Thursday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 2:38

After Conviction Comes Repentance and Faith

Upon hearing Peter’s sermon, which purpose was NOT to make people feel better about themselves or help people get along in life or make the gospel “relevant” to itching ears – no, upon hearing Peter’s sermon, we read that the people were “cut to the heart,” which we said just yesterday was the work of the Holy Spirit, for they responded in desperation, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Hear the Apostle’s answer: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Here in a nutshell is the gospel.  Granted, Peter says nothing about believing but we know that is included or why else be baptized in Jesus’ name.  So let us begin with Peter’s words.  The first word is, “Repent,” the very same word preached by John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus (Matthew 3:2; 4:17).  This is a nonnegotiable piece of the gospel that cannot be skipped, and I fear is missing from too much evangelical preaching.  It is a turning away from sin and turning towards God in heartfelt trust and devotion (i.e., faith) that understands that Christ died and rose for me.  And it is the love of God that demands of us repentance, for God knows that living according to one’s sinful appetites is to live a life of slavery and bitterness.  The gospel offers us freedom from the flesh, the world and the devil through faith and repentance.  Matthew Henry reminds us that God saves us not in our sins but from them.

And then Peter commands them to be baptized.  This too is not an option.  Now baptism is not like faith and repentance which are essential to receiving the Holy Spirit and salvation.  But it is commanded, and that which is commanded of us, we must do, or be able to explain to our Lord why, as he himself submitted thereto.  Baptism is a witness to the church of which we are a part that we are one of them, and a statement to the world that we are followers of Christ, as it displays our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection.  In countries where the faith is persecuted, it is often baptism that puts one in the crosshairs.  And it is this repentance from sin, this heartfelt trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and this desire and commitment to follow and obey him, of which baptism is only the beginning – and all of which is the fruit of that saving faith – which results in the forgiveness of our sins.  The cross and resurrection make it possible; faith and repentance make it actual; and He is the Holy Spirit who is works that conviction, faith, repentance, and holy desire in the heart of the believer.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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