The gift of the Holy Spirit

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, 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

When I was about to leave my secondary school, an old teacher spoke to all the Sixth Formers and suggested that we should take out membership of a posh club in London. Since we were young, we could get a special membership rate, and could be proposed by our headmaster. I didn’t see any benefit to joining at that stage, so I ignored the advice. Some years later, when I found myself working in London, I thought better of it, and looked at how to apply for membership. I discovered that not only would it be very expensive to join, but I would also need to be proposed by two members. I didn’t know two members, and not being particularly rich, could not afford the membership fees. I remained clubless, therefore.

Christianity is viewed by some as rather like a club. Like the club I tried to join, people often think that it is very difficult to gain membership. Here, Peter tells people exactly what they needed to do to become a Christian, however, and it was not as difficult as people might think. First, one had to repent one’s sins, meaning to ask for forgiveness and to promise not to sin wilfully again. Secondly, one should be baptised, as a sign of commitment and of the rebirth that occurs when becoming a Christian. This should all be done in the name of Jesus Christ, as a mark that it is to him one is giving one’s life. What follows is an incredibly gift – the Holy Spirit, which resides within a Christian, and which supports, guides, and points one to Christ. Peter directs these instructions at every one of his listeners – not just Jews, not just good people, but all the assembled crowd. Forgiveness and acceptance, as evidenced by the Holy Spirit, are for everyone!

There is much to be thankful for here. Why not recommit your life to Christ today? Pray for forgiveness of your sins, tell him that you will strive to do better, and accept that incredible gift of the Holy Spirit in your life?

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