Baptismal Regeneration -tmp(Acts 2:38)

We came up against the apparent wall of {{Acts 2:38}} where
Peter is demanding that the crowd be baptized in order to receive
forgiveness of sin. Rory’s point which spurred the discussion seems to stand. Is
this proof of baptismal regeneration (with new meaning to {{Ephesians 4}})…even
though the rest of our study seemed to contradict this?

To be true, salvation by baptism must be substantiated in
other baptismal accounts or proven to be the only method that results in
salvation. The formula for baptismal regeneration being: (1)repentance plus (2)water baptism in (3)the name of
Jesus and then a person (4)receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We already noted that this wasn’t always the case. In fact,
the gift of the Holy Spirit was given without water on one occasion ({{Acts
10}}) and completely delayed after a baptism by water ({{Acts 8}}). This
puzzling situation forces us to use a practice from the medical profession—differential diagnosis.

I’m sure you’ve heard the illustration before. Three people
come into the doctor’s office with a sore throat. After checking the first man,
the doctor notices no inflammation. Asking him if he’s a Knick’s fan the patient
forces out a “hoo YEAH!” The doctor says “Dude, you got laryngitis. What you
have to do is gargle with some salt water and give your voice a rest. No more
yelling during the game.”

What would you say if the second patient comes in and the doctor
doesn’t bother checking him out and tells him the same thing as the first guy?
Rather you would expect the doctor to examine
this second guy with similar symptoms and notice the inflammation in the
throat. When he prescribes some antibiotics you would understand that the cause
for the sore throat was very different than the first man.

With the third man the doctor does the same examination but
instead of telling him to shut his trap or to take some antibiotics, he needs
to take a specimen for some lab-work. What he has seen in this patient, as
distinct from the others, is enough to cause concern.

The initial symptom seemed the same but upon examination
there were enough differences to change the diagnosis.

Examination of Our “Patient” (Acts 2:38)
Peter (one of those who were specifically told to baptize in the name of
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—{{Matt 28:19}}) is the one addressing a
crowd. He tells the crowd that they are to be baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ. This is a problem—Peter isn’t following the Lord’s pattern. Why would
Peter do this?

Surveying the History
of the “Patient”
Perhaps the context will clue us in to why Peter would state this conclusion. {{Acts
2:1}} tells us that the day of Pentecost had come and they were all together in one place. Who are “they”? Are “they” the
same as in {{Acts 2:38}}? The examination of our patient needs more historical
data.

{{Acts 1:1-3}} tells us that Jesus presented Himself alive
after His suffering for a period of forty days telling them about the kingdom
of God. He gathered them together and told them to wait in Jerusalem for what He promised from the
Father: the baptism of the Holy Spirit. These folk ask when the kingdom is to be
restored to Israel.
Jesus points out that the Father knows the when but they were to receive power to be witnesses starting off from their place of gathering (Jerusalem)
reaching out beyond the city’s borders (Judea) going north into Samaria and
then even to the furthest part of the Earth.

 In {{Acts 1:9-111}}
we see Jesus taken up and these people are addressed as Galilean…perhaps men.

The Galileans head back to Jerusalem and enter the city. Jerusalem is in Judea.

In {{Acts 1:12-15}} we notice that this group consisted of the
eleven plus women. We then notice that when Peter starts speaking to this group
in the upper room there are about one hundred and twenty persons gathered
together. This group is led in a study in prophecy and a man was chosen by lots
to be numbered with the twelve apostles ({{Acts 1:16-26}}).

Ah, so “they” ({{Acts 2:1}}) consist of the gathered
apostles, some women all part of a group about one hundred and twenty strong
gathered together in one place during Pentecost in Jerusalem of Judea although
they were from Galilee in the North.

What is Pentecost then?

Well we see it called the feast of Weeks in {{Ex 34:22}} and
{{Deut 16:10}}, the feast of Harvest in {{Ex 23:16}}, the Day of First fruits
in {{Num 28:26}}. It is a time of no labor and apparently is fifty days (seven
weeks and a day) after the first day of putting the sickle to the grain ({{Lev
23:15-21}}, {{Num 28:26-31}}, {{Deut 16:9-12, 16}}). Pentecost was one of those
very important times when all the Hebrew males would appear before God (in the
place He chooses). It is a time of immense rejoicing because the Jews were once
Egypt’s
slaves. So, conceivably Jerusalem
(the place which the Lord chose according to the book of {{Joshua}}) is where
all these people were to gather during this Feast.

