The power of grace through the Holy Spirit can also be life-changing for you just as it is for the butterfly.
Power of grace is seen in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he wrote “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed . . .” (Rom. 12:2). In other words, let the process of metamorphosis (literal meaning of the original word translated transformed) occur in your life. By the mercy of God (Rom. 12:1), the power of grace can change your life.
Power of grace has no equal as it is being experienced. There is no greater moment of joy than experiencing the coming of the Holy Spirit into our body of flesh to change our lives. Pure, unadulterated love (the life of God) floods our soul and reaches out to touch every aspect of our senses. The power of grace is joy unspeakable and full of glory.
There is a recorded event in the lives of the early followers of Jesus that reveals the effect of the power of the Holy Spirit descending from heaven upon them to change them. The early followers of Jesus had been told by him not to depart from Jerusalem until they had received this promise of the Father. Jesus had told them (John 14:16) that something would occur in their lives that would forever change their lives. They would become filled with his Holy Spirit.
Coming of the Power of Grace
They were patiently waiting “with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). Although the 120 that were gathered in the upper room probably disagreed in many different areas of their lives, they were all at this same place at this same time of their lives. They were in one accord concerning what Jesus had told them. They knew that Jesus had been raised from the dead. They knew he was alive. Moreover, he told them to wait until the promise of the Father would come and he would take up his spiritual abode with them (John 14:23).
When the intercourse of the Holy Spirit comes into the flesh of man, there is nothing else that can occur but the flesh of man experiencing the full sensation of his being. Those early believers heard the wind. They saw the fire. They spoke with a new tongue. It was an experience like no other experience. It would forever change their lives.
Miraculously, those early followers of Jesus were speaking in a language that was totally foreign to them. They would soon recognize that not only did they speak at this moment in a new tongue, their speech would forever be changed. They would have a new way of expressing themselves. Their entire thinking process was being changed. They were being moved to a different way of living life. They were becoming people of the kingdom of God.
Power of Grace is Manifested
The event of the Holy Spirit coming into the body of flesh caused quite a stir among the people of Jerusalem. As the multitude from many different localities came together to witness this phenomenon, they heard the Galileans speak in their native tongues (Luke gives at least sixteen different dialects). The multitude was perplexed (Acts 2:6). They did not understand what was happening to their countrymen. They wondered, “What meaneth this?” (Acts 2:12).
Although some thought their intoxication was the result of too much new wine, Peter stood up and proclaimed,
Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:14-21)
Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that had just descended from heaven (1 Peter 1:12), Peter explained what was happening to him and the other 119 gathered on that notable day. Peter not only expressed in words the truth of the baptism of the Holy Spirit he was demonstrating the truth by the actual message he was preaching. He was speaking with inspired speech. The words he was speaking were not coming forth from the working of his mind within himself. He had not and was not putting together a message to share with the people. The words coming forth out his mouth were the words of God Himself speaking through the inspired speech of the Holy Spirit. He was prophesying.
Power of Grace Foretold
Peter was experiencing exactly what the prophet Joel had predicted (Joel 2:28-32). Many years prior to this particular feast of Pentecost, Joel had prophesied that God was going to do a special work upon his people. He would bestow his Spirit upon man to become the essence of man’s life, the quickening spirit of his life.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the people would not speak from their own understanding but from divine inspiration. They would prophesy. As with Peter on this feast of Pentecost, the words that would come forth from their mouth would be the words of God himself speaking through the inspired speech of the Holy Spirit. Speaking with a new tongue, a different language of expression, a different way of saying things, would come forth from their mouth.
They would not only speak a new tongue but they would also see things differently. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they would be able to discern the working of their life clearly. They would come to understand the way of life because they would now see with a new vision. Walking no longer in darkness, perplexed by life, Jesus Christ would actually become their sight.
They would speak differently and see differently because they would now think differently. The thinking of the mind would not come from the initiative of the individual, the exercise of the mind itself. The mind would be exercised but it would be under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit.
The mind could now be developed to what God intends for it to become. The thinking of the mind would be beyond the control of the person. The prophesy, the vision, and the dream of man would be by the power of grace through the Holy Spirit.
Power of Grace for Death and Resurrection
The day any individual begins to speak, to see, and to think differently is a notable day. It is the beginning of the ultimate restoration of life. For the glory of heaven or the degradation of hell lies exclusively in the exercise of the mind of man. As Peter would later quote David to say, concerning that notable day when things change, God makes the person to be in a good frame of mind (Act 2:26). He makes known the ways of life (Acts 2:28).
