The Promise, Purpose, and Power of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost seems to be one of the most misunderstood persons out of Heaven. People seem to understand God, Jesus, angels, and even devils, but when it comes to the Holy Ghost they are so confused. But what we all need to understand is that the Holy Ghost is who we all need in order to live a life of holiness according to the mandates of the Bible.
Definition of Holiness
According to Unger’s Bible Dictionary, holiness is a term that indicates sanctity, or separation from all that is sinful, impure, or morally imperfect. It means moral wholeness. It is also one of the central attributes of God. Through man’s disobedience to God’s commands, he lost the most important feature of God, which is His holiness. Sin absolutely destroyed holiness in man. However, Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension back to Heaven made it possible for us to regain a right relationship with God. It is the Holy Ghost who helps us to live for God.
The Holy Ghost: the third member of the Godhead
The Holy Ghost has the power to change and totally transform any individual from a person that God cannot have fellowship with to one that is totally pleasing unto Him. Whether the problem in an individual’s life is drugs, fornication, even murder, there is nothing too hard for the Holy Ghost to change. It’s the Holy Ghost that makes the difference.
Peter’s transformation through the Holy Ghost
A good example of the ability of the Holy Ghost to change lives is found in the Word of God. The Apostle Peter was a fisherman by trade. He was known by several names in the Bible, including Simon, Simon Peter and, in Matt. 16: 17, Simon Barjona or Simon, Son of Jon. Peter was a lying, cussing, fighting fisherman who was brash, outspoken and just a bad actor. When Jesus was taken into captivity in the Garden of Gethsemane, it was Peter who cut off a man’s ear with his sword. Peter denied Christ three times just as Jesus told him he would. But after he received the Holy Ghost he was a totally changed man. Peter went on to become one of the greatest of the Apostles, used of God to cause many to be saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. Click here to read the post entitled, The Holy Ghost Makes the Difference to gain greater insight about the changed life of Peter. (Another post concerning the infilling of the Holy Ghost: The Power of Repentance.)
The Promise of the Holy Ghost
God promised to pour His spirit upon all flesh in Joel 2:28 (KJV)
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
As Jesus returned to Heaven, He left us a promise that He would send the Holy Ghost to help us. Acts 2:39 speaks of the promise of the Holy Ghost to all people:
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
John 16:7 (KJV) states
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Ghost and one hundred and twenty people gathered together awaiting the arrival of the Holy Ghost. They believed the promise and were there to receive it. Suddenly the Holy Ghost made that promised arrival.
Acts 2:1-4 (KJV)
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Just as Jesus promised, the Holy Ghost came.
The Purpose of the Holy Ghost
Jesus explained to His disciples who the Holy Ghost is in this way:
John 16:8-16 (KJV)
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
The Holy Ghost is still present on the earth and He is here to help us, just as He has helped countless others. When we receive the Holy Ghost, we can always depend on Him to lead, guide, protect and comfort us. He’s here to help us to live a holy life, free and separated from sin.
Speaking in tongues
The Bible tells us that when the Holy Ghost arrived, the one hundred and twenty people who were waiting spoke in other tongues. Tongues are the Bible evidence that the Holy Ghost has arrived. Comedians laugh and make fun of those who speak in tongues. Some who do not speak in tongues doubt that tongues are real and others even reject their necessity. There are some saints who have gone so long since they’ve spoken in tongues that they need to question whether or not they still have that joy. Some need a re-filling because of their neglect. But no matter what others may say, none of that matters because – no tongues? No Holy Ghost!
In today’s world, it appears that many people are now speaking in tongues, but they are not living lives that exemplify a holy life. It must be pointed out that when we are filled with the Holy Ghost, we are given the power to live a holy life, free and separated from sin. We should not only speak in tongues, but our lives should be transformed when the Holy Ghost makes its arrival.
2 Cor. 5:17 (KJV) says:
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Until you have the power over sin, you do not have the Holy Ghost. You can not claim to be saved and even speaking in a tongue that the Holy Ghost gives and continue to live in sin. That is an oxymoron.
There are churches who are even teaching people how to “speak in tongues”. Sorry, but that is a man-made tongue and it is not of God.
You can love God and live as clean a life as you know how to live. You can desire to receive the Holy Ghost. You can even believe that it is necessary to have the Holy Ghost in order to live saved. But if you have not received the Holy Ghost you still don’t have it.
But the good news is, you don’t have to be a fake or phony, you can have the Holy Ghost. I can imagine that it is particularly hard for some individuals who have been saved for some time to admit that they have been functioning without the Holy Ghost. But what does that matter now that God has opened your eyes to the truth? Just be grateful that you came into the knowledge that you need the Holy Ghost before it was too late. Get rid of that foolish pride and get all that God has for you.
The Bible tells the story of a man who truly loved God but did not have the Holy Ghost. His name was Cornelius and his story is chronicled in the 10th chapter of Acts.
