“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
What kind of faith did the apostles have?
They believed in both the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross.
Looking at the disciples of Jesus Christ, the extent of their faith when they had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was clearly different from their faith when they did not. Their flesh did not look any different, but after receiving the Holy Spirit, their lives were totally changed by the light of Jesus Christ.
The town where I live has beautiful mountains and lakes. Looking at such lovely scenery, I become filled with satisfaction and wonder that I cannot but thank the Lord for such creations. The brilliance of the crystal-clear water glistening in the sun makes my heart full and the world around me seem like gold.
But there are places where such scenic beauty does not manifest itself. There are places where the sky is crystal clear, but the water under the sunlight looks more like a swamp. There is no brilliance in such a sight. Looking at a lake like this, I thank the Lord for His beautiful gospel that cleansed my sins and obtained for me the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
As the surface of the swampy lake is not able to reflect light, so we may also be remote from the light of God and be unwittingly headed towards an unknown destiny owing to our sinful nature. But if the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts, we will be revealed as children of God and be led to teach the gospel to other people. Because we accepted His light, we will come to shine as lights.
Likewise, after Jesus’ resurrection, His disciples received the Holy Spirit and became children and apostles of the light. The light of the Holy Spirit is a great blessing to all and therefore most people wish to receive the Holy Spirit.
The Faith of the apostle Paul
What kind of faith did Paul have? Paul, in his confession of faith, said that he was educated and thoroughly trained under Gamaliel, one of the greatest teachers of the law at that time, strictly according to the law of his fathers. But he confessed that even with the law, he could not be saved from his sins and that he was, in fact, a persecutor of Jesus, our Savior. One day he met Jesus on the way to Damascus and became an evangelist of His gospel. He had faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who came into this world, was baptized by John to cleanse all the sins of the world, and bled on the Cross in order to take with Him all the judgments on those sins. In other words, Paul had in his heart faith in the forgiveness of sin.
Jesus’ disciples believed that Jesus’ baptism by John and His blood on the Cross was to forgive them for all their sins. Paul shared the same faith with the disciples and therefore was saved from all his sins.
Paul said in Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ,” and confessed his faith in Jesus’ baptism as his salvation. Also, Peter said in 1 Peter 3:21, “There is also an antitype which now saves us ─ baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” and he demonstrated the beautiful gospel of Jesus’ baptism through this verse. Jesus’ disciples believed that His baptism by John cleansed all the sins of the world. They were forgiven for their sins, and were thus no longer under the curse of the law by believing in this truth.
They believed in both the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. It is evident that this belief was necessary to the successful qualification of the disciples. In Acts 1:21-22, it says, “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Becoming a disciple of Jesus began with the belief in Jesus’ baptism by John.
The truth we need in order to be forgiven for our sins is faith in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Thus, Paul also believed in Jesus’ baptism by John and His blood on the Cross.
Let’s look at Titus 3:5. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Here the phrase, “the washing of regeneration” means that all the sins of the world were cleansed when John baptized Jesus. Likewise, if you want to be forgiven for your sins, then you need to believe in the beautiful gospel, which says that your sins were passed to Jesus through His baptism by John. The reason Jesus was crucified and bled to death is that He had taken away all our sins through the baptism He received from John. Believing in this fact is enough to obtain the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Paul confessed that he also believed in Jesus’ baptism by John and His blood on the Cross.
Let us look at Hebrews 10:21-22, it says, “Having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Here, “washed with pure water” refers to the baptism of Jesus by John, which cleansed all the sins of mankind.
Therefore, in both the Old and New Testaments, we can find that the core components of the beautiful gospel are His baptism and His death on the Cross. You too, must share the same faith as Paul.
Today, most Christians believe in Him in vain without knowing that when John baptized Jesus, all the sins of the world were cleansed. Some theologians argue that people themselves must be baptized in water in order to be forgiven for their sins. This assertion is probably made without knowing the true and beautiful gospel of the water and the Spirit, as it is written in the Bible. Our sins cannot be forgiven in mere ceremony when we are baptized in water. The faith in Jesus’ baptism and His blood cleanse us of all our sins. Only those who believe in the beautiful gospel are forgiven for their sins. And by believing in His blood, they have paid off all their judgment. Only those who have this faith can receive the Holy Spirit.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). The writer of Hebrews tells us to draw near God with a true heart in full assurance of faith. You also should draw near Him with a true heart in full assurance of faith in the beautiful gospel.
