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The Invitation

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Through Jesus’ dying on the cross for mankind, God had made a way for people to escape from the terrible sin which they found in their hearts, and from the punishment of eternal death for that sin. So, with great excitement, God opened wide the gates back into His Kingdom, and began sending His messengers into all the world to give to people His royal invitation. For He was offering forgiveness and eternal life to any who would come.

And many did come. From every place on earth and from every way of life they came. They were overjoyed that God had gone to such great pain in order to save them from sin and death. And so they received this good news with gladness.

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But not all people received it with favor. Many actually got angry with God for telling them that they needed to be saved from their sin. Why, they thought they were good enough to get eternal life on their own! Their sins weren’t so bad that God should need to punish them! Or, so they reasoned. And others even enjoyed their sin and didn’t want to be freed from it. They never thought much about God anyway, so why should they pay attention now? Sadly, none of these people took their sin seriously. And what’s more, they didn’t take God seriously either. So, as a result, this precious gift that He offered them—the way out of sin and death, and the promise of eternal life—was, tragically, rejected.

...Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

But among the humble were many who did accept God’s gift, freely admitting that they needed Him to save them. They gladly put their faith in His Son, Jesus, knowing that He had truly died in their place for their sins, and that He had risen up from the dead on the third day, just as He said He would.

They received His forgiveness and eternal life by becoming baptized in water, according to His command. As they went down into the water, they, in their hearts by faith, entered into the very death Jesus died for them. In this way, they turned away from their previous life of sin, dying to themselves, so that they might be raised up out of the water in the power of His glorious life (Romans 6:3-4). Through this repentance and faith they experienced the washing away of their sins by God and the receiving of a new life by God's own Spirit now dwelling within them. When they came up from the water, other believers gathered around to pray for God's Spirit to empower them in a special way (Acts 8:15-17). This empowerment would enable them to walk by God’s supernatural ability rather than by their own strength.

Then, when they had received all this, they went on their way rejoicing. And they looked forward to the end of the age, when even their mortal bodies would be redeemed—changed to be immortal and glorious, like that of Jesus, their Savior.

*All material on this page copyrighted © 2003-2006 by Diana Rosdail. All rights reserved.