Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “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.” (Acts 2:37-38)
What is the appropriate response to hearing and embracing the gospel? Sometimes we are told that all we need to do is repeat a prayer and raise our hand. But if this was indeed the way that we were intended to respond to the gospel then there’s no doubt that it would have been made clear right here in Scripture. However, Scripture provides a different answer concerning “What shall we do?”
Peter was clear and concise, “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.” The moment that the gospel pierces our heart we ought to feel the sting of our depravity leading to an outflow of godly sorrow. A sword through our heart signals that its time to surrender. Its time to turn away from our own self-ruled life, and time to turn towards the One who gives us a new life. And then we identify our allegiance to our new Lord through baptism.
A sword through our heart signals that its time to surrender.
Repentance is not repeating a prayer and raising our hand. Repentance is the Spirit of God sparking a revolution in the depths of our soul. It is a radical change of our head, heart and hands. It means to completely change our mind, desires, and actions. Repentance is the only proper response to God's gospel of grace, and baptism is the proper affirmation of our new allegiance to him as Lord.
"Brothers, What shall we do?" There's only one answer. Repent and be baptized. Surrender and swear a new allegiance. You are no longer your own.