Acts 10:1-5 (KJV)
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
Cornelius realized that God had a blessing for him and he sent for Peter as he was directed. He did not argue with the angel that he had all that he needed from God, he just obeyed God. When Peter preached, the Holy Ghost fell upon Cornelius, his family and his close friends and they all spoke in tongues.
Acts 10:44-48 (KJV)
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
The Holy Ghost received through the laying on of hands
Acts 19:1-7 relates another instance in which the Holy Ghost was given, this time through the laying on of hands.
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.
The necessity of the Holy Ghost
There are some who don’t believe that it is necessary to receive the Holy Ghost. They often state that the thief on the cross was immediately in Paradise with Jesus. I suppose that if God decided to take us to Heaven immediately after He saved us, we would not need the power to live holy in the manner that the Holy Ghost brings. But, if you live one minute after salvation, you need the Holy Ghost because you have an enemy named Satan, who will do what he can to overcome you.
And for that final group of people who believe that the Holy Ghost is an option, did you know that the Holy Ghost appeared to Jesus and rested upon Him in the form of a dove at the time of His baptism? If Jesus had to have the Holy Ghost while on earth, what about you?
Luke 3:21-22 (KJV)
21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Receiving the Holy Ghost
Receiving the Holy Ghost is an actual occurrence. Please do not settle for some nebulous thought or suggestion that you received the Holy Ghost when you repented. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the second act of grace that follows repentance. If you really understood how important the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is to eternal salvation you would be clamoring to get it. If you do understand its importance you will act on that knowledge. Let me tell you a quick story about one of my granddaughters, Gabby.
My little Fake Nurse
Gabby was about 4 or 5 years old when she decided to help me at church. As one of the nurses, it is my responsibility to help when First Aid needs arise among the congregants. That particular Sunday morning Gabby came to sit with me and to “help” with First Aid.
Out of the blue, Gabby turned to me and announced, “Granny, I’m going to be a nurse when I grow up”. I responded, “That’s great, Gabby”. A few minutes later, she whispered, “Granny, I’m already a nurse”. A little taken aback, I replied, “Oh, that’s good news. Then I’ll have to call you Nurse Gabby”. She said, “OK Granny.” A few minutes later a child came along that needed a Band-Aid for a minor cut. I said, “Nurse Gabby. Let’s go and fix this cut.” Her eyes got very large and filled with tears as she said. “Wait, Granny! I’m a phony! I’m a fake! I’m really not a nurse and I don’t know how to fix that cut.”
Needless to say, it was all that I could do to keep from howling with laughter as my little Fake Nurse admitted to her real non-nurse identity. I relate this little story because it is similar to how some people respond when you ask if they have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In the same way that my little granddaughter decided that she was indeed a nurse, some people have convinced themselves that they received it when they believed in Christ and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. What they don’t seem to understand is that acceptance of Christ makes you eligible for the baptism of the Holy Ghost but until it happens it has not happened.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost: the second act of grace following salvation
Let’s think about the facts for a moment. If it were true that we receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost at the same time that we are saved, then the twelve men that Christ chose as His disciples should have received it during the three years that they walked with Christ. They lived with Him, ate with Him, some were rebuked by Him and they were prayed for by Him. Yet, what happened when he finished His time on earth and was ready to return to heaven? He told them to gather at a particular place and wait for the arrival of the Holy Ghost. You do not have to be a fake or a phony, pretending that you have the Holy Ghost when you don’t have it. You can have the real thing.
Luke 11: 9-13 tells us how to receive it.
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
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?
The Power of the Holy Ghost
Once we have confessed our sins we have to receive the power to resist a return to that sin. That power comes only through the Holy Ghost. When you get the Holy Ghost as the Bible describes your life will be forever changed.
Acts 1:8 (KJV)
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Not only must you be a witness for the Lord but you have to live a life that is pleasing unto God. No matter what your denomination, you have to live holy. God is a holy God who requires that we, his children, must also be holy. Several scriptures support this concept.
Psalms 99: 9 states:
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.
Leviticus 11: 44 states:
For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy.
Just as the Holy Ghost was able to change Simon Peter from a cussing, lying, brash young man into a bold, Holy Ghost-baptized man of God; he can do the same for you. Jesus knew when he left here that we would need the power of the Holy Ghost in order to live as God told us to live. Peter messed up so badly that He actually denied Christ before he was baptized with the Holy Ghost. But after he received the infilling of the Holy Ghost, he was the solid rock that he was meant to be.
Please know that there is nothing too hard for the Lord. Even if you have been stumbling over a particular problem or sin in your life, the Holy Ghost has the power to fix that problem. Get the power of God in your life. You need it to make it into the kingdom of God. God has a plan for each of our lives. We need the power of the Holy Ghost to bring that plan to fruition. Love and blessings.