That would make the crowd which listens to Peter’s speech
quite large and distinct from the disciples.

We then see this baptism by the Spirit {as promised by Jesus},
filling the disciples and giving them utterance in other tongues ({{Acts
2:2-6}}). The miracle is witnessed by people from all over the known world (obviously
in town not only to worship but also to conduct business). Parthians, Medes,
Libyans, Romans,  Arabs and more hearing
the mighty deeds of God spoken in their own languages ({{Acts 2:7-12}})

Apparently there were also mockers there who weren’t so
amazed and they started to make light of what was going on. Now Peter addresses
a portion of the crowd who also seem to be the mockers—specifically they are the
Men of Judea and all those who live in Jerusalem.
Strange that Peter would address his speech only to them when such a diverse
group was mentioned. Perhaps he is fulfilling His Lord’s mandate to begin in Jerusalem and branch out?

The message Peter preaches is one of impending judgment
showing forth a prophecy of the last days as spoken by {{Joel}}.  He explains the event of the [speaking in
tongues] in light of the glorious day of the Lord where all those who call on
the name of the Lord will be saved ({{Acts 2:16-21}}).

Now Peter’s speech continues to focus on these specific
people of Israel.
Jesus the Nazarene, attested to these people by God with miracles which God
performed in their midst, was delivered over by God’s predetermined plan and
was nailed to a cross by Godless men and killed. This Jesus God rose up again,
not allowing His body to suffer corruption for He is God’s anointed One. Unlike
David who is dead and buried (proving he is not the Messiah), Jesus was raised
again before many witnesses and has gone up to the Father. As proof of His
promise He has poured out the Holy Spirit as an initial phase of judgment.
Jesus now sits waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool for God has
made this Jesus whom the house of Israel has crucified, both Lord and
Messiah ({{Acts 2:22-26}}).

So Peter’s address was regarding the culpability of the
house of Israel,
specifically the men of Judea who lived in Jerusalem. They had seen Jesus the Messiah,
seen the signs and crucified Him. Now their hearts were pierced and they asked
Peter and the rest of the apostles “what shall we do?”

Diagnosis of the
Patient

Now we see the context of Peter’s response. {{Acts 2:38}} was (1)leveled at
a specific people (2)during a specific time who (3)had performed a grave action
(4)against Jesus Messiah by (5)rejecting Him and (6) killing Him. He has (7)proved
His authority and (8)now they asked how to get out of what they had done.

Peter says they had to first repent—in context for what they
had done. They had to be baptized, a public event reminiscent of what was going
on in {{Luke 7:29}} but it was to be under the name of Jesus whom they had
killed. In such an open acknowledgment showing forth a true repentance they
would attain that promised by Joel “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall
be saved.”

The petition then was to be saved from this perverse
generation ({{Acts 2:40}}) not so much to get wet with the waters of baptism.
Those then who received this word from Peter were then baptized and these three
thousand people were found continually devoting themselves ({{Acts 2:41-42}})
and doing so with gladness and sincerity of heart ({{Acts 2:46}}). They had
truly repented and they obeyed.

Now that we have thoroughly diagnosed our patient how are we
to examine our next patient? Do we write off our next baptismal text as meeting
all these criteria or do we examine some key differences and subsequently draw
a proper diagnosis?

-r-

The Full Series
1. Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
2. One Baptism Versus the Many?
3. Baptism and Big Problems
4. Baptismal Regeneration (Acts 2:28)
5. Deluge of Baptism Questions (Acts 1-22)
6. Baptism and Romans (Rom 6:1-11)
7. Noah and Baptism (2 Peter 3:20,21)
8. Paul On Baptism (1 Cor 1:14-18)

9. The Error of Infant Baptism


10. Remember Your Baptism (Rom 6:1-11)

Related

Russ On Baptism

Baptism of Linkage
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