Shema in Greek, found in Austria, dating to 3ad

<a>http://public.univie.ac.at/index.php?id=6088&no_cache=1&L=2</a>

Here is an interesting article.

Archaeological sensation in Austria. Scientists from the University of Vienna unearth the earliest evidence of Jewish inhabitants in Austria

Gold scroll. Download see German version.

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p class=”bodytext”>13 March 2008

Archaeologists from the Institute of Prehistory and Early History of the University of Vienna have found an amulet inscribed with a Jewish prayer in a Roman child’s grave dating back to the 3rd century CE at a burial ground in the Austrian town of Halbturn. The 2.2-centimeter-long gold scroll represents the earliest sign of Jewish inhabitants in present-day Austria.

This amulet shows that people of Jewish faith lived in what is today Austria since the Roman Empire. Up to now, the earliest evidence of a Jewish presence within the borders of Austria has been letters from the 9th century CE. In the areas of the Roman province of Pannonia that are now part of Hungary, Croatia and Serbia, gravestones and small finds attest to Jewish inhabitants even in antiquity. Jews have been settling in all parts of the ancient world at the latest since the 3rd century BCE. Particularly following the second Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire, the victorious Romans sold large numbers of Jews as slaves to all corners of the empire. This, coupled with voluntary migration, is how Jews also might have come to present-day Austria.

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p class=”bodytext”>Child’s grave
The one or two year old child, which presumably wore the silver amulet capsule around its neck, was buried in one of around 300 graves in a Roman cemetery which dates back to the 2nd to 5th century CE and is situated next to a Roman estate (“villa rustica”). This estate was an agricultural enterprise that provided food for the surrounding Roman towns (Carnuntum, Györ, Sopron).

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p class=”bodytext”>The gravesite, discovered in 1986 in the region of Seewinkel, around 20 kilometres from Carnuntum, was completely excavated between 1988 and 2002 by a team led by Falko Daim, who is now General Director of the Roman-German Central Museum of Mainz, with the financial backing of the Austrian Science Fund FWF and the Austrian state of Burgenland. All in all, more than 10,000 individual finds were assessed, most notably pieces of glass, shards of ceramic and metal finds. The gold amulet, whose inscription was incomprehensible at first, was only discovered in 2006 by Nives Doneus from the Institute for Prehistory and Early History of the University of Vienna.

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p class=”bodytext”>The inscription on the amulet is a Jewish prayer
ΣΥΜΑ ΙΣΤΡΑΗΛ ΑΔΩNΕ ΕΛΩΗ ΑΔΩN Α
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.

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p class=”bodytext”>Greek script, Hebrew language
Greek is common with amulet inscriptions, although Latin and Hebrew and amulet inscriptions are known. In this case, the scribe’s hand is definitely familiar with Greek. However, the inscription is Greek in appearance only, for the text itself is nothing other than a Greek transcription of the common Jewish prayer from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy, 6:4):Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”

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p class=”bodytext”>Amulet to protect against demons
Other non-Jewish amulets have been found in Carnuntum. One gold- and three silver-plated amulets with magical texts were found in a stone sarcophagus unearthed west of the camp of the Roman legion, including one beseeching Artemis to intervene against the migraine demon, Antaura. Amulets have also been found in Vindobona and the Hungarian part of Pannonia. What is different about the Halbturn gold amulet is its Jewish inscription. It uses the confession to the center of Jewish faith and not magic formulae.

The gold-plated artefact from Halbturn can be viewed from 11 April 2008 onwards as part of the “The Amber Road – Evolution of a Trade Route? exhibition in the Burgenland State Museum in Eisenstadt.

Christ centered affirmations for overcoming

Or something like that…. was what brought one viewer to my blog. So, let me go ahead and answer that.

Try what the publican did…Lord, I am a sinner. Or what Paul did, when he died daily.

What more joyous thought is there but to daily say, ‘Lord, I am a sinner! Forgive even me!’ What more exhilerating feeling then to be forgiven every day!

One Day – Sermon notes

ONE DAY
2 Peter 3.3-10
Longsuffering for repentance and mockers and scoffer, God is not slack concerning His promises.

