Gift of the Holy Ghost

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is a Christian term referenced in the Bible and in the Latter Day Saint movement.

Bible

The term The Gift of the Holy Ghost is a biblical reference from the message which was preached in Acts 2 by the Apostle Peter. [Acts 2:38-40.] This gift is a promise to those who (1) repent, and (2) are baptized in Jesus' Name. Acts 2:38,39 Further evidence of this "gift" being given is found in Acts 8:17 upon the occasion of Philip's preaching, also in Acts 10:44-46 when Peter preached to an Italian man and his family, and also in Acts 19:1-6 where Paul met up with some disciples of John the Baptist and told them of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. These men in Acts 19 had not heard of the Holy Ghost and consecuently were re-baptized and then filled with the Holy Ghost. The initial evidence of being filled with the Gift of the Holy Ghost is the act of "speaking in other tounges" or languages. Acts 2:4, Acts 10:46, Acts 19:6. In Acts 8, Philip preached to the city of Samaria and they were all baptized but had not received the Holy Ghost. Peter and John were sent for and when they came they laid hands upon the people and they received the Holy Ghost. In this instance it is not mentioned that they spoke in other tounges. However, a sorcerer by the name of Simon, upon seeing the spectacular event of people receiving the Holy Ghost, offered money so that he too might have that power. Simon had seen many healings and other miracles at the hands of Philip but had never offered money. Certainly something happened to them that was very impressive, possibly and likely they spoke in other tounges. [Acts 8:18-22]

Latter Day Saint movement

Gift of the Holy Ghost also refers to a doctrine of the Latter Day Saint movement, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although adding much to the biblical references, the doctrine teaches that the Holy Ghost itself is a divine personage and member of the Godhead. The "gift" of the Holy Ghost, however, is the privilege of having the Holy Ghost as one's constant companion. People who have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost are able to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time, and the inspiration of the Light of Christ (conscience) as they listen to spiritual promptings, but those who have been baptized and confirmed to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost will always feel His companionship, as long as they remain worthy of it.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is the fourth of the "first principles and ordinances of the Gospel." First being "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Latter-day Saints are told to seek out this gift and to invite the spirit into their daily lives and homes as a source of peace, joy, understanding, and strength to resist temptation. They are taught that by listening to this "still, small voice" or "Comforter" they may receive comfort, peace and divine inspiration (such as cautions, warnings, discernment or personal revelation). They are also taught that the Holy Ghost will sanctify their souls, making them not just worthy to be in the presence of God, but to become more like God. The Holy Ghost is also the source of many spiritual gifts. (See 1 Corinthians 12:8-12)

The baptism of water spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus was a literal baptism as practiced in the church. The baptism of fire is to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Only those who have the Melchizedek Priesthood are able to confirm newly baptized members such that they can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, whereas Priests are only able to baptize.

A person who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost will lose the benefit of its promptings if they commit a major sin (until they repent), or if they exercise "compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness" (Doctrine and Covenants 121:37).

References


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