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Acts 2:38 "the born again experience"

By cwss, in What does the bible say about? 03 December 2017 · 156 views

Scripture Bibliology (BibleDoctrine) Soteriology (Salvation) Church History Biblical Studies Jesus Studies
Everyone has sinned and needs salvation. Salvation comes by grace through faith based on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:23-25; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9.)

1Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

The Word of God has never changes. It is established and forever the same.

I would like to take this moment and consider what Acts 2:38 says wherein is the same Salvation plan for today as when began on the day of Pentecost almost 2000 years ago. Yet today there is much division about this most important verse and with that being said, let us now look at what the scriptures do say about the "promise" spoken in Acts 2:38 also called by many believers the “born again experience".

First and especially essential, the scriptures are very clear that the Scriptural plan of Salvation must begin with “repentance”. Before I can be saved, I must first realize that I’m lost and need God. Any other step I take toward salvation is pointless without this realization.

Repentance is a religious term that denotes a redirection of a person’s mind, will and actions as indicated in the Greek word “metanoia,” which means “a change of mind” (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary).
“Repentance is both sorrow for sin and the act of turning away from it”(Encyclopedia Americana, Edition 1982, Volume 21, page 495).
“The turning from sin is emphatically a matter of conduct, but it is also a matter of the heart” (A Dictionary of the Bible by James Hastings, Edition1903, Volume IV, Page 225).

The nature of repentance is not only a turning from, but also a turning to. It will cause a person to stop a wrong action and begin a right one. Repentance is a command of God and necessary for Divine forgiveness; therefore, is an essential step in God’s wonderful plan of salvation for man.

LUKE 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
ACTS 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Our sinful nature must die at an altar of repentance before a new life can be born. There can be no resurrection without first a death. Once the old sinful man is dead through repentance, the new believer is ready to experience the New Birth.

JOHN 3:5 (Jesus speaking)
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

The New Birth clearly defined by Jesus Christ consists of two elements water and Spirit. As a natural birth consist of these two elements, so likewise the spiritual birth.

JOHN 7:38-39 (Jesus speaking)
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name(singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

ACTS 4:12
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Colossians 2:9 For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins (water baptism)should be preached in his(Jesus) name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
49 And, behold, I send the "promise" of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.(Spirit)

In obedience to Christ, Peter preached on the day of Pentecost the Gospel of Salvation to which 3000 "born again" believers where added to the Church that very day.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized (water) 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 (Spirit).
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.

So what is the Promise? It is Holy Ghost which is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Gods Spirit dwelling in the heart of the "born again" believer; as referenced in Ephesians 1:13 ,,,; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.

Repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost all throughout book of Acts was essential for a "born again" believer.
Some churches teach that we are saved by belief in Jesus alone that baptism is just an “outward profession of our inward faith,” and "that baptism has no saving qualities nor is it essential." The Bible however says baptism is a command towards being saved. It is part of the New Testament circumcision, not a matter of individual decision. There are also churches today that teach that the Holy Ghost isn't any longer being poured out in the measure like was in time of Acts. This too isn't Scriptural. The time of Acts is still going on today!


"Peter in reference to Joel 2:28 in Acts 2:17-21 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:,,, And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."


Paul preached and taught this same "born again experience" as Peter did in Acts 2:38 as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 in Jesus name just as recorded in Luke 24:47-49

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized (water) in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost (Spirit) came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7 And all the men were about twelve.

Paul preaching the "born again experience" of Acts 2:38 in the letter to the church in Rome.

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism (water) into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father (Spirit), even so we also should walk in newness of life (rebirth).
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Paul mentions in depth this Salvation plan in letter to Colossians.

Colossians 2:9 For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,(How) in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:(result of Repentance)
12 Buried with him in baptism (water), wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God (Spirit), who hath raised him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened(rebirth-to come to life) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

(Quickened means: to come to life; Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Paul in writing to Titus .

TITUS 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us (How?) by the washing of regeneration (water), and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Spirit).

