Receiving of the Holy Ghost
How to Receive the Holy Ghost
When do you receive the Holy Ghost? When you repent, when you're baptized, or when you're born? Romans 8:9 says, "...now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
So, how do you know if you have God's Spirit in you?
Acts 2:1-4 (v4) "...And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." and,
Acts 2:5-8 (v6) "Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. (v8) And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?"
So clearly, the sign of receiving the Holy Ghost is speaking in tongues.
Mark 16:17 "And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;"
Acts 10:44-47 (v45) "...because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."
Acts 8:14-18 (v 18) "And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,"
So what could have convinced Simon that the people of Samaria had received the Holy Ghost? Well, in scripture, the only conformation of receiving the Holy Ghost was speaking in tongues. So, clearly, Simon saw and heard them speaking in tongues.
So how do you receive the Holy Ghost? Acts 2:38 "...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."
You must repent; this is always the first step. Turn from sin and God promises to give you the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:39 "For the promise is unto you, and to your children..."
(Proverbs 28:13; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Luke 13:3)
Acts 1:4-5 says, "And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (v5) For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
The promise of the Father is the gift of the Holy Ghost to all who repent and believe. The apostles clearly believed, but Jesus told them to wait for the Holy Ghost because he had not died, resurrected, or ascended yet. (John 16:7) Inferring they did not have the Holy Ghost even though they had repented.; proving the Holy Ghost is not given at repentance. That promise was fulfilled in Acts 2:38. Ephesians 1:13 "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,"
Once you repent, just ask God to give you his Holy Spirit, and he promised he would. Luke 11:13 "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Some people have not received the Holy Ghost simply because they are not aware they need it. Acts 19:1-7 "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve."
This is further proof that the Holy Ghost is not given at repentance.
Some people think they automatically get the Holy Ghost when they are baptized, with no sign of having received it.
Acts 2:38 "...be baptized...and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Remember, the evidence of having the Holy Ghost is speaking in tongues. So, yes, you can get the Holy Ghost right after you've been baptized; while you're still in the water. But you don't get the Holy Ghost just because you were baptized. Some people receive the Holy Ghost before baptism, and some get it years later. ( Acts 8:12; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 10:44-48) If the Holy Ghost was received at baptism, no one would receive it prior to baptism.
Are we born with the Holy Ghost
" And said, verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
~ Matthew 18: 3
When we obey Acts 2:38 we become as little children, meaning we are no longer under condemnation. God does not condemn babies, children, or those who are in Christ walking after holiness, being led of His Spirit.
A New Heart
Some people believe that the Holy Ghost comes to live in them the moment they repent. Their desires have changed; they become hungry for the word of God, and start reading the Bible. When they sin they become instantly aware that it is wrong, and resist it. They start paying back debts they owe, and get rid of anything they own that is displeasing to God.
" And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. "
~ Acts 19: 18 - 19
They believe they have been given the Holy Ghost; they have been convinced that they are now born again. Well, at true repentance ones' heart does literally change. They HAVE been given a new heart. At repentance God takes out the stony heart and gives us a heart of flesh. God can now work with a heart of flesh, and begins to mold us into what is pleasing to him.
" A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. "
~ Ezekiel 36: 26
That is why at true repentance one begins to make changes in their life. They have a strong desire to get to know God. They are now saved. We are saved at repentance, but not born again.
" ( For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
~ 2 Corinthians 6: 2
And unless one is born again they can not enter into the Kingdom of God.
" Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. "
~ John 3: 3
Born Again is described in Acts 2:38 (refer to salvation page). Once someone is born again; as long as they continue there in, they are heaven bound.
" Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. "
~ Romans 11: 22
So, yes, you get a new heart at repentance which is why you see a change in your life, but the Holy Spirit is not automatically given at repentance, you still need to obey the rest of Acts 2:38.