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Clear Gospel Campaign
by Ronald R. Shea, Th.M., J.D
Topics Touching the Message of Salvation
— Repentance —
Curriculum Outline and Study Guide | Resurrection | Assurance | Baptism | The Bema | Calvinism | The Gospel Message & Content of Saving Faith | The Creator | Dispensationalism | Eternal Security | Evangelism & Discipleship | Expiation, Propitiation and Redemption | Faith | Fruit . .. Don't you need it? | Grace | Hebrews 10 | Hebrews 6:1-15 | Heirship and Rewards | James 2:14-26 | Jesus is God | 1st John | John MacArthur | Justification | Bilateral Contract Salvation or "Lordship Salvation" | The Market Driven Church | Perseverance of the Saints | Predestination and Free Will | Public Confession of Christ | Regeneration | Repentance | Roman Catholicism | Salvation | Sanctification | The Sheep and Goats Judgment | Silly Gospel Substitutes | "Sovereign" (Irresistible) Grace | Stewardship of the Gospel Message | The Modern "Testimony" | The Ten Commandments: Their Relationship to the Believer | Theology and Doctrine | Total Depravity and `The Bondage of the Will` | Worship Music | Appendix I: Church History from a Free Grace perspective
Introduction and Overview of Repentance
Confusion Over Repentance 3
Repentance in a Nutshell
In a Nutshell, Repentance in the Old Testament
In a Nutshell -- Repentance in the New Testament
Generic Repentance
What Is Saving Repentance?
Repentance: Looking at the Context
Repentance and the Divinity of Jesus, Part 1
Repentance and the Divinity of Jesus, Part 2
Repentence and the Divinity of Jesus, Part 3
Savins Repentnace About the Person and Work of Christ
Repentance and Jesus' Offer of Salvation
Repentance from Religion, Matthew 3:5-9 Part 1
Rep;entance from Religion, Matthew 3:5-9 Part 2
Repentance from Religion: Matthew 3:5-9, Part 3
Repentance from self righteousness: Luke 13:4-5
Repentance from Self Righteousness, Luke 13:4-5
Repentence from Self Righteousness, Luke 13:4-5
Repentance from Religious Ritiuals, Hebrews 6:1-2
Repentance from Religious Rituals, Hebrews 6:1-2
Repentance and Jesus' Offer of Salvation, Summary
Repentance from Sin
Why Would God Need a Bull Horn?
Repentance throughout the New Testament, Introduction
Repentance in Matthew 3
Repentance in Matthew 4:17
Repentance in Matthew 9:13
Repentance in Matthew 11:20-24
Repentance in Matthew 12:41
Repentance in Matthew 21:29
Repentance in Matthew 27:3
Repentance in Mark 1:4
Repentance in Mark 1:15
Repentance in Mark 2:17
Repentance in Mark 6:12
Repentance in Luke 3:3
Repentance in Luke 3:8
Repentance in Luke 5:32
Repentance in Luke 10:13
Repentance in Luke 11:32
Repentance in Luke 13:3, 5
Repentance in Luke 15:7
Repentance in Luke 16:30
Luke 17:3-4
Repentance in Luke 24:47
Repentance in Acts 2:38
Repentance in Acts 3:19
Repentance in Acts 5:31
Repentance in Acts 8:22
Repentance in Acts 11:18
Repentance in Acts 13:24
Repentance in Acts 17:30
Repentance in Acts 19:4
Repentance in Acts 20:21
Repentance in Acts 26:20
Repentance in Romans 2:4
Repentance in Romans 11:29
Repentance in 2 Corinthians 7:8-10
Repentance in 2 Corinthians 12:21
Repentance in 2 Timothy 2:25
Repentance in Hebrews 6:1
Repentance in Hebrews 6:6
Repentance in Hebrews 7:21
Repentance in Hebrews 12:17
Repentance in 2 Peter 3:9
Repentance in Revelation 2:5 (2x)
Repentance in Revelation 2:16
Repentance in Revelation 2:21-22
Repentance in Revelation 3:3
Repentance in Revelation 3:19
Repentance in Revelation 9:20 & 21
Repentance in Revelation 16:9 & 11
Appendix C, Repentance as a Condition for Salvation, pg. 1
Appendix C: Repentance as a Condition for Salvation, pg. 2
Appendix D - Repentance from Sin in the New Testament
Appendix E, Other Theological Usages of Repentance in the New Testament
Appendix F: Generic Repentance in the New Testament

Repentance in Acts  2:38


14     But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said . . .

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22     Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23     Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

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32     This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

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36     Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37     Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38     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.

