38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
The greatest revival in the history of Christendom is recorded in Acts chapter two. Acts 2:38 noted above is the gospel message that God used to start this revival. There are four parts to this gospel message:
- Be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ
- For the remission of sins
- Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
God used the apostle Peter to kick off this revival with the above four part gospel message. The people were asking him, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” in Acts 2:37.
In response to their question, Peter gave the above gospel message. These four points are not only the way to get saved, but they form a blue print for the way to be saved and walk with God on a moment by moment basis. The believer should be applying these four fundamental truths or instructions for his life on a moment by moment basis. For example, when I become aware of a sin in my life, I purposely apply teachings related to these four truths. These four truths are ingrained in my brain.
“… And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b). The first church did not just get saved, they were “being saved” (Acts 2:47b) on a continual, moment by moment basis. These four points that are being taught here, are indispensable for a victorious Christian life. These four points that are being taught here absolutely dominate New Testament teachings; book by book, and chapter by chapter.
If one or more of these points is missing in a believer’s life, and this is often the case; that person will lose significant power and potency in their walk with the Lord. Many might even fall away from, or even deny the faith (Hebrews 10:35-39, Hebrews 10:26-34, Colossians 1:23, and many more scriptures). A believer must be grounded in all four of these truths.
THE Revival Message
We will start out in this article by introducing these points of Peter’s message. Then, we will show how these four points are applied to our moment by moment walk with God. As we apply these points in our daily walk, we might want to call this, “THE Revival Message.”
The first point of Peter’s gospel message was for his hearers to repent. This means turning away from sin so that you can trust Jesus Christ to save you from sin and its consequences. You cannot save yourself, but you can want to be saved by Jesus Christ. You can acknowledge your sin and want to change. You will not be able to change yourself in any significant way. You might change one sin for another. You might exchange a lust problem with a violence problem, or vise-versa. Nevertheless, true Biblical repentance involves a genuine willingness to come out of your sin and change. True Biblical repentance also involves a genuine willingness to look to Jesus Christ for help and salvation.
Repenting includes the idea of turning from one’s evil ways. “To you first, God, having raised up His servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3:29). In Acts 2:40 it is recorded, “And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’” Repenting also involves changing one’s mind about who Jesus is.
Yet, without turning from sin, and without being willing to come out of your sin, you will have a wrong idea about who Jesus is; and what He is about; and why He came to this earth. The apostle Paul wrote the following, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).
A beautiful picture of repentance is found in how the Old Testament believer would approach the temple or tabernacle. The entire temple is a picture of Jesus Christ and His body.
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. John 2:19-21
The Old Testament believer would come to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer his sacrifices to God. This is a picture of repentance; and it is a picture of the New Testament believer looking to Christ for salvation and help. The Old Testament believer could have sought solace or help from any other source. He could have gone to a high place or hill and offered sacrifices and incense (prayer) to another god. The New Testament believer could also look to other sources for help and salvation. Yet, by coming to the entrance of the tabernacle or temple with his sacrifices, the Old Testament believer symbolized how the New Testament believer would come to Christ by faith. The Old Testament believer came to the entrance of the Tabernacle and faced it directly. The New Testament believer looks directly to Christ to save him. These are pictures of repentance. The New Testament believer is looking to Christ to save him from his sin, and the judgement and death that sin brings.
Notice that with both the New Testament believer and Old Testament believer, they both initiate their relationship with God by bringing their sin problems to Him. The Old Testament believer comes with an animal sacrifice for his sins. The New Testament believer comes To God and Christ recognizing his sins.
Saying this a little differently; the New Testament believer comes to Christ by faith. Christ is the fulfillment of the entire tabernacle. When the New Testament believer looks to Christ to save him, he is fulfilling the type of the Old Testament believer facing the tabernacle at its entrance.
