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A New Covenant
By David A. DePra
It would seem that one of the biggest confusions in the Christian church has always been the distinction between the Old and New Covenants. In fact, many Christians see no difference at all. Some Christians continue, as did the Galatians, to live under the law. Despite being saved, they lack understanding as to what salvation in Jesus Christ MEANS.
This is not an insignificant problem. For example, Paul told the Galatians, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace." (Gal 5:4) Now, that is a dangerous situation – for Christ to have no effect unto you! Yet this is what happens if you continue, despite being saved, to live under the law. God inspired an entire epistle to address this dangerous possibility.
Other Christians have a completely wrong idea as to what happened to the disciples in Acts 2, when God poured out the Holy Spirit. These folks think that BEFORE Jesus ascended to heaven that the disciples were already born again, and had Christ in them through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They believe this despite the fact that Jesus said this was impossible, and they believe it despite the fact that the entire plan of God from Genesis to Revelation tells them that this could not be. Consequently, they believe that in Acts 2 the disciples received a SECOND BLESSING.
This is also not an insignificant problem. First of all, it means that it is today possible for millions of Christians to have received ONLY Christ, and ONLY the first blessing – but to lack this supposed second blessing. But just an importantly, it means that everything Jesus promised the Comforter would do when He came is not included in CHRIST IN US, but is included only in this second blessing – a fullness of the Spirit that only SOME Christians have today received. It means we are NOT, "complete in Christ," but must go on to receive a second blessing if we are to be complete, and have the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Some Christians don’t care about these issues. Indeed, they will say you are causing division if you address them. I always think that is a bit humorous, seeing as how all you have in the church today IS division – much of it CAUSED by these very errors! But people don’t want their particular theological position disturbed. Or their faith is so anchored in their experiences, or their interpretations of their experiences, that they won’t consider anything else. But in the end, we have to go back to the Bible. If we won’t, we cannot expect God to protect us from error and it’s consequences.
I don’t know how many Christians realize the Truth about what I just said. God has given us His written Word as a standard for Truth. If you ignore what it says, God is not going to protect you from deception – indeed, the Bible is His great protection from deception. This is not maybe. You can bank on it.
It is really easy to know what the Bible SAYS. But the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us what it MEANS by what it SAYS. This is why we must have an open heart to God, and to allow Him to do with us whatever is necessary to reveal to us Jesus Christ. See Christ and you will begin to understand the Bible. Indeed, you will never understand it any other way. That is also something you can bank on.
Get this distinction: We must see Christ, and not just understand theology. See Christ and the Bible becomes a living Word. And the Bible itself tells us this very thing.
If you are a born again believer, you already know that the Bible is the Word of God. If you don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God, I’d question my conversion. But assuming you do know that, do you really believe that you are at liberty to ignore God’s written Word? The Holy Spirit is going to be in the process of guiding you into all Truth. This Truth will need to come to you by revelation – that is a fact. But the Truth that is revealed to you will ALWAYS agree with scripture. It will NEVER conflict with it. Thus, whatever we feel God has revealed to us must always be taken back to the Bible. In the final analysis, it does not matter what I believe is the Truth, and it does not matter how I think God has confirmed it as the Truth – it MUST be in the Bible. And if we ignore the Bible on these matters, our deception is not going to be God’s fault. It is going to be ours.
One of the biggest needs in the Christian church today is to see the difference between the Old and New Covenants. To see this difference is to see the difference between the law, which was a shadow, and Jesus Christ, who is the substance. And it is important that we see exactly when, how, and why the New Covenant came when it did.
God’s Own Definition
In His Word, God Himself has told us the number one distinction between the Covenants:
But now has he (Christ) obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which is decayed and waxed old is ready to vanish away. (Heb. 8:6-13)
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jer. 31:30-34)
Hebrews 8 is a reference to a prophecy from Jeremiah 31. God is announcing that He intends to make a NEW covenant – one that replaces the OLD. But note upfront this vital fact, right from the mouth of God: God clearly states that the NEW covenant will be one that is, "NOT ACCORDING," to the OLD. "
Do you see that? The NEW is NOT LIKE the OLD – it is different. God Himself said so. So we are not left to guess at WHETHER the Covenants differ. They do. And God Himself is going to tell us the difference between the Old and New Covenants.
God says that the biggest difference between the NEW covenant and the OLD is this: "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Do you see the difference? The NEW Covenant would be INWARD. It would contain a work whereby people could BECOME – rather than just DO. In short, God is really speaking here of the NEW BIRTH.
