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.
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 werent so bad that God should need to punish
them! Or, so they reasoned. And others even enjoyed their
sin and didnt 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 whats more, they didnt take God seriously
either. So, as a result, this precious gift that He offered
themthe way out of sin and death, and the promise
of eternal lifewas, tragically, rejected.
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 Gods 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 Gods supernatural ability
rather than by their own strength.
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 redeemedchanged to be
immortal and glorious, like that of Jesus, their Savior.
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