39     For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40     And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

41     Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.


Subject called to repent:    Jews from every nation visiting Jerusalem


Object of that repentance: Not expressly stated.  Since repentance means "a change of mind," we can only inferentially determine the object of repentance by determining the thinking of those invited to repent.  Peter accuses them, as a people, of having crucified their Christ (vs. 23).  This implies a rejection of Christ, as well as making a statement of Christ's atoning death.  Peter gives additional information about Jesus Christ . . . that God then raised Him up from the dead (vs. 32), and that God has made Him both Lord and Christ.  Therefore, the only object of repentance that can be reasonably inferred from the context is to change one's mind from a rejection of Christ to an acceptance of Him as Lord and Christ, the one who died for our sins, and rose again from the dead.


Consequence of repentance:                 1)  The remission of sins (vs. 38), 2)  being saved from "this untoward generation," and 3)  three thousand souls were added to the church. (vs. 40, 41).


Being saved from the "untoward generation" surely means to "save yourself from the fate that awaits this untoward generation."  We know that those of Jesus' generation who rejected Him stand eternally condemned.  We also know that the more immediate fate of that "untoward generation" was the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and the Roman legions in AD 70.  The consequence of repentance could therefore be deliverance from temporal judgment, or deliverance from eternal judgment.  However, the "addition of their souls" to the church is plainly a reference their conversion, and consequently their eternal salvation, as is   Eternal salvation is therefore unquestionably in view.  This is born out in the following chapters of Acts, when Peter repeatedly invites men to repent unto the remission of sins.  However, deliverance from temporal judgment on Israel may also well be in view, particularly in light of the movement of Luke and Acts, from a Jewish centered people of God to a Gentile centered people of God.


Peter appears to connect the "remission of sins" with repentance (vs. 38).  Again, it is debated whether the term "remission" is forgiveness in an absolute sense (akin to justification), or forgiveness in the sense of 1st John 1:9.  Again, both interpretations can be envisioned within the context.  Certainly remission of sins in the eternal sense is reasonable since these men were coming to a saving faith in Christ.  But severing one's connection with an "untoward generation" which is under God's judgment has a temporal (here and now) sense, which might carry over to the term "forgiveness" as a temporal forgiveness, wherein they are no longer under the national judgment that faces Israel.


Some have argued that, by the nature of their question, "what shall we do?" (vs. 37) that these 3,000 men had already come to a saving faith, and that Peter's invitation "repent and be baptized for the remission of sins" was, in its entirety, directed to remission in a temporal sense (such as fellowship) rather than an eternal sense.  The argument is not without merit, but has several weaknesses.  Firstly, within the gospels, when Jesus used the terms "repent" and "remission of sins" in relation to each other, the remission appears to have always been directed to eternal salvation, not temporal fellowship.  Certainly, words have a "field of meaning," and can reasonably be used in a number of ways.  However, Peter heard Jesus use the terms "repent" and "remission" together on a number of occasions, and it would be odd that Peter should suddenly use this same combination of terms with an altogether different meaning . . . particularly in view of the fact that the over terms "repent" and "remission" but in an altogether different sense.


Another reason this interpretation is unlikely is that the "light goes on" at different rates for different people.  I share the gospel often.  It is possible that some of the persons to whom I witness "get it" and fully trust in Jesus before I finish talking.  But I am not a mind reader.  I almost always finish by asking the person if they are now trusting in Jesus death on the cross as being all they will ever need to wash away their sins and make them acceptable in the sight of God.  In the same way, it is virtually impossible that the "light went on" simultaneously for all 3,000 Jews who listened to Peter's sermon.  And even if they did, Peter was no mind reader, and could not have known that all 3,000 were saved before he ever invited them to believe.


Finally, if Peter's invitation to repent is not directed to eternal salvation, then Peter makes no specific invitation whatsoever for these men to trust Christ.  It would be absurd to think that Peter would assume that everyone who listened to his sermon had believed unto salvation while he was speaking . . . and focus his invitation exclusively on fellowship and deliverance from God's temporal judgment on Israel.  Temporal judgment may well be partially in view, but it is inconceivable that Peter's invitation to repent was not, at its core, directed toward the positional forgiveness that is the believers once for all the moment they cling to the cross of the Savior.

Repentance in Acts 2:38


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