( Acts 10:44-48 )
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.”
The biblical events surrounding Cornelius provide the answer to the question of whether or not it is by keeping the Law that one receives the Holy Spirit. They show us that those who received the Holy Spirit from God did not receive Him by keeping the law, but by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
That the Holy Spirit descended on Cornelius and his household shows us that this phenomenon is also related to their faith in the baptism and blood of Jesus. Like this, the faith that could enable all the people in the world to receive the Holy Spirit was only the faith that enables these people to receive the remission of their sins. Peter said in Acts 11:17, “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” For the faith of Peter, receiving the Holy Spirit and receiving the remission of sin were the same. Therefore, the widespread belief in today’s Christianity, that the faith that enables people to receive the Holy Spirit can be attained through the prayers of repentance, is a profoundly mistaken and completely fallacious belief. It is only by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we receive the Holy Spirit.
Seeing the Holy Spirit descending on Cornelius and his family, Peter said, “Who was I that I could withstand God?” (Acts 11:17) This means that the Holy Spirit comes to us as a result of believing in the baptism that Jesus received and in the precious blood of the Cross.
Acts 2:39 states, “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.” Now, people throughout the whole world have been enabled to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by hearing the gospel of the water and the Spirit.