Baptism Essential for Salvation? Part 2
But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy. ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. ‘The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
* Note: Right here, Peter says, “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. Some have used this to show that the way for everyone to be saved is by simply vocally calling on the name of The Lord and that’s it… because that’s what it says, right? The way I understand this is that Peter is quoting from an Old Testament book (Joel) and is talking about how what was going on right then fulfilled what Joel prophesied would happen. So yes, in my view, it is true that the way people are saved is by calling on The Lord, but I believe that Peter is just about to reveal how God instructed people to call upon The Lord on the day of Pentecost. Was Peter saying that the way one calls upon The Lord was for people to literally vocally call upon The Lord by saying something like, “I call upon you Lord.”? Read on and see what you think.
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know- this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope; Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’ “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” ‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:14-47 NASB)
* To me, I honestly can’t imagine how it could be made any clearer about how to call upon the name of The Lord from the above passage. In other words, what else could be added to that text to make it clearer? I understand that there are other passages in the Bible that can be confusing on this topic but to me, this one isn’t it and in light of the context, I believe one has to do major mental gymnastics to say that being baptized is not necessary for salvation (in my opinion). So I believe the way that one calls upon The Lord is by repenting and being baptized in the name of Jesus, for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who was made available to all people on the day of Pentecost (described in the above text).
* What about the meaning of those passages in the original Greek?
To be continued…