Another powerful example of the importance of repentance was the ministry of John the Baptist. John the Baptist baptized converts into repentance (Mark 1:4) so that they could appreciate and receive the coming Savior (Mark 1:1-8). A person who cannot comprehend that they are fundamentally sinful; cannot comprehend who Jesus truly is; and what He came to do for them. A person who cannot comprehend that they are fundamentally sinful, cannot appreciate true salvation. There are a lot of false teachings about salvation that will accommodate such people who don’t want to turn from their sins (Matthew 7:21-23, notice the phrase: “practice lawlessness”). There are also a lot of false teachings about what true repentance is. Some people reduce repentance to just making a mental adjustment about who Jesus is. This “easy peasy” approach to repentance accommodates insincere church people. Indeed, it actually produces insincere church people.
John the Baptist defined what true repentance looked like to the average person of his day in Luke 3:7-14. John the Baptist was saying the below mentioned things to people before Jesus was introduced to everyone.
7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
9 “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:7-14
John the Baptist clearly declared that the fruits of repentance (verse 8) demonstrate that a person is truly repenting. Then, people with repentant hearts were able to receive Jesus when He was introduced to them. Repentance from sin leads a person to want Jesus Christ and what He can do for them. Without repentance from sin a person will not understand who Jesus is and what He can be to them.
Jesus came to deliver us from our sin and the death (spiritual death, and curses, and eternal hell) that sin leads to. Jesus also, by His Holy Spirit that He gives and supplies to the believer (Philippians 1:19, Galatians 3:5, John 7:37-38), leads one into righteousness (which replaces the sin) and life (which replaces the death). Walking with Jesus and believing in Jesus in the above way, will culminate in heaven where righteousness is made perfect (Hebrews 12:23), and where life is eternal and uninterrupted (Revelation 22: 1-4, John 10:10). Our faith in Christ gives us the assurance and hope of heaven. Our faith in the Holy Spirit whom Christ gives us, is a taste of what is to come (Hebrews 6:4-5). The Holy Spirit is a down payment or guarantee to us on this earth, with the assurance of much more to come in heaven (Ephesians 1: 13-14). The Holy Spirit working through us and producing fruit in our lives, is one vital proof of our salvation (2 Peter 1:10-11, Matthew 7:16-20, etc.).
Regarding our daily walk with the Lord and the importance of repentance; when we are confronted with a sin that we really somewhat enjoy; this is where the trouble starts. This is a repentance issue. Regarding a particular sin in our lives, we might just not have much of a desire to repent. The “want to” repent is just not sufficiently there. We all have areas in our lives where there just isn’t enough “want to.” Or, to put it differently, the “want to” repent is weak. This is an area of weakness for us.
For the believer Jesus set us free from all sin when He died on the cross for us. We died with Christ on His cross (Galatians 2:19-20; Romans 6:6; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 3:3; and many more scriptures), and we are therefore free from all sin. We have authority over all sin in our lives because we died with Christ. But, what happens when we don’t want to be dead to or free from a particular sin in our lives? What if the “want to” is just not there in a particular area of our life? This is a “repentance” issue.
I want to give here three solutions for dealing with our moral weaknesses, or “repentance” issues. You might have some other good ideas also. There are far more than just these three solutions to our “repentance issues.”
Firstly, we can pray that God by His Holy Spirit would give us the “want to.” We might say to God, “Lord, I am not feeling like obeying You in this area of my life. Yet, I am willing for Your Spirit to help me be willing. I am willing to be made willing. Lord, give me the desire to repent and to want to obey You in this area.”
Now, just having the “want to” is not enough; but it is the beginning of the complete answer to our sin problem. When we have the “want to,” we are in effect looking at the temple and Jesus (the incarnation of the temple), and looking to Him to deliver us and save us. We want to be saved. Repentance involves having the desire to be saved from some sin. You will not be able to change yourself, but with repentance you will at least want to change. Actually, even the “want to” is evidence of the grace of God and His moving by His Holy Spirit on your heart.
Another important way that the believer is made willing to repent and consequently obey God, is the chastisement of the Lord.
6 ‘For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
8 But if you are without chastising, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
…. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:6-11
The Lord will chasten and discipline His children when they are going astray. This is part of God’s love for us. If parents love their children, they will not let them run wild and astray. I know that some ministers have in the past, and do presently teach against how God chastises His children. They say that He is a good God. Well, a good father disciplines his children. I have seen many ministers who falsely taught against the chastisement of the Lord, fall horribly in their own personal lives. Their falls have usually involved sex, money and further false teachings.
