38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
in the name of Jesus Christ
The “name” of Jesus Christ represents His character, nature, and power (Acts 2:21). Baptism is “in the name of Christ.” Baptism is the equivalence of one’s identity with Christ, with who and what He is. Identification is the true meaning of the word baptize. To be baptized is to enter allegiance with Jesus Christ.
Baptism symbolized association with or identification with Christ as over against something else. The people in Acts 2 were Jews. These Jews now would associate themselves with Christ as over against Judaism by being baptized. Baptism demarcated them as Christians.
Baptism is a change of association and line of demarcation.
Baptism here is a public confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. It must be done in Jesus’ name. Baptism signals that a person belongs to the name of Christ. A non-baptized person is foreign to the New Testament (Acts 2:41; 8:12, 36; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15, 33; 18:8). Baptism is the first indication of a person’s faith in Christ.
Peter’s second challenge for the Jews listening to him was that they were to change their association from the Old Testament economy to the New Testament by a visible proof, which is baptism. The peculiarity of this baptism was that it is to be “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Baptism associates a believer with Christ and His work on the Cross.
Baptism is a public affirmation of one’s faith in Christ. It is to take a stand for Jesus to the world. Baptism makes the Christian stand out to the world as one who holds belief in something distinctive. It is to demarcate him from the world as a Christian.
For the Jew, it would have marked him as from a different community.