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. – Acts 2:38 KJV
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The Jews have always been, and still are in confusion on where to position Jesus Christ in their religious belief. Whereas some have come to accept him as the Messiah sent by the Almighty God, some of them are still adamant that he is just a highly gifted prophet but is not comparable to the great Moses, by whom God performed all those miracles that eventually led to the release of their fore-fathers from the bondage of the Egyptians and by whom God gave them the Commandments and who played a significant role in their arrival at the promised land, so when Simon Peter attributed what they were seeing on the day of Pentecost to his association with this same Jesus Christ, they had no choice but to ask questions.
The Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus Christ to his disciples before his death (Jn. 14: 15-31; 16:5-16) and after his resurrection (Acts 1:4-8) had just come on the disciples on a day that was to be subsequently named Pentecost Day and all present had witnessed the disciples speaking in different languages which they were not known to hear or speak heretofore, and with those present been able to hear their own language being spoken by them. For people who were mostly illiterates, this remained a surprise act and they concluded that it must be the effect of excessive consumption of alcohol – Acts 2:4-13.
Simon Peter, in his defense of the disciples against drunkenness, took all present through the scriptures reminding them of the promise of God to pour His Holy Spirit on all people (Joel 2:28-32), how Jesus Christ came as the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise made by the Almighty God, and how instead of his being accepted, they preferred instead to crucify him but how the Almighty God had taken the decision to make that same Jesus, Lord and Christ – Acts 2:14-36. Convinced and convicted of their errors and seeking a way to amend it, they asked Simon Peter what they could do – Acts 2:37. The response of Simon Peter is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion.
In that response, Simon Peter revealed the two short but very effective steps to receiving the Holy Spirit:
1. Repentance from sins.
2. Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.
Peter is in no doubt that if these two steps are effectively carried out, what will follow will be the receipt of the Holy Spirit in a process that is described as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
With this revelation by Simon Peter, it would be expected that every Christian who has gone through the process of Water Baptism will be operating in the Holy Spirit but this is definitely far from the reality. There is no doubt that some Christians are manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12:4-11) but majority of Christians today lack the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and this remains the only proof of the inhabitance of the Holy Spirit in any one. So what could be the reason why it seems Peter’s prescription is ineffective? It is either the case that it was received after baptism but was subsequently lost due to actions of the receiver that is against the continued inhabitation of the Holy Spirit or a case of an ineffective baptism that rendered the whole process a mere exercise, as it was not effective enough to lead to receiving of the Holy Spirit by the one that was baptised.
Any of the above reasons could be why your Christian still sees actions of the Holy Spirit as strange, many years after your conversion and baptism. It could even be the reason why that the existence and role of the Holy Spirit is still a subject of doubt for you after many years of claim to being a Christian. The supernatural abilities that the Holy Spirit is supposed to confer on you are still not there thus rendering you a powerless Christian – Acts 1:8. You are still a very mis-guided Christian as there is no spiritual teacher that can bring to your awareness, the thoughts of the Almighty God about that situation which is the cause of great regrets for you today – Jn. 16:5-14. That could be why you are still a victim of spiritual enslavement, in your search for spiritual solution to your myriad of life challenges. It is not just about being a Christian but about being an efficient Christian. Presence of any or all of the above, and may be more is a clear evidence that your claim to Christianity is just a tag that you are peddling, as these are the basics that the life of a Christian should be able to overcome effectively. There may be the need to review that process of baptism again and if necessary, ask that it should be repeated but this time more efficiently. This is because a faulty foundation is what was laid if the process was not properly done and there will be no other option than to break the old foundation and lay a new but effective one. Attempting anything else will be an exercise in futility.
So why can the exercise be ineffective?
1. You probably did not honestly accept and confess your sins with a firm resolution not to go back to them.
2. The one who conducted the baptismal exercise is probably not approved for that purpose.
3. You went back into sin after the exercise and thus lost the foundation for the whole exercise in the first place.
Whatever may be the reason for the loss, you are better off re-visiting that exercise in order to give your Christian life a meaning. That is the only way you can save yourself from those unwanted stress, even after claims to being a Christian. You may be a candidate of heaven by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior but will remain prone to losing it when faced with the challenges of life that can only be resolved when you have spiritual power, one that can only be bestowed by the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:8. You need it, so desire it earnestly. May God grant you the grace to have it in Jesus name. Amen.