Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 23) - Act 2:38; Act 3:19Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse. For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace 55. Act 2:38 A. "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." (Act 2:38) B. Does this verse teach that eternal forgiveness of sins and receiving the Holy Ghost is conditioned upon repentance and baptism? i. Since the remission of sins in this verse is conditioned upon repentance and baptism, it cannot be eternal forgiveness because eternal forgiveness was accomplished by Jesus Christ alone and is not conditional (see Section II,10,A). ii. There is a temporal forgiveness of sins which is conditioned on repentance and baptism which these Jews in Act 2:38 received (See Mar 1:4 - Section III, 15). iii. When one is baptized into the local church by the Spirit (Act 2:41 c/w 1Co 12:13), he is made to temporally drink into the Holy Spirit which indwells the church (Joh 7:37-39 c/w Act 2:1-4 c/w 1Co 12:13) (See Joh 4:10 - Section III, 39). iv. The church that a person is baptized into is the local church, not the universal church of all of God's elect. a. The "them" that the 3000 were added to by baptism was the church at Jerusalem (Act 2:41 c/w Act 1:15). b. This is apparent because they (the 3000 and the church they were added to) continued to observe local church functions (preaching, fellowship, communion, and prayer) (Act 2:42). c. 1Co 12:13 likewise speaks of being baptized into a local church body (1Co 12:12-27). v. This is not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, as regeneration is not of works (such as being baptized) (Tit 3:5) (See Joh 4:10 - Section III, 39). C. There is also a sense in which believers are baptized for (because of) the remission of sins. i. The proper response to hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be baptized (Act 8:12). ii. The core of the gospel of Jesus Christ is: "Christ died for our sins" (1Co 15:1,3). iii. Therefore, upon hearing and believing that Christ died for one's sins, a person is baptized for (because of) the remission of sins. iv. Baptism doesn't cause the remission of sins -- Jesus' death on the cross caused the remission of sins (Heb 1:3; Heb 9:12; 1Pe 2:24). v. A good illustration of this was when Jesus cleansed a leper (Mar 1:41-42). a. After the leper was cleansed, Jesus told him to offer a sacrifice for thy cleansing (Mar 1:44). b. The sacrifice was to be offered because the leper was cleansed, not to cause him to be cleansed. c. The offering was a testimony to the priest that the leper was cleansed (Mar 1:44). d. Likewise, baptism is a testimony that Christ has saved a person (1Pe 3:21). e. Just as eating the Lord's Supper shows Jesus' death (1Co 11:26), likewise baptism shows His death (Rom 6:4), by which (His death) our sins are remitted (1Co 15:3 c/w Col 1:14). 56. Act 3:19 A. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" (Act 3:19) B. Does this verse teach that one must repent and be converted in order to get his sins eternally forgiven? C. The blotting out of sins in this verse cannot be referring to the acquiring of eternal forgiveness of sins for the following reasons: i. Repentance is a work (Mat 12:41 c/w Jonah 3:10). ii. Conversion is a work. a. Conversion is a turning from sin to God (Act 15:3 c/w Act 15:19). b. Therefore conversion is a work (Jonah 3:10). iii. Eternal forgiveness of sins is acquired by grace, not works (Eph 1:7; Col 1:12-14; Col 2:13; Tit 3:5). iv. Therefore the forgiveness being acquired in Act 3:19 is not eternal forgiveness. v. See section II,10,A for more information on eternal forgiveness. D. Since the forgiveness is not eternal forgiveness, it must therefore be temporal or fatherly forgiveness. i. Temporal forgiveness is conditioned on confession of sins to God (1Jo 1:9). ii. Confession of sins is part of repentance (Psa 51:1-3; Psa 32:3-5; Psa 38:18). iii. This is exactly the type of forgiveness that those Jews who murdered Jesus would receive if they repented, turned to God, and confessed their sins to Him (Act 3:14-19). iv. See section II,10,B for more information on temporal or fatherly forgiveness. E. Though their sins would be forgiven when they repented and turned to God (1Jo 1:9), the full realization of their sins being blotted out would be when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (Act 3:19). i. Refreshing ppl. adj.- 1. That refreshes ii. Refresh v.- To impart freshness to (a place or thing, the air, etc.) by means of cooling or wetting. iii. Freshness - The quality or condition of being fresh in senses of the adj. iv. Fresh adj. - 1. a. New, novel; not previously known, used, met with, introduced, etc. v. The times of refreshing is the time when everything will be made new (Rev 21:5). vi. It shall come from the presence of the Lord (Act 3:19) when God shall send Jesus Christ (Act 3:20). vii. It is the times of the restitution of all things (Act 3:21). viii. Restitution - 1. a. The action of restoring or giving back something to its proper owner, or of making reparation to one for loss or injury previously inflicted. 5. a. The action of restoring a thing or institution to its original state or form. (In later use only in echoes of, or with reference to, Acts iii. 21.) ix. At the coming of Christ all things will be made new and restored to their original state before sin entered the world (Rev 21:1). x. The times of refreshing and the restitution of all things is the resurrection from the dead (Act 4:2). F. It will be at the resurrection when all things are made new and our corruptible mortal bodies will put on immortality (1Co 15:52-57) that we will experience the fullness of our sins being blotted out, being not only justified, but also glorified (Rom 8:30). G. Repentance and conversion give God's elect the assurance that their sins will be blotted out and that they shall not come into condemnation on judgment day (Joh 5:24). For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace