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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Where to Begin

"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" (Acts 2:38)

The practical question confronts us: how can we obtain the baptism with the Holy Spirit? The Word of God answers this question very explicitly. There is a clear biblical path consisting of seven simple steps, which anyone who will can take. Whoever takes these seven steps will, with absolute certainty, enter into this blessing. This statement may seem very positive, but the Word of God is equally positive regarding its outcome.

The first three steps are brought out with special distinctness in Acts 2:38. The others which are clearly  implied in the verse are brought out more clearly by other passages to which we shall refer later.

The first two steps are found in the word "repent." What does repentance mean? It means to "change your mind." But a change of mind about what? As determined by the context in this case, the change of mind was primarily about Jesus Christ. Peter brought against his hearers the awful charge that they had crucified Him whom God had made both Lord and Christ. These words were spoken in the power of the Spirit and "cut to the heart." Peter told them that it was time for them to change their minds about Christ. Change from a Christ-crucifying attitude to a Christ-accepting attitude. Accept Jesus as Christ and Lord - this is the first step toward the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Have you accepted Jesus as Saviour? By that I mean, are you trusting completely in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary, upon His atoning death for us, as the only ground of your acceptance before God? There cannot be a trace of works righteousness in it, as Paul reminds the Galatians of their experience with the Holy Spirit: "Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?" (Galatians 3:2). The first step toward receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to rest entirely and absolutely upon what Jesus Christ has already done, not on anything we do.

Lord, Jesus, I do indeed trust in You completely for my salvation. I denounce trusting in anything I have done or ever will do that might give the appearance of meriting the Father's love. You are my only Saviour, and in You alone do I trust. Amen

~R. A. Torrey~


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