Select Page
Read Introduction to Acts

 

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.

 

and you [second person plural]

The “you” indicates whose sins are involved in “remission.” In Greek, the personal pronoun must agree with its antecedent in gender and number, as we saw earlier. When the Greek uses “you” in direct discourse, the agreement must include person, which in this case is second person. The “you” points back to the antecedent with which it agrees. It must agree with both number and person. Thus, “you” agrees with “repent,” not “baptized.” The regular use of “forgiveness” in the writings of Luke is with “repentance. “If “you” harked back to “baptized,” then the idea would read, “let him [third person singular] be baptized for the remission of your [second person plural[ sins,” which would negate the shed blood of Christ as the cause of forgiveness.

shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit [the gift that consists of the Holy Spirit].

The idea of a “gift” is something unmerited or free. People receive this gift by faith or repentance and not by baptism. The condition is that they have faith before they become baptized (Acts 10:47).

The “gift of the Holy Spirit” was Spirit baptism (Acts 1:5, 8; 2;33). The Holy Spirit Himself was the gift that God gave to believers in the church. Reception of the Holy Spirit occurred instantly upon conversion (Acts 11:15). It was not a “second blessing,” as some claim, but an act of salvation itself.

The point of the passage Peter quoted earlier in the chapter from Joel 2:28-29 was that God promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, which signaled the coming of the Messiah.

PRINCIPLE:

Nowhere in the Bible is a person saved by faith plus baptism.

APPLICATION:

Repentance would demand a person to show his witness to the faith by baptism. The “gift” here is baptism with the Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit follows baptism in this verse. The Holy Spirit Himself is the gift (Acts 11:15).  

Nowhere in the Bible does it assert that God saves people by faith and baptism, or faith plus anything else. First Corinthians 1:14-17 excludes baptism as a way of salvation. It was not a purpose of Paul to baptize because it is not the way a person becomes a Christian. Paul indicates nothing about being baptized for salvation. Acts 3:19 demonstrates that repentance preceded baptism. In Acts 10:44-48, those present in Cornelius’ house received the Spirit and spoke in tongues before baptism. If baptism is a requirement for salvation, it is odd that Peter does not mention this requirement in his other sermons (Acts 3:12-26; 5:29-32; 10:34-43). Most passages in the New Testament dealing with salvation do not state a requirement for baptism (Jn 3:16, 36; 6:47; Acts 16:31).  Repentance often precedes baptism in Acts (Acts 3:19; 26:20). Acts presents salvation as entirely a gift from God not obtained by water baptism (Acts 10:43; 13:38-39, 48; 15:11; 16:30-31; 20:21; 26:18).

If a person does not make a correct decision on how to go to heaven, he puts himself in eternal jeopardy. The Philippian jailor asked, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). The answer was clear, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31; cf. Ro 3:20; Eph 2:8-9; Ga 3:6-9).

Share