Week­end Bi­ble Re­flec­tions With Jon

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of your sins, and you will re­ceive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” - Acts 2: 36- 38

Re­cently, I was en­gaged in a con­ver­sa­tion about triv­ial things with the lady who was cut­ting my hair. “What do you think of the weather?” ( I think it’s been hot for Septem­ber.) “Do you want the back squared or rounded?” ( Rounded, please.)

Af­ter a while, the in­evitable ques­tion – “What do you do for a liv­ing?” – came up, and I an­swered, “I’m a preacher.” Quite of­ten when I tell peo­ple what I do for a liv­ing, the con­ver­sa­tion then delves into re­li­gious ter­ri­tory, which is ab­so­lutely fine with me. This oc­ca­sion was no ex­cep­tion. She im­me­di­ately be­gan to talk about bi­b­li­cal sub­jects with me, and it wasn’t long be­fore, while talk­ing about her puz­zle­ment over the Holy Spirit, she said, “I’ve been won­der­ing about that ever since I got saved.” I asked, “How did you get saved?” She an­swered, “Well, I asked Je­sus into my heart a few years ago.”

She had pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted to me that she didn’t re­ally know her Bi­ble all that well, and so I asked, “How do you know that ask­ing Je­sus into your heart is what saved you?” She told me that oth­ers had told her so. I then asked her, “But have you ever read that in the Bi­ble?” She ad­mit­ted that she had not, and was then quite in­ter­ested when I in­formed her that the phrase “ask Je­sus into your heart” is not found in the New Tes­ta­ment in re­la­tion to sal­va­tion.

When the very first con­verts to Chris­tian­ity asked the apos­tle Peter, “Brethren, what shall we do?” ( Acts 2: 37) upon hear­ing of their im­pend­ing con­dem­na­tion for their sins, Peter did not say, “Ask Je­sus into your heart for the for­give­ness of your sins.” He said, “Re­pent, and each of you be bap­tized in the name of Je­sus Christ for the for­give­ness of your sins, and you will re­ceive the gift of the Holy Spirit” ( Acts 2: 38).

Be­fore as­cend­ing into heaven, Je­sus com­manded his apos­tles to preach the gospel to ev­ery­one ( Mark 16: 15), but he did not then in­form them that “who­ever asks me into their heart will be saved, but who­ever does not ask me into their heart will be con­demned.” What he ac­tu­ally said was, “He who be­lieves and is bap­tized shall be saved, but he who does not be­lieve shall be con­demned” ( Mark 16: 16).

When Saul of Tar­sus ( who would later be­come the apos­tle Paul) was blinded by the bright light on the Damascus road, Je­sus told him to en­ter Damascus, where it would be told to him “what you must do” ( Acts 9: 6). For the next three days, Saul ate or drank noth­ing and spent his time in prayer un­til the Lord sent him the evan­ge­list Ana­nias ( Acts 9: 9- 11). No­tice that he was pray­ing, so you would think that he would have been ask­ing Je­sus into his heart at that time, but the Bi­ble never men­tions that. Later in the book of Acts, Paul is giv­ing his ac­count of his con­ver­sion, and men­tions what Ana­nias told him to do in or­der to “wash away your sins.” He was never told to “ask Je­sus into your heart.” In­stead, Ana­nias told him, “Now why do you de­lay? Get up and be bap­tized, and wash away your sins, call­ing on his name” ( Acts 22: 16), which is what Saul did ( Acts 9: 18).

When we are judged by God, it will be God’s Word that judges us ( John 12: 48; Rev­e­la­tion 20: 12). So if you want to be saved, do what the Bi­ble tells you to do. Have faith that comes from God’s Word ( Ro­mans 10: 17). Re­pent of your sins and be bap­tized into Christ ( Acts 2: 38; Gal. 3: 2627). Only then will you ob­tain sal­va­tion ( Mark 16: 16; 1 Peter 3: 21).

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