By Leon Morris
But though it is a gift of God, it is not one that is given to all men indiscriminately. . . The Spirit comes only to those who are ready to receive Him. The natural man "receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged" (1 Cor. 2:14). . . And while he is in that state he cannot receive the Spirit. It is not that God, so to speak, deliberately withholds His gift. It is rather that the man simply cannot receive it. He has neither the inclination nor the capacity.
. . . We have a personal responsibility here. Though all Christians have the Spirit, not all have the fullness of the Spirit. The difference is the result of differing attitudes. Though the gift is in one sense is all of God, in another sense it is up to us whether we are ready to receive it. . . "Man is 100 per cent responsible, and yet God gives man all of the ability that he has. . . The obligation to seek this further indwelling of the Holy Spirit rests entirely with man."
. . . "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink" (Jn. 7:37). . . The Spirit will not be given where there is no desire for Him. If men are happy to walk in their own selfish way, if they have no desire to tread the path of lowly service, if they feel no need of divine aid in overcoming the evil within them and in doing the good they in their better moments desire, then there is no gift of the Spirit for them. But if they realize their own shortcomings, if they long for the life that is offered them in Christ, if they thirst for the Spirit, if they humbly seek God's good gift, then He will freely grant them His Spirit.
. . . Men must turn from every evil way, for the presence of the Spirit is incompatible with a readiness to do evil. . . . The believer can never be content to sin so long as the sin remains within decent limits. He must make a clean break with it. He must forsake it utterly. Devotion to regulations must give way to devotion to the living God.
. . . If we will not obey God, we need not expect to receive His Spirit. Obedience, moreover, is a wholehearted thing. So often we give God a partial obedience. We do not dare to disobey, but we do not care to obey fully. So we compromise. We do some of what we should, thus removing the stigma of disobedience. But we refrain from the most difficult or objectionable or uncomfortable part, and thus try to get the best of both worlds. Not so will we receive the Spirit of God.
. . . When he sincerely trusts Christ for his salvation, then he receives the Spirit of God (Jn. 7:39). Faith is the gateway to all the blessings that the Christian receives.
Wonderful though the gift of the Spirit is, Scripture makes it clear that there are more wonderful things yet ahead of the believer. . . . The gift of the Spirit now is a guarantee that there are greater things ahead of the Christian than anything he has yet experienced. The "down payment" is a pledge that the rest of his inherence will follow.
This has reference partly to this life, and partly to that which is to come. . . In the New Testament "the Spirit is related primarily to the future, to eternity, to the time of the consummation of the redemptive process." This is profoundly important. It means that in the gift of the Spirit the believer receives something of the powers and the life of the world to come. His life in the Spirit is literally "out of this world." It is a preview, a foretaste of the blessings set before us (The Spirit of the Living God, pp. 93-97).