Holy Spirit question

Today I received the following question via email:
I just had a question about some reading this morning from Luke Chapter one verse 15 is below:15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
How can John be filled with the holy spirit before he is born? I thought the only way to be filled with the spirit is through recognition of our sin and need for God- our repentance and invitation for Christ to be Lord of our lives.
I am confused about the lack of decision on John’s part. Or is this more of the conversation about how much freewill do we have- the elect, predestined and those He foreknew and
such we see in other parts of the new testament? Was this a special circumstance?
Below is my answer:
That is a very good question and I plan to handle this passage this Sunday. Depending on the translation it can also say that “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.” Whether John was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth or before birth doesn’t matter as much with with respect to your question. How did he get filled with the Holy Spirit? In our times it is certain that we do not receive the baptism of the Spirit until we receive Christ. But John was a prophet similar to an Old Testament prophet and in the Old Testament time period people received the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill a role that God has them to do. Later on in Luke 1 John leaps in his mother’s womb when Mary comes around (verse 41). I think that could be the Holy Spirit’s effect on him. In the Old Testament, specifically Psalm 51 we have people who would say, “Do not take the Holy Spirit from me.’ It was definitely God’s sovereign plan. Though today we receive the Holy Spirit as we receive Christ. To sum it up, John received the Holy Spirit because he was a prophet similar to the prophets of the Old Testament.
Thanks for your questions. I love questions like that. Please never hesitate to ask. God bless.

2 thoughts on “Holy Spirit question

  1. Steve, here is a similar question I received in Sunday School. If we receive the Holy Spirit after we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, why are there “good” people in the world who don’t have the Holy Spirit? What/Where is the motivation to do good coming from? How can we be born sinners (Romans 5:8) and evil (Matthew 7:1) yet there are non-Christ followers doing many good things for people through their time, money and actions?

  2. This is a good question and there can be great conversation about this. When Adam and Eve sinned humanity fell from God’s grace, but all the potential problems from sin didn’t happen equally to all people and all right away. For example, Abraham didn’t have the Holy Spirit and was not a Christian. Now, he is the father of Judaism but his parents were likely pagan. Adam and Eve’s lineage through Seth was not nearly as corrupt as Cain’s lineage. So, we have the two lineage’s merging in Genesis 6 when it says the “sons of God married the daughter’s of men.” “Sons of God” quite possibly being the godly lineage from Seth and “daughters of men” being the ungodly lineage through Cain. We all have common grace and I would define that as meaning that even in our sinful state we still have evidence that we are created in God’s image. We are fallen, but we are created in the image of God. Now, once we give our life to Christ we do have the Holy Spirit with us and we should begin a daily process of growing in Christ.
    Another answer as to why there are so many “in the world” living worse than the “Christians” is that there are a lot of pseudo Christians. God knows who are His and I believe the bulk of the True Christians are living better than the bulk of the world. Maybe even all of the true Christians are better than the world.
    I hope that all makes sense and thanks.
    Pastor Steve

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