Friday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 2:38-41

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Christians are not called upon to go in their own strength (Ephesians 6:10).  No one is able to repent or believe on their own.  No one figures it all out and then decides for the Christian faith and then makes a decision to believe and then lives that belief.  Such a thought turns the Christian faith into a mere religion or philosophy, a good and sensible way of living that one would do well to embrace.  There are too many places in the world where embracing the Christian faith is neither sensible nor practical; indeed, it is downright dangerous.  And yet those people live it to the fullest in the midst of persecution.  How?  Because the Christian faith is not a religion but a miracle, and anytime someone comes to saving faith, it is as great a miracle as the creation world, for here a soul is reborn.  The Christian faith is not an idea; getting saved is not an event; the Bible is not a book.  The Christian faith is the divine original; the rebirth of the soul a new creation; and, the Bible the very word of God.

Peter said, “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.”  The part we have yet to cover is “the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Now we must understand that the Holy Spirit was already at work on that person implanting faith in the heart, for faith itself is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).  And so the person comes to saving faith as the Holy Spirit works within.  But upon receiving that saving faith, the Holy Spirit does come and take up residence in that person’s heart (or soul) in such a way that he ever abides within that reborn person (Romans 8:1-30; 1 Corinthians 6:19).  So the gift of the Holy Spirit is the reception of his presence within, which is then our strength, our joy, our guarantee of the life to come, as well as the one who empowers us to live a holy life and grants us gifts for ministry.

And then Peter proclaims the wonderful news that the promise, which is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, is not only for them but their children, those far off (either in sin or just plain unbelievers or pagans), everyone whom the Lord calls to himself.  And the point here is not to wonder, “How many has the Lord called,” but that he calls anyone, and indeed, many: 3000 in this instance!  Another advance the New Testament makes on the Old is that the gospel call goes out to many nations, not just one, to multitudes, not just a few.  But in the end, it is all a miracle.  Saving faith (not just any faith) is a miracle; the will to repent is a miracle; the desire for personal holiness is a miracle.  And the gift is the Spirit himself – the greatest miracle of all.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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