God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being—Genesis 2:7.
God is the giver life. It was His breath that transformed Adam from a pile of particles into a living being. God’s “breath of life” is also known as His Spirit. Actually, the primary word used in the OT to reference God’s Spirit is ruachwhich means “wind,” “breath” or of course, “spirit.” God’s life-giving Breath is one and the same with His Spirit—perfect and holy! God’s Spirit is his very presence in and within creation and is the giver of life. Without the Spirit, life ceases to exist. But with the Spirit, the life-giving and sustaining presence of the Creator God, life is abundant!
But, as we know all too well, people die. What we do not seem to recognize about death is that it is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s rebellion. The prophets, however, did understand this well and spoke of a day that the problem of death and human rebellion would be overcome by a fresh “breathing” or “outpouring” of the Spirit of God.
The prophet Ezekiel put it this way,
“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 (36:26-27).”
While the prophet Joel put it like this,
”And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days (2:28).”
This receiving anew the Spirit of God, his very life-giving ruach, is what Jesus is talking about when he says “you must be born again…born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:1-20). This new birth is what happens in the upper room with the resurrected Jesus and the 11 disciples when, “he [Jesus] breathed into(enephysēsen) them saying, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn 20:22). This renewed birth through Spirit is also what we see in Acts when Peter, referring to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit says, “These people are not drunk as you suppose…but this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh…’” (Acts 3:16-17).
Intrigued? Please join us this Saturday as we discuss further The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.