“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both LORD and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
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. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.Acts 2:36-41
Why were they pierced to the heart? Because of what Peter had just told them. Notice that Peter’s comments were addressed to the House of Israel. He told them that this Jesus is Messiah and God – and you have just killed Him. (Note the LORD is capital letters which refers to YHWH – the unmentionable Name of God from Ex 3:14). You Jews have killed your long awaited Messiah. You are so busy waiting for the Coming Kingdom but you have missed the mark and killed the King. But Peter told them, its alright. God has it all under control in ways you wouldn’t imagine. Don’t worry, this was all planned. This paves the way for your salvation. Those present started calling out, “Brothers, what do shall we do?” Notice how this becomes the forerunner for many responses in the Book of Acts where people say, “What must we do to be saved?” With these comments Peter is laying down the foundation of the church. Don’t miss that point. And don’t miss its connection to the following segment either. The means of God’s Salvation for mankind is being revealed.
The way Peter has gathered the evidence and then finished with a concluding statement that pierces them to the heart is brilliant. He brings it home to each and every one of them that they were involved in what had happened. This was for them as much as it was for their religious leaders. Often people talk about being Tweet Slapped by me or getting a Slap Slap in class. It is truly what we need; we need to be pierced to the heart. The word [katanussomai] means stabbed, pierced, cut to the heart. That is what it is all about. We all need to be pierced or cut to the heart. God has to break through to us in order to effect a major life change. Repenting is all about making a 180 degree change in the direction of life. That requires a major change in the way we see things. It requires our heart to be pierced. It requires a slap slap. It requires a major personal shaking for us to change what we have been doing and set out on a new course.
We are to REPENT, BELIEVE and BE BAPTIZED. Is it necessary for us to be baptized in order to be saved? What about Mark 16:16 which says, “Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned” ?
“Are you serious? Do you mean you have to REPENT and BELIEVE in Jesus and BE BAPTIZED in order to be saved?”
“Well I believe in Jesus, that He lived and was a real person and I was sprinkled as a child. But I guess I am not sure about this REPENT thing. That scares me a bit because I don’t know if I have done it or not. I followed the preacher once in the prayer for salvation and said “I repent of my sins”. But I have to confess I don’t know what that actually means. It was all just church mumbo jumbo that I said at the time to keep my friend who took me happy.”
Does this sound like your words or your thinking? We need to work on the clarification of what is meant by THE BIG THREE WORDS related to Salvation. What do you mean “salvation” Ian? People talk about being saved. What do they mean? Saved from what? I will divide the next Gems to cover each of these hugely important Bible terms in detail. They are important enough to each have a Gems dedicated to them one by one.
- BE BAPTISED
That is why Peter says REPENT. [Metanoia] in Greek; [shuv] in Hebrew both refer to a major life turn around. The Greek word is more related to the mind I.e. A major change of mindset. The Hebrew word is more a major change of heart, a major change in the centre of your being. It begins with realising you are wrong. You can’t repent until you have realised the error of your ways. There has to be a dawning of understanding of the pervasiveness of sin and the guilt of unbelief before one can truly repent. You have to realise the bad news first before you can appropriate the Good News of salvation. Otherwise is means nothing and the effect quickly wears off. This represents an entire life change at the core of your being. Not just a change in thin veneer on the surface. What is needed is a deep seated change of attitude of heart and mind. It is a total repositioning of heart, soul, mind and strength in the totality of our being and a willingness to come into alignment with Christ as LORD, the Boss.