Messiah promised – Genesis 3.15, Isa 9.6
Messiah given – Luke 2.11

Promises given to Israel – Promised Land, prosperity, peace, protection, and destruction.

mat 24.37-39
Noah – that day did come and will come again

Man’s one day might never get here. God’s always will
Luke 12.16-20 –Man who built towers
Luke 16.19-30 – The Rich Man

mark 13.32 – that day that no man knows

luke 21.34 – that day will come unaware

1 Thess 5.4 – thief in a night – ‘the Day’ in Greek, is an absolute word, implying a certain amount of force to the word that is unable to carry over easily into the English. Each time in Paul’s writings, it is absolute, as if THE DAY is the title, like we would say Easter.

2tim 1.12 – committed against that day

1Co 3.13 – Every man’s works will be revealed in The Day.

Isa 49.8 & 2 Co 6.2 – Now is the day, now is the time
Mark 1:13-14 – The command of Christ
Romans 13.12 – The day is at hand

History is filled with would’ve, could’ve and should’ve’s; don’t let your eternity be.

Ephesians 4.30 – Sealed unto the day of redemption /vs. 1st Peter 2.9 – Peculiar (God’s lay-away plan.)

The Purpose of Life

The Purpose of Life:

The special purpose and life fulfilling realization that entails great prosperity, peace, and a quiet heart before God, entailing the one who understands to gain future promises of help, comfort, a mansion, a new body, comfort, and an abundance of riches, glory, and grace.

Below is a list of daily affirmations that seek to enable people to feel better about themselves, to help them find a purpose in life. They need to repeat these several times in the morning, and perhaps a few times throughout the day.

A List of positive affirmations you can use to boost your self esteem:

* I deserve to be happy and successful
* I have the power to change myself
* I can forgive and understand others and their motives
* I can make my own choices and decisions
* I am free to choose to live as I wish and to give priority to my desires
* I can choose happiness whenever I wish no matter what my circumstances
* I am flexible and open to change in every aspect of my life
* I act with confidence having a general plan and accept plans are open to alteration
* It is enough to have done my best
* I deserve to be loved

The above was taken from: http://www.more-selfesteem.com/affirmations.htm

If you want, there are books, computer programs, websites, seminars, and even individual counseling to help you determine your purpose in life. At the Life Purpose Institute (http://www.lifepurposeinstitute.com/ ), you can pay to become a Life Coach, which I am sure you can turn around and earn a living from. You can get quotes from famous people, mostly telling you that your purpose is exactly what you want it to be and that your desires will determine your destiny. And if that doesn’t work, don’t worry it is not your fault; it is your parents or society’s fault for correcting you and inhibiting your creative growth when you where younger. If they had only encouraged you to be violent, lazy, and selfish instead of correcting you!

Prosperity preachers tell us that our purpose in this life, and indeed the purpose of the Cross, was to give us health and wealth. They see only peace in the bank account, not the peace that enables us to share in the riches of the grace of God. If we but want something, we just have to snap our heels together three times, say a magic phrase, send money to some white-suited preacher and we will have everything that we could want.

Brethren, each of us has a special purpose, not just us, but the entire world! We can live in the prosperity that comes from God. It is God’s purpose for us to be rich and not burdened by sins, but by treasures from heaven. We have a higher purpose.

We do have a purpose on this earth, and indeed, I believe that everyone else does as well. We have been predestined to greatness, to riches, to something greater than ourselves.

In Genesis 1:26-27, the Bible plainly tells us that we are made in the image of God. We were not made to till the earth or to go to work every day. We were brought forth for a reason, for a purpose. Don’t skip ahead and think that the purpose of man is the same as man’s duty. Purpose is why, duty is what. In this Garden, Man walks and talks with God and is in free communion with him. Man is free of sin, because there is no sin, so he is holy. Here is paradise.

We know that Adam fell when he sinned, creating a wall of separation between God and creation, and we also know that at that moment, not in some after thought, God set about to restore all things to Himself. He devised a plan and put it into action. He did not give up on us nor set us aside. He did not destroy us or remove us from His thought altogether, but His very first actions detailed the compassion of the Deity. He demanded separation, but did not leave Adam and Eve without a covering, making a sacrifice of flesh to hide their sins. He spoke the first prophecy, pointing to a time when Man would once again walk with God. Why did he do these things when he could have easily turned us aside?

