How To Receive the Holy Spirit
Dec 25, 2014 3983
By Des Ford
How did believers in the first century receive the Holy Spirit? What did they have to do?
The second question reminds us of the natural error of the sinful heart is to think that the gift of God can be bought (see Acts 8:20). The Gospels warn us against this dead-end route: “Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the work of God?” Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent'” (Jn 6:28,29).
The teaching of Acts echoes Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels.
After Peter had preached Christ in the power of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, multitudes were convinced and cried out. “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). This is the same emphasis on human works which tragically reverberates throughout Scripture, ever since Adam and Eve sought to hide their nakedness before their Maker by their own tailoring.
Peter’s counsel rebukes the human tendency to earn righteousness.
Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off’ (Acts 2:38,39).
Sinners must receive the Spirit as a gift from Christ, who has kept the law perfectly on behalf of the guilty race. Those who believe (receive) the truth concerning Christ’s atoning death are endued with the Spirit as they assent to the Word of God.
For example, Acts 10:44 declares: “The Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.” From the time of creation on (see Gn 1:2,3) the Spirit and the Word have worked together, and “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt 19:6).
Would you be filled with heaven’s presence and power? Study, believe, and practice the Scriptures. This is the only way to victory for individuals and for the church as a whole.
Are we surprised at the riches of the grace of God who confers upon us one unspeakable gift after another? He has given us his Son as our substitute and representative. He has given us his Spirit as our advocate and comforter. All of us who accept Christ have the Son of God as our righteousness in heaven, and the Spirit as the continual presence of God beside us on earth, sufficient for every situation.
Since Pentecost, the Spirit has been as truly present on earth in every believer as Christ was physically present in the days of his earthly ministry. When the church awakens to this glorious truth, the conquest of the world for Christ will be speedily accomplished.
– Des Ford. Rom 8:27–32 (Adapted from “The Power of the Spirit”)