The regeneration, baptism, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit are always together at the time of salvation. The difference between the saved of this age and the unsaved is that all saved people have the Spirit indwelling them, while all the unsaved do not have the Spirit. They “are merely natural, not having the Spirit” (Jude 19).
You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you (Romans 8:9-11).
The indwelling of the Spirit makes a person the dwelling place of God, a temple or sanctuary of Yahweh (1 Corinthians 3:17) as well as the Church.
Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Additionally, the indwelling Spirit manifests that a change of ownership has taken place—indwelt by God now belong to Him and no longer to himself or herself. The very presence of God in one’s body demands actions that glorify Him and not self.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV).
This passage warns the Christians that they are responsible for keeping their body in a state of holiness. The consequence of not doing so is staggering—God will destroy or will cause the person who does not do so to perish (fyeirw phtheiro). The New Covenant is always a two-sided transaction—God’s part and man’s part.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws (Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV).
The failure of the believer to follow the moving of the indwelling Spirit of God leads to devastating results. Salvation is not entirely dependent on the indwelling Spirit; the Christian is free to respond to Him positively or negatively.
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:16-18).
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit (Galatians 5:24-25).
Who is a Christian?
1. The one who walks by the Spirit
2. The one who does not carry out the desire of the flesh
3. The one who is led by the Spirit
4. The one who does what the Spirit desires
5. The one who follows (keeps in step with) the Spirit
6. The one who has crucified the flesh with its passions and desires
This is what Christ meant by His command of self-crucifixion, which becomes possible through the power of the Spirit.
Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).
It is obvious that the flesh (sinful nature) is not eradicated at regeneration. The two coexist in every born again person; they experiences the conflict of the Spirit and the flesh. In his letters, Paul deals with this struggle between the two natures. We will look at how the Christian obtains victory over the flesh in the section The Spirit and Sanctification.