Part 3 of 4, continued from here.
Although it seems at first glance Acts 2:38 is the only way to be saved. But such an interpretation is impossible because of the following:
1. Dozens of New Testament scriptures where salvation is said to be by faith in Jesus (John 1:12, 3:16, 36, 6:47, Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9)
2. The thief on the cross (Luke 23:43)
3. Jesus never baptized anyone
4. The Apostle Paul stated he only baptized a few.
It is important to note that the Jews were the only ones told to be baptized for the REMISSION of sins. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached his message to the house of Israel only. The Feast of Pentecost was a Jewish holiday, there was not a gentile among them (MacDonald, William p.1586-1587)
Second, it was the house of Israel that called for the crucifixion of Jesus and for his blood to be upon them and their children (p. 1586). They cursed themselves with the blood of Jesus and not only cursed themselves but their children also.
“Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” And all the people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and on our children.’” (Matthew 27:23-25 NKJV)
Could it be that Acts 2:38 was for the house of Israel? We are talking about the very people who called out for his death and his blood to be upon them were now being pricked in their hearts. “The House of Israel? Were they crooked and a perverse generation that rejected and murdered the Lord Jesus” (MacDonald, William p.1588)?
They were the ones that needed to repent for killing Jesus, and to be baptized in Jesus name for the remission of those sins (to break the curse they had put on themselves and their children) and to show that they accepted Jesus, then they could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The house of Israel was offered grace by receiving Jesus as their Messiah and Savior and by disclaiming any further connection with the guilty nation of Israel through Christian baptism (p. 1588).
As the story goes they gladly received Peter’s word and about three thousand souls were added to the church that day. In Acts 2:42-47 it is interesting to know that the new converts continued steadfastly in :
1. The Apostles’ doctrine
3. The breaking of bread
5. Assembled together
6. Had all things in common
Now on to the next conversion. The Samaritans, they were looked down upon by the Jewish people because they were a mixed race. Actually there was hate on both sides of the fence. But evidently God wanted all men saved and that’s why Jesus visited the woman at the well and told the parable of the Good Samaritan. And could it be why the next conversions recorded in Acts 8:5-17 were Samaritans?
The story goes on that Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ to them, and the people with one accord believed the things preached by Philip, both men and women were baptized (in the name of the Lord Jesus) and there was great joy in the city. (Acts 8:5-8).
When the apostles heard about Samaria receiving the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them and they prayed and laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17).
Do you see the differences of their conversion?
1. They believed (faith)
2. Water baptism in Jesus name
3. The Apostles prayed and laid hands on them.
4. They received the Holy Spirit but it was not noted that they spoke in tongues. (MacDonald, William p.1588)
The Samaritans had only to believe in faith to be saved. Baptism does not save you but it is an important sign to others that you’ve made a public commitment to follow Jesus.
Note: The majority of what is included in this part comes from the Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald.
Part 4 coming soon