After Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, the crowd asked the apostles, ‘Brethren, What shall we do?’ We compare the account in Acts 2:37-40 with a statement attributed to Max Lucado, ‘My only contribution to my salvation is my own sin’.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
This answer contains three elements, and it applies to us today as well.
First, we must repent, Repentance is an identification with the death of Jesus. It includes godly sorrow for sins, confession of sins to God, and a decision to forsake sins. It is a turn from sin to God.
Second, we are commanded to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Baptism is an identification with the burial of Jesus (Romans 6:4). The name of jesus is invoked because it is the only “saving name” and “the name” by which we receive remission of sins (Acts 4:12; 10:43). When we are baptized in the name of Jesus, God washes away our sins forever, based on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (Acts 22:16). The Lord will forget every sin that we have committed and wipe it from our record when we repent and are buried with Him in baptism.
Holy Spirit Baptism
Third, we are to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an identification with the resurrection of Jesus. Peter promised that everyone could receive the same wonderful experience that the disciples received on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:39). Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we receive new spiritual life (John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). We also receive power, righteousness, peace and joy (Acts 1:8, Romans 14:17).
How beautiful it is to realize that for almost two thousand years God has made available this marvelous plan for our salvation and that his plan will work for everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, nationality, or social status. It is for us all!!
Salvation carries with it no high price tag for us; it is available to the rich and poor alike. Jesus wants everyone to receive eternal life (John 3:16). Salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, and we receive it through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9). The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus purchased our salvation; we receive it when we identify with His work for us by believing and obeying His Word.
Thus we see God’s simple plan to bring us eternal life. To enter the New Testament church, we must simply repent, be baptized in Jesus name, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 2:38, 8:12-17; 10:44-48; 19:1-6; 1 Corinthians 6:11).
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