It is no small thing to say that He loved us, and so He did love us. (Ephesians 2:4, 1st John 4:10, 1st John 4:19) He also had a purpose for us from the very beginning, and although sin interrupted it for a season, there is a pathway to it.

(Eph 1:3-5) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

There are several ways to look at this passage, concerning especially the καταβολης κοσμου (foundation of the world).

1.) World could very well be the world order created after the fall of Adam, where death reigned.

2.) The world is literally this planet. The problem with this is that sin would have to be predestined to, meaning that God predestined pain, suffering, and heartache.

3.) The first and ideal purpose of God was for humanity to share in the holiness of God, but the fall of Adam interrupted that plan.

The word “predestine” (προορίσας, proorizô) means literally “to set out boundaries in advance.” God staked out the boundaries for the group he would adopt. By his sovereign decree, all those in Christ – that is, in the name of Jesus Christ, in His Church – would be in the group. Whether a person is in God’s group, then, depends on what that person has done concerning the Gospel.

We see in 2nd Timothy, Paul makes the same suggestion: that we have a purpose in Christ that has existed before the world began.

(2Ti 1:9) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

In Greek, the phrase translated as ‘before the world began’ is πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, literally ‘before times eternal’. Time began after the Fall, so we had a purpose before then. What is the purpose that was given in Christ before time began?

To be holy and to share in the glory of God.

So, if we had a purpose before time began, what then afterwards?

(Rom 9:22-24) What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

This passage, of course, details the destruction that the Jews brought upon themselves. Peter tells us that God is longsuffering, is patient, in order that all may be saved. The Jews knew, by their prophets, (just as we do by John) that destruction was coming. They were fitted, like someone getting a tailored suit, for destruction, but God held off until the Church began, and even then it was not until 40 years after the Resurrection that the temple, and thus the Priesthood, was destroyed.

There is a purpose that God has for us once more. The problem is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The writer of Hebrews tells us that the goal of Christ in his sufferings was to bring in many sons unto glory (2.10). Paul in Romans 5:2 says that by faith we stand in the Grace of God, and rejoice in confident expectation that we will obtain the glory of God. In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, he reminds us that no matter what we are going through, no matter the weights that afflict us, all these things are working together for the eternal weight of glory, because we are working not for the things seen, but for the things unseen, that is the heavenly things.

In 2nd Thessalonians 2:14, Paul tells the Church that we are called to obtain the glory of the Lord. In 2nd Timothy 2:10, in one of Paul’s final letters to his dear friend and son in the Lord, he writes that he is enduring all things that he may obtain the salvation in Christ that comes with eternal glory.

Our purpose during this life is to be saved, in order to obtain the Glory of the Lord.

What is ‘glory’?

Thayer’s defines it this way: a most glorious condition, most exalted state AND the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Savior’s return from heaven.

It is an eternal state. It is not used in Scripture to speak about anything external or temporal. No privileges can be attained through this word. It does not bring prosperity or wealth untold. When the Apostles spoke about glory, they were not speaking about new cars, new homes, or happiness on earth. They were living in a world of persecution, where if they but uttered the name of Christ, they stood in violation of the Jews and the entire Roman Empire. They had the entire world against them, so their concerns were not material gain. They were speaking about being with God, as it was first before the fall. They had made Heaven their only priority, seeking first the Kingdom of God.

In Colossians 3:4, Paul says that when Christ comes again, we will appear with him in Glory. In the same letter, Paul tells us that Christ is our hope of glory. (Col 1.27).

We do not need daily affirmation to remind us that we are something special, or that we have a purpose. We but need to read the scriptures to find our true purpose. We hear a lot today from various so-called preachers who say that God’s purpose is external privileges, but nothing in Scripture proves that. We do have riches, but it is a glorious wealth that will see it’s fruition in eternal Glory one day, on that Day when Christ is manifested to the world.

Let me draw your attention to one final detail. Back in Genesis 2:9, we see that God put the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden. In Revelation 2:7, we are told that if we overcome, then we will eat of the Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God. Further in 22:2, we are told that in the middle of the city of God is the Tree of Life which will bring healing to the nations and in verse 14, we are told that those who keep his commandments we will partake of the Tree of Life. We see the grand scheme of the Bible at work, if we follow the evidence. In Genesis, humanity falls into a separation with God because of disobedience; in Revelation, those who are obedient are united with him forever. In Genesis, there is a tree of life set in the middle of the Garden; in Revelation, it is the city of God that holds the Tree of Life.

