The Life-Giving Spirit

Jesus declared, “The Spirit makes alive. The flesh profits nothing. The words which I have spoken to you, they are spirit, and they are life.” His statement echoes the biblical principle that life and the Spirit of God are inextricably linked. The “flesh” has no lasting life apart from the Holy Spirit. This was demonstrated in the original creation. The same life-sustaining Spirit is vital for the future resurrection of the believer and everlasting life in the New Creation.

The Gift of the Spirit is linked to the New Covenant, everlasting life, and bodily resurrection. The Spirit of God places men in the covenant community, the “Assembly.” Moreover, this Gift is a foretaste of the resurrection life the saints will inherit when Jesus returns. His Death and Resurrection have secured the promise.

River Patagonia - Photo by Diego Jimenez on Unsplash
[Photo by Diego Jimenez on Unsplash]

The Gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the Church on the Day of Pentecost in fulfillment of prophecy. Due to his righteousness and obedience, Jesus could not be held by the “
throes of death.” Therefore, God raised him from the dead and seated him on the Messianic Throne where he reigns today - (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17-30).

Jesus now grants the Gift of the Spirit to his disciples, and his past resurrection and the present possession of the Spirit by the Church guarantee the future resurrection of his followers “on the last day”- (Acts 2:36-39, Romans 8:11-30).

In John 6:63, the Greek word heard on the lips of Jesus translated as “makes alive” is zôopoieô, a combination of the noun zôon, a “living being,” and the verb poieô, “to make.” His “words” are “Spirit” because they are the source of “everlasting life.” Just as the word of his Father created life in Genesis, so his words impart life to his disciples – (John 12:49, Hebrews 12:9).

Likewise, just as God’s Spirit created all things and raised Jesus from the dead, the Spirit will “quicken” believers and provide them with everlasting life when Jesus returns.

Because bodily resurrection is an act of creation – the restoration of embodied life to the dead - the Spirit will be intimately involved in “quickening our mortal bodies” on the Last Day – (Romans 8:10-11, 1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

The Spirit of God is His creative and life-sustaining power in action. This idea is not unique to the New Testament - “By the word of Yahweh, the heavens were made, and by the spirit of his mouth, all their host” - (Psalm 33:6).


The Spirit of God “breathed” life into Adam in Genesis, making him a “living soul.” This phrase represents the Hebrew word that means a “breathing creature.” The stress is on the act of breathing. As Job wrote, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” – (Genesis 1:1-3, 2:7, Job 33:4),

The same passage from Genesis is cited by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians when explaining the resurrection body:

  • (1 Corinthians 15:42-45) – “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised incorruptible. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

Paul contrasts the body of Adam with the resurrection bodies believers will receive. The first man’s body was weak, natural, and mortal. Our resurrection body will not decay or die. It will be raised in power.” It will be a “spiritual body” animated and dominated by the Holy Spirit.

The resurrection body will also be immortal. The literal meaning of the Greek noun translated as “immortal” is deathless. For men and women raided from the dead by Jesus, death will no longer occur. The “last enemy, death,” will be overthrown.

The resurrection of the saints will undo both the sentence and the reality of death; therefore, immortality will replace mortality, and death will be “swallowed up in victory.” Just like the “Lord of Glory,” the followers of Jesus will live evermore in resurrected bodies.

He is the “Last Adam,” the forerunner of all resurrected saints, differing in one key aspect. Because of his resurrection, he is now “the Life-Giving Spirit.” He has the authority to impart life by bestowing the Spirit of God on his people now, and he will grant them immortality when he returns at the end of this age and raises them from the dead.

  • Resurrection and New Creation - (The Gift of the Spirit is part of the first fruits of the bodily resurrection and a foretaste of the promised New Creation)
  • Spirit and Resurrection - (The Gift of the Spirit is the foretaste and guarantee of the bodily resurrection and of the coming New Creation)
  • Promise of the Father - (With the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost, the blessing for all nations promised to Abraham has commenced)

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