Acts 2:38-39 – Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, 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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’
From what Peter says here, it sounds like there is a neat sequence to salvation. But when we go through the Acts of the apostles we discover it is a little more messy than that. Sometimes the order of things gets completely inverted. Cornelius and his family, for instance, receive the Spirit before they were baptised (Acts 10:44-48). Elsewhere when Luke records the conversion of the crowd he merely says that many believed (4:4) or that they turned to the Lord (9:35). So what we have here at Pentecost is not so much a checklist of how things should happen and in what order, but instead a comprehensive description of the drama of salvation, the centrality of Jesus and the Spirit, and the fact that faith, from beginning to end, is the initiative of God.
Prayer: Lord, just when I want to have everything in its right order, I discover that the wind blows where it will. So help me to accept this, whilst never dumbing down the faith in order to be popular.