This week we continued our examination of Peter’s answer to the crowd’s question: “What should we do?” We did a quick review of last week’s lesson, and had a great discussion about the salvation process. I think I’ve muddied the waters by using the words “step one” and “step two” in the exegesis of this passage, so I am going to clarify that below.
What I am NOT saying:
- I’m not saying that salvation is by works.
Salvation is by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
What I AM saying:
- Although salvation is a free gift offered to all, it is neither forced nor earned.
- Any individual seeking salvation must take action.
- Taking action is not “works.” When Paul states that “salvation is not by works,” his point is that salvation cannot be earned by perfectly keeping the Law: We have all sinned.
- Taking action does not imply “earning” salvation. You can’t earn it. It’s a gift.
- Taking action requires an internal attitude adjustment—a turning away from self-sufficiency and a turning towards the Lord.
The following list of actions is provided every week in our printed program at church (used with permission). Remember, these are not the “works” that Paul was referencing in his argument for salvation by grace through faith. These are essential actions everyone should expect to take in obedience to the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Keep in mind that a person can exercise faith, repent, and confess Jesus as Lord within a few seconds. For some, it will be that fast; for others, it might take years to come to that point; and still others will fall somewhere in between.
Once that confession has been made, the very first step of obedience is baptism. Identifying oneself with the death (hands folded across chest), burial (immersion in water), and resurrection of Jesus (raised out of the water) provides the repentant individual a clean slate. Thanks to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the new Believer is empowered to live according to the standards and guidelines for Christian living as set forth in Scripture.
>> Click to read this week’s passage in KJV, HCSB, ESV, NIV: Acts 2:37-41 <<
Repent & Be Baptized. ~ Acts 2:38-41
* Recorded: LIVE. This audio has been edited for class member privacy, time, and content.
- Here is the book excerpt that shows the ossuary of Diogenes the Proselyte
- Here is the commentary which I referenced in the lesson. It contains an excellent 20-page excursus on the history of baptism:
- McGarvey, J.W. New Commentary on Acts of Apostles, Volume 1. (Lexington: Gospel Light Publishing Company, 1892), pp. 244-245.
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