The Christian And Racism: The Urgent Need For Good Samaritans In A Racially Intolerant world!

Xenophobia, hatred and racism words written with blocks on red background

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

Racism is defined as the prejudicial perception that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races. It can also be considered as discriminatory or abusive behaviour towards members of another race (Offline English-Urdu Dictionary). The issues of racial superiority and racial discrimination are as old as mankind. Hatred and enemity based on racial and cultural differences have fuelled countless disputes and have resulted in several genocidal wars. How does Christianity view racism? What does the Bible expect of New Testament believers with respect to relations with people of other races? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

In the Bible, from the Abrahamic era, humanity was basically divided into two races- the Jews and the non-Jews (the Gentiles). The Jews were descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. God chose and separated that race from the rest of humanity for the purpose of making his will and knowledge known to mankind, while highlighting the contrast between those who know him and those who don’t. The racial division of mankind into Jews and Gentiles was for the purpose of contrasting good with evil, godliness with ungodliness and morality with immorality. It was to enable the rest of humanity living in darkness see and appreciate God’s light in the Jewish camp. God was trying to teach mankind by contrast. God’s final aim was to provide a saviour through the godly Jewish race, who would ultimately abolish the racial divide and unite all mankind as one. This final purpose was accomplished by the Messiah Christ Jesus, whose death on Calvary abolished the racial enemity and prejudice between Jews and Gentiles and made humanity one again.

Ephesians 2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) —

Ephesians 2:12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

Ephesians 2:15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,

Ephesians 2:16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Ephesians 2:17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

Ephesians 2:22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

So, Christ’s death on the cross was designed to dismantle the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, and to turn both racial classes into one heavenly race of godly men and women- Christians! In Christ Jesus, we do not judge men after the flesh or after their races. In Christ Jesus, there’s neither Jew nor Gentile, neither Greek nor Barbarian, neither male nor female, neither bond nor free, for all are equal and one under God! In Christ, there’s no intrinsically superior race of men over others, for we’re all members of one body. The blood of Christ equalises all men and removes every fleshly and carnal prejudices. It abolishes all primordial pride, enemity, hatred, suspicion and mistrust based on ethnicity and race. In Christ Jesus, we build bridges among the sons of Adam, not walls, for we all came from one blood at the beginning, and the second Adam has restored us all back to that oneness!

Romans 10:11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,

Romans 10:13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Galatians 3:26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,

Galatians 3:27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The Great Commission of preaching the gospel and making disciples of all men for the Lord was committed to the original Apostles who were all Jews. Initially, the intense anti-Gentile sentiments of the Jewish Apostles restrained them from preaching the gospel to people outside of their Jewish clan. It took heavy persecutions to disperse the Jewish disciples to other regions outside Jerusalem, where they were forced to minister to non-Jews, but first to Samaritans who were half-Jew, half-Gentile. Getting the Apostles to take the gospel to full-fledged Gentiles was an even more daunting task! The Lord had to prepare Peter especially for this task, by attempting to neutralise his deep-rooted racist sentiments with series of visions. Even at that, for Peter, entering the house of a Gentile to minister was like defiling himself! His preaching was with much reluctance and hesitation! It took God doing the unusual (baptising men with the Holy Spirit before water baptism) for the extremely bigoted Jews to accept that the Gentiles too could be saved! The racial bigotry was that intense!

The Acts 8:1 And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

The Acts 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

The Acts 8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.

The Acts 10:9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.

The Acts 10:10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.

The Acts 10:11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.

The Acts 10:12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.

The Acts 10:13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

The Acts 10:14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

The Acts 10:15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

The Acts 10:16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

The Acts 10:17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate.

The Acts 10:18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

The Acts 10:19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you.

The Acts 10:20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

The Acts 10:21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”

The Acts 10:22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.”

The Acts 10:23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.

The Acts 10:24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.

The Acts 10:25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.

The Acts 10:26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

The Acts 10:27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.

The Acts 10:28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.

The Acts 10:29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

The Acts 10:30 Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me

The Acts 10:31 and said, ’Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.

The Acts 10:32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’

The Acts 10:33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

The Acts 10:34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism

The Acts 10:35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

The Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

The Acts 10:45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.

The Acts 10:46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,

The Acts 10:47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

The Acts 10:48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Despite this overwhelming evidence of the hand of God at work in literally forcing Peter and the other Jews to take the gospel to the Gentiles and minister salvation to them, Peter had a lot of explaining to do back home in Jerusalem, when the other Apostles heard that he went into the house of a Gentile! The Apostles were men filled with the Holy Spirit, yet racism was deeply ingrained in them! These were ministers of the gospel, yet systemic racism had blinded them to the truth of the gospel! The racism in these Jewish ministers was so deeply rooted that even with the divine encounter Peter had, he still went back into racial segregation and discrimination against the Gentiles! It took the racially liberated Paul to set Peter and the rest of the bigoted Jewish Apostles straight on the issue of racism. Paul didn’t hold back any punches in making Peter and the rest (including Barnabas his own partner) realise how fundamentally and systemically racist they were, even though they were men of God! They were so used to racism that it had become a normal way of life to them. Like a fish who had lived in a bowl all its life, the fish tank mentality had set in and coloured all their thoughts and actions. Racism is an insidious and deadly virus, for it poisons and defiles those in whose heart it’s found, without their ever realising they’re affected by it. Most times, the racist doesn’t believe he’s a racist at all!

The Acts 11:1 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

The Acts 11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him

The Acts 11:3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

The Acts 11:4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story:

The Acts 11:5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was.

The Acts 11:6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds.

The Acts 11:7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ’Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’

The Acts 11:8 “I replied, ’Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

The Acts 11:9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ’Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’

The Acts 11:10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.

The Acts 11:11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying.

The Acts 11:12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.

The Acts 11:13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ’Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter.

The Acts 11:14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’

The Acts 11:15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.

The Acts 11:16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ’John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

The Acts 11:17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”

The Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

The Acts 11:19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.

The Acts 11:20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 11:21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

Galatians 2:11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

Galatians 2:12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.

Galatians 2:13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

Galatians 2:14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

Galatians 2:15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles

Galatians 2:16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 2:17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

Galatians 2:18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

Racism is actually quite difficult to root out completely in any group, as we have seen with the relationship of the Jewish disciples to their Gentile counterparts in Christ. This is because pride is at the root of all racial prejudices. The ancestral pride and illustrious heritage of the Jews made it difficult for them to accept others on equal footing. How could those who had Abraham as their father accept to relate equally with those whose ancestry and lineage were traced to pagans and idol worshippers? But, a fundamental fact forgotten by the bigoted Jews and all other racists is that, our ancestry can be traced back to the same source, if we go back far enough. We all came from one stock- Adam. Though mankind splintered and divided into several branches along the way, we have a common heritage in our origin. We all came from Adam. One other fact the Jews conveniently chose to forget about their ancestry was that, even Abraham was a heathen before God called him! He was an idol worshipper that God picked out by grace and used as a starting point for a new beginning for mankind. So, Abraham was an uncircumcised heathen Gentile before he became a Jew! Our pride that leads to racial discrimination and a looking down on others will lose its footing if we understand that whatever we think we have that puts us above others are all free gifts of grace! We didn’t choose our ancestry. We didn’t choose our lineage. We didn’t choose our place of origin or of birth. And we didn’t merit them either! That knowledge should humble all of us and make us appreciate and glorify God in our diversity and racial and cultural differences.

The Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.

The Acts 17:25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.

The Acts 17:26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

The Acts 17:27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

The Acts 17:28 ’For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ’We are his offspring.’

