“We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32).
In the Book of Psalms often times you will see the word, “Selah” after some important thought or saying has been expressed. Selah is a musical term, a bit of instruction asking the singers and musicians to stop playing so everyone can contemplate and weigh the words that were just sung. It is an opportunity to realize the gravity of the meaning.
“…the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him” is definitely a Selah moment.
It is a common belief among Christians that it all starts by being spirit filled. Here, we learn from Peter that the Holy Spirit is “given’ to those who respond to the word of God, the good news of the Gospel and believe in the Son, Jesus Christ. All things flow from God. He bestows the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter to those who believe and do His will.
This brings up an interesting point. Our faith in God and our discernment of His word does not come from us but rather the Holy Ghost we have been filled with. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit” (Romans 8:16) and “the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:26).
The Spirit becomes our teacher, our guide. It mingles with our spirit and moves us forward in Christ. Our faith, knowledge and our being is in relationship with the Holy Ghost. The more we interact and do, the more the Holy Ghost gives and reveals.
Jesus made it very clear to the Disciple. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If you love me then obey me.
And if they did then Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17).
Jesus had to go. But He left us with His spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit.
“God gives us this Spirit, which is in us a fountain of light, life, love, and power. The Spirit of God is given to the obedient: in proportion as a man who has received the first influences of it (for without this he cannot move in the spiritual life) is obedient to those influences, in the same proportion the gifts and graces, the light, life, and power, of the Holy Spirit, are increased in his soul” (Adam Clarke).
“For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (Matthew 25:29).
John Calvin has written extensively on the matter of the Holy Spirit as given by God to those who obey. In his Bible Commentary on Acts he writes, “As Paul saith, where he asketh the Galatians, whether they received the Spirit by the law, or by the hearing of faith, (Galatians 3:2.) Therefore the illumin-ation of the Spirit goeth before faith, because it is the cause thereof; but there follow other graces afterward, that we may go forward, according to that, “To him that hath shall be given,” (Matthew 13:12.) And if we will be enriched every now and then with new gifts of the Spirit, let us hold out unto God the lap of faith. But the reward wherewith our want of faith is rewarded at this day is far unlike; for the most part being destitute of the Spirit of God doth neither see nor understand anything’.
John Calvin is considered to be the central figure in the Protestant Reformation. Some believe he changed the course of the Christian Church with his book, “Institutes of the Christian Religion”. In this book Calvin discusses the roll the Holy Ghost has in our life. He also explains the correlation between the spirit and scriptures and the affect both have on the individual.
“…. that we have no great certainty of the word itself, until it be confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit”.
“As they feel that without the Spirit of God they are utterly devoid of the light of truth, so they are not ignorant that the word is the instrument by which the illumination of the Spirit is dispensed”.
“The letter therefore is dead, and the law of the Lord kills its readers when it is dissevered from the grace of Christ, and only sounds in the ear without touching the heart. But if it is effectually impressed on the heart by the Spirit; if it exhibits Christ, it is the word of life converting the soul, and making wise the simple”.
“In like manner, when Paul says to the Thessalonians, “Quench not the Spirit,” he does not carry them aloft to empty speculation apart from the word; he immediately adds, “Despise not prophesying,” (1 Thess. 5:19, 20). By this, doubtless, he intimates that the light of the Spirit is quenched the moment prophesying fall into contempt”.
Calvin goes on to say that the, “Lord has so knit together the certainty of his word and his Spirit, that our minds are duly imbued with reverence for the word when the Spirit shining upon it enables us there to behold the face of God”.
The Holy Spirit is a gift from God. It is given to those who obey Him. From the Holy Spirit comes faith and the scriptures come to life, become real and make sense. Faith doesn’t need to be proved for it is known through the Holy Ghost.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:12-14).
Post your comments below about obedience and the Holy Spirit.