Repent and be Baptized

Acts 2:38 (AMP and RVR 1960)


The resurrected Christ, has met with, given final instructions to His chosen disciples Chapter 1, and they have retreated to an upper room in Jerusalem praying and waiting. 

Chapter 2:1-13 begins with the Day of Pentecost story, where the disciples are endowed with the ability to speak various languages from the Holy Spirit. What is the significance of this:

Pentecost was the second major fest of the Jewish Calendar

Shavuot, also know as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost was/is one of the three (3) times a year Hebrew men are required to make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and appear before the Lord. 

Because the Jews had been spread far and wide across the Roman empire many males only made this pilgrimage once (or rarely) and not all spoke Hebrew well. For this the Holy Spirit provides the gift of tongues so all can clearly understand the message. 

The onlookers (likely Jews and Gentiles) think them drunk and ridicule them even though they are clearly speaking in known languages (v.8-11).


Chapter 2:14-36  Peter responds to the crowd: 

In verses 14-21 he proclaims that it is the Holy Spirit, that is empowering them in reference to Joel 2:28-32

Secondly and the crux of the matter he proclaims Christ and and the Risen Savior, (2:22-35).

Peter concludes his sermon (v.36) with a statement that should leave little room for doubt:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel recognize beyond all doubt that God has made Him both Lord and Christ (Messiah, Anointed)—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Verse 37  shows the effectiveness of Peter’s simple direct and to the point message. He did not sugar coat anything, he did not fill it full of fluff, it was an in your face clear and succinct Gospel message.  


And Peter said to them, – You have to ask folks what is their condition. Are you a child of God? Is the Holy Spirit pulling at your heart stings (like he did to those who heard Peter) today? 

Repent and – It is all about God and He is wholly righteous, so we must REPENT of our sins against Him. That is we are to do a 180º turn from our former lifestyle. There are hundreds of bible verses that make clear our sin nature, one of the most familiar Romans 3:23

be baptized –  This is water baptism as commanded by Jesus in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) and discussed with Nicodemus (John 3:1-14Let me be clear baptism id NOT a Requirement for SALVATION.  There are far to many bible verses that refute that concept. It is however what Jesus called all believers to do. (see Article below) 

every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ – Peter made is clear and so does the bible from page one until the end; it is Christ Alone, through Faith Alone, by Grace Alone. 

for the forgiveness of your sins, – As noted above mankind has a great sin nature. God sent His Son for the forgiveness of those sins, (John 3:15-21) but man apart from the Holy Spirit’s  urging will always reject Christ. It is only by the BLOOD of Christ, that man’s sins are forgiven. 

and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. –  So we come to the part of this verse that separates many believers. After due diligence (hours and days of study) Here is my take for what it is worth: 

The “gift” spoken of is the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit PROMISED (John 14:16-17) to every true believer. 

Baptism includes the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:5, Acts 11:16) it is in fellowship with Him we are baptized. 

The gift of the Spirit changes our lives, and helps us to stay the course. (Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:19; 1 John. 3:24)

I do not agree with some that it is the specific gift of tongues not that such is required for “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”  

Part from the 3 occurrences (Acts 2:2-4, Acts 10:40-46, Acts 19:6) I cannot find it anywhere else in scripture. 

What is taught by Christ is what we mention earlier Baptism with the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

All other accounts of conversion in the bible fail this process of Baptism and tongues. (Acts 8:36; 9:17–19; 13:12, 13:48; 14:1; 16:14; 17:4, 17:34)

Keying in on tongues shifts the focus from the Triune God and onto ourselves. IT IS NEVER ABOUT US!!!!



So what is Acts 2:38 really about, ONE BAPTISM forget all the other stuff for a moment and focus on the real message. Peter says all who have heard, been effectually called by the Holly Spirit and know their need to repent do so now. 

He does not say Jews or single out Gentiles, he does not pick out skin colors or body types, rich or poor. All who hear, all who are called need be Baptized into the common body of believers. 

Today with all the differing denominations and sects, it is easy to start finger pointing or forget who your brother and sister are. While I deem it important to identify and call out false teachers at every opportunity we should not let other less critical issues prevent us from working together for the Glory of God.


Other Resources: 

Does Baptism Save You?

Is Acts 2:38 referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit rather than water Baptism?


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