Today we continue our study in Acts 2:37-41.
VERSE 37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? As a result of Peter's words, they are now convicted by the accusation that they had just killed the Son of God and asked what they needed to do now.
VERSE 38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Anyone who can read can clearly tell that Peter's response is clearly not one of grace. He did not say you must believe in the death, burial, and resurrection. Instead, he said you, every one of you, need to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. Remember the offer of the Kingdom required national acceptance.
That is very different than what Paul preached. Look at Acts 16:25-31 where it recounts the story in which Paul and Silas prayed and sang in the prison. After this, an earthquake occurred and the prison doors were opened and the keeper of the prison thought it best to kill himself since it was going to happen anyway with the escape of the prisoners. To which Paul shouted that they were all there and it wouldn't be necessary. Upon which the keeper asked him, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Note Paul's answer was nowhere near Peter's. Instead, it was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." It must be understood that while under the Gospel of the Kingdom which Peter preached, national repentance was required. However, under the Gospel of Grace which Paul preached, it was simply an individual's belief that was required. Unbelievable how this has confused so many today in the Body of Christ. WE ARE UNDER THE GOSPEL OF GRACE!
Side Note: Remission or Forgiveness? Now, some would argue that remission and forgiveness are two different things because their definitions are slightly different. Remission being "the cancellation of a debt” and forgiveness being “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake”. However, that is still up in the air for me. Worthy of further study for sure.
It is also worth pointing out here that Peter told them that they must repent and be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit. However, later when God commanded Peter to go to Cornelius, a gentile, he received the Holy Spirit simply by believing. Notice that it says in Acts 10:44, while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Did you see it? They received the Holy Spirit simply by believing! No repentance and no baptism. I am not sure that Peter totally grasped what was going on because he then felt the need to baptize him. This was obviously just a glimpse that God was giving to Peter that the Gentiles were also going to be saved, but not the same way.
VERSE 39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. At this point, many will immediately assume that this verse is referring to Gentiles. Not so fast, we are still in chapter 2. Peter had not been introduced to Cornelius yet. Nor had Paul was raised up yet. Those who "are afar off" could only have been understood by Peter and the others to be the Jews who were still scattered to the nations as a result of the "diaspora" which refers to Jews are were living outside of Jerusalem.
VERSE 40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. The "untoward generation" refers to those Jews who still did not believe.
VERSE 41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. As a result of Peter's message, only three thousand received it and were added to the assembly that was continuing to grow there in Jerusalem. This is not to be confused with the Body of Christ that would later develop under the teaching of Paul.
Bear in mind, this was an offer of national salvation to Israel, not individual, and it was being rejected. Three thousand was not enough! That number alone shows that many still did not believe. Later on in Acts 4:4, we are told that their number had risen to five thousand. Historically, I have no idea how many Jews were present, but I have heard as many as 250,000.