It is not uncommon for Christians to claim that the saints of the Old Testament period experienced God’s Spirit in a fundamentally different manner from that of New Testament believers or modern Christians. Many have relied on specific idioms of the Old Testament to argue that the Holy Spirit only came upon people in the Old Testament but into people in the New Testament. Thus, the Holy Spirit was only bestowed temporarily, and then externally, to Old Testament believers as opposed to the permanent indwelling of the early church. Such preaching and teaching drives a wedge between the Testaments, placing too much emphasis on disunity rather than on mutual interdependence between the Old and New. This is an inadequate and incomplete understanding of the role of the Spirit in the Old Testament. Though the Spirit of God sometimes comes upon individuals in the Old Testament to empower for specific (and temporary) tasks, there can be no doubt that His role is also more extensive. He has an indwelling and transforming presence in the Old Testament believers as well and is described as the animating feature that effects spiritual renewal.
When a person becomes a Christian and has authentic faith, he has a real mystical union with Christ, so that Christ really comes to indwell the believer. When we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, His righteousness is counted towards us and we are justified. At that same moment, Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, comes to dwell inside of us.
God doesn’t simply give us His Spirit, He gives the Spirit “into” us. Not just “to” us, but by an act of what can only be called intimate impartation His Spirit resides within to encourage, energize, and enable. The Spirit isn’t just here, He’s inside.
We are now the Temple of God! If the inanimate structure of the old covenant trembled and shook at God’s presence, what is our response, we in whom this same glorious and holy God now lives? How can there be the slightest indifference or coldness or routine or mere ritual or mindless habit in our worship when this same God lives and abides in us?