Joshua 24:14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

1 Corinthians 4:6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Jeremiah 9:23 This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches,

Jeremiah 9:24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

How can we detect racism in our midst as Christians? How can we seriously stand up against racism in our environment? The first step would be to accept that racism is a sin! It’s a combination of pride, hatred and a lack of respect for other men and women made in God’s image, and whom even God respects and honours. Next, we need to accept the fact that, for those benefitting from racism, there’s usually a subconscious and reflex desire to deny the existence of systemic racism in our environment! The fish tank mentality may have conditioned us to see and accept racism as normal! We’ll need to step back a bit and look at things from a different angle of vision. Until we can accurately and objectively diagnose racism in ourselves and in others, we won’t be able to do much to root it out of our lives. A sincere prayer for God to shine his light in our hearts and expose our racist tendencies will help reveal the depth of racism in us. Only then can we begin to act in deliberate ways to counter our racist impulses. Racism is fundamentally a subconscious hatred of our racially different neighbours. The cure would be to apply God’s unconditional love to all, in an impartial way. The moment we’re able to love those not in our groups to the same degree as we do those of our race, we’ll cease to be racists. The moment we’re able to do unto others as we’d have them do unto us, racism will disappear. The law of love and the golden rule are the cure for racism- love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Be the good Samaritan! Above all, as Christians, we should not hesitate to demonstrate our hatred for racism by spearheading the fight for racial equality and justice. Like our Lord and Saviour, we should treat all men with love, dignity, respect and fairness. We should stand up for the downtrodden and be the voice of the voiceless! To sit back and be silent in the face of systemic racism is to be an accomplice to this evil! To close our eyes and ears to the plight of the persecuted is to strengthen their persecutors. To refuse to reach out to the racially wounded and bruised and bind up the brokenhearted is to choose to be the hypocritical priest and Levite, rather than the good Samaritan. We cannot be neutral in this matter. We’re either for racism or we’re against it, and our actions will show were we stand!

St. Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

St. Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

St. Matthew 5:45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

St. Matthew 5:46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

St. Matthew 5:47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

St. Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

St. Matthew 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.

St. Matthew 22:35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

St. Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

St. Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

St. Matthew 22:38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

St. Matthew 22:39 And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’

St. Matthew 22:40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

St. Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

In conclusion, racism is a natural impulse of the unregenerated soul, being a manifestation of pride, hatred, division and strife. Unfortunately, even Spirit-filled believers in Christ can be overwhelmed with racist impulses. The typical racist is usually unaware of, or readily denies, his racist tendencies, having been conditioned all his life by the systemic racism around him or her to accept racism as normal. A sincere inward searching of the soul by the Holy Spirit, coupled with critical self-examination, will reveal and expose our racist tendencies and prepare the way for deliverance. Deliberate counteractive actions must be taken thereafter to check our racist impulses and show God’s love in an impartial way to all. The unconditional love of God expressed to all men in an impartial manner is the cure for racism. To love God with all our heart, and to love our neighbours as ourselves (including those racially diverse from us) is the key to defeating racism. Once we’re able to do unto others as we expect them to do unto us, racism will be uprooted from our hearts.

Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

Psalms 139:24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (AKJV).

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (AKJV).

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Did The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit And The Accompanying Gifts Of The Spirit Cease With The Original Apostles?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

Some Christian groups, called cessationists, believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with his gifts and power, ended in the immediate post-Apostolic age, with the death of those whom the original Apostles laid hands on to receive the Holy Spirit and his gifts. The cessationists believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were to vindicate and authenticate the ministry of the Apostles and the gospel they preached, as well as to enable them receive direct revelations for the writing of the New Testament Scriptures. However, with the closure of the canon of Scriptures, it is argued that the gifts of the Spirit are no longer needed in the Church. Was the baptism of the Holy Spirit promised only to believers of the Apostolic age? Were the gifts of the Holy Spirit to cease from the Church after the Apostolic age? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

To understand how long the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts that accompany it are to remain in the Church, let’s look at the purpose of the Holy Spirit and his intended works in the Church. If we can understand that, then we’ll know if and when he’s supposed to be finished with the Church. One of the main reasons for the coming of the Holy Spirit is to take the place of Jesus Christ in the lives of believers as comforter, helper, teacher, guide and leader. The Holy Spirit is to continue to be and to do with believers what Jesus was doing with them while he was on earth. And, that ministry of the Holy Spirit to believers is to continue till the end of the Church age! The comforter/helper Jesus promised to send would be with the disciples forever! Also, Jesus promised that all who believe him will have the Holy Spirit flowing from their hearts, like rivers of living water! The flow of the Holy Spirit from the heart is for every believer in Christ, not just for those in the Apostolic age!

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

John 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14:18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

John 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The Holy Spirit and his gifts are to empower believers to witness effectively for Christ, and to carry out the great commission with great success. Preaching and other works of the Church are to be done in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. If the gifts and power manifestations of the Holy Spirit were to end with the original Apostles, does that mean that other generations that followed them were not to witness for Christ again? Of course that’s not true, for the Church is to continue to witness for Christ till the end of the ages! Also, on the day of Pentecost, Peter told his audience that the gift of the Holy Spirit was for them, their children and for as many people as God would call, including those afar off from the Apostolic age! For as long as God is still calling people to salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit will still be given to believers! The Scripture also tells us that the gifts of the Holy Spirit will follow those that believe in Christ, as a sign of their supernatural faith. As long as people keep believing in Christ, the signs will keep following them! Nowhere does the Bible say the gifts of the Holy Spirit would stop after the original Apostles! For as long as people keep believing in Christ, the gift of the Holy Spirit will keep filling and enduing them with power from on high! Children of God in all ages are to be filled and led by the Spirit of God!

Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

The Acts 1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;

The Acts 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Acts 1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The Acts 1:7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

Mark 16:18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Mark 16:19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit and the release of his gifts into the Church are also for the edification and building up of the body of Christ to perfection and spiritual maturity. The Spirit is to continue to fill and build up believers until the Church comes to spiritual maturity and perfection. Has the Church come to that promised perfection and spiritual maturity now that will make the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit to cease in the Church? Are we better off today than the original Apostles who needed the Holy Spirit in their day to grow to maturity? Are we more mature and more perfect than those of the Apostolic age that God would now withdraw the Holy Spirit from us? The answers to these questions are obvious! We are spiritually less mature and more imperfect than the Apostles were in their age! Therefore, we need more of the genuine Holy Spirit and his genuine gifts than the Apostles needed them! We need more of the Holy Spirit now to reach and surpass the Apostolic standard! To attain the stature of the perfect man and the fullness of Christ, we need the fullness of the Holy Spirit and power! The Spirit is to help our weaknesses and intercede for us as we grow in grace. We build up our faith as we pray in the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit! Believers in every age need the Holy Spirit and his gifts to realise their potentials and become who God wants them to be!

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Those who argue that the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased in the Church quote a portion of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in which he spoke about when prophecies and tongues would come to an end. Let’s carefully examine that portion of Scripture to get the complete context and meaning of what the Apostle intended to convey.

1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

1 Corinthians 13:10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

In the passage above, the Apostle was comparing love (a fruit of the Spirit) with the gifts of the Spirit, in terms of both the ability to edify as well as their longevity. It is apparent at first glance that love trumps all gifts of the Spirit in both its ability to edify and its longevity, for love is eternal! All gifts of the Spirit will come to an end someday, after bringing the Church to spiritual maturity and helping it fulfil its mission and the great commission. Love is, however, for all eternity. The question is, when will the gifts of the Spirit like speaking in tongues, prophecy, knowledge etc, cease, fail or vanish away?The answer is found in verse 10: the gifts of the Spirit will cease when the church has attained perfection!

1 Corinthians 13:10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

And when is that perfection to come? That will be when we are glorified! The Church will come to perfection when our knowledge is perfect, when we will know even as we are known, when we will see and understand the things of God clearly, not as dimly as we do now. For as long as we know in part and prophesy in part, for as long as our knowledge is imperfect and we’re still children spiritually, we will continue to need the gifts of the Spirit! When shall we know even as we are known? That is when we’re on the other side of the curtain of time! That’s when mortality has been swallowed up by immortality, when imperfection has put on perfection! For when the Lord appears and we’re with him, we shall be exactly like him! And when we’re like him, we shall not need the gifts of the Spirit anymore, for then, we shall know even as we are known!

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—

1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:55 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Thus, we see the promise of the gift of prophecy made to God’s people right up to the second coming of Christ. God promised as far back as in the Old Testament, through the prophet Joel, that one of the gifts of the Spirit, prophecy, would be poured out abundantly upon God’s children, men and women, old and young, at the time of the second coming of Christ. If one gift of the Spirit is to continue till the second coming of Christ, then, we can safely conclude that all the other gifts of the Spirit, along with the baptism of the Spirit that ushers in the gifts, will continue right up to the coming of Christ. That is the plain promise of God in the Scriptures!

The Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

The Acts 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
The Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

The Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

The Acts 2:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

The Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

The Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

The Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

In conclusion, we’ve shown that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the accompanying gifts of the Spirit are for all believers throughout the entire Church age, for the promise is to as many as the Lord shall call. The Holy Spirit is the comforter, helper, teacher and leader for all Christians, as well as the power of God to preach and witness for Christ effectively. The Spirit and his gifts are to build the Church to spiritual maturity, and the gifts will be with us till the second coming of Christ, when we all would have attained perfection, having been glorified together with the Lord. Besides, if we still have pastors, evangelists and teachers in the Church (who are all gifts of the Spirit), then we should still have all the other gifts of the Spirit in the Church, including Apostles, Prophets, tongues and interpretation, miracles, healing etc, for nowhere in Scripture are we told any of these would cease before the Church comes to perfection. Therefore, the assumption of the cessationists that the baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit ended with the Apostolic age is false and unscriptural.

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Is Speaking In Tongues The Only Initial Evidence Of The Baptism With The Holy Spirit?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

Most (if not all) Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are of the opinion that speaking in tongues is the only initial evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Because of this belief, speaking in tongues is considered synonymous with the baptism of the Holy Spirit by many. Thus, anyone who doesn’t speak in tongues is considered not to have been baptised with the Holy Spirit. Is speaking in tongues the only initial evidence of being baptised with the Holy Spirit? Is it possible to receive the Holy Spirit and not speak in tongues? In this study, we shall attempt to answer these questions through a careful examinination of the Scriptures.

When the disciples first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, they manifested the gift of speaking in tongues- the supernatural ability to speak foreign languages (tongues) they hadn’t learnt previously. Also, in the house of Cornelius (the first Gentile to receive Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit), while Peter was still preaching, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those listening to him, and they all began to speak in unknown foreign languages. On the occasions described, people who got baptised with the Holy Spirit spoke in varieties of unknown (foreign) tongues (languages).

The Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

The Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

The Acts 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

The Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

The Acts 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

The Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

The Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

The Acts 10:45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

The Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered,

The Acts 10:47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

The Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

From these two incidents where the manifestation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was recorded, speaking in foreign languages or tongues was the first visible evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Is that then to mean that everyone baptised with the Holy Spirit must speak in tongues? Should speaking in tongues be taken to mean the universal initial evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit? It doesn’t appear to be so, as another recorded instance of the manifestation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Scripture shows.

The Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

The Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

The Acts 19:4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Acts 19:7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

In the passage above, we see another instance of a group of people receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and manifesting certain gifts of the Spirit immediately after being baptised with the Holy Spirit. On this occasion, we see that while some spoke in tongues, others prophesied! This means that speaking in tongues is not the only initial manifestation or evidence of being baptised with the Holy Spirit! Prophesying too can be an initial manifestation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit!

In yet another instance in the New Testament where people were filled with the Holy Spirit, we see them being filled with boldness and speaking the Word of God without fear, as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Though this was not a group of people receiving the Holy Spirit for the first time, it is instructive to note that, in this case, the people needed boldness to preach the word of God without fear, and when filled with the Holy Spirit, they received the boldness they needed! This was the same group of people that spoke in tongues when they were filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Then, speaking in strange tongues was needed to catch the attention of the foreigners in their midst and open them up for evangelism, and they got just that! But now, they needed boldness, and when filled with the Spirit, boldness came upon them. Boldness too is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit!

The Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

The Acts 4:25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?

The Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

The Acts 4:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

The Acts 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

The Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

The Acts 4:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

The Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

2 Timothy 1:6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

In the Old Testament, when the Spirit of God came upon people, they manifested his presence in different ways. Some prophesied, others displayed supernatural physical strength, while others performed miracles, carried out healings, and spoke the word of God with boldness. In other instances, some people upon whom the Spirit of God descended got special knowledge and understanding to do amazing things (including the ability to perform intricate skilled artisan works!), while others manifested supernatural wisdom, discernment, keen insight, bravery and courage in leading God’s people, among a host of other attributes. Let’s look at some of these manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

1 Samuel 10:6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.

1 Samuel 10:7 And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.

1 Samuel 10:10 When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

1 Samuel 10:11 And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”

2 Chronicles 24:20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.’”

1 Samuel 11:5 Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, “What troubles the people, that they weep?” And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh.

1 Samuel 11:6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.

1 Samuel 11:7 So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.”
And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.

Judges 14:5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah.
Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him.

Judges 14:6 And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.

Judges 14:19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave the changes of clothing to those who had explained the riddle. So his anger was aroused, and he went back up to his father’s house.

Judges 15:14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands.

Judges 15:15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it, and killed a thousand men with it.

Exodus 28:3 So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.

Exodus 31:2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.

Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Exodus 31:4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze,

Exodus 31:5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.

Exodus 31:6 “And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:

Judges 3:8 Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years.

Judges 3:9 When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

Judges 3:10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of knowledge, understanding, wisdom, might (power/strength), counsel, and of the fear of the Lord. He also has several gifts that he brings into people’s lives when he comes upon them or fills them. These gifts of the Holy Spirit include speaking in tongues or unlearned foreign languages, interpretation of unlearned foreign languages, prophecy, healing, miracles, faith, discernment of spirits, word of knowledge, wisdom. Also included among the gifts of the Spirit are the gifts of the five-fold ministry- apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Other gifts of the Spirit include special adminstrative abilities, ability to show mercy, giving, exhortation, ability to lead others, boldness and courage, etc. Any of these gifts of the Spirit, singly or in combination, could come upon a person once the Holy Spirit fills the person.

Isaiah 11:1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

Romans 12:5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

Romans 12:7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

Romans 12:8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Those who teach that all who are baptised with the Holy Spirit must speak in tongues as an initial evidence imply that all believers have the gift of speaking in tongues. That’s the only way all will be able to speak in tongues after being Spirit-filled. However, it is obvious from Scripture that not all believers have the gift of speaking in tongues. Paul stated this by asking a series of rhetorical questions in his letter to the Corinthians. The answers to these questions should be obvious to all!

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?

1 Corinthians 12:30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

If all believers are not expected to have the gift of speaking in unknown tongues, then why should anyone make the gift of speaking in tongues the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit? For any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be considered the initial evidence of baptism with the Holy Spirit, it must be present and it must manifest in everyone who receives the Holy Spirit at all times. But, we do not see speaking in tongues manifested in everyone who got filled with the Holy Spirit in Scripture. And, we’re told in Scripture that not all believers who have the Holy Spirit speak in tongues. If the gift of speaking in tongues is not present in all believers who have the Holy Spirit, then it cannot be the only initial evidence or manifestation of the Spirit baptism. The Spirit can choose to manifest any of his numerous gifts in any believer at baptism and subsequently! When the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer, he manifests himself in a way, usually through the display of any of his gifts. This manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone who has the Spirit. It may not be the same manifestation in everyone, as all do not have the same gifts of the Spirit. The Spirit alone determines who manifests what gift. The manifestation of the gifts in individual believers is according to the will of the Spirit. It is therefore wrong to expect everyone to manifest the same gifts of the Spirit upon being Spirit-filled.

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

In conclusion, from the evidence of Scripture alone, it cannot be conclusively proven that speaking in tongues is the only initial evidence of baptism with the Holy Spirit. To be baptised with the Holy Spirit is not synonymous with speaking in tongues. The Holy Spirit can manifest at baptism with any of his gifts, of which speaking in tongues is just but one out of so many. There is evidence in Scripture of people manifesting other gifts of the Spirit like prophecy, gifts of healing, boldness to preach, knowledge, wisdom, etc, upon being first filled with the Holy Spirit. Besides, not all Spirit-filled believers speak in unknown tongues. It’s therefore unreasonable and unscriptural to expect everyone to manifest speaking in tongues as an initial evidence of being baptised with the Holy Spirit.

