Preaching the truth about Jesus Christ in Acts 2, Peter left thousands of listeners asking the same question: “What shall we do now?”
The apostle’s response is simple: “Repent, and . . . be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). As a result, 3,000 people were added to the new church that day (Acts 2:41).
Is this the message of most churches today? Does it seem strange that Peter said “repent” instead of “believe”? Actually, Scripture often uses these concepts interchangeably. You see, repentance and faith are really two sides of the same coin: Both are essential for salvation, and each is dependent upon the other.
In terms of salvation, you cannot separate faith and repentance—both happen simultaneously. In order to be saved, you must place faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and that faith decision requires a change of mind (repentance) about your way of life. Yet many people mistakenly believe they must change their way of living long before they can make a faith decision for the Savior. The truth is, repentance does not mean that we must completely change our ways and “clean ourselves up” so we can receive Christ as Lord.