Sexta, 19 de Abril de 2024
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How to Receive the Holy Ghost?

“I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard?” (Gl 3.2).

There are many people who believe the gift of the Holy Ghost is only given after conversion. Usually these people also believe the evidence of receiving the Spirit is to “speak in tongues” – a ton of loose syllables empty in meaning.

However, the idea that enslaves people the most is that they must engage in a continuous and restless pursuit in order to receive the Holy Ghost – such struggle may take years – and they do everything to go through the dream experience that, according to them, will place Christians in a higher level of spirituality.

In the Bible, thus, no one who received the Holy Ghost or spoke in tongues (the real ones) had ever struggled in seeking this. Therefore, there is no example in Scriptures of people fiercely seeking the gift of Holy Ghost as seen today mainly in Pentecostal circles. Such practice is odd to the New Testament and is nothing but another of this group’s fads.

Still, thousands of Christians suffer, anguish and feel frustrated, tired and fearful while engaging in an empty search for something that results only from emotions, autosuggestion and group pressure. At the same time they worry, these ill-instructed brethren ask themselves: “Why don’t I receive the Holy Ghost? What must I do to get it done after all?”. Answers coming from uneducated masters enslave these people even more. Such masters tell those poor souls they must pray harder (shouts, cries, tears…), take long vigils (specially in isolate places such as forests and mountains), vigorously praise the Lord (dancing, jumping, turning around), fast for days… Well, they say one must try different “recipes”, struggling the most. All this to earn that which actually divine grace freely gives.

The headline excerpt, however, goes against it all. Paul makes it clear in Galatians 3.2 that not even obedience to divine Law is able to grant somebody the Holy Ghost. Now God’s Law is righteous perfection! It comes from the supernatural – something holy, perfect, righteous and good (Romans 7:12). If obedience to such a Law does not grant the Holy Ghost, how can obedience to human rules do? If God does not give his Spirit to those who fulfill what Moses said based on revelation, will He give it to the one who do as a Pentecostal pastor say based on inventions?

As good old Paul said above, the Spirit is given to those who believe in the apostolic preaching indeed. In order to receive it, to believe is just enough! It is precisely that which the same Paul highlighted in his Epistle to Ephesians, “when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13).

How liberating this truth is! How many sincere Christians would be free of heavy loads, horrible feeling of guilt, bitter frustration and even grotesque scenes if they learned such precious message from God? Sadly, human pride is resistant to anything that blanks out its “conquest” and merits. For that, it seems evangelical circles will keep people shouting, crying and striving for a long time still, looking for that which comes for free and right at the time when men believe in the gospel.

Pr. Marcos Granconato

Strength and faith

Soli Deo Gloria

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