In this part, we will begin to set forth how I understand some key wordings.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39).
Some brethren have thought that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is salvation. This will not work. Baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); Yet, Cornelius and his company received “the gift of the Holy Spirit” prior to baptism (Acts 10:44-48).
My view is that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” refers to miraculous endowment. Consider: (1) The phrase “the gift of the Holy Spirit” only appears twice in Scripture (Acts 2:38; 10:44-46). In Acts 10, the phrase is associated with miraculous endowment. (2) There appears to be a parallel with the Great Commission.
Mark 16:16-17: belief | (repentance cf. Luke 24:46) | baptism| salvation| signs follow.
Acts 2:38: (belief cf. Acts 2:36-37) | repentance | baptism | remission of sins | the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Some believe that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whether miraculous or not. They reason: (1) The promise was to the Jews, their children, and those afar off (gentiles) and even as many as the Lord God would call (Acts 2:39). (2) Since, it is the case that He calls us by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), and (3) since, it is the case that miracles have ceased (1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4), then (4) this must include a non-miraculous “gift of the Holy Spirit.” However, it should be pointed out that the term “call” (proskalew) is not the word used for being called by the gospel (Kalew). The word in Acts 2:39 is used elsewhere of being called to an office, position, or work (cf. Acts 13:2; 16:10). The language of Acts 2:39 is rooted in Acts 2:16-18 (cf. Joel 2:28-29). (2) The language sounds universal. Yes it does, if taken alone. Remember that this is also true of Mark 16:17-ff. The rest of the scriptures must be considered. Other passages indicate the duration of miracles (1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4).
Consider these words about Acts 2 – “Does it not seem unusual that every reference to the Spirit from the first verse to verse 33 speaks of the miraculous, and then Peter, without any explanation, passed to the non-miraculous in verse 38? Place yourself in the audience on that Pentecost day. You have seen the miraculous manifestation of the Spirit. You asked for an explanation of the miraculous. The preacher quotes a passage that mentions only the miraculous and then you are promised the Spirit as a non-miraculous indwelling. What would be your reaction? In the days of miraculous manifestation, for an apostle to promise the Spirit and one receive no spiritual gift would have made that person question the credibility of the apostle” (Franklin Camp, The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption, p. 153).
Some brethren have spent much time trying to prove that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” refers to not the Holy Spirit as a gift, but to a gift which comes from the Holy Spirit. While I do believe that this refers to a gift which comes from the Holy Spirit, and not to the Holy Spirit as a gift, I do not see how such can be established by grammar alone. Consider – “The gift of God,” in Romans 6:23, clearly refers to a gift from God, eternal life. “The gift of righteousness,” in Romans 5:17, seems to refer to righteousness (a right standing before God) as a gift. The Wise Men from the East, it could be said, brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were the gift.
These are my thoughts. Study for yourself. Draw your own conclusions.