Q.

What is wrong with tarrying for the Holy Spirit? Doesn’t the Bible tell us to wait upon the Lord, such as in Isaiah 40:31?

A.
We do need to wait upon the Lord—there’s no question about that. In our busy lives we don’t spend time letting God speak to us. It’s appalling to realize the prayerlessness among believers today. Many young believers today are totally unaware of the need and practice of spending time alone with God. This is evidenced by the shallowness of many of the testimonies today. We need to emphasize in our churches the importance of intimate communion with God on a personal basis.

Even pastors can often be guilty of attempting to do God’s work without waiting upon the Lord for power. They go to the pulpit unprepared.

But one thing we do not need to wait upon the Lord for is the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came once and for all for this Church Age on the Day of Pentecost. Just before this great event the disciples were told, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). This is in reference to Acts 1:8, where we have Jesus’ words to the disciples: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” In the next chapter in Acts we have the record of the coming of the Holy Spirit. This was a one-time historical event.

The Holy Spirit does not come and go in the life of the believer. The problem isn’t the Holy Spirit. I have somewhat of a problem with the popular song “Come, Holy Spirit” for this reason. The song should rather state, “Come, wayward Christian.” It is not how much we have of the Holy Spirit but rather how much He has of us.

We need to be people of spiritual power—which comes from waiting on the Lord, saturating ourselves with the Scriptures, asking Him for our needs, recognizing our utter dependence on Him, and so forth; but as believers we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The moment we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came to indwell us. He does not leave us; therefore, we don’t need to tarry for Him to come into us again and again. Nevertheless, we see the principle here that without Him, we can do nothing (see John 15:5).

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (October 1988).
© 1988 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.