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After Jesus’ return to Heaven, the apostles began their work of “going into all the world.”  This began in the city of Jerusalem at the time of an important Jewish feast known as Pentecost.  With many people visiting the city because of the feast, the apostle Peter stood and preached the first gospel sermon. Powerfully, he demonstrated how the Old Testament had prophesied about the coming of Jesus and he forcefully told those in his hearing that they were responsible for the death of the Son of God.  The hearers were cut to the heart by Peter’s message and asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  In answering their question, Peter stated the following: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). 

 Realizing the gravity of their sins, these men and women who heard Peter wasted no time in obeying his words.  We are told that about 3,000 were baptized that day.  Peter preached exactly what the Lord told him to preach: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).  These people responded exactly as they should respond by believing and being baptized. 

The book of Acts comes after the four Gospels in the New Testament.  As it unfolds, several conversions to Christ are recorded.  These include a magician from Samaria, a eunuch from Ethiopia, a Pharisee named Saul, a Roman centurion named Cornelius, a woman named Lydia, and a jailer from Philippi.  This group contained those who were both rich and poor, male and female, Jew, and Gentile. Interestingly, their conversions were all the same: they believed and were baptized.  In these accounts, God demonstrated that no matter who you are, no matter your background, and no matter your gender or race, salvation is found when you believe and are baptized. 

Based on the above, ask yourself this question: “How am I saved?”  

Before answering this question, we need to establish some background. First, we must understand that we are saved by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:5).  This means that although we do not deserve salvation from our sins, God freely allows us the opportunity to come to Him.  We also understand that we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8).  While God has freely offered His grace, He only gives it to those who truly believe that He can save.  This faith then looks to God and calls out to Him for His gracious offer of salvation (Romans 10:13).  

When does salvation take place? 

In the book of Romans, we read about what happens when we are baptized.  The text states: “Do you know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3).  If you remember in our second lesson, we made the point that death always follows sin; therefore, because of our sins, we too must die.  This happens when we are baptized.  It is in baptism that we are nailed with Jesus to His cross and are buried with Him; verse 6 says, “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism in a death like His.” This means that the person we were is crucified and buried in baptism, but that is not where the story ends.  The text goes on to say, “For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.  We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be brought to nothing and that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  For if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him” (6:5-8).  It is in baptism that God’s grace is bestowed because of the faith and trust one shows in Him to save.  It is in baptism that one calls on God for this salvation, repenting and seeking salvation from sin.  It is in baptism the old self is killed when God nails those sins to the cross of Jesus and remembers them no more.  As the apostle Peter wrote, “Baptism now saves you” (I Peter 3:21).  Made new by the Lord, one rises from baptism a changed person.  While the outside looks the same, the heart is pure and clean.  The penalty of sin has been removed and one is now ready to walk with Jesus Christ.

You remember the challenging verse we studied about in lesson 1?  It states: “This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:11-12).  You have studied about this eternal purpose realized in Jesus.  You now know the story of the Bible.  You have learned the problem of sin and what can be done to solve this problem.

What is the condition of your soul? 

Like those on the Day of Pentecost, you also may be cut to the heart because of sins against God.  If so, you need to do what they did: Repent of your sins and be baptized for the forgiveness of those sins.  If you are ready, reach out through the information provided below and you can be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and accept God’s gracious offer of one day being with Him in Heaven.