This is the fourth and final article addressing the subject of salvation and what it means to “believe the gospel”. The first article was entitled Salvation – the Gospel. The second article was entitled Repent and Believe the Gospel! The third article was entitled Water Baptism – Burial.
The final step in the gospel plan is to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost was preached by Peter in Acts 2:38.
Acts 2:38 (KJV) – “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.”
Notice that the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) is referred to as a “gift” from God. Many have argued that the “Holy Ghost” is not for us today or that it is not essential for salvation. We will discuss these arguments later in this article. However, is there any sincere Christian that would turn down a “gift” that God has for them?
Acts 11:18 (KJV) – “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”
Acts 2:38 is the Biblical account of the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost on Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. Here in Acts chapter eleven Peter recounts how the Gentiles believers in the Jewish Messiah also received the “gift” of the Holy Ghost. Peter referred to the Old Testament prophet Joel’s (Joel 2:28-29) prophecy when he said, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” (Acts 2:16-18).
The “Comforter” has arrived! We do not need to wait and hope any longer. The “Comforter” was another term that Jesus used to describe God’s Spirit residing in believers. When our hearts are right, we will receive the Holy Ghost because it has already been poured out.
John 15:26 (KJV) – “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me”
John 16:7 (KJV) – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
John 14:16-18 (KJV) – “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
The “Comforter” has arrived! However, what is a “comforter”? The word “comforter” implies that the Lord will soothe us in distress and sorrow. He will comfort us in our grief, bringing consolation and hope. When believers are in trouble, He encourages and helps us. Notice in John 14:16-18 that Jesus prays to the Father that He will give them another “Comforter.” This “Comforter” is the “Spirit of truth” which dwells in each believer. Jesus then tells them that He is the “Comforter”. It is Jesus that comes to us.
Marked by the Holy Ghost
Just like followers of the “Beast” are marked likewise believers are marked with God’s seal of ownership upon our lives. It is a seal of ownership that everything is safe and that the Lord is our keeper. Paul, the Apostle, stated it like this:
Ephesians 1:13-14 (KJV) – “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (KJV) – “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
Ephesians 4:30 (KJV) – “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
The Holy Ghost is both a seal or mark of God’s ownership of our lives and a guarantee that of our inheritance in Christ. This Holy Ghost is the anointing of God in our lives. As a child of God, we have an inheritance until the redemption. We have been purchased, but with a price. The precious blood of Jesus. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).
Holy Ghost – Essential?
Can a believer be saved without receiving God’s Spirit in their lives? Is the gift of the Holy Ghost essential for salvation? Many believe that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is an “added blessing”. They believe that if you receive Him, well and good; if not, you can still be saved without Him. The Holy Ghost is God’s presence. This Spirit Baptism provides the inner transformation. It equips every believer for living in this world.
The Holy Ghost brings us rest, peace and joy. Romans 14:17 says that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Ghost helps us to pray. Yes the Spirit of God helps us to pray.
Romans 8:26-27 (KJV) – “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
The Holy Ghost gives us the power to witness. We see a drastic change in the disciples following the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Prior to the day of Pentecost they were fearful and frustrated. However, after receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost we see these same men become bold and fearless.
Acts 1:8 (KJV) – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The Holy Ghost is a teacher. It is our guide that shows us things to come. We need God’s Spirit operating in our lives to enable us to understand correctly and interpret God’s word. The Holy Ghost is indeed a teacher.
John 14:26 (KJV) – “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.”
God has a “gift” for all of us. The “gift of the Holy Ghost”. The Spirit baptism is the “promise of the Father”. It is also the seal of the New Covenant. The gift of the Holy Ghost is a doorway that leads us into a deeper walk with the Lord. I want to receive all of God’s gifts – don’t you?
This was the fourth and final article in a series on the plan of salvation. The first article was entitled Salvation – the Gospel. The second article was entitled Repent and Believe the Gospel. The third article was entitled Water Baptism – Burial.