REPENTANCE occurs when you respond to a life changing moment in which you realise you have been living apart from God and rebelling against Him. Even if just passively. All sin is rebellion against your Maker. I was an atheist before August 19th 1973. I didn’t believe there was a God and therefore didn’t believe I needed to consult Him as to how I lived. I was my own man. I was LORD of MY LIFE. That dear reader is open rebellion against God. Denying Him His rightly place as the authority in your life. It doesn’t matter what terms you use for it. Bottom line either God is in control of your life or you are. I had a worldview which enabled me to sideline God; well actually throw Him out altogether because I didn’t believe He existed. Yet I also had questions about Truth, Science, How the World worked and my place in it. In August ’73 when I was brought face to face with The Truth I realised I no longer had a valid foundation for my worldview. Claiming God didn’t exist didn’t cut it anymore. I sat there in the church and broke out in a cold sweat because I knew the implications of what was happening to me. If what I was hearing was true then I needed to make some major changes in my life. These are the pivotal points in life when God Himself challenges our foundations. When that occurs we are brought face to face with reality. When you know the TRUTH you have to DO SOMETHING about it or it is not TRUTH at all. When God breaks into your life and confronts you with HIS TRUTH it requires a change.
I put the words in your thinking before – “I followed the preacher once in the prayer for salvation and said I repent of my sins, but I have to confess I don’t know what it actually means. It was all just church mumbo jumbo that I said at the time to keep my friend who took me happy.” Many people have been in that position in church and not really known what was going on. If that is your experience then you have not REPENTED in the biblical sense of the word. The issue is not just to follow a preacher and say the words, “I repent of my sins”. Especially if you don’t know what repenting of sins means. What is needed is a heart felt understanding of how you have lived your life separated from God through your own fault. Repentance is a deep seated realization of your unworthiness before God and of your separation from Him unless He does something because you come to realise you can’t. You don’t have the power. If you think you can save yourself because of your good works then you have not REPENTED. You haven’t understood the TRUTH of the Good News of God’s Grace.
We also need to understand that repentance is not something that we decide if and when we will seek it or accept it. Repentance is a gift from God. There are many I have met over the years who rejected a call to follow Jesus in a meeting. Oh they were convinced they needed Him and needed to follow Him and put their trust in Him to save them. But later; Not now! They said or thought, “Allow me to live my life now in the way I want and later when the time is right I will follow Him.” Be careful, that is assuming you are in control of when you come to Him. Assuming that you are in control and you can decide when. NO. The gift of repentance leading to God’s salvation is just that – a gift. It is God extending to you the offer of saving you from your life of separation from Him. Repentance is a gift and the moment of Repentance is a gift. Seize it while it is offered. You may get another chance. Look what happened to Esau.
Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when He wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.Heb 12:16-17
When you feel the longing or desire within to get right with God, do it then. Don’t wait. You may find like Esau the moment has passed you by and all you have is a false memory of what you felt some time before but it is not true repentance. When you feel the Holy Spirit stirring your heart to come to Him and confess how you have lived your life without God’s input or a sense of His presence, that is the time for Repentance. When you sense how your rebellion has separated your from the God who made you, then is the time for Repentance. Don’t put it off until a better time. Especially don’t put it off because you choose to have a while longer sinning and rebelling and sometime later you will come to God, thinking that you can enjoy the pleasures of the life you know is wrong a little longer. That especially is a foolhardy response. It is unlikely your moment for repentance, if you are granted it, will come easily the next time. When God calls respond at that time. When you feel the Spirit of God tugging at your heart is the moment to respond. Now not later. Today is the day of salvation.
But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter My place of rest.” So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering His rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts.”Hebrews 4:5-7
Repentance is a matter of the heart is not a matter of mere words. A little like the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 4:20).Ian Vail
Repentance is the hammer which shatters the barrier that protects God’s Word from the uncommitted.Robb Thompson
In repentance we must do 3 things in relation to sin: see it, own it & turn from it.Darrin Patrick
Don’t you know it is the kindness of God that leads you to repentance?Paul of Tarsus
A sinner can no more repent and believe without the Holy Spirit’s aid than he can create a world.C H Spurgeon
The gospel is bad news before it’s good news, you can’t have promise without penitence!Anon
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.Abraham Lincoln
Although fellowship with God can be broken by sin, the relationship is still there. you’re only one step away from returning.Mona Siregar