The Holy Spirit is on offer to all who trust in Jesus
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, 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. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
In Acts 2:1-13 the Holy Spirit comes to rest on a large crowd of people and fills them. This is the first time the Holy Spirit comes and fills people in the Bible – the first time the presence of God has come and taken residence in people’s hearts. Who was there? Luke tells us ‘there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven’ (Acts 2:5). Peter addresses this multicultural crowd of Jews and tells them: when they turn from their old way of life and trust in Jesus, they will be forgiven of all their sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). In other words, the Holy Spirit is on offer to all of them.
It’s worth reflecting on this promise. There is no one this promise is not on offer to. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child or an adult. The promise of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit is on offer to all who would turn from their old way of life and trust in Jesus. It is right for us to turn to Jesus and to hold out the offer of the same to anyone and everyone. This is the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:5 that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky.
But there is another point of view these verses force us to consider: there is no one who turns and trusts in Jesus without God first working in their heart. Acts 2:39 finishes by saying the promised gift of the Holy Spirit is ‘for all whom the Lord our God will call’. The offer of the Holy Spirit is for everyone, but it is only received by those whom God calls. The ‘call of the gospel’ is for everyone; but the reception of the gospel is determined by ‘God’s call’.
That means a couple of things.
First, it means we should be grateful that God had softened our hearts to his call. Without his work in our hearts, we would never have turned to Jesus.
Second, it means we should be praying that God would soften other people’s hearts to his call. You’ve probably seen unbelievers hearing the gospel but not turning to Jesus. It’s because God needs to soften their hearts, and you should be asking him to do it.
Head: Who is exempt from the promise of the Holy Spirit?
Heart: Spend some time considering that you would never have turned to Jesus without God’s work in your heart.
Hands: Who should you be praying for, that God would soften their heart to the gospel?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for softening my heart to the call of the gospel. Help me to remember that without your heart-work, nobody would every turn to Jesus, receive forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. And Father I pray for (my unbelieving friends/family), that you would soften their heart to the call of the gospel, and give me the courage to tell it to them.
A song to listen to: The Love of the Father
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Must See Passages series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.