“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV).
What does it mean to be saved? I never understood that term until I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit for the first time at 42 years old. For the first time, in my brokenness, I surrendered control and submitted my will to His. It was then He spoke to me, not audibly, yet I distinctly heard His voice. In John 10:27, Jesus says His sheep will know His voice and follow Him. That day I started following Him.
It was the beginning of my relationship with Jesus, and because of Him, I was set free from condemnation. When He spoke, He created my new life, a life where I am freed from the penalty of sin and in death, free from the presence of sin. As Christians, contrary to what some people believe, being “saved” does not give us permission to sin. For me it means I am committed to staying near my Shepherd, and when I wander away, I will listen for His voice and find my way back. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Whoever is committed to sin, commits sin. Whoever makes allowances for sin is a slave to sin and is in bondage. The good news is that Jesus came to set us free. We don’t need to be enslaved by guilt or shame; we can repent—change our mind—about our commitment to sin and rejoice in our salvation.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:27-30, NIV)
Soon after Peter was empowered, he preached his first gospel message saying “repent” (which means to change your mind), be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. It is that simple. As believers, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each of us for some benefit. We are all parts of one body, the body of Christ. We are all baptized into one body and made to drink of one Spirit. This faith preserves the life of God in our souls. In Acts 1:8, Jesus says you will receive power when (not if) the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be His witnesses to all the ends of the earth, We are called to witness and rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When a person repents of their sin and believes in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit enters their heart, and the believer is spiritually united with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They become part of the body of Christ and Christ lives in them. What a beautiful gift available to us all!
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-18, NIV)