The Gift of the Holy Spirit

That every true believer in Christ is indwelt by the Spirit of God, and that that Spirit is received when one believes the gospel, Scripture leaves no doubt upon the mind (Acts 10:44; Eph. 1:13; 1 Cor. 6:19; and many other passages). This Spirit is the Spirit of God’s Son, who gives us the consciousness that we are sons, and also the power to take this wonderful place of privilege, enabling us to address God as our Father (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). He is also the seal of God upon us, marking us off as His; the earnest, or pledge, of the inheritance which we shall receive when it is redeemed by power; the anointing that teaches us all things, and who establishes us in Christ, or attaches us firmly to Him; and the One that unites us to Christ, and to all other believers as one body (2 Cor. 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 12:13).

Without this priceless gift we should be incapable of serving our Lord or of bearing testimony to Him in this evil world, or of entering into the deep things of God. Indeed we have no part nor lot in Christianity until we have received this august Personage and are indwelt by Him (Luke 24:49, 1 Cor. 2:12; Rom. 8:9). In fact, as Christ is everything to us objectively, so is the Holy Spirit everything to us subjectively.

Today He is on earth, in each individual believer as the power of the life we have by the quickening power of God; arid He also dwells in the midst of His people, who are builded together for His habitation (John 14:29; Rom. 8:2; Eph. 2:22; 1 Tim. 3:15).

In the very early days of this dispensation His presence in believers manifested itself by signs—speaking with tongues and prophesying (Acts 10:46; 19:6). In these later days the Spirit’s presence is known by the fact that the one in whom He dwells is in the enjoyment of the love of God (Rom. 5:5).

As to the gift of the Spirit being withheld from those who believed the gospel through the preaching of Peter until Peter and John came down to them from Jerusalem, the necessity of this is evident from the fact that there was a very decided rivalry of long standing between Jerusalem and Samaria, and as our Lord said that salvation was of the Jews (John 4:22), it was necessary, in the case of these Samaritan believers, that the gift of the Spirit should only be theirs in connection with the church and the apostles in Jerusalem. Hence until the apostles came down and laid their hands upon those who believed the gift was withheld.

Some find a difficulty in what is said as to the twelve disciples in Acts 19. But it will be noticed that these twelve had been followers of John the Baptist, who had spoken of Christ as the coming One on whom men were to believe. But it was not John but Jesus who was to baptize with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33). Then when they were baptized to the death of the Christ to whom John had borne testimony, who had died and now was risen from the dead, and when the apostles had laid their hands on them, they received the gift.