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Joined: 2006/9/23
Posts: 212

 God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him?

Brothers, sisters, what do you think is the correct meaning of Acts 5:32 means "the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him"?

George Platt

 2008/1/11 7:45Profile

 Re: God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him?

The Holy Spirit was Promised in the New Covenant, and the Jews should have understood. However, many...not all, rejected the Gospel of Grace, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who gives us the Spirit of the Life of Christ to set us free from the law of sin and death.

17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have [u][b]obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.[/b][/u]

Here are the verses before and after:

30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

31Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

[/b][/u][u][b]32And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him[/b][/u]

33When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

34Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;

35And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.

36For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.

37After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

38And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

39But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

40And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

42And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

The HEART of the Gospel and how important obedience is to ::17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have [u][b]obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.[/b][/u]

Romans 6
1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to [u][b]obey[/b][/u], his servants ye are to whom ye [u][b]obey[/b][/u]; whether of sin unto death, or of [u][b]obedience[/b][/u] unto righteousness?

17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have [u][b]obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.[/b][/u]

18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Love in Christ

 2008/1/11 8:47

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 1230

 Re: God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him?

Here4Him, That is interesting, I had not seen that before.
As a christian that has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit it made ma think back.
Of course i dont know how we could receive through disobedience.
This could answer your question.
Also,Peter is before the High Priest and is contrasting what they are not.......Obedient.
I may stand corrected but didnt David say "take not thy Holy Spirit from me" in regards to his sin?.....disobedience


 2008/1/11 10:05Profile

Joined: 2006/9/23
Posts: 212


Katy and David thanks for your replies.

Katy thank you for reminding me of the context.

Here's my thinking on the verse. I have heard preachers (some on SI i think) who have used the verse in question as though we have to strive to obey God and then if we are really obedient God will give us His Holy Spirit as a reward for our obedience (obviously they dont say it quit elike that but thats how it comes across).

My problem with that has always been, that i am very aware of my inability to obey the Lord without the Holy Spirit, so if I have to be really obedient first before He gives me the SPirit im stuffed!

What i think it means, and what i think you are saying Katy, is that God gives the Holy SPirit to those who obey the gospel, that is those who with their hearts desire to turn from sin and trust Christ alone. I much prefer that interpretation (although if someone can show me it is wrong from scripture i will be happy to believe otherwise) because then it puts the emphasis on God's gift and grace rather than my effort and striving.

Before anyone says something, i do believe that obedience to the Lord is a key proof of someone being a Christian but i think that obedience is only a result of the Spirit in our lives and not our reward for our own obedience. Right saints?

George Platt

 2008/1/11 11:42Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 1519
Santa Cruz California

 Re: God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him?

I believe that anyone who understands the reality of sin(even in the believer)would never try to make this verse into a works based reward.

To do so makes Christ a second Moses, and makes Christ one who demands but does not give what He commands which is not grace, but rather the Law.

If people would be brutally honest with themselves(which every Christian should be honest;-) )we would realize that every moment of every day, there are parts of my life that are in rebellion to Christ and His rule. We are and do resist the Holy Spirit quite often. Of course this causes us to cry out to our Father and ask Him to forgive and continue the PROCESS of sanctification in us.

I have found this short passage in John of tremendous depth and comfort-

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, [b]What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?[/b]

If ever there was a chance for Christ to unload all law on these folks, it would have been here, but notice how He answers-
John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, [b]This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.[/b]

Simple, and as Paul feared, I too fear that many are being moved away from the simplicity of Christ.

It seems that all of us start by believing in Christ, and His power to save us. But then suddenly that power somehow expires and it is time for us to "get busy for Jesus", and if we don't, then He can't save us.

This of course could not please Satan more, as eventually the burden of working for ones' own salvation drives one to exhaustion and despair. Satan's chief aim is to just get us to glance away from Christ and His sufficiency, and move us into a realm of self. Here we are no match for him, just as a sheep cannot fight against a wolf. Ah but then we forget that we are helpless without our Shepherd.

If we also would look at that little phrase "anti" in "anti-christ", we would understand that it not only means "against", but also "in place of". Satan, and our flesh love to put self in place of Christ, so that we feel that we are "meriting" God's favor by our work.

All who have faith have the Spirit, as the one CANNOT exist apart from the other.

patrick heaviside

 2008/1/11 12:05Profile


My problem with that has always been, that i am very aware of my inability to obey the Lord without the Holy Spirit, so if I have to be really obedient first before He gives me the Spirit im stuffed!

I would agree those under law could not obey either, and that is why God said, I will put my spirit in you and CAUSE you to walk in my statutes.

Jesus is the SURITY of the New Covenant, and He who has begun a work in you will continue it until the Day of Jesus Christ.

Amazing Grace.

Paul said in Philippians 3....that I may Know Him and the Power of His resurrection, comparing life under Law to his now life under Grace.

Law could not provide the Power of His resurrected in us....but says before this verse, not having a righteousness of my own, but the righteousness that comes by the faith of Christ....

Galatians 2:20&21 also make this clear......I am crucified with Christ....No longer I but Christ in me....and the life that I now live in the Flesh, I live by the faith of Christ.

