“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
(a) Everyone who believes… receives. Grace comes by faith alone.
All of God’s blessings, including forgiveness, salvation, righteousness and sanctification, come to us freely by grace and are received by faith. Faith does not compel God to forgive us or sanctify us. But faith is the conduit through which grace flows. See entry for Eph. 2:8.
(b) Receives forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift to receive, not a wage to be earned.
(c) Forgiveness of sins. All your sins – past, present, and future – were dealt with on the cross (Heb. 9:26). In Christ, you have the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14). In him, you are completely and eternally forgiven according to the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:7).
On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus instructed his disciples to preach the good news of the complete forgiveness or remission of all sins (see entry for Luke 24:47). After the cross, the apostles described forgiveness in the past tense and as a gift to receive (see entry for Acts 13:38).
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
The Holy Spirit fell. The original word for fell means to embrace fervently. To say the Holy Spirit fell on those who heard, is to say that he passionately embraced them. Think of how the prodigal’s father embraced his son; it’s the same word. “When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20)
The father in the story fell on the prodigal in the same way that the Holy Spirit fell on those who heard the message – in a passionate embrace. Jesus told us the story of the prodigal to give us an insight into how God the Father relates to us. His love is not cold and distant, but passionate and close. He is a hugging Father.
“Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”
(a) Water. Prior to Christ, John the Baptist baptized people in water as a prophetic act foreshadowing the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). After Christ, the early church baptized people in water in response to what the Holy Spirit had done. John was looking forward; the Christians were looking back.
Every believer has been baptized or immersed into the body and death of Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12–13, Gal. 3:27). Water baptism is an outward act testifying to this supernatural reality.
(b) Baptized. The original word implies total immersion. See entry for Baptism.
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