Chastisement from the Lord can come in many forms, circumstances and ways. All I can say is that when I am being chastised by God, I just seem to know that whatever form the chastisement comes in; it is from the Lord. I usually know what I need to repent of. I am very confident that certain sins in my life will bring swift judgement from God. I can count on it. This chastisement drives me to swift repentance. Regarding this chastisement: “…afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
A third way that a person can be made willing to repent of their sin, is through the fellowship of the believers. Going to a church service can help a believer with their “want to.” Worship in a church service can motivate a believer. Talking to other believers can help a believer want to repent and obey the Lord in some area of their lives. We believers are all in this together. “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather healed” (Hebrews 12: 12-13).
Moving on from the subject of repentance now; the next and second instruction that the apostle Peter made in Acts 2:38 was to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is very clearly defined in the New Testament. It is a very specific kind of baptism.
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
….11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey its lusts. Romans 6: 1-6, 11-12
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Colossians 2: 11-12
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27
In Romans 6:1 the apostle Paul rhetorically asks if we should continue to sin because God’s grace (which would include forgiveness of sin) would cover the sin. Paul answers this question by giving the meaning of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. The meaning of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is also about God’s grace where the believer has been united with Christ in His death and resurrection. This is a radical message. This message of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ speaks of a radical transformation of a believer from the way they used to be, to being raised up by God’s grace to live a new life (Romans 6:4, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17). Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is an outward symbol that pictures the inward grace of God that transforms the believer’s soul and spirit.
Protestants rightly believe that God through Christ forgives sins. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. We therefore can have forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ. We receive this message of grace by faith. Yet, how many Protestant ministers believe and teach that we have been united with Christ in His death and resurrection by grace through faith. How many have an experiential understanding of what it means to be united with Christ in His death and resurrection? Not only this, but how many can teach in a practical way how this message of grace works out in the everyday life of a believer? Why has the teaching on grace been limited to forgiveness of sins? Our being united with Christ in His death and resurrection is also the grace of God that is received by faith and repentance.
This teaching of being united with Christ involves the truth of being crucified with Christ. The idea of being crucified with Christ is not a fan favorite. Many church people do not want to mention or dwell on what it means to be crucified with Christ. Certain churches would lose memberships if such a subject was focused on and dwelt on. A teacher might get away with just a cursory mention of such a truth. Yet, an in depth study of this subject could send people packing to some other church. Yet, through the cross of Christ we believers were both forgiven and crucified with Christ. Both truths are part of the gospel. Both are essential. Please read Romans 6:1-11 and Colossians 2:11-12 which explain about baptism in Jesus’ name.
Then, please read Galatians 2:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, 2 Corinthians 4:10, Colossians 3:3, Hebrews 10:10, Romans 7:4, Romans 6:18, Philippians 3:10-11, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 John 1:9, Acts 20:32, Acts 26:18 and 1Peter 2:24. There are also many more scriptures making these points, directly or indirectly. For example the following scriptures make these points indirectly: Ephesians 4:20-32, Colossians 3: 5-15, Galatians 5: 22-24, 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Titus 2: 14, and many more scriptures. The following are just a couple of examples of passages of scriptures indirectly showing what it means to be united with Christ in His death and resurrection, by faith.
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God
….5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
….8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
….10 and having put on the new man who is being renewed in the knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
….12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering,
….14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3: 3-17
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ Jesus have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27
One truth that will make being crucified with Christ more appealing is that we were also raised up with Christ by grace through faith (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12). Being raised up with Christ to walk in newness of life is appealing to people. The Holy Spirit whom we will be focusing on shortly, is all about imparting to us newness of life. The Holy Spirit is all about raising us up into newness of life.
The Holy Spirit is very much related to the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the believer (Romans 8: 11, John 20: 20-22). Two Old Testament symbols verify this reality. The Feast of First Fruits and the Feast of Pentecost are separated by fifty days according to the scriptures. The Feast of First Fruits is a picture of the resurrection of Christ (1Corinthians 15:20). The Feast of Pentecost is the day when the Holy Spirit was given to the church of Christ (Acts 2:1-4). Both feasts revolved around grain harvests: barley with the Feast of First Fruits, and wheat with the Feast of Pentecost. Thus, symbolically, the resurrection of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit are closely related. Practically, this is also the case.
