Receiving the Spirit
Now we see in Acts, that the receiving of the Spirit is a prophetic fulfillment of prophecy through Joel.
Acts 2:17, 18, 37, 38 – And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:…
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
After Peter explains what just happened to him and the disciples, he preaches the gospel of Jesus. He preaches His life, death, burial, and resurrection and, also, the part that they (the Jews) played in His rejection and death. The listeners were pierced in their heart. That is the conviction of the Spirit in the heart of man that leads to repentance. This repentance led to their salvation. You can see they wanted to change their ways by turning to Peter with their question, "What shall we do?" In other words, what can we do to rectify this? Peter says three things must be done: 1) Repent, 2) be baptized in the name of Jesus to the forgiveness of sins, and 3) receive the Spirit.
Those who were listening trusted and obeyed these commands given forth by Peter and 3000 souls were saved because they repented and obeyed the gospel that Peter preached.
If they repented and obeyed, I would have to believe that they not only trusted in the word Peter preached, but they trusted that Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed promised One. So I will leave it as understood that if they repented, obeyed, and received the Spirit, then they trusted (had faith), without doubt, because without trust (faith) in Him, these events would not have taken place.
Notice here what Paul says in answer to "What shall we do?"
Repent - (reference to the blood)
Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to the forgiveness of sins (Obedience) – (reference to the water)
Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – (reference to the indwelling Spirit)
This summarized is the same basic format that had been conducted in the tabernacle of Moses which was recorded in the Old Covenant, now being brought to pass, in a different way, but still the same in the New Covenant.
II Thessalonians 2:13,14 – But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Emphasis added are mine]
In holiness of the Spirit and belief of the truth we are selected to salvation obtaining the glory of Jesus Christ. Trusting in Jesus is the foundation, whereby He Himself, by His Spirit, then sanctifies us.
John 1:12-14 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
When Jesus was baptized in water, He rose from the water and the Spirit of God was seen by John the Baptist descending upon Him. The voice of the Spirit said, "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased." This is the first time you hear the Father's voice actually witness that Jesus is His Son (the manifestation of God in the flesh). The Spirit descended as a dove on Jesus as a witness to John the Baptist that this man Jesus, his cousin, was truly the Messiah foretold. Now we see that those who receive Him, Jesus -- the Spirit, have authority to become children of God (Romans 8:16,17), because they are birthed of God. By receiving the Spirit we are birthed of God. We can now walk as children of God.
His glory was seen by John the Baptist at His baptism and by three of His disciples at "the mount of transfiguration". Both times it was said, "This is my beloved Son, of whom I well pleased." First He is seen in the glory of the Spirit on Him and later in the glory of His glorified body. This is a picture of the sanctifying and culminating work of Jesus by the Spirit in the believer's life.
Before we continue in the epistles (letters in the New Covenant written after the 4 gospels and Acts), it must be understood that the epistles were written to the church’s established by the apostles according to the gospel the apostles preached to them, not unbelievers. If the gospel the apostles preached was truly indeed the gospel that was recorded in Acts, and those that heard, trusted and obeyed that gospel and received the Spirit as recorded in Acts and became the body of Messiah, then we must read and interpret the epistles with that understanding. They were not written to unbelievers to preach the gospel to them, but to those already in the body that needed clarification, edification, and correction.
Ephesians 1:13 – In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,...
Let’s number these points:
They heard the word of the apostles (in this case, Paul).
They trusted the gospel that was preached to them.
They were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
If you will read all throughout Acts, you will see the apostles always preached the gospel of Jesus, the people trusted and you see the pouring out of His Spirit. The pouring out of the Spirit is that seal and witness because the Holy Spirit poured out was "the promise of the Father".
II Corinthians 1:21,22 – Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. [Emphasis added are mine]
More confirmation that to be established in Christ, you must be anointed by God. Jesus, the name of God, is the one that baptized us in His anointing, His Spirit. The anointing of God in and on a believer is the Spirit. He is the seal in our hearts.
Titus 3:5-7 – Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
There is no good works involved on the part of the individual obtaining salvation. It is a work solely of God alone. Paul states how we were saved and what He wrote was God-Spirited [or breathed] (II Timothy 3:16). According to His mercy, He saved us through the bathing of regenesis (baptism in water) and renewing of the Holy Spirit (baptism in the Spirit), which Jesus richly poured out on us. We are justified by His grace. Note that baptism in water and baptism in Spirit were together and not separated (Read more about this in John 3). Look at what Paul writes to the Corinthians about the three-fold witness.
I Corinthians 6:11 - And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Bathed refers to the baptism in water. Hallowed refers to the baptism in the Spirit. Justified refers to the blood (repentance); All in the name of Lord Jesus and raised in the newness of life by the Spirit of God.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 – Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. [Emphasis added are mine]
Here the Lord promises to cut a new covenant with, both, the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Not like the one before. Not a covenant that would circumcise the flesh, as in the old, but a covenant that would circumcise the heart. In the old covenant, it was the circumcision of the flesh through trust (faith), but in the new covenant it is the circumcision of the heart, by Jesus in the baptism in the Spirit through trust (faith). Circumcision of the heart would put His law -the teachings of the Spirit of Life in Jesus Christ- in our inwards and it would be written on our hearts. By doing so, He causes us to walk in His ways (Ezekiel 36:24-27). When this comes to pass, no more will He be in need of man teaching another to know Him. He says they all will know Him when His work is complete.
Romans 2:29 – But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
A true Jew is not concerned with the thoughts or attentions of man, but only of the witness and fruits of God in His life. A true Jew is one who is circumcised of the heart, in spirit, not in word or in flesh. Circumcision of the flesh benefits naught, for God is concerned with the heart of His people. Let us see what the apostles, the elders and the Church had to say about the witness.
© copyright 2000, revised 2011 Jesus M. Ruiz