Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Proof of Salvation

The Holy Spirit plays a vital role in the Christian life.  Romans 8:9 tells us, “…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”  Sadly many Christians are like those Paul met at Ephesus, described in Acts 19:2.  “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?

And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” 

Although the men were baptized members of the church at Ephesus, something about them just didn’t seem quite right.  Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit after being baptized.   The men replied that they knew nothing about the Holy Spirit.  They didn’t even know if he existed.   That raised another question in Paul’s mind. 

“And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?

And they said, Unto John's baptism.” (Acts 19:3)

When he asked why they had been baptized, they said it was because that was what John told them they needed to do. 

“Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (Acts 19:4)

Before Christ was crucified, John had preached that people should be baptized as a sign of their repentance, and that was why they had been baptized.   They had missed the other part of his teaching however.  John had also taught that they needed to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.  The baptism itself did not save them , as we see in Mark 16:16. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  Numerous scriptures such as John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-10 stress that salvation is the result of faith, not of having been baptized.    Baptism is only a way of showing that faith. 

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:5-6)

When they believed in Christ, they were re-baptized as a demonstration of their faith in him, and received the Holy Spirit as proof of their salvation, as Ephesians 1:13-14 makes clear.  “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”   Remember, Romans 8:9 says, “…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

Clearly the Holy Spirit plays a vital part in the Christian life.  In the next few lessons, we will be looking at just who the Holy Spirit is and what he does in our life.  In the process, we will learn how to tell if something is from the Holy Spirit or from a lying spirit pretending to be from God.  

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