Clarifying the Gospel, Part 2: How the Apostles Preached Christ

There is no greater deliverance accomplished by Christ than that which is from the looming judgment of God over humanity.

The sermons in Acts consistently build up to the same appeal for repentance/faith/baptism in light of the threat of the coming divine judgment, which will be executed by Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and now exalted to the right hand of God. This is why the forgiveness of sins is held out as the preeminent hope of those who repent and believe.

 

Although the salvation accomplished by the cross work of Jesus Christ entails multiple dimensions of deliverance—from the power of Satan, from the dominion of sin, from this present evil age, etc.—there is no greater deliverance accomplished by Christ than that which is from the looming judgment of God over humanity. Having surveyed this theme in the Old Testament, my purpose in this installment is to show that the preaching of the gospel by the apostles in the book of Acts demonstrates the same truth.

The sermons in Acts consistently build up to the same appeal for repentance/faith/baptism in light of the threat of the coming divine judgment, which will be executed by Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and now exalted to the right hand of God. This is why the forgiveness of sins is held out as the preeminent hope of those who repent and believe. Sometimes the threat of judgment is implicit, as in Acts 2:36, where Peter proclaims to the crowd gathered on the day of Pentecost, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” The threat is implicit, but still easy to spot: You who crucified God’s Messiah will have to answer for it, because he is no longer in the tomb! It’s no wonder that the crowd cries out, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (v. 37), to which Peter responds, “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.” In verse 40 Peter’s exhortation is summarized in as a warning: “Save yourselves from this crooked generation,” a generation destined to answer to God for its sins.

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