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What shall we do?
Bible study on salvation and baptism.

Tom Trask and I had a Bible study last week, with a very kind person from another church in Lutz. We had a good discussion from God's word, which quickly turned to the topic of salvation.

During our study, we talked about the question asked of Peter on Pentecost, "Brethren, what shall we do" (Acts 2:37)?

Peter concisely stated his answer. "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" (Acts 2:38-39).

Repent and be Baptized
To receive God's gift, which He promised long ago through Abraham, we must repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.

Before we can repent, we must believe (Jn. 8:24; Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6), or else we do not know what to repent of. And before we can be baptized, we must communicate our faith, that we believe Jesus is God's Son (Acts 8:36-38; Rom. 10:10).

The people who received God's word that day, believed and obeyed (Acts 2:41; Jn. 1:12-13; 8:24; Heb. 5:9).

  • They obeyed the Lord in baptism and were saved (Acts 2:40-41).
  • Their sins were forgiven and they were added to the church (Acts 2:38, 47).

Those who rejected God's word, remained lost in their sins.

  • They didn't save themselves from that perverse generation (Acts 2:40).

Expressing this thought, many years later, Peter says, "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you -- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience -- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 3:21).

Nine Examples of Conversion
There are nine examples of conversion in the Bible. Although we're not given every detail about every conversion, we're told one thing that occurred each time. Do you remember what it was?

  • Acts 2:5-47 repented, baptized
  • Acts 8:4-13 believed, baptized
  • Acts 8:26-40 confessed Jesus, baptized
  • Acts 9:1-20; 22:16 baptized to wash away sins
  • Acts 10:34-48 believed, baptized
  • Acts 16:13-15 heeded the things spoken by Paul, baptized
  • Acts 16:25-34 believed, immediately baptized
  • Acts 18:8 heard, believed, and baptized
  • Acts 19:1-7 baptized

We don't have every detail about every conversion in the New Testament, but we're told that every person was baptized. They could believe, repent, and confess Jesus; but if they didn't obey the Lord in baptism:

  • their sins were not remitted (Acts 2:38).
  • their sins were not washed away in the blood of the Lamb (Acts 22:16; Rev. 7:14).
  • they were not saved (1 Pet. 3:21).

The gospel message has not changed (Gal. 1:8-9). We must obey the Lord to be saved, just like people in the first century (Heb. 5:9).

  • If we do, we're saved.
  • If we don't, we're lost in our sins.