The Holy Spirit
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Everyone who receives Jesus as their Savior, who is saved and born again, receives a measure of the Holy Spirit. In fact, you cannot be saved without the Holy Spirit, because salvation is a work of God, which the Bible refers to as being “born again of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Salvation is a gift of God. We cannot earn it by our own efforts or good works (Titus 3:5).
Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38–39).
Shortly before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus promised His disciples that He would send them a comforter and an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to strengthen, empower, lead and guide them in their spiritual lives and relationship with Him. “But the Comforter, who 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. … And when the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 14:26; 16:13).
Receiving the anointing, infilling, or baptism of the Holy Spirit may be a subsequent experience to that of salvation (when we decide to believe on and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior). In the book of Acts, the apostle Paul inquired of certain disciples that he met, “‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit’” (Acts 19:2).
The Greek word baptizo means to be fully covered or completely immersed. Thus to be “baptized” in the Holy Spirit means to be filled to overflowing with the Spirit of God. We all certainly need this baptism of the Holy Spirit to live the life of a disciple of Jesus.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a baptism of love—love for the lost, love enough to witness, love enough to win others to the Lord, a love for all people and a desire for their salvation. In fact, the Holy Spirit is love, because God is love (1 John 4:8). At the same time, it’s a baptism of the power of God, the power that enables you to tell others about Jesus, to be a witness, to share the gospel with others. When you feel compelled to tell someone about Jesus—this is the result of the baptism of God’s Spirit.
Jesus told His disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8). We read about this power to witness in the book of Acts in the New Testament, on the Day of Pentecost when the first disciples received the Holy Spirit, and they stood up and boldly preached to the people, resulting in the salvation of 3,000 souls. (See Acts Chapter 2.)
Peter, who had been so fearful when Jesus was arrested that he denied Him three times, preached fearlessly and with boldness to the multitudes after he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This showed that whatever Peter accomplished was not of him, but of Christ that lived first with him and then in him. “For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). We all need the baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to have the love, power, and strength to be what He wants us to be.
The gifts of the Spirit
When we receive this wonderful infilling of the Holy Spirit, God not only fills us with His love and power, but also gives us what the Bible calls “gifts of the Spirit.” The most common gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, other tongues and interpretation (1 Corinthians 12:8–10). These are all gifts from a loving heavenly Father to His children, to help us to understand Him and His will, and to grow in our personal relationship with Him.
As is the case with salvation, we receive the Holy Spirit by faith—which means you do not always get immediate evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. For example, not everybody receives the gift of speaking in other tongues (or unknown languages) when they receive the Holy Spirit, and you don’t have to have this gift to prove that you are filled with the Spirit.
The Bible tells us, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:4–6). The Holy Spirit will manifest Himself in your life—it may be at that very moment or it may not be until later. “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
Once you have received the divine anointing of God’s Spirit, if you continue to abide in God’s Word in the Bible and are obedient to Jesus’ commands, you’ll be led by His Spirit. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14).
When you ask God for the Holy Spirit, you’ll know you have received the promised infilling just as you know you are saved—because the Bible says so. “For faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds” (Matthew 7:7–8). “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).
If you haven’t yet received or been infilled with the Holy Spirit, you can do so right now by praying the following prayer: Dear Jesus, please fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit so that I can love You more, understand Your Word in the Bible, follow You more closely, and have greater power to tell others about Your love and salvation. Amen.
From an article in Treasures, published by the Family International in 1987. Adapted and republished November 2023. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky.
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