Is obedience necessary to receive the Holy Spirit?

The Lord promised the Holy Spirit to all who obey and abide by His commandments. “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). The obedience of the created being to the Creator is the basis and core of a loving relations with God (Isaiah 1:11; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6–8). “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed [is better] than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).

All of God’s creation obey Him. The angels obey God (Ps. 103:20, 21), but in love, not in dry formality. Men are to obey (Ps. 103:17, 18; Eccl. 12:13), but in love (John 14:15). People are to obey the truth (Rom. 2:8), sound doctrine (Rom. 6:17), and the good news of God (2 Thess. 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17). The Lord promised eternal life to those who obey (Heb. 5:9). This life is obtained by grace through faith (Eph. 2:5, 8).

However, outside forms of religion should not be excluded. For it was Christ who established the ceremonial law. The different services stated in this law had vital instructional meaning. People sinned when they made these exterior forms the focus of their faith. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in adhering to certain forms of worship, but rather in the absence of the honest spirit of religion inspiring the actions and the forms (Isa. 1:11).

David acknowledged the worth of the forms of public worship when they reflect a sincere spirit of the worshiper. “For You do not delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. My [only] sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart [broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise”  (Ps. 51:16–19).

And genuine obedience is exhibited by keeping to God’s holy commandments “For the [true] love of God is this: that we habitually keep His commandments and remain focused on His precepts. And His commandments and His precepts are not difficult [to obey]” (1 John 5:3). The Ten Commandments are but the expansion of the two precepts, love to God and love to man. Jesus said, “if you wish to enter into eternal life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17–19 also 22:36–40; Rom. 13:8–10).

In His service.
BibleAsk Team

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