Acts 2:38–39 (ESV)
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
The promise that Peter speaks of in verse 39 is the promise that God would send His Holy Spirit to us, to dwell within us (John 14:26; Acts 1:4-5).
The idea of God’s Spirit personally being with an individual was not a completely foreign concept to the Israelites. The Old Testament does record incidences when the Spirit of God “came upon”, “clothed” or “rushed upon” certain individuals (Numbers 11:25; Judges 6:34; 14:6; 1 Samuel 16:13). However, the idea that God’s Spirit would personally “clothe” EVERY individual was a concept that was not commonly held nor experienced.
However, the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel and Joel, did speak of a day when God would send His Spirit upon all people (Ezekiel 36:27 and Joel 2:28-29) and that the presence of His Spirit in them would radically transform their inner character and thus their outward lives.
Today, we are living in the age that Ezekiel and Joel spoke of. We can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and experience what it means to have His Spirit in us. The promise of the Holy Spirit is for us and for our children and for anyone, absolutely ANYONE, who responds to His loving call to come back to Him and believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. There is no one too far way physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally or morally that cannot come back to Him, believe, be forgiven and receive His Spirit.
If we believe that His Spirit (His power, character, desires, thoughts and will) dwells within us, then let’s take some action. The belief that He has come to dwell within us cannot be reduced simply to a concept that we mentally give ascent to; like the belief that the earth is round. The belief that His Spirit is in us demands a demonstrable response. If nothing changes in our character, if there is no recognizable change in our lives because of His indwelling Spirit, then either God is not very significant and powerful or our belief of His indwelling Spirit is false.
May we not settle to believe (or is it settle to be deceived?) that His Spirit can dwell within us and we remain unchanged in character and thought. The promise is for you and me. Let’s take Him up on His promise and see what happens.