About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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What Saves You?


After preaching the very first Christian sermon the Apostle Peter was asked how we can be saved (Acts 2:37).  He answered by saying that we must repent and be water baptized (water baptism being an expression of faith) and then we would receive the Holy Spirit into our lives.  Let's look closely at what Peter said because it's my opinion that today's Evangelical church has greatly weakened Peter's gospel message.   


Acts 2:37 states that those who heard Peter's message were cut to the heart.  This tells me that the Holy Spirit reached into the hearts of these people and confronted them with their sinful existence.  This is important because without the Holy Spirit's finger of conviction, the process of salvation cannot even begin.  


Peter told these people to repent.  Repentance is the process by which we come to an abrupt stop in our lives and choose to live for Jesus instead of living for ourselves, something that is impossible to do on our own.  For this reason the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to genuinely repent (Acts 11:18).          


Peter then spoke of water baptism which is a demonstration of faith.  Biblical faith is not just agreeing to the facts about Jesus.  Based on the Greek word "pistis" that is translated as "faith" and "trust" in the New Testament, faith is the process by which we trust Jesus with our very lives.  We are unable to trust Jesus as we should and that is why God gives us the ability to trust Him (Romans 12:3). 


If by the help of the Holy Spirit we have genuinely repented and believed we can expect to receive the Spirit of the Almighty God into our lives.  In some cases, as in Acts 8 and Acts 9, there is a lapse of time between repenting/believing and receiving the Spirit.  In other cases, as in Acts 10, repenting, believing, and receiving the Spirit, happen simultaneously.  The book of Acts shows us that the way in which the Holy Spirit works these things into our lives doesn't always fit into our nicely packaged theological formulas.  For some, getting saved is a process that takes time.  For others it is instantaneous.  Some may repent and believe without speaking those words or knowing what they mean.  They just do it and learn what they have done later.   


Repentance, believing, and receiving the Spirit are three separate and distinct aspects in the process of salvation.  We can't equate repenting as being the same as believing or believing being the same as receiving the Spirit.  Beyond that, the Holy Spirit's involvement is basic to all three aspects of salvation.  We cannot even approach Jesus to be saved without the Father, through His Spirit, inviting us to be saved (John 6:44).  Salvation is initiated by the Holy Spirit, is processed by the Holy Spirit, and is secured or completed by the Holy Spirit.  Salvation is then worked out in our lives by the Holy Spirit for without Him in our lives we do not belong to God (Romans 8:9).   

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