Can folks simply believe on Jesus while you’re giving the gospel like in Acts where the Holy Ghost fell on them based upon their belief?
Thanks for your interesting question. Acts 10 is an example.
God had prepared Peter through a vision that he should not reject ministry to the Gentiles. Peter then went to the house of Cornelius and preached the gospel. As he preached (and per Acts 10:43, right after he said that whoever believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins), the narrative points out that while he was speaking these words, the Spirit fell on those who heard the word (Acts 10:44). It is significant that Peter had just emphasized the need for a faith response to the message of salvation.
In the next chapter, Peter went to Jerusalem to defend ministering to the Gentiles and testified, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). He went on to say, “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?” (Acts 11:17). This detail about the Spirit being given to those who had believed implies the audience of Gentiles had believed when Peter preached to them, and therefore, the Holy Spirit fell on them.
So, yes, people can get saved when the Spirit opens their eyes and convinces them that they should believe in Jesus. This may occur even before an invitation is given, whether in a group/church setting or during one-on-one witnessing. For some others, the moment of faith may arise from a public challenge to decide. A prayer for salvation can express faith, but the real issue is the heart believing on Jesus. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
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