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The Holy Spirit's Role in the Believer's Life

By R. J. Rushdoony
May 23, 2017

Jeremiah predicts that the Holy Spirit will have a different or a fuller function in the life of the people in the time of Christ, in the time of the Messiah. What is the difference then, because very obviously the people of the Old Testament did have the Spirit; David prays in sin: “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” as he beseeches God’s forgiveness.

It would be very wrong therefore to say that the Holy Spirit did not indwell the believer in the Old Testament, as a matter of fact we are told right back in the wilderness era that the artists were men who were filled with the Spirit, and their work of art in the preparation of the tabernacle was done with the leading of the Spirit.

Now what is the difference? Well, the difference is that the Spirit then spoke prophetically, and the heart of that prophecy, the abiding, the necessary part, is incorporated in the Bible. So that the prior and basic function of the Spirit then was the giving of the Word. Now we have this Word. The Spirit indwells us to lead us into all truth in harmony with this Word. So now the Spirit has a teaching function in our lives. And we are told that He shall teach us all truth in the New Testament.

So, the Holy Spirit now has a specific function in terms of the completed Word of God, in terms of instruction in the light of this Word; whereas in the Old Testament it had a broader function in that the Word was still being given and men were possessed by the Holy Spirit to give the Word, and to speak prophetically apart from the Word, because some of the men, the prophets, were not writing prophets. They prophesied, they declared the word in terms of purely local situations.


Topics: Church, The, Reformed Thought, Theology

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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