Verse 21 ...whether law or self effort.....voids out life under God's Amazing Grace.

We don't live by effort, but by FAITH...and are partakers of His divine nature through faith in His precious Promises. ****2 Peter 1

Love in Christ

PS, I would like to add 2 Corinthians 3...that we are being changed from Glory to Glory by the Spirit of the Lord. We cannot in and of ourselves change ourselves from Glory to this is a divine act of God alone that works ONLT through Calvary....the New Covenant, and not in the letter of the law, or fleshly efforts. Our flesh is crucified with our flesh is judicially rendered dead, and we are Alive, Born Again a New Creation in Christ Jesus!

 2008/1/11 12:10

Joined: 2007/10/3
Posts: 68
Moorpark, CA


This is a topic that i have been thinking through for quite some time now. Not to sure where i land yet, but i will share some of my thoughts.
I am reading book "Power of God" by Finney, and he sites Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Finney goes on to talk about how the disciple had a measure of the Spirit in that they were able to obey God, but they had not received power from on high to go out into the world to covert them and preach Christ with results(power).
Another thing i have been thinking about is Galatians 5, with reagrds to walking in the Spirit. I have come to see that we have the Spirit of God but also can, and cannot walk in the Spirit.
So a quesion is, when Christ ascended and the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, were the disciples living in obedience? And how can they live in obedience if the Spirit had not been given. It would seem that believers upon believing get the Spirit, but recieving power is something else.
I dont know if anything i said helps but these are some things that i am thinkning through. Again i dont die on any hill here i am still seeking to find answers on this topic myself.
May we all be led into truth.
Hebrew 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him".



 2008/1/11 12:37Profile

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


Just chiming in here... may we look again at Acts 5:32, which says,

"We are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."

The point of discussion is whether or not the passage implies Christians must merit their receipt of the Holy Spirit by fulfilling some certain amount of obedience. Do only especially obedient Christians get to have the Spirit? Are there two classes of Christ's disciples, those who have received the Spirit after achieving self-discipline, and a lower caste of believers who have not stuck their shoulders to the plow hard enough to earn God's precious gift of the Spirit?

Many people in Evangelicalism have been given this impression through a misunderstanding of some basic principles of the faith.

Paul wrote that anyone who does not have the Spirit does not have Christ.

"But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." [Romans 8:9]

Therefore, it the obedience spoken of in Acts 5:32 must and can only be [b]the obedience of faith.[/b] That is, the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey the gospel commands to repent and believe on Christ for the remission of sins, who have received the inward baptism which saves. [1 Pet.3:21, Eph. 4:3-6]

I do not believe Acts 5:32 teaches us that "if you obey, you will then receive the Spirit," but rather, "those who obey the gospel commands to repent and believe on Christ, do so only because they have come under the power of the Spirit who regenerates."

Compare Titus 3:4-7

"4But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

This "washing of regeneration" is given through the Holy Spirit, prior to any good works on our part. It is necessary to be regenerated to do anything other than "dead works". [Heb.9:14]

Consider as well Ephesians 2:4-9,

"4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Immense blessings in the gospel!

 2008/1/11 16:48Profile

Joined: 2006/9/23
Posts: 212


Theopenlife, i agree with you, and these discussion has been helpful.

When you are convicted of your disobedience to Christ in an area, the devil can certainly come and try to convince you that you dont have the Holy SPirit and through using such passages as Acts 5:32 he can try to convince you that you need to work harder and try more, clean up your act before God will bless you or help you or forgive you or give you the Spirit. This is just the spirit of legalism that leads people into a cycle of more defeat and despair and oh boy haven't i been there!

Only the gospel and the eye of faith on our Blessed Redeemer and His finished and complete work of redemption can motivate us on in the Christian life. Amd believing that because you believe in Christ you do have the Spirit so that it is possible for you to walk in obedience fills you with faith that its going to happen, whereas believing the opposite leads you to believe that there isnt much hope for you so you might as well give up.

Thanks for your confirmation that this is a verse about the obedience of faith

George Platt

 2008/1/12 8:31Profile

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


I'm glad that my response was useful to you. More times than I can number, I've been through the same cycle you described.

At some point I came to the ironic yet comforting conclusion, that either I have never been saved and He now freely offers me to come to Him, or I have been saved and He will most certainly finish the work He began in me. Christ is able to save to the uttermost them who come to God by Him. He ever lives to make intercession for His saints. If God has freely given His Son for His people, what will He not give? No one will snatch me from His hand. He has put His fear in my heart that I shall not turn from Him.

"And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." [Jer.32:40]

At times when I was really afraid that I'd never had faith in Christ to save me, I found myself asking Him again, "Please have mercy on me, a sinner. I have no one else to turn to; no one who can pardon my sins but Christ who died for all who come to Him. Please, Lord, if I have not yet really come, accept me by Your mercy now."

The outcome has always been to almost immediately sigh and feel pacified.

Thank God for "the more sure word of prophecy", our canon of scriptures, which is not moved with our anxieties and emotional upheavals.

 2008/1/12 9:26Profile

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