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I was taught that I received the Holy Spirit when I was saved.
The first thing we must consider is – what does the Bible say?
Sometimes it will be necessary for what we have been ‘taught’ to be overridden by what scripture says.
Frankly, many things we have been taught must be ‘untaught’ because it simply is not true.
Many teach that as soon as we accept Jesus Christ into our lives we receive the Holy Spirit.
This quote was from the ‘Statement of Faith’ from the web site of First Baptist Church of Atlanta – which is led by the popular Charles Stanley:
“Simultaneously with salvation, the Holy Spirit imparts new life, baptizes the believer into the body of Christ (His church), permanently indwells the believer, and securely seals the believer unto the day of redemption”.
It’s quite clear in this statement that believers, upon receiving salvation (i.e. accepting Jesus as personal savior), we then (simultaneously) receive the Holy Spirit and He permanently stays with the believer and thusly the believer is eternally ‘sealed’.
This is not truth! This is a deception! (see FAQ Why is the "Once Saved Always Saved" doctrine wrong?).
Let’s look at a few cases in the book of Acts that should absolutely demolish any doubts that anyone should have as to whether we always and automatically receive the Holy Spirit when we are ‘saved’.
“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
It’s obvious here that Philip preached Jesus Christ to both men and women and they were baptized, but yet Peter and John were sent to pray for them so that they would receive the Holy Ghost “For as yet he (the Holy Spirit) was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”…it doesn’t get any plainer that that!
“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 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. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 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. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”
Again, this time Paul comes upon some disciples and flat out asks them if they’ve been baptized with the Holy Ghost. They’re response was that they hadn’t even heard of the Holy Ghost! They had been only baptized (brought to repentance) by John in the authority of Jesus Christ. Paul then prayed for them and the Holy Ghost came upon them.
Clearly, the Holy Ghost is not always immediately received by believers. We are admonished to continually ask, continually seek and continually knock so that we will ultimately receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”
1st Corinthians 12:3