There are many people that believe all you have to do is say a sinner's prayer and you're in. However the Bible teaches differently. Repentance is a beautiful gift. We would not be able to stand before God washed without that ability. However, true salvation is truly turning away from your sin. If you are living a sinful lifestyle and using grace as excuse then you're wrong because the Bible says to be washed by the renewing and regeneration of the Holy Ghost. I have heard some say you can have sin in your life and still go to Heaven but this is not Biblical. I am sure most who believe this are sincere but the Word says no sin shall enter in. I am not saying that the Cross hasn't removed both our past and future sins. Surely He has! However the Word says to pick up your cross and follow Him. Paul said "I die daily." Repentance is to be taken advantage of daily! The Bible has always required a change in a believer's life.
After repentance, we should be willing to be baptized in Jesus' Name and not the titles. Most of Modern Christianity teaches it is not essential but it is! Jesus Himself told us to go ye therefore & teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost! As Christians, we recognize the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is Jesus. (Read Isaiah 9:6, Col. 3:17 and John 14:8-9). The same Paul that wrote whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved also stated baptism is a circumcision made without hands (see Col. 2). The Word also states he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. It is not just a sign, it is to complete remission your sins. Yes, Paul wrote Romans 10:13 but he wrote to the church in Romans. He wrote this to a church who had already received a salvation experience. Please don't turn me off! Bear with me. Please! I understand people say you don't have to do all that. I know that the Bible says you for by grace are ye saved and not through works but remember the same book also says faith without works is dead. James said if you believe Jesus is God, thou doest well but even the devils believe that. We must find out what the Word says and be willing to be obedient!
In the house of Cornelius, after they received a gift from God, Peter asked "Should we forbid any man water that these should not be baptized? And straightway, he commanded them to be baptized." That wasn't a suggestion. It was a commandment. Jesus said to go and teach all nations and baptize. That wasn't a suggestion, it was commandment. Is it any coincidence that Jesus Himself was baptized by John? No, He was saying "Follow me."
The Bible shows us clearly how to be saved. As a matter of fact, some asked the Peter how to be while they witnessed others speaking in tongues.
"Men and brethern, what shall we do?" Acts 2:37
"And Peter said unto them Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For this promise is unto you and your children and to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts 2:38
What was that gift? The gift was the Spirit of God moving upon them just as it had on the Apostles! Abraham received a promise that he would bear a nation and God gave that promise to him. Anything God promises in His Word, will be given to us! There are people that teach that speaking in tongues is not for today but the Word says this promise is to as many as the Lord our God shall call! Has the Lord stopped calling people?? Certainly not! I myself as well countless of others have experienced this Biblical phenomenon. It's still for us today. But don't take my word for it, find out for yourself according to God's Word. The Holy Ghost is not just for those that have done good enough or even for just a select few. It's a promise for everyone so we can receive power to be witnesses, to overcome the sin in our lives, to be rewashed and regenerated because we can't make it without God's presence! It is neither mass induced nor self induced as some teach, it the evidence of the power of God working in your life! If it wasn't real then why would God even have it in the Bible?
Okay, I'm going to hit on a few popular misconceptions about tongues. Paul was not misinterpeting when he said not all speak in tongues. He meant not all have the gift of prophecy through speaking in tongues. 1 Corinthians 12 has been used to point out that not everyone has to speak in tongues because of this verse. However, you have to realize what Paul was addressing. Paul was writing to a group of new found believers that didn't know how to have complete order in their church services. Wives were yelling to their husbands, "What does that part mean in the sermon?" when they should have been quiet during the sermon. People were even spontaneously speaking in tongues loudly while a preacher was speaking. Nothing wrong with speaking in tongues it's just there is a time to do it. Also, while someone was trying to prophecy, no one would know to be quiet! Historical evidence points out people were so focused on tongues that couldn't conduct church! It wasn't very orderly. The only way I can describe to you about the order of church services is explain what happens sometimes in my church.
In my church's services, there have been times where the Spirit has been moving so beautifully that God wants to speak a word to the church after a sermon is preached. The Spirit will move on a person or two and they will speak in tongues. If there are two or three people, they will speak in tongues one at a time while the whole congregation is silent. After that, God will gently send the interpretation of the message to another person. God's message will be given to the church in that fashion. Imagine if 1 Corinthians 12 had not been written! A church service like this would be confusing if we did not have the proper order laid out by God. This passage is also saying that not everyone has the gift of giving tongues for interpretation. Paul was addressing how church should occur in 1 Corinthians 12. He cleared up the confusion. Yes, Paul asked do all speak in tongues? But in the next few strokes of the pen he said I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all. He then went on to write, Forbid not to speak with tongues.
It helps to note is Paul's conversion. He was sent to Ananias after being on the road to Damascus. There, Ananias healed his blindness and baptized him in Jesus' name. Does it say he ever spoke in tongues? No, not in that passage of Scripture. However didn't Paul write that he thanked God that he spoke in tongues? It wasn't added because eventually he did. When people tell you that the Roman jailer or man in the chariot did not speak with tongues, it is important to remember the foundation of how the Apostles were saved. Remember Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are records of Jesus' ministry and Acts is the book that shows us how the church started! The rest of NT books are letters to those churches. Remember too that the disciples wrote that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Jews then to the Gentiles. This was the salvation experience of the early church! If you write a book, you shouldn't add the same thing over and over. It would be too redundant! They didn't add the speaking in tongues part all the time because they didn't have to. The disciples knew they would receive it. If the writers knew the foundation of salvation from the beginning of Acts, the authors didn't need to repeat how it happened over and over again. Make sense?
The salvation experience consists of:
1. Sincere repentance
2. Baptism in Jesus' Name
3. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost through the evidence of speaking in other tongues.
Why the Holy Ghost part? Well in Acts 10, the Bible says that Cornelius was a devout man of God and his prayers came as a memorial before God. However, God had something more for Him. God sent an angel to Cornelius to tell him to wait for Peter. Peter came and the Holy Ghost fell on them. How did he know the Holy Ghost fell on them? Because Acts 10 states "
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God."
How did Peter know? He heard them speak with other tongues and magnify God. After that, Peter commanded them to be baptized. The Lord saved Cornelius and his house because he was faithful and waited upon God. In Acts 19, Paul asked a group of John's baptism if they have received the Holy Ghost since they believed. They answered probably something like what you have said. "I haven't really heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." It says they gladly heard the Word and was baptized. Then Paul laid his hands on them and they received same experience the disciples experienced in Acts 2! This is the salvation experience of the early church! Why is it that can't we believe this same Jesus can do for us what He did for them? If you're a believer then you have a few promises if you're faithful!
Mark 16:17-18 (KJV)
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Let me close with this question: Have you received the Holy Ghost since you have believed and accepted the Lord as your Savior? If you haven't my friend, I promise there's more God has for you. It's a beautiful experience. Just prayerfully consider this post. I know what I have written is controversial but it's not about what most religion teaches, it's about what the Bible teaches Again, it's about what the Bible teaches. If it's in there, don't doubt God's promises for you just because someone has told you you can't have it today. He said on the day you seek Him with your whole heart then on that day, you will find Him. As we all know, God never disappoints. He is always faithful.