Biblegateway Verse of the Day

A Time for Hope

By Benjamin H. Liles

So, I'm reading tonight a bit of my Bible. I was listening to a video about "Am I Truly Born Again?" and the points being made. Here are those four points, quickly:

1) Repentance of sin
2) Faith in Jesus
3) Baptism in water
4) Reception of the Holy Spirit

Twice in the New Testament we see this at work, both in Acts 8 and in Acts 19. Philip helps an Ethiopian Eunuch, and Paul helps the people of Ephesus.

Acts 8:31-34 Philip sees a eunuch, high official to Queen Candace of Ethiopia, reading Isaiah 53:7, 8. Therefore, in Acts 8:35-37 Philip starts with those verses explaining how Jesus fulfilled them. By verse 38 of that text in Acts the eunuch asks Philip what's to stop him from being baptized as he now believes Jesus is in fact the Son of God. Remember, Jesus told Nicodemus, "Whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," meaning believing that Christ (which is Greek for Messiah) is God's only begotten Son ensures eternal life with him as well as the Father and the Holy Spirit. When Philip is "spirited" away in verse 39 of Acts 8, the eunuch continues towards home in Ethiopia rejoicing! Such is the new birth for the Christ-follower!

The same pretty much happens at the beginning of Acts 19. Paul arrives in Ephesus finding believers, but they have yet to receive the Holy Spirit of God (Acts 19:2). The y respond they never even heard of His Holy Spirit. So Paul asks them what baptism they received (verse 3). And the disciples there reply, "John's." Paul teaches them the same as Philip did for the eunuch, not only that the baptism of John was for repentance, but to put their faith -- their belief -- in the One who is to come, Jesus" The disciples response in Ephesus was in being baptized by Paul (Acts 19:5). After this they receive the Holy Spirit when Paul places his hands on them (Acts 19:6-7).

In this day and age it's far different. When we start coming to the Messiah, Jesus, we know we have sinned and fall short of His glory and holy standards. We realize we've broken His commands and that a life is to pay for those crimes. Jesus paid that fine. As is said in Isaiah 53:5, "But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds."

Whoever the writer of Hebrews is in 9:28 we read, "so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." Those are choice words at the end there and encourage the believer to stand firm in the faith: "The Messiah...will appear a second bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him."

Jesus confirms this in telling the disciples what is to come and how to look to His return, "But the one who endures to the end will be delivered." We are to stand firm in the faith, weapons drawn (another article soon, I promise!), and to await our Lord and Savior to appear so that we are forever with Him! Regardless what happens to us in this life Jesus has already overcome death and we have nothing to fear, but to be steadfast in our convictions He is near and will return at any given moment.

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