Adam fell from his purposed life in the Garden of Eden, and interrupted the set course for this world. God predestined the Church as a set of boundaries as the only way to unite God and man once more. The Tree of Life was there with Adam, and we will see it again.

A bit on Baptism

This is McGarvey’s commentary on Acts 2:38. I thought that I would repost it here.

This is the first time, under the reign of Jesus Christ, that this most important of all questions was ever propounded; and the first time, of course, that it was every answered. Whatever may have been the true answer under any previous dispensation, or on any previous day in the world’s history, the answer given by Peter on this day of Pentecost, in which the reign of Christ on earth began, is the true and infallible answer for all the subjects of his authority in all subsequent time. It deserves our most profound attention; for it announces the conditions of pardon for all men who may be found in the same state of mind with these inquiries. It is expressed as follows: (38) “Then Peter said to them, Repent and be immersed, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
That the offer of pardon, made to the world through Jesus Christ, is conditional, is denied only by the fatalist. We will not argue this point, expect as it is involved in the inquiry as to what the conditions of pardon are. When we ascertain the prescribed conditions of pardon, both questions will be settled in settling one.
Pardon is the chief want of the human soul, in its most favorable earthly circumstances. The rebel against God’s government, though he lay down his arms and becomes a loyal subject, can have no hope of happiness without pardon for the past; while the pardoned penitent, humbly struggling in the service of God, knows himself still guilty of shortcomings, by which he must fail of the final reward, unless pardoned again and again. The question as to what are the conditions of pardon, therefore, necessarily divides itself into two; one having reference to the hitherto-unpardoned sinner, the other to the saint who may have fallen into sin. It is the former class who propounded the question to Peter, and it is to them alone that the answer under consideration was given. We will confine ourselves, in our present remarks, to this branch of the subject, and discuss it only in the light of the passage before us.
If we regard the question of the multitude, What shall we do? as simply a question of duty under their peculiar circumstances, without special reference to final results, we learn from the answer that there were two things for them to do-Repent, and be immersed. If Peter had stopped with these two words, his answer would have been satisfactory, in this view of the subject, and it would have been the conclusion of the world, that the duty of a sinner, “pierced to the heart” by a sense of guilt, is to repent and be immersed.
But if we regard their question as having definite reference to the salvation of which Peter had already spoken, (verse 21) and their meaning, What shall we do to be saved? then the answer is equally definite: it teaches that what a sinner thus affected is to do to be saved, is to repent and be immersed.
From these two observations, the reader perceives, that so far as the conditions of salvation from past sins are concerned, the duty of the sinner is most definitely taught by the first two words of the answer, taken in connection with their question, without entering upon the controversy concerning the remainder of the answer. If it had been Peter’s design merely to give an answer in concise terms, without explanation, no doubt he would have confined it to these two words, for they contain the only commands which he gives.
But he saw fit to accompany the two commands with suitable explanations. He qualifies the command to be immersed by the clause, “in the name of Jesus Christ,” to show that it is under his authority that they were to be immersed, and not merely under that of the Father, whose authority alone was recognized in John’s immersion. That we are right in referring to this limiting clause, “in the name of Jesus Christ,” to the command to be immersed, and not to the command repent, is evident from the fact that it would be incongruous to say, “Repent in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Peter further explains the two commands, by stating their specific design; by which term we mean the specific blessing which was to be expected as the consequence of obedience. It is “for the remission of sins.” To convince an unbiased mind that this clause depends upon both the preceding commands, and express their design, it would only be necessary to repeat the words, “Repent and be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” But, inasmuch as it has suited the purpose of some controversialists to dispute this proposition, we here give the opinions of two recent representative commentators, who can not be suspected of undue bias in its favor.
Dr. Alexander (Presbyterian) says, “The whole phrase, to (or toward) remission of sins, describes this as the end to which the multitude had reference, and which, therefore, must be contemplated in the answer.” Again: “The beneficial end to which all this led was the remission of sins.”
Dr. Hackett (Baptist) expresses himself still more satisfactorily: “eis aphesin hamartion, in order to the forgiveness of sins, (Matt 26:28 Luke 3:3) we connect, naturally, with the both the preceding verbs. This clause states the motive or object which should induce them to repent and be baptized. It enforces the entire exhortation, not one part of it to the exclusion of the other.”
