The Apostle Peter promises to those who repent and are baptized that they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The Bible tells us “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8). Scripture explicitly states that we must first be born again. In order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, we must be committed to new life in Christ. This is when the real transformation begins. What’s amazing about the Holy Spirit is how we are drawn to it. Before you even choose to become a Christian, the Holy Spirit is at work in you, showing you your sin, and drawing you to Christ.
To truly understand the Holy Spirit as a gift, it’s important to understand what the Holy Spirit is. The Holy Spirit is God – not simply a force. It is the third entity of the Trinity, manifested as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each person itself being God. Because of this, everyone who has repented and turned their life over to Christ has the power to receive the Holy Spirit. Another important thing to understand about the Holy Spirit is that we cannot see it; however, we can experience the Holy Spirit when we are filled with it. There are a number of verses throughout Scripture that speak on “being filled” with the Holy Spirit, including:
Ephesians 1:17: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…”
Acts 4:8: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit sais to them, Rulers of the people and elders…”
Acts 13:52: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who seek Him. In the Book of John we are told: “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, who those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” This promise was fulfilled at Pentecost, when Jesus’ followers received the Holy Spirit. This is told in great detail in Acts 2. The account begins with the Holy Spirit descending upon a group of followers who upon receiving it began to speak in tongues. We are told in this account, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound of heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the houses where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, and the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). Because the Holy Spirit came down, the Apostles were enabled to spread the good news of Christ, just as Jesus had promised. With the decent of the Holy Spirit, a New Covenant was inaugurated. We know the Holy Spirit is working through us when we are drawn to Christ.
In Galatians 5:22-23 we learn about the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Bible says “against such things, there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the result of the Holy Spirit’s presence our lives as Christians. We receive the Holy Spirit the moment we believe in Christ. When we receive the Holy Spirit into our lives, we have a new awareness of Christ, and can begin entering a relationship with Him. The primary purpose of the Holy Spirit coming into our life is change. The Holy Spirit’s role is to mold us into the image of Christ so that we may live in His likeness.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is a privilege, given to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Once you accept Jesus Christ in the waters of baptism, you will receive this gift. With this privilege comes great responsibility. With the Holy Spirit guiding us, we must seek earnestly to remove ourselves from a context of sin, and obey the commands of God. Our thoughts and our actions should build up the kingdom of God. Just as the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we too as Christians can enjoy the fullness, greatness and power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, and enhancing our relationship with God. Accept the Holy Spirit at work in your life today.