If the Holy Spirit is promised to everyone, as the apostle Peter said in Acts 2:39, then why do some people seem to struggle to receive this gift? Dr. David K. Bernard discusses why some spiritual seekers receive the Holy Spirit almost immediately, while others seemingly struggle for months or years without experiencing this biblical promise. He offers practical advice and encouragement for those seeking for the Holy Spirit, as well as for spiritual leaders praying with them.
Receiving the Holy Spirit
To answer this question, let’s start with the basics. God wants everyone to receive the Holy Spirit. For people to receive the Spirit, two things are needed: (1) faith and (2) repentance. Acts 2:38, the classic statement of New Testament salvation says, “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.” Now we do know from the example of Cornelius in Acts 10, if you repent and open your heart in faith, even before you are baptized, you could receive the Holy Spirit. Baptism is not an absolute precondition, but repentance is a precondition for both water baptism and Spirit baptism.For people to receive the Spirit, two things are needed: (1) faith and (2) repentance. Click To Tweet
An Assurance Given by Jesus: You Shall Receive the Holy Ghost
Faith is a precondition for everything. And specifically, Jesus said regarding the Holy Spirit in John 7:37–39, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” And John explained, “This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” Well, of course, Jesus has been glorified so that qualification is no longer necessary. Both Jesus and John assured us that when you believe on Jesus you receive the Holy Spirit. So I teach—and I think part of the answer goes—in all of our preaching, teaching, counseling, and praying with seekers, everyone can receive the Holy Spirit if they open their heart in faith and repent of all their sins.
If you would like to explore this topic further, Dr. Bernard’s The New Birth provides an in-depth look at what Oneness Pentecostals believe about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. His Spiritual Leadership in the Twenty-First Century includes a chapter on “Praying with Seekers.” If you enjoyed this video, make sure you subscribe to this channel, so you’ll never miss another episode. You can listen to the audio version of this podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and other podcast platforms.
[E]veryone can receive the Holy Spirit if they open their heart in faith and repent of all their sins.
Resources and Links by Dr. David K. Bernard
The New Birth – This book encourages all to receive the fullness of salvation that God has provided in Jesus Christ. The author presents biblical truth in an understandable yet scholarly way.
Spiritual Leadership in the Twenty-First Century – Spiritual Leadership in the Twenty-first Century provides a comprehensive introduction to spiritual leadership drawn from David K. Bernard’s extensive experience as a church planter, teacher, pastor, college and seminary president, and superintendent. Suited to preachers, pastors, or any leader in the local church, this book will be valuable as a training tool for those who are developing their ministry, a resource for those who are active in ministry, or as a general guide to exploring the possibility of a ministerial call.
To see Dr. Bernard’s books, click here.
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