now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to peter and the rest of the apostles, “brothers, what shall we do?” and peter said to them, “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. for the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” [acts 2:37-39]
the promise of salvation. what an unthinkable act of generous mercy by an infinite and holy God! so much beautiful truth of salvation is packed into these two verses.
- everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself – the promise of salvation through a Savior is an act of God, not of man. the promised Messiah will bring peace with God to everyone who is called by God. this is a gift of grace, not of works, so that God gets the glory [eph 2:8-9]. this also means that the burden of trying to play the Savior ourselves is lifted. we walk in obedience, but God does the saving. [psalm 68:20] thank him for his sovereignty!
- for you and for your children and for all who are far off – the promise of salvation through a Savior is not confined by age, gender, location, or race. this word was spoken to Jews, who had the law, yet were far off from understanding the presence of God. others, who were far off geographically, were the gentiles. the death of Christ had opened up salvation beyond all borders, among all nations. and still others, who were far off in terms of time, were given this same promise through the same Savior! this salvation is for everyone here and now who will believe! thank him for his impartiality! [acts 10:34]
- you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit – the promise of salvation through a Savior is sealed forever by the Holy Spirit. we are the children of God if we have believed on the name of Jesus and been made new in him. that rebirth can never be taken from us. and we can never fall away from it. we are sealed, with evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit who caused us to cry out to God as Father. [rom 8:15] yes, we will still sin, but because God has set his covenant love on us before the foundation of the world, he promises also to call us, then to justify us, then to sanctify us until he brings us into his eternal glory! praise the Lord! [rom 8:30] thank him for his faithfulness!
- for the forgiveness of your sins – the promise of salvation through a Savior is salvation from sin and the punishment for sin, salvation from the wrath of God. God’s great holiness and justice is what causes his wrath to be poured out on sin. but thanks be to God, who sent his Son to bear that wrath for us, taking our punishment so that we could be forgiven. no more under his wrath, now able to receive his love. [john 3:36] thank him for his love!
- repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ – the promise of salvation through a Savior is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and no one else. there is no other way to the Father. there is life and peace in no one else. salvation comes when we turn from hope of salvation in other things, believing and confessing that Jesus is the way! we proclaim this through baptism, and live it out through the Spirit as he changes us into the image of Christ. [2 cor 3:18] thank him for the sufficiency of Jesus!
when we were first faced with the reality of our sin and our need for a Savior, it may have cut to the heart. but thanks be to God when he cuts the heart to heal the soul. the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ heals, redeems, saves, and keeps us to the end. what a good and gracious God we serve.
~ arwen eastman