Let’s look at Acts 2:37-38 says, “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? 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.” This is part of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. Although these words and this promise applies to all who would repent and accept Christ as their savior, it is more generally for the Jews at this point.

How did I get to that assumption? Let’s consider the entire portion by looking at several verses in this chapter:

  • Acts 2:5, “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem JEWS, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”
  • Acts 2:22, “Ye MEN OF ISRAEL, hear these words…”
  • Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the HOUSE OF ISRAEL know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

We can also safely say this promise of salvation is for all men for the Apostle wrote to the Gentile Romans in Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” So, we see the offer of salvation is universal…for all men everywhere.Now let’s look at Acts 2:39, “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.” The promise of the Holy Ghost is given to:

  1. YOU – Those who were listening to Peter
  2. YOUR CHILDREN – Those to whom the believing parents would share this good news with.
  3. ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF – This would refer to Jews who lived in other countries. It also applies to everyone around the world who would listen and respond to the loving Gospel of Jesus Christ. We read in Ephesians 2:14-18, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to YOU WHICH WERE AFAR OFF, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
  4. AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL – This refers specifically to Gentiles to whom the Lord would reach with His glorious Gospel.

So the promise was for all, but on an individual basis. For a similar thought, let’s consider the words of Paul in Acts 16:31, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Some have taken this to mean that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, He will save you and all those in your house. This is contrary to the individual responsibility of each one of us to put our faith in the Lord Jesus. The truth is that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved. If those in your house believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, they also shall be saved.

For one more thought, let’s consider John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This shows that salvation does not come from blood…we do not inherit salvation. It does not come by the will of the flesh…we cannot save ourselves. It does not come by the will of man…no one else can save us. Salvation comes from God. It is a free gift to everyone that will believe on the Lord Jesus. I am thankful to know that you are saved. Now be faithful to the Lord and share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus with your children that they may also put their faith in the Lord, receive the Holy Spirit, and have eternal life. (233.10)