( Acts 2:38 )
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Do People Receive the Holy Spirit by Repenting?
What is the most biblically sound repentance? It is to receive the remission of one’s sins by believing in the Word on the baptism and blood of Jesus.
No one can receive the remission of sins and become sinless before God through their devoted prayers of repentance. Moreover, it is even far less the case that they received the Holy Spirit by doing so. Receiving the remission of sin and the Holy Spirit is possible only for those who know and believe in the truth of the baptism and blood of Jesus. The Spirit of God comes as a gift to those who have received the remission of their sins.
The coming of the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Jesus is directly related to the remission of sin given by Jesus. Acts 2:38 states, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This gift is given “to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:39). What is critical in these passages is the relationship between the spiritual cleansing of sin and the blessing of receiving the Holy Spirit: God the Father made His Son accept the sins of the world passed onto Him, and it is by believing in this that we receive the remission of sin; and as a blessed result of this, we receive the Spirit of God as a gift. Have you received the Holy Spirit with such faith?
On the Day of the first Pentecost, the Apostle Peter preached to those who gathered around him that the resurrected Lord Jesus was the Savior of every one of them. Pay attention to the fact that they were Jews, who were well aware of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. And most of them might see the crucifixion of Jesus about two months ago. Therefore, they could easily have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit when they were enlightened by the brief sermon that Peter had preached.
After hearing his teaching, they repented and confessed Jesus as their Savior. They all believed in Jesus’ baptism and His death on the Cross, was cleansed of all their sin, and came to receive the Holy Spirit. Then, Peter baptized those who believed. Moreover, from here and on, as far as the Holy Spirit was concerned, the command to “wait” for Him was no longer repeated to those who have received the remission of sin. After the Day of Pentecost, receiving the Holy Spirit as a result of believing in Jesus no longer entailed any waiting; rather, when people believed in the baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross as their remission of sin, then they received the Holy Spirit the very moment they believed so.
Today’s passage clearly supports that the faith that believes in the baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross is the condition to receiving the Holy Spirit after the events of the Day of Pentecost.
By repeatedly confirming the simple truth that the remission of sin was fulfilled by the baptism of Jesus, Peter concluded that the Holy Spirit was given as a gift to whoever believed in His Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, saying, “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). We should not miss the main stream that since the Holy Spirit was first mentioned in Acts 1, the baptism that Jesus received is the baptism that forgives all the sins of the world. The only condition of this “promise” in the Bible is to believe in the baptism that Jesus Christ received, the blood of the Cross, His death and resurrection. It is to those who believe in these that God has enabled them to receive the Holy Spirit.
The relationship between the faith in Jesus’ baptism and God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is such that the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have been washed of their sins by believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus. We must believe in this truth. The real truth that the Holy Spirit could come to this world is found in the fact that Jesus’ baptism washed away the sins of mankind and His crucifixion bore the punishment of these sins. We must know and believe in the truth hidden in the remission of sin that enables us to receive the Spirit of God as the gift of salvation (Acts 2:38-41).
There are many debates going on among pastors and theologians about the indwelling of Holy Spirit. All kinds of different claims are made on how Christians can receive the Holy Spirit. But what we must remember here is that in the Bible, it is written that when people believe in the gospel of the water and blood of Jesus and of the Spirit, they receive the remission of their sins, and they also receive the Holy Spirit as a gift simultaneously. In short, the Holy Spirit infallibly comes to the saints whose sins have been forgiven.
For people to receive the Holy Spirit given by God, they must repentant in a biblically sound way. The true repentance is for people to turn around from rejecting God’s unconditional love toward them. It is, in other words, to throw away all odds and ends that have stood against the true gospel, and to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in heart. Only then can we receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.
The repentance with which we can receive the Holy Spirit is for us to turn around from disbelieving to believing in the gospel that enables us to receive the Holy Spirit. Everyone went on his/her own way and had stood against God. They all worshipped the creatures as their gods. When Jesus Christ, despite this, saved them from their sins with the water and the blood, far from believing in Him, they stood against the gospel that enables them to receive the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, in case of most Christians, the true repentance before God also means to return to the true gospel that enables them to be born again of water and the Spirit, turning around from their faith that believes only in the blood of the Cross. This is the true repentance that the Bible speaks of.
The Bible tells us, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Likewise, the way for people’s minds to be refreshed is to believe that Jesus has given them the remission of their sins through the baptism with which He accepted the iniquities of sinners and the blood that He shed on the Cross. To receive the Holy Spirit, all our sins must have been passed onto Jesus by believing in Him and we must have no sin. And in our hearts we must believe in the Word that Jesus has given us salvation by taking our sins upon Himself, dying on the Cross, and thereby vicariously bearing all our condemnation in our place. This faith is the right faith of true repentance.
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Triune God. The son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are all one God for us who believe in Jesus. Though they are each a different Person, they are nevertheless the same one God for us who believe in Jesus. Because the Triune God is the same one God for us, each of the Trinity planned together to save us from the sins of the world. And each of them works in their assigned ministries. Like this, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth that Jesus Christ took upon all our sins of the world and was condemned vicariously in our place.
Acts 2:38 tells us that those who have receive the remission of sin “shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Having planned to blot out the sins of the world, God the Father sent His Son to this earth. By being baptized to save sinners, Jesus the Son of God has given us the gospel that has made the sins of the world disappear. And now to those who believe, He made the Holy Spirit dwell in their hearts as God.
Those who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit are the ones who have been saved from all the sins of the world. Such people are God’s children. They are the ones who have the Holy Spirit. Therefore, to receive the Holy Spirit, one must first turn around from all his/her own stubbornness that has stood against the truth. And, second, he/she must most certainly believe in the baptism and blood of Jesus as his/her own salvation.
Why does the Bible treat the baptism of Jesus so importantly? Because the baptism that Jesus received was absolutely necessary to blot out our sins. It was because Jesus had accepted all our sins passed onto Him through His baptism before being subjected to the punishment of crucifixion that He could die on the Cross in our place. In short, the baptism that Jesus received is important because it is through this that He took upon the sins of the world. Because the baptism of Jesus is the baptism of the cleaning of sin, faith in it is most required to receive the Holy Spirit, and it constitutes the gospel that enables us to receive Him. This is why Jesus’ baptism is so important.
The Holy Spirit comes to us because we understand the reason why Jesus was baptized and believe in it. To turn our hearts sinless, we must listen to the Word of the baptism of that Jesus received and of the blood that He shed on the Cross. Only then can we receive the Holy Spirit given by the Lord. We must realize why Jesus, coming to this earth, had to be baptized. Only when we know this and then believe in the blood of the Cross can we have sinless hearts. Because Jesus came to this earth and washed away the sins of the world by being baptized, as a result of this He could pay all the wages of our sins on the Cross with His blood. This is why in our hearts we must believe in the baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross. Only then can we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in our faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The hearts of those who have received the Holy Spirit may not get too excited, but because they have the Holy Spirit in their hearts, they are refreshed automatically. Like this, the hearts of those who have received the remission of sin are always joyful. The hearts of those who repent correctly are refreshed, for they infallibly receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at the same time as they receive the remission of their sins. And those who are born again receive their baptism unhesitatingly as the mark of faith that Jesus has saved them from all their sins through the Word of the water and the blood.
The Bible tells us that the people who were told about Jesus went through the kind of repentance that enabled them to become sinless. Have you gone through this repentance, the one that enables you to receive the remission of your sins and the Holy Spirit?