On the day of Pentecost some 2000 years ago, the apostle Peter preached a sermon. He preached Jesus Christ and him crucified. For many centuries the Jews had anticipated the Anointed One of God, the Messiah, the Christ. Now Peter explains that this Jesus whom they had slain, was indeed the Lord and Christ, sent by God. (Acts 2:22-23) We can only imagine how they must have felt when they learned they had killed the Son of God? In Acts 2:37 we read, Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, “men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter told them exactly what they must do. “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.” (Acts 2:38) They then that received his word were baptized and there were added unto them in that day about 3000 souls… And the Lord added to the church daily, such as were being saved. (Acts 2:41,47)
How were the 3000 saved? First of all they were saved by the grace of God. As the apostle Paul wrote, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23) And again he tells Timothy, “we have our hope set on the living God, who is the savior of all men, especially of them that believe.” (I Tim 4:9-10) Notice that we are saved by God, but only through his Son Jesus Christ, whose sole purpose in coming to this earth was to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) We are saved by the grace of God through our faith. (Eph. 2:8-9) There is no way we can “earn” our salvation, it is the gift of God. The grace of God brings salvation by the teachings of His terms of forgiveness, not some other scheme that man may dream up.
Man is saved by their works of obedience, just as the 3000 realized they must “do” something to be saved. Peter told them to save themselves by their actions. (Acts 2:40) These works do not contradict what Paul says about works of merit or works of the law in Eph. 2:8-9. We are saved by faith, but not by faith only, for James plainly tells us we are justified by works and not by faith only. (James 2:24)
We are saved by our obedience. God has always demanded obedience, and I Sam.15:22 tells us it is better to obey Him than to sacrifice, to harken to Him than offer fat of rams. When Peter told the multitude what to do to, only those who obeyed were saved. No doubt there were many more present, some of whom may have believed, but they were not saved, because they did not do what he said. We must obey God’s will faithfully and without question just as Abraham did when God told him to go into a certain place for an inheritance, not knowing where he was going, he went. (Heb. 11:8)
The 3000 were saved by baptism. When those on Pentecost asked what must we do, God answered through Peter and we see the result of the action of those who gladly received his word and were baptized. They were added to the saved that very day by God. This follows precisely what Jesus himself taught, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16) We know we are saved by baptism for Peter tells us we are. (I Peter 3:21) Were the 3000 on Pentecost saved by baptism? Yes they were. Were they saved by baptism only? Absolutely not. They were not saved by grace only, they were not saved by faith only, they were not saved by repentance only. they were not saved by hearing the gospel only.
God’s unmerited grace, extended to them through Jesus Christ and his gospel, saved them from their sins, but only after they did all that He commanded them. They heard Peter preach the gospel, they believed what he said, they confessed and repented of their sins, they were baptized and they were saved by God. The 3000 did exactly what every other conversion mentioned in the book of Acts did, with the same result, salvation. If we hear, believe, repent, confess, and are baptized, we too will receive the same result, salvation. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you anything different than what God has commanded. Your soul is far too precious to trust to the doctrines of men.
We invite all who would, to come together with us each Sunday morning at Kedron on the Coopertown Road, Russellville, Kentucky, to worship God in spirit and in truth. We neither add to God’s word or take from it. Bible study at 10:00 and Worship at 11:00. If anyone has questions: please call 270-657-2455.