And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.Acts 2:38-39 ASV
The cavils and controversies of the post-Reformation period have not altered in the slightest particular what is so evident here.
Space does not permit any exhaustive reply to the denials which are alleged against what Peter declared; indeed, no complete answer is possible, because the cleverness and ingenuity of man have been exhausted in the vain efforts to shout baptism out of this verse as a God-imposed precondition of salvation. We shall note only a few.
This writer is glad to note a change among modern commentators toward a more scriptural view of the ordinance of baptism, as evidenced by the following:
The idea of an unbaptized Christian is simply not entertained in the New Testament.
The rite was first practiced in obedience to a command of the Risen Lord … dates back to the day of Pentecost … was administered “into Christ,” or “in the name of Christ,” signifying that the baptized person passed into his possession. The mode was immersion, and baptism normally coincided with the reception of the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is the occasion when the Spirit brings to new life him that believes in the Son of Man.
We must ungrudgingly recognize that the New Testament does not permit us to divide between the new life of Christ and the new life of the Spirit in baptism.
They should not be permitted to affect our interpretation of its evidence.
Glimpses of the truth appearing in such comments are a vast improvement over many of the wild allegations of the nineteenth century; and it is devoutly hoped that men will come to accept what is so patently stated in the text before us, namely, that:
This text is the grave of the Lutheran heresy of justification by “faith only”; and, since many passages of the New Testament have been laid under tribute by holders of that error in their efforts to refute this text, many passages of the New Testament should be studied in connection with this.
One other common misunderstanding and it concerns this:
“Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” The gift of the Spirit will be given in or immediately upon baptism, whereas
The Samaritans are evangelized by Philip and baptized by him without receiving the Holy Spirit.
This, of course, is viewed as a discrepancy by many; but the problem is resolved in the knowledge that at Pentecost those baptized received the gift ordinary of the Spirit, which is the earnest of our inheritance; whereas, a special dispensation of the Spirit “through the laying on of the apostles’ hands” is indicated in the case of the Samaritans.
It is a mistake to view the gift of the Spirit as promised to all who were baptized on Pentecost as anything other than the gift ordinary.
There is nothing to lead us to imagine that they received any miraculous gifts of any kind. There can be no doubt that the gift of the Holy Spirit in view here is that which all without exception received … which is bestowed upon all the members of the family of our heavenly Father.