The DEEP

What Total Repentance Looks Like

They don't even ask about being saved.

Acts 2:36-41 (ESV)

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you 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 for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

This is interesting, not for what it says but for what it doesn’t say. The audience responds, “Brothers, what shall we do?” not, “Brothers, what shall we do to be saved?” Just as Peter’s sermon wasn’t about getting into heaven, so their response isn’t about that either.

But remember, they’re responding to Peter chewing them out. God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus – but you crucified Him!

Ouch. Peter’s logic is impeccable, and they get it. This is a total face-palm moment and they simply want to know what they should do about it.

Peter’s response is astonishing. He doesn’t even mention a long penance. They don’t have to work it off. And not only that, they’re about to be massively blessed.

Repent and be baptized every one of you 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 for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

But there’s another twist. Since they were cut to the heart already, why do they still need to repent? Didn’t they just do that?

Close, but not quite. Remorse is the beginning of repentance, but to truly repent you have to turn away/change your mind/be converted. Peter is calling them to act on their remorse and sign up.

And the church grew 2,500% in a single day.


The first of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses is, “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent’, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

Imagine repenting anew every day.

Yet as long as we remain sinful creatures – that is, all our lives – we should.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.