The prophet Joel correlated this new way of speaking, seeing, and thinking with other sensational things that must occur before “that great and notable day of the Lord [would] come” (Acts 2:20). It is only when the ways of man begin to manifest death and hell, which they will eventually always bring, that man will be ready for his salvation. This indication (signs in the earth beneath) is the product of an omen (wonders in heaven above) that has already occurred (Acts 2:19). When man begins to fail to experience the heavenly life, a prodigy has been set. The “life” (death and hell) of the earthly realm will be experienced.
The light of the heavenly realm, the light of life, will become darkened. The actual attractiveness of life produced by God will lose its appeal. Instead of life being glorious and powerful, it will become shameful and weak. The “sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood” (Acts 2:20).
It is only when the ways of man become filled with bloodshed and fires of tribulation that man will turn to the Lord. When life becomes a scant vapor of what it should be, the heart of man is then conditioned to have Jesus come forth in the power of grace through the Holy Spirit. For it is only when man comes to the end of himself will he call out to the Lord to be saved. The “notable day of the Lord” only comes with the blood, the fire, the vapor of smoke, the sun darkened, and the moon turning to blood.
The life of God can be quickened again in man because Jesus Christ himself has been raised from the dead. He was raised to life “after his passion” (Acts 1:3). As Jesus had said during his earthly ministry, he must first experience the miraculous life after death before others could be taken to the same place of mystery.
Power of Grace for the Hells of Life
The words of Peter now turn to the actual events on that feast day of Pentecost. He said, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth . . . ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:22,23). Peter was to add, however, “let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Within the context of these two statements, the secret to experience the life of God is given, the mystery of life after death. The true gospel of the power of grace reveals that Jesus Christ is both Lord and Christ.
As it was manifested in Jesus, so shall it be experienced in every believer. Peter quoted David to illustrate the power of life after death, the power of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. David said, prophesying of Jesus and all who would believe on him, “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope” (Acts 2:26).
The heart rejoicing, the tongue glad, and the flesh resting in hope is miraculous because the one speaking these words is in hell (Acts 2:27). In the midst of hell, it seems as if hell is not being experienced. Only the power of grace through the Holy Spirit can produce that witness.
Characteristics of the Power of Grace
David said, “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved” (Acts 2:25).
David would not waver, be agitated, or disturbed when the circumstances of life were such that the external world around him was crumbling. Because the Lord was always before him and was his source of strength, David would not waver even though he was experiencing hell.
In hell, David said his heart rejoiced (Acts 2:26,27). With the word rejoice meaning “to put in a good frame of mind,” the power of grace through the Holy Spirit can be seen. A new way of speaking, a new way of seeing, and a new way of thinking not only enabled David but will enable every believer to know what is transpiring. The ways of life, the mystery of life after death (the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gospel), has been revealed.
In hell, the speech of David is glad (literally, “to jump for joy”). Not that he is rejoicing in the pains of death, but knowing that his “light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for [him] a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). The power of grace through the Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, can turn pain into gain.
When David was in hell, his “flesh rest[ed] in hope” because the life that he would soon experience would be the unadulterated life of God. He would stand again. He would stand in the power of being raised to newness of life, the power of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is the power of grace, the gospel, to change lives.
Again, David said this would happen because the Lord of glory, the Lord of life, had “made known to [him] the ways of life; [the Lord] shalt make [him] full of joy with [the Lord’s] countenance” (Acts 2:28). Beholding the face of the Lord, the believer will be changed to a new way of speaking, a new way of seeing, and a new way of thinking by the power of grace through the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 2:18). Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is always freedom from the pains of death.
The Gospel of the Power of Grace
Using the words of David, Peter stated that God had raised up Jesus to set Him “by the right hand of God exalted” (Acts 2:25-35). He connected the ascension of Jesus with the events of the feast of Pentecost on that particular day. He said, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). The ascension of Jesus and the receiving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost are inseparably connected not only by Peter but also by Jesus (John 13:33-14:28) and the angelic messengers (Acts 1:11). Jesus Christ had come again to take up His abode within the hearts of the people (John 14:23). The power of grace through the Holy Spirit, the unadulterated life of God, could once again be experienced by man. It is the good message, the gospel.
Peter then closed his account of the meaning of what was transpiring on that day with “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Upon hearing that the Jesus they had crucified was raised from the dead by God, the hearts of the people were pierced with conviction. The message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the message of the way of life (the gospel), brought conviction to the people who had taken pride and trusted in their own way of life (Luke 18:9). They cried, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Peter’s response to their question is simple and yet profound. It contains within its meaning both the problem and the solution to the struggles of life. The ultimate answer to their question, the answer to the struggle of all men, was that they should “receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). This gift would come into their hearts to overwhelm them (literal meaning of baptize). It is the power of grace.