These and so many more events recorded throughout Acts and the Epistles declare that all the early church were baptized in Jesus name and received the gift of the Holy Ghost with initial evidence of speaking in tongues.


Excerpts from various history books:

Encyclopedia Britannica 1973, Volume 3, page 138
“First century baptism occupied a place of great importance and was regarded as essential to the New Birth and to membership in the Kingdom of God.”

Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible, Revised Edition, Volume 1, page 88
The early church always baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus.

BRITANNICA ENCYCLOPEDIA 11TH edition, Vol. 3, Pg 365-366
The baptismal formula was changed from the name of JESUS CHRIST to the words Father, Son, & Holy Ghost by the Catholic Church in the second century.

BRITANNICA ENCYCLOPEDIA Vol. 3, Pg 82
Everywhere in the oldest sources it states that baptism took place in the name of Jesus Christ.

CANNEY ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION Pg 53
The early church always baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus until development of Trinity doctrine in the 2nd century.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA Vol. 2, Pg 263
Here the Catholics acknowledged that baptism was changed by the Catholic Church.

HASTINGS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION Vol. 2, Pg 377
Christian baptism was administered using the words “In the name of Jesus”.
Vol. 2, Pg 378
The use of a Trinitarian formula of any sort was not suggested in early Church history.
Vol. 2, Pg 389
Baptism was always in the name of Lord Jesus until the time of Justin Martyr when Triune formula was used.


CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA Vol. 8
Justin Martyr was one of the early Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church.

HASTINGS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION Vol. 2, Pg 377 on ACTS 2:38
NAME was an ancient synonym for “person”. Payment was always made in the name of some person referring ownership. Therefore one being baptized in Jesus Name became his personal property. “Ye are Christ’s.”

NEW INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA Vol. 22, Pg 477
The term “Trinity” was originated by Tertullian, a Roman Catholic Church Father.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION AND ETHICS (1951), II, 384, 389
The formula used was ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ’ or some synonymous phrase; there is no evidence for the use of the triune name… The earliest form, represented in the Acts, was simple immersion….in water, the use of the name of the Lord, and the laying on of hands. To these were added at various times and places which cannot be safely identified, (a) the trine name (Justin)….

INTERPRETERS DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE (1962) I, 351
The evidence … suggests that baptism in early Christianity was administered, not in the threefold name, but ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus’.

A HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN THOUGHT (Otto Heick)(1965), I, 53
At first baptism was administered in the name of Jesus, but gradually in the name of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

HASTINGS DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE (1898), I, 241
[One explanation is that] the original form of words was ‘into the name of Jesus Christ’. Baptism into the name of the Trinity was a later development.

A HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH Williston Walker, (1947), Pg 58
The Trinitarian baptismal formula … was displacing the older baptism in the name of Christ.

THE NEW SCHAFF-HERZOG ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE (1957), I, 435
The New Testament knows only baptism in the name of Jesus …, which still occurs even in the second and third centuries.

CANNEY’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGIONS (1970), Pg 53
Persons were baptized at first ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’ … or ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus.’… Afterwards, with the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, they were baptized ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

ENCYCLOPEDIA BIBLICA (1899), I, 473
It is natural to conclude that baptism was administered in the earliest times ‘in the name of Jesus Christ,’ or in that ‘of the Lord Jesus.’ This view is confirmed by the fact that the earliest forms of the baptismal confession appear to have been single – not triple, as was the later creed.

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA 11TH edition, (1910), Vol 2, Pg 365
The Trinitarian formula and trine immersion were not uniformly used from the beginning… Bapti[sm] into the name of the Lord [was] the normal formula of the new Testament. In the 3rd century baptism in the name of Christ was still so wide spread that Pope Stephen, in opposition to Cyprian of Carthage, declared it to be valid.


ACTS 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

The Word of God has never changed. It forever stays the same.
The scriptural plan for salvation that it took to be saved back in the Bible days in the book of Acts still apply today.


Acts 2:38 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.
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

Times may have changed, but: GODS PLAN HAS NOT CHANGED.

God Bless





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