Hebrews says much the same thing. Jeremiah reads just a little bit different, howbeit in harmony with the quote from Hebrews: "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
God is saying that the New Covenant will be one of a NEW BIRTH. Indeed, the New Covenant offered the possibility of CHRIST IN US. The Old never offered this, and could not have offered it.
Christ In Us
According to God, the fundamental difference between covenants is that the NEW covenant will be INWARD. The OLD covenant was OUTWARD. Now, that is a rather simple way of stating this difference. When we finally get into the New Testament writing, it is explained much more, and it is revealed as to the MEANS by which this New Covenant will be possible. It is possible through CHRIST IN US.
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints…..which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Col 1:25-27)
We enter fully into the New Covenant when we enter into Christ, and thus, Christ enters into US. Get that. CHRIST IN US is the fullness of the New Covenant.
Read again the passage above from Colossians. Christ in people was NOT possible – indeed was a reality HIDDEN from ages and generations before Acts 2. Sure. Christ could not be IN people, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, before Christ came and finished His redemptive work. Jesus Himself said so. He said:
And 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; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17)
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7)
It is inescapable that CHRIST IN US is the fullness of the New Covenant – when He enters into us, we enter into the New Covenant. And how does Christ dwell in us? Through the Holy Spirit. And WHEN did this become possible? When the Comforter came in Acts 2. Not before. Jesus could not dwell in people through the Holy Spirit before He ascended to heaven. He said so. The Bible says so. And consequently, we had better believe so.
And yet there are millions of Christians who believe that the disciples were indwelt by Christ through the Holy Spirit prior to Acts 2. They believe that Acts 2 some a second blessing on top of that – a greater fullness. But if you believe this, it should be clear by now that what you are saying is that the New Covenant was in effect BEFORE Christ ascended, indeed, before He even died and was raised. This is impossible.
I have known Christians who have actually assumed – without checking out the Bible – that the disciples of Jesus, not to mention all of the Old Testament saints, were born again. They believe that the Holy Spirit was IN them, and that Christ was in them. But once we understand that the fundamental difference between the Old and New Covenants – the difference that God Himself points out – is CHRIST IN US, then this reasoning is shown to be error. Christ could not dwell in anyone before Acts 2. Thus, there could be NO new birth before Acts 2, because we are born again through Christ in us. Only when the New Covenant began could any of these things happen in God’s people.
The New Covenant was ushered into the experience of people starting in Acts 2. Not before. And therefore, it is conclusive that everything that the New Covenant made possible – Christ in us through the Holy Spirit being the main thing – was not possible BEFORE Acts 2, and was fully possible after Acts 2. This is as certain as the Covenants themselves. Therefore, Acts 2 was the END of the Old Covenant – the end of being under the law. And Acts 2 was NOT a second blessing. It was the first time the ONE and ONLY blessing was received by God’s people.
The Baptism of John
Some of the confusion on this matter is because we don’t understand the mission of John the Baptist, or the meaning of what is termed, "John’s baptism."
For example, in the book of Acts, after the Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts 2, there are a number of individuals who say they had received only, "John’s baptism." They still needed to receive the Holy Spirit. The disciples usually pray for them, lay hands upon them, and they receive the Holy Spirit. What is going on here?
Those who believe that Acts 2 was a second blessing often point to these occurrences as proof that Acts 2 was a second blessing. They say John’s baptism was the FIRST blessing, wherein people received Christ in them. This would mean that receiving the Holy Spirit on top of that – as a second blessing – could not equal receiving Christ all over again, but would have to be a SECOND blessing in addition to Christ. So the question becomes, "What did people receive under John’s baptism?" Did they receive CHRIST IN THEM through the Holy Spirit?
Well, we have already quoted John 14:16-17 where Jesus Himself clearly said that the Holy Spirit was only WITH them, but would be – future tense pointing towards Acts 2 – IN THEM. That ought to be enough. But let’s find more proof that John’s baptism did not result in an indwelling – that it did not provide for Christ in people through the Holy Spirit. In fact, upon further study, we really find that John’s baptism was fully representative of salvation, not under the NEW Covenant, but under the OLD.
