How does one receive the Holy Spirit? If Christian faith is God's gift to people, why do we have so many people without the gift? Thank you.
The Holy Spirit comes to people through the gospel in word alone or the word of God attached to earthly elements in the sacraments (Romans 10:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). So, we received the Holy Spirit when he worked in our hearts when we were baptized. The Holy Spirit continues to work in our hearts when we come into contact with the Bible and when we receive Holy Communion.
Christian faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). People do not produce Christian faith on their own. Christian faith is a gift from God the Holy Spirit.
God certainly desires the salvation of all people (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Through the efforts of Christians, God brings his gospel into the lives of people so that the Holy Spirit can change their hearts. What we have to recognize is that people are by nature spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), spiritually blind (Acts 26:17-18) and enemies of God (Romans 8:6-7). People naturally reject the good gifts God wants them to enjoy through Jesus his Son (Hosea 13:9; Matthew 23:37). When people believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is only because of the Holy Spirit’s working in their hearts (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5-6).
That means that we want to continue spreading God’s word to more and more people, so that the Holy Spirit can work through it to change hearts and fill them with Christian faith. You and I cannot control what happens after we share God’s word with someone; we can’t change anyone’s heart. We can simply share the word of God with others. The results are out of our hands.