Peter’s hearers were cut to the heart by his words. Some of them might have been among those who asked for Jesus’ crucifixion a few weeks before (Luke 23:13-25). But now, persuaded that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed God’s appointed Messiah, they cried out in sorrow: “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
Read Acts 2:38. What are the two basic requirements for forgiveness?
Repentance means a radical change of direction in life, a turning away from sin (Acts 3:19, Acts 26:20), rather than simply a feeling of sadness or remorse. Together with faith, true repentance is a gift of God, but like all gifts, it can be rejected (Acts 5:31-33, Acts 26:19-21, Rom. 2:4).
Since the time of John the Baptist, repentance was associated with baptism (Mark 1:4). That is, baptism became an expression of repentance, a rite symbolizing the washing away of sins and the moral regeneration produced by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16; compare with Titus 3:5-7).
Read Acts 2:38-39. What special promise is given to those who repent and are baptized?
The people at Pentecost were offered not only forgiveness of sins but also the fullness of the Spirit for personal growth, for service in the church, and especially for mission. This was perhaps the greatest of all blessings, for the main reason the church exists is to share the good news of the gospel (1 Pet. 2:9). So, from this point forward, they would have assurance of salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit, which would enable them for the mission to which the church had been called.
|Why is the realization that we have “the remission of your sins” so important for anyone who wants to proclaim the gospel? After all, what hope can you offer to others in Jesus if you don’t have it yourself?|