Converted By The Holy Spirit: Then And Now
We suppose everyone believes that the alien sinner must be converted — turned or changed — and that this change is brought about by the Holy Spirit. Though there is some disagreement on how the Holy Spirit operates to convert the sinner’s heart — directly or indirectly — the fact that He does operate upon the sinner in some way is agreed upon by all. Let us then seek to understand from the Scriptures how the Holy Spirit operates, both then — in the first century — and now.
The Holy Spirit Reveals God’s Mind
Since only the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and is the one charged with revealing it to the world, (1 Cor. 2:9-11), it must be so that the plan of salvation was revealed by Him. Jesus promised the apostles, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13). The Great Commission must be studied, understood, and accepted for us to fully know what these apostles taught and how the Holy Spirit’s part in salvation is carried out. It would be good if our readers would take a moment to turn to all four accounts of the Great Commission given by Christ (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-47; John 20:20-23).
Key To Acts Of The Apostles
The Great Commission which guided the apostles is the key to understanding the book of Acts. Jesus was true to his promise to send the Holy Spirit’s power to the apostles. The Holy Spirit did descend upon the apostles to “guide them into all truth” on the notable day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). It was on that same day that the apostles of Christ — guided by the Holy Spirit — preached the plan of salvation in its fullness for the first time. What they spoke on that day was to last for all time to come. They spoke the plan of salvation by which God promises to save alien sinners — even the Lord’s murderers (Acts 2:38-41; 3:17). If any change from this plan is made by man or man’s creed, there is no assurance that God’s promise to save will be carried out (Mark 16:15-16).
But How Did The Holy Spirit Do His Work?
Knowing the same plan by which they were converted will last for all time, when we notice how people were converted in the first century it will then be clear how souls are converted to the Lord now. Please remember that not only was this to be the same plan for all time, but it would be carried out or operate in the same manner for all time — by preaching (1 Cor. 1:21). Though the circumstances surrounding the conversions in the New Testament may differ, the gospel plan is the same to all, both then and now. Since the Word of God has been confirmed by miracles, there is no reason to confirm it again (John 20:30-31; Heb. 2:1-4). It was not by miracles that men were saved then, nor is it by miracles today. Salvation then and now was and is by the Lord’s gospel plan. When the apostle Peter “stood up with the eleven” (Acts 2:14) he preached or “lifted up his voice” to say that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).