Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39 (Read Acts 2)
How is it that one can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? How can one “be filled with the Spirit,” as the Apostle Paul commands us in Ephesians 5:18?
Peter, in his Pentecost sermon, gives us the answer: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ”
To be filled and led by the Spirit of God does not require any great work on our part. It does not require a specific prayer or living a holy and sinless life before the Holy Spirit enters into us.
Through the good news of Christ’s innocent sufferings and death for the sins of the world, God graciously calls us sinners to turn from our sins to faith in Christ Jesus for forgiveness and life everlasting (cf. 2 Thess. 2:13-14).
The Holy Spirit reveals our sinfulness and utter failure to live up to the demands of God’s perfect law (cf. Rom. 3:9-20), but then comforts us with the promise of sins forgiven and an eternal inheritance in heaven when we place our faith in Jesus Christ and His blood shed for us on the cross (cf. Rom. 3:21-26; John 3:14ff.; Ps. 51:1ff.).
When, by the grace of God, we believe this and trust in Christ as our Savior, being baptized in His name and according to His command for the forgiveness of our sins (Matt. 28:19; Acts 22:16), we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He takes up residence in our hearts, teaches us of Jesus from God’s Word, and strengthens and keeps us in the true and saving faith (cf. John 14:16-18, 26; 16:13-15).
And the Bible tells us that “He who began a good work in” us will dwell in us and “perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, our risen and ascended Savior, we thank You for granting to us the gift of the Holy Spirit — for moving us to turn from our sins to You for forgiveness and to be baptized in Your name, and for dwelling in us by Your Holy Spirit that we might be kept and preserved in the true and saving faith unto life everlasting. For the sake of Your bitter sufferings and death in our stead, we pray. Amen.
[Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]