Summary: When does it happen? Speaking of the Holy Spirit.
Our text opens with “Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Belong to Christ means the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of promise. We need to have the Holy Spirit within us so we over come sin: “Romans 8:2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
When does it happen? This indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
We in the Christian Community have difference beliefs on when the filling of the Holy Spiritual Occurs. So I would like to take a closer look at that belief.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit didn't indwell the Hebrews as He does the Christian after Christ came. But the Holy Spirit was everywhere in the world allowing God to be everywhere in the world. So God was here in the Old Testament just not indwelling the Jews.
God did ‘fill’ them with the Holy Spirit. This feeling was for a special circumstance, position, or given special abilities.
There is a progression of the teaching about the Holy Spirit. These are not only in words but in the actions that happen to individuals because of Him. This can be seen in many ways. Gods knowledge that He has given us in His precious Word is a progression from Genesis to Revelations. In the New Testament this progression can be seen in the Gospels, to the book Acts, and then fulfilling our knowledge in the other books as we move to a fuller understanding of God and the working of the Holy Spirit.
The book of Acts is a fascinating look into the change from the age of Judaism to the age of the Church. Jesus was a Jew. The disciples were Jews. But the Church is distinctly Christian. The disciples didn't become Christians until John 20:22 when Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them. In Acts 2:4, they were filed with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 8:14-17, however, God waited to give the Samaritans the Holy Spirit until Peter and John could see.
We agree that the Holy Spirit is God and that God indwells us or is in us spiritually.
So… When does it happen?
It happens at the moment of conversion. "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free and all were made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:13). All believers have the same spirit; the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 is more specific about the exact moment we receive the Holy Spirit: "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit." Romans 8:9 explains simply that "Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him."
If the Scriptures so plainly state that all believers have the Holy Spirit, why the controversy? There is a distinct difference between the Holy Spirit indwelling us and the Spirit filling us (given for special circumstance). The filling of the Holy Spirit was a tool used by God since the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 34:9, Joshua is filled with the Holy Spirit to take on Moses' responsibilities. In 1 Samuel 19:18-24, King Saul and his servants are filled with the Spirit and prophesy. And in Luke 1:15, the angel explains to Zacharias that his son, John the Baptist, will be filled with the Spirit. After Jesus' death and resurrection the Holy Spirit continued to fill people, including Peter (Acts 4:8), Paul (Acts 13:9), and the other disciples (Acts 13:52). This is different from the simple indwelling of the Spirit experienced by all believers. Some also confuse the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We believe it is the same as the indwelling of the Spirit, although others think it is more similar to the feeling of the Spirit.
Today and always we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We receive the Holy Spirit the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In John 3:5, Jesus says, "…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." When we accept Christ, God immediately seals us with His Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22).
Let’s not let metaphors confuse us as they can in so many places in God’s Word. The words and phases used may have been very plain to the “in the know” people but interpreting them for today with the correct meaning can cause confusion and different meanings intended by the original writers.
For some the question is often ask: What does “water” and “the Spirit” mean when referring to receiving the Holy Spirit. There are many different interpretations of this. I will look at one of them and then move on to another simpler interpretation and is keeping within the context of the complete Bible.