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Is Receiving the Holy Spirit necessary to go to Heaven?

By Dr. J. Rodman Williams

Is receiving the Holy Spirit necessary to go to heaven? What sign must I look for to know I have received?

The following questions was asked by visitors to The answer is provided by Dr. J. Rodman Williams, theology professor at Regent University's School of Divinity.

Is receiving the Holy Spirit necessary to go to heaven? What sign must I look for to know I have received?

Receiving the Holy Spirit is a frequently occurring theme in the Book of Acts. See Acts 2:38; 8:15, 17-19; 10:47; 19:2. This expression refers basically to receiving power for witness (Acts 1:8-Jesus' words). Receiving the Holy Spirit is not for salvation ("to go to heaven") but for those who are saved a special endowment of power to bear witness to Christ. Speaking in tongues is often a sign that the endowment has been received. See Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6. In our present day, great numbers of believers testify that their speaking in tongues is clear evidence of their having received the Holy Spirit. (See Renewal Theology 2, chapter 11, "The Reception of the Holy Spirit.")

When does a person receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit who is everywhere present indwells those who believe in Christ. Jesus said to His disciples about the Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit) that "He abides with you, and will be in you" (John 14:17). Later in the Upper Room, He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). They had come to faith in the risen Christ so that now His Spirit dwelt within them. Later they were to be "filled with the Holy Spirit" on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit occurred at the moment of a living faith in Christ. So with us.

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