Nothing has changed!
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repentance requires that you understand that you have not been obedient to the Word of God and something needs to change. Obviously God is not going to change to accommodate your lifestyle and way of thinking, and in your unrepentant state you have absolutely nothing to offer God apart from yourself for Him to change.
The original language of the Bible indicates repentance as being like this,
To change one’s mind, i.e. to repent to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.
When you repent, you are telling God you are sorry for your past and you have a strong desire to change your life around and to be pleasing to God. Repentance is the first step of three steps to salvation. The next two steps do not necessarily follow in order, even the Bible gives an example of that in Acts 10. (read from verse 44). Many have received the Holy Spirit before baptism, others afterwards.
The incentive for doing all of this is the promise of living forever with Jesus and God, or not! The not part will not be pleasant. It will be made especially bad by the knowledge of the fact that it did not need to happen.
To be baptized indicated a willingness to bury your old way of life.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Baptism is a type of a burial service, just as Jesus died and was buried and rose again from the dead, so baptism is a type fo that process. However our new life is not complete without receiving a new Spirit to enliven us. If that happens before baptism, it doesn’t mean we don’t need to be baptized. On the contrary it is still important, otherwise we are still dragging the old dead man around with us. We need to bury that old man of sin.
Is baptism necessary? The real question is, why would anyone think that it isn’t. On the day of Pentecost Peter told those that asked “Men and brethren, what do we do?” Peter told them three things, repent, get baptized, and receive the Holy spirit. Why mention baptism if God doesn’t think it is necessary. God is not the author of confusion, man is! Peter even said to Cornelius and his family in Acts 10 after they received the Holy Spirit (just like they did in the beginning), who can forbid water that they should not be baptized? Which was in response to seeing and hearing the evidence of them receiving the Holy Spirit. He then commanded them to be baptized. The word “baptize” taken from the original Greek can mean nothing less than full immersion, right under the water.
It cannot (as some churches believe) mean the water of birth either otherwise Jesus’ words to his disciple in Matthew 28:19 were wrong and confusing. Jesus told them to teach all things he taught and to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit”. A baby can be taught nothing at birth, not can it believe anything, nor can it repent, nor can anyone present at a birth baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The whole concept of that is ridiculously unscriptural.
It’s amazing how often man wants to tell God that he got it wrong, and that man knows best and has set things right!
Receive the Holy Spirit
Receiving the Holy Spirit joins us together with the Pentecostal experience. The Holy Spirit that comes to live inside of us is not a second blessing that comes after salvation, it is THE BLESSING! given by God through Jesus Christ that gives you the ability to live forever, or salvation.
There are a number of names for the Holy Spirit (which is the most common name), but he is also the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Reconciliation, the Spirit that created the heavens and the earth. The Holy Spirit is Gods worker of signs wonders and miracles.
When you receive the Holy Spirit, you will speak in tongues, the choice is not yours or any other mans to make, this is the way God planned it and we cannot change God’s plans.
Speaking in tongues the “sign” is the mark of identification that you have received the Holy Spirit.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Just saying you are a Christian does not make you one, or saying you believe in Jesus does not make you a Christian either. The Scriptures tell us the the devils believe that there is one God, and they tremble. The devils cannot be saved, so simply believing does not save you.
Speaking in tongues is how we recognize each other. Some erroneously believe that it is the “gift” of tongues. That is not true. The “Gift of tongues” mentioned in 1 Corinthians is a completely different outworking of the Holy Spirit that we have living inside of us.