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How To Receive The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The promise of the Holy Spirit is made to all believers in Christ. Every Christian is entitled to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the subsequent refillings of the Spirit as needed. It is the gift and promise of God to every believer in Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, Helper, Guide, Leader, Teacher and Counselor promised by Christ to all his disciples. After believing and receiving Christ Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Saviour, the next thing for a believer is to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In the concluding part of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost cited above, we see the formula for receiving the Holy Spirit laid out clearly by Peter. When the people asked what they needed to do in order to be saved and escape the wrath of God, Peter advised them to repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and then they would receive the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He told them the gift of the Holy Spirit was for them, their children and for as many as the Lord God would call to salvation. So, every saved person is entitled to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit! When you repent and get baptised in water as a public show of your repentance and faith in Christ Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you are set to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. At the start of the Church, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was received by the laying on of hands of the Apostles on believers who had received Christ as Lord and Saviour and had been baptised by immersion in water in his name. The Apostles would pray and lay hands on the water-baptised believers and the Holy Spirit would come upon them.

The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

The Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

The Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

The Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

The Acts 8:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

The Acts 8:11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

The Acts 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

The Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

The Acts 19:4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Acts 19:7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

Beside Apostles, any other preacher of the gospel can minister the Holy Spirit to others who are yet to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. Anyone who ministers Christ and the gifts of the Spirit to a group can also be the channel through which others can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit by faith!

Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?

Galatians 3:2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

Galatians 3:4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

Galatians 3:5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—

Apart from the laying on of hands by the Apostles and other members of the five-fold ministry, some people have been known to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands of other Spirit-filled believers not known to be members of the five-fold ministry. We see that happening in the case of Saul (later called Paul). Ananias, the man who laid hands on Paul to receive his sight, and who water-baptised him and laid hands on him to receive the Holy Spirit, was not an Apostle. He was just an ordinary disciple of Christ. This shows that the Lord can use any Spirit-filled believer to minister the baptism of the Holy Spirit to another believer who is yet to be Spirit filled.

The Acts 9:10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”

The Acts 9:11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.

The Acts 9:12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

The Acts 9:13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.

The Acts 9:14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”

The Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

The Acts 9:16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

The Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 9:18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

There is also evidence in Scripture which shows that people can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit without anyone laying hands on them! Cornelius and his household, the first Gentiles to receive Christ and the Holy Spirit, got filled with the Holy Spirit while Peter was still preaching his sermon to them! While Peter was still speaking, Jesus interrupted the sermon and baptised the listeners with the Holy Spirit, without even a prior water baptism! Just by believing Christ in their hearts, God bore witness of their faith by sending the Holy Spirit upon them as a seal of their faith in Christ! God can bypass even his own rules to show he’s sovereign! And when he does that, we don’t question him! We just go ahead and accept what he’s done! Hallelujah!

The Acts 10:24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.

The Acts 10:25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.

The Acts 10:26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.”

The Acts 10:27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together.

The Acts 10:28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

The Acts 10:29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”

The Acts 10:30 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

The Acts 10:31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.

The Acts 10:32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’

The Acts 10:33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”

The Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

The Acts 10:35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

The Acts 10:36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—

The Acts 10:37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:

The Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

The Acts 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.

The Acts 10:40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,

The Acts 10:41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

The Acts 10:42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.

The Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

The Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

The Acts 10:45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

The Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered,

The Acts 10:47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

The Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

The Acts 15:6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.

The Acts 15:7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.

The Acts 15:8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,

The Acts 15:9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Finally, a believer in Christ can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit directly from God by faith, without any intermediary! You can directly ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. When you ask in faith through the name of Jesus and do not doubt, you will receive the Holy Spirit! Whatever you ask the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, he’ll give to you, as long as you ask in faith and in accordance with God’s will. And, it’s the will of God that every child of God be filled with the Holy Spirit! Ask and believe that you have received and you will have exactly what you asked God for! God is more willing to give his children the Holy spirit than our earthly parents are in giving us good things!

Luke 11:9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Luke 11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Luke 11:11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?

Luke 11:12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

John 16:23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.

John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

Mark 11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

In conclusion, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is God’s promised gift to every believer in Christ. Every Christian is qualified to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit soon after salvation. The baptism of the Spirit can be received by laying on of hands of ministers of the gospel or any Spirit-filled believer. Also, the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be received directly by an individual who has repented and has been baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Such a person can ask God directly for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He or she will receive the Holy Spirit if he or she asks by faith in the name of Jesus Christ. Whatever we ask God by faith in the name of Christ, as long as it’s in accordance with his will he’ll hear and answer. And, it’s God’s will that we be filled with the Holy Spirit. May we all ask and receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. We need the Holy Spirit to be all that God intends for us to be as Christians!

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Being Filled With The Holy Spirit Is Not A Once-And-For-All Experience: You Can Be Filled As Many Times As You Need!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit fills the believer in Christ with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and releases upon him the gift(s) of the Spirit. The effects of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit are to energise the believer and empower him/her for effective service and ministry. The initial infilling of the Holy Spirit after salvation is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. After the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Spirit experienced in the life and ministry of a believer wanes with service and use. Unless regularly refilled, a believer baptised in the Holy Spirit runs the risk of running out of gas. We shall examine Scripture to see how we ought to be regularly filled with the Spirit, despite the initial baptism, to keep the fire burning!

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples of Christ and filled them for the first time. The promise Christ made to them concerning the Comforter was thus fulfilled. The baptism of the Holy Spirit they experienced on the first occasion was manifested by the gift of speaking in foreign languages they did not learn, leading to wonder and amazement among their foreign audience who could hear them speak their foreign languages clearly. This was one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on display. It led to Peter’s inspired sermon and the conversion of about three thousand people. This was preaching of the gospel with power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit! The result was amazing: one sermon produced three thousand converts! No wonder Christ asked them to wait until they were endued with the power of the Holy Spirit before launching out to fulfil the great commision he had given them. The great commision can only be successfully fulfilled with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit!

The Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

The Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

The Acts 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

The Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

The Acts 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

The Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

The Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

The Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

The Acts 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

The Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

The Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

The Acts 2:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

The Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

The Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

The Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

The Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

The first baptism of the Holy Spirit endued the disciples with power from on high, and enabled them witness for Christ in a powerful way, with tremendous success. We see many signs and wonders done by the disciples by virtue of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon them. As they continued to minister to people in the power of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, they got regularly refilled by the Holy Spirit. The initial baptism of the Holy Spirit wasn’t sufficient to carry them throughout the Christian journey. They needed regular refillings to replenish lost virtues and keep the fire burning. As Jesus demonstrated to us in his encounter with the woman who had the issue of blood, virtue or power leaves a minister whenever the Holy Spirit works through the person to effect healing or deliverance, or to bless people in other ways. If virtue could leave Jesus to effect healing in people, then every minister needs to replenish lost virtue after each ministration. The more we minister in the power of the Holy Spirit to people, the more we need to go back to be filled with the Holy Spirit! Each time we meet resistance or opposition, we need to pray for more power to face and overcome them. We need more of God as we serve! We need to replenish power everyday!

Luke 8:43 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,

Luke 8:44 came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.

Luke 8:45 And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”
When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”

Luke 8:46 But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.”

Luke 8:47 Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.

Luke 8:48 And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

The Acts 4:1 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,

The Acts 4:2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

The Acts 4:3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

The Acts 4:4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

The Acts 4:5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

The Acts 4:6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

The Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

The Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

The Acts 4:9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

The Acts 4:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

The Acts 4:11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’

The Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

The Acts 4:14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

The Acts 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

The Acts 4:16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

The Acts 4:17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

The Acts 4:18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

The Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

The Acts 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

The Acts 4:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

The Acts 4:22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

The Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

The Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

The Acts 4:25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?

The Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

The Acts 4:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

The Acts 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

The Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

The Acts 4:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

The Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

The Apostle Paul, in his admonition to the Ephesians, enjoined them to be filled with the Spirit, rather than being filled with wine which leads to drunkenness. The Apostle encouraged believers to be filled to the brim with the Spirit, to the same extent drunkards get filled with wine to experience inebriation. Believers are thus exhorted to be constantly filled with the Spirit, rather than indulging in works of the flesh. It is only as we get filled with the Spirit that we put to death the flesh and its works. Paul equally prayed for the Christians in Colosse to be filled with knowledge and wisdom, all gifts of the Holy Spirit. The more we’re filled with the Spirit, the more we grow in knowledge and wisdom and spiritual maturity. To be filled with the Spirit means to regularly receive full and fresh anointings of the Spirit. It means not to rely on the initial baptism of the Holy Spirit as a once-and-for-all phenomenon! We need to be overwhelmed or subsumed in the Spirit always. Once we run low on the anointing because of constant usage, we need new topping up, new refillings, to keep us always ready for service!

Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

Colossians 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

In conclusion, the filling of the Holy Spirit is not a once-and-for-all phenomenon. After the initial baptism that endues one with power from one high, one needs to be regularly refilled with the Spirit. This is because, as one ministers in the power of the Spirit, virtue leaves the minister, as he uses the anointing to minister to people. The more we minister, the more we need to be refilled. It is as we get regularly filled with the Spirit that we serve God more effectively and put to death the works of the flesh. May we go to God daily for fillings of the Holy Spirit, after the initial baptism, so that we will always walk in the Spirit, and thus avoid fulfilling the lusts and desires of the flesh.


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After Salvation, The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit Is The Most Important Need Of A Believer!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to believers in Christ. Its aim is to empower Christians to be bold and effective witnesses for Christ in terms of soul-winning, as well as to build up the body of Christ. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is something God wants every believer to experience. Christ specifically ordered the Apostles to wait until they were filled with the Holy Spirit before launching out in their ministries. The disciples were told to wait to receive the power of the Holy Spirit before embarking on the mission of evangelising the world. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the success of the great commision given to them by the Lord was not guaranteed! That’s the message Christ transmitted to the disciples after his resurrection! We shall examine the Scriptures to see how important the baptism of the Holy Spirit is in the lives and ministries of believers in Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Luke 24:48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

The Acts 1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;

The Acts 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Acts 1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The Acts 1:7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

During his own earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus gave power to his disciples to assist him reach areas he could not go to. He transferred some of his own powers to them, to enable them preach the gospel with power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. In giving them power to preach the gospel, he commanded them to heal the sick, raise the dead and cleanse lepers (Matthew 10:1-3). It’s instructive to note that Jesus not only gave such powers to the twelve apostles, he also empowered seventy other disciples to carry out such power-packed ministry (Luke 10:1-2). Jesus thus showed that effective preaching of the gospel cannot be done without the anointing of the Holy Spirit and power! As Jesus was about leaving the apostles following the end of his ministry, he promised to send the Holy Spirit to them so that they too would, collectively, do even greater works than he himself had done. While on earth, Jesus operated entirely by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. He promised to anoint his followers in the same manner, so that they too would achieve tremendous success in their own ministries. We find that promise fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. The great works the Apostles accomplished thereafter, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is testimony to the transforming power of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the lives and ministries of ordinary men and women.

John 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

The Acts 10:36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—

The Acts 10:37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:

The Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

John 14:13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

John 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

The Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

The Acts 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

The Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

The Acts 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

The Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

The Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

The Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

The Acts 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

The Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

The Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

The Acts 2:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

The Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

The Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

The Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

The Acts 2:32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.

The Acts 2:33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

The Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

The Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

From that initial baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost and the great works it enabled the disciples to accomplish in Jesus’ name, every where else believers were found, the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was emphasised. The Apostles made the baptism of the Holy Spirit the most important issue for every believer, after salvation. The first question they asked any believer, upon meeting them, was if they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Nothing else was considered of more importance in the lives of believers than the baptism with the Holy Spirit! The reason should be obvious to all- without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we can’t fulfil our ministries and the great commision! The preaching of the gospel is not to be done with the energies and stratagems of the flesh, and certainly not with the enticing words of human wisdom! We’re not to use oratorical skills or psychological gimmicks to win people over to Christ. The gospel is to be preached with the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit, so that the faith of God’s people would not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God! It is only the gospel preached by the power of the Holy Spirit that produces the greater works prophesied by Christ, and only such works will stand the test of time and of God’s judgment!

The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

The Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

The Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

The Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

The Acts 8:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

The Acts 8:11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

The Acts 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

The Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

The Acts 19:4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Acts 19:7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Every believer in Christ needs the baptism of the Holy Spirit to manifest his special gift and ministry to the Church and the world. The baptism of the Holy Spirit comes with the distribution of the gifts of the Spirit to individual members of the body of Christ. The individual gifts of every member are needed for the building up of the entire body of Christ. A church lacking in the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a church lacking in power and the gifts of the Spirit. Such a church will be weak, feeble and carnal, and will not achieve its mandate or fulfil its mission. A church without the baptism of the Holy Spirit and his gifts upon it will neither grow nor be edified. Such a church will not attain spiritual maturity. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit and his gifts upon the church, the church will remain human and ordinary, and neither will it be able to do the greater works of Spirit-powered evangelism and witnessing as promised by Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:

1 Corinthians 12:2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Romans 12:3 Serve God with Spiritual Gifts
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith
.

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

Romans 12:5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

Romans 12:7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

Romans 12:8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

Romans 12:11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Romans 12:13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

In conclusion, the most important need of believers after salvation is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and power. The singular most important thing the church needs to fulfil its mandate and accomplish the great commission of evangelising and discipling the world for Christ is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and power. No believer or ministry should take off without seeking and receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Preaching is to be carried out in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit, so that the faith of the people converted will not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. The baptism of the Holy Spirit releases the gifts of the Holy Spirit into the lives of individual believers, and empowers them for victorious Christian living as well as effective witnessing for Christ. It also enables the edifying and building up of the body of Christ to spiritual maturity. It is therefore understandable why the first question the Apostles asked any new group of believers they met was if they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit and power more than ever today, to be able to do the greater works Christ promised to the Church! And, by God’s grace, we all can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for God is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to his children who ask him, than we are to receive him.

Luke 11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Luke 11:11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?

Luke 11:12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

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The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit Doesn’t Save People; It Only Empowers Saved People To Be Better Christians And More Effective Witnesses For Christ!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is thought by some Christians to be the means by which we are saved. Such groups of believers opine that one cannot be saved without being baptised in the Holy Spirit, making the salvation process incomplete without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Can someone be saved without the baptism of the Holy Spirit? What’s the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers? We shall examine relevant portions of the Scriptures to understand the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as well as its role, if any, in the salvation process.

Before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit did not dwell in any believer. Throughout the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would anoint people and empower them from outside to perform God-given tasks in supernatural ways. However, prior to Pentecost, the Spirit never dwelt in anybody (other than Christ) on a resident basis. The Holy Spirit was not given to men to dwell on the inside of them until Jesus was glorified (died, resurrected and ascended back to heaven to the glory he had with God before the foundation of the world). It was 10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven that he received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and released him upon his disciples on the day of Pentecost. From that moment, the Holy Spirit has filled, indwelt and resided in Christians. From that moment, the promise of rivers of living water flowing out of believers’ hearts unto eternal life became a reality.

John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

John 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Luke 24:36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”

Luke 24:37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.

Luke 24:38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Luke 24:39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

Luke 24:40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

Luke 24:41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?”

Luke 24:42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.

Luke 24:43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Luke 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Luke 24:48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

Luke 24:50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.

Luke 24:51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.

Luke 24:52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,

Luke 24:53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

The Acts 1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

The Acts 1:2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,

The Acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

The Acts 1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;

The Acts 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Acts 1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The Acts 1:7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Acts 1:9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

So, we see that the promise of the Holy Spirit was made to people who had already believed in Jesus and had been saved, for salvation is obtained by placing one’s faith in Christ Jesus and confessing him as Lord and Saviour. To fulfil his promise to those who had already believed on him, Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon them ten days after his ascension, on the day of Pentecost. The coming of the Spirit was to empower and embolden the already saved believers to be better and more effective witnesses of Christ. We see that happening upon the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Hitherto afraid, shy and timid, the believers suddenly became extraordinarily bold and confident in speaking the word of God and testifying of Jesus. People who had hitherto locked themselves up for fear of the Jews suddenly became fearless and bold in a way that couldn’t be explained by those that knew them. They were able to witness for Christ in an extraordinary manner from that moment onward.

The Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

The Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

The Acts 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

The Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

The Acts 2:9 Parthians Andrew Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

The Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

The Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

The Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

The Acts 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

The Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

The Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

The Acts 2:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

The Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

The Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

The Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

The Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

The Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

The Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

The Acts 4:25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?

The Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

The Acts 4:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

The Acts 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

The Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

The Acts 4:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

The Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

People normally receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit after they have believed and received Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not what saves people. What saves people is believing and confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Anyone who believes in their heart that Jesus died for their sins and rose up again for their justification becomes saved immediately. That’s how people get saved. Thus, people can get saved without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We see that on several occasions in the Scriptures, where people receive Christ and get saved, and experience a long interval before they get baptised by the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit in such cases wasn’t essential to salvation, because the people thus baptised by the Holy Spirit were already saved people. The baptism of the Holy Spirit received by such people was to imbue them with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit to be able to live and witness for Christ more boldly and more effectively.

