I have been wanting to write about being baptised in fire and in the Holy Spirit but I want to sort of go around my elbow to get there, so to speak. So I'm going to write this in several parts and start with the end in mind and then work our way to the beginning.
The main point in this post is: the more you love God, the more you are forgiven. I know that sounds odd, especially since Jesus has taken away the sins of the world. But, never the less, there is something here to understand.
Luke 7:36-50 (NKJ)
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
This woman did not do this because the Holy Spirit moved in her to act this way. This was before the Holy Spirit had come. She did not do it because she understood the plan of redemption or because she understood that Jesus would die on the cross and shed his blood to save her from her sins. We don't really know exactly what she had experienced in Jesus' ministry. She may have been delivered, she may have been healed, she may have been provided for. She may have watched Jesus minister and observed the compassion and mercy in his actions. Whatever she experienced her response was to love Jesus enough to anoint him, wash his feet with her tears, and wipe his feet with her hair.
And because of this great love that she expressed towards Jesus, he told her that her sins were forgiven and that her faith had saved her. And to go in peace. All of this before Jesus shed his blood, and without the Holy Spirit working in the world.
Sometimes when people come in contact with God working in their midst, and they see his nature and his mercy, they respond with great love towards him. They recognize their own sins and failures and believe in a God that is merciful. And as their love is expressed towards him in true brokenness and worship, God expresses his mercy towards them through forgiveness and peace.