Today, Christians sincerely hope to obtain the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit dwells only in those whose sins have been forgiven. Many do not know this and therefore wish to receive the Holy Spirit without believing in the beautiful gospel of Jesus’ baptism and His blood. Those who believe in Jesus yet do not believe in His baptism and His blood on the Cross cannot receive the Holy Spirit. The reason is that they do not have pure hearts.
Paul believed in Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross and therefore received the Holy Spirit. Moreover, he spread this belief and was persecuted for being a heretic. But because the Holy Spirit dwelled in his heart, he could spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit until his end. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Thanks to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he served God and lived under the protection of the Holy Spirit until he went up to God. Only those who have the same faith as Paul’s can receive the Holy Spirit.
Let us look at Paul’s faith. In Colossians 2:12, it says, “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” He was forgiven for all his sins by believing in Jesus, who was baptized by John.
How has Christianity changed since ancient times?
Now, let’s look at the confession of a sister who became a disciple after receiving the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ.
“I was getting old but I could not bear a child, so in order to receive His blessing through prayer I went from one church to another. Even when I was alone at home, I prayed for a child at least for one or two hours and this religious pattern became a part of my daily life.
While leading this kind of religious life on my own, I met an elderly woman. She told me that if I wanted to ask God for a child, I should try to receive the prayer of the laying on of hands from her. I heard somewhere that this woman was a messenger of God and so I allowed her to lay her hands on my head. At that moment, I had an experience that I had never felt before. My tongue started to roll, and I was speaking in a different language and I felt some strange and hot energy pulling me up.
I took this experience to mean that I had received the Holy Spirit and it was His answer to my prayers. The woman who had laid her hands on my head seemed to have a gift from the Holy Spirit and could prophesy and heal. She had never received an education in God’s words, but using the power of the Holy Spirit, she had helped a lot of pastors and the educated receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.
From then on, I started to attend such meetings, one of which was so called “Renewal/Revival Movement.” During one of my prayers at this meeting, I felt a shiver throughout my body and my heart burned with love for God and my neighbors. This same thing happened to others and people were fainting and speaking in tongues. There were people possessed of demons there, and the leader of this meeting cast out the demons. The purpose of this Renewal/Revival Movement was to help people experience the Holy Spirit through things such as shivering, prophesying, casting out demons, and speaking in tongues. But in spite of all these experiences, I still had sin, and the sins in my heart made me feel fear and shame.
3True renewal is a natural and necessary part of the Christian life, and it brings about spiritual maturity, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit. But in recent years, some movements have redefined the term “renewal” in such a way that it bears no resemblance to the spiritual maturity process described in the Scriptures. Their “renewal” that produces uncontrolled emotions, is marked by all manner of suspect manifestations, and is accompanied by extra-biblical or un-biblical teachings and practices.
These are some of the problematic teachings and practices promoted within the controversial renewal and revival movements: excessive emphasis on charismatic experiences over Scripture, false manifestations, false teachings, false prophecy, false signs and wonders, etc. However, the most dangerous aspect of these movements is that they have caused many people to misunderstand the truth about receiving the Holy Spirit and put aside the beautiful gospel.
Therefore, whenever I prayed, I prayed earnestly that I would be able to resolve the problem of sin. I confessed that I had sinned, but people still regarded me as an angel. I thought I had good faith, but I was wrong. If I hadn’t recognized my error, I might not have had the chance to receive the Holy Spirit.
After that, I met those who spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit and received forgiveness for all my sins by believing in God’s words. Now I am truly happy. I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and have received the Holy Spirit. I thank God. I wish all Christians around the world would believe in the beautiful gospel and receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I thank our Lord.”
Here we learned that in order to receive the Holy Spirit, we need the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you want to be forgiven for all your sins, you must have faith in the baptism of Jesus by John. Let us look at Ephesians 4:5. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Here it says that there is only one Lord and one baptism, which we believe. We must all believe in Jesus’ baptism by John and His blood on the Cross in order to receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If we do not, then the Holy Spirit will never dwell in us.
