The Gift of the Holy Spirit

God has the answer to man's most fundamental problem. What is that problem? It is sin. Was is the answer? It is belief and obedience. We know that belief is essential, both in God the Father, and in Jesus the Christ.

Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Not only is it essential to believe in God, but to believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Jno. 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

In his final statements to his disciples the night Jesus was betrayed, he gave them instructions as they were to be his witnesses of his death and resurrection.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, 16 He that believeth and is baptiazed shall be saved; but he tath believeth not shall be damned.

In addition to one's believing the gospel (the message the Apostles would preach) one is to act upon his belief by his obedient faith by being baptized. As Jesus clarified, “but he that believeth not shall be damned.” It logically follows that one who does not believe will not obey. Indeed, God equates disobedience with unbelief (Num. 20:1-12).

As Christ had charged them, the Apostles preached the word of God to the people who had come to Jerusalem for the Pentecost. Through inspiration of the Holy Spirit we are given the words which Peter spoke, as he explained the cause of these miracles to those who stood about in wonder of the miraculous manifestations which transpired before their very eyes; that the Apostles were each speaking in the tongues (languages) of those that heard, languages that they had not learned. They knew that these Galileans would not typically speak the many varied languages that they heard from these men.

From the discourse which Peter delivered, he reasoned with them to show that Jesus, the one who had recently been crucified at Galgatha by them, through the hands of lawless men, was the Messiah for whom they had been waiting so many centuries.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

From this passage it is clear that they taught exactly what Jesus commanded them to teach. It is evident that they believed because otherwise they would not have responded the way that they did, having thair hearts pricked, and asking the obvious question, considering their sins: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Because baptism is for the remission (forgiveness) of sins, they must repent of those sins. They must believe and be baptized to receive forgiveness.

Note that with their obedience to the commands to repent and be baptized, they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because of the surrounding events, and the response of those who gathered to hear the first gospel sermon preached after Jesus ascended to heaven, one might quickly conclude that the gift about which Peter spoke is the miraculous abilities that was exhibited, or perhapes a literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. There are only two posibilities: either the Holy Spirit is the gift, or the Holy Spirit is giving the gift.

Let us first consider the idea that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit, himself. From whom was the gift being given? Of course, it would have to be from the Father, and Christ himself having received all authority. Jesus did promise to his selected Apostles to send the Comforter.

Jno. 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Jno. 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Jesus, indeed, promised to send the Holy Spirit, but note especially that the promise was to the Apostles. The Holy Spirit would teach them all things, and to cause them to remember the teachings of Christ. They, having been commissioned by Christ, himself, to preach to all the world, would not be left alone, but with another Comforter, the Holy Spirit. He was not promised to anyone else; he was promised solely to the Apostles.

That the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian as taught in the Bible is not disputed (Rom. 8:9,11). However, the indwelling and the influence through His word can be equated by other passages corroborating the teaching that the word is to indwell us (Col. 3:16), as well as the Father (2 Cor. 6:16), and Jesus Christ, himself (Eph. 3:17). Yet, how many aver that God, the Father, literally indwells the Christian? Or that Jesus Christ literal lives in each one of us? More to the point, in all facets in which the Holy Spirit works, in the same way the Word of God works. Does the Holy Spirit work today? Of course He does! But, how? By that tool He has given us to come to an understanding of God's gospel plan of salvation: the Holy Bible, wholly inspired by the Holy Spirit. After all, the word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Gal. 6:17). He does not influence one to believe that gospel in any other fashion than He has always persuaded people: through the hearing of the word of God (Rom. 10:17).

Now then, what of the idea that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift from the Holy Spirit? That God has given mankind the opportunity to have everlasting life is certainly a tremendous gift, indeed!

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The ASV of 1901 rendering of that passage is “the free gift of God,” relating the significance of that gift. The wages is what one earns, but God has given the free gift to save mankind; and mankind verily is lost, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Rom. 3:23).

Also, let us include in our consideration a parallel passage:

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Note that in Acts 2 they were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and in Acts 3 they were told to repent and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out. With the blotting out of their sins (from Acts 2, by being baptized for the remission of sins) there would come times of refreshing. Why? Because, their sins were blotted out; the sins would be remembered no more (Heb. 10:15-17). Such times of refreshing! What a marvelous gift! That one can stand justified before God, not having done anything that merits such a wondrous gift, simply confounds all the wisdom of mankind. How does one receive such a marvelous gift? By repenting and being baptized for the remission of one's sins.

Curtis A. Little, Royse City, TX

Curtis A. Little
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Sunday
Morning Worship . . .9:30 AM
Bible Class . . . . . . 10:45 AM

Evening Worship . . .5:00 PM
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