‘Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ (v38)
The journey of building a friendship with God starts with a definite decision, rather than absorbing information. Once our choice is made, we can demonstrate our commitment by both aiming to refuse opportunities to sin, and positively following Jesus. Baptism becomes our public statement that we have made our decision to follow God (Matt. 28:19). So the entry requirements are simple, yet their significance is revealed through the fruit of our life and our worldview. On the plus side, we receive a source of divine encouragement and help in the Holy Spirit. This third person of the Trinity shares the same essence as the Father and the Son, but remains a unique person provoking us to draw closer to Jesus and lead a fruitful Christian life.
It is here that the challenge of the Christian life bites deepest because we must start learning to view life through a Christian lens. As Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer, it’s not our preferences that count any more but God’s will (Matt. 6:9–14). We voluntarily surrender our entire life to God, not just to think godly thoughts but to live a positive and visible Christian life. Whilst we have resources to help us, we alone need to steer our lives in obedience to and service of God (Phil. 2:12). It is not by obeying a prescribed set of rules that we will work out our salvation, but through obeying God’s leading in our own life. So comparison with others is unnecessary and usually unhelpful.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Deut. 11:26–32; Josh. 1:1–9; Rom. 6:1–14; 1 Cor. 6:12–20.
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, my decision today and every day is to live for You in thought, word and deed. Amen.’