Jesus’ Offer of Salvation
John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, IF ANY MAN THIRST, let him come unto me, and drink. HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME, as the scripture hath said, OUT OF HIS BELLY SHALL FLOW RIVERS OF LIVING WATER. (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Jesus’ offer of salvation was all about receiving the promise of the Spirit to those who would believe on Him. Salvation was offered as an experience that would satisfy spiritual thirst and flow as living waters out from a believer’s belly. The Spirit would indwell and flow out from a believer’s life.
Together We Drink Into One Spirit
In writing to believers, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; AND HAVE BEEN ALL MADE TO DRINK INTO ONE SPIRIT.”
Two Gifts in One
Essentially two gifts are given when we come to Christ. Our forgiveness (our justification) and the promise of the Spirit. Yet, sadly, just as many believers don’t fully grasp God’s forgiveness and experience little freedom from their guilt, many don’t fully realize and enjoy the power of the Holy Spirit who resides within to enable them to live a godly life, empower them for service and manifest in their lives with gifts, signs and wonders.
Rom 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Compare this to John 7:37-39 above.
Manifestation of The Spirit
When we first experience something extraordinary like tongues or a word of knowledge, it is not the baptism in the Spirit that we are experiencing, but a manifestation of the Spirit through a gift to someone already baptized in the Spirit. It is simply our first awareness of a supernatural flow or manifestation of the promised Spirit which we already received at salvation.
Receiving The Spirit
No long drawn out prayerful tarrying (waiting) is necessary to receive the Spirit. You will have received Him when you believed on Jesus. Rather, simply ask be filled by Him. To tarry or to wait was simply a command to the first believers who were to receive the promise of the Spirit at the feast of Pentecost, God’s appointed time to first give the Spirit to all who believe (see Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). In so doing God fulfilled the feast to which Pentecost had pointed throughout the Old Testament.
Also, no turning over a new leaf is required either. Justification is sufficient. Just look at the Corinthians! They were not exactly an example of holiness and yet were experiencing the dynamic of the Spirit moving in and through the Body. That said, ungodliness can hinder, frustrate and quench the Spirit.
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?”
This is what salvation is all about: from a life in the flesh to Life in the Spirit. The context of this passage implores us to simply ask. And, asking is sufficient because faith is all that is required.
The Outpouring Begins
The outpouring of the Spirit on 120 disciples at Pentecost manifested in them praising God in languages unknown to themselves, yet recognizable as the mother tongues of Jews who had come from all over the world to the feast. This manifestation drew 3000 people to pay attention. (Note that according to 1 Cor 15:6 there were at least another 380 believers elsewhere who would receive the Spirit too.)
Peter told the crowd, drawn by this inexplicable event, that what they were witnessing was promised by the prophet Joel concerning the Spirit. Peter said that the outpouring of the promised Spirit was related to Jesus being exalted to God’s right hand (being glorified, see John 7:37-39) and Him having received the promised Holy Spirit to give.
Repentance and Forgiveness
It was the man, Jesus, whom they had rejected and had killed. As a result, they were cut to the heart and were led to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, which, Peter said, would mean that they would receive the Spirit. The Spirit, who was used as the bait for their salvation, was the goal of their salvation.
Salvation By Receiving The Spirit
We have preached salvation from sin and stopped there as though it was the main goal. But, Jesus’ message in John 7:37-39, and elsewhere, and Peter’s message at Pentecost was about the promise. God’s promise was the Spirit. God’s gift was the Spirit. Repentance and even justification, as costly as it was to purchase for us and as meaningful as it will forever be to us, remains the means and not the end. These are the pathway to the promise.
Similarly, when Peter spoke to Cornelius (a gentile) and his household about Jesus and got to saying, “’To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins’ …the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
What Are We To Do?
So, what should we who have received the Spirit now do? Having received the Spirit at salvation, a continual life lived from Him is available to us. The fruit of His presence in our lives (Gal 5:22) along with His wisdom, power and gifts for service.
If we lack in love we should ask to be filled with the Spirit, and if we lack in power we should ask to be filled, and if we lack in wisdom we should ask for it, and if we desire a gift we should ask for it too.
Eph 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be (continually) filled with the Spirit”
Gal 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Have Faith in God’s Goodness
A continual revelation of God’s goodness, of His deep desire for relationship with us and His unmerited favor toward us will impart faith to continually ask to be filled.
Gal 3:5, “…he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you … by hearing with faith”.