Acts 2


Acts 2:38

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

(a) Repent. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). Peter is echoing Jesus who said “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of God’s grace and forgiveness.” See entry for Repentance.

(b) Repent… for the forgiveness of your sins. A better translation is “repent and receive the gift of forgiveness.” We are not forgiven because we repent and are baptized; we are forgiven in accordance with the riches of his grace (see Eph. 1:7). Forgiveness is a gift to receive (Acts 26:18) rather than a wage to be earned. See entry for Forgiveness.

(c) Be baptized. Peter was referring to water baptism since this was something he had done with Jesus (John 3:22, 4:1-2). We are not forgiven of our sins because we are baptized. Rather, water baptized is an act of faith that testifies to the baptism of the believer into Christ’s body done by the Holy Spirit. See entry for Acts 10:47.

(b) Forgiveness. The original word (aphesis) is a noun that is sometimes translated as remission and means a letting go or dismissal (see entry for Luke 24:47).

On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus told the disciples to preach the remission of sins or the good news of unconditional forgiveness (Luke 24:47). Because of his great love, God chooses to remember your sins no more (Heb. 8:12, 10:17), and he is no longer holding your sins and trespasses against you (2 Cor. 5:19). However, you will never experience his forgiveness unless you receive it by faith. Only in Christ do we have the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14). See also the entry for Acts 13:38.

(e) You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. When someone comes to Christ they are born again or born of the Spirit (John 3:8). They receive the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9) and are adopted into his family.


Acts 2:40

And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

Be saved from this perverse generation! Alternatively, be saved from the corrupt and evil culture of this present age.

Neither Jesus nor the apostles ever preached be saved from hell. We are saved from our enemies (Luke 1:71) the chief of which is death (Ps. 33:19, 116:8). The effects of sin and death are felt in our fallen world, hence Peter’s exhortation to be saved from this perverse or corrupt generation, and Paul’s exhortation to be saved from the evils of the present age (Gal. 1:4). We are also saved from the wrath that God has towards his enemies (Rom. 5:9).


Acts 2:41

So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

(a) Received his word. Just as the disciples received the words of Jesus (John 17:8), the three thousand received or heeded the word of Peter. To receive is to believe. We are to believe in Jesus (see entry for John 3:16).

(b) Baptized; see entry for Acts 10:47.


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