The connection contended for can not be made more apparent by argument; it needs only that attention be called to it, in order to be perceived by every unbiased mind. It is possible that some doubt might arise in reference to the connection of the clause with the term repent, but one would imagine that its connection with the command be immersed could not be doubted, but for the fact that it has been disputed. Indeed, some controversialists have felt so great necessity for denying the last-named connection, as to assume that the clause, “for the remission of sins” depends largely upon the term repent, and that the connection of thought is this: “Repent for the remission of sins, and be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ.” It is a sufficient refutation of this assumption to remark, that, if Peter had intended to say this, he would most certainly have done so; but he has said something entirely different; and this shows that he meant something entirely different. If men are permitted, after this style, to entirely reconstruct the sentences of inspired apostles, then there is no statement in the Word of God which may not be perverted. We dismiss this baseless assumption with the remark, that it has not been dignified by the indorsement of any writer of respectable attainments, known to the author, and it would not be noticed here, but for the frequency of its appearance in the pulpit, in the columns of denominational newspapers, and on the pages of partisan tracts.
The dependence of the clause, “for the remission of sins,” upon both the verbs repent and be immersed, being established, it would seem undeniable that remission of sins is the blessing in order to the enjoyment of which they were commanded to repent and be immersed. This is universally admitted so far as the term repent is concerned, but by many denied in reference to the command be immersed; hence the proposition that immersion is for the remission of sins is rejected by the Protestant sects in general. Assuming that remission of sins precedes immersion, and that, so far as adults are concerned, the only proper subjects for this ordinance are those whose sins are already pardoned, it is urged that for in this clause means “on account of” or “because of.” Hence, Peter is understood to command, “Repent and be immersed on account of remission of sins already enjoyed.” But this interpretation is subject to two insuperable objections. 1st. To command men to repent and be immersed because their sins were already remitted, is to require them not only to be immersed on this account, but to repent because they were already pardoned. There is no possibility of extricating the interpretation from this absurdity. 2d. It contradicts an obvious fact of the case. It makes Peter command the inquirers to be immersed because their sins were already remitted, whereas it is an indisputable fact that their sins were not yet remitted. On the contrary, they were still pierced to the heart with a sense of guilt, and by the question they propounded were seeking how they might obtain the very pardon which this interpretation assumes that they already enjoyed. Certainly no sane man would assume a position involving such absurdity, and so contradictory to an obvious fact, were he not driven to it by the inexorable demands of a theory which could not be otherwise sustained.
We observe, further, in reference to this interpretation, that even if we admit the propriety of supplanting the preposition for by the phrase on account of, the substitute will not answer the purpose for which it is employed. The meaning of this phrase varies, according as its object is past or future. “On account of” some past event may mean because it has taken place; but on account of an event yet in the future, would, in the same connection, mean in order that it might take place. The same is true of the equivalent phrase, “because of.” If, then, the parties addressed by Peter were already pardoned, “on account of the remission of sins” would mean, because their sins had been remitted. But as this is an indisputable fact that the parties addressed were yet unpardoned, what they are commanded to do on account of remission of sins must mean, in order that their sins may be remitted. Such a rendering, therefore, would not even render the obvious meaning of the passage less perspicuous than it already is.
It will be found that any other substitute for the preposition for, designed to force upon the passage a meaning different from that which it obviously bears, will as signally fail to suit the purpose of its author. If, with Dr. Alexander, we render, Repent and be immersed “to (or toward) remission of sins,” we still have remission both beyond repentance and immersion, and depending upon them as preparatory conditions. Indeed, this rendering would leave it uncertain whether repentance and immersion would bring them to remission of sins, or only toward it, leaving an indefinite space yet to pass before obtaining it.
If, with others still-for every effort that ingenuity could suggest has been made to find another meaning for this passage-we render it, Repent and be immersed unto or into remission of sins, the attempt is fruitless; for remission of sins is still the blessing unto which or into which repentance and immersion are to lead the inquirers.