And so we have the two thousand year (maybe nineteen or eighteen hundred years), age old conundrum. People like being or are open to being raised up with Christ to walk in newness of life; but they don’t like the idea of being crucified with Christ. I know of one pastor who wanted to know what the problem with his church was; and what was going on with Christianity in general. He went on a forty day fast to seek the Lord on this. What he received from the Lord was a simple little message: you can’t have a resurrection without first having a crucifixion. That message went over like a lead balloon with the congregation. Nobody including myself thought much of it. Yet, I now believe that message was for the entire, modern day Charismatic, Baptist, nondenominational, and Pentecostal churches; worldwide!
How do you practically walk in this truth that we have been crucified with Christ? How does this work in your daily experience? The way to make this truth effective in your life is to realize that this truth involves an identity issue. Crucified with Christ is what you ARE because Jesus died for you. “Reckon yourself to BE dead to sin…” (Romans 6:11a). “… How shall we WHO DIED to sin still live any longer in it” (Romans 6:2b)? Dead to sin is what you ARE because you have been crucified with Christ. Dead to sin is what you ARE because Jesus died for you. This also is part of God’s grace.
The past tense part of this truth speaks to your authority over sin issues. You do not have to be doing that sin anymore. Jesus has already done away with this problem by including you in His death. Whatever that sin is; because Jesus died for you, you are free to move in another direction and follow God’s Spirit, and receive encouragement from God’s Spirit in your new life. Work this truth about your freedom in Christ deep into your spirit. Dead to sin is what you are, only because Jesus died for you, and no other reason. (Hint: Do not use the word, “positional.” It is not in the Bible. Keep this truth to be what you are because Jesus died for you. This is your confidence that there is a solution to your sin problem. This is a foundational truth of your new life in Christ. This is a foundational truth of your new identity in Christ.)
With all of the above teaching in mind; after we embrace being crucified with Christ in any given situation, we should also IMMEDIATELY afterwards embrace and invite the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives; and lead, empower and encourage us (Romans 6:11, Romans 6: 7-8) . We were crucified with Christ for a reason. That reason is so that we can be raised up to walk in God’s kingdom truths by His Spirit (Romans 6: 6-11 and Romans chapter 8). It is easier to endure being crucified with Christ when we can IMMEDIATELY see the reason for it. The kingdom of God is “…righteousness (right living) and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17b). The fruit of the Spirit is love, peace and joy …. (Galatians 5:22a). In other words, because of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we have meaning and satisfaction (joy and peace) in walking in love and righteousness (right living). In other words, we can endure being crucified with Christ when we can see the beauty of walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24; 2 Timothy 2: 20-21).
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5: 22-24
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2: 20-21
Being crucified with Christ is an acquired taste. As I said before, it is not a fan favorite. And yet, with forgiveness of sins, it is the entry way into the abundant, Spirit filled life. It is the entrance into your God given ministry and purpose in this life. Once you see the benefits of it, you learn to endure it and even, eventually, embrace it. There are some crazy believers who have actually gotten to the point where they really love this kind of teaching!
Moving on to the third instruction that the apostle Peter gave in Acts 2:38; it was to receive forgiveness of sins. The consequences of sin are spiritual death, curses, eternal hell, condemnation and more. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross so that we can be forgiven. Because of His sacrifice we don’t have to be punished and go to eternal hell. Because of His sacrifice we don’t have to be eaten up with condemnation.
By applying His shed blood by faith to our situations, we don’t have to live under a curse or curses. I have pleaded the blood by faith over many a situation or person in my life; in order to break a curse, stronghold, or recurring negative happenings. And most importantly, we also have the hope of heaven and eternal life because of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (1Thessaloians 4:15-18).
One of the best pictures of how forgiveness for sins and deliverance from sins (crucified with Christ found in Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and elsewhere in the New Testament) work side by side is found in the burnt offering performed at the entrance to the temple court yard of the Hebrews. The burnt offering was the first of the five offerings mentioned in the book of Leviticus which itself is found in the Old Testament.