Note the clear contrast made between John’s baptism, and what Jesus would make possible through His Redemption:
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that comes after me is mightier than I,whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Mat 3:11)
For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)
Now, if we get nothing else out of these verses, what we do see is that the baptism with the Holy Spirit that Jesus would bring is NOT THE SAME as John’s baptism. Can we see that? The two are being contrasted, and Jesus’ baptism is stated as SUPERIOR. But how so? Well, the Bible gives a description of John’s baptism:
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:1-5)
John’s baptism was never said to indicate NEW LIFE. It is simply a baptism that indicated that a person had relinquished their old life – through repentance. In fact, these people had come under the fullness of the Old Covenant.
John the Baptist was the last Old Testament prophet. In fact, he embodied the Old Covenant. His ministry was to make a path in the wilderness for the Lord, which is exactly what the Old Covenant did. John brought to fullness everything God provided under the Old Covenant. His baptism symbolized salvation under the Old Covenant, which was a legal salvation, based in faith in the future Savior. But John’s baptism could not give you a NEW BIRTH, any more than the Old Covenant could give you a new birth. No. That was possible only through the New Covenant, and the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
There is perhaps no clearer a statement to this effect than the one that Jesus made about John:
Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matt. 11:11)
This statement tells us that even John himself was NOT born again into the kingdom of God. Do you see that? John was the greatest of all ever born of woman – of all those ever born into this world through natural birth. Yet, the LEAST of those born again into the kingdom is greater than John! Thus, John could not have been born again. He was saved under the Old Covenant, indeed, was the full embodiment of it.
John will be in heaven, as will all the OT saints. But the, "this life experience," of salvation was not the same for those under the Old Covenant as it was for those under the New. They were all saved by the same Jesus, and the same Blood. But for THIS LIFE, they were not born again. They couldn’t be. That was possible only once the New Covenant came to pass.
Now, the conclusion here is inescapable. If John, the greatest ever born of natural birth was NOT born again – because the New Covenant had not yet begun – then neither was anyone else born of natural birth ever BORN AGAIN – up until that time! Neither were the disciples of Christ, and neither were any of those people in the book of Acts who said that they had received only, "the baptism of John." Thus, when they did receive the Holy Spirit, it was NOT a second blessing. It was not a second blessing any more than what the disciples received in Acts 2 was a second blessing. Rather, they received CHRIST IN THEM through the Holy Spirit – they received the fullness of the New Covenant.
John the Baptist brought the fullness of the Old Covenant, and provided a salvation under that Old Covenant. Jesus brought the fullness of the New Covenant, and provided a salvation under the New Covenant. The change of Covenants was made possible through the Redemption of Jesus Christ – culminating with His ascension. But the reality of this NEW Covenant actually came to pass in Acts 2 when Jesus, having ascended, sent back down everything He was, and everything He did, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. When those disciples received the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, it was the first time anyone had been born again. It was the fullness of the New Covenant – that was NOT ACCORDING to the Old – coming to pass IN THEM through the indwelling of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
The Coming of the Spirit
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:4-8)
The coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, as Jesus spoke of above, was NOT a second blessing on top of Christ in them, which is exactly what New Covenant salvation IS. Rather, it was the inauguration of the NEW COVENANT. The disciples, before Acts 2, did not have Christ in them, did not have the Holy Spirit in them, and were not born again. None of that was possible, and Jesus said so, until Jesus ascended. Only once Jesus ASCENDED to heaven, could the Holy Spirit DESCEND – and only then could everything that Jesus is, and what Jesus DID, be made real INSIDE of people – which is exactly what God said He would make possible through the New Covenant.
We see further proof of this in Jesus’ description of what would happen to them in Acts 2. He said, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto Me."
Under John’s baptism – under OT salvation – there was no power. There was merely a legal salvation. Sure, the Holy Spirit did lots of powerful things through people in the OT, and even through the disciples themselves during the ministry of Jesus. But the power that Jesus was talking about was not the same. Jesus was talking about the POWER TO BECOME. To become what? To become, "witnesses unto Me."
Can we see that Jesus was talking about an INWARD power – a power that was the fulfillment of God’s promise to write His law in our hearts and minds? This was not a power to DO things, like ministry, or good works. No. It was the power of the Holy Spirit within them, that would cause them to BECOME living witnesses to Christ.
John the apostle said the same thing:
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
You cannot BECOME a son of God – that is, you cannot grow into everything that this means – unless you FIRST receive Christ and are born again. Then you have the POWER to become what God desires. But this POWER is not a, "thing," or a, "force." No, the power is LIFE. It is Christ within you.
