196. Promise of the Spirit.
"Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift ( what was it? ) my Father promised ( to whom ? ) which you have heard me speak about." (Acts 1:4)
To whom was the promise made and what was it ? Scripture says that ‘he redeemed us in order that the blessing given to ABRAHAM might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT.’ ( Galatians 3 : 14 ) But no where in the old testament do we read that the Spirit was promised to Abraham instead we read that the Lord said to Abraham, '... all people on earth will be blessed through you' (Genesis 12:3), which the new testament writers saw as the proclamation of the 'gospel in advance to Abraham'. (Galatians 3:8) 'Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.' (Genesis 15:6) We who have believed the Gospel are also credited with a righteousness. 'The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but for us also, to whom God will credit righteousness' (Romans 4:23-24) 'for in the gospel a righteousness by faith is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last ...' (Romans 1:17) Therefore, the promise of the Spirit is for those who are righteous by faith like Abraham so that the righteousness of Christ may be imparted to them.
When was this promise made and why ? Though the promise was first made to Abraham while he was in Haran (Genesis 12:1-3), it was only after Abraham was tested ( Genesis 22:1), that the angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, … I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore …Your descendants will take possession of the land … and through your Seed (meaning Christ ) … all nations on earth will be blessed …” ( Genesis 22 :16 – 18 ) Moreover, Scripture says that 'Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be the HEIR OF THE WORLD, through the righteousness that comes by faith.’ ( Romans 4 : 13 )
How can this be humanly possible for the descendants of Abraham to be 'heirs of the world' and to take 'possession of the land', if not by the Spirit ? Therefore, the Spirit was promised to Abraham and his descendants so that they can take possession of the earth. But how can the biological descendants of Abraham who are geographically limited to a small nation in the middle east practically take possession of the entire earth? God made that possible by imparting the faith of Abraham to the Gentiles so that they also may also be reckoned as Abraham’s descendants, for 'those who believe are children of Abraham ... those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.' ( Galatians 3:7-9) We were included when God said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be." ( Genesis 15:5) ‘This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are HEIRS together with Israel, members together of one body and sharers together in the PROMISE ( of the Spirit ) in Christ Jesus.’ ( Ephesians 3 : 6 ) Hallelujah! The promise of the Spirit is the most fundamental of all gospel promises and it is for all whom the Lord our God will call “This PROMISE is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” ( Acts 2 : 39 ) Amen.