It would be an error to believe that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was a random supernatural act in response to some extreme form of faith held by the disciples at Pentecost. To the contrary, Acts chapter 2 describes an event prophesied by God in many places throughout Scripture (See ‘What happened at Pentecost?’).
Previously God revealed to Jeremiah some characteristics of the New Covenant which would be instituted after the death of Christ (Heb 9:17-18).
“…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me..” – Jeremiah 31:33-34
This description of the New Covenant is that its participants would not have a need for a teacher nor a law written in stone for them to remember. Instead, the law would be written in their hearts and they would supernaturally be caused to walk in it. Ezekiel describes this causing by God when he writes:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. “ – Ezekiel 36:26-27
Baptism with the Holy Spirit
This new spirit that would be placed inside the New Covenant believers was spoken of by John the Baptist at the beginning of the gospel of the kingdom:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” – Matthew 3:11
Jesus confirms this baptism with the Holy Ghost during his earthly ministry.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” – John 14:26
“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” – Acts 1:5
This baptism was necessary for believing Israel to enter into the blessings of the New Covenant if they were going to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 2:38-40).
Nowhere does the Bible condemn an abundance of faith towards God. However, it was not a result of an excess or a surplus of faith that caused God to empower the disciples and followers with the gift of the Holy Ghost. Instead, it was the natural result of those ‘men of Israel’ who were partaking of the New Covenant and tasting the heavenly results. These results were foretold by the prophets and by the Lord Jesus himself before his ascension.
In no passage was there a condition of an extraordinary amount of faith in order to receive the New Covenant benefits. Rather, Peter simply tells his audience to ‘Repent, and be baptized.’ This same message was taught by John the Baptist and Jesus during their ministry of water baptism with repentant Israel.
Those who were baptized before by John needed no extra faith to receive the Holy Ghost, it was a part of the benefits of ‘justifying God’ and belief (Luke 7:29; Acts 19:3-6). The majority of Israel, including many publicans and Pharisees, were still in unbelief and stiff-necked against God (Acts 7:51).
The supernatural Pentecostal event was not God’s response or reward to a holy people, but the prophetic fulfillment of the New Covenant to which believers participated to enter the coming kingdom.