“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. 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.” Acts 2:38-39
In his Pentecost sermon, Peter told his Jewish hearers that they had rejected and crucified the Messiah and Savior sent for them by the LORD God, and they were pricked in their hearts and asked what they should do.
Peter’s response to them was: “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. 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. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”
While we may not like to think of it, Messiah Jesus was crucified because of you and me as well. As it says in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
And, when we continue on in our own ways instead of turning back to the LORD God and His Christ, we tread under our feet the Son of God and count the blood of the covenant which He shed on the cross to redeem us a common and unholy thing and despise and reject the gracious working of the Holy Spirit to bring us to repentance (cf. Heb. 10:29).
Peter’s answer to his Jewish hearers is just as valid today for you and me and the rest of this fallen and sinful world. We have, by our sins, crucified the LORD’s Christ and the only way we can be saved is to repent and be baptized in the name of Messiah Jesus for the full and free remission of all our sins. Then we too will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who regenerates us and creates and preserves faith in our hearts in the Lord Jesus (cf. Tit. 3:3-7).
To be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ is, of course, to be baptized in the name of the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – as Jesus Himself commanded (Matt. 28:19).
And, as Luther explained, to continue in baptismal grace is to continue to live in daily contrition and repentance, daily acknowledging and confessing our sins and failures and looking to the Lord Jesus and His blood shed for us upon the cross for our forgiveness and for life everlasting (cf. Romans 6:1ff.; 1 John 1:7 – 2:2).
O dearest Lord Jesus, Son of God and our Savior, forgive us for our sin and rebellion against You and grant that we live in continual repentance, acknowledging and turning from our evil ways to You for mercy, forgiveness, and life everlasting. Amen.
[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]