Christ’s Promise of Pentecost

by | Apr 1, 2013

“How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” —Luke 11:13

This promise is the Magna Carta of all the rights of the believer respecting the promise and power of the Holy Spirit provided by Christ’s atonement. This means that there is no blessing, benefit, or endowment of the Spirit necessary to the Christian life but what may be actualized by simple faith in this promise.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of this promise accepted and believed by the supplicating disciples in the upper room at Jerusalem. Every Pentecost the world has witnessed since has come by this promise; by it all the Pentecosts that are yet to come.

Several simple things are embraced by this promise.

1. It promises the Holy Spirit Himself. When He comes, He brings His blessing with Him. The fountain contains all the streams that flow from it. So in the Spirit Himself is every benefit He may bestow. He Himself is more and better than the good things He brings with Him. Ask for Him, receive Him. Every child of God may have Him.

2. It promises the Holy Spirit to every child of God. Our family relationship entitles us to the gift of the Spirit. It is true that every child of God has the Holy Spirit in a very gracious sense. He may not have him, however, as an abiding, indwelling presence. This is the gift of the Holy Spirit as distinguished from the Spirit in His ordinary operations and manifestations to the child of God. But what is the difference between the experience of the child of God before receiving the gift of the Spirit and afterwards?

Love. Every child of God has an experience of love. When the soul is born of God, the love of God is shed abroad in it by the Holy Spirit given to it.

However, the child of God finds commingling with this love sometimes much that is unlike love—ill-will, unforgiveness, uncharitableness, inordinate affection, and unholy ambition. When the Holy Spirit is received, He burns out everything contrary to, and out of harmony with, love and leaves nothing but pure love in the heart.

Faith. Every child of God has a blessed experience of faith—a faith that brings peace and favor with God.

Frequently, however, there intermingles with his faith elements of unbelief, doubt, and fear. When trials, reverses, and sorrows come, his faith wavers. When, however, the fullness of the Spirit is come, then, like Stephen, he becomes a person full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer. The child of God often feels a disrelish for prayer, an aversion to the closet hour, a reluctance respecting the prayer meeting. When the Holy Spirit dwells in the soul, there comes a sustained relish for and delight in prayer, a spontaneous impulse to pray. Then family prayer, public prayer, and private prayer will become a delight.

Liberty. This means freedom from sin but also much more. Many of God’s children are not free to speak or pray, or to work, or to rejoice. They are bound, hand and foot and mouth. When the baptism with the Holy Spirit comes, it sets us free—free to be whatever God would have us to do or be. Freedom is power, and this is by the incoming of the Holy Spirit.

3. It promises the Holy Spirit for the asking. Anyone can ask—a child, an invalid, an illiterate person. If you can move your lips or gasp, you can have the gift of the Holy Spirit. Let us ask for Him now.

The Rev. S.A. Keen was a well-known holiness advocate and minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. This selection, condensed by Larry D. Smith, is from Keen’s Pentecostal Papers: The Gift of the Holy Ghost, published 1895.