“For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
As Peter preaches to the people in Jerusalem at Pentecost, he makes this bold and moving claim. It’s so moving, in fact, that after Peter finishes speaking, three thousand people are baptized into Christ. But what makes this statement so powerful? Just before this, he says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is the promise he’s giving them. He’s telling these people that their sins can be forgiven, and the Holy Spirit of God can live in them. That’s big news!
I think that often we forget about the Holy Spirit. Many Christians don’t even really understand it. The theology of the Trinity is deep and can be a little confusing but I’ll sum it up in this statement: God the Father initiates salvation, God the Son (Jesus) accomplishes salvation, God the Spirit applies salvation.
The importance of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives cannot be understated. Some of the most famous marks of a Christian, the fruits of the Spirit, are all things that the Apostle Paul says come only from living by the Holy Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control would be absent from our lives without the Spirit’s guidance. Further, Jesus himself talks about the Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:28-29 saying, “Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
Wow. That’s huge. Jesus warns us of the dangers of forgetting, neglecting, or worst of all, blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is God’s very presence within us, and to reject it is to reject God from our lives. But that’s not the point I want to focus on the most. While it is certainly important to know the danger of denying the Holy Spirit, it’s even more important to know the power of accepting the Spirit. Earlier in Acts, Peter says that God will pour out his Spirit on humanity, and they will begin to prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams. Paul says in 1 Corinthians that the Spirit gives gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, wisdom, and miracles. There is great power in a Spirit-filled life.
The greatest power is what Paul describes in Ephesians 1:13-14: “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” The Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation, the guarantee of our inheritance. This is exactly the promise that Peter was talking about in Acts 2. By receiving the Holy Spirit we are marked as one of God’s own children, co-heirs with Christ to the Kingdom of God. It is the Holy Spirit that testifies to God that we are saved.
Today, repent, be baptized if you haven’t already, and receive the Holy Spirit. To live according to the world is pain, sin, and death, but to live according to the Spirit is life and peace.
Let your Spirit live in me, and let me live by the guidance of your Holy Spirit in me. Thank you for counting me worthy by the blood of Jesus, and thank you for sending your Spirit to guide, protect, and seal my soul.
In Jesus Name,