Once there were some people who taught and believed that the Sanctity and Purity Movement would help them receive the Holy Spirit. However, do you think the Holy Spirit dwells in us if we join such movements? Have you received the Holy Spirit because of the Sanctity and Purity Movement? If it were possible, then you would be wise to keep the faith. But if the Holy Spirit came on you for this reason, then Jesus would not have had to come down and save us from our sins and would not have needed to be baptized by John nor be crucified on the Cross.
The receiving of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a gift from the faith in the gospel of Jesus’ baptism and His blood, which brought you forgiveness for your sins. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a gift granted to those whose sins have been cleansed and forgiven by the true gospel.
These days, among those who indulge in Renewal/Revival Movement, there are some who believe that exhaustive prayers of repentance can help them receive the Holy Spirit. They say that even though a person has sin in his heart, if he prays for repentance, then he will receive the Holy Spirit.
The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement, which has spread all over the world, started in the United States in the 1800s. This movement came about after the Industrial Revolution, when people’s ethics and morals had collapsed. The movement reached its heyday when many people’s hearts were desolated due to the Great Depression. From that time, the faith based on God’s words declined and a new religious movement started to rise. It was the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement which was aimed at physically experiencing the Holy Spirit (God) – seeing the works of God with the eyes and experiencing the power of God’s words with the body and mind.
But a fatal flaw in this movement is that it moves believers further away from the words of God and exists as a religion that strives for bodily blessings. As a consequence, followers of this new movement became advocates of shamanism. Even today, those who indulge themselves in the Pentecostal- Charismatic Movement believe that if one has faith in Jesus he will be rich, his illnesses will be cured, he will be prosperous in everything, he will receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues and have the power to heal others. The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement has spread all around the world. This movement has become a barrier to people’s faith in the beautiful gospel and their ability to obtain the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Modern Christianity originated in the beliefs of Luther and Calvin about 500 years ago. But within the boundaries of Christianity, the biblical study of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not firmly established. The problem is that from the beginning of modern Christianity, most Christians have believed in Jesus without recognizing the significance of His baptism and death on the Cross. To make matters worse, people started to stress mistaken doctrines of Christianity and emphasize bodily experiences alone. All Christians must believe the beautiful gospel that says Jesus was baptized by John to take away all the sins of the world and that He was crucified in order to be judged for those sins. This belief will cause you to receive the Holy Spirit.
Today, the reason that Christianity has become so desolate is that people tend to ignore the truth of the baptism Jesus received from John and of His blood on the Cross. Jesus tells us to know the truth. Believing in the baptism of Jesus by John and His blood on the Cross means believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you want to receive the Holy Spirit, then believe that when John baptized Jesus, your sins were passed on to Him and that His blood was the judgment and forgiveness for all your sins. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit.
Many Christians believe only in Jesus’ blood as the gospel of redemption. But can those of you who believe only in His blood be freed from sin? Can you? If you think this can be so, perhaps you only have a vague knowledge of the true meaning of Jesus’ baptism. In that case there is still sin in your heart. Only when you connect Jesus’ baptism and blood together as one faith can you be saved from your sins and receive the Holy Spirit. The Bible says this is the only true gospel that helps us to overcome the world. “And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one” (1 John 5:8). Therefore, we must know that it, in His desire to save us from our sins, God had John baptize Jesus and then had Him crucified.
The reason why most Christians don’t have forgiveness of sins in spite of their believing in Jesus is that they don’t believe in the beautiful gospel that was accomplished with Jesus’ baptism by John and His blood on the Cross. Those who believe in these two things will be forgiven for their sins and the Holy Spirit will dwell in their hearts.
When people realize that their sins have been cleansed, their hearts become peaceful and bountiful like still water. The moment the Holy Spirit dwells in someone’s heart, peace like a river flows into and out of his heart. We meet our Lord by believing in this truth and walking with the Spirit as we spread the gospel of receiving the Holy Spirit. Our hearts have never had this kind of peace before. From the time we start believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our lives become serene and our hearts become perfectly joyous. We cannot turn away from this beautiful gospel. The Holy Spirit is always in our hearts, prompting us to spread His word and allowing people who believe in it to receive the Holy Spirit.
Because we believed in the beautiful gospel of Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross, we were blessed with the Holy Spirit. Now you must have faith in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross in order to receive the Holy Spirit. It is important that people around the world start the process of believing in the word of God that Jesus was baptized by John to take away all the sins of the world and that He died on the Cross to be judged for their sins. When they do so, they will finally receive the Holy Spirit.