This is the power about which Jesus spoke. He was telling them that when the Holy Spirit came upon them, that they would have a power that they could never have under the Old Covenant. They would have the power of resurrection LIFE in Christ. They would have the power of the Holy Spirit. This would give them power to become sons of God – to become living witnesses unto Him.
Can we see that this is the New Covenant that God promised? – a covenant that was UNLIKE the old? That this New Covenant was first INWARD? A matter of BECOMING due to a new LIFE within? This New Covenant was the result of CHRIST HIMSELF coming to dwell in people through the Holy Spirit. Christ is the power. Christ is the life. Christ is the light. He is the personification of the New Covenant. And it all began in Acts 2.
Baptism With the Holy Spirit
Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come upon them – earlier He had used other language – He had said they would be BAPTIZED with the Holy Spirit. The result of this baptism with the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, would be that they would BE, or BECOME, witnesses unto Him.
If all we think this means is that the disciples were empowered to SERVE, we are going to miss the point. In fact, if that is what we think Jesus was promising, His promise was rather after the fact, because the disciples, during the ministry of Jesus, had been sent out by Jesus, and they had worked miracles, cast out demons, and certainly witnessed about Christ. They came back rejoicing about it. Therefore, what Jesus is promising in Acts 1, just before His ascension, cannot be the power to serve in ways they had already served. He was promising them something much more.
We have already seen that the Holy Spirit had been WITH the disciples, as He was WITH the saints of the Old Testament. This is not a little thing. Many mighty things were done. It is an incredible thing to have the Holy Spirit WITH you! But we have likewise seen that the Holy Spirit had never been IN the disciples. Despite all of the miracles they had done in the name of Jesus, this was so – they had never had Christ in them through the Holy Spirit. This is the promise Jesus was making to them. The Holy Spirit would come to be IN THEM -- and it was going to result in them receiving POWER to become His witnesses.
Can we see that it is essential for the Holy Spirit to be IN US if we are to BECOME? You cannot BECOME – grow in Christ – unless you are born anew from above. Jesus said so. He said you cannot even SEE, let alone ENTER, the kingdom of God, unless you are first BORN from above. Thus, what God said was the big difference between the Old and New Covenants is clearly essential for us to both understand and experience. Until Christ is in us through the Holy Spirit we are NOT under the New Covenant. Until Christ is in us we are NOT born again. Until Christ is in us, we are NOT in His church. Until Christ is in us we cannot be witnesses unto Him, or become a full grown son of God.
Christ is in us through the Holy Spirit, received through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is immersion into Christ – the Holy Spirit being the agency by which we receive everything Christ is, and has done. It is not an experience in addition to receiving Christ – it IS receiving Christ. But because it is, in Christ we are COMPLETE. (Col. 2:9-10) In Christ through the Spirit are included ALL that God has for us, including all of the spiritual gifts.
Never try to separate the Holy Spirit from Christ in us. The two are as one. We don’t receive Christ at one point, and the Holy Spirit at another. We receive Christ THROUGH the Holy Spirit. When the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit in the upper room in Acts 2, they were receiving Christ IN THEM through the Spirit, were born again, and became the first to come under the NEW Covenant. They then had within them the power of His resurrection life.
Old vs. New Covenant
Under John’s baptism, you came to God on the basis of the Old Covenant, and received a legal salvation – somewhat equal to the NT justification by faith. Of course, this would have been in anticipation of Christ, not in retrospect. But through this, you could be imputed with righteousness, in the way Abram was declared righteous because he believed God. But note: Justification by faith is LEGAL. It is not LIVING. Being declared righteous doesn’t make you righteous – inside. You still have not been BORN AGAIN, simply because you have been legally declared righteous. No. You must still be, yes IMPUTED with righteousness, but more importantly, you must be IMPARTED with life. You cannot be born anew otherwise. This was impossible under the Old Covenant. Christ had to first die, be raised, and ascend. Then everything Christ did could be sent down through the Holy Spirit, and made to DWELL IN YOU. Then, you would come under that power of life within you, and BECOME a witness unto Christ. All of this was possible only under the New Covenant.
