The Bible tells us that all believers receive the Holy Spirit at the moment they first accept Jesus as the Son of God, the Lord of their lives and the Savior who came to atone for sin—past, present, and future (Ephesians 1:13b).
In another passage (2 Corinthians 5:17) Paul explains that at that moment of conversion, we became new creations; the old was gone and the new had come.
It was a complete rebirth that God planned for us; and that is exactly how Jesus explains it to Nicodemus in the third chapter of the gospel of John when He explains if you want to get into the Kingdom of God, you have to be born again.
The Signs of Rebirth
The question is unavoidably raised: How do we know that we have received the Holy Spirit? There are many manifestations of His presence that can be seen in our lives. Here are a few.
- We exhibit a new passion for worship, prayer, generosity, fellowship and the teaching of the Word (like the first church described in Acts 2:42-47.
- We possess a boldness to witness (The life of Paul is an excellent model)
- There will be evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in our life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). These characteristics are all a part of each believer’s temperament. They may not all be visible in the early years but they exist within and can be called upon as we mature in our faith.
- Our Spiritual gift(s) are being utilized for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). It should be noted that not all believers have all the gifts. Each is specifically equipped with special gifts to accomplish the task that God has given that person to do.
How can you know if you demonstrate the qualities mentioned above? Some possible means: (1) You pray continuously for God to reveal your weaknesses and strengths; (2) You evaluate yourself regarding the individual manifestations mentioned above; (3) You participate in Spiritual gifts inventories (available at the church); (4) You pay attention to observations from truthful Christian friends who know you well.
These suggestions are not definitive in themselves, but they can be helpful in maximizing your effectiveness in God’s work.