Similarly, we see the same in Stephen. Even before he became a deacon — he was already84 called a man “full…of the Holy Spirit.” Yet also subsequently,85 we are again told that he was still and perhaps indeed again “full of the Holy Spirit.” Thus Calvin too.
It is the same with Paul. Doubtless he was initially filled with the Spirit at his very conversion to Christ.86 Yet soon after that, he was “strengthened” and “increased”– even while others then and
87 Acts 9:19-31. 88 Acts 13:1-4. 89 Acts 13:9 (pleistheis Pneumatos Hagiou). 90 Comm. on Acts 13:9. 91 Acts 13:52 — matheetai epleerounto charas kai Pneumatos Hagiou. 92 Comm. on Acts 13:52. 93 Acts 18:25. 94 Comm. on Acts 18:25. 95 Rom. 12:11. 96 Comm. on Rom. 12:11. 97 Rom. 3:31; 7:12,14,16,22,25. 98 Comm. on Rom. 7:12-22.
later kept on walking “in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.”87 Subsequently, Paul was “sent forth by the Holy Spirit”88 and then again “filled with the Holy Spirit.”89 Regarding that latter, Dr. Calvin says of Paul “that the Spirit was his guide — driving him on” in a “fervour of zeal .”90 Once more. We are later still told91 that the already-justified “disciples” were once again anew “filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Truly, that is to be a repeated privilege!
Here, Calvin remarks92 that the disciples were on that occasion “‘filled with joy’ — because the grace of the Holy Spirit was ruling within them.” Still later — as regards the biblical statement93 that also Apollos was ' fervent in spirit' — Calvin remarks that St. Luke the inspired author of the book of Acts "very clearly attributes his [Apollos’ s] fervour to the Spirit…by the in-flu-ence [or constant ‘in-flow-ing’] of the Holy Spirit"94 into the soul of Apollos.
Similarly, where Paul urges95 Christians to be ' fervent in spirit,' John Calvin explains: 96 "It is the fervour of the Spirit alone which corrects our indolence. Diligence in well-doing therefore requires the seal which the Spirit of God has kindled in our hearts… Though this zeal is the gift of God, these duties are laid upon believers in order that they may shake off their listlessness and take to themselves the flame which God had kindled. It usually happens that we stifle or extinguish the Spirit by our own fault.”
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We now come to the testimony of the New Testament Epistles to the ongoing indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer. This includes our obedience to the Holy Spirit's Law.
Romans teaches: that “through faith…, we establish the Law” in the life of God' s child. Thus, “the Law is therefore holy…and just.” Indeed, “the Law is spirit-ual”; and “the Law…is good.” Therefore believers are to “delight in the Law of God inwardly” — and they are to “serve the Law of God.”97
Calvin' s comments on Romans seven are full of instruction. Says he: 98 “The Law itself and all that is commanded in the Law, is ‘holy’ in every way…. The ‘spirit’ would gladly obey it…. 'The Law is Spirit-ual”…. It not only binds the feet and the hands…. It also applies to the
99 Comm. on Rom. 8:1-2,8-10. 100 Comm. on I Cor. 6:19ff.
affections of the heart, and requires the sincere fear of God…..
“The term ‘spirit’..means that part of the soul which the Spirit of God has purified from evil and so refashioned — so that the image of God shines forth…. When the Holy Spirit forms the godly…, they are ready and eager to render their members [or all parts of their bodies] obedient to God….