It’s the holy spirit that was promised to circumcise our hearts (Deut 30:6, Jer 4:4, Ez 36:25-27, Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:16-21, Rom 2:29, and Col 2:11) and give us the power to overcome sin nature so that we could accomplish the task of keeping God’s commands.
In Deut 30:6 Moses says that the Israelites will never keep God’s commands until their hearts are circumcised, in other words, the hardness of their hearts must be cut away. Jeremiah 4:3-4 God says that the hearts of the people of Judah need to be circumcised so that they can repent of their sins. Ezekiel 36:25-27 says that God will transform the human heart by pouring out his spirit on humanity. This is prophesied in Joel 2:28-32 and fulfilled in Acts chapter 2. Paul confirms this heart circumcision is by the Holy Spirit in Romans 2:29 and Colossians 2:11. God’s spirit is what transforms people. His spirit dwells in the bodies of believers, just like he dwelled in the temple and tabernacle built by the Jews in the old testament. Only this time the “temple” is the bodies of the people who are in covenant with Jesus, rather than a building in Israel. And the Holy Spirit is only available to those who received Jesus as Lord (John 14:15-17, Rom 8:5-11). Believers have God’s spirit inside of them because they were made pure by the sacrifice of Jesus. They don’t need to be in a ritually clean state to enter God’s presence in a building in Israel anymore, because we are the building (temple). Paul says our bodies are the new temple in 1 Cor 3:16-17, 1 Cor 6:19-20 , & 2 Cor 6:15-18.
In John 14:15-29 Jesus said only his people would follow his teaching and instructions. Only his people have access to the holy spirit. With the holy spirit, we can overcome sin nature and walk in the spirit (Gal 5:16). In Gal 6:8 it says when we follow the spirit we get eternal life, but when we follow the flesh (our sinful nature) we get death. The holy spirit is what draws us to salvation and transforms people and renews the minds of those that receive the new covenant. This gives believers power over sin, and they are supposed to follow God’s spirit until Jesus returns. We who partake in the new covenant are the new Temple. God’s presence hovered above the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle/Temple in the old testament, however, this time God’s presence isn’t in a man-made building like before but instead in temples made by God himself in his image (Gen 1:26-27). In John 2:19, Jesus said destroy this “temple” and I will raise it up in three days. He was referring to his own body as a temple, and the resurrection three days after his death. This is because Jesus was the first human to have the holy spirit on the inside (John 1:32-34) using his body like a temple. The basic definition of a Temple is that it is a house or dwelling place for a deity. So God now dwells inside of temples that are not made with man’s hands, because no human can make a temple good enough for God, according to Stephen in Acts 7:46-51.
In John 4:19-24 the Samaritan woman at the well asked Jesus why the Jews worship God at the Temple in Jerusalem, while the Samaritans worship God on Mt. Gerizim. Jesus clarified that Jews understood who God was and that the Samaritans didn’t, but then he assured her that one day people would worship in spirit and truth. He is describing the fulfillment of the promise of the holy spirit to take residence in his people and make them living temples. Rather than continually looking for God on mountains or at man-made temples, we are now to worship God as living temples. Jesus explains the purpose of the holy spirit to his disciples in John 14:15-17 and John 16:5-15.
John 14: (NLT) 15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[e] who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
John 16: 5 “But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. 6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. 7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged. 12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’
The spirit inside of believers had its first new covenant appearance in Acts 2, and it was described as wind and fire just like God’s presence described in the old testament. The same flaming twister that was in the wilderness (Num 9:15-23), fire burning the burning bush (Ex 3:1-5), the blaze on Mt Sinai (Ex19:16-20), and the illuminated presence of God in the Tabernacle hovering above the Ark of the Covenant (Num 7:89, Lev 16:11-13), is the holy spirit. In the old covenant, the fiery presence of God would destroy anyone who wasn’t anointed or ceremonially pure enough to enter his presence (Lev 10:1-7, Num 16:16-35). Now under this new covenant, that presence is now inside of believers, to help them overcome sin nature. That’s why in Acts 2, smoke and fire appeared. God poured his spirit out on humanity as promised in Joel 2:28-32, and transformed the hearts of his people as Moses prophesied in Deuteronomy 30:6 and Ezekiel in Ez 36:22-27.