My crew partner admitted to saying, “But I haven’t got to that chapter in the book!” His wife’s water broke, but he hadn’t finished, “What to Expect When You Are Expecting.” The end of the pregnancy snuck upon him. At the crucial moment, he asked the question, “What do I do now?”
On Pentecost, the Jews asked the same question. They were horrified to learn they had murdered the expected Messiah. In Acts 2:37, we read their hearts were “pricked” (KJV). Their hearts were sawed in two (more literal translation). They desperately wanted to know, “What do I do now?”
The answer is found in Acts 2:38. Peter’s answer is simple; they needed to repent and submit to immersion in water. The NIV translates Acts 2:38 as, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” There are two parts to the answer: repentance and immersion/baptism.
Why am I using the term immersion? Almost all translations, even the venerable American Standard Version, use the word “baptism.” In English, the word baptism means any of several religious rites. In Greek, however, it means “immersion.” One Greek historian used the word to describe the sinking of a naval fleet. While there are different types of immersion found in the New Testament, the basic meaning is “immersion in water.”
I have heard, time and again, that baptism is a work. Since it is a work, some would say it can’t be tied to salvation. But Peter was answering the question in Acts 2:37, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter could have given any answer. He could have said, “Just pray.” He could have said, “Jump on your left leg.” But God had Peter tell them, “repent and be immersed.” Some might object to baptism based on their philosophical or theological biases, but if we are to make Christ our Master and make ourselves His slaves, then we do not get to dictate the terms of service. We may say, but must not say, “Jesus, I agree with you up to this point.” It is either all, or it is nothing. If we strive for 90% effort in being His slave, then we will derive 0% of the reward. What do I do now? Exactly what the Master says. The Master wrote the Book.
Do you want to learn what the Book says about repentance and immersion? If so, then won’t you sit down with me over an open Bible and study what Jesus says about becoming a slave of Christ? Be sure to drop by at 9:30 or 10:45 on Sunday. Our Friends and Family day last Sunday was a great day, and we would have loved to see you. But know this, friends and family are more than welcome every Sunday. Hope to see you there!