Ask Your Preacher
What is the gift of the Holy Spirit that christians are promised by Peter in Acts 2? I don't think it's God's Word since faith comes by hearing, and you must hear the Word of God before you can believe and become a christian. Also, not all christians at that time or today had/have access to the inspired Scriptures. I followed Peter's instructions, but I don't have any "spiritual" gift. I get very confused when it comes to the Holy Spirit's role after the perfect has come.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is salvation. In Acts 2:38, Peter offers the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are baptized. The problem is that in this verse, Peter doesn’t specify whether the gift is from the Holy Spirit or the gift is the Holy Spirit. We need to compare Peter’s sermon in Acts to other verses. What do other verses say you receive when you are baptized?
- Mk 16:16 says you will receive salvation.
- Acts 8:16 shows that several people had been baptized but hadn’t received the Holy Spirit – which means that the Holy Spirit can’t be what the gift is.
- Acts 10:47 shows several people receiving the Holy Spirit before baptism, also proving that the gift of baptism isn’t the actual Holy Spirit.
- Rom 6:4 says you are given a new life through baptism.
- 1 Cor 12:13 says that you become part of the church when you are baptized.
- Col 2:12 says you are raised with Christ in baptism.
- Gal 3:27 says you put on Christ when you are baptized.
- 1 Pet 3:21 says baptism saves you.
The truth can always be found in the sum of God’s Word (Ps 119:160). Baptism washes away your sins, and you receive the gift of salvation. The gift of salvation is a heavenly gift offered to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God (Heb 6:4, 1 Cor 2:11-13).
Does God understand our own personal faults even if we don’t?
Ps 1:8 says that God knows even our secret sins. God is aware of all that we have done in this life; He is even aware of the number of hairs on our heads (Matt 10:30). God weighs our hearts (Pr 21:2) because everyone feels that we are living good lives, but that doesn’t mean we actually are. That is why it is so important that we let the Bible be the lamp for our feet (Ps 119:105). Many people will plead ignorance on the Day of Judgment, but God will render to each of us according to a higher knowledge of our lives and hearts (Pr 24:12). All you can ever do is let the Bible be your faithful guide (Rom 10:17), and don’t lean on your own understanding (Pr 3:5).
Does it matter how we are baptized and who baptizes us as long as it’s in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? I'm getting baptized at my friend's church which is Calvinistic; I'm more of non-denominational Bible-believer, but anyway, they're going to baptize me in a swimming pool. Should I go through with it?
Dear Diving In,
Why you are baptized is one of the most important elements of baptism, and a Calvinistic church will not baptize you for the right reasons. People are baptized all the time without being saved! The word ‘baptism’ comes from the Greek word ‘baptizo’ which means ‘immersion’. The word ‘baptism’ is the same word that Greeks used when a ship sank to the bottom of the ocean or when someone dove to the bottom of a swimming pool. In the most technical sense, people are baptized when they take baths, go swimming, etc. Taking a bath will baptize you, but it definitely won’t save you.
The Bible teaches that baptism saves you. According to the Bible, baptism is a requirement of salvation. Peter said so in Acts 2:38 when he preached the first sermon after Christ’s ascension. In 1 Pet 3:21, it specifically says that baptism saves us. Mk 16:16 says that baptism is as integral a part of salvation as belief, and Paul tells us in Rom 6:4-5 that baptism buries us with Christ, so we might be born again without our sins. The Bible clearly teaches baptism as a prerequisite for salvation.
Now, here is your problem. Calvinism teaches that baptism is “an outward showing of an inward grace.” That means that Calvinistic churches do baptize people, but they believe it is only for show and that you were already saved before you were baptized. Therefore, the reason they baptize people is completely wrong. If you are baptized for the wrong reasons, you just get wet – not saved. We would be happy to get you in touch with a congregation that isn’t tied to denominations, teaches the whole Bible (Rev 22:18-19), avoids manmade traditions (Matt 15:9), and will baptize you for the right reasons. Just e-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the general area of the country you live in and we will happily put you in contact with a faithful church. You may also find the article “Calvin And Sobs” on Calvinism of use to better understand this manmade religion.
What is faith? When we have faith, do we have faith like when we sit on a chair or fly on a plane? What type of faith does the Word of God say that we should have? How many different types of faith are there? We all are given a measure of faith, but yet, the Word says that there is only one faith; what does this mean? Do we function on different faith, or do we all function on the same faith… but differently?
Dear Finding Faith,
The word ‘faith’ simply means ‘to place your trust in, to believe’. In the context of the Bible, the word ‘faith’ is specifically referring to our trust in God.
Faith is an inevitable element of life. Anytime you trust something you can’t see, it is an act of faith (Heb 11:1). When we take an aspirin, we have faith that it isn’t laced with arsenic. When we drive, we have faith that the traffic light is telling the other lanes to stop when it tells us to go. We visit restaurants because we have faith in the recommendation our friend gave us, and we buy houses based on our faith in the home inspector’s report. Everyone lives by faith – this is an important aspect of life.
Sadly, most people are quick to place their trust in manmade things like airplanes and cars, but very slow to place their faith in God. The Bible says that faith comes from hearing God’s Word (Rom 10:17). That is what the Bible mens when it says there is only one faith (Eph 4:5). There is only one standard for a faithful life – the Bible. The Bible is the book of the faith and then how we follow the faith determines our level of individual faith.
When we study and then live by the teachings found in the Bible we are living a life of faith in God. It isn’t enough to just say we believe in God, our works must back that statement up (Jas 2:14-17). Even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19), but salvation comes to those who do something about that belief.
We know it was because of God that Aaron turned his staff into a snake and frogs coming out of the water, but what about the sorcerers that did the same thing (Exodus 7:11-12, Exodus 8:7)? By what power did they do this?
The Pharaoh’s magicians used good old-fashioned parlor tricks to turn their staves into snakes. They used their “enchantments” to make the serpents appear – no differently than the impressive, but explainable acts of today’s illusionists (Ex 7:11). The difference was that Moses’ serpent ate their serpents (Ex 7:12)! The evidence was clear; Moses’ “trick” was different. Eventually, even the magicians admitted that the one true God was behind Moses’ miracles (Ex 8:19).