The Way Home
Here are the key elements by which we become reconciled to the Father. Each is vitally important. Any, if absent, could keep our new relationship from being complete.
Our condition: First, we must understand that we are separated from God. The chasm dividing us is both wide and deep. We inherited a fatal defect at birth. As a result, we have lived our lives independently from him. The Bible emphasizes this stark reality: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If we can’t come to grips with the fact that sin separates us from God, we’ll never come home spiritually, for there is no need for a savior.
God’s remedy: Second, we need to be very clear in understanding who Jesus is and what he has done for us, in order that we might confidently place our faith in him. He bridged the chasm separating us from God. In the apostle John’s words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Jesus was not just a good man, a great teacher, an inspired prophet. He came to earth as the Son of God. He was born to a virgin. He led a sinless life. He died. He was buried. He rose again on the third day. He ascended into heaven where he became both Lord and Christ.
Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf satisfied God’s requirement – complete provision for our sin. This Jesus, and he alone, is qualified to be the remedy for my sin and yours.
Our response – to repent and believe.
Personal repentance is vital in the transformation process. Repentance literally means “a change of mind.” It is to say to the Father, “I want to turn toward you and away from the life I’ve lived independently from you. I am sorry for who I’ve been and what I have done and I want to permanently change. I receive your forgiveness for my sins.”
Many at this point experience a remarkable “washing” from a lifetime’s accumulation of all that can degrade a person’s soul and spirit. Whether or not we sense God’s forgiveness, if we repent, we can be very certain that we’re forgiven. Our confidence is based on God’s promise to us, not how we feel.
We come into a personal relationship with the Lord when we make life’s greatest decision – the turning point referred to earlier. It is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the One who died for our sins, who was buried and was raised from the dead – and to receive him as our Savior and Lord. When we believe in this way, we become God’s children. This is emphatically promised in John’s gospel: “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
Would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your savior? If you would, you can pray a prayer like this:
“Jesus, I need you. I repent for the life I’ve lived apart from you. Thank you for dying on the cross to take the penalty for my sins. I believe you are God’s Son and I now receive you as my Savior and Lord. I commit my life to follow you.”
What it means to be baptized by the Holy Ghost...
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever (John 14:16).
When Jesus returned to Heaven, He promised His disciples they would not be left alone. He told them He would send the Holy Ghost who would baptize them with power to preach the Gospel.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you : and ye shall be witness unto me both in Jerusalem, an in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Jesus did send the Holy Ghost, just as He promised he would. There were 120 disciples gathered together in an upper room to pray, waiting for the promised Holy Ghost.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
This wonderful outpouring from God was followed by one of the most dynamic demonstrations of preaching recorded in the Bible. Peter was a disciple who had earlier denied that he even knew Jesus. He was so changed by this baptism of power that 3000 men (not even counting women or children) were saved when he preached that day!
This is the primary purpose of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. God does not expect us to witness to others about Jesus without any proof or evidence to back up what we are saying.
A witness is someone who produces proof that what he is saying is true. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is a baptism of power which gives us the ability to produce proof that what we are saying about Jesus is true—that He is alive and wants to live in every person!
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)
The first evidence the disciples had of this new baptism was the ability to speak in an unknown tongue—a language they had never learned. Visitors to the city even heard them speaking in their own languages, telling the wonderful works of God.
Peter explained that not only was this the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made, it had been prophesied by the prophet Joel:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy (Acts 2:17,18)
God does not expect us to preach without power and He does not expect us to live without power.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20).
Speaking in other tongues is a benefit that results from being baptized in the Holy Ghost. It is an important part of our prayer life. By taking time to speak in tongues when we pray, we can build ourselves up spiritually. It is important to remain strong in our faith so our testimony of what God has don in our lives remains strong and brings glory to Him.
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)
If you have been born again, you can receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. All you need to do is ask:
“Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me. Thank you for making me new from the inside out. I ask you now to baptize me with the Holy Ghost. Fill me with power from on high to be a witness for you.”
God will fill you to overflowing, just like you asked Him to. You now have within you the ability to speak with other tongues. Be sure to take time in prayer to allow God to develop this gift in you.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (John 16:13).
You will also begin to experience a new understanding of the Bible. As you spend time reading your Bible, the Holy Ghost will begin to show you truths from God’s word which will help you in your walk with God.
You have turned in an exciting new direction in your Christian life. God wants to do wonderful things in your life. Your old life is gone and your new life is just beginning. You will never, ever be the same again!