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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: When Does a Person Receive the Holy Spirit?

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Don Stewart

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When does a person receive the Holy Spirit into his life? The New Testament teaches that the reception of the Holy Spirit is something that takes place immediately upon believing in Christ as Savior. There is no need to wait or plead for the Holy Spirit. All those who believe in Jesus instantaneously receive the Holy Spirit. This the Scripture makes clear.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians:

Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:2).

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts (Galatians 4:6).

The Bible says that a person could not be a believer without the Holy Spirit:

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His (Romans 8:9).

These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit (Jude 19).

Furthermore, all Christians, no matter what their spiritual condition, are said to have the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (1 Corinthians 3:16).

The church at Corinth had many spiritual problems, yet the Apostle Paul said every believer, those walking in the Spirit and those who were not, had received the Holy Spirit.
In addition, there is no command to seek for the Holy Spirit or to pray so He can be received. If the Holy Spirit were given apart from salvation, we would expect the Bible to give the requirements of His reception.

Gift To All Who Believe

The Holy Spirit is a gift to all who believe.

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may know the things that have been freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Therefore, we can conclude that a person receives the Holy Spirit upon believing for the following reasons:

1. The Bible expressly says so.

2. Those without the Holy Spirit are considered unbelievers.

3. All believers are spoken to as though they have the Holy Spirit.

4. Nowhere is the believer encouraged to pray and receive the Holy Spirit.

5. The Holy Spirit is a gift, not a reward for faith or service.

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