Salvation According to the Apostle Peter

What Must We Do - The Plan of Salvation What Must We Do - Salvation According to the Apostle Peter

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16:13-19 (KJV) 

These scriptures from Matthew's gospel serve to introduce the Apostle Peter as well as defining the part that Peter will play in the Church to be built upon the rock Christ Jesus. Peter has been given "keys" to the kingdom of heaven and their possession propel Peter into an important and central position in the Church to come.

The very existence of keys suggest the existence of a gate or door to the kingdom of heaven. This conclusion is scripturally confirmed in:

9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 

John 10:9 (KJV) 

Now the master plan of God to save His disobedient creation begins to take form a little more clearly. First, salvation will be possible through entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Secondly, this entrance must be through the door, Jesus Christ.

As the mind grasps the meaning of these scriptures, the "keys" that have been entrusted to the Apostle Peter take on a greater significance. These "keys" must be used to unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven for the completion of God's plan of salvation. The thought that the total plan of God is dependent upon the faithfulness of one man for its completion is startling to the mind. Such a tremendous responsibility for one single solitary human being.

What are these very important "keys" that have been entrusted to the Apostle Peter? Their necessary usage at the opening of the Church age points to the book of Acts of the Apostles to find the answer to this question. The book of Acts presents the formation of the first churches and their requirements for salvation.

Chapter one of Acts opens with the last words and instructions of the resurrected Jesus prior to His ascension. Of particular interest and importance is the fourth and fifth verses: 

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:4-5 (KJV) 
Jesus, once again, makes reference to a spiritual experience (baptism) as being an integral part of His teachings. Not only does He confirm the reality of a forthcoming spiritual baptism but seems to indicate that this will be a mandatory requirement for He COMMANDED His followers to not leave Jerusalem until they had received this promised spiritual baptism. Verse eight contains additional information about this baptism and states that an accompanying power to witness will follow: 

8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

Acts 1:8 (KJV) 
Although they had spent approximately three years with Jesus and been privileged to receive His personal instructions concerning His gospel and those things to come, He made it quite clear that they were not yet ready to preach His gospel. They must wait until power was received from heaven before witnessing of Him. These were His last words and with their utterance the Lord Jesus ascended into the clouds. The Apostles and other followers (approximately 120 in total) returned to Jerusalem, as Jesus commanded, and remained in prayer and supplication while waiting for the fulfillment of the promise. Their faithfulness and obedience was rewarded by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. This event is recorded in the opening verses of Chapter 2 of Acts: 

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 

Acts 2:1-4 (KJV) 

The first spiritual baptism began like the sound of a mighty rushing wind, was accompanied by the appearance of fiery tongues, and culminated in all those present being filled with the Holy Ghost, and then speaking with "other tongues" as the Spirit gave them utterance.

A complete understanding of what has happened is not altogether clear at the first reading of these verses of scripture. There is, however, an intuitive and unexplainable sensing that something momentous has occurred in the history of man. What a sight this must have been to behold; men and women reacting to the dynamic baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The privilege of viewing this event at first hand, although to be desired, is obviously out of the question some 2,000 years later. It is possible, however, to study the reactions of the gathering crowd and form an imaginary picture of this event. The crowd's reactions can be found in verses 5 through 13 of this chapter. Some who came were "amazed" (verses 7& 12), some "marveled" (verse 7), others doubted the reality of what they saw and wondered what was going on (verse 12), and still others began to ridicule and accused them of being drunk (verse 13).

These reactions make it abundantly clear that the entrance of the Holy Ghost within an individual produces curious effects somewhat like those of a drunken person. This thought suggests actions of loudness, noisiness, staggering, and even falling. The Apostle Peter, at the suggestion of drunkenness, stood in their midst and explained what they beheld. Peter did not deny the drunken state of those who had just been filled with the Holy Ghost but pointed out that their drunkenness was not caused by wine as they thought but that what they were observing had been predicted by the prophet Joel:

17 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: 

Acts 2:17 (KJV) 

33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 

Acts 2:33 (KJV) 
Peter's comments in the remaining verses of this chapter not only confirm the descent of the Holy Ghost but point out that this event should have been expected by anyone familiar with the scriptures of the prophets of Israel. Peter's attitude after receiving the Holy Ghost has become bold and sure, two characteristics he previously had lacked, for he had denied ever knowing Jesus on the evening before His crucifixion. Part of Peter's boldness was prompted, no doubt, by his remembering the words of Jesus as recorded by Mark:

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Mark 16:17-18 (KJV) 
Some of the people in the crowd were impressed and moved by the power and demonstrations of the Spirit because at the conclusion of Peter's explanation they asked him "What must we do?" or "How can we be filled with the Holy Ghost like these that we now see and hear?".Peter's answer to this question is of importance for he has the keys to how to be saved and must now put them to use:

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. 

