and move them deeply into your daily walk with Him. Let us live for Jesus. Maranatha, Lord Jesus, Come quickly. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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