Consequently, they would become people who were experiencing the kingdom of God. Saints of God controlled by the Spirit of God with a new way of speaking, a new way of seeing, and a new way of thinking. They would become transformed (Romans 12:2) into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). They would become free from the bondage of their own lives.
The Free Gift of the Power of Grace
This power of grace through the Holy Spirit to change their lives would mysteriously be a gift. Receiving this gift of the Holy Spirit would not occur because the believer had done something. It would not be given as a reward for an act or deed accomplished by the believer. It was and is the free work of God and only the free work of God, the power of grace, in the life of man.
This profound truth is illustrated in Peter’s opening and closing remarks to their question, “What must we do?”. He ended his response to their query with “Save yourselves from this untoward [warped or perverse] generation” (Acts 2:40). The people must experience salvation.
The reason why the people needed deliverance from the age of their time was that their thinking had become warped. In other words, the common philosophy or teaching of the time was that their righteousness (their lives) was a product of their doing. Or, as Paul would later say of this generation,
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:1-3)
The people of that age needed to be saved from themselves, from their own perceived understanding of how to live life.
The Power of Grace Versus the Weakness of Man’s Effort
Their mind-set, their thinking, was completely opposite from what it should had been. They, like Judas (Acts 1:13-26), had started down the wrong road. They perceived that the destiny of their lives was actually in the thought processes of their control.
For example, they attempted, many of them honestly attempted, to make God the Lord, the source, of their lives by their choice. They did not understand, however, that no matter how hard they might try, it was still them trying. God was not the Lord of their lives. They were. Although they were doing their best to live for God, they were still in control.
They would have to experience turning from the direction their thinking was carrying them to an entirely new way of thinking (literal meaning of repent [Acts 2:38]), a new direction. They would have to come out from under the control of their mind by their own initiatives and choices. They must come under the control of the Holy Spirit. They must “be baptized . . . in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38).
With name ultimately meaning “to know,” they must come to experience Jesus in such a way that He would permeate their thinking. He would become the thoughts of their mind. Thinking as Jesus thought (Phil. 2:5), they could be controlled by the Holy Spirit. They could experience the power of grace in their lives.
The Power of Grace is Freedom from Sin
This freedom from sin (literal meaning of remission of sins in “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins . . .”) can only occur when a believer is turned from his old way of thinking (experiencing repentance) and begins a new way of thinking (baptized in the name of Jesus). As long as a person believes he has the capability to direct the course of his life, there can be no freedom from sin.
Or, as Jesus said, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind” (John 9:39). When He made that statement, some of the Pharisees ask Him, “Are we blind also?” (John 9:40). The response of Jesus to their question was, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:41). Jesus simply stated that when man thinks he can see there is no freedom from sin.
The “gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38) is enjoyed only when man’s mind has been removed as the source of his life. This turning from the mind of man to the mind of Christ for freedom from sin is accomplished only by the power of grace through the Holy Spirit. The process, which can begin in any moment of time, is brought about by the working of God in the circumstances of life itself. Being baptized for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29), becoming a martyr for Christ (Acts 1:8), is only possible by the power of grace through the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit of God working in man can produce a heart that rejoices, a tongue that is glad, and flesh that shall rest in hope while hell is being experienced.
Receiving the Power of Grace
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, when it begins to be understood, is a powerful message that changes lives. The true gospel can and does change lives. When Peter preached it on that feast of Pentecost, three thousands souls received his word and the Holy Spirit began its work upon their hearts. It was a new beginning and they would continue “stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41,42).
With their lives now changed, an entirely new way of living was occurring: “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” (Acts 2:44,45). The message of life after death, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, produced a powerful lifestyle of gladness and joy: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46).
Jesus had said that those early believers would “receive power, after that the Holy Ghost [was] come upon [them]: and [that they would] be witnesses unto [him] both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). When the baptism of the Holy Spirit was occurring those same believers went about “Praising God, and having favour [being gracious] with all the people” (Acts 2:47). When the martyrdom of a believer occurs and Christ is raised out of his life, the real witness of Jesus is experienced. It is the manifestation of the gospel, the power of grace. in their lives.
There is nothing else that can occur but “many wonders and signs” (Acts 2:43) by those whom God is sending. In the power of grace through the Holy Spirit working in the lives of those early believers, “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Jesus Christ was being manifested in and through their lives. They were experiencing the Gospel of the power of grace.
Meditation on the Power of Grace