And Peter said to them, “Repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways, accept and follow Jesus as the Messiah] and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Suppose I went into a bookshop, selected a two-volume book, and having put down the price, walked out of the shop, carelessly leaving one volume on the counter. When I discovered the oversight,what should I do? I should go straight back to recover the forgotten volume, but I should not dream of paying anything for it. I should simply remind the shopkeeper that both volumes were duly paid for, thank him again for the second one, and without further ado March happily out of the shop with my possession under my arm. Would you not do the same under the same circumstances?
But you are under the same circumstances. If you have fulfilled the conditions you are entitled to two gifts, not just one. You have already taken the remission of your sins. Why not just come, and if you have never done so, thank him for the gift of the Holy Ghost now?
Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost tells us clearly what we are to do. We are to repent, change from our sinful ways, and accept and follow Jesus. Following that we are to be baptized, recognizing and witnessing that we are now the children of God. Our sins have been forgiven and we have been made new. We have received the gift of eternal life. In Romans Paul repeats the simplicity of salvation:
“ because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation.”
Romans 10: 9,10
When we accept Christ as our Savior, we are given the gift of eternal life according to Jesus Himself:
“Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die. Do you believe this?”
But Christ has purchased two gifts for us and both are available for the asking. The gift of eternal life won’t be fully enjoyed until that day when He makes all things new. What a day, glorious day that will be. Like the person who purchased the two-volume book set, many of us have picked up the gift of eternal life and we hold it dear- rightfully so- but we have left the gift of the Holy Spirit lying on the counter and have gone our way.
Just before Jesus went to the cross to purchase salvation and redeem us, He sat down with the disciples and talked with them about the second gift-the Holy Spirit:
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you and will be in you. “But when the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, He will testify bear witness about Me. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future].”
John 14:16-17, 15:26, 16:7,13
After the resurrection as Jesus spent those forty days with the disciples He again reminded them of the second gift:
“Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.”
“While being together and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Of which,” He said, “you have heard Me speak. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized empowered united with the Holy Spirit, not long from now.”
We read in Acts 2 that the believers spent a little over a week in prayerful waiting and on the Day of Pentecost, they received the second gift, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Peter’s sermon is a response to the question, “What shall we do?”
The answer is to repent(our only payment) and then to receive the twofold gift- remission of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Many of us have gladly received the remission of our sins- the washing and renewal of our hearts by the blood of Jesus. I urge us to not leave the other “book” on the counter but to say, “Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have purchased the gift of eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I thank you that I have received the gift of the remission(putting away) of my sins and now I am a child of God. I thank you also for the gift of the Holy Spirit and I want to receive that gift too. You have already paid for both and I don’t want to leave on the counter such a priceless treasure. Today I open my heart and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in full measure.”
The Bible says that what God has in store for us in eternity is beyond imagination but through the gift of the Holy Spirit we can experience a glimpse of what is to come. Paul uses a unique word to describe the gift of the Holy Spirit- earnest/pledge:
“Now it is God who establishes and confirms us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and who has anointed us [empowering us with the gifts of the Spirit]; it is He who has also put His seal on us [that is, He has appropriated us and certified us as His] and has given us the [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as a pledge [like a security deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life].”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
This is usually a term in real estate indicating a down payment for the upcoming full purchase. It is a pledge of covenant, a promise. Therefore when Jesus told the disciples to wait “for the Promise of the Father” we know He was referring to the Holy Spirit. He is one of the two-part books. I’m sure that an avid reader would enjoy reading even one of the books but I think they would be missing a lot by not getting to read both. I am equally sure that eternal life will be beyond amazing but I am just as sure that by leaving the gift of the Holy Spirit on the counter we will miss so much that we could have experienced while we wait for heaven.
If for some reason you left the store with only one book, go back. I’m sure it’s still there waiting to be picked up. I’m also sure that your copy has been reserved in your name and the only reason you don’t have it yet is because you haven’t asked for what is already yours.
Dr. John Thompson