Wednesday, 12 October 2022
To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43
In The last verse were Peter’s continued words to Cornelius, saying, “ and He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.” Peter’s words now continue with, “To Him all the prophets witness.”
It is referring to Jesus, and it is something that Scripture elsewhere explicitly teaches. For example, there is the account after the resurrection where Jesus spoke to the two as they walked on the road to Emmaus –
“’O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:25-27
Likewise, in Acts 3, Peter said to the crowd gathered before him –
“Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” Acts 3:17, 18
These are just a few of the references to this, both from Jesus’ words and from those of the apostles. One important point from the witness of the prophets is that of Gentile inclusion in the work of Messiah. Though Peter does not express the thought at this time, it is a truth that both points to the work of Jesus and the calling of the Gentiles –
“Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Isaiah 49:6
Of these words of the prophets, Peter next says, “that, through His name.” The translation is correct. The word dia, or through, is used. It signifies that what will next be said will come about based on an action that is “through” the name of Jesus.
Of this, Vincent’s Word Studies says, “As in the Lord's prayer: not simply the title, but all that is embraced and expressed by the name: Christ's ‘entire perfection, as the object revealed to the believer for his apprehension, confession, and worship’ (Meyer).” Peter next says that the means of this “through” action is based upon “whoever believes.”
The Greek reads “everyone believing.” Notice that Peter, who is now speaking to Gentiles who are outside of the covenant people Israel, does not say “who observes,” “who is circumcised,” “who joins himself to,” or any other prescription where some type of self-expressed work must be performed. Rather, Peter levies upon these people an act of faith alone, saying, “everyone believing.” And the object of this faith is, “in Him.”
This is just what Jesus says in John 3:16. It is what is repeated time and time again in Acts and in the epistles. There is no other requirement levied upon the individual than belief in Jesus. If giving up a certain diet was required, Peter would have stated this now. If observance of the Law of Moses was required, Peter would have stated this now. And so on. But he does not. He simply says that everyone believing in Him. With that, and based upon believing in Him, the words are completed with “will receive remission of sins.”
The word is aphesis. It signifies “something sent away.” As such, it is a note that the sins of the believer are “sent away” and thus they are pardoned, forgiven, let go, and so on. This is the heart of the gospel. It is a note that God has entered into the stream of human existence and, through the giving of His Son, has allowed those who accept the payment to be given remission of sins. This allowance is appropriated by faith in Jesus, and it is granted to everyone who is believing in Him.
Life application: What is the common denominator concerning these Gentiles gathered together? For the sake of the narrative, it is that they are all sinners. Peter implicitly tells them this by saying that they need to believe in Jesus in order to have remission of sins. In his words, he carefully explains how this remission is provided.
Again, as noted above, Peter said nothing of law observance. He said nothing of actively working out a set plan that must be pursued by the sin-laden soul. Rather, the set plan is one that calls out for belief in the Person of Jesus who had accomplished the work of God, who had then been hanged on a tree, and who was then raised by God on the third day.
This is what God requires. Nothing more. This will be perfectly evidenced in the next verse. Peter does not say, “You must believe in Jesus and turn from your sin.” That cannot even be inferred in his words. He says that remission of their sin comes through faith. Thus, turning from sin is an act that is to be based upon remission, not for remission. If this were not true, then it would be the act of the individual that brought about the remission. This would then totally destroy the purity of the gospel and it would negate the idea of Ephesians 2:8, 9 –
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Paul places the “good works,” which would include turning from sin, after the belief, not before. Be sure to get this, remember it, and properly present it when speaking to others about their need for Jesus. This is the gospel. Come to Jesus, believe in Him, and be saved.
Lord God, help us to remember to keep ourselves and our actions out of the gospel message. It is all about Jesus and what He has done. May we never presume to add to this wonderful message, but to maintain its purity when we speak to others. It is about Jesus, it is through Jesus, and it is by faith in Him that the gospel is realized in us. Thank You, O God, for Jesus Christ our Lord! Hallelujah and amen.