Brother Van Gelderen, how did Old Testament saints achieve sanctification even though they were not united with Christ? Were things different for them back then?
Thanks for your thoughtful question. Certainly, pre-Calvary and Pentecost had some differences from post-Calvary and Pentecost. The Old Testament gives us some light regarding the Spirit and God’s people, but it does not offer nearly as much detail as the New Testament.
Occasionally, the Old Testament speaks of the Spirit of God in an individual, as was the case with Joseph and Daniel. More often it speaks of the Spirit of God coming upon an individual. Also, God filled individuals with the Spirit for accomplishing specific tasks. Yet, David prayed, “take not thy holy spirit from me” (Ps. 51:11). It seems then, the Spirit moved in or upon individuals, but believers did not necessarily have His constant presence.
The New Testament indicates at least two major differences. First, the human spirit is regenerated through faith in Christ, bringing the very nature of God into the believer (Eph. 4:24; 1 John 3:9). Second, the Spirit of the risen and reigning Christ indwells the regenerated human spirit (Rom. 7:4). Both provisions are permanent (Heb. 13:5).
So yes, things were different for Old Testament saints. As to exactly how they were sanctified, Scripture does not provide a level of detail equal to what is laid out for New Testament saints. The New Testament dispensation certainly includes greater provisions, but one thing is clear—Old Testament saints grew spiritually by faith, just like we do. That much is the same.
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