Scripture Reading: Acts 2:37-41
“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?’” (Acts 2:37)
While Peter preached his powerful sermon about the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit was at work: “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart.” The Holy Spirit opened their hearts to receive God’s truth. They understood the basic message of the gospel and saw their sinful condition. “They were cut to the heart.” This is a word picture of what true repentance is. They were deeply sorry for their sins and they desired to turn away from them. They wanted to go in a new direction. They knew they were helpless and therefore they asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter told them what they needed to do: “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” (v. 38). Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. Once we repent, we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
At this point in redemptive history, baptism became the new sign of God’s covenant. For the Jews baptism now replaced the Old Testament sign of circumcision. The language that Peter used was covenantal in nature: “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord calls to Himself” (v. 39). Baptism is the sign of incorporation into God’s covenant community, the Church.
The people responded to Peter’s call for repentance: “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (v. 41). These new believers were brought into the fellowship of the early church.
How do we explain this? The only explanation is that the Holy Spirit moved in a very powerful way on the Day of Pentecost. He brought the people to repentance and gave them the gift of faith. This event also points out the importance of gospel centered preaching. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
O Holy Spirit, thank you for the work You have done in my life when You opened my eyes to the truth of the gospel. You brought me to repentance and give me the gift of faith. Truly, salvation is a gift from God. I am deeply grateful for Your amazing grace in my life.
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