Acts 2:38 (KJV) 
This statement surely explains how to receive the Holy Ghost but the expected revealing of the way to be saved has not materialized unless there is a connection between receiving the Holy Ghost and being saved. This dilemma is solved by referring to the 14th chapter of Romans:

17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 

Romans 14:17 (KJV) 

No wonder Peter gave instructions on how to receive the Holy Ghost at this time for these scriptures make it clear that existence in the kingdom of God is nothing more or less than existence in the Holy Ghost. This, then, explains why Jesus placed such importance on waiting until the Holy Ghost was given on the day of Pentecost. In other words, they were not qualified to tell others about the kingdom of God until they had gained admittance themselves. Not only would they not have had power but how could they describe the entrance of God's Spirit into the human body if they had not actually experienced it themselves. These facts make it clear that Peter has indeed used those keys and all heaven, through the Holy Ghost, had come down to live in the hearts of man. What were those "Keys"?

(See Acts 2:38):

1. Repentance

2. Water Baptism (In the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin)

3. Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost

Perhaps a little research will prove beneficial to understanding what is meant by step number three. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is referred to by Jesus in Acts 1: 4-5 as the promise of the Father and also as the Baptism with the Holy Ghost. In Acts 2:4 the promise is described as being filled with the Holy Ghost. Since all three statements refer to the same event they must mean the same thing. In other words, to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and to be filled with the Holy Ghost are identical statements and both mean to be Baptized in the Holy Spirit of Almighty God. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the entrance into the spiritual kingdom of God by virtue of the fact that the kingdom itself has been received within.

The question, "Who can receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost?" seems to have been anticipated by Peter for he elaborates on this subject without prompting in the very next verse:

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. 

Acts 2:39 (KJV) 

Peter makes it clear that the only restriction to be placed on who can receive the Holy Ghost will be placed by the Lord Himself. All who are called by the Lord may receive the Holy Ghost and thereby gain entrance into the kingdom of God.

Bringing to mind the fact that Peter is at this time speaking to the Jews might raise the question of whether or not the Holy Ghost will be made available to others, namely the Gentiles, or non-Jews.

The answer to this question can be found in the tenth chapter of Acts. This chapter records the bringing together of the Apostle Peter and an Italian by the name of Cornelius so that Peter can provide instructions of how to be saved. As Peter begins to tell of the ministry of Jesus, His death and resurrection and ". . .that through His name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." The Holy Ghost descended upon all those who heard him:

44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. 

Acts 10:44-48 (KJV) 
The Apostle Peter later referred to this event as being God's granting of salvation to the Gentile people as well as the Jews (See Acts 11:1-18) and clearly demonstrates that Gentiles (non-Jews) are included in Peter's statement in Acts 2:39

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. 

Acts 2:39 (KJV) 

Salvation has once again been poured out upon deserving people and the same person (Peter) who opened the door for the Jews now does so for the Gentiles. Peter has once again used those keys and they are the same as the original:

1. Repentance (Acts 11:18)

2. Water baptism - In the name of the Lord (Acts 10:47-48)

3. Holy Ghost Baptism - Evidenced by speaking with tongues

(Acts 10:44-46 & 11:15-17)

It's interesting to note how that the Apostle Peter and his companions were able to tell that the Holy Ghost had been given. Verse 46 and 47 state that they knew when they heard them speak with tongues. Receiving the Holy Ghost was once again accompanied by speaking with tongues just like the day of Pentecost and provided evidence that the Holy Ghost had been received.

The keys to the kingdom of God or how to be saved!




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Comments 1

Hal Tomlinson on January 27th, 2018

Brother Don is such an amazing teacher (just one of his many gifts). Rightfully dividing the Word of Truth is certainly his specialty. We all carry things in our mind and heart everyday that he has presented so profoundly

Brother Don is such an amazing teacher (just one of his many gifts). Rightfully dividing the Word of Truth is certainly his specialty. We all carry things in our mind and heart everyday that he has presented so profoundly
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