Sometimes the advocates of these various renderings, when disheartened by the failure of their attempts at argument and criticism, resort to raillery, and assert that the whole doctrine of immersion for the remission of sins depends upon the one little word for in the command, “be immersed for the remission of sins.” If this were true, it would be no humiliation; for a doctrine based upon a word of God, however small, has an eternal and immutable foundation. But it is not true. On the contrary, you may draw a pencil-mark over the whole clause, “for the remission of sins,” erasing it, with all the remainder of Peter’s answer, and still the meaning will remain unchanged. The connection would then read thus: “Brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be immersed every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Remembering now that these parties were pierced to the heart with a sense of guilt, and that their question means, What shall we do to be saved from out sins? the answer must be understood as the answer to that question. But the answer is, Repent and be immersed; therefore, to repent and to be immersed are the two things which they must do in order to be saved from their sins.
The reader now perceives, that, in this first announcement to sinners of the terms of pardon, so guardedly has Peter expressed himself, and so skillfully has Luke interwoven with his words the historic facts, that whatever rendering men have forced upon the leading term, the meaning of the whole remains unchanged; and even when you strike this term and its dependent words out of the text, that same meaning still stares you in the face. The fact is suggestive of more than human wisdom. It reminds us that Peter spoke, and Luke wrote, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. That infinite wisdom which was dictating a record for all time to come is displayed here, providing for future controversies which no human being could anticipate. Like the sun in the heavens, which may be temporarily obscured by clouds, but will still break forth again, and shine upon all but those who hide from his beams, the light of truth which God has suspended in this passage may be dimmed for a moment by the mists of partisan criticism, but to those who are willing to see it, it will still send out its beams, and guide the trembling sinner unerringly to pardon and peace.
If there were any real ground for doubt as to the proper translation and real meaning of the words eis aphesin hamartion, for the remission of sins, when connected with the term immersion, a candid inquirer would resort to its usage when disconnected from this term, and seek thus to determine its exact import. It happens to occur only once in connection suitable to this purpose, but no number of occurrences could more definitely fix its meaning. When instituting the supper, Jesus says, “This is my blood of the new covenant, shed for many for the remission of sins,” eis aphesin hamartion. It is impossible to doubt that the clause here means in order to the remission of sins. In this case it expresses the object for which something is to be done; in the passage we are discussing, it expresses the object for which something is commanded to be done: the grammatical and logical construction is the same in both cases, and, therefore, the meaning is the same. Men are to repent and be immersed in order to the attainment of the same blessing for which the blood of Jesus was shed. The propitiation through his blood was in order to the offer of pardon, while repentance and immersion are enjoined by Peter upon his hearers, in order to the attainment of pardon.
The careful reader will have observed that in stating the conditions of remission of sins to the multitude, Peter says nothing about the necessity of faith. This omission is not sufficiently accounted for by the fact that faith is implied in the command to repent and be immersed; for the parties now addressed were listening to the terms for the first time, and might fail to perceive this implication. But the fact is, that they did already believe, and it was a result of their faith, that they were pierced to the heart, and made to cry out, What shall we do? This Peter perceived, and therefore it would have been but little less than mockery to command them to believe. It will be observed, throughout the course of apostolic preaching, that they never commanded men to do what they had already done, but took them as they found them, and enjoined upon them only that which they yet lacked of complete obedience. In the case before us, Peter was not laying down a complete formula for the conditions of pardon; but was simply informing the parties before him what they must do in order to the remission of their sins. Being believers already, they must add to their faith repentance and immersion.
Before dismissing this topic, we must remark that the doctrine of immersion for the remission of sins does not assume that immersion is the only condition of remission, but simply that, it is one among three conditions, and the last of the three. Administered previous to faith and repentance, as in the case of infants, it is not only absolutely worthless, but intensely sinful.
The exact meaning of the term repent will be considered below, under iii. 19.
After commanding the inquirers to repent and be immersed for the remission of sins, Peter adds the promise, “and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The gift of the Holy Spirit should not be confounded with the Holy Spirit’s gifts, nor with the fruits of the Spirit. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are religious traits of character, and they result from the gift of the Holy Spirit. The latter expression means, the Holy Spirit as a gift. It is analogous to the expression, “promise of the Holy Spirit” in verse 33 , above, where Peter says, “having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has shed forth this which you now see and hear.” The gifts of the Holy Spirit were various miraculous powers, intellectual and physical. These were conferred only upon a few individuals, while the gift of the Spirit is promised to all who repent and are immersed.