The last days of history – Part 37
Acts 2: 38,39 If you want to follow Christ, you must “repent … be baptised.” To repent means to turn from sin, changing the direction of your life from selfishness and rebellion against God’s laws. At the same time, you must turn to Christ, depending on Him for forgiveness, mercy, guidance, and purpose. We cannot save ourselves—only God can save us. Baptism identifies us with Christ and with the community of believers. It is a condition of discipleship and a sign of faith.
Acts 2:38 “repent, and be baptized.” Repentance, forgiveness of sins and baptism are the prior conditions for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. However, Peter’s demand that his hearers be baptised in water before receiving the promise of the Father (cf. 1:4, 8) must not be taken as an absolute requirement for the infilling with the Spirit, nor is baptism in the Spirit an automatic consequence of water baptism. (1) In this situation, Peter required water baptism prior to receiving the promise, because in the minds of his Jewish listeners, the rite of baptism was taken for granted as being involved in any conversion decision. Water baptism did not precede the baptism in the spirit, however, in the instances recorded in Acts9: 17-18 (the apostle Paul) and 10:44-48 (those in Cornelius’s house). (2) Each believer, after repenting of his or her sins and accepting Jesus Christ by faith, must “receive” (cf. Gal 3:14) a personal baptism in the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit in the book of Acts was consciously desired, sought and appropriated (1:4, 14; 4:31; 8:14-17; 19:2-6); the only possible exception to the rule in the NT was the case of Cornelius (10:44-48). Consequently, the baptism in the Spirit should not be considered as a gift automatically provided to the believer in Christ.
Read Acts 3:11-26. Peter preaching in Solomon’s Portico
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19)
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by preaching repentance. The apostles’ message of salvation also included the call to repentance – acknowledging personal sin and turning away from it. Many people want the benefits of being identified with Christ without admitting their own disobedience and turning from sin. The key to forgiveness is confessing your sin and turning from it.
“Times of refreshing.” Throughout this present age and until Christ’s return, God will send “times of refreshing” (i.e., the outpouring of the Holy Spirit) to all who repent and are converted. Although perilous times will come toward the end of this age and a great falling away from the faith will occur (2 Thes 2:3; 2 Tim 3:1), God still promises to send revival and times of refreshing upon the faithful. Christ’s presence, spiritual blessings, miracles and outpouring of the Spirit will come upon the remnant who faithfully seek Him and overcome the world, the sinful nature and the dominion of Satan.
Read Mat 3:1,2. John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus.
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