3 “If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord.
4 “Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
5 “He shall kill the bull before the Lord; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
6 “And he shall skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces.
7 “The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire.
8 “Then the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar;
9 “but he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord. Leviticus 1:3-9
The burnt offering is described in Leviticus chapter one. Here, the believing Hebrew of his own free will would sacrifice an animal that was without blemish. The unblemished animal was a type of Christ. The believing Hebrew would lay his hand on the head of the animal which would “be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him” (Leviticus 1:4b). The blood of that sacrifice was sprinkled “all around on the altar” (Leviticus 1:5b). This is a picture of the New Testament doctrine of substitution. The animal was a substitute for the believer. The animal shed its blood to pay the penalty for the believer’s sins, so the believer could be forgiven. This is a picture of redemption the forgiveness of sins; that the New Testament believer has in Christ (Ephesians 1:7).
But, redemption, the forgiveness of sins, is not the end of the story of the burnt offering. The burning of the entire flesh of the animal on the altar is the other half of the burnt offering. The flesh burning on the altar certainly speaks of Christ suffering for us and all humanity. It also speaks of us being crucified with Christ. This type and symbol points to the New Testament truth of the believer having been crucified with Christ by grace through faith.
When the Old Testament believer put his hand on the head of the animal to be sacrificed, he was identifying with the animal. Identification is the New Testament truth where the New Testament believer was identified with Christ in His death and resurrection by grace through faith. The New Testament and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ portray this truth. Thus, substitution (forgiveness) and identification (crucified with Christ) are seen in the burnt offering. They are seen beautifully working together in the burnt offering.
Biblically speaking, you can’t really have a substitution without also having an identification with the sacrifice. If the believing Hebrew did not identify with the animal by putting his hand on the animal’s head, the animal could not serve as a substitute for the believing Hebrew. (Evidently, the believing Hebrew had to press hard on the sacrificial animal’s head. To me this is a picture of the Christian really pressing into Christ.) In other words, the Hebrew could not benefit from the atonement without this identification. In other words, the Hebrew believer could not be forgiven. Thus Peter in Acts 2:38 declared baptism in the name of Jesus (which is identification) for the remission (forgiveness) of sins (which is substitution).
Thus, to summarize this discussion, Peter was calling for the believer to identify by faith with Christ in His death and resurrection through baptism in the name of Jesus Christ; as well as to trust Christ to be the believer’s substitute for the forgiveness of his sins. Peter was following the order of the burnt offering: first putting his hands on the head of the animal sacrifice in identification with the animal, then trusting the shed blood for atonement and redemption. These two truths of identification and substitution go hand in hand. They go together.
The symbolism of redemption in the burnt offering can be seen in the blood being sprinkled “…all around on the altar …” (Leviticus 1:5b). Also, the flesh of the offering was being burnt on the altar. This symbolized being united with Christ in His death and even His sufferings. Thus, we can see the picture of our redemption and our sanctification working together in the burnt offering. The well-known song, “The Old Rugged Cross,” has the phrase, “to pardon and sanctify me.”
It should be noted that the grain offering in Leviticus chapter two is the next offering mentioned in the book of Leviticus. The grain offering does not involve an animal sacrifice. It has to do with the resurrection of Christ, and the resurrection of the believer. A handful of the grain offering was commonly put on top of the burnt offering, being burned on the altar. After we have a crucifixion, we need a resurrection. This is hugely important. For any sin that you put to death through the cross of Christ, there needs to be a resurrection to replace it. The Holy Spirit will seek to replace that sin that was in your life with a new pattern of righteousness (right living).
Earlier in this article, I mentioned the account of that pastor who went on a forty day fast. The main word that he received from the Lord was that you can’t have a resurrection without a crucifixion. In this gospel of Christ, you also cannot settle for a crucifixion without also having a resurrection in your life. This resurrection would involve a new way of thinking and living that the Holy Spirit would encourage you to live in. In other words, in this discussion, we need a grain offering after we have a burnt offering. In the New Testament, Paul wrote in a little different context, “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God” (Romans 7:4). [Grain in the Old Testament would be considered fruit, as in, “first fruits” (Leviticus 23:10, Leviticus 2:14).]
