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.
the remission [forgiveness] of [the] sins;
“Remission” carries the idea of release or pardon with the implication of liberation. The Greek word occurs 17 times in the New Testament.
Repentance is the identification of an individual with the “remission of sins.” Baptism is the external identification of an individual with his remission of sins so that others can see that identity. Baptism is the outward identification of a Christian by those who changed their thinking about Christ by believing in salvation by the cross (Col 2:13; 1 Jn 2:12; Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; Ro 4:7; Eph 4:32; Col 1:14; 1 Jn 1:9).
As we saw in a previous study, the word “baptized” is not joined to “the remission of sins” teaching baptismal regeneration. Thus, the upshot of this verse is “Repent for the remission of sins, and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, then let each of you be baptized in the name of Christ.”
Repentance is the basis for the forgiveness of sins.
There are other indications that repentance is the central thought of Acts for salvation:
-Acts 2:21 indicates that whoever calls on the Lord will be saved (cf Acts 3:19). Peter connects repentance to the forgiveness of sins.
-Throughout the book of Acts, salvation is before baptism (Acts 10:43-47).
-Most Scriptures affirm that God saves people by faith alone (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ro 4:10; Eph 2:8,9; 1 Pe 1:18,19). The Gospel of John, for example, uses the word believe 99 times and never mentions the need for baptism. The purpose of the Gospel was to show how to become a Christian, where “believe” is the only condition (Jn 20:31).