Question: Who is given the Holy Spirit of God?
Answer: To all who obey Him (Acts 5:32)
If obedience is the pre-requisite to being given the Holy Spirit of God, then disobedience (sin) would result in the taking away of the Holy Spirit of God. This is Scripturally sound as we can see from the life of two kings, Saul (God’s rejected) and David (God’s appointed). The Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14) for he had disobeyed the commandments of God who chose to obey men as he feared them over God (1 Samuel 15:24). David on the other hand, even though he was appointed by God, when he sinned against God and man, by his sin of sex, lies and deceit, he pleaded with God, that God’s Spirit not be taken away from him (Psalm 51:11).
So obedience is the pre-requisite to be given the Holy Spirit of God, but obedience to whom or what? It can be sadly mistaken that obeying moral commands or to standards of life that mandate a pious lifestyle assures the gift of the Holy Spirit, because if this is the case, then anyone who can live up to the standards, can receive the Holy Spirit, whether they believe in Jesus Christ or not. Interestingly it can be observed that many non-Christians such as the Hindu hermits, Buddhist monks, Muslim Mullahs or Jewish Rabbis live a far more pious life than do most Christians. So it is of most importance to understand as to what the Bible means, when it says that “the Holy Spirit is given by God to all who obey him.”
Obedience as recorded in Acts 5 is used in the context of believing in Jesus Christ, as one’s Lord (Ruler/Prince) and Savior. This address was given by the apostles, who chose not to fear men, but God and obey him to be his witnesses. It asserts that it is to them that believe in Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior, that the Holy Spirit of God is given. So whether one is Christian or a non-Christian, unless one believes in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God is not given to that individual. The Holy Spirit of God is given only to all who have put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus, and none other, for the Salvation of their souls.
The question that remains is “To obey or not to obey?” or in other words “To be given the Holy Spirit or not?”
Acts 5:27-32 (KJV)
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.