A multitude of people had gathered. Peter had preached a powerful sermon and, when they heard his words, they were “cut to the heart” and asked how they should respond.
Peter answered them with “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, ESV)
I think it’s needless to debate about when the Spirit becomes a part of someone’s life. We can fall easily into the trap of fixating on such questions, and miss the crux of Peter’s message.
When I was preaching through Acts 2:1-41 my seven year old daughter, Mercy, understood. She came to me afterward and said, “Dad, I want to repent of my sins and be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” I loved the simplicity and greatness of her faith. She just wanted to obey the passage to the best of her ability.
Is it clear to you that you’re supposed to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit? If so, have you done it? If not, what keeps you from doing it?
Why do we sometimes feel that we need to debate this endlessly, running through every hypothetical situation, and answering every theological question first? When will we simply respond to the truth we have heard and then work through our questions from there?
– Francis Chan in Forgotten God