responding to grace
what I must do
Acts 2.37-38
We are saved “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2.8). However, the extension of God’s grace to man does not free us from all responsibility. Rather God’s grace demands an appropriate response. In Titus 2.11-12 Paul said, “the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” Since God has extended His grace to us, we must accept it as we would any other gift. Neither grace nor faith alone will save us (James 2.24).
Acts 2 is one of the most significant passages of the entire Bible. This momentous chapter describes God’s plan for saving mankind in the last days and the way in which the Word of God is to be received. We find ourselves in the same condition as the crowd of Jews gathered on Pentecost. We to have rejected Christ several times in our life, we to have sinned against God by disobedience, and we to need to know what we must do to receive God’s grace. In the study of this passage, we need to notice the two commands and the two promises that were extended on Pentecost and realize that we are still subject to the commands and still can receive the promises.
The 1st Command—Repentance
Repent
Metanohsate
The word means to turn. “To change one’s mind, feel remorse, repent, be converted” (BDAG 640).
It describes a turning from evil to God (TDNT vol. 4, 1003).
“That these persons were commanded to repent after they had been pricked in the heard by the power of the Holy Spirit through the truth preached, and were so penetrated with a sense of guilt as to cry out, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?” shows plainly that repentance is not merely sorrow for sin, but a change which follows after it.” (McGarvey, Acts 38).
Example and commands of repentance.
The Thessalonian Christians give an excellent example of true repentance in that they “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his son from Heaven” (1 Thess. 1.9-10).
Acts 3.19, “repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.”
Luke 13.3, “except you repent you shall all likewise perish.”
Acts 11.19, “God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Acts 17.30, “The times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed.”
If you would be forgiven of your sins, you must do more than be sorry for the transgression, you must act on your guilt and in response to God’s grace.
If you are living in practice of any sin, you must change!
The 2nd Command—Baptism
Baptisqetw
Defined as, “wash ceremonially for purpose of purification, to use water in a rite for purpose of renewing or establishing a relationship with God” (BDAG 164).
The word classically means to dip or plunge. It was used to describe sunken ships and the process of dying garments.
The link between baptism and forgiveness of the New Covenant cannot be missed even by the casual observer of the NT.
This is seen by conversions in the book of Acts:
Acts 2.41, “so those who received his word were baptized, and they were added that day about three thousand souls.”
Acts 3.19, “repent, therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Acts 8.37, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
Acts 9.6, 18, “Rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” “Then he rose and was baptized.” Paul gives a fuller account in Acts 22.16, “and now why do wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
Acts 10.47-48, “Can anyone forbid water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Acts 16.14, “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well.”
Acts 16.30-31, 33, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…and he was baptized at once.”
The testimony of early Christians concerning baptism.
Hermas, Shepherd, “they descend into the water dead and they ascend alive.”
Barnabas, “baptism which brings forgiveness of sins.” “we descended into the water and received the forgiveness of our former sins.”
Justin, “Then they are led by us to where there is water, and in the manner of the regeneration by which we ourselves were regenerated they are regenerated.”
Theophilus, “Moreover, the things which come from the waters were blessed by God, in order that this might be a sign that men were going to receive repentance and forgiveness of sins through water and the ‘washing of regeneration,’ namely all those who come to the truth and are born again, and receive blessing from God.”
Irenaeus, “baptism is the seal of eternal life and is rebirth unto God.”
Clement of Alexandria, “We who have repented of our sins, renounced our faults, and are purified by baptism run back to the eternal light, children to their father.” (Instructor I.vi.25.3-26.2; 30.2; 32.1).
Everret Ferguson, “Baptism was the decisive act of conversion for one who accepted the Christian Gospel. It marked the break with the past and the initiation into the church of Christ. The fundamental convictions of the faith which was preached by Christian teachers found expression in the act of baptism” (Early Christians Speak vol. 1 pg. 36)
The design of baptism
The proper candidate—a mature competent person.
The proper purpose—so that sins are forgiven. This was restored by the early Restoration Movement in the late 1700’s and 1800’s in Europe and America.
Have you been immersed in water for the purpose given in the NT? If you have been immersed in water, but not for the same purpose given in the NT, is your baptism acceptable to God?
The 1st Promise—Forgiveness
Forgiveness
Afesin
“To send from oneself” Wuest.
Louwe and Nida define it as “pardon or liberty.”
Forgiveness is possible because of the suffering of Christ.
John 3.16
Isaiah 53.5
1 Peter 3.18
This is the result or purpose of repentance and baptism and is the first promise of Acts 2.38.
eiV + accusative case = unto (ASV), into, or so that (NRSV).
This is demonstrated by the way baptism is referred to in other passages found in the New Testament and by the way immersion was used a ritual cleansing rite by the Jews in Palestine and by John the Baptist.
This is also confirmed by the practice of all professing belief in Christ from Pentecost until the mid 1500’s.
Baptism is necessary to be forgiven or be saved:
1 Peter 3.21
Mark 16.16
Colossians 2.12-14
Even though the men had been responsible for crucifying Christ, they could be forgiven.
The 2nd Promise—The Gift of the Holy Spirit
This is promise offers a debated gift.
Some say the gift is salvation,
Others say the gift is miraculous gifts,
Others say the gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
In Greek it is clear that the gift being presented is the Holy Spirit himself. This is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every Christian. It simply represents the relationship that the Spirit, as the Father’s representative, holds with the Christian. This is clear from other Scriptures.
Acts 5.32, “we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Galatians 3.14, “so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
Romans 5.5, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 8.9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
Romans 8.11, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
1 Corinthians 6.19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
It is the presence of the Spirit that seals or marks us as being the Children of God, He also cleanses us through his power.
Sealed
Ephesians 1.13, “In Him you also, when you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.”
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4.30).
Cleansed
Titus 3.5-7, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Intercession
Romans 8.26, “likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Resurrection
Romans 8.11, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
Conclusion
When the first Gospel sermon was preached, many people were convicted of their sins and desired to be forgiven. When they inquired as to how they may be forgiven, Peter commanded them to repent and be baptized so that their sins would be forgiven. The forgiveness was also coupled with the re-establishment of man’s relationship with God signified by the union of the believer with the Holy Spirit. The wonderful promises extended in Acts 2.38 are still available and the plan is still the same today. You too may have forgiveness and a relationship with God. Why refuse so great a salvation?

What does the Bible say we must do in order to be saved?
Believe the Gospel: Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17
Repent of your sins: Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38, 3:19
Confess Jesus is the Christ: Matthew 10:32
Be baptized so that your sins may be forgiven: Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-5

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s