In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for spirit was ruah. But just like many English words, this word had other possible translations. In some cases it could be translated breath or wind. But regardless of which translation is most proper in any given verse, we can see similarities in the concepts of these words. You can’t see wind, but you can see its powerful effects. You can’t necessarily see breath, but you know that without it there’s no life. You can’t see spirit, but you recognize it as an invisible tangible life force.
And with all of this in mind, perhaps it’s not that shocking that when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon believers at Pentecost in the New Testament, He manifests as a “mighty rushing wind” (Ac 2:2). Just as the ruah elohim—that is, the Spirit of God, or the breath of God, or the wind of God—hovered over the face of the waters to create life at the beginning of the Old Testament, now the wind of God hovers over the faces of the Church at the beginning of the New Testament to create a new humanity.
Just as King Saul was, “turned into another man” (1 Sa 10:6), when he received the Holy Spirit for the anointing and empowerment to reign over Israel, so Christians have now been turned into new people with their own unique anointings and empowerments to serve as the Body of Christ. Christians are not quite as human as the rest of humanity—or perhaps we might say that Christians are more human than the rest of humanity or that we’re the kind of humanity God was envisioning we’d become before we fell into sin—however we might want to explain it, Christians are a new kind of human; for when we accept Jesus, we accept the resurrection life that is to come.
And we can’t enter into the resurrection life at the end of all things if we don’t have the Holy Spirit, because He’s the one who creates the new resurrected humanity. Paul recognized that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and that the Holy Spirit would one day do the same for us (Ro 8:11). He taught us that the Holy Spirit upon us is a seal of God on our lives and a guarantee or down-payment of the resurrection life that is to come (2 Cor 1:21-22; Eph 1:11-14). The Holy Spirit shows us that our inheritance of resurrection life is ahead of us.
But at the same time of knowing that the fullness of resurrection life will come later, the Bible also recognizes that resurrection life actually begins right now in the new humanity known as Christians. Yes, we are living in a time where the Kingdom of Heaven is here, but not yet. We are living in a time where the reign of Jesus is here, but not yet. We are living in a time where our resurrected bodies are here, but not yet. In many themes across the theological spectrum, we live in the, “Already, but not yet.”
But because we live in the “already” right now, the Bible has high expectations of the ways in which Christians could actually live right now if we wanted. Yes, our old bodies are still on us at this point in the grand story of God, but the Holy Spirit has begun growing our new resurrected bodies underneath. Christians are “the firstfruits of the Spirit” (Ro 8:23), and therefore an example to the rest of creation of what lies ahead of them.
The seed of resurrection is already in us and it can grow more and more each day if we allow the Holy Spirit to grow in us. And as we let resurrection life grow within us in this phase of existence, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will begin to burst out of us. People will see in Christians all the qualities of the Spirit and the resurrected life: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).
Paul knew that sin was still going to be a temptation in this phase of life, but he also knew that as a new creation in Christ, we could, by the power of the Holy Spirit, finally be empowered to ultimately beat sin when it comes our way. For according to Romans 6:4-14, in our baptism, we died like Jesus’ human body died, but as we came up out of the waters, we arose with a preview of His resurrected body. And to be a part of the resurrection is to be a part of a sinless world. Therefore, even though our old body can still drive us to sin, we are not slaves to that old body anymore. The new resurrected body has won and its final form won’t sin at all. Therefore, if we choose to live by the resurrected body now in this life, we can grow to the point where the sin we are theologically dead to becomes dead to us in actuality as well. Theological truth can become actual life. Though surely it will take some time to get to that point as the fruit of the Spirit is just that: fruit. And fruit, by definition, takes time to grow.
If we choose to live by the resurrected body now in this life, we can grow to the point where the sin we are theologically dead to becomes dead to us in actuality as well. Theological truth can become actual life.Tweet
The mighty-Holy-Spirit-wind of the new creation has made us new. We are not humans in the same sense as all of the other humans around us are. We should, by all means, look and think and act and be identifiably different from those around us. For the Holy Spirit empowers us to be different.