It is always an extremely joyous occasion when someone decides to surrender fully to God and His Way of Life, and to become baptized as an outward sign of inner repentance and faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Even the angels of God shout for joy when a sinner comes to repentance. Once baptized, the gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed on the newly-baptized person.
Why is it so important that we receive God’s Holy Spirit, and that it continues to dwell in us? Primarily, because without it, we are not even Christians (Romans 8:9, 14). Secondly, we will only be changed to immortality if God’s Spirit dwells in us (Romans 8:11).
Still, there is more, and rightly understood, it is the most fundamental reason why we must have God’s Holy Spirit. We might try to explain this reason by pointing out how God dealt with ancient Israel.
Surprising as it may be to some, God never offered ancient Israel the gift of His Holy Spirit. He never offered them spiritual salvation. Note this quote from our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound…”, page 29:
“God made a covenant with the nation of Israel at the time when He brought them out of slavery to fulfill His unconditional promise that He had made, through a covenant or agreement, to Abraham, later to Isaac, and then to Jacob. But, as we will see, God expected… the nation to obey Him — at least in a general way. Since God never offered them the gift of the Holy Spirit, He knew that they could not obey Him in the same way we can today. Still, God expected obedience to an extent. In fact, when they refused to do so, He expelled them from their land.”
Total obedience — and the lack thereof — is inseparably connected with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong explains this fact very forcefully in his book, “Mystery of the Ages,” on pages 169 and 175:
“He [God] was going to prove to the world that without [His] Holy Spirit their [ancient Israel’s] minds were incapable of receiving and utilizing such [spiritual] knowledge of the true ways of life. He was going to demonstrate to them that the mind of man, with its own spirit, and without the addition of God’s Holy Spirit, could not have spiritual discernment — could not solve human problems, could not cure the evils that were besetting humanity… The problems and evils are of a spiritual nature. And a carnal mind without God’s Spirit cannot come to grips with spiritual problems… The Holy Spirit meant more than spiritual knowledge of good. Not the hearers of the law (good) but the doers of the law (good) are justified (Rom. 2:43). Love is the fulfilling of the law, but not human love. It requires the ‘love of God… shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit]’ (Rom. 5:5).”
Only with God’s Holy Spirit in us CAN we keep God’s Law. Only if we keep God’s Law, can we become born-again members of the Family of God. THAT is WHY the receipt and the utilization of the Holy Spirit is so important.
Ancient Israel was never offered the gift of the Holy Spirit. God does offer it today to you and me! To quote again from pages 48-49 of our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound…”: “First of all, before the New Covenant came, there was no forgiveness of sins — animal sacrifices do not forgive sins (Hebrews 10:4, 11). Also, there was no promise for receiving the Holy Spirit, which alone gives us the strength and power to conquer sin, and to obey and keep God’s law. The Israelites had the law written on tablets of stone (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). These tablets of stone never became part of their being — they never entered their hearts. As the tablets were of stone, so were their hearts. That is the reason why God, in a New Covenant, replaces our stony hearts with hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19).”
God gives you and me the opportunity to receive and to utilize His Spirit — an opportunity that He has withheld so far from the vast majority of mankind, including ancient Israel and Judah. How thankful are we for this tremendous and uniquely priceless gift? How deeply do we understand that we MUST have God’s Spirit WITHIN us to live a life pleasing to God — that we are only entitled to be called Christians and God’s children, if the Spirit of God the Father and of Jesus Christ dwells in us? It is ONLY by the Holy Spirit in us that we can LIVE, by putting to death the evil deeds of the body (Romans 8:13).
Our new booklet, “Baptism — a Requirement for Salvation,” which is fresh off the press, explains in detail how you can receive God’s Holy Spirit. Please order a free copy, unless you are already on our regular mailing list. This new booklet will show you, as you have probably never heard it explained before, WHY you NEED God’s Holy Spirit. You just cannot afford to be without this precious and priceless knowledge.