In Acts 2, Peter preached to thousands of Jewish people. His sermon perfectly explained who Jesus was, why He came, and what He accomplished while He was here. Peter also laid the blame for Christ’s death and the guilt for His murder squarely at the feet of that crowd.
As soon as Peter finished speaking, they quickly reacted to the message. In Acts 2:37, we read, “Now when they heard this, they were pierced the heart…” While they could have responded in anger, denial, or even silence, they instead asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” They understood exactly what Peter preached and could no longer deny their guilt. So, what now?
Peter’s answer makes the necessity of at least two steps on the way to salvation undeniably clear. Peter said, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Both repentance and baptism are necessary in order to have sins forgiven.
Unfortunately, today, sincere people are taught all sorts of ways to be “saved.” When a person recognizes sin in their life and finally asks that same question, “What shall I do?” they may be given any number of incorrect answers. “Say a prayer!” or “Just believe!” or maybe “Repent and trust in God!”
The first converts to Christ, after hearing the first gospel sermon ever preached, heard Peter’s answer to their question and understood that forgiveness of sins cannot come without both repentance and baptism (Acts 2:41). Regardless of what men teach today, Peter’s message is still clear.