Ministry partner update: ICOMB – March 2022

New Life in the Spirit

John the Baptist announces that the coming Messiah will “baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33), which Jesus recognizes is fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 11:15). Peter makes it clear that this initial experience of the Spirit on that day is now available to all who repent and put their faith in Jesus (Acts 2:38). Paul also uses “baptism” language to describe how “in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Spirit’s baptism at conversion describes the experience of an inner reality that is also signified by the outer experience of water baptism – being washed and cleansed by the Spirit (Titus 3:5) and being incorporated into Christ (Romans 6:3).

Jesus declares, “It is the Spirit that gives life” (John 6:63). Those who are “born again” or “born from above” are “born of the Spirit” (John 3:1-8) – there is a new beginning from the Source of life. This can also be described as receiving “living water,” which is the Spirit who quenches thirst and gives life (John 4:10; 7:37-39). The reception of the Spirit is described as God dwelling within believers (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20), similarly to how his presence dwelt in temple in the Old Testament (1 Kings 8:13). The presence of the Spirit is the foretaste of Jesus’ resurrection life both now and as the promise of eternal life (Romans 8:10-11; 1 Peter 3:18). Since Jesus defeated the powers of sin, Satan, and death on the cross, this resurrection life is also the ability to live in the Spirit and not under the control of sin (Romans 6:4; Galatians 6:8).

God’s Spirit gives us hope (Romans 15:13)! The presence of God’s Spirit in our hearts bears witness that we are adopted as children of God and heirs to his promises (Ephesians 1:5-6; Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-7). The Spirit is described as a seal of God’s ownership (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30) – He is the down payment of God’s purchase and also the pledge or guarantee of future full payment (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 5:4-5). This abiding of God’s Spirit in our hearts gives us a deep assurance of our salvation (1 John 3:24; 5:6-12; 1 Peter 1:1-5). What God has promised, he will accomplish (Philippians 1:6)!

How are you walking in the new life of the Spirit today?

—Doug Heidebrecht

The International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) is made up of 22 national churches in 19 countries. ICOMB also has associate members in more than 20 countries, all at different points along the pathway to full membership. ICOMB exists to facilitate relationships and ministries to enhance the witness and discipleship of its member national churches - connecting, strengthening and expanding.

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