The fact is, if it was possible to be born again BEFORE Christ ascended, then all of the Old Testament saints would have been born again. Some people mistakenly think they were. But ask: If they were born again BEFORE Christ, then why did two covenants? If the Old Covenant provided essentially the same as the NEW, then there is no real difference between the two, and they are as one. But no. God had TWO covenants. And He Himself told us the difference between them – He said the NEW is unlike the OLD in that it provides for INWARD LIFE, which is a NEW BIRTH. In effect, if it were possible to be born again before Christ, there would be no need at all for two covenants. Indeed, the possibilities bound up in the New Covenant would have been in effect from the start. Thus, the very existence of an Old Covenant proves that it could not provide the new birth found in the NEW.
As we saw, this was as different a baptism from that of John’s baptism, as the New Covenant was better than the Old. In fact, we might, at this point, display the contrasts between the Old and New Covenants:
John’s baptism for remission of sins
Baptism into Christ by Holy Spirit
The Cross of Christ
Animal sacrifices continually
Once for all death of Christ
Types and shadows of Christ
Christ in us
Laws to obey
Power to become
Imputed legal righteousness
Imparted resurrection life
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And 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; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (John 14:15-20)
In this passage, Jesus affirms just about everything we have been talking about. Note first of all that He speaks of the Comforter’s coming in FUTURE terms. Sure. The Comforter had NOT YET come – and therefore NOTHING the Comforter would bring was possible until Jesus ascended. All through John Jesus speaks of the coming of the Comforter as only possible once Jesus ascended. The Promise of the Father would not come while Jesus was still physically on the earth -- we saw that earlier. So right up front, from this passage, we see complete affirmation that the Holy Spirit had never yet come, proving that Acts 2 was the first time that He did come.
A second thing we see is that Jesus absolutely cements the Truth that the Holy Spirit had never come to dwell WITHIN anyone to this point. He was only WITH them. This defines what Jesus always means when He says the Comforter WILL come – He means He will come to DWELL IN YOU. Again, Jesus could not say that the Holy Spirit was WITH them, but would be IN them, if the Holy Spirit could already be IN them before His ascension.
Incidentally, there are those who teach that the Holy Spirit came to dwell IN the disciples after the resurrection, but before the ascension, making Acts 2 a second blessing. Often they point to John 20:22 as evidence that the disciples received the Holy Spirit WITHIN THEM. This is nonsense. Jesus simply breathed UPON them on that occasion, not IN THEM. Furthermore, Jesus had already plainly told them the Holy Spirit could not DESCEND until He ASCENDED. Saying that they received the Spirit IN THEM before the ascension is a direct contradiction to those words, and really, a contradiction to the entire story of The Promise of the Father given in Acts 2.
A third thing we see in this passage from John 14 that Jesus makes Himself ONE with the Holy Spirit – He says, "I will come to you." In fact, just a few verses later, in John 14:23, He says that He and His Father will come and make their dwelling place with us. The fact is, you cannot separate Christ from the Holy Spirit, or Christ from the Father. The Trinity is ONE. Thus, in Acts 2, when the Comforter came, Jesus came to dwell in those people. Christ in us is Christianity, and Christianity began on the day in Acts 2.
Once we see that Christ Himself came to dwell in people in Acts 2, it completely does away with any notion of a second blessing. It proves that they received Christ IN THEM in Acts 2, and therefore could not have had Christ in them before that, meaning Acts 2 could not have been a second blessing.
A fourth thing Jesus reveals in this passage is easy to miss. He says, "Because I live you shall live also." Again – He is speaking in future terms, of what is going to happen WHEN the Comforter comes. Can we see that when He says, "because I live you shall live also," that He is telling them that they shall have NEW LIFE in Him? That this IS the new birth? That this is Christ in them -- resulting in Christ AS their life? Yes, it is all of those things – and Jesus speaks of all of them as YET TO COME – as being the result of the coming of the Comforter.
A fifth thing Jesus says is, "At that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you." Note the introductory phrase, "AT THAT DAY." Again – a day that is YET to come for them. It would be at that future day that they would know that they were IN HIM, and that He was IN THEM. This is clear affirmation that Christ was not in them until Acts 2. He would come to dwell in them through the Holy Spirit only after He ascended.
Every one of these facts – these promises of Jesus – was the promise of the New Covenant. They are all bound up in the prophecy we read from Jeremiah, as quoted in Hebrews. God promised that there would be a NEW covenant, NOT LIKE the old. The difference would be, "for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." The New Covenant would be first and foremost based upon an INWARD LIFE – made possible through death and resurrection in Christ. CHRIST IN US would be the essence of the New Covenant.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. (Gal. 6:14-16)
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