The Acts 16:30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

The Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

The Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

The Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

The Acts 8:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

The Acts 8:11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 The Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

The Acts 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

The Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

The Acts 19:4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Acts 19:7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

As we have seen from the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures cited above, salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are two separate events, occurring at varying lengths of time apart. We should therefore not mix up both events. What’s the purpose of the Holy Spirit baptism upon people who are already saved? From some of the Scriptures cited above, we see that the baptism of the Holy Spirit brings the power of the Holy Spirit upon believers to live and witness more effectively for Christ. The Holy Spirit brings his gifts and fruits into the believers’ lives. The gifts of the Spirit are to confirm the gospel message, and the fruits of the Spirit are to vindicate the believer as being of Christ. The Holy Spirit thus acts as God’s seal of approval to believers for their acts of obedience in believing and having faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit also comforts and inspires believers, as well as teaches, guides and leads them.

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (AKJV).

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,

Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

The Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:

1 Corinthians 12:2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

In conclusion, salvation is entirely by believing and confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The salvation process is complete the moment we believe in our hearts that Jesus died and rose for our justification and we confess him as Lord and Saviour. From that moment, we are saved and become children of God. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is God’s gift to believers, occurs at variable periods after the salvation experience, and is not part of the salvation process. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not to make our salvation complete, but rather, the Holy Spirit comes upon saved people to indwell and empower them to be powerful and victorious Christians and more effective witnesses for Christ.

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Is It Possible To Lose One’s Salvation After Being Saved?An Examination Of The Doctrine Of The Eternal Security Of The Saved.

(All Bible quotations, unless otherwise stated, are from the English Standard Version)

“Once saved, always saved” is the mantra of those who believe in the eternal security of the saved. Proponents of this doctrine believe salvation is an eternal possession that cannot be lost for any reason. They believe one cannot be born again and later become “unborn again”; that one cannot become a child of God through the new birth experience and later become a child of the devil again, for whatever reason. What does the Bible say about this issue? Can a born again child of God backslide and be lost? Can someone who had once experienced salvation end up in hell? Let’s examine the Bible to answer these questions.

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

John 15:2 Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

The Lord Jesus, in the passage above, compared himself to a vine tree, and those who believe in him as branches of that tree. He went further to say that branches of that tree (believers) that aren’t fruitful would be cut off, and those believers that don’t abide in him would be cast away like dead branches of a tree that people gather for burning. If it’s not possible for believers who no longer abide in Christ to be cut off from him, why would he give this analogy of the relationship of believers (branches) to himself (the tree)? Remember that the Lord was addressing none other than the original twelve apostles here! (And, didn’t Judas Iscariot, who was among the twelve, end up being cut off and destroyed?). John the Baptist also used a similar analogy in his message to people who came to him for the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. He told them that God’s axe was at the root of every tree (symbolising God’s people here), and that any tree that didn’t bring forth good fruits would be cut down and cast into the fire. Jesus too used a similar metaphor when talking about false prophets and unfruitful believers in another passage. Surely, this cutting off and casting into the fire of bad-fruit bearing trees (and non-fruitful branches) can’t be referring to unconditional salvation for all believers? Surely, it can’t be validating the doctrine of “once saved, always saved”?

Matthew 3:8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Matthew 3:9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father, for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

Matthew 3:10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 3:11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.

Matthew 7:18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 7:20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 7:22 On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Scripture makes us understand that only those who believe and endure to the end shall be saved; that it’s possible to start off as a believer in Christ (saved), but get derailed along the way and get lost in the end. Some people will get saved, follow Christ and enjoy the benefits of salvation, and later draw back unto perdition (destruction). Christ threatened to remove a whole church out of its place, for abandoning its first love, if it didn’t repent and go back to where it fell from. Surely, the Lord wasn’t just making a vain threat? Surely, he meant what he said? We would be wise not to write off such remarks as empty threats! God does not mince words! He says what he means and he means what he says!

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Matthew 10:17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,

Matthew 10:18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.

Matthew 10:19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.

Matthew 10:20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Matthew 10:21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,

Matthew 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,

Hebrews 6:5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,

Hebrews 6:6 if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Hebrews 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions;

Hebrews 10:33 Partly, whilst you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst you became companions of them that were so used.

Hebrews 10:34 For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Hebrews 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward.

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.

Hebrews 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back to perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul (AKJV).

Revelation 2:4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

The Apostles of the Lord referred to several Old Testament Scriptures where God rejected and destroyed some of his people he had earlier saved, but who later departed from him, and used those examples to warn believers in the New Testament of a similar fate awaiting those of us who would follow their evil examples in departing from the living God. If Jehovah could destroy people he had saved earlier, because they stopped believing and following him, the same thing will happen to those of us who once believed Jesus and were saved, but later turn our backs on him and stop believing him as Lord and Saviour. Our salvation depends on our faith in Christ. For as long as we place faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour and follow him, we’re saved. The moment we stop having faith in Christ and stop following him, we lose our salvation, for we have then cut ourselves off from Christ. Eternal life is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. For as long as we have the Son of God, we have life. The moment we abandon him, we forfeit our eternal life. People who have believed in Christ as Lord and Saviour can fall from grace and be lost! That’s why the Scriptures constantly warn us to take heed to ourselves, to constantly examine ourselves to see whether we’re still in the faith. That’s why we’re constantly warned to remain steadfast in our faith in Christ to the very end, for only those who believe and endure to the end shall be saved! Only overcomers at the end will be saved and rewarded for their steadfast faith in Christ. Christ will deny those of his people who deny him before men. It’s not a vain threat, for he’ll acknowledge those who acknowledge him as Lord and Saviour, and deny those who deny him as such.

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, Today, if you hear his voice,

Hebrews 3:8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,

Hebrews 3:9 where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works

Hebrews 3:10 for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.

Hebrews 3:11 As I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter my rest.

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:14 For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Hebrews 3:15 As it is said, Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

Hebrews 3:16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?

Hebrews 3:17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?

Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

1 Corinthians 10:1 I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,

1 Corinthians 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

1 Corinthians 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food,

1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

1 Corinthians 10:8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

1 Corinthians 10:9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,

1 Corinthians 10:10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Jude 1:5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

Galatians 5:2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.

Galatians 5:3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.

Galatians 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

Luke 9:23 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Luke 9:25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Matthew 10:32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,

Matthew 10:33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

2 Timothy 2:11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

2 Timothy 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

2 Timothy 2:13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

1 John 5:10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.

1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

1 John 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

2 Peter 2:21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

2 Peter 2:22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.

We’re severally warned in Scriptures not to grieve the Holy Spirit, to abstain from fleshly lusts and to continually purge ourselves and remain steadfast in our faith. Why are we exhorted to do all these things? If we continually grieve the Spirit by ungodly lifestyles, what will happen? Can the Spirit depart from us? Can we become reprobates? Paul spoke of a fellow worker, Demas, who deserted him and the Lord, and went back to the world. If Demas remained in that state until his death, what do we think would be his fate? Are there no consequences for a backslider who never comes back to the Lord and to the faith? Paul also talked of some disciples who had previously believed the truth of the gospel, but later swerved from the faith. What would happen to such if they died in their errors? In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul warned believers about certain categories of people who would not inherit the kingdom of God. Was such a warning necessary if no believer could fail to inherit the kingdom?

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

2 Timothy 2:16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

2 Timothy 2:17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

2 Timothy 2:18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

2 Timothy 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: The Lord knows those who are his, and, Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.

