"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God ..." (Ephesians 2:8).
"... Jesus said to His disciples, 'Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.' When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, 'Who then can be saved?' But Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'" (Matthew 19:23-26).
At baptism we commit our life to God. But, within ourselves alone, we possess neither the power nor the faith to keep that commitment as we should. We desperately need divine power to assist us in fulfilling God's wonderful calling. That strength comes as a gift from God.
How do we receive strength from God?
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you ..." (Acts 1:8).
As Paul explained: "... It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). He also wrote, with great confidence, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
Is receiving God's Spirit, like baptism, a necessary part of conversion?
"Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ...'" (Acts 2:38).
"But Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, unless one is born from water and the Spirit, he cannot enter God's kingdom. Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit'" (John 3:5-6, New Century Version).
How and when does God give His Spirit?
"Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit ... Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17).
The Scriptures, by example, show that God normally gives the Holy Spirit to those who are baptized when the true ministers of Christ pray for them as they are laying their hands on them (Acts 8:14-17; Acts 19:5-6). In Hebrews 6:1-2 the "laying on of hands" is listed among "the elementary principles of Christ" that make up the foundational doctrines of the Church—showing it is a procedure we should still practice.