The Holy Spirit is not given to all, for Peter being filled with the Spirit, declared "we are witnesses of these things and also the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." Acts 5:32 The original word translated "those who obey" is a combination of two words: (to be persuaded) and (by rulers).The Holy Spirit is only given to those who have been persuaded by the One who rules. Paul is in complete agreement with this as can be seen in His question to the Galatians -"Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law or the hearing of faith?" Only those who have heard and been persuaded by the authority of God will receive His Spirit. Those who reject His words because they are more persuaded by their own thoughts, resist His Spirit rather than receiving the love of the truth so as to be saved. All who continually resist God's thoughts spoken to them by His Spirit indirectly through His servants or directly to their own heart, will never be given His Spirit; instead, they will be given over to their own thoughts to do what ought not to be done. They become reprobate in their mind through their own refusal to be persuaded by the Lord to fall back and humble themselves. Despite the gravity of their true situation, they are confidantly deceived because God Himself sends a strong delusion upon them and they boldly walk in their self-deception. How can we know if we have been given His Holy Spirit or whether we have deceived ourselves into thinking we have? What test should we use, what indicators should we look for? Peter gives us the key; we should examine ourselves to see if we have truly "been persuaded to obey our ruler"; do we truly know Jesus as our Lord, Master?Would Jesus turn to us as He did to the crowds who were following Him and ask "Why do you call me Lord and do not the things I say? Not everyone who says Lord Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." How then can we determine with certainty that we have genuinely been persuaded by our Lord? There is one unmistakable mark of a man who has been persuaded by the Lord - "godliness." Godliness comes from the Greek word meaning "to fall back well." In the days when men encountered kings, the universal sign of proper recognition was "to fall back". When our own thoughts encounter those of our Lord and "fall back", we are then able to receive in meekness the implanted word which will save our souls (from our own thoughts), inviting the Holy Spirit to lead us into His truth - His word is truth! Is this our posture when we hear the word of God? Do we fall back in our minds and humble ourselves, or do we stand tall in our own minds defending our natural imaginations and ideas ? All who are more persuaded to stand tall in their own thoughts rather than "fall back well" are "un-godly" and these will never be given the Holy Spirit because they resist being persuaded by the Lord. His grace will not force itself upon us, it is offered as a gift to be received or rejected; those who humble themselves are the only recipients of grace and of the Holy Spirit. Those who "fall back well" (godly men), do so because they have been persuaded by the Lord - they tremble at His word and rejoice at His commands. This response pleases the Lord and as a result of their hearing of faith He gives His Holy Spirit to them. Men who have been broken of their pride, and crushed of their resistance, and have gone from talking back to trembling before the Lord are those the Holy Spirit is given to. Those who hear, believe, and receive the words of the Lord are "godly men" - those who fall back well. Those who hear, but refuse to be persuaded, resist rather than "falling back" - they will receive "a strong delusion" rather than the Spirit of Truth.
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
I would heartily agree with the author that Godliness is certainly a sign of a man walking in the Spirit of God. Yet, the context of the Scripture that is presented is the disciples standing before a group of Pharisees who were demanding that they not mention the name of Jesus. And so we see genuine witnesses of Jesus, standing boldly in His name, and we see men, religious men, who had denied the fact that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Therefore, " those who obey Him," in this context is speaking to believers and unbelievers. Yet, I never got that from the piece. It seems like the piece is speaking to an audience of Christians who are at varying degrees of sanctification, or whose walk is not what it should be and the conclusion being if your walk is not as it should be then you do not or will not receive the Holy Spirit? I do not believe that the author meant to use this Scripture in the context of being Baptized in the Holy Spirit, whether initially or the continual need to be filled with the Spirit, for we know that there are many Scriptures that deal with this directly..........brother Frank