2 Timothy 2:20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.

2 Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmathi

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

1 Corinthians 6:10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Proponents of unconditional eternal security of the saved (once saved, never can be lost) quote the popular Scripture that has the Lord saying: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29). It’s true that all that the Father has given Christ will come to him. But, that also included people like Judas Iscariot, Demas, etc, who later fell from grace and were lost. It’s also true that no one can pluck any man out of God’s hands. However, a man can pluck himself out of God’s hands! A man can cut himself off from God and from his grace! Israel was engraved in the palm of God’s hands, and her walls were continually before God (Isaiah 49:16). Israel could not be cursed, nor could she be defeated, as long as she remained in God’s hands (Numbers 23:7-23). However, Israel abandoned the loving and protective arms of Jehovah and went into idolatory, and she ended up being cursed, defeated and disgraced! (Numbers 26:1-18). They’ve had their natural branch cut off from God’s tree because of rebellion! In the same way, a believer in God’s hands today can cut himself off and be lost, if he rebels and abandons God’s protective care. For such people that abandon the faith and go back to the world, God is not obligated anymore to protect and preserve them. Like Israel of Old, they would be left to their own fate. They would thus bring curses and damnation upon themselves.

Romans 11:13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry

Romans 11:14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.

Romans 11:15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?

Romans 11:16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,

Romans 11:18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.

Romans 11:19 Then you will say, Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.

Romans 11:20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe.

Romans 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

Romans 11:22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

Romans 11:23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.

Romans 11:24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

Matthew 23:38 See, your house is left to you desolate.

Matthew 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Finally, Scripture promises that some people’s names will be removed from the book of life! Yes, some people who were once saved and had their names written in the book of life would have their names expunged from there, for failing to keep the faith, for failing to endure to the end and for failing to overcome. God promised that he would remove from his book of life those who sinned against him. Christ promised not to remove from the book of life those believers who would overcome to the end. This means that those who fail to overcome will be removed from the book of life! Nothing can be plainer than this truth! For as long as we remain in Christ, our salvation is secure, and our names will not be removed from the book of life. If we lose faith in Christ, cut ourselves off from him and backslide totally and completely, our names will be removed from the book of life, and we will be eternally lost if we die in that state! If someone’s name is removed from the book of life, it means the name was once in the book of life. Who else have their names in the book of life but the saved and the redeemed? This means that the once saved and redeemed can be lost!

Exodus 32:31 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, Alas, this people have sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold.

Exodus 32:32 But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.

Exodus 32:33 But the LORD said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.

Revelation 3:5 He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels (AKJV).

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (AKJV).

In conclusion, salvation is contingent on one’s faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Eternal life is found only in Christ Jesus. Whoever has Christ has eternal life; whoever does not have Christ has the wrath of God abiding in him/her. For as long as a believer abides in Christ and Christ abides in him, he has eternal life and will bear the fruits of righteousness. If, however, a believer stops abiding in Christ and stops having faith in him, he’ll be cut off from eternal life and cast away as a dead branch to be burnt. Believers can have their names expunged from the book of life, for failing to endure till the end, and for failing to overcome. For sure, no one can pluck a believer out of God’s hands. However, the believer can remove himself out of God’s protective care, by ceasing to have faith in God. When someone who once believed and experienced salvation backslides, goes back to the world and dies in their backslidden state, it will be as though they were never saved. Their previous righteousness and walk with the Lord will not count. That’s what the Bible teaches. Thus, the doctrine of unconditional eternal security of the saved is unscriptural. Salvation can be lost, and the once saved person will be damned if he backslides and dies in his backslidden state.

Ezekiel 33:12 And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.

Ezekiel 33:13 Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die.

Ezekiel 33:14 Again, though I say to the wicked, You shall surely die, yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right,

Ezekiel 33:15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

Ezekiel 33:16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.

Ezekiel 33:17 Yet your people say, The way of the Lord is not just, when it is their own way that is not just.

Ezekiel 33:18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it.

Ezekiel 33:19 And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by them.

Ezekiel 33:20 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not just. O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.

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The Grace Of God For Salvation Is Available For All Men: A Refutal Of The Doctrine Of Selective And Arbitrary Predestination Of Men Unto Salvation

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The question as to whether salvation is available for all men, or only for some predestined elect, is a cardinal focus of reformed theology. Those who believe in absolute predestination of the soul deny human freedom in salvation. According to proponents of predestination, only those chosen before the foundation of the world by divine election can and will be saved. All others, irrespective of their faith in God, cannot be saved, as they’re not part of the elect. So goes the doctrine of predestination. Is arbitrary predestination the basis of salvation? Can all men be saved? Is there a place for human freedom in salvation, or is salvation all of God, without any human contribution? This article will attempt to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The Apostle Paul makes us understand in the passage above that the saving grace of God is available to ALL MEN! The grace for salvation can be accessed by all! And why shouldn’t it be so? After all, Jesus Christ died for the sins of all people, and not just for those in the Church! He paid the price for the sins of all men, from every tribe and tongue and nation. He’s the saviour of the whole world! He’s the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the whole world!

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.

John 1:29 The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father —Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (NIV).

It shouldn’t be difficult to fathom why God would extend saving grace to all men, and why he would send a saviour for the entire race. The answer lies in the depth of God’s love for mankind. God loves all men and wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth. He desires for all men to be saved. All men are his creation, and he cares for all, both the good and the evil. He doesn’t want any man to perish. For this reason, he gives all men the grace and the space to repent, and doesn’t give up on anyone till their very last moment on earth! God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but rejoices when any wicked person repents and comes back to him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (ESV).

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

We see then that salvation is a free gift of God to all men. Whoever believes in the Son of God and confesses him as Lord and Saviour will be saved. Anyone who believes in the atoning sacrifice of Christ at Calvary and appropriates it for himself will experience God’s salvation. There’s no exclusive group of people for whom salvation is predestined. There’s no particular group of people for whom salvation is foreclosed. God is no respecter of persons; anyone who fears God and draws near to him will be accepted by God. The promise of salvation is for “whosoever will“, “he that believes“, “all that believe“, etc. It is for all men and all women!

Romans 10:11 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.

Romans 10:13 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

The Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

The Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Exponents of arbitrary predestination teach that God foreordained and elected some people to salvation before the foundation of the world, while sentencing others to eternal damnation, for no reason other than his good pleasure. Based on this teaching, no matter what anyone does, those predestined to salvation must be saved, and those foreordained to damnation must be damned! There is thus no room and no place for the exercise of free will. In essence, we’re all just puppets/automatons in the hands of God. Our actions have no consequences whatsoever, as the elect of God can do no wrong (because of unconditional love bestowed upon them), while those reserved for destruction can do no right, because of God’s perpetual displeasure with them. This teaching collapses everywhere in the face of Scripture, as it has no biblical foundation. First, salvation and redemption are available to all, and not just to a predestined few, as shown above. It flies in the face of countless Scriptures to say that God planned to save only a select few, when the Bible plainly teaches that God desires for all men to be saved, and that it’s not his will that any man should perish.

Second, predestination is not arbitrary; it’s based on God’s foreknowledge. Because God can see the end from the beginning, and because he knows all things, he is able to know before hand those who would believe the gospel and those who wouldn’t, even before they were born. Based on this foreknowledge, he calls those people he knew would choose him his own, while disowning those he knew would not accept his salvation. The elect according to the foreknowledge of God will hear and receive the word of God and be saved, thus confirming God’s foreknowledge of them! Predestination is thus not arbitrary, but is based on God’s foreknowledge of people before they come into existence. That’s what Scripture teaches!

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (ESV).

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (ESV).

Genesis 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Genesis 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.

The Acts 15:18 Known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Why would the Scriptures ask men to choose between good and evil, and between life and death, if we do not have the freewill to make that choice? Will God be justified to judge us according to our works if we were divinely programmed to do those works like automatons? If human freedom is out of the question, and arbitrary predestination is the basis of salvation, then there should be no need for judging men at all, since all are just fulfilling the divine will. There should be no punishment for human actions, since all human actions are just manifestations of the divine will. Why do we need to preach the gospel to all creatures if those to be saved would be saved anyway, and those to be damned will be damned no matter what we do? If the outcomes of our lives are already predetermined and cast in stone, why do we work and toil and labour? Why don’t we just sit still and let God’s will be done?

Scripture teaches us that humans are free moral agents with the capacity to make moral choices. We’re also taught in Scripture that our actions and our choices do have consequences. We’re not some robots or automatons programmed to do God’s will without a mind of our own! We’re not puppets being manipulated by divinity. Man was created in God’s image and likeness, with the ability to choose between good and evil, else God’s command for man to shun evil and choose good would be meaningless! We can choose to follow God and be saved, or we can choose to turn our backs on him and be damned! We can choose to be on God’s side, or we can choose to be his adversary. And, whatever moral choices we make, God respects and honours them, and will justly judge us based on our actions at the end of it all. The only way God can be a fair and a just judge is if all men are placed on the same footing and given the same chance to serve and follow God. Anything other than that would make God unjust and unfair. But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jehovah is a God of justice. He’s the epitome of justice and fairness, as he gives everyone equal opportunities for salvation.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.

Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil;

Deuteronomy 30:16 In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:17 But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

Deuteronomy 30:18 I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish, and that you shall not prolong your days on the land, where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Isaiah 45:21 Tell you, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together: who has declared this from ancient time? who has told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence from the Scriptures that salvation is a free gift of God which is available to all men. The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, even though some will reject it. All men are created free moral agents with the capacity to choose between good and evil. No one is arbitrarily predestined to salvation, as no one is also arbitrarily foreordained to eternal damnation. Our final destination is contingent on our choices here. If we choose life, we shall live eternally. If we reject life, we shall die. If we accept God’s salvation in Christ, we shall be saved; if we reject it, we shall be damned. Ultimately, we’re responsible for our actions and our final destination. Divine predestination and foreordination are based on divine foreknowledge of our actions. In predestination, God only affirms the choices he knew we would make, based on his foreknowledge. Predestination is just an affirmation of human freedom before it actually takes place, like being able to see and record tomorrow before it happens. The record does not impose on men what they must do; it only foresees and records before hand what men will do on their own, as free moral agents.

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Will Everyone Be Saved Just Because Jesus Christ Died For The Sins Of The Whole World? A Refutal Of The Doctrine Of Universalism

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version).

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (NIV).

Jesus Christ has paid the price for the sins of the whole world. He died on Calvary to redeem every son and daughter of Adam. However, not every one will be saved from God’s wrath. Some people will end up in hell and the lake of fire, despite the fact that the ransom for their souls had been paid. Why will some people go to hell despite the fact that the penalty for their sins has been paid by some else? Shouldn’t salvation for everyone be automatic, since the price for all our sins has been paid? Is God justified to allow anyone to go hell? We shall examine the Scriptures and other relevant legal documents, to find answers to these questions.

We’ve shown elaborately, from previous teachings on the blog, that salvation is a free gift of God to mankind, made possible through the atoning sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ. Anyone can access that gift of salvation by just believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin on Calvary, and accepting him as Lord and Saviour. Anyone who believes and confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be saved. There are thus two parts to salvation- the provision of the sacrifice needed to appease God, and the acceptance and presentation of that sacrifice back to God. God, even though he’s the offended party, took it upon himself to make a way for rebellious men to be reconciled back to him, by providing the atoning sacrifice for sinful mankind. Compelled by his great love for mankind, God offered his only begotten Son as the sin offering to make a way of escape for men. God did for all men what no man could do for himself or for the race, for no man was/is capable and worthy of offering himself as a propitiatory sacrifice for his sins and those of others. Now, having provided man the needed sacrifice, the least God expects from man is to accept the sacrifice. It is every man’s responsibility to appropriate that sacrifice for himself and present it to God as the ransom for his soul. Anyone who fails to do that is not only rejecting God’s provided sacrifice, he’s also trampling underfoot the blood of the Son of God and insulting the Spirit of Grace that made that atoning sacrifice possible. Such a person has only himself to blame for not accepting God’s provided way of escape from the curse of sin and death, because he failed to accept God’s free gift of grace!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John 8:21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

John 8:22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

John 8:23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

While testing his obedience, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to him. Abraham obeyed God and took Isaac up to offer him as a sacrifice to God. Just as he was about to kill Isaac who was bound on the altar, God spoke from heaven and stopped Abraham from proceeding further, offering Abraham an alternative sacrifice (a ram) to present to him instead. Abraham had the choice to either accept God’s provided alternative, or go ahead with the killing of his son. He made the wise choice of using God’s alternative and sparing his son’s life. That’s exactly the same scenario sinful men have found themselves in. Because we’ve all sinned, we all deserve to die, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). And while we were staring death in the face, God came down and provided an alternative sacrifice in our stead, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in his loving bid to save us from death, asked us to use that sacrificial Lamb he has provided and present it to him instead, as the ransom for our souls. Anyone who fails to accept God’s Lamb, will only have himself to blame. His sins will remain unremitted, because he refused the provided ransom. He will justifiably die in his sins and cannot blame anyone but himself for his fate. Such a person rejected God’s mercy, and should be ready to face God’s wrath!

Genesis 22:1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”

Genesis 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Genesis 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Genesis 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.

Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

Genesis 22:6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

Genesis 22:7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Genesis 22:9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

Genesis 22:10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

Genesis 22:11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”

Genesis 22:12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Genesis 22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

John 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

John 1:37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

In th Old Testament, the sinner would approach the brazen altar with the sacrifice for his sins, lay his hands on the sacrifice and confess his sins over the animal, before the innocent substitute is killed. It’s a symbolic act of transferring guilt to the innocent animal and laying the penalty of one’s sins upon it. The transferred sins would make the animal guilty and worthy of death. This is a type of the process of redemption that was played out by Christ, the Lamb of God. We have to lay our hands on him, receive and accept him as our personal sacrifice, for his death to count for us. We must personally appropriate his death for ourselves, in order to benefit from the redemption therein. God has offered the free gift of salvation to all, but we must all individually receive it for ourselves for us to possess it. A gift may be offered by someone, but until it’s accepted and received, it’s not yet the property of the intended target. You must accept and receive a gift for it to become yours. Just as people can reject a gift and thus never enjoy it, one can reject God’s gift of salvation and end up not enjoying it! God wishes all mankind to be saved. He’s offered everyone that chance. But, not all will accept it, and not all will come under the shadow of his wings for protection, though he offers all the chance.

Leviticus 16:1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before the Lord, and died;

Leviticus 16:2 and the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.

Leviticus 16:3 “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.

Leviticus 16:4 He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on.

Leviticus 16:5 And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

Leviticus 16:7 He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

Leviticus 16:8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.

Leviticus 16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.

Leviticus 16:10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat.

Leviticus 16:21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.

Leviticus 16:22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

Luke 13:35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

2 Peter 3:11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

2 Peter 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

2 Peter 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Before the destruction of the ante-diluvian world, God ordered Noah to build an ark to preserve the lives of as many as would enter it for safety. Noah obeyed God and built the ark to God’s specifications. Thereafter, Noah preached to people to get into the ark to avoid being destroyed by the impending flood. But, all (less his immediate family) scorned him and his message. Eventually, the flood came as prophesied, and the entire world, less those in the ark, was wiped out. People who died in the flood didn’t die because of their sins. They didn’t die because there was no way of escape. Those people died simply because they rejected God’s provided way of escape from the catastrophic flood. They spurned God’s salvation and died for their rebellion. Similarly, people will not go to hell because of their sins. People will not go to hell because there is no way of escape from hell. Rather, people who end up in hell will do so because they rejected God’s salvation!

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

1 Peter 3:19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,

1 Peter 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

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,

1 Peter 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

Finally, let me leave us with a landmark legal case, culled from http://www.wikipedia.com, that shows a pardon can be rejected, and thus become ineffectual. United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 150 (1833), was a case in the United States in which the defendant, George Wilson, was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death [1]. Due to his friends’ influence, Wilson was pardoned by President Andrew Jackson. Wilson, however, refused the pardon. The Supreme Court was thus asked to rule on the case [1]. The decision was that if the prisoner does not accept the pardon, it is not in effect: “A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him” [2]. Wilson was hanged [3].

And so will everyone burn in the lake of fire (the second death) who dies without accepting God’s pardon for sin as purchased by Jesus Christ on Calvary for the whole of humankind. This is why every one will not be saved (though all can be saved), even though there’s pardon for everyone’s sins. Only those who accept God’s pardon and have their sins remitted will be saved and enjoy everlasting life, while the rest who reject God’s mercy will experience his full wrath in the everlasting lake of fire. May we be wise to accept God’s mercy (while it’s not late) rather than face his judgment, for it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

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References:

  1. Bohm, Robert M., Death Quest: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Capital Punishment in the United States, p25.
  2. ^http://press -pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents

3.^ “11 notable presidential pardons-CNN.com