Do Acts 2:38?

On our Church van, business cards, letterhead and even in the URL of our website we proudly tout the slogan, "Do Acts 2:38". You might ask, "Why?" There are several reasons that this ministry has chosen to align itself squarely under the banner of this important passage of scripture.

" ... they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 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.' "
Acts 2:37-38

We believe its message is central to the issue of salvation. In Acts 2:37 we see the audience under heavy conviction as Peter is concluding the first sermon of the early Church. The crowd, seeking remedy from the burden of sin, replies to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, "... what must we do?" In effect, they were asking what they must do to obtain salvation. Note that the focus here is not on empty faith without action. In our obedient doing of the word, we find salvation, not in "believing" only. Saving faith is faith that acts; without works, faith is dead. James 1:22 tells us to guard against deception by being doers of the word, and not hearers only.

Paul's definition of the gospel was threefold: the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Paul said that the "obeyed" gospel saves us (Romans 10:16). The concept of obedience implies action, rather than inactive belief. How then does one "obey" or "do" the gospel?

Some argue that an individual can do nothing more than believe, repent and accept Jesus as Savior. Of a truth, that is indeed all that the sinner can do. However, careful consideration will find that this view stops short of the full counsel of God's Word. Peter's reply was threefold. The question was, "What must we do?" The answer referenced the doing of three things. Peter's admonition to "Repent" implies the concept of faith, belief, turning from sin, dying to self, etc., thus obeying Christ's death. However, that still leaves two additional commands, equally important in this biblical prescription for a sin-stricken heart.

We must also obey his burial. We do this as we submit to the Church baptizing us into Christ and for the remission of our sins, calling on the saving name of Jesus. "For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved". Acts 4:12.

Finally, we must obey his resurrection. This is done as we yield ourselves to the infilling of God's spirit. "... if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Romans 8:11. In addition, Colossians 1:27 says, "... Christ in you the hope of glory".

In summary the individual must obey Christ's death in repentance, his burial in baptism and his resurrection in the infilling of the spirit. From another perspective, in the work of salvation, there is something that the individual does (repent), something the Church does (baptize), and something that God does (fill with the Spirit).

What shall we do?

Do Acts 2:38!