Date: Tue May 28 1996 - 15:58:09 EDT
The context of Acts 2:38 points to "in order to obtain the forgiveness of
sins" as the meaning of EIS APHESIN hAMARTIWN. Facing thousands of Jews who,
only recently, had cried out for Jesus to be crucified, Peter proclaimed that
God had sent to them Jesus of Nazareth and had shown Him to be the Son of God
through miraculous powers. Yet, they had "by the hands of godless men, put
Him to death." But, according to prophecy, the Father had then raised Jesus
from the dead and then seated Him at the Father's right hand. Thus, the Jews
were to understand that the very Jesus they had sinned against by crucifying
Him had been made both Lord and Christ.
"Pierced to the heart," the Jews then responded by crying out, "Brethren,
what shall we do?" Thus, these Jews realized the sins they had committed,
and they now wanted to know...what? What to do now that they were already
forgiven? Or, aren't they wanting to know what to do in order to be
forgiven? If eis aphesin hamartiwn means "because you have already been
forgiven," then these Jews were already in a forgiven state--even as they
cried out, "Brethren, what shall we do?"
In other words, in Acts 2:38, is Peter telling _already-forgiven_ people what
to do now that they have been forgiven? Or, isn't he instead--in answer to
their question--telling them they need to repent and be baptized in the name
of Jesus Christ _in order to be forgiven_?
Missoula, MT 59802
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