by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
These readings focus on the Holy Spirit. In the Old Covenant (or Testament), the Spirit "anoints" one person here and one there to perform a special work for God. In the New Covenant, the Spirit is "poured out" like rain on the whole church of Christ.
Galatians 3: 1–5
Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? (Gal. 3:2).
The Galatian churches started with the New Testament gospel but ended up mired in Old Testament law. They aren't the only ones. Numerous Christian groups begin with joy in the good news that sets us free from the guilt and power of sin. But a decade later they constantly talk about what they should and should not do to be good Christians.
I cannot figure you out, Paul says to the Galatian Christians. You are bewitched. Just tell me this one thing: Did you receive the Spirit by what you did and didn't do? Did you get the Holy Spirit as a prize for keeping the law? Or did the Holy Spirit come to you when you believed the message of the gospel?
Notice Paul does not ask whether or not they had received the Spirit. That was obvious—the Spirit had manifested himself. Paul's question is, When did the Spirit come? By your actions or by your faith?
It's a rhetorical question. The Galatians knew the answer as well as we do. The Holy Spirit comes when we believe the gospel, when we hear and accept the good news. He is the gift of the gospel age. When we believe in Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit.
The signs of the Spirit's presence are not the same at all times and in all persons. But the same Spirit comes to all who believe the gospel.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version