What Scripture Says About Salvation
A Bible Study by Fred Kenison
Monograph 19: The Pouring Out of the Spirit
In Acts 2:16-17, Peter was explaining the activities of the day of Pentecost.
"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."
Whether Peter was describing a "baptism of the spirit" is still open to question, but he was definitely describing what happened on the day of Pentecost. He called it a pouring out of the spirit.
What spirit is this? It is the spirit of truth that Jesus promised to send when he returned to the Father, the spirit which was his inheritance from Abraham, a gift presented to him by the Father. Abraham recognized truth when he heard God speak and God gave his spirit of truth as an inheritance to Abraham's seed, Jesus.
Notice that this pouring out of spirit was not just for believers; it was "upon all flesh." Some claim that the spirit was poured out only on believers, but the scripture plainly says the spirit was poured out on all flesh. Believers were the only ones who actively received the spirit of truth; but God, through Jesus, still poured out some of his spirit upon all flesh, not just believers.
In John 14:17, Jesus told his disciples that he would send the spirit of truth,
"whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
Jesus did not say that this spirit would be "poured out upon" only believers; but that the believers would be the only ones who would actively "receive" the spirit.
Some cite Acts 2:18 in an effort to prove that Peter's message is yet to be fulfilled, that he was talking about the final days of this age. But Peter said, "This is that," which is in the present tense. Men have not yet seen all the wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below that mark the end of the age, but they have seen the pouring out of the spirit. That happened at Pentecost.
This is the reason Peter and John recognized the fact that the spirit had already been poured out on the Gentiles when they preached to them. What they observed was not a baptism, or even a pouring out, but a receiving.
Peter and John remembered Pentecost, and when they saw the same reaction in the Gentiles, a completely new horizon was opened. They recognized the fact of a world wide pouring out of the spirit, on all flesh. It would be received individually by faith, but it was poured out upon all. This is the reason for sharing the gospel, that men might believe the testimony of the spirit and thereby receive it into their lives. This is the truth that changes men.
As he continued his message, Peter said,
"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." While preaching in Antioch, Paul made a similar statement: "And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again." (Acts 13:32-33).
Paul knew that the raising of Jesus was the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham (see Galatians 3 and 4). Those who receive the spirit of truth find their lives are changed from being a lie to being the likeness of God, one of love. By receiving truth in their lives, men exemplify this faith by deeds of love. God is truth, and he exhibits this truth by his loving deeds and attitude toward men. God expects no less of those who receive his spirit, i.e. truth.
In Titus 3:3-8, Paul affirmed to Titus, and to us, that this truth is to be shown in loving deeds to others.
"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not 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; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men."
These good deeds will result from the pouring out of (the) holy spirit upon men. It will also bring about a restoration to a pristine state they had once before as Adam in the garden of Eden. This is accomplished by a renewing of holy spirit.
We stand cleansed of all sins and holy spirit empowers us with this knowledge. With the mind we serve God, but with the flesh we serve sin (Romans 7:25). There is "no more conscience of sin," like Adam at first. Hallelujah!
Please note the double use of "re" in this verse: regeneration and renewing. The use of "re" signifies the return to a previous state. Holy spirit, as Paul explained here, is the power to do good in love, and understand what "re"newing means.
# Some claim that the spirit was poured out only on believers, but the
scripture plainly says the spirit was poured out on everyone.
# Believers were the only ones who actively received the spirit of truth,
but God, through Jesus, still poured out some of his spirit upon all
flesh, not just believers.
# Men have not yet seen all the wonders in the heaven above and signs
on the earth below that mark the end of the age, but they have seen the
pouring out of the spirit. That happened at Pentecost.
# This is the reason for sharing the gospel, that men might believe the
testimony of the spirit and thereby receive it into their lives. This is the
truth that changes men.
# Those who will receive the spirit of truth find their lives are changed to
being the likeness of God, one of love.
# By receiving truth in our lives, we exemplify our faith by deeds of love.
# Good deeds result from the pouring out of holy spirit upon men.
© 2009, Fred Kenison and Merrill Douglass. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.