Moving on to the fourth instruction that the apostle Peter gave in Acts 2:38; Peter told his audience to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. He is God’s Spirit. Jesus died on the cross, rose from the death, ascended to the right hand of the Father, so that He could get the Holy Spirit from the Father and send the Holy Spirit down to us believers in Christ. It is an unspeakable privilege to have the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
The Holy Spirit is God. This whole book was written by me taught by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:17-19, Luke 24:45, 1 John 2:27, John 16: 13). The entire book of Acts is an account of the acts of the early church members who had the help of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). Jesus Himself didn’t do much on the earth until after He had the Holy Spirit descend on Him (Luke 3:21-23, Luke 4:1-2, Luke 4:13-15). With the help of the Holy Spirit, we believers bear fruit unto God (Romans 7:4); we bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); we have the gifts of the Spirit (1Corinthians 12:7-10); we are sanctified by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11); and we are lead by the Spirit (Romans 8:14). Now that we believe in Christ, our lives are in and by the Spirit of God. If we do not have God’s Spirit we are not saved (Romans 8: 9, 14). We believers in Christ were crucified with Christ and forgiven by Christ at the cross; so that we can live in the Spirit and experience resurrection life.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of adoption in the New Testament.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs –heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:14-17
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:4-7
16 that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, …. Ephesians 3:16-17
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
The Father gave the Spirit to the Son. The Son supplies and gives the Holy Spirit to us who believe in the Father and the Son (Galatians 3:3-5; Philippians 1:19; Luke 11:13). We believers in Christ have His very Spirit who is God. We carry His Spirit around in earthly, humble vessels.
And so we have discussed the four fundamental points of Peter’s gospel message in Acts chapter two.
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
- Be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ
- For the remission of sins
- Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
With all of the above teaching in this chapter as a foundation, let’s bring it all together and show how this all works in our lives on a moment by moment basis.
If I find myself in a sin, which happens far more often than I would want to admit to; how do these four points of Peter’s message in Acts 2:38 apply? Well, regarding repentance, there has to be a desire or a want to repent. Repentance means that I don’t want to be doing this sin. If that “want to” is there, then I look to TWO truths of the cross and the Holy Spirit.
- I would usually declare if only to myself, that I am dead to that sin. Because Jesus died for me, I AM dead to and free from that sin. My freedom is true for one reason and one reason only: because Jesus died for me and by grace I died with Him. I was included in His death by grace (2 Corinthians 5:14). Therefore I AM dead to this sin. Dead to this particular sin is WHAT I AM! “…reckon yourselves to BE dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11). I simply take God at His word. Start walking in this immediately. Experience it; walk in it; and more understanding and insight will come.
- As I humbly confess or acknowledge this sin to God (1John 1:9), I will also declare and receive forgiveness for this sin. I would usually declare even to myself, that I AM forgiven for this sin only because Jesus died for me.
- Then, after the above two truths of the cross are declared or understood, I IMMEDIATELY invite the Holy Spirit to take control of my life. I do not wait one second to invite the Holy Spirit to get involved in this and every area of my life. “…reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11).
My experience is usually that by acknowledging the two truths of the cross, bad things tend to stop. Then, as soon as I ask the Holy Spirit to take control of my life, I am propelled back into the rhythm and flow of going down the right path for my life.
Living in the leading and flow of the Holy Spirit, is like being in a river (John 7:38, Ezekiel chapter 47, Revelation 22:1-2 maybe). When I sin, I come out of the river and stand on dirt or soil. Dirt is symbolic of the flesh or sin nature. When I declare and acknowledge the two truths of the cross, I am ready to get back into the flow of the river. I am not in the river yet, but I am ready to get in. Then, when I surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit by faith, I am back in the flow of the river.
I waste no time getting back into the river. Getting back into the river is the reward for enduring the cross. Getting back into the river is a huge incentive for enduring the pain of the cross. Therefore, get back in the river IMMEDIATELY! Don’t let your blessing pass you by (Romans 6: 8-11). “…that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14).