Vol.XVII No.III Pg.7
May 1980

? You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

What is the "gift of the Holy Spirit" in Acts 2:38? J. H.


It is a part of the total blessings promised (if you view the Spirit as the gift; or, it is sum total of blessings promised by the Spirit, including so-called "ordinary" blessings, as forgiveness of sins, and the various miraculous blessings "divided severally as He will" (1 Cor. 12:11). In either case, it is inseparably related to the original Abrahamic Promise (Gen. 12:1-2) to be realized in Jesus Christ.

God promised "and in thy seed (see Gal. 3:16 shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18). In Acts 2:39 the thought of v.38 continues with "for the promise is unto you and ... To all;" which all Jews would associate with the Abrahamic promise. Note Acts 3:25-26 where this application is made. Compare Acts 13:23, 32-34, 38. See Gal. 3:14, which reads: "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

The promise of a special measure of the Spirit to the Apostles (Acts 1:4-8), and of various miraculous measures for confirmation of the word (Joel 2:28, Heb. 2:3-4), were but detailed expansions of the one basic promise of Salvation in Jesus Christ. That is why "the promise' is referred to repeatedly, in so many differing situations. The Pentecostal outpouring signaled the beginning of fulfillment of the whole package. "Baptism" of the Spirit stresses the overwhelming measure of the Spirit given on two occasions (Acts 2: and Acts 10:) and assumed in the case of Paul (2 Cor. 11:5). It seems to be associated with the qualifying of the Apostles, although in the case of Cornelius no such results is indicated. There were "gifts" of the Spirit, through the laying on of the Apostles hands (Acts 8:14-18) — various gifts to some, but not to all, even in the first century (1 Cor. 12:1-11). But all of this is but a working out of the details necessary for a confirmed inspired record of "good news" to the world — of the culmination of God's great Scheme of Redemption, making His blessings available to "whosoever will" trust and serve Jesus Christ.

Hence, when Peter said, "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" (Acts 2: 38); he was saying 'upon your submission to Christ, the past will be forgiven, and you will receive whatever blessings, and all blessings, God has for you in this Christian dispensation.' He was saying, 'the Messiah has come, He is on His throne, the sure mercies of David are available, come to the feast.

The "indwelling" of the Spirit (of the Father, of Christ) takes place in the process of love and obedience of man to deity (Jn. 14:23, 1 Jn. 2:24-f); it is objectively, not subjectively determined. We can "know that we know Him" (and He knows us) "if we keep his commandments" (1 Jn. 2:3-6). And so, with all His gifts and promises.