Jesus Christ is God’s gift of eternal life to man (John 17:3; Rom 6:23). He is presented in scripture as the One knocking at the door of our hearts, seeking to come in. Once He comes in, He makes such a difference to our lives ordinarily associated with poverty, sickness, misery and other privations. To be king on the throne of God is the ultimate prize for the believer in whom Christ dwells. (Rev. 3: 14 – 21).
Christ completely opens a new chapter in the history of mankind. According to His word of truth, now is the accepted time” to receive divine grace or help: “now is the day of salvation”. (2 Cor. 6: 1 – 2). The appearance of divine grace in this day of salvation, in which God has made a solemn undertaking to help all those who come to Him, has tremendous implications for believers.
It holds the key to the whole mystery of salvation in the New Testament: Christ is the source of our salvation and everything it entails – righteousness, holiness, good works, etc. As soon as we come to Him, He takes control. We become righteous not by our own efforts or power, but because Christ has empowered us to be so. (Ezekiel 36: 26 – 27; Phl 1: 11).
Indeed, as Eph. 2: 8–9 puts it, “by grace are we saved through faith [in Christ]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast”.
In verse 10 (of the same chapter), the work of Christ as the One responsible for our righteousness is specifically brought to our attention: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”.
Basic to this all is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which allows Christ, the grace of God, to enter the hearts of believers and begin His spiritual work of re-creation – turning us into instruments of righteousness, holiness, etc. That is to say, Christ by His Spirit motivates or causes us to walk in His statues and laws. (Ezek. 36:26 – 27). Because His seed (or Word) remains in us and we are born anew by His Spirit, we cannot sin (i.e. cannot break God’s law) – John 3:9; also 3:4.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire follows water baptism for a good reason. The Holy Spirit baptism gives meaning to repentance that we might receive power to do righteousness. (Phl. 2:13; Titus 2:11 – 12: I John 5:3).
No wonder, it was an established tradition in the early church to first baptize new converts by immersion in the river and afterwards teach them the baptism of the Holy Spirit so they will receive it. (Matt 3:11; Acts2: 38; 8: 16–17; 19:2 – 6).
Clearly, then, the gospel of Christ broadly proclaims a two-fold message: Repentance and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. These are the two basic themes of the gospel of Christ, described as being “ the power of God unto salvation.” (Rom. 1:16). Beyond giving us power to fulfill the will of God (as in keeping His law, etc), the Holy Sprit also imparts to us spiritual gifts such as the gifts of wisdom, healing, miracles, etc. (I Cor. 12:8 –11).
The baptism of the Holy Spirit effectively makes us one spiritual entity with Christ; we become attached to Him. (2 Cor. 6:17). Hence we have access to the Spirit of resurrection which raised Jesus from the dead: “But if the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you”. (Rom. 8:11).
Once we receive Christ in our hearts via the Holy Spirit baptism, our salvation becomes complete. There and then, the power of resurrection and ascension is readily made available to us; redemption – the transformation of our vile bodies into “His glorious body” – then becomes a foregone conclusion. (Phl 3:20 – 21). Of course, as He Himself has said, “if any man draws back [into perdition], my soul shall have no pleasure in him”. (Heb. 10:38). So let’s strive to attain “the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 13) so that we’ll be able to avoid any acts that could grieve the Spirit. (Eph.4: 30). Under no circumstances should we be dropouts from the grace of God in Jesus. (See Heb. 6:4-6).
The Spirit of the Redeemer has come to redeem us. “It is finished,” He said on the Calvary cross, and He means every word of it. He seeks only our trust, our faith. If only we will open up our hearts to Him, He is ever ready to enter.
Christ’s free contract on salvation is a done deal; it’s clinched. Are you ready to accept Him now?