The Universality of Indwelling

In our series on the work of the Ruach HaKodesh in the life of the believer, the next point to consider is the universality of His ministry of indwelling. The indwelling of the Ruach HaKodesh is universal among all believers. In the Hebrew Scriptures, only some believers were indwelt. As of Acts 2, all believers are indwelt.

This is evident in three ways. First, Romans 8:9 states: “But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man has not the Spirit of Messiah, he is none of his.” The verse teaches that the absence of the indwelling Holy Spirit is proof of an unsaved state. A person who does not have the in-dwelling Spirit is not a believer to begin with: he is none of his (cf. Jude 18b-19).

The second piece of evidence that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is universal is the fact that the Ruach even indwells sinning believers. The best example of this truth is the Corinthian church, by far the worst church in the biblical record. Divisions, party factions, and immorality were tolerated in this church; believers were taking other believers to court; they were getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper; and they misused their spiritual gifts. Yet, in spite of the fact that the Corinthian believers were guilty of all these carnal sins, Paul wrote in I Corinthians 6:19 20: “Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.” Despite their terrible spiritual state, the Corinthians had the Holy Spirit indwelling them because they were true believers. This indwelling is the basis for living a spiritual life, and Paul encouraged the Corinthians to pursue such a life. Thus, even carnal, sinning believers have the Spirit, and this truth proves that the indwelling is universal among all believers.

The third proof is that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a gift. Gifts are not based upon merit (Jn. 7:37 39; Acts 11:17; Rom. 5:5; I Cor. 2:12). Hence, there is no doubt that the indwelling work of the Spirit is universal among believers; He indwells all believers.

This post is based on Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s “Ruach HaKodesh: God the Holy Spirit – Messianic Jewish Perspectives on Pneumatology,” which is Vol. 4 of Ariel’s Come and See book series.

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