“Laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of’ the life which is life indeed.”(1 Timothy 6:19)
God has laid down a pattern for the beginning of the Christian life. It is THE ONLY FOUNDATION upon which a life of faith in Christ must be built.
On the Day of Pentecost, a multitude of confused Israelites listened to Peter’s message and were convicted of their desperate need, and cried, “What shall we do?” Peter gave these, who had previously rejected Jesus, this foundation for beginning the Christian life:
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit… For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to Him” (Acts 2:38, 39).
“What shall we do?”
(2) “Be baptized”
(3) “Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
God’s plan. Heaven’s pattern. THE ONLY FOUNDATION. And if the Bible teaches that these three experiences are commanded as THE ONLY FOUNDATION upon which we should start to build our Christian life, then we may expect to find this same foundation right through the New Testament. This is exactly what we do find.
Some teach that if one experiences the first two steps of the foundation, repentance and water baptism, one will automatically have the third, the gift of the Holy Spirit. The only problem with this theory is that we don’t find it in the Bible. Also, vital Christian experience points the other way!
Let us look at THE ONLY FOUNDATION as it is evidenced in the Lord Jesus and His followers in New Testament times.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
1.”Repent” – When sinful man repents of his sins, and puts his trust in the power of the blood of Jesus to wash the stain of sin away, the Holy Spirit does a miracle in his heart, and he is born into the family of God. This is called being “born again” (or “born from above”) and “born of the Spirit.”
Jesus Christ the Son of God never needed to repent. He was sinless. He was born of the Spirit from His mother’s womb, for He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).
2. “Be baptized” – Then, before starting His active work, He took the next step in laying THE ONLY FOUNDATION He was baptized in water. The Bible record reads: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan (River) to be baptized by him (John). John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And … Jesus was baptized” (Matthew 3:13-16). May all who trust Jesus today see their need to fulfill all righteousness, and follow their Lord through the waters of baptism.