You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:9-11, NIV)
If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. So how does one get the Spirit of Christ? This is a question of ultimate significance if Paul is any guide.
It seems to me — and please do not confuse this blog post for a systematic study — that the Book of Acts is a wonderful resource for studying this question. Acts is the book of the Holy Spirit more than any other, although that by no means suggests we should ignore the other scriptures.
As Paul is the author of Romans, I go first to his story when thinking about this question. So where and how does Paul receive the Spirit of Christ?
On the road to Damascus, of course. The truth that he could not see burst in on him against his will and all expectation. He was overwhelmed by something that an instant before he had neither seen nor imagined could be true. Indeed, he had been betting his life on the belief that it was false.
But in that flash of light he did not receive the Spirit. That came later at the hands of another man:
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. (Acts 9: 17-19, NIV)
What about you? Where in Scriptures do you find guidance in answering the question I raised above: How does one get the Spirit of Christ?