Pentecost Sunday is a highlighted day on the church calendar. It is an Old Testament festival type that was fulfilled in Acts 2. Fifty days following the Passover feast day, the death of Christ, the Lamb of God, who was slain for the effectual passing over of the angel of the second death, is a day celebrated because it marks the beginning of spiritual life.
The death imagery of Passover becomes the life imagery of Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit, sent from God the Father and God the Son, initiated the harvest of God’s chosen people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9).
The seed of Abraham (Jesus), dead and buried in the ground, has sprung forth in resurrection life. He is the Vine, giving life to new branches, for the life of God to course through, with grace to the grafted-in (Gentiles) and the natural branches (Jews). This life of the Spirit, in God’s people (branches), produces spiritual fruit, fruit that remains (Jn 15).
It is God the Father who selects dead branches and grafts them into Christ, the Vine. He prunes His people with a chastening love that properly disciplines His beloved children (Heb 12:4–11). The moment the Father grafts in a chosen branch, the Holy Spirit enters the branch, commencing the life of God, which flows through the person, who is now in unbreakable union with Christ, the Vine. This Trinitarian work is a sovereign work of saving the selected, dead branch.
The third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is the very active member of the Godhead in the world, today. The Spirit is bringing in God’s harvest from all nations, tribes, and tongues (Rev 5:9). He is filling the storehouse of God with wheat, even as He separates the chaff. The harvest separation of the elect and reprobate, by the Spirit, today, will be done in the body when Christ returns in glory (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21). The dead shall rise, some to judgment and some to eternal life (Jn 5:28–29).
The Jewish Pentecost in Acts 2 was followed by the Gentile Pentecost in Acts 10. Every day is Pentecost for the Holy Spirit, and the day of salvation is the elect believer’s personal Pentecost.
On the day of one’s salvation, a day known to God from eternity, the Holy Spirit moves upon the dead soul of one of God’s beloved elect. God has decreed the preaching of His Word to be the means employed to call in His elect sheep (Jn 10). Christ’s sheep hear the voice of Christ from a Spirit-filled preacher, and they are baptized by the Holy Spirit at the appointed place and time. They follow Christ, having become His disciples, in the Spirit.
Spirit-baptism is what the Bible also teaches as the experience of being born again of the Spirit, to be born of God, or regeneration (Jn 3; 1 Pet 1:3). Regeneration is the spiritual resurrection of the elect soul. The Holy Spirit has made alive the dead soul of man (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13).
The initial entrance of the now indwelling Spirit is an uninterrupted occupation of God in the heart of His chosen vessel of mercy, now being prepared for glory (Rom 9:23). “Christ lives in me,” is how the apostle Paul put it (Gal 2:20).
The work of the permanent indwelling Spirit is too extensive a list to state here, but it is summed up in the biblical and theological term: sanctification. God sent His Spirit to set apart a holy nation of royal priests to worship Him in Spirit and truth (1 Pet 2:9; Jn 4:24). The Holy Spirit continues to feed and protect God’s elect, regenerate, believing people. God is making saints who are being conformed to the image of the perfect icon of God, Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Pentecost is a day of new life, the beginning of eternal life, and this is abundant life in the Spirit. It is a never-ending holy day of walking in Christ by the Spirit. It is daily bread and a washing of water by the Word, in the care and power of a Friend, who sticks closer than a brother. That Friend is the One who knows us intimately and guides us into all truth, with an everlasting love. Happy Pentecost